April IGC

It’s that time again, another round of Playstation Plus freebies for another month. Video first, commentary to follow:

Ironically, I was just asking J3w3l about the first game on the list, as I had seen it released on Steam, and she had purchased it. Mercenary Kings was a Kickstarter game that appears to be a Metal Slug type clone, but still interesting enough that I considered buying it. J3w3l’s comment was that it was “rather average” so I avoided the purchase. Here were are now going over the IGC for this month, and that exact game is included. It’s a PS4 version, so no I won’t be able to try it right now, but it’s nice to know that it will be waiting for me at a later date, and no money was spent.

For the PS3, the contents are only average. Batman Arkham city is a pretty old game at this point and with the past few months releases of newer high end games, I wasn’t expect this sort of throwback. I suppose it is a good thing because the only game of the series I have played was the original, so this does mean I can pick up where I left off. But who am I kidding? With my ridiculous backlog, this won’t be played anytime soon either. Just add it to the pile.

Next up is the Castle of Illusion remake. I had the original on the Genesis and it was a pretty fun platformer. I’m not super fond of Disney characters in my video games, but this along with Duck Tales was a classic, and I intended to own both of them at some point again. Getting one for free is icing on the cake. I downloaded the demo for this game a while back and it is truly a worthy update of a great game from my childhood.

Lastly, another indie game makes the list, this time it’s Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark. I’m not entirely sure what this one is all about, but it’s a title that I recall releasing within the last year or so. Typically games that are centered around stealth mechanics are irritating to me, so I’m not sure if this is a title that I will be able to get into or not, but anything that is free is usually worth a shot. I’ve had more fun with indie games as opposed to AAA titles lately anyway.

Finally, for the Vita there are a couple of new titles coming, Velocity Ultra and one of the Pixel Junk games. I really have no information on either title, though I do understand that the Pixel Junk games are a long standing series and that they must be pretty popular to warrant all of the releases I’ve seen. However, I’ve never tried any of the games, so I don’t know if I’d be in with that crowd or not.

There you have it, another month’s worth of free games. We’re nearing the Summer now, and that means there will be another rather large update to the IGC, where the “stationary” titles will swap out for another set for the next year. Looking forward to that within the next couple of months.

Bite-sized (nom nom)

Just some quick updates today, and some links to further reading.

