Today’s the big day! My last day of vacation off of work and the SNES Classic Edition releases. I didn’t bother to preorder it because I thought it’d be too much of a crap shoot like the NES Classic was. It’d be cool to nab one and play some old games that I remember, properly, and have a dedicated system for it. It’s too easy to emulate these days and even easier to put no value into it since it’s easy come easy go. Not to mention with the birth of multi-function devices it’s harder and harder for me to just concentrate on the game I want to sit down and play. Before you’d plop down and jam a cartridge in and just leave it there for hours. No OS to navigate. No tools, settings, or digital stores to waste time on. No internet to browse, twitter to check, or waiting for updates. All of this sounds awesome and yeah, it’d be cool to grab and SNES to revisit some of my favorites like Secret of Mana and Donkey Kong Country. Sounds nifty and I’m in for all of this. With a bit of luck and friendly communication I found myself lined up outside of Best Buy about an hour before open and secured myself a system.

Yet… Something else happened that I wasn’t expecting when I got home. I kind of sat down, pulled the classic out of my bag, and was knocked off my geeky high as things got complicated emotionally.

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It’s been a great year for games, hasn’t it? A feast most exquisite by most accounts. Regardless of your particular poison there’s something for you. In the tail end of 2016 we had plenty wonderful games that likely overflowed into this year for many people. With Final Fantasy 15, Pokemon Sun & Moon, The Last Guardian, Titanfall 2, Dragon Quest Builders, Gears of War 4, the entire PSVR platform, Civilization 6, Battlefield 1… No one can really blame you for not being able to put a nice crisp bow on last year and walk clean into this one. Aside from the launch of Nintendo’s Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, we still had a flurry of critical or cult hits like Gravity Rush 2, Resident Evil 7, Yakuza 0, Horizon Zero Dawn, Nioh, Torment:Tides of Numenara, Nier: Automata, Persona 5, Mass Effect Andromeda, Yooka-Laylee, so on and so forth. Hopefully you’re catching my drift of there are simply too few of hours in the day, week, month, and year to keep up with all of this. Sure quality can be called into question with the likes of items like Mass Effect Andromeda or The Last Guardian. End of the day though they’re not bad games that clearly have their supporters… The larger part of us just lost them in the deluge of video game releases since then. So really where do you even begin if you’re wanting to pick something up to play? Some sort by game completion times to get the best bang for their buck. Others stick to their franchises or genres of choice. Maybe cruise down to Metacritic and start with the highest rated? Perhaps the road less traveled and grabbing whichever you’ve heard the least about?

I’m really not hear to talk about creating a priority list for tackling down all these games though. What’s been nagging on my brain lately is impact of a game on us as individuals. Why is it that something like Kingdom Hearts 0.2 ~ A fragmentary passage can create such an impact on me to the point of being one of my favorite experiences of the year. Compared to games like Destiny 2 which is a hotly anticipated reset, acting as a much needed reset to create a fresh jump point for new fans… KH 0.2 could be considered a glorified tech demo for Kingdom Hearts 3 with about 2 hours of content alongside an intro cinematic retelling the stories thus far in the erratically organized series. I’ve spent near 70 hours with Destiny 2 this point yet at the end of the day I rather have that snippet of KH in my life. It’s weird, isn’t it? Or is it?

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If you came to look for game talk, this isn’t that post… Yet that’s kind of the point today. If you follow me on Twitter you’ve probably noticed lately a constant unhappiness with my job. Trust me, I’m probably far more annoyed with it dominating my life than you are at this point. My work/life balance has been waning since around last September and it’s taken a serious toll on how I feel about myself lately. It’s pushed me to spending my time to doing whatever and not really caring; going through the motions as they say. That’s become my approach both in work and outside. How’s that any way to live your life though? The reason this has been eating at me is because I feel some guilt for my choices that have lead to this point. My inaction is responsible for my unhappiness. My career has been with the same place since 2004, going through the ranks and climbing that corporate ladder you always hear so much about. I had aspirations to reach a certain point due to what I was capable of and knowing that I had the ability to meet those tasks. I never realized that the cost of success where I’m at came at the price of it becoming your lifestyle instead of a place where you report to daily and leave it at the door when you exit. Recently though I’ve began wondering to what end was I chasing these down for anyways? How am I any better a person or more complete on an emotional or spiritual level by further surrounding myself with people I can’t relate to or want anything to do with outside of collecting a paycheck? It’s not healthy.

Well I’ve decided to take a step down to restore some balance in my life. My ambitions at work have given way to the idea that I could be happier with myself if I redirected energy towards more fulfilling activities.

