More and more recently, I’ve been wishing that I had more time to “game.” I keep hearing about these new video games that are coming out, and while some sound like an updated version of previous classics, there’s something about seeing that new loading screen for the first time that is a neat feeling. So this itch to play games more has led me to think of my ten all-time favorite games – dating all the way back to when I owned my first Nintendo.
10. Street Fighter II (Arcade)
Did this game ever open a can of worms... this is the first game I truly remember becoming addicted to in a Mall setting. I don’t recall a game before it’s time where actual strategies were planned and different styles were applied for game play. My friends and I would stay in the arcade for hours, switching out in between rounds, while person after person would try to beat us. Favorite characters: Chun-Li or Blanka.
9. Tetris (almost any platform)
This is my ultimate zone-out game. I can do nearly anything while playing this game. It’s one of those games where you don’t have to think about it, you just have to do it. And, still today, I can’t get that theme music out of my head.
8. Ms. Pac-Man (Arcade)
Pac-Man was slow, formulaic and a guy. But the misses... hubba hubba. She was fast, sleek and totally un-predictable. Talk about fun. While you couldn’t learn a pattern for this game (unlike its predecessor), this game’s speed is an addiction waiting to happen. If I go to a bar where there’s a Ms. Pac-Man in a corner, I’ll somehow fashion a quarter MacGyver style to play, if I have to.
7. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)
It’s hard to put this on here instead of the original, but the original was so before its time – and its all we had then, so that’s too easy. This was the first real big re-imagining of Super Mario, finally set in a 3D environment. I really can’t tell you what stood out about this game (as all of the Marios are starting to blend these days), but I can say that I played this for weeks on end, until it was beaten.
6. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarnia of Time (Nintendo 64)
What I said about Mario above, applies here, too. Uh, a freakin’ 3D Zelda!?! I’m in! The first game I can remember where you’re locking onto your enemies with a target-lock? Holy crap. Wait, I can change what button does what!?! Dear lord, I’m in heaven.
5. EA Sports NCAA Football ’05 (Nintendo GameCube)
This is one of my more recent addictions. I’ve always thought that college football is way more fun to watch than the NFL, so that’s a plus. But here you can be any one of the 115ish teams in America, play a full season, go to a bowl game, win awards, and then recruit your next class. There’s mocking the crowd, stadium loudness and the players get rattled. Almost better than the real thing (because you can win a lot more)
4. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (Nintendo 64)
This was one of the first games I remember that took reality and made it pretty unrealistic, but insanely fun. Sure I can do seven kick flips while jumping a 30 set, no problem. What’s that? You want me to grind around the entire lip of a pool four times? Easy. Wall ride UP a building? Child’s play. Skate or Die, T&C Surf Designs, we salute you. Tony Hawk, we worship you.
3. Advance Wars (GameBoy Advance)
I’ve always enjoyed strategy games, but I’ve never felt the need to strain my eyes on a three-inch wide screen to do so. This game, while pretty simplistic in design and execution, had me buying AA batteries like they weren’t being made anymore.
2. Tecmo Super Bowl (Nintendo)
Why call it Tecmo Bowl, when it should really be called Tecmo Bo – because of Bo Jackson. This game flat out ruled. It’s the first head-to-head game I loved to play. And it was usually a rush to see who would get the Raiders, and after that, could your defense pick the right play to stop the other team. Most likely, not.
1. 007 Goldeneye (Nintendo 64)
First person shooter. Strafing. Aiming. All new to the gaming mix. A story line that follows a fun Bond movie. Plus the ability to go head-to-head-to-head-to-head... this is gold, and it was the game that we played for nearly a year in college. It became a challenge to win the game faster than anyone else. It became an addiction to whoop everyone’s ass with grenade launchers in the complex.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker (One of the better Zeldas, cartooy + huge world = hours wasted), The Legend of Zelda (You can’t knock the original, still get lost in the forest to this day), Gauntlet (Elf needs food, badly), Baseball Stars (The first game I could ever make a custom team with, very cool), Contra (Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, start – ’nuff said), Super Mario Bros. (Did anyone ever make it out of the Minus World?).
What are your favorite games of all time?