  • I beat Reaper of Souls last night. Despite not doing any Paragon grinding before the expansion hit, it was still fairly easy, even on Hard difficulty. However, Malthael (the angel of death and final boss) was a bitch. He killed me more than once but I eventually got the best of him. Definitely more of a challenge than Diablo or any other boss in the game for that matter. Upon completion I was eager to try out Adventure mode, and I also turned the difficulty up to Expert. Beyond that, there is Master and I-VI Torment levels, so I suppose you could grind your way through this game indefinitely. Adventure mode is nice because the entire game is opened up to you, with the ability to teleport anywhere via way points. Bounties are present, and those are basically bosses that you fought in the story, but you can skip right to their level, rather than having to wade through the overland zones and several dungeon levels. I completed one bounty before I logged off, and at that difficulty level it was doable but definitely challenging. I can see where having your friends along would be worth while, as a Wizard I’m becoming a bit squishy. Apparently there are blood shards that are collectible and use-able for upgrades, but I have yet to see any. You also have to collect something else to be able to open “Nephalim shards” but I have yet to experience that either. So for now, it appears that there is still a lot of game left, which is good because grinding the same story over and over didn’t really appeal to me.
  • Another Steam sale caught my eye and had me spending a couple bucks on some games. I picked up Speedball 2 HD, Highborn (plus two DLC chapters) and Quest of Dungeons. I enjoyed the latter two games, the first was a complete and total pile of garbage.
  • Speedball 2 HD is a remake of a classic Amiga/Atari ST game (my Dad had the latter, and the original game) that I played when I was a kid. I loved that game, as it was basically an early Mutant League Football. Speaking of that game, it deserves an honorable mention on my list of great games, because it is still one of the best sports games I ever played. Basically it’s a sports game where you are to score goals, and the pace was frantic, AND you could smash your opponents in between throwing the ball around/scoring goals. I remember it being a lot of fun, and this game was clearly based off of the same game I knew and loved. Unfortunately, something got lost in translation. Yeah, the graphics are better than 8 or 16-bit (whatever the original was) but this game was not fun. There was no redeeming qualities. I actually played for ten minutes and then shut it off… I’m not sure if I’ll ever try it again. Perhaps nostalgia is best left in the mind, because what I had in front of me almost tarnishes the memory of the original.
  • Highborn is another of those iOS/Android games that was ported to Steam. Despite that fact it’s still pretty well done, and I enjoyed what I played of it. It’s basically a Heroes of Might and Magic type game, though you don’t teleport to a battle field when attacking mobs on the map, the action simply carries out. I only played the first mission of the 1st chapter, but from what I saw it had enough elements that I feel it was worth the couple bucks I spent on it. More on this later when I play more of it.
  • Quest of Dungeons was just released yesterday when I picked it up, so like Luftrausers the week before, it had an “opening-day-discount.” This one is basically a graphical Angband. I spoke about Angband in my Influential 15 post, so if you don’t know what game I’m referring to, check out that post. It’s a rogue-like, but unlike Sword of the Stars: The Pit that I picked up a few months ago, it’s high-fantasy based rather than Sci-fi, and seems a little bit simpler. But no less deadly. I made it to floor two before dying. Floor one was a cake walk, and I found upgrades for my gear and leveled up to 5 before feeling ready for the next level. A couple of rooms later I was confronted with a boss, and he flattened me. The game has four classes, a warrior, assassin, wizard, and shaman. I chose the assassin because range tends to help in these sorts of games, but none of that mattered to the boss who kicked my ass. For a simple jump in jump out experience, this game didn’t disappoint. You might want to choose your own music though, as QoD’s was fairly lame.
  • There’s some hubbub about the Oculus Rift and its being sold to Facebook. The guy who started up the Oculus company answers some questions here.
  • Now that you’ve read that, Project Morpheus probably sounds a bit better. Here’s a list of PS4 games releasing this year, perhaps you can justify buying one now, and be ready for VR in the future.
  • Team Builder in League of Legends is officially live. I tried it out in beta, but not since that announcement. I’ll makes some commentary on this later.

That’s about all I have from around the interwebs today. Just for shits, here’s a funny video:

The State of the Game #22

I’m not really in the writing mood today, so I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

I’ve been playing the shit out of Awesomenauts on Steam. The game is simply far better than the console counterpart, although I’m sure the PS4 version is at least semi-decent. I have found that my favorite characters are now Ayla, Gnaw and Raelynn. I win almost every game I play with them. I’m at level 60 something of 100 something, so I’m progressing well enough, but this version of the game with it’s longer progression (plus prestige levels) is going to keep me busy for a long time. Especially since Starstorm is supposed to bring something like 4 more nauts and another map to the game.

I beat The Banner Saga. Apparently there’s more than one ending though, so I’m interested to do another play through, but not right at the moment. My ending saw Rook’s daughter getting killed by Bellower, and us sending her off on a raft in a Viking-appropriate burial at sea. The abrupt ending didn’t really have much of an explanation, though I read somewhere that this is the first in a series, so perhaps more will make sense later. Either way, it was a fun game and I’d recommend it.

I’ve played Luftrausers in between other bits of more serious gaming, and have found it to be quite enjoyable. Despite it’s dated graphical look, it’s still a lot of fun to see how long you can last, how high you can get your score and what challenges you can complete. Earning points gets you upgrades, so just grind away at it. Each combination of weapon, body and engine comes complete with it’s own name, along with strengths and weaknesses. There’s a ‘fat’ body and an engine that propels you by firing bullets, A ‘melee’ body that allows you to just charge into anything without taking damage (except for bullets, of course), and all kinds of other combinations to be had. For a game that you can easily play for 5 minutes and then move on to something else, this was worth the money.