You never really consider the danger of gaming has created that unrealistic expectation that life is a grand adventure. Personally for me it’s instilled the fear of a life most ordinary. Things are interesting and epic in all the worlds I traverse digitally. Strange journeys, powerful friendships, and memories worth keeping. The meatspace we inhabit doesn’t allow for such fantastical occurrences. In the real world what we cherish most seems to be stability, predictability, and a lack of true adventure. Seriously though – It’s created a level of disinterest in careers that revolve around RoI, bloated tiers of useless management, and a company of men that refuse to talk about anything other than their glory days constantly. It feels like I’m in a retirement home for a generation long forgotten in our creative digital age. Any skill set I have from a hobbyist level goes to waste in an environment where smartphones are still considered “more than enough technology for me.”

Simply put my heart lies elsewhere. Little hints have given way to the fact that I’m ignoring what I want to do because it’s convenient to just do what I’ve always been doing my adult life. A Twitter question of what would you be doing if you didn’t have to work, and then an article about what drives millennials being the most eyebrow raising circumstances as of late. I’ve realized I’m not alone in wanting more. It’s not just me being discontent with my life or feeling immature with that desire to want more. It’s that ol’ chestnut of corporations being soul-sucking blackholes of humanity, that isn’t just hyperbole I’ve learned. I genuinely feel exhausted after ever shift while dreading the next day, versus being energized and excited to come back again. Seeing all the happy’ish people online who chase their passion and are rewarded for it makes me realize that could be me as well. I owe it to myself to at least try.

So this has to be going somewhere. “Legacy” is a strong word, but I want to create things and bring them into our world. My notebook that I keep with me for ideas is packed with at least 15 different projects that I want to see through regardless of their success. Board games, video games, serialized blog dramas, novels, blogs, etc. My wife being a visual artist is a constant reminder that creatives exist and if I wanted to work towards it I could be one of them. How cool is the notion that I could be putting something out there that didn’t exist before I willed it into creation? Inspiring thoughts, perspectives or emotions within others? Connecting with humanity instead of watching it from afar since I’m too exhausted to participate or withdrawn due to concerns of it getting back to the people handing me a paycheck? I feel empty in my current existence. 

Either way, I’m officially changing positions within my company by July to restore a bit of that work/life balance and begin focusing on some creative endeavors. I’m considering it my birthday gift to myself. I mentioned awhile back some goals I’ve set for myself and I fully intend on seeing them through. First being to finish a short story I’ve been working on. A science fiction piece set in space that I intend to have done before 2017 comes to a close. Currently I’m working on the first draft after finalizing all the story beats, characters, settings, etc. I’m excited to complete this and make it available for others.

The second has accelerated a bit as I intended to build an RPG before I’m 40 (giving me 7 years). I plan on learning RPG Maker this year with a small tech demos, and then hopefully began seriously building that game during 2018. I’ve had the story mapped out for a few years now but have left it on the back-burner while dedicating myself to work. Now I have every intent on correcting that mistake I’ve made and plan on diving back into gamedev, something I’ve not done since I left school in 2013. Time to jump back on the horse and ride that code into the sunset.

I’m modest and have no dreams of being rich from any of these. What I do want is to be able to look back at my life and not regret the fact that I let my life be directed by people other than myself. I want to look back at what I’ve accomplished and feel a sense of pride. If that means stepping down from where I stand and potentially derailing my career for the time being? Well, that’s a decision I can live with regardless of how it turns out. Cheers.

Want to read all 140 games in one place without any snubs explaining why those games are precious? Well here ya are.

If you’d like some reasoning behind why I chose these games to best represent their respected consoles, there’s a full write up in the following articles:

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This is the last piece of a 3 part list – The first covering Nintendo, the second was Sony & Microsoft. I’d recommend reading those first for the initial 100 games when you get a moment. For now though, lets enjoy the wonders of what Windows PC, Mobile, and Sega have offered over the years with the final 40 games I’d recommend you take into a bunker with you to endure the fallout of our inevitable Trumpacylpse. If you read either of those posts, the following is largely unchanged if you want to skip to the good stuff and scroll down to the list.

Lists are hard. You try your damnedest to round out to whatever number sounds good to you but something always seems off. Raise the number to include more then it feels like filler. Rattle off what’s already been established and what’s the point? Sure I could just print a list of the best video games ever. How different would that list really be though? As time goes forward we seem to further homogenize our views of what’s worth playing and what’s not into a cycling list of the same few games, just in a new order. Still I read them all and scrutinize despite knowing the strings involved behind the curtain. I can’t deny that I love making lists though so I decided to give myself a challenge. It started as listing a few scribbles on paper and grew into this semi-complete list of 140 games that sit before you now. Criteria and rules?

