Category Archives: Video Games

The List: One Simulation Game

No, I haven’t completely forgotten about this feature!  Sorry that it’s been so long!

This is not the beefiest genre in my collection.  I like Sim games.  But usually I get hooked on them for a few months, I’m hopelessly consumed by them and nothing else, then for whatever reason, I quit playing them for ages until I get the urge to start over.  So I guess you could say I’m not much for the endgame in Sim games, but like the initial experience of creating something.

So here’s the list for the one Sim game I’m taking with me:

One of the most amazing games in the list above is Orbiter.  There is SO much in that game that I completely don’t understand.  But one thing that is pretty cool is that not only can you fly spacecraft around, but you can traverse the entire solar system which is set to scale.  For instance, I’ve taken off from earth and flown to Jupiter.  But that trip took about an hour at 10,000x Simulation speed.  And parking yourself into orbits takes at least a rudimentary knowledge of physics, so it’s super geeky.

Sim City 2000 is still incredibly fun.  It’s hard to believe it’s about to be 20 years old next year.  You gotta love re-naming all your buildings.  Taxing the ever loving hell out of your citizens.  And the gratuitous use of llamas in the news paper are all very satisfying.  The music is iconic… if you ever played Sim City 2000, you will remember those tunes until the day you die.  It’s not without it’s flaws though.  I can’t even have an airport in my city because of the weekly plane crashes which cause fires and destroy neighborhoods.  It has difficulty being completely compatible on modern operating systems so some of the sound effects and animations are a bit off.

Sim City 4 doesn’t have the same nostalgia factor, but if takes the joy of “playing god” to the next level.  That game is so granular, it’s amazing.  You can fine tune your cities finances, utilities, services, etc.  It’s a micro manager’s dream come true.  You can enjoy the building and laying out your city like always, but it’s the tweaking that makes magic for me in this game.

I put Gran Turismo 5 on this list because I do feel that it’s a pretty darn good driving simulator.  If you are used to racing games where the brake button is just because they had an extra button left over on the control mapping, then Gran Turismo games are a bitter dish.  But if you can appreciate taking a machine and finding out what it’s limits are, then this game really starts to open up before your eyes.  It’s a challenge of driver skill to see how much you can get out of your car.  And what I love is that you aren’t always racing super cars, you can drive anything from a PT Cruiser, to a Dodge Viper, to an all out race car.  All the while you are shackled by the realities of momentum, gravity and friction.

The Sims 3 is another game from Maxis, the makers of Sim City.  I actually remember this game being somewhat controversial when it came out the first time around.  There was some questions about the ethics of taking these human characters and subjecting them to the cruelties of things like… building a house without a bathroom in it…   But let’s face it, things like that are the best part of this game.  I only owned up to the Sims 3.  And while it’s often assumed that the demographic for this game skews female, I still love it.  I love that I can build my dream house.  I love that I can roleplay good or evil.  And I love that I can get all my pets to get jobs to support me financially.

I guess probably the oddest inclusion in this list is Flight Simulator 98.  It was one of the first “3-D” games I really remember playing.  And this was on our old 200MHZ PC back in the day.  Yes, it chugged.  But I took a lot of pride in taking off and even landing (sometimes).  I’m actually a bit saddened that the airfield in Chicago which was always the default airport for the game Meigs Field has been razed and turned into a park.  Even though I’ve never actually been there in real life.  Another amazing feature I remember was being able to actually build your own aircraft.  Plugging in values for the wings size and position.  Then I’d take off an see how absolutely horrible it would fly!  Ahh, it was the golden age of PC games for me, and a lot of virtual adventuring was had.

And the decision is….

Sims 3 Screen

The Sims 3

I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I love The Sims.  Epicly huge houses, and putting your sims in ludicrous situations.  I get the most gratification from playing “legit”.  No money cheats.  I play honest… and by that I mean getting six cats and dogs and getting all of them jobs so my Sim can sit around watching TV and maxing out his happiness meter!  I could play this game through generations and generations of Sims!

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No Sense

Here I am, sitting in a room literally surrounded by all of my favorite games, and yet, I can’t decide what I want to play.