Steam is a huge MF though. A daily deal, weekend deals, mid-week madness, week-long deals… I mean, why even own a wallet? All my monies are belong to them. The deal of the day a couple of days ago was for Orcs Must Die!, the GOTY was $3 and change so I got it. The game plays a lot like Dungeon Defenders, but is single player only, and rather than using turrets, you use traps that do various things. They are identical in that you can jump into the fray as well, but this game is single player only. Still, I ran through the first 5 or 6 levels in an hour, and it was frantic fun. Apparently the sequel has co-op, so perhaps I’ll get that one later on down the road as well. Just yesterday I saw a list of the deals for this week and there are a couple of titles I’m interested in. Damn them.

Hearthstone has been taking up a chunk of every day still, and I have been steadily working to improve my decks. I feel very confident with my Hunter, Pirate Rogue, and my newly minted Murlock (Warlock with Murlocs — I see wat you did there!) deck. All I need is a few more legendaries, and things are going to be very difficult for my opponents. As an added benefit, having purchased ROS netted me a free pack of cards:

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Apparently it would have been two packs if I bought a collector’s edition or some nonsense. Still, can’t complain about free.

Lastly, I started playing Reaper of Souls last night, as it launched at 9 p.m. my time. I ran through some of the new stuff and then jumped on a freshly made Crusader, but the game was being laggy, presumably with people checking out the expansion. So I jumped onto Steam, but Steam was having issues last night too. I kept getting messages about losing connection to Steam while trying to play Awesomenauts, so I jumped back to Hearthstone, then gave up on everything for a while. Then I went back to Diablo for the rest of the night. But I digress…

ROS is looking to be more of the same, but still cool. The Crusader had some interesting abilities and all, but playing through the beginning again so soon just didn’t sit right. So I went back to my Wizard and leveled him to 63, getting through the first few quests and the first major boss of the act, Urzael. A new enchanting merchant was added, and I leveled her up to ten almost instantaneously. It seems to upgrade any of the merchants further I have to dump demonic essences, and most of what I’d want to craft uses those as well, and so far I’ve seen 3. So I’m not sure how much of a bitch it is to farm them later on, but we shall see. I’m assuming that finishing the last Act opens up the Adventure mode and/or Torment levels, but I’m not entirely sure how that works. I’m guessing beating Act V on Hard (which is my current difficulty setting) will open up further difficulties, but again, I’m just speaking off the top of my head. One way or the other, the expansion feels “worth it” so far. Here’s a pic of what my Wizard looks like at the moment:

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Rubik’s Cube, anyone?

The Terrible 15

Recently some bloggers (myself included) have been sharing lists of games that they felt impacted them in some way, or were simply “the best.” But what about the worst? Sure, there have been many awesome games throughout the years, but there have been just as many terrible ones, and I thought we could expand upon the discussion. I didn’t really set any rules for myself as far as a time limit or particular genre or platform, but I did require that the games listed be ones that I played. Unfortunately, when I was young and couldn’t afford a new game that readily, some of these titles were added via garage sales or swap meets or used game stores (before chains existed), were bought on a whim, and were judged only by the title or cover art. As such, some were horrific flops, and yet I still poured hours into some of them for lack of anything better to do.  Obviously you can’t put an arbitrary number on a list like this, because there are far more than 15 terrible games that have been made over the years, but these are ones I could think of, and I figured 15 was as good a number as any. With all that said, on to the list:

Last Battle (1989 – Sega Genesis)

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This was the second game I ever owned for the Genesis. The system came packed with Altered Beast, and I beat that game the day I got it. I guilted my Dad into taking me back to the store to buy another game the next day, and this is the one I settled on. Man was that a mistake. If I recall correctly, I ended up beating it eventually, but it sat on the shelf for a long time before that day came. This game was ruthlessly difficult… there were no save points, the controls were wonky (as were hit boxes) so half the time your own twitchiness would get you killed. The bosses were ridiculous. Overall the story and gameplay were lacking. And yet, I spent hours trying to beat it. When I finally did, I never played it again, and I sold this game along with my Genesis and all other titles to buy my original Playstation.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 – NES)

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I, like everyone else at the time, was a huge fan of the Ninja Turtles. I had the toys, I had clothes, I had books, sheets, towels, you name it, I was into it. I played the game in the arcade (which has seen ports on more recent consoles), I was all about TMNT. So naturally when I saw this game and I already owned the system, I needed to own it. What a HUGE disappointment. Not only was this not the arcade game I was expecting (That was rectified later with the “sequel” which was more or less the arcade port), it was a poorly executed nightmare. You had a weird overland map and then sidescrolling bits, you could control any of the turtles but only one at a time, and if they died they were “captured” and only available for “rescue” during later portions. Pictured above, is an underwater level where you had to defuse some bombs, and that pink stuff is like electrified plant matter that will kill you right quick. The most frustrating game, I never beat this one, and would never play it again.

