Saturday, July 07, 2007

Videogame Classics - My All-Time Top Ten

Okay, let's just be honest and say this is my personal Top 10 for the week. There are just too many good games to stack them all down into a permanent "Top 10." Besides, I've found over the years that the same titles become solidified in these lists, which kinda defeats any sense of surprise or discovery, and thus any real sense of fun.

I'd much prefer the ongoing Top 100 Games discussion on the Yak's Message Boards to the newest issue of Edge Magazine. For one thing, you're getting a much wider variety of games, with all the personal memories attached to them. And then there's the UK angle, which is where Yak's site hails from. I almost feel guilty for not loving Sensible Soccer and Elite as much as these guys.

Anyway, here's the current version of my Videogame Top 10. In no particular order, of course.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Nintendo - 1998

I wonder when the inevitable Zelda 64 backlash will kick in? This game has topped lists for so long that it's almost reflexive. But I have to be honest with myself - here was the best, most immersive 3D gaming experience I've ever had, and likely ever will have.

Super Mario 64 - Nintendo - 1996

The archetypal 3D polygon virtual world. I don't know how it would be accepted by a kid playing for the first time today, in 2007, but in 1996 Mario 64 really was the most mind-expanding game experience ever. It's just so imaginative, playful, free.

Super Mario World - Nintendo - 1991

My favorite game from the traditional Marios, although I do understand if you prefer Super Mario Bros 3. This one is just a bit bigger, a bit wider, and a bit weirder. Okay, a lot weirder. But it's the pinnacle of 2D platforming game design and a heckuva lot of fun.

Street Fighter 2 Champion Edition - Capcom - 1992

Didn't I just write about this, like, two days ago? Probably why this game is now on my list. We can argue over whether Alpha 3 is better than Third Strike, but the original SF2 started this whole mess, and CE pretty much perfected it. Who's up for a match?

Nights Into Dreams - Sonic Team - 1996

Still the best "3D Sonic" game ever created. Blindingly fast, a perfect blend of 3D and 2D, and loaded with so many subtle details that take forever to uncover. Of all the classic games that deserved to be copied, cloned, and ripped off...

Saturn Bomberman - Hudson - 1997

It's Saturn Bomberman, what more do you want? Play as all the Hudson characters, including a couple hidden characters (I like the bear best). 8 players in standard more, 10 in hi-res mode. And the "weather" code which opens up 36 battle arenas? Get out the shot glasses!

Tempest 2000 - Jeff "Yak" Minter - 1994

What can I say about T2K? How much praise can I lay at Yak's feet? The Atari Jaguar was a hunk of junk, and yet it's revered for this one game. It's this perfect intersection of classic arcades, intense action, retro nostalgia, and global rave culture.

Pac-Man - Namco - 1980

Usually, I would prefer Ms. Pac-Man, but lately I've found myself playing more and more of the original Pac, and it's quite a feat for a single-screen videogame to hold your interest for so many years. How many other '80s pop stars can you say that about? Hail to the king, baby.

Tetris - Alexy Pajitnov - 1985

What planet have you been living on? Oww, I'm still getting Tetris blocks in my dreams? How did that happen? And how do I make it stop?! And why, for the love of Elvis, have there been so few great puzzle games? Gimmie my Gameboy Tetris over anything else.

MULE - Ozark Softscape - 1983

Arguably the finest multiplayer video game ever made. I say that because it's the one game you can play with your grandparents. Quick reflexes aren't necessary, only quick wits. And this is a battle of the minds like no other. Or maybe it's a great love-in. Whatever works for you.

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