Styrophoamicus our own Muslim Media Nerd has spent some time going through ye old collection games through history and compiled his own “Top 15 Games”. This isnt just a screenshot and a bit of text, Styrophoamicus goes through a bunch of information for you to really get an understanding! As a result we have split it up over 3 parts for you. Part 1 begins…..now!
When he isn’t guest posting on Muslim Gamer, Styrophoamicus is posting on his site Muslim Media Nerd, you can read a bunch more stuff there too.
Spoiler alert: Ocarina of Time is #1. If that surprises you, it’s probably because you haven’t played it yet. I’ll gush on that masterpiece later, but there’s still 14 other games to go through in this list.
Now, I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember. I grew up with an NES controller in my hand and a monthly Nintendo Power issue in my mailbox. I can’t count how many times princesses I’ve saved or how many aliens I’ve killed or haunted houses I’ve survived and the list goes on and on. Yet I never tire of it. Video games are portals to new worlds, new experiences. And in my many years of gaming, these are the best of the best.
15. Earthworm Jim 2
The 90s were a gold rush for platform games. But amongst the slew of shameless movie tie-ins (The Mask), bizarre celebrity endorsements (Shaq Fu), and Bubsy (Bubsy) were many golden games that are still impressive (and challenging) to this day. Classics like Yoshi’s Island, Super Metroid,Sonic the Hedgehog, Gunstar Heroes, and many others creatively pushed the genre forward. And no other platformer captures the spirit of this golden era of platformers than Earthworm Jim 2. The 90s were all about experimenting, sometimes with bizarre results, and Earthworm Jim 2 is about as bizarre as it gets. It took everything that was great about the original and made it weirder and funnier. You encounter falling grannies as you ride up an assisted chair lift, killer goldfish, musket-wielding aliens, and pig chutes—all within the first level. You had an arsenal of awesome weapons, even if some were useless (Bubble Gun), and a backpack with a giant glob of sentient snot that could stick to ceilings or act as a parachute. But backing up the bizarreness were tight controls, gorgeous sprite animation, and a killer soundtrack. It was one of the last games where you would invite your friends over and then drop the controller just to watch the hilarious idle-animations. Amidst a flurry of creative adventures and crappy cash-ins, Earthworm Jim 2 managed to stand on its own and become one of, if not the best, platformers of the 16 bit era.
On A Personal Note: There were three levels called “Puppy Love” which played out like a twisted version of “Fire” from the old Game & Watch games. Basically you had to bounce puppies on a giant marshmallow and guide them across the screen to safety. The song that played in the background was a combination of two Italian folk tunes, “Tarantela Napolitana” and “Funiculi Funicula”. Since I was taking piano lessons at the time, I loved it so much that I learned to play it as a duet with my Mom.
Warcraft practically invented the Real Time Strategy game, but Starcraft blew it wide open. The warring factions of Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss played far differently than just Orcs and Humans, and the gameplay was more balanced than its medieval predecessor. The story was suitably epic, and saturated with sci-fi themes and tropes. But whereStarcraft truly shines is in its multiplayer. It was one of the first games to perfect online gaming, creating a community that catered to both the hardcore and the noobs. It’s safe to say that Starcraftwas the most influential multiplayer experience of all time. While Call of Duty can rake in the numbers here in North America, Starcraft has become a profession in its own right in countries like South Korea. As with another game later in the list, many hardcore players prefer this original game to its sequel. StarCraft brought the RTS to the masses, and succeeded in being more than justWarCraft In Space.
On A Personal Note: My friend and I used to play this online quite a bit. One battle we remember fondly is what we call the “Helm’s Deep” battle. Both of our secondary bases were wiped out and we were backed up into a corner. We were sharing a base, which I fortified with a ridiculous amount of Photon Cannons. Incredibly, we held off the enemy long enough to build up our forces and launch a counter attack. I used up most of my resources building Carrier units, and we managed to make a glorious comeback.
13. Final Fantasy VII
Fanboys will argue day and night about which Final Fantasy is actually the best one, but there’s no denying the impact thatFFVII had on the gaming world. It kicked Japanese RPG’s out of the niche market and into the mainstream. It spawned a franchise of its own, with offshoots and a feature-length movie. Being a staunch Nintendo fan-boy, I only ever played it when I borrowed my cousin’s PlayStation or went to my friend’s place. It wasn’t until I went to University a decade and a half later that I actually played it from start to finish on my PSP. The graphics haven’t exactly aged well, since Cloud and co. have barrel sized arms and ridiculously pointy feet. However, the rest of the game holds up well today. The game is reasonably well paced, and surprisingly takes time to flesh out its characters—even the now-iconic villain, Sephiroth. It’s probably the best introductory RPG I can think of, since the materia system is easy to use and can be mastered with enough dedication, and the amount of grind-time is kept to a minimum. That is, unless you plan on fighting Emerald and Ruby Weapon, in which case my prayers are with you. But before Cloud became a brooding emo in Advent Children, gamers connected with him as a person trying to find his own identity—and likewise with Sephiroth, who gamers came to understand rather than just despise. And, of course, the death of Aerith is probably one of the most shocking and saddening moments in video game history. With Final Fantasy VII, RPG’s finally found their footing in the North American market, and became the defining game of the PlayStation era.