  • 5 games per system/designation. IE; Gameboy Color = Gameboy, and PC is broken down by decades starting in the 80’s.
  • Unless there’s a paradigm shift in how the game is played, one entry per series across all platforms.
  • The list should compose of games that highlight the variety of the system, not necessarily “the best”.
    • Subnote – if I didn’t create this rule, virtually every choice of mine would have been RPGs
  • The games must be approachable in their current state today in 2017, not as they were at release.
    • Some games don’t age well and because of this will not be included.
    • This also means games that were amazing with a multiplayer focus may have been lobbed off
  • I’m going off of NA releases, and heavily bent towards games I have either first or second hand experience with. Sorry, no “but this limited print of an import JRPGs that influenced everything ever and OMG HOW DID YOU NOT INCLUDE THIS ON YOUR LIST”. Tangible, real, accessible games only.

By all means, feel free to state your arguments as to what should/shouldn’t make the cut. Just remember this isn’t a “best games for the platform” as much as it is a “this is why this platform was great”. The five games are unranked and represent a set to be plopped down in front of a group of players that’ve never experienced it in hopes of highlighting the range offered by that platform. That being said, these lists are meant to compliment one another and if you isolate them it might be confusing to why these games were chosen. A good example of this is you won’t find Super Mario 64 (OMG WHY?!) – Because I felt Super Mario Galaxy better represented the Wii yet the two games are similar enough to not need both games muddling up the lists.

Without further ramblings – Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of it all now. The lists of games and a bit about them… Our final list like I said is filled with Windows PC games, Mobile, and Sega platform games.


