Crowbarska made one of those list posts on Facebook a couple of weeks ago that got me thinking. The gist of it was to list the ten games that have had the most impact on you. Not necessarily “teh best games evah” or even ten of your favourite games, but those which have struck a chord and stuck with you long since you first experienced them. Although I wasn’t tagged directly (sad face) it wiggled its way into my brain enough that I felt my own hypothetical answer justified a proper blog post.
So here, in no particular order, are mine:
Tombraider - Playstation Tombraider was the first full 3D game I ever played, having jumped from a Sega Master System II to a Playstation so difference in visuals alone was huge. I still recall fondly the strong sense of exploration and wonder that I’ve found lacking in some of the later games, especially as they grew more combat-based. This was also the first game that genuinely made me care about the protagonist beyond simply completing stages. The historical and mythological angles really appealed to me too, plus it had freaking dinosaurs!
Metal Gear Solid - Playstation I soaked up any information I could on MGS prior to its release and played the demo disc that came with Pro Evolution Soccer to death. Similar to Tombraider, it had an epic-scale plot, and the non-playable characters were believably intelligent. Standout moments like the showdown with Psycho Mantis and Grey Fox blew me away. The overall experience was very cinematic and I loved it. Gain Ground - Sega Master System My brother and I played this game to death when we were younger. I’ve never completed it and having used pass codes to sneak-peak at the later levels I doubt I ever will. The premise is super simple - a training simulation gone wrong with the computer trying to kill you and your comrades - but with two-player mode, multiple characters including a bombs expert, commando and wizard, and mocking intro screens before each stage the replay ability is very high.
Theme Hospital - Playstation While Theme Park got a lot of popular press, Theme Hospital is the better of the two for me. From the unforgettable humour to the pleasure of designing your own hospital and hiring (and firing) various incompetent staff.
Taz-Mania - Sega Master System One of the few games i’ve completed multiple times (this was before save games) and certainly not the best example of a platformer by any means, but the recognisable licence and varied stages made this stand out for me, not to mention the catchy music. Highlights include the swamp level and Taz’s familiar spin attack.
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 - Sega Mega Drive Obviously a much stronger platformer than the aforementioned, but what makes this version stand out for me in particular is the inclusion of two player with Tails as a playable character. I’m very much a fan of co-operative multiplayer games over competitive and this game is one of the better examples. Plus who can forget seeing sonic drown?
Command and Conquer - PC Although it’s big brother C&C: Red Alert 2 is my favourite, and I sank just as much time into Starcraft, the original Command & Conquer was my first foray into Real Time Strategy gaming. I loved the whole GDI vs Brotherhood of Nod setup (and on separate discs too!) and the different unit types allowing for a variety of attack and defense strategies. Plus it came in a big old-skool chunky box=D
Cut the Rope - iOS Despite my love of all things iOS, i’ve only played a small handful of games on the platform. Cut The Rope is the ultimate example of a perfect iOS game for me, combining strong visuals with smooth transitions between levels and good use of the touch screen interface. Needless to say it’s pretty addictive and one I return to often.
Medal of Honor - Playstation My track record with first person shooters is a bit haphazard as i’ve never had a high-powered gaming rig or been particularly moved by many of the generic one-man-army offerings available. That said, Medal of Honor was a close tie with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare here as the latter has one of the best single player campaigns i’ve played in a first person shooter.
Medal of Honor though was my first taste of a first person shooter on console and the first time I saw persistent bullet holes! The little conversational German sketches (“The American has dog biscuits in his pocket”) also tickled me silly at the time.
Thomas Was Alone - Playstation 3 There have been others but this was the game that proved you don’t need outstanding visuals or complicated mechanics to make a memorable game. The voiceover is superb and the simple yet engrossing storyline is as emotionally charged as i’ve found in any adventure game. A real piece de resistance.
Honourable Mentions The above list doesn’t begin to cover all of my favourite games but there are too many to mention. A handful include: Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (PC) as one of my first Point n’ Clicks, The Dream Machine (Web) for combining two things I Iove - adventure games and claymation - in one stylish package, Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear (PC) for its mission planning stages and urban environments (so sick of all the woodland/wasteland shooters), Mass Effect 2 (PS3) for its epic storyline and playable female lead, and the original Commandos games (PC) for their mix of specialised characters and gorgeous isometric environments.
“Master System II”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.