The Arcade: GGR's Best Video Games (Mike's List)
As promised, we did a podcast about this, so now we'll do an article, too! Not everyone likes to read, and not everyone likes to listen to podcasts, so we got you covered either way!
Here is Mike's list of his top video games! The rest of the team will be following suit soon!
Ninja Gaiden (Xbox)
This is one of those video games that when you beat it, you feel like you really accomplished something. As this game progressed, you had to improve as well. The same old tricks wouldn't cut it against harder, smarter enemies. Plenty of cursing and threats of breaking my controller happened, none of which I'm proud of. Beating this game was a moment of pride. And you want to talk about modern games being bloody, gory and violent? This one is all of those, and the dial is turned to 11.
Tecmo Bowl (NES)
This was the first game I ever played like it was an addiction. I'm from the DC area so I chose Washington as my team...most of the time. After winning the Super Bowl once with them, I wanted to test drive some of these other teams (Except for Cleveland, Minnesota and Seattle, they were crap). Chicago had Walter Peyton, who was beast in that game (God rest his soul) and Mike Singletary, a human wrecking ball. New York was okay on offense, but had Lawrence Taylor who was the fastest defender in the game (don't know if this was because of the coke or not). And Los Angeles...they had Bo Jackson. If Walter Peyton was a beast, Bo Jackson was Godzilla. He was unstoppable. He was the fastest offensive player in the game and would not just break tackles, he would throw dudes off of him.
Madden NFL 95 (Sega Genesis)
This is when my obsession with football got even more intense. I knew every team, every roster, even their backup quarterbacks! You had to know who your backups were...you may end up having to use them. Scott Zolak led my Patriots to quite a few wins when Bledsoe was out for a few games with a "hip pointer" (if it was just a week or two, Zolak got the nod, but since Drew was my favorite player, if he was shelved for the season....reset). This game let you suspend reality, as I was able to make the 95 Washington football squad a contender! Heath Shuler for Rookie of the Year!
Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past (SNES)
Don't ask me why I chose the Sega Genesis over the Super Nintendo...I'm not 100% sure why I did. I know that I was happy with my Genesis and was unimpressed with the SNES. It took me a good 4 years after the system came out to go back and pick up a SNES at Funcoland. Remember Funcoland? It's what Gamestop used to be called before it sold it's soul to the Devil. Anyways...Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past was amazing! I kicked myself for not playing this game earlier, but still loved it . It was so fun, it was challenging, and it felt like the original Zelda for NES, not like that weird side-scrolling sequel. I could play this game a million times and never get tired of it.
NCAA Football 2006 (Xbox)
I would not consider myself a big college football fan. I don't really have a school that I root for other than the local guys (UVA, Va Tech, Maryland, etc), but this game specifically hit the nail on the head of what fun, addictive, replay-able football games should be. I ended up creating a QB for "Race for the Heisman" and got to live out my 4 years in Chapel Hill (UNC seemed like a school with a crappy football legacy that I could make good). You get the option to leave for the pros if you do really well, but no...I was going to stick it out and get the degree.
The competition is fierce in this game. If you play the big name schools, they're no joke and you have to be on your game to beat them. If you're playing an away game and the other team's crowd gets into it, it is a distraction. Madden never seemed to have any of these challenges. This is still my favorite football game of all time.
WWF No Mercy (N64)
I wasted so much time in high school playing this game in my friend's basement. Hours upon hours devoted to making our custom wrestlers have just the right moves, the perfect ring attire, the best entrance music, the best people to be teamed up with... it was a time consuming process. When you FINALLY got to the game play, it was worth it. You couldn't predict how the match would go, it's like the game knew how to play it up for dramatics. No other wrestling video game, in my opinion, has come close to this one. If I knew where my N64 disappeared to, I would hook it up and play this game tonight.
Fable was like...an RPG, without being too much of an RPG. You ended up choosing your own path; good or evil or somewhere in between. You also could customize your character to be a brawler, magic caster, archer, etc. But there wasn't too much of it. You had a main storyline to follow but you could also venture off and get married, get drunk, or play some carnival games. I've easily played through this game 8 times and if I still owned a copy, I would play it again. I loved the world of Albion.
Bioshock (Xbox 360)
Similar to Fable in the sense that it is an RPG without being too RPG-y. What sets this game apart from all the others is the world of Rapture. It's an entire underwater city that was created as a haven for society's elite to avoid government interference. As all utopias tend to do...this one imploded and everyone went crazy. Granted this crazy was the "I volunteered to mutate my DNA so that I had super powers but lost all semblance of sanity" sort, still...just like every other utopia. This game makes you use the environment to help (shocking puddles of water when an enemy is in it, setting the trip wires, etc) and when you hit that surprise twist...it only gets better from there.
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox)
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic came out at a time when most Star Wars fans were still scratching their heads over how bad Attack of the Clones was. It put George Lucas' story to shame. The video game creators were able to craft a more interesting, more exciting and better love story that Episode II. Not to mention there was no Yoda pinball-ing around with a lightsaber in KOTOR. My only gripe with this game is that it seemed to take forever to get to the Jedi part where you got a lightsaber, but it was alright. It was building towards something. The twist with the story too was pretty unexpected. This is easily my favorite video game of all time.
Portal 2 (X360)- Easy to pick up, hard to master. The story was out there but addictive, you really wanted to find out what was going on and what would happen. GLaDOS, for a character with a mostly monotone voice, makes this game.
Super Star Wars Trilogy (SNES)- sometimes the story doesn't fit the movies at all, but it was still fun to play through the trilogy.
Resident Evil (PS1)- No game I've ever played had creeped me out this much. Dogs jumping through windows, dead bodies grabbing your character's ankle...yeah. Lights needed to be on. The dialogue