Tag Archives: Zelda

Top 10 Games That “Leveled Up” The Industry

Looking back on the brief history of video games it’s easy to look at the titles that were our favorites, the ones that got us into gaming, or the ones that convinced us to buy this system or that accessory. But what are the games that truly shaped the industry into what it is today? This list is dedicated to the games whose impact was so huge that the game industry was forever changed, and any game after it couldn’t help but imitate it.

10. Tetris


I hate Tetris. It’s such a boring and repetitive game with such little pay off and no matter what you’re going to lose. But for some reason this game sold a billion copies and thus made the Gameboy the most popular handheld for decades. This still holds the place for the highest selling game of all time. Frankly, I don’t get it, but people were insane about Tetris. For a while there Tetris was so big that wherever you went in the known universe you could probably still hear that god damned Tetris song.

9. Final Fantasy Vll

For decades Japan had been trying to introduce us to the awesomeness that is the jRPG, but to little avail. Yeah, FF1 and 6 may have been relative successes in the States, but nothing could have prepared us for the masterpiece that was FF7. Thus, the floudgates opened and America got every shitty jRPG Japan decided to put out and some remakes we never asked. But never got the ones we wanted (Secret of Mana 2).

This game was so immense it blew my god damned mind when I was a kid, there were towns and maps and mini-games and side quests and crafting and cutscenes and omygawd! Whenever I rented games from Blockbuster I expected to beat them in a matter of days, but there was no freakin way with game, but I tried anyways. Every Friday night I would rent this game and play straight through Saturday and Sunday, reserving the weekday 1-hour a day for carefully thought out grinding or questing. I would write in my notebooks to-do lists for when I got home and had those 60 minutes to complete the tasks I wanted. It was never enough. So, as you can tell, this game was just a tad immersive.

8. Golden Eye 007


My god, why are there so many N64 games on this list. Oh yeah, because Nintendo actually made a game system and not a FMV, CD player like the Playstation. It really is unfortunate that the N64 preceivably flopped, it was the only system actually capable of creating good polygonal graphics at the time. The Playstation could hold a lot more memory, but did that really make there games better, or did it just leave more space for fuckin cut scenes and pre-rendered backgrounds.

But, yeah Golden Eye.  This game gave birth to the console FPS genre, which is really surprising coming from a licensed game. Perhaps it was the fact that is made by Rareware in its prime, before they started making Kinect games.  It may not hold up by todays modern shooter standards, but when I saw this as a kid I think my eyeballs melted, I didn’t think that graphics could be that good, yet there they were. This game had some of the most amazingly fun split screen play ever to grace the N64 and is to this day is held dearly as the best game ever made by dorm room bros. everywhere.

7. Minecraft:


This is another game that I just don’t like. It’s boring, repetitive and just not that fun. Sure, exploring your first caves was fun, but when that got dull I couldn’t really stick around with it. But for some reason this game became the global phenomenon that AAA companies wish they could make.

I mean, I understand the appeal of Minecraft. It’s a limitless sandbox of infinite possibilities with danger and exploration and creation, but I guess I’m just the type of person doesn’t like fun.

6. DOOM

While DOOM did not invent the FPS it certainly perfected the style. Any game that has you playing as an ultimate badass, fighting off demons on Mars is bound to be stellar, but this game took it to excruciating new levels and popularized the FPS genre as we know it.

Developed by Id software (the studio responsible for Wolfenstein 3D) DOOM was originally developed as a side project by John Carmack who built the DOOM engine while the rest of Id worked on the Wolfenstein prequel. It’s estimated that DOOM was the most installed piece of software in 1995, that’s right, it was installed on more computers than Windows 95.

 

5. Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time


Oh! The music, the graphics, that feeling when you went out into Hyrule Field for the first time and were like “woah”. There was nothing like it! There’s a reason why the internet hails OOT as the second coming of Jesus Ghandi Christ, because it’s really fucking good. That’s why!

What really made this game stand out as a revolution in 3D gaming was “Z-Targeting”. What? I don’t have to flop around shitty cameras to try to find this bat that’s gnawing on my face? No ya big dummy, just press Z. It was so simple, so elegant. Yet the things that are simple are oft overlooked, and your left trying to dislodge your camera from a tree. It really is testimant to Ocarinas innovation when a mechanic from an almost 20 year old game is still standard in 3D games.

4. Wii Sports


The moment I knew the Wii was gonna be insanely huge was when my dad, a 50 year old contractor who hates video games, decided to go out and buy one of these on launch day. He wasn’t interested in a new Zelda or Mario game, the thing that was on his mind when he picked up the system was the revolutionary Wii Sports. While he never again touched the system after the first night of playing bowling, it was an anomaly, one that I may never see again.

It’s strange how something that most gamers find tacky and unfun could help Nintendo sell 100 million systems. After I first tried the motion controls the gimmick quickly wore off and I was reaching for a more standard controller. But man, Wii Sports really did bridge a gap to the future that people had been waiting for for a long time. It was like being promised jetpacks by 1970, and actually getting jetpacks by 1970. Or better yet, a hover board by 2015.