I’m not sure if it’s that I’m overwhelmed by all the choices… I could play Super Mario Bros. 2 on NES, or I could play Final Fantasy X on PS2.  How about Mario Kart 64?  That’s always a solid choice.  Or I could play F-Zero GX on Gamecube for some fast and futuristic racing.

But I don’t feel overwhelmed.  I look at all these games and I see the memories I had from playing them.  And it’s that feeling that is stronger than my will to pick it up and either start again, or pick up from where I left off.  I’m sitting here in this retro room and surrounded by all these artifacts of my childhood.  It’s as moving to think about it all as it is to play it all.

For instance, I was looking at the Gamecube, and I couldn’t help but recall the time I was most royally ripped off in my life.  I had deeply desired a Panasonic Q, which was a flashy Gamecube/DVD player from Japan.  I completely over extended myself in my quest to get one.  It was right at the time that Super Mario Sunshine was coming out.  The first 3D Mario game since Super Mario 64.  I was consumed by previews, and a daily stream of information on the game for weeks before its release.  The game first came out in Japan.  I even went as far as to import a Japanese copy of the game.  Only, my Gamecube wouldn’t play Japanese games.

What better Japanese gamecube to get than the Panasonic Q!?  Unfortunately they sold for about $450.  Ouch.   But lo and behold.  I found one on eBay for $250!  What a deal!  I purchased it straight away.  I was giddy with excitement.  Soon I’d have the flashiest Gamecube anyone had seen, I’d have the new Mario game before anyone else, and I would be in Nintendo nirvana!  I even went as far as to look up the eBay seller on AOL messenger and tell them how thankful I was they were selling it and how happy they’d made me.

q

I didn’t have the cash for it.  I put it on my credit card.  It would be okay, I told myself… I was going to sell the Gamecube I had for $150 and then all I’d really have to pay for was $100, which wouldn’t be a problem by the time my next paycheck came in.  And I did sell my Gamecube too.  After all, the Q would be here in just a matter of days.

Those days came, and went.  Each one more excruciatingly long than the last.  After two weeks had gone by, it was clear… my Panasonic Q wasn’t coming.  I tried doing my own detective work, I called the police department from the city the seller supposedly lived in, but the address they used was the address of a gay exercise club… I had gone from great joy, to complete desperation.  I had been ripped off for $250 bucks, and on top of that, I didn’t even have a Gamecube anymore since I’d sold mine to pay for the Q.

How I came to own the actual Gamecube I own today and sits in this room, is just as ridiculous of a story.  Of course I didn’t have the money to go buy another Gamecube, but sometime after the eBay fiasco, I was involved in a traffic accident.  I was coming up on a stop sign, not quite paying attention, and noticed the car stopped in front of me.  I slammed on the brakes!  I stopped just short of the car in front of me, but there was an S10 truck behind me that didn’t stop in time to avoid my sudden maneuver.  We got out and he asked why I stopped so quick, and I asked him why he was following so close!  Long story, short… he left after I got his license plate and insurance number and I waited for the police to come so they could make a report.  Turns out the guy had a suspended license.

After the accident, I then received a check from the other person’s insurance company.  Instead of fixing the car… I bought my replacement Gamecube.

I’m not particularly proud of that story.  It was a time in my life where I was just plain stupid.  I’d let my desires for what I had lusted over drive me past the breaking point.  I would skate so close to the edge that any little tiny bump in the road that wasn’t expected could completely throw me off course.  And they did.  Time and time again, to the point I felt I was so far from where I wanted to be, that I would never get to that place.  I started to stop even caring, and tried not to think about any of it.  The whole time, games were my escape.  They were as dangerous to me as any drug could have been.

Not every memory in this room is as somber as those (just the Gamecube ones really, haha).  Most of the memories in this room are quite cheerful, actually.  But I think there lies my problem when it comes to actually sitting down and playing these games.  I find myself here in the midst of it all, reminiscing about the good times and the bad.  To the point where playing the game might just serve to distract me from those thoughts.

Maybe I just need more time.  Enough time to sit and conjure those thoughts up, but then time still to sit and enjoy the games, because if I skip all the existential crap, these are all some amazing games that were made to be played.  I feel like too often I approach what I’m going to play in such a methodical way that playing anything else besides what fits into my system is like I’m cheating. I miss the days where I would just sift through the games until I just decided to play one… or even more than that, I miss spending the whole day anticipating being home so I could play the one game I’d been thinking about all day.  That’s the biggest part of me “as a gamer” that is missing today.