Windows PC

  • The 80’s
    • Battle Chess
      • Built on the foundation of a hundreds of year old board game, Battle Chess was the first iteration I really latched onto of the game. Why? Humor and humanity of creating animated chess pieces that actually fought when you took a piece. It inspires you to try new pieces out to try and see all the animations and really expanded my approach to how I used pieces by the time I was done.  Like old school Warner Bros cartoons, it remains charming in modern times despite it’s age.
    • Oregon Trail
      • Verified as still awesome back in 2015 when it popped up online in a playable form via web browser. Managing resources and learning of your families’ untimely demise one by one trying to make their way out West had me in a “…lets see what happens next” state of play about 10 minutes in.
    • Sim City
      • God games have grown a lot over the years, but the original Sim City still holds its own offering an approachable stepping stone into the genre. Not overburdened with the detail work found in later entries, you can build and design to your hearts content without a wavering focus.
    • Maniac Mansion
      • Adventure games have always proven a great comfort for it’s players. Maniac Mansion is no exception with it’s ridiculous humor and somewhat edgy take on games at the time. Yes, you can microwave a hamster until it explodes. No, you will likely never see this in a major release ever again. That’s one small tinge of events that occur that will leave you puzzling your way through this colorful memory.
    • Pool of Radiance
      • Dungeons & Dragons is responsible for keeping the torch of fantasy alive through periods of relative silence. Pool of Radiance was one of the first great PC games tackling the world with what would become known as the gold box games. A pretty accurate representation of D&D proper, this lets you dive deep into dungeons with a party of hardened adventures reassured by their magic and steel. It’s great to return to and explore the best offered digital experience in the 80’s for fantasy fans.
  • The 90’s
    • Worms 2
      • Ropes. This game was ALL about the ropes. The online community splintered from traditional play into what was known as “roper” level sets that had virtually no land to stand on. You were expected to fling your worm one hitch to the next while dropping bombs on the spec of land your opponents stood on. Even without the online community today it remains an instantly playable game wrapped in strategy, goofiness, and simplicity.
    • Baldur’s Gate
      • Kicking strong in the 90’s still, Dungeons & Dragons as a property found itself to the very capable hands of Bioware and Black Isle Studios to build the foundation of some of the best RPGs on PC ever. Baldur’s Gate was built on the grandest scale, allowing your band of allies to roam the country surrounding the mega city of the titular Baldur’s Gate. Through mountains, dungeons, fields, and swamps you face off against everything you’ve ever lost sleep over… Beholders, dragons, orcs, mindflayers, bugbears, and the deadliest of wizards. Of course all of that would be for naught if not backed by a well crafted story and pantheon of memorable characters at your side… which hey, did I mention Bioware?
    • Dungeon Keeper
      • Those dungeons I have so much fun crawling through? What if you were the bad guy who created these nefarious palaces of traps and trolls? Dungeon Keeper places you in just that scenario as you lay the path to lead heroes to their doom. Once dead, collect their loot to further invest in your dungeon as stronger heroes are surely around the corner ready to try and conquer your growing home. It never felt so good to be so bad.
    • Half-Life
      • Not sure what to say about this that you don’t already know? Legendary sci-fi game on PC that made Valve the powerhouse of PC gaming it is today. Gordon Freeman is a man of few words, but a lot of this game speaks for itself as you navigate through the collapsing science center of Black Mesa.
    • Warcraft 2
      • Kind of the same vein as Sim City, an early iteration in the genre seems to be the most accessible as it constantly iterates for it’s existing fanbase while alienating newcomers. Warcraft 2 strikes that perfect balance of breadth and simplicity that lets anyone sit down and give it a go with an real time strategy experience… which today remains a genre pretty much exclusively found on PC.
  • The 00’s
    • Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
      • You can keep your Oblivions and Skyrims, as Morrowind was the peak of Elder Scrolls. Ripe with flaws and flagrant abuse of the system, it created a world that felt more exotic yet real than either of it’s sequels. You could level up as powerful as you wanted to make the game a breeze, or keep it a challenge as you naturally played through at your pace. The game let you kill any NPC, including key players that would break the campaign. It had the decency to outright tell you when you made that mistake, but there’s some merit to a game that truly welcomes you to truly do as you wish within it’s walls of code. An open world that’s true to it’s name.
    • Battlefield 1942
      • Vehicles, vehicles, vehicles. True to reality bullet trajectories. You need to lead your shots, plan for drop over a distance. There was a great feeling when you learned to excel at a certain gun kit depending on your class. It wasn’t a game about grabbing the most powerful weapon available and being the quickest with your reflexes. You needed to have a plan for how you approached enemies, there had to be a purpose to your actions. You needed to be familiar with the vehicle or firearm you had.
    • The Sims 2
      • The wonderful people simulator that lets your inner architect build your dream home, or create the perfect death trap for all the stupid people in your life to vent from daily life. Nothing quite like living the ab fab life glitzing up your home while balancing your personal happiness, work, and a social life. Gotta work hard to get that new TV after all.
    • Bioshock
      • There’s always a lighthouse. There’s always a man. There’s always a city. Bioshock hit the ground running with it’s dark mysterious setting and kept the creepy factor on high. It’s tone remains one of it’s key identifiers that’s hasn’t been replicated since, even by it’s own sequels. Bonus points for the cool interactivity between your powers and environment. For example, electrocuting water, luring enemies through gasoline to make them flammable, or shooting bees at them to send them fleeing to the nearest hostile Big Daddy to be slaughtered. Between the versatility of your powers and upgrade options for your weapons there were plenty of solutions when making your way through Rapture.
    • Civilization 4
      • Civ is one of those series where until you play it, it’s hard to get why it’s so good. Turn based world building? What’s the big what about that? Well, sit down to start and after 14 hours pass by of “just one more round…” and you’ll get it. Very few single player games can claim to devour your time so freely and without warning. Build empires. War with rival nations. Use science to traverse the stars. Create wonders.
  • The 10’s
    • Minecraft
      • Endless crafting, endless resource collecting, endless combinations of ideas and expression. Build condos, recreate Middle-earth, traverse nether realms, recreate functional calculators using mechanisms in game. Play with friends, install mods, face the Enderdragon. Survival and creation has never had such a perfect melding.
    • Overwatch
      • Sure it’s fairly recent and some may say it’s unproven, but very few shooters offer such customization and welcome in new players with their friendly UI and level learning curve. New players have a fair shot of countering expert players with the right mix of skills or teammates. Add in the fact that it’s simply bursting with personality and popculture references – everyone has a character that they love to call their own.
    • Xcom: Enemy Unknown
      • We all love stomping aliens, don’t we? This clever strategy shooter lets you build a team of space marines in a world where death is permanent as you set the charge against evil creatures of the stars. Brutally difficult, you will cherish every turn as wasting any opportunity is almost a guarantee of losing a party member for good. Endlessly replayable as it seems almost no two encounters ever feel the same.
    • Diablo 3
      • Save the town. Rescue villagers. Delve into the depths of crypts in this world of demons and angels. Unlock new powers, get new loot. Do it over and over while playing with a friend and endlessly powering up your character with customizable weapons and trinkets. There’s always the next step to go on or new ability to power up.
    • Life is Strange
      • Choices matter here. A puzzle-ish time bending episodic adventure game where you’re constantly meddling via supernatural means in a small town’s fate. There’s bad people at play as young girls go missing and you take it upon yourself to discover the truth behind it all while trying to reconnect with the friend you left behind.
  • Mobile
    • Super Hexagon
      • Perfect quick fix game that has you looping round after round. Anyone that sees it in action instantly gets it and wants to take a stab at it. Electronic beats and pulsing levels help set the energy level as you press onward for just a few more seconds for your record.
    • Lifeline
      • Ideal use for a mobile device is texting, right? What if the person you’re communicating with is an astronaut student marooned on a planet and you were their only link to the outside world? Lifeline is exactly this as you anxiously await the next message from your marooned pal as real time has to pass between messages. Did your recommendation to sleep by the nuclear reactor for warmth keep them alive or mutate them? You’ll have to wait until the next morning to see if your decisions helped steer them to doom or let them live just a little bit longer.
    • Jetpack Joyride
      • A sidescrolling endless runner where you bob and weave through various hazards for hundreds or thousands of meters. You get to tweak your load out, pilot robot dragons and motorcycles. Each time you play you work towards a few goals that help you unlock more fun stuff to play with. It’s a blast and fun way to test your reflexes with plenty of power ups to remove the frustration if you ever hit a wall… literal or metaphorical.
    • TellTale Games’ The Walking Dead Season 1
      • This is really where it all got started for the new direction of adventure games. TTG’s first major outing with a licensed product really lead with it’s best foot forward as you handle a few puzzles, but mostly gut-wrenching decisions with merely a few seconds to decide. Often those choices result in the death of someone with you either now or later… but eventually your decisions always come back to haunt you in this dog-eat-dog world of TWD.
    • Fallout Shelter
      • It’s weird how this could have been easily dismissed as just advertising the full experience of Fallout 4, yet it surpassed that by miles. In Fallout Shelter you get to run a human farm… er, I mean, vault for survivors – Beefing up the defenses in case of outsider attacks and keeping your occupants happy and healthy with hobbies and food. How long can you keep them alive? How big can you grow your vault? The answer is always “…just a bit more”.