3. Super Mario 64


As with many games on this list, Super Mario 64 was not the first, it was just the best. In fact, the first 3D platformer can be traced back to 1990 with a game called Alpha Waves. Pretty much the only thing Super Mario did that was revolutionary was that it was patient. It didn’t rush into the 3rd dimension like so many other mascots did (I’m lookin at you Bubsy, but then again you always sucked).

Nintendo took its loving time with SM64, waiting for hardware to meet talent and creativity. And when the stars aligned and the 6 sages sang the song of reckoning upon the shores of Azhura, they summoned the souls of 3D mascots slaughtered and poured their sacrifice into the game of legends! And thus, Super Mario 64 was born, and we played it at our local Game Crazy’s and said “This. Shit. Is. Good!”

If you need any further proof, just look at this E3 reveal of Super Mario 64

It’s like they had no idea the 3rd dimension existed, and Nintendo lifted the veil.

2. Super Mario Bros.

Is there anyone alive who hasn’t played or at least seen someone play Super Mario Bros.? I mean it sold over 40 million copies and has been around for over 30 years, I’d hope that would be enough time for Mario to make the rounds.

Super Mario Bros. is the game that single handeldly created console gaming, as well as popularizing the platforming genre. It has been #1 on countless top 100 lists and is essentially the grand-daddy of modern gaming. It was also the start of video games being absolutely obsessed with rescuing princesses all throughout the 80’s and 90’s.

1. Pac-Man

During a time when arcade games featured mainly two colors, some boring re-iteration of pong, or a Space Invaders clone, Pac-Man was doorway into the future . The sounds, the colors, the personality, it was all so magical and ahead of its time. And it was one of the first games to appeal to multiple genders, prompting Namco to make Ms. Pacman. The game may be lacking by todays standards, but the very concept of varied levels and power ups was like finding an MP3 player in 1913, it was that big of a step.

Pac-man was so huge that from 1980-1990 it generated over $2.5 billion in quarters. It holds the Guinness World Record for most successful coin-operated game of all time. Pac-man very well could have been the cause of Arcade Fever in the 80’s looking at the other games that were available at the time, I’d say it certainly was. And Pac-man is certainly one of the most beloved icons of the gaming world. From 1982-83 Pac-Man even had his own show, and having recently been introduced to the roster of Super Smash Bros. this 30 year old mascot isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

Pac-man may have shaped the gaming industry more so than any other game before it or since. It stands as an icon, a mantra, reminding us of our roots and why we love gaming, ‘because it’s fun’. Who knows, maybe if Pac-man hadn’t come around this whole video-game thing may have fizzled out like so many fads before it. Or maybe it would be a completely altered version. But I for one am glad that little pill gobbler came around because I sure do love me some video games…

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Top 10 At the Moment

It’s always difficult to say what the greatest games of all time are, because our opinions are always subjective, no matter how hard we try to keep that shit out. So, I’ve decided to just make a progressive list of games that are my favorite at the moment (ATM).

I know, it’s not that interesting to hear someone else’s opinions of what they’re enjoying right now, but you know what, I don’t care!

10. Yoshi’s Island:


If you avoided Yoshi’s Island because it looked too kiddy you really need to reconsider that choice. This game may be the most masterfully crafted platformer I have ever played. Every level presents new innovation and challenge, the controls are frankly the best of any platformer I’ve ever played. The tongue is perfectly implemented, the extra floating makes Yoshi feel super powerful, shooting eggs is oh so satisfying.

Known also as Super Mario World 2, this game was originally supposed to have those pre-rendered graphics as seen in Donkey Kong Country. Thankfully, Shigeru Miyamoto decided to scrap the style and replace it with the beautiful crayon drawn style that made it so iconic and just damn beautiful.

9. Master of Magic:


Yeah yeah, whatever, this is just a Civilization clone with medieval skins. Except not! This game had so much fucking depth, complexity and originality that I still find new things to this day. This game is just, so good. There’s just nothing more satisfying then when you get that invulnerability spell and train an army of invincible griffins and just go wreck the entire map with a couple dudes. Or when you start out in the dark world and build up forces until you invade the parallel world

Orignally released for DOS by Simtex this game is currently available on GOG.com, so yeah, go fuckin sink weeks into this game.

8. Journey:


If you haven’t played this game do yourself a favor and go buy a PS3 (if you don’t already have one) and play it. This is truly the best argument for video games as art that I have ever seen. It’s simple, elegant, poetic and just so magical. The first time I played this game I cried like a little baby with tears of joy. This game fills the player with a sense of wonderment and ecstasy that can really only be achieved through this medium.

This game speaks multitudes in its silence. Never does it fully disclose what has happened, but through clever story telling and some of the greatest co-operative play I have ever seen, it sucks you in emotionally and refuses to let go. Journey may be one of the most finely crafted experiences I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy and deserves to stand on the same level as such masterpieces as Citizen Kane and A Starry Night.