The List: One Party Game

As an adult gamer, by far the thing I miss the most is gaming with my friends.  Online gaming is okay.  But it’s nothing compared to sharing the couch and laying the smack down on my friends, and the shouts of joy and agony that fill the room.  Amazing come from behind victories, impossible shots, hilarious screw ups, all reminisced over the entire evening over endless beverages and snacks.

All my friends may have moved on, just like I have with my own family and career.  But there are still some amazing party games out there, and some old ones that are always worth going back to.  Even if it’s just some family coming over, we can still fire up some great games and have a blast well past bedtime.

Now, as a reminder, the games on my lists are only games from my personal collection.  So yes, there are great games left out.  But the point of this is mostly just a thought experiment to pare down what are the best games I’ve ever played.  So if I could take one party game with me to that wonderful desert island where no one ever bothers me again and I get to do nothing but play games… what would it be?

The List

I’ll be honest.  Most of the categories so far, I’ve known going in which game was going to win.  This one though, even as I write this, I’m still not sure what to choose.

GoldenEye is a very strong possibility.  Having hosted eight GoldenEye Fests, and countless nights with friends playing until literally the sun came up, it might be hard to deny this one.  BUT… if I choose it as the best party game.  It won’t be able to compete in the First Person Shooter category… which wouldn’t feel right at all.

StarFox 64 is one game that I wish I would have had the opportunity to play with more people.  The ability to loop around, lock on to your friends and play with them like a cat plays with a mouse before going in for the kill is ridiculously satisfying.  Being able to choose between the tank and arwing is a neat feature, though it seems like the tanks were always at a disadvantage.  But usually games like Mario Kart or GoldenEye took the spotlight away from this great game on party nights.

Nintendo Land is one of my biggest surprises in recent memory.  I didn’t really expect to give much regard to the the game.  But one night Andrea’s family was over.  We had 4 people with Wiimotes and one on the gamepad playing Mario Chase… I haven’t had so much fun playing with other people in a long, long time.

Mario Kart: Wii is one of the Mario Karts I’ve been least impressed with, but it really is the best living room Mario Kart experience with family and friends.  Some people love playing with the Wii Wheel.  That’s fine, I’ll kick their butt every time.  I have to use the controller myself.  But the thing about Mario Kart, is that no matter how good you are, no win is guaranteed.  So even people that have never played before, still have a chance to win.  And honestly that’s what I love about it.  I mean I’d love to win every game, but eventually people don’t want to play with me any more.  So Mario Kart in general strikes that perfect balance of skill, random craziness, and just plain fun.

RockBand and Guitar Hero were legendary in my family for a while.  I remember playing it at my sister-in-law’s house and on our way home, we had to pick one up for ourselves.  Until my Guild Wars 2 CE, it was the most I’d ever spent on one single game.  Rhythm games seem like the butt of a lot of jokes these days, but honestly, I still enjoy busting out the plastic guitar, cranking up the surround sound and rockin, right the hell out.  Add in the full band and someone’s terrible singing (usually enhanced by alcohol) it’s a good time that’s hard to beat.

Wii Sports is great because it’s a game that absolutely everyone can play.  Even people who would ordinarily never play videogames, will still play Wii Sports.  And still get highly invested in it.  I remember waiting patiently for my turn to play, and the satisfaction that came with winning a matchup in whichever sport the challenger chose, because winners were allowed to keep playing.  The games were usually short and worked perfectly for passing around the controller with a group of friends.

Ice Hockey and Dr. Mario may only be 2 player games, and they may be the oldest games on this list, but to this day, I’ve yet to see any other game that has people that are more passionate and competitive about them.  My neighbor across the street is a dedicated Dr. Mario player.  And my brother-in-law takes great pride in his Ice Hockey skills.  Both of them (if you beat them) will become physically perturbed. They are also games that are pretty much universally loved and anybody will join in for the next round.

Of course Super Smash Bros: Melee IS a highly competitive game.  There are still organized contests to this day.  I am not any good at this game at all, but I even love losing in this game.  I love, love, love, love, love playing as Peach and smacking unsuspecting people with a frying pan.  I never really had any friends that were into this game, but I did attend a couple parties where I got my ass handed to me.  I’d actually play this game forever, even if I knew I’d never win.