Dick Tracy (1990 – NES)

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A similarly made game, Dick Tracy had an overland map and then individual levels where you had to find clues to figure out who committed a particular crime, and then finally chase that guy down and arrest him. I never beat this game either, as it also had a frustrating difficulty curve, and when games don’t have save points it gets old doing all of the early content over and over. The map part of this game was a little more interesting at least, reminiscent of the original GTA, but the side-scrolling platformer part was where the irritations came along. Sad, because this was around the time of the movie with Warren Beatty, and I remember the movie being pretty cool, so the game seemed like a no-brainer. Yuck.

Yo! Noid (1990 – NES)

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It goes without saying that pairing pizza and video games is a solid idea. Gamers don’t want to stop playing games to prepare a meal (and at the time our mom’s were doing it for us anyway), so ordering pizza is a great way to game right up until stuffing your face. However, pairing a marketing tool (The Noid) and a video game seems to fall flat. Particularly when the game is actually designed to be something completely different, and then some sprites are shuffled around and you have a pizza mascot performing in ways that are not congruent with fun, gaming, or being an annoying mascot. This like so many other platformers of the day is testament to why there doesn’t need to be a video game about everything. Just some things.

Kabuki: Quantum Fighter (1991 – NES)

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This is one of those swap meet/garage sale/used game store finds. The name alone is weird enough, and then the story gets even weirder. You’re a guy that is digitized and sent into a computer world… in which you become a Kabuki Warrior, which presumably you were not beforehand. Aside from using your long red hair as a weapon, you also get some gadgets along the way. It’s basically Ninja Gaiden with a shitty storyline and even shittier gameplay. I do recall spending some time with this game, but am not sure if I actually completed it. Not that it really matters, as I this list is full of titles I would gladly watch burn.

Alien Storm (1991 – Sega Genesis)

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Oh games where aliens invade Earth, why are you in such an over abundance? This is another beat-em-up style game, arcadey and all, but with such a generic shitty storyline and mediocre gameplay that I couldn’t be bothered with it beyond an hour or two. It was a rental, and I remember it clearly enough to put it on this list, but not clearly enough to warrant any further commentary.

Ecco the Dolphin (1993 – Sega Genesis)

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The Genesis was still in its hey day when this game released, and this was one of those titles that was critically acclaimed from day one. I remember gaming magazines I subscribed to having huge articles dedicated to this game, and I didn’t get it. I still don’t. Why would I want to play as a dolphin, learn its language and communicate with other sea creatures? Why would I want to go through level upon level of swimming around, as only a dolphin can? I didn’t play this game when it released, it was a few years later, and when I did finally give it a try, I was still mystified. Why this was such a sought after and raved about game is beyond me.

Comix Zone (1995 – Sega Genesis)

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Oh man how I wanted this game when it was being advertised. The next gen consoles had already released but I was still sitting at home with my Genesis (probably playing a Shining Force or Phantasy Star game). I was heavy into comic books at the time, and playing as a dude who gets sucked into a comic book was right up my alley. I didn’t end up playing this game until years later (I can’t remember if it was on virtual console or what), and I don’t know if the time gap messed it up for me, or if it was just a really bad game. I think it’s more of the latter, because I can still go back and play games from that time period and enjoy myself, so this is not something we can consider “timeless.” This game was entirely too hard (and from what I have read, too short) and not at all engaging. All of the typical side-scrolling tropes are there, it’s just dressed up like a comic, and things are drawn here and there by an “artist.” Overall it’s a cool concept that fell flat, for me at least.

Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft (1996 – Playstation)

Hosted at Universal Videogame List www.uvlist.net

I’m a D&D fan. I’ve played more games than I can count that are based on the various rulesets. I’ve played the pen and paper game. I’ve been a DM. I also enjoy fighting games, and so a marriage of the pair sounds great right? Yeah, until you play this game. I never bought this pile of shit, but I did rent it and recall spending a weekend playing it with my neighbor Pete. He and I spent a lot of time gaming together when we were in high school, and we would take turns staying over at each other’s houses playing games that we would acquire though various means. This was a weekend of disappointment. Knowing me, I picked the game and then had to hear about it from him the whole time. So this game had the makings of something cool, like a predecessor to Soul Calibur, but it just fell flat in all ways shapes and forms. Clunky gameplay, a lack of decent combos, and pretty terrible graphics all made for a wonderful time. Go me.

Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997 – Playstation)

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Another fighting game related disaster, the Mythologies sub-set of the Mortal Kombat franchise was meant to be a series. Thankfully they didn’t continue on beyond this garbage. Sub-zero, one of the main characters in the fighting games, is now depicted before the tournament and has to go about doing stuff. To be honest I don’t remember the storyline at all. What I do remember is the horrific gameplay. A side scrolling “action” game, it used similar controls to the fighting series, except now you were expected to confront multiple enemies and go through side-scrolling tropes. This didn’t work out so well, and the series was abandoned. But that would stop the series from branching out in other horrible ways.

M.A.X. 2 (1998 – PC)

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During the hey day of computer gaming for me, the late 90s saw a huge amount of RTS games. I’ve already mentioned Starcraft as being my favorite of all time, but there were many others I played, looking for something else that would suffice. This game, was a sequel, and that means a couple of things. One, the original game was successful enough that a sequel was deemed a worthy investment, and two, that there was enough area for improvement on the original that a sequel was also warranted.  I see no indication for either of these though processes. The game had shitty graphics even for the time. Your red blobs vs. my green blobs. The interface (as you can see above) was clunky and took up too much of the screen. I remember there being a level of depth here that maybe I could have appreciated given different circumstances, but I tried this game a few different times and just couldn’t get into it. I think this was a bargain bin purchase, but either way it was not worthy of my time, or yours.

Hard Corps: Uprising (2011 – PS3)

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A Contra or Metal-Slug clone, this side scrolling Shmup is testament to the fact that pretty graphics and a penchant for days gone by does not a good game make. Sure it’s like playing an old school Nintendo game in a new suit, but it’s still the same old shit, and you’re going to suffer through mediocrity. There isn’t really anything redeeming here, so I’m glad this was a free title via PSPlus.

Deadliest Warrior: Legends (2011 – Xbox 360)

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Making a TV show into a video game is almost always a bad idea. In fact, I can’t recall the last time it was done when it was a good idea. Still, I used to watch Deadliest Warrior on Spike, and I thought it was an interesting idea, comparing warriors of various nations and using experimentation to determine who might win in a real battle. However, that seems to translate into a strategy title rather than a fighting game, but the company responsible for this chose to go with the latter. And for the most part, this game had a lot of cool ideas. The combat is quick, in that a couple of solid hits would take out your opponent, instead of having a huge life bar and being able to withstand multiple whacks from a sword. It’s also neat to have ranged and close combat weapons that you can switch between. That’s about where the coolness fades and the irritation sets in. My roommate bought this on his 360 when he still had one, and we spent a couple of hours beating each other up until I started noticing that really every character played the same. And there really wasn’t much point after about 15 minutes. The concepts presented remind me of Bushido Blade, but I could play that game for many hours without getting bored, and that isn’t the case with Deadliest Warrior.

Choplifter HD (2012 – PS3)

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Another Plus freebie, and another game I’m glad that I didn’t pay money for. Seriously, updating games from the past should come with an instruction manual. It should read something like this: Play the old game. Play it until you are sick of it. Actually beat the game. Take note of its strengths. Take note of its weaknesses. Don’t repeat past mistakes. Don’t make the same damn game that has “updated graphics.” Well, the creators of this game didn’t read my manual. And they didn’t really improve upon a classic game, or even make a game that is worth your time. Let’s fly in a straight line and pick up some people, shoot some stuff, and then fly back to another place. I remember a game that did those exact things, but was an instant classic. Desert Storm. Do yourself a favor and play that game instead.