Sega Platforms

  • Genesis
    • Mutant League Football
      • Football is a fun sport bogged down by enthusiasts that snark at the idea that you have no clue who just got drafted or why that’s important for X team. The unwelcoming hosts of the world wrapped in stats, names, legends, and ever changing rules can make it hard to appreciate the actual game. Well say no more, as MLF creates a fantasy league (no, not that kind) of mutants with no history or minutiae to get lost in. Simple rules (which can be bent), the ability to kill the ref, and a sense of humor to tear apart the reverence of the NFL makes this an instant classic and infinitely more approachable than any incarnation of Madden.
    • Mortal Kombat 2
      • A wide cast of characters, tons more finishers, and a broad style of play. MK2 really opened the series up for combos and dominated the arcade scene. Sit down with a friend and it still holds all that charm years later. Trading back and forth between victories and losses, creating tournament brackets, or implementing goofy meta rules kept this game fun for every weekend gathering.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 3
      • Platforming with attitude! Seriously though, Sonic 3 offered some creative level tracks with catchy tunes. It just felt good to play. Sure all you do is go from the left side of the level to the right with a bit of rise or fall, but damn it when you’re on a roll (ha!) and speed through a zone it feels like the world is your oyster.
    • Ecco the Dolphin
      • Splish. Play as a dolphin in a massive ocean world as you battle sharks, discover hidden paths, sonar your way through the depths, and of course fling yourself out of the water at high speed to leap over rocks as you save Earth from aliens. Ya know, because that’s what dolphins do.
    • Earthworm Jim
      • Continuing with the trend of animals reimagined as heroes, Earthworm Jim was the wildest of the bunch. The levels included a lot more action platforming with various weapons and midlevels where you ride a rocket down a tunnel. It was so much more than your standard platformer, and that was before you added in hilarious feats like tossing cows or facing off against Queen Slug-for-a-Butt to save Princess What’s-Her-Name. It’s a weird one totally worth revisiting.
  • Saturn
    • Nights into Dreams
      • Few games manage to be magical in the way Nights was. Your jester looking avatars fly freely through the sky through rings to some of the zippiest and uplifting music this side of Mario Bros. It’s an experience of adrenaline and pure wonder taking form as a video game.
    • Legend of Oasis
      • Admittedly Saturn is a bit of a weak spot for me when making this list having very limited time with it myself, so I opted to dig into the RPG scene to see what I’ve missed over the years. The sequel to Beyond Oasis is one that kept my attention long and proper as an action RPG in a time where they were few and far between. Tucked somewhere between Golden Axe and Secret of Mana this was a pretty good time and definitely worth your time today
    • Tomb Raider
      • Lara Croft making her debut entry on a Saturn? I bet you had no idea. Needless to say raiding tombs is what she did. It’s almost foreign in design compared to what the latest iteration of the series has become, TR is almost as much a survival game as it is an action puzzler. Sure you have guns and can shoot wolves while flipping over them – but really your best option is to flee from danger instead of facing it head on. Making jumps just barely and clinging from ledges make for some epic moments of gaming. If that isn’t enough perhaps you’d like to face off against a Tyrannosaurus Rex with only dual pistols?
    • Virtua Fighter 2
      • What better way to waste the day away with friends then good ol’ fashioned beatdowns and ring outs? You have your choice of such memorable characters as Not-Ryu, Weird Old Guy, Chinese Girl, Ninja Man, and Token Black Guy. Seriously though it packed a lot of fun for a 3D fighter after having found their feet in this second iteration.
    • Virtua Cop
      • This is another great way to spend the day with friends. Grab a pair of light guns and go to town on a rail shooter akin to House of the Dead, another Sega venture. Once you see screenshots of it you’ll instantly remember the collapsing targets to indicate the enemy was about to attack. Gun games become a lot more fun when they aren’t just gobbling up your quarters. VC is still worth the price of admission if you come across it.
  • Dreamcast
    • Powerstone
      • Imagine if you will… a big ol’ 3D arena with you and three friends just smashing the crap out of each other. Add in terrain that can be used as weapons. It’s kind of like Smash Bros, only better as you’re in a fully 3D environment complete with depth of field. As proven time and time again, it’s hard to top being able to smack around a bunch of friends in a fake world.
    • Phantasy Star Online
      • Before there was Destiny, you had PSO. Space adventures where you build a character from a few races, bend your class a bit, customize your look, then go on adventures with friends via online play. Which shockingly enough, there are pirate servers still alive and kicking for PSO right now in 2017. An action RPG with laser guns and robots alongside a few buddies and climatic boss battles to end each mission. Good times.
    • Marvel vs Capcom 2
      • Alright, I get it – There’s a lot of fighters on this list. I can’t help it that it’s an age old genre that’s been proven at this point. Get together some buddies and graph out some tournaments and it’s instant memories. MvC2 is the cream of the crop when it comes to 2D fighting games though so I’d be remiss to not include this here. A huge roster of characters crossing from beloved franchises of Marvel and Capcom. Ranging from awesome choices like Gambit, Venom, or Akuma to bizarre deep cuts like Servbot, Amingo, or Shuma-Gorath – It got even better as you got to choose a team of 3 to really keep the strategy at the forefront of the battle… Or you could just troll with Cable, Iron Man, and Wolverine.
    • Ikaruga
      • Shmup at it’s best with this revival of the genre. Switch colors of your ship to absorb enemy fire as you survive the worst bullet hell known to the West at the time. It’s been released on various other platforms since then and I’ve still never managed to get past stage 3. I’ll be damned if I don’t return to it every year for a few weeks trying to best myself still.
    • Shenmue
      • A beautiful open world RPG set in 80’s Japan, you get caught up in the daily life of Ryo as you try to avenge your father and save your girlfriend while working on the dock and collecting capsule toys. It’s a rarely seen style of game where the pace isn’t super urgent, letting you enjoy a slice of life in a meticulously crafted setting filled with plenty of distractions. The closest parallel I can think is Persona 4/5 if they didn’t lock you down to a calendar system… and ya know, sans demons.