And finally, New Super Mario Bros: Wii.  I picked this over the new NSMB:U just because I have more experience with it.  Even the little kids can come over and play.  When we get to a tough spot, we just tell them to “bubble!” and it’s an awesome way to get the whole family involved and playing.  It’s fun to work together, but also if the action starts to lul, you can start messing with your teammates by swallowing them up with Yoshi and spitting them down a hole, just to be a douche and get some laughs.

And the winner is:

Rockband

So… GoldenEye will live to fight another day.  And I REALLY went back and forth between this and Nintendo Land.  Nintendo Land is SUCH a great game.  Literally the most fun I’ve had in years.  BUT… Rockband or Guitar Hero was infectious.  People I knew would play it, then next thing I know, they had one too.  It hasn’t gotten much love lately, but a couple years ago, it was pretty much expected that this is what we did at family get-togethers.  It’s so satisfying to nail a tricky solo.  And even getting through certain songs on the highest difficulty were grounds for bragging eternally.

But seriously.  If anyone wants to come over and play some games, I have a couple.  It would be fun. You can probably even beat me! Honest!

The List: One Puzzle Game

No story. No fancy graphics. Puzzle games are the raw ore of gaming.  They are 100% all about gameplay.

While puzzle games can range from the casual to the hardcore and intense, I always stayed pretty much in the mainstream with my library.  You know, Tetris, Dr. Mario.  Pretty straight forward and somewhat casual puzzle games.  I never got into the Facebook games, so sorry Candy Crush, you’ll not be found here.

I do enjoy a puzzle game though, because I always get to play my favorite opponent: myself.  High scores, getting to a new stage you’ve never been to before.  In an age where my friends are grown and moved off, I am my favorite gaming friend anymore.  These games provide a great challenge against myself.

The List:

Myst. I have started to play this game… a bajillion times.  Every time I get stuck somewhere, then come back after so much time has passed that I have no idea what I’m doing and have to start over.  I’ve never beat this game.  Taking it with me while stranded on an island somewhere might be the only way I’d ever beat it.  But I don’t think it’s going to make the cut here.

Brain Age is a fun game.  It’s designed to be used every day.  I played it quite extensively when it first came out on the Nintendo DS, but I haven’t trained my brain much lately.  With the amount of beer I drink, I probably should be training it.

Yoshi’s Cookie is a fun simple puzzle game.  I’m sure there are other games out there like it.  You line up the same type of cookies in a line horizontally or vertically, and you clear that line.  That’s all there is too it.  But it has a Yoshi charm to it, and it’s portable.  I really love this game though it kicks my butt once the speed starts ramping up after a few levels.

Blast Corps I suppose you could argue isn’t truly a puzzle game.  But many of the levels require puzzle elements to clear the path for the out of control nuclear missile transport.  Rare produced this game in it’s golden years with the N64.  It can be brutally challenging at times, but all the vehicles are fun to drive, and there’s a nice variety of side missions to mix up the gameplay.

World of Goo is something different.  The art style is a bit dark and quirky.  The music is fantastic.  And the puzzle gameplay is heavily physics driven.  You link your “goos” together to get them to the exit point.  It can be tough making them stick the way you want without collapsing, and even when you do pass a level you always could have done it faster or more efficiently.  This is a downloadable game I got on WiiWare, but it’s also available on other platforms including mobile.  Definitely worth the price.

Tetrisphere is a game I think most people don’t appreciate.  I love it.  I remember renting this game back when I was younger.  It was one that I would rent, then rent it again when it was time to check it back in.  The music is awesome, and I love building up combos until you get a huge nuke to drop on your sphere and release the… sphere guy.  Okay it’s weird.  But it’s really fun.

Dr. Mario.  You know what this is and what it’s all about.  When this game came out, I mostly remember that all of my friends mothers were better at it than we were.  I’ve never been very good at it.  But it is fun.  I’m starting to realize that these good puzzle games all have fabulous music.  I suppose they would have to in order to keep you playing.  I still have it and still like to play it from time to time.  My neighbor across the street is a freak about this game, and he’s freakishly good at it too.