7. Shadow of the Colossus


Another game that stands as an argument for games as art, this game is truly an epic experience. When I first played this in the demo case at my local game store I didn’t get it. Maybe it was because the demo started after the intro sequence so I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing, but it just seemed boring. It looked like an action rpg, but I couldn’t find any towns, there wasn’t an inventory, and my character just looked so… weird. It didn’t help that the game would start over before I could get to the first colossi, talk about a let down.

It wasn’t until I played this game at a friends house that I understood that I had been playing one of the most epic and heartfelt games ever crafted. From the first Colossi to the melancholy ending this is truly one of my most cherished experiences and a splendid game.

6. Super Metroid


You hear a lot of game critics talking about games having “atmosphere” these days, but what do they really mean by that. Basically what they mean is how well a game can imitate Super Metroid cause that game fuckin invented atmosphere! But no, seriously… it did. This game just oozed with personality and ambiance, so much so that devs are still trying to play catch up.

Based heavily off of R. Gigers Alien universe, this game gave you such an immense and foreboding feeling of just absolute loneliness that few games can conquer, especially with the hardware limitations of the 16-bit era. Also, you get to play as one of the most badass bounty hunters since Bobba Fett. This game was inventive, it was innovative, it was downright massive and nothing in this world can match the feeling of hitting a random tile seeing it blow away to reveal a new power-up… awesome!

5. Act Raiser:


If it seems like I’m putting a lot of SNES games on this list, it’s because I am. And for good reason, the SNES is still one of the greatest systems ever released and to this day holds its own against modern releases in terms of fun. And if it’s fun we’re talking about than look no further than Actraiser! Yeah!

This game, created by Quintet and published by Enix was a launch title for the SNES and boy was it awesome. This game had you playing as “The Master” a god like being whose mission is to crush the monsters of (earth?) and allow people to repopulate it. Along with a totally kick ass side scrolling action, this game also had a fully realized sim game where you control a cherub and build your towns to repopulate the world. This game also had some of the greatest music from the 16-bit era. To bad Quintet went under in the early 00’s, I sure wouldn’t mind seeing a GOOD sequel to this game.

4. The Legend of Zelda (The entire catalog)


I’ve recently been playing through every single Zelda game again and I am just floored by how masterfully crafted all these games are, except for you Skyward Sword, you just suck.

Every game brought a new and fun innovation to the series that made the entire saga grow as a whole. Sure, there were some innovations that were put into newer games just for rituals sake, and some innovations that just kind of sucked (like a side scrolling Zelda) and also innovation just for innovations sake (like that stupid fucking pointless spinning top in Twilight Princess). But when Zelda gets it right, you better believe that whatever they did is gonna be an industry staple for years to come.

3. Gradius:


Yeah! Gradius! The arcade down the street from me just got one of these machines the other month and I have been pumping quarter after quarter into this sweet machine. There’s nothing quite like having a crowd of people gather round you as you plow through the first boss on one life, and then hearing cheers when you crush number three on the same life.

I didn’t grow up around arcades since my family sort of shunned video games, so this has been my first experience of being able to plant my name among the gods on that high score board, or having random people hand me quarters when I get a game over so they can watch me keep playing. It’s something magical that I’m sure a lot of people missed out on and people that did get to enjoy it miss. So if you’re around Portland, Oregon drop into Ground control and lets play some fuckin Gauntlet Legends!

2. Secret of Mana:


Oh, so sublime! The soundtrack, the art style, that feeling when you and your friends rock the socks off a tough boss. Sure, the story isn’t FF6 tier, but it’s there, and it has a lot of heart.

Known as Seiken Densetsu 2 in Japan (cause we always have to fuck that shit up for some reason) this game got insane acclaim in Japan, but sold only moderately in other regions. Despite getting generous reviews it never took off in the U.S. the way it should have. Which is even more of a shame because Seiken Densetsu 3 is widely hailed as the best action-rpg of the 16-bit generation and never saw a release in the States. While you can get a translated reproduction, that shit is steep, son, and will run you anywhere from $50-100.

1. Aladdin (SNES)


What can I say, this game is just so damn good! It’s a serious guilty pleasure of mine and I love it to death! The gameplay is tighter than Fort Knox, the art style is original and lively, the sound effects touch my soul in a way that only the wizards at Capcom can do. Everything about this game is just pure and unadulterated FUN!

Maybe this is only up so high because I spent way to much time playing this for that Genesis vs. SNES Aladdin (which you should totally read). But I stand by this game as one of the best platformers ever made, sure it may be short, and it may be unforgiving-ly and sometimes unfairly difficult but I think that’s what makes it fun in that Dark Souls kind of way. My roommate and I played this game religiously while I was writing that article and had just the most amazing time doing it. And isn’t that what this is all about? Having fun and enjoying yourself.

Thanks for reading!