On A Personal Note: I watched Advent Children long before I took a decent stab at actually playing the game. I knew the main characters, and that Sephiroth killed Aerith, but that was about it. There were parts of the movie that were hard to follow, and I was also in my “I hate anime” phase which kinda trickled down into why I didn’t like Advent Children. After all, the movie was pretty much CGI anime. A few years later the extended cut of the film,Advent Children Complete, added a much-needed half hour to the film’s run time. Having played the game and gotten more into anime, I enjoyed Complete far more than the original, and now rank it as the best video game movie ever.
Generally I’m not a fan of first person shooters, and I avoid movie tie-in games like a plague. However, Rare’s Goldeneye is a stunning example of both. This was back in the days when tie-in games didn’t have to be released alongside the movie. After all,Goldeneye the game came out in the same year as the movie’s sequel, Tomorrow Never Dies. But for the first time, you actually felt like James Bond as you snuck around missile silos, drove a tank through St. Petersburg, or satiated your gun-rage as you offloaded all of your ammo into a swarm of henchmen. It essentially became the template for every FPS game that followed it, especially with its four-player multiplayer. The campaign was long and varied, and each of the three difficulty levels had their own objectives to complete for each mission. It’s also the first game in which I experienced gamerage, thanks to Xenia Onatopp and her cheap RCP-90/grenade launcher combination, which led to me being grounded from my N64 for a week. But controller smashing aside,Goldeneye offered a huge amount of content for gamers in both single-and-multiplayer. GoldenEye became the go-to game for get-togethers, and its influence is still felt today in every modern FPS.
On A Personal Note: In the first level, on the Dam, if you look across the water with a sniper rifle you can see a small building and a tower with a turret on top of it. It was originally part of the mission, but was scrapped at the last minute. I remember pouring through old Nintendo Power magazines and seeing screenshots of things that never made it into the game (one being the “Spyder” machine gun—which was actually just renamed “Klobb”). It started my fascination with “beta” versions of video games, and features or levels that were eventually scrapped from the final product.
11. Mass Effect 2
Trekkies have been waiting for years for the perfect Star Trek game, but nearly every attempt has resulted in some sort of space-based ship-to-ship combat. What developers have failed to realize is that it’s not the ships that make Star Trek iconic: it’s the crew. Mass Effect 2 got this. Now, I’ll admit my bias:Mass Effect 2 is the only game in the series I finished in its entirety. But as with all BioWare games, story is king here, and ME2 had a fantastic one. It’s rare to find “true sci-fi” these days, which is more about ideas and stories rather than how futuristic your explosions and hairstyles look, but ME2 proved its mettle, especially in its amazing (and disturbing) Overlord mission, which left me with a hanging jaw. The game is more action-oriented than its predecessor, and this works to its advantage. And the Paragon/Renegade system defined not only who your character would become, but also the eventual fate of the galaxy. Whether or not I ever play Mass Effect 3, I’ll always remember Mass Effect 2 as the best Star Trek game ever made.
On A Personal Note: As I played ME2, I didn’t see myself as playing missions, but rather I was playing episodes. Every time I loaded my save file, Commander Sheppard would be standing on the bridge of the Normandy, just as practically every Star Trek episode, ready to tackle the next mission. And the missions were only about half an hour to an hour long anyway—so, yeah, the length of a TV episode. And with the rumours of a Mass Effect movie on the horizon, I say screw that; with no Star Trek series on TV right now, why not serialize Mass Effect into a television show?
10. Super Smash Bros. Melee
The crossover fighter has been a strange genre, with some genuine successes (Marvel VS Capcom 2) and some obscurities (Tatsunoko VS Capcom). Melee, however, was instantly accessible with everyone, since the majority of its characters are well-known. While its sequel, Brawl, added more characters, more stages, and more items, it was still unable to break the same ground the Melee did. To this day, there are still tournaments that prefer Melee to Brawl, and even mods you can download that tweak Brawl’s gameplay to resemble its predecessor. Melee is a treasure trove of content, with five single-playermodes, vicious multiplayer, unlockable characters and stages, and collectible trophies—but let’s face it, sometimes it’s just satisfying to watch Mario fling Link into oblivion. The unique fighting style is what has made the Smash Bros. series so fun; instead of health bars, you have percentages, and the higher your damage percent, the more likely you’ll be smashed off a stage. Super Smash Bros is The Avengers of the video game world, but instead of cross-franchise characters banding together to save the world, they’re meeting up to kick the crap out of each other. Quite frankly, I can’t tell which is more awesome.
On A Personal Note: Melee probably spent the most time in my Gamecube than any other game. My friends would gather at my house every morning before school, and for three years we played it before walking to school. One of our favourite things to do was in the Hyrule Castle stage. We would set it on Super Sudden Death so everyone was at 300% health, then go into the lower cavernous area of the stage and start smashing each other around. Characters would bounce around the walls, floor, and ceiling like they were in a pinball machine. It was the absolute epitome of chaos.
You can read Part 2 of the series here.
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