Tetris DS.  There have probably been (without exaggeration) a thousand versions of Tetris released.  My favorite is Tetris DS.  First of all, it’s portable.  And the Nintendo themed level art and music is very attractive.  I’ve played ALOT of Tetris in my time.  Again, I’m certainly no master of the game, but when I’m in a groove, I can get pretty far.  It’s always when I get greedy and I try to go for those 4 line clears that it gets me in the later levels.  It’d be hard to imagine a world where playing Tetris isn’t even an option.  Does this one win by default?  It wins every other puzzle game list…

The Winner:

Blast Corps Winner

 

Blast Corps.  What a friggin’ fun game.  It was frantic, it was frustrating, it was deep.  Clearing the path was just the beginning.  Then you had to find all the RDUs, destroy all the buildings, and free all the survivors. No it’s not a PURE puzzle game.  But I couldn’t imagine leaving it behind.  And it definitely isn’t going to win in an Action category against games like Zelda.  Be a hater if you want, but this is my puzzle game of choice.  I only wish I could go back and forget everything I know about this game and play it again for the first time.

The List: One Racing Game

In contrast to the previous post, this genre is going to be a lot harder to choose a winner.  I’ve been playing racing games since RC Pro-Am and Rad Racer on the NES.  I’ve played a lot of fantastic ones over the years too. And to think that I could only take one is actually quite bothersome.  That means no matter what I’m going to have to leave some significant portion of my past behind me, never to be experienced again.

I think my appreciation for racing games goes back to a kid and just loving to play with cars like Hot Wheels or RC cars.  Video games are just an extension of that.  I’ve had so many and played so many over the years, even just narrowing it down to this list is going to be difficult.

The List:

There’s probably several games on that list that wouldn’t make most people’s.  That’s probably because there was really no reasoning behind how I acquired a lot of these games.  This was the days before the internet for the most part and I didn’t have access to in-depth reviews and pre-release coverage.  But in retrospect, I’m glad because I might have missed out on what are now some of my favorite games.

Take Crusi’n USA for instance.  This game got almost universally terrible reviews.  But it makes my list of top racing games.  And it’s all because I have just had a ton of fun with the game.  Playing against Dad, or even just unlocking the new cars.  I had a lot of FUN and that’s what gaming should always be about.

Micro Machines on the NES was a super fun game.  But man was it hard.  It ends up that you just have to resolve yourself to memorize each track.  But it’s fast paced, and you really feel like you’re driving the tiny cars.

Top Gear Rally is another game that most people probably remember as “Just another racing game”.  But at the time, this game had so much going for it.  It was technically well made with all sorts of eye candy and the cool ability to design your own decals.  But I always felt it was a very balanced game, and one I STILL pick up and play on occasion today.  The music is fantastic as well.  Just a couple notes and I can vividly remember late Friday nights and Saturday mornings racing these tracks still long after the rest of my family went to bed.

RC Pro-AM.  This game has a special place in my heart.  I’m not sure when we got it.  It just seems like it’s always been there.  If you were to pick a Fun Melon and squeeze it dry, what collected would be RC Pro-AM.  It’s demanding, it’s simple, and even if you get really far and lose, you still have just as much fun starting over as you did on level 26, which I think is the farthest I ever made it in that game.

Gran Turismo 3 is the sole reason I bought a PS2.  I remember I bought the red box pack-in that came out right after my birthday.  The extra birthday money I received helped offset the hefty $329 price tag.  But it was worth it.  I poured hours into this game.  It’s one of those that you can get down to the real nitty gritty of your car and tweak absolutely everything.  You can purpose build a car for all out speed, or something for the road courses, the circle track, there was just so much to do and so many details.  It’s my go to “serious” race game.

gt3ps2bundle

World Driver Championship is one of the best driving games of all time.   It didn’t have licensed cars, you couldn’t design your own decals, but on the N64 there isn’t a better looking racing game, and may not even be a better looking game period on the system.  It still looks halfway decent today, which is more than can be said for most every N64 title.  But even a great looking game can be ruined by mediocre gameplay.  But WDC doesn’t let up there.  The tracks are fantastic.  Changes in elevation, the number of tracks, and then each track has around three or four variants that keep it interesting.  The controls are balanced, the cars are fun to drive.  If you like driving games, and haven’t played this, it’s worth getting an N64 just to play it.