Malicious (2012 – PS3)

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This one seemed like a game I could get behind. It’s basically one boss fight after another, in a similar style to Shadow of the Colossus. But in SotC there is an actual world and you travel between locations to find the bosses to fight, in Malicious you just go from one arena to the next and fight a boss. Each boss you kill nets you new powers that you can use on the next boss. The graphical style is distinctly Japanese, but still high fantasy enough that it appealed to me. Then I played the game. What a joke. Not only was killing the first boss a grind fest, but the mechanics were just awful. Playing against the second boss was all I could stomach before I uninstalled. Thankfully, this was another free Plus game, so no money was spent. I’m also thankful that plus has improved over the years, because I rarely say “oh that game was shitty” anymore.


 

So there you have it. My terrible 15. Feel free to utilize the format and make your own post. Actually, I’ll take this a step further, and challenge a few people to complete their version of this list:

Syp (Bio Break)
J3w3l (Healing the Masses)
Murf (Murf vs. Internet)
Wilhelm (TAGN)

The Influential 15

Wilhelm, The Ancient Gaming Noob, along with some others in the community have posted their top 15 games of all time. He took things a step further by picking games that he felt influenced his love for various genres/styles of games, and then towards the end of his post invited others to treat this as a meme. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a meme around the blogosphere, the last time I participated in one was years ago and it was Everquest II themed. So anyway, here’s the picks for my 15 most influential games of all time, listed in chronological order (release dates, not necessarily saying one is better than the other):

Tetris (1984):

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Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has played Tetris. If you haven’t played Tetris, not only are you living under a rock, but you’ve at least see in, heard about it, you know what it is. Tetris isn’t an amazing game. It’s about the simplest concept ever. There isn’t anything graphically astounding here, the sound was what you would expect out of a puzzle game, and the game play is repetitive, there is nothing dynamic about increasing the speed of the pieces. But this simple concept has captivated millions around the world, and for good reason — it’s about the most addictive game ever. And, without a game like this you wouldn’t have games like Angry Birds or other puzzlers that have added depth over the years. I’m not sure if I originally played the game on the NES, Gameboy or my Dad’s Atari, but I’ve owned a copy on nearly every platform since, and nearly every cell phone I’ve ever owned. A timeless classic, and one that introduced me to the puzzle genre, without Tetris I’d have never played games like Dr. Mario, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Columns, and many others. Bejeweled anyone? You can thank Tetris for that too.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins (1985):

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Yeah, I played Super Mario Bros. (and even the regular old Mario Bros) before I played Ghosts ‘n Goblins. My true love of this series was Ghouls ‘n Ghosts on the Genesis, but have to credit the roots here, because Ghosts ‘n Goblins gave me a love for platformers that would continue for years to come. Hundreds of these types of games spawned during the late 80’s into the 90’s, all trying to tap into Mario’s success. I think this is probably where my relationship with Capcom began as well, though we didn’t become super close friends until Resident Evil and Street Fighter later on. I actually played this one in the arcade, and the “port” to the NES was a bit different, but still good. Console wars of the 90’s split the franchise into Super Ghosts ‘n Goblins and the Genesis title I mentioned earlier, but I was fully invested in Sega by that point (still would be if they didn’t go belly-up outside of software). Still, this was my kind of platformer, and I preferred Nintendo back in these days when they had games with darker content, rather that all of the family oriented stuff they do now.

Angband (1990):

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I’m not sure when I initially played Angband, but my Dad introduced me to it, and I remember putting copies on 3 1/2′ floppies to get my friends in on the action. Some of us had started playing games like Magic The Gathering and AD&D, so this was a graphical representation of our imagined adventures. This was also my introduction into Rogue-likes (which wasn’t really a genre at the time), which were games that were based on the original game called Rogue, a game that featured procedurally generated content and permadeath. This meant ever trip into the dungeon would be different, and if you died you had to start all over. There were tricks to getting around this, but that sort of destroys the purpose. I have gone back and played this game several times on several machines, and I’d play it again, given the time.