 


So there ya have it. Kind of a “140 games you need to go play before you die” list. Trust me, it hurt not including some of my personal favorites or hugely celebrated hits. Somehow Final Fantasy 7 didn’t make the list. Have fun with what’s here though and die a well cultured gamer.

This is part 2 of a 3 part list – The first covering Nintendo, and the last will cover Windows PC, Mobile, and Sega. I’d recommend starting there for the first 55 games, and For now though, lets enjoy the wonders of what Sony and Microsoft have offered over the years with the next 45 games I’d recommend you take into a bunker with you to endure the fallout of our inevitable Trumpacylpse. If you read the first post, the following is largely unchanged if you want to skip to the good stuff and scroll down to the list.

Lists are hard. You try your damnedest to round out to whatever number sounds good to you but something always seems off. Raise the number to include more then it feels like filler. Rattle off what’s already been established and what’s the point? Sure I could just print a list of the best video games ever. How different would that list really be though? As time goes forward we seem to further homogenize our views of what’s worth playing and what’s not into a cycling list of the same few games, just in a new order. Still I read them all and scrutinize despite knowing the strings involved behind the curtain. I can’t deny that I love making lists though so I decided to give myself a challenge. It started as listing a few scribbles on paper and grew into this semi-complete list of 140 games that sit before you now. Criteria and rules?

  • 5 games per system/designation. IE; Gameboy Color = Gameboy, and PC is broken down by decades starting in the 80’s.
  • Unless there’s a paradigm shift in how the game is played, one entry per series across all platforms
  • The list should compose of games that highlight the variety of the system, not necessarily “the best”.
    • Subnote – if I didn’t create this rule, virtually every choice of mine would have been RPGs
  • The games must be approachable in their current state today in 2017, not as they were at release.
    • Some games don’t age well and because of this will not be included.
    • This also means games that were amazing with a multiplayer focus may have been lobbed off
  • I’m going off of NA releases, and heavily bent towards games I have either first or second hand experience with. Sorry, no “but this limited print of an import JRPGs that influenced everything ever and OMG HOW DID YOU NOT INCLUDE THIS ON YOUR LIST”. Tangible, real, accessible games only.