But there’s one racing series that, for me, stands apart from all others.  Even when I went to write this I thought to myself, “I know I need to put a list together, but it’s just not fair to all these other great games that they have to compete with… Mario Kart.”

I’ll start with the newest Mario Kart, Mario Kart 7.  I wasn’t expecting much from this game.  I had almost felt after Mario Kart Wii that the series had finally run its course.  But Mario Kart 7 rekindled that flame of what a great MK game really is all about.  Fun, quick to learn, difficult to master and great tracks.  I found myself enjoying it MUCH more than I anticipated.  And racing online is a total blast, but I’m not too sure they’ll be Wi-Fi on this island I’ll be stranded on.  I guess there’s no guarantee there’ll be electricity either so this list is kinda nuts anyway…

Mario Kart: Super Circuit is one of those few games that I truly treasure.  It’s a game that I deeply invested time and energy into.  I feel like I have a greater amount of ownership over that game than the average person.  Back in the 00’s, I was a regular of the IGN Boards.  When Super Circuit came out, a few of the members decided to start a Time Trials competition.  I spent hours working on times, and then hours more posting and talking about them.  Infact the only real reason I ever bought a digital camera was to post my Super Circuit times on IGN.  Those are happy memories.  But there is no other game I’m more invested in than the next one.

The Winner:

Mario Kart 64

It’s the reason for my internet handle I still use today.  It’s the reason I constantly look for good N64 controllers.  It’s the reason I didn’t get a lot of homework done.  And it’s the reason a lot of people just won’t play games with me.  I think no game am I better at, no game have I spent more time playing, and no game has completely consumed me the way Mario Kart 64 has.  I could probably write a book about this game.

I was and still am a Time Trials freak.  I know my times aren’t world records or anything, but the represent a lot, to me at least.  Is this is?  Is this my favorite game of all time?  I don’t know… maybe.  It is certainly something special though.  And it’s one thing that I couldn’t imagine leaving behind if I had the choice.

Check back soon, and I’ll be trying to figure out which Puzzle Game makes The List!

The List: One Sports Game

I haven’t been much of a sports fan until recently, so my selection of sports games has been somewhat limited.  But even since the beginning, I have always enjoyed a fun sports game.  Ice Hockey on NES comes to mind as one of my earliest memories playing a sports themed game.  Dad and I used to play each other back when I was like 6 or 8 years old and he would totally kick my butt every time.  Mike Tyson’s Punchout was another phenomenal retro sports game that I love to revisit all the time.  Having it on the Wii U virtual console and potable makes it even better!

A lot of the “sports” games I own tend to fall under the arcade sports genre.  Games in the Mario Sports line and NBA Hangtime are great games, but they are certainly a stretch on the sports they are based on.  So the decision had to be made, do I include these games to compete with more authentic sports games like PGA Tour Golf?  I came to the conclusion that yes, I would include them, because they simply wouldn’t have a chance to win anywhere else.  And given my meager sports game catalog it helps beef it out a bit.

Which sports game would I choose to play for the rest of time?  Here’s “The List”:

Even though this is one of my less passionate genres, this is a really tough choice!  I would hate to give up the nostalgia that the NES games provide.  Games like Ice Hockey and Punch Out have aged well, and play so solidly.  But could I play them all to the end of time, I don’t know.  Definitely not Tecmo Bowl, it just gets too samey after a while.  And I would get tired of Punch Out kicking my ass.  Ice Hockey, though… I may be able to play that game forever.

I have probably had the most fun playing with friends, games like Mario Strikers, or NBA Hangtime.  If I say, “A baseline leaner”, anybody who has played Hangtime can vividly hear the voice from the game in their head.  Mario Golf & Tennis are just highly polished and fun games.  I could see myself playing any of those games for a long time… if I had friends to play them with.  Most of them haven’t been dusted off in a while, because they just aren’t as much fun to play solo.

I have to seriously consider Wii Sports.  For a simple and free pack in game it was totally awesome.  I still say one of the best parts was being able to play with all your Miis.  Having Grandma Dee hit a home run on my baseball team, can not be beat.  We also had some very competitive matches in that game that were so intense feelings were hurt.  Now that’s a good game.