Street Fighter II (1991):

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Fighting games are a strange beast. It makes sense that they were instant hits in the arcade, because people could gather around and challenge the guy who kicks everyone’s ass, and he earns that arcade tons of quarters. Sometimes it felt like someone was paying that shorter-than-average adult to dress and act like a kid, just to take all our money. He secretly worked for the arcade. Or Capcom. Or something. I never heard of Street Fighter in the 80’s when the original was out. I don’t think many people did, but when the sequel released, everyone ate it up. It changed the way fighting games were marketed (read: it was everywhere), the way they were played, and came during a time when consoles were still trying to define their futures. Since then, more titles and new series have launched it’s not even funny, and in most cases these types of games are garbage. There was always something about Street Fighter though, and I’ve played them all in some form or another. My true favorite was the Marvel vs. Capcom series, followed by SF Alpha, but we owe it all to this classic. Though I don’t play them all that much anymore, I still own SFIV and spent some time with MvC3.

Shining Force (1993):

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To this day, Shining Force is one of my favorite RPGs of all time. More specifically, the series is known for it’s turn-based grid-style tactical play. Games like Final Fantasy Tactics took this formula and added some more depth and polish, but this is the true progenitor. If I recall correctly, I rented the first game in the series, but didn’t own it until after I had acquired a copy of the sequel. I spent hours playing both games, trying different teams, beating them over an over again. I re-purchased them via the virtual console on the Wii when I had one of those. I just realized they are on Steam, and I am seriously considering buying them both again. I cannot express enough how much these games changed my life, and truly turned me into a RPGamer. The story wasn’t half-bad, but the battles was where the true fun was at. If you are one of those PC master race types, you need to do yourself a favor and play these games. You will not be disappointed.

Doom (1993):

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Yeah, Wolfenstein 3D came out before it. And yeah, many games have improved upon the formula. But you cannot be a fan of the FPS genre and not mention Doom. Doom took blood and gore and senseless violence to a new level, and at the time it shocked people. This was around the time Mortal Kombat came out and people were freaking out that their kids would turn into serial killers because of a video game. Everyone was susceptible, even my parents wouldn’t allow me a copy of Mortal Kombat (silly parents, and silly media!). The ESRB formed around the same period. I played through the originals back in the day, and played through them again when I got a copy of the Doom 3 BFG edition a couple of years ago, and they were still enjoyable (but harder than current gen shooters!) Say what you will about it, but Doom deserves a place on everyone’s list.

Resident Evil (1996):

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Resident Evil was the first game that actually scared me. Well, that’s not true, there were some spooky games that my Dad used to play on his computer when I was really young that he will attest freaked me out, but I mean the first game I was playing on my own that actually got an emotional reaction out of me. That’s not something that’s easy to do, and the memories of when I bought the Director’s Cut of the original game on my PSOne, and spent the night at my friend Jason’s house playing into the wee hours of the morning will always stick with me. Every door opened was another tense experience, everytime you could hear the zombies or dogs nearby but couldn’t see them would cause the hairs on the back of our necks to stand up. Later, we grew more accustomed to the genre (although Silent Hill 2 had some moments that got me) and the newer iterations of the series are less scary and more action packed, but the first game will always resonate well with me. I wouldn’t be such a fan of Horror movies and games if it wasn’t for this title.

Final Fantasy VII (1997):

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Final Fantasy VII was the reason to buy a Playstation. Xbox didn’t exist yet, the Sega Saturn got assed out, as did the Nintendo 64. These days you can get it just about anywhere, as its success catapulted it onto other platforms. I actually bought a Playstation just to get this game, but also because it was apparent that the Saturn was losing the console war, and did anyone actually buy a Dreamcast? Anyway, this game turned me on to JRPGs, which have a style all their own and I never really played before. Later I would go back and experience earlier Final Fantasy games, but it wasn’t until after I “broke the clock” (maxed out the hours played counter in the game) and played it through more than once besides that. I did EVERYTHING there was to do in this game. I bred chocobos. I beat Emerald and Ruby weapon. I maxed my characters out at level 99. Despite all of that, I haven’t ever gone back to play this one. I could have sworn I had a copy on my PS3, but upon inspection I don’t. I might have to rectify that eventually.