By all means, feel free to state your arguments as to what should/shouldn’t make the cut. Just remember this isn’t a “best games for the platform” as much as it is a “this is why this platform was great”. The five games are unranked and represent a set to be plopped down in front of a group of players that’ve never experienced it in hopes of highlighting the range offered by that platform. That being said, these lists are meant to compliment one another and if you isolate them it might be confusing to why these games were chosen. A good example of this is you won’t find Super Mario 64 (OMG WHY?!) – Because I felt Super Mario Galaxy better represented the Wii yet the two games are similar enough to not need both games muddling up the lists.

Without further ramblings – Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of it all now. The lists of games and a bit about them… For part two we’ll be looking at Sony and Microsoft’s catalog of platforms.

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From the Art of Video Games exhibit.

Lists are hard. You try your damnedest to round out to whatever number sounds good to you but something always seems off. Raise the number to include more then it feels like filler. Rattle off what’s already been established and what’s the point? Sure I could just print a list of the best video games ever. How different would that list really be though? As time goes forward we seem to further homogenize our views of what’s worth playing and what’s not into a cycling list of the same few games, just in a new order. Still I read them all and scrutinize despite knowing the strings involved behind the curtain. I can’t deny that I love making lists though so I decided to give myself a challenge. It started as listing a few scribbles on paper and grew into this semi-complete list of 140 games that sit before you now. Criteria and rules?

  • 5 games per system/designation. IE; Gameboy Color = Gameboy, and PC is broken down by decades starting in the 80’s.
  • Unless there’s a paradigm shift in how the game is played, one entry per series across all platforms
  • The list should compose of games that highlight the variety of the system, not necessarily “the best”.
    • Subnote – if I didn’t create this rule, virtually every choice of mine would have been RPGs
  • The games must be approachable in their current state today in 2017, not as they were at release.
    • Some games don’t age well and because of this will not be included.
    • This also means games that were amazing with a multiplayer focus may have been lobbed off
  • I’m going off of NA releases, and heavily bent towards games I have either first or second hand experience with. Sorry, no “but this limited print of an import JRPGs that influenced everything ever and OMG HOW DID YOU NOT INCLUDE THIS ON YOUR LIST”. Tangible, real, accessible games only.

By all means, feel free to state your arguments as to what should/shouldn’t make the cut. Just remember this isn’t a “best games for the platform” as much as it is a “this is why this platform was great”. The five games are unranked and represent a set to be plopped down in front of a group of players that’ve never experienced it in hopes of highlighting the range offered by that platform. That being said, these lists are meant to compliment one another and if you isolate them it might be confusing to why these games were chosen. For example you won’t find Super Mario 64 (OMG WHY?!) – Because I felt Super Mario Galaxy better represented the Wii yet the two games are similar enough to not need both games muddling up the lists.

Without further ramblings – Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of it all now. The lists of games and a bit about them… For this post I’ll keep it to all things Nintendo.

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lostdungeonsofnorrath

EverQuest Remembered is a multi-part series in which I look back on a game that meant a great deal to me, partially due to a matter of timing and circumstance. When tasked with the idea of blogging about something that I spent the better part of five years of my life actively playing it was difficult to nail down what to write about. Putting thoughts to paper I’m left with topics ranging from it’s cultural impact to individual relationships, shaping a fledgling genre to bringing out the nature of who we are as players. There’s a lot to cover here in regards to my personal retrospective of this 18 year old game… but if you’ve got the time, I’ve got the stories – and maybe by the end you’ll have a deeper understanding of how lines of codes shaped my world as much as theirs.

We’ve made it. Just a review in case somehow this is the first article you’ve landed on the series…

  • Pt 1, where I discover EverQuest and explore what initially hooked me.
  • Pt 2, exploring the genre defining designs of EQ as they’re legacy influences design of MMOs, RPGs, and modern gaming still.
  • Pt 3, outlining just how great the scope of the online community was both in and out of the game.
  • Pt 4, we talk about how personal relationships within your community shaped your experience as much as the design.
  • Pt 5, looking at the high end game, explaining your endless progression path, and how well social experience and game mechanics intertwined for the long play.
  • Pt 6, I addressed the darker side of a game this good with my personal addiction, depression, and getting out.