But then you have the realistic sports games like Madden, NCAA Football, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour, you can not only roleplay as your favorite team or player, but you can really get down to the nitty gritty of the game.

And the decision is…

Madden 25 (Or whatever the latest version is)

Madden 25 (Or whatever the latest version is)

Replay-ability has a lot to do with this list.  And when it comes down to it, Madden is always one of those games that I wish I had more time to spend with it.  Franchise mode alone could be enough.  But you can do complete fantasy drafts, different play modes, challenges, there’s just really a lot to do, and a lot to play that could last a long time.  You can play your franchise out to the next quarter century if you want to.  So if I could only take one sports game with me, I’d take Madden (whatever the latest version happens to be).

The List

This will begin a difficult series of posts.  It’s the beginning of another fall sports season and there are a lot of teams out there making cuts.  They’re whittling their best players down to the best of the best.

Well when it comes to games, there are literally hundreds of phenomenal games out there that deserve to be played and re-played.  But if you had to cut it all down to a starting lineup, who would make the cut?

I’m going to go through my games in my collection and decide, if I had to leave it all behind and pick one game to represent each genre, one game that I could play over and over in that category, what would it be?  So I’m going to have to make some tough choices to determine my all time favorite game in each of the following genres:

  • Action/Adventure
  • Arcade
  • Fighting
  • First Person Shooter
  • Party
  • Platform
  • Puzzle
  • Racing
  • Role Playing Game
  • Simulation
  • Strategy
  • Sports

Did I leave out any important categories?  Let me know in the comments.

I’m going to have to leave some really great games on the shelf.  And just to warn you in some of the categories like Fighting, there WILL be some great games left out of discussion entirely because those are genres I just never quite got into and as such some iconic games I simply never have played. They will still be represented though.

Then my ultimate goal is once this list is completed, to PLAY these games, capture the video, produce it out and make a show out of it.  This will become my project for Friday night’s “Project Night”.  None of that can commence though until “The List” is finalized.

So check back soon as I make the final cut for my defacto “Sports Game”!

Bygones Are Bygones

I was never a Sega kid.  If you look back through the archives of this blog, or explore the “Video Games” category, you’ll know that I am a fair tempered Nintendo fanboy.  And in the 16-bit days, the console wars were at Defcon 2.  It just so happened that I really ended up sitting out of the 16-bit era.  I never had a Super Nintendo growing up, but I had friends with both a Genesis and an SNES.  Maybe that’s what made adding the Genesis to the collection feel so right, or maybe it really is that enough time has passed, we can put those quarrels behind us.

I got a small amount of birthday money in the past couple weeks, and combined with a small amount of money I saved up, I had enough to buy this Sega lot on eBay.  A Genesis, 1 controller and 22 games.  I pretty much inherited somebody’s complete Genesis collection!

What do I play next?  Now, granted a lot o those games are mid 90’s sports games.  But it was really fun watching Andrea play some football that has almost more in common with the old vibrating metal football games of the past than it does today’s sophisticated Madden games.  Still just as fun though.  And neat to think that at the time, that was the pinnacle of gaming achievement for the genre.  Plus it’s kinda cool to play as Joe Montana for the Chiefs.  I mean, c’mon.  If you don’t like that you can play as one of the OTHER 27 teams! (Hint, there’s 32 NFL teams now).

Of course there’s Sonic in there, and some other arcade/adventure style games.  Really a pretty nice collection.  I know positively nothing about Sega, but it will be fun to experience these games for the first time!

Oldest of Friends

Tonight was Retro Night.  I really was at odds as to what to play.  What I NEED to play is Final Fantasy VI… but I wasn’t up for something that required such focus and investment.  To be honest, I really contemplated just sitting at my PC and watching all of the fantastically hilarious “Geek Week” content on YouTube.  But I said to my self, you have begun this tradition of Retro Night, and you MUST honor it.  I thought and thought.  Then I decided, you know, if it came down to any game you could play at this moment… of all time… what would it be?  And from there the choice was simple.