Starcraft (1998):

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Starcraft came at a time when I actually had my own computer, which meant that I could play it to my heart’s content. This I did, and this was the ONLY RTS game that I ever devoted much time to. Sure I played Command and Conquer, Total Annihilation and many many others (there was a huge market for these types of games in the late 90s), but none of them grabbed me the way Starcraft did. I spent hours playing the campaigns, playing multiplayer with friends via modem (that was an ordeal in itself) and even made my own custom maps and game modes. I was heavy into this game for a long time, and I haven’t played any RTS games since, until Starcraft II that is.

Baldur’s Gate (1998):

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Baldur’s Gate was the first time I got to know Bioware. It was the first true cRPG I ever played. Sure there were others, but this was one that I owned, loved, and played through. I recall buying the expansion as well, but never finishing it. I also picked up the sequel when it first released, and spent even more time with that game. If you enjoyed games like Dragon Age today, this is what we were playing almost 15 years ago, and in some ways these original games were better than their predecessors. This game blended so many good aspects from other games, it had the D&D setting which is almost always awesome, a party system, interactivity in the group, dialogue choices that affected gameplay, and tactical battles with an active pause. Every bit of this game can be seen in modern games, and that’s a testament to how good this game really is.

Gran Turismo (1998):

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Although I did play the original Gran Turismo, I didn’t really get into the series until the sequel. I spent countless hours with friends trying to complete that game, and doing so was quite an undertaking. The endurance races still give me nightmares, hours-long races that would require you to be your best the entire time, or play catch up for many laps. A simulator, the game has the best controls in a racing game that I’ve experienced, and had some of the best graphics possible at the time. The series continues to push the envelop on that front. I have played all of them except for the fourth, and the newly released sixth game. A true masterpiece if you’re into that sort of thing.

Half-Life (1998):

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I already had a FPS on this list, and yes, that still gets the credit for getting FPS games off of the ground and running. But what about the competitive aspect of these games? Half-Life had its own multiplayer deathmatch, but no one played that. What people did play, were the mods created by the community, and some of those actually went on to be sanctioned by Valve. Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat were my favorites, and I was pwning noobs long before Call of Duty was even in development. Not only that, but this was the first FPS game that had some physics involved, and a hair brained story that actually worked. Now if we could just get Half-Life 3 for fuck’s sake.

Everquest (1999):

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Yes, there were technically MMOs before this game, but this was the first MMO I ever played, albeit not as seriously as most. I only tried it out when it first released, played it more seriously in the early to mid 2000s. I never reached cap, I probably only saw a third of the game world, but it was still fun for a time. I really got into MMOs later with Everquest II, and I plan to give Everquest Next a whirl once it releases. But we must give credit where credit is due, and this is the game that opened up the possibilities long before World of Warcraft.

Diablo II (2000):

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Wait what, you’ve been paying homage to the originals through this whole list, and now you’re skipping an OG for a sequel? What gives? Yeah, I know, it’s not congruous but it is what it is. The original Diablo was a game I enjoyed, but never owned and never beat. Diablo II was the game that hooked me into a loot hungry frenzy. Diablo II did everything its predecessor did only better. It sucked you in and didn’t let go. I played it through multiple times with multiple characters, and to this day it’s still better than most Action-RPGs that have come since. I’m rather fond of Diablo III as well, but I’m not sure it’s got the same level of “just a few more minutes, mom” to it.

League of Legends (2009):

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Finally, the last game on my list is League of Legends, because well, just because. Seriously, it’s the first MOBA I invested time and money in. I know it’s based on DOTA and DOTA was a Warcraft III mod, and DOTA 2 is out and there’s all kinds of competition, but League does it for me. There are others I have tried and a few that I have liked, but this was my first, and Shen makes me feel safe 😛

So there you have it. My top 15. Feel free to make your own list and/or mention mine.