There’s been a lot of ground to cover. EverQuest was a landmark of gaming. It essentially created the MMO market as we knew it through the past 18 years as it still fights for life itself. I’ve had a lot of personal stories tied to the game as well as I recollect frequently. Despite how hard things fell apart at the end I’ll always remember it fondly. Yet the whole point of this series was wanting to say goodbye to the game I loved and the memories of it. The influence it had over my life and how it’s shaped me today is something I can’t ignore, but I’m looking to bury it in the past and move on. I’ve always held onto hope of a return. The EQ that’s available to play now doesn’t, nor could it, capture the state that it was back in the early 2000’s for me. The internet isn’t what it was- janky, wild, and lawless. My social life has changed along with my values. Game design has changed. The idea of being able to hole up for 12 hours a day in a virtual world without interruption is both unfeasible and undesirable by most. Smartphones didn’t exist and nobody texted back then. The game was forced to full screen so you couldn’t research or use instant messenging programs. You were locked in distraction free and it was beautiful. Despite how obtuse that all sounds now it’s a world I can never return to, just a dream that became a nightmare that I once visited. It’s shackled to the past though as I knew it.

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legacyofykesha

EverQuest Remembered is a multi-part series in which I look back on a game that meant a great deal to me, partially due to a matter of timing and circumstance. When tasked with the idea of blogging about something that I spent the better part of five years of my life actively playing it was difficult to nail down what to write about. Putting thoughts to paper I’m left with topics ranging from it’s cultural impact to individual relationships, shaping a fledgling genre to bringing out the nature of who we are as players. There’s a lot to cover here in regards to my personal retrospective of this 18 year old game… but if you’ve got the time, I’ve got the stories – and maybe by the end you’ll have a deeper understanding of how lines of codes shaped my world as much as theirs.

Last time I lead off with the term EverCrack. It was half-made in jest originally within the community. Yet with all things there becomes the reality of how a lack of moderation spins things from a single weekend binge to full on addiction. I’m not one to lightly throw around words so I’m not exaggerating when I use the term addiction. Setting a baseline of what I mean by it comes from my understanding of what being an alcoholic is. When the thing you have a compulsion towards begins to impact other aspects of your life usually hits that part for me. That’s when it crosses over from something you do a lot to something that’s harmful to your well being and should be considered an addiction. Losing your job because of a habit, withdrawing from social functions, so on and such. If you Google today EverQuest along with “depression”, “suicide”, or “addiction” you’ll have no shortage of personal stories. Even back in it’s heyday prior to being a target for corporate morality by the media, within the community there were plenty of signs of this perfect drug breaking apart people’s lives. I knew and played with people who’s marriages ended over playing too much, meeting new partners on EverQuest, choosing not to work and take odd jobs to pay rent/utilities, even a guy who brought his laptop to the hospital to play while his wife was in labor so he didn’t miss a rare spawn that only popped up once a week at random. There was no lack of dark tales to be told back then when players were shy or in denial about it. Today there are dozens if not hundreds more now that we’ve distanced ourselves from it.

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planesofpower

EverQuest Remembered is a multi-part series in which I look back on a game that meant a great deal to me, partially due to a matter of timing and circumstance. When tasked with the idea of blogging about something that I spent the better part of five years of my life actively playing it was difficult to nail down what to write about. Putting thoughts to paper I’m left with topics ranging from it’s cultural impact to individual relationships, shaping a fledgling genre to bringing out the nature of who we are as players. There’s a lot to cover here in regards to my personal retrospective of this 18 year old game… but if you’ve got the time, I’ve got the stories – and maybe by the end you’ll have a deeper understanding of how lines of codes shaped my world as much as theirs.

Eighteen years and still kickin’. EverQuest is no World of Warcraft when it comes to user base but it’s hard to deny an online only game having this kind of a lifespan is impressive. It’s doubtful that there are new players signing up daily. At best old users are returning during promotional times with free access of celebrational perks. Why is that? What kind of hooks has Sony Online Entertainment dug into us to keep us for so long?

Well a lot of it I feel we approached in the past two articles – The larger community surrounding it, as well as the intimate community within it definitely play a part. If that was it thought people would just have abandoned it for newer games or gotten bored long before EQ had time to build up steam. What we’re looking at is something bigger than just the social network serving as the blood pumping through it. The other part was more mechanically driven, controllable by the developers at SoE to ensure players always had something to do. As long as there were new goals, new progression systems, players would have a reason to come back and play with their friends. From the very start of the game leveling up gave you a now iconic tinny shrill sound of “DING!” that would wake the dead if played loud enough. It was somehow both soothing and terrifying at the same time hearing that at 3am on a Sunday night when you’re alone. Once you ran out of levels to gain they’d add alternate advancement systems, epic gear upgrades, and elusive spells or trinkets to keep you plugging away. No exaggeration, I eventually acquired an item that all it did was turn you into a skeleton aesthetically. I ended up selling it for $175 in real life. There was always another step you could progress your “toon” with from a gameplay standpoint, another carrot dangled in front of you to chase. As a player you were never left wanting or directionless for long. Putting a cherry on top of this deliciously inviting pie was the flagpole event and ultimate goal within the MMO genre: Raids.

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