Andrea and Luke are out of town.  Some men might use this as an opportunity to go out on the town, hang out with the guys, smoke some cigars.  Me?  I decided to play Mario Kart 64.  And drink.  Infact I was doing equally as well at both.  Well, by the end I was doing much better at drinking than I was at Mario Kart.  Still got gold on all four cups in 150cc though.  Not really saying much though.  I’ve played so much of this game, I could play it even practically unconscious.

I would like to think that being slightly inebriated helps me experience these old games at a point in time before I had mastered them.  That is severely not the case.  It serves only to frustrate me as I know what these hands are capable of, only what I see happening on the screen isn’t matching what I’m telling them to do.  Slamming into walls, running into traps… not my usual style; not my style at least not when it comes to this game.  We go way back.

I tweeted a picture of the poster above a few days ago.  I’ve been tweaking out the Retro Room recently and knew I had this stashed somewhere, but it hasn’t been displayed in probably almost 10 years.  It was originally a poster insert in the Tips & Tricks magazine that I used to get back in the 90’s.  The magazine always published the fastest times for Mario Raceway, and I always would practice and beat the published time before the next issue came out.  Of course, then there would be a new FASTER time that some other reader had submitted.

At any rate, this poster appeared in one of the issues.  On the flipside, it has a similar scene for Kalamari Desert (wish I would have photographed that before hanging it).  Hopelessly lost in my Nintendo 64 addiction, I pinned this up in my room at the height my my Mario Kart 64 obsession.  Over the years I let go of some of the more minute parts of my collection, game boxes and the like.  But I could never bring myself to throw this one away.  It’s an emotional anchor back to a really different, but very pleasant, time in my life.  Sentamentally, I value it almost as much as the Mario Kart 64 cartridge itself.

It was a fun night.  Though I couldn’t help but think of all the fun we had with Biebs, Bef, Bobby and the rest of my family playing battle mode on Block Fort or Double Deck.  An experience that sadly I don’t think I’ll ever be able to re-live quite the same way.

Bending the Rules

Well… Monday’s are supposed to be Guild Wars 2 night according to my new weekly regimen.  But I played a fair amount yesterday, and since this morning for some reason I really wanted to play Guild Wars: Original Recipe.

So I took my GW2 night and made it a GW1 night.  A lot of the night was spent opening up new birthday presents.  All my characters except one had a birthday present to open.  Seems like it must have been that long since I’ve logged in.  And I got one of my most desired minis!  The Mini Candysmith Marley!

Mini Candysmith Marley

I spent the rest of the time mostly roaming around with no purpose.  I feel like when I log into Guild Wars now, I really should have the goal of accomplishing something.  With the Hall of Monuments, some of your achievements in GW can actually carry over to GW2.  I guess I sorta met that requirement by dedicating 5 new minis I didn’t have.  Wasn’t enough to get me another point, but it got me closer.

And because I always take gratuitous screenshots.  Here’s some nostalgic screenshots from tonight!  Man I can’t believe it’s been over 7 years since I started playing.  I also didn’t quite appreciate how much of an improvement GW2 graphics were over GW1 but next to my previous post, you certainly can notice the difference.  Guild Wars just doesn’t have the layout that allows for the wide open vistas like Guild Wars 2.  I still enjoy the screen shots just the same.

Wading in the waters of Ascalon City, thinking about old times.

Trudging towards a Xunlai Chest in the Shiverpeaks to deposit a new Mini Pet.

Excited to get my Candysmith Marley! Next to a Gwen Doll, this was the one I wanted most that I don’t already have.

Some of my Mini Pet collection. I’m such a junkie.

My main character in the Hall of Monuments.

Still enough people playing to warrant more than one District. The Pre-Searing community has always interested me. I don’t think these guys will ever leave. They may play other games, but they stay logged in just to chat if nothing else.

Looking back at Ascalon City. It’s never looked so good. And (SPOILERS)…it never will again!

Pre-Searing Ascalon is still one of those places that relaxes me. You can’t not enjoy the countryside.

As the maps were designed, you never really get far reaching views of the horizon like you can in Guild Wars 2. This was surely due to graphical limitations and system requirements. Funny that I never even noticed until now.

“The Gate” at the Great Northern Wall. Requires another real player partner to open and allow you to run through.  Many players hire a “Gate Monkey” to perform this service.

The often screenshoted Ashford village.

Rolling hills and woods in Ascalon. Too bad it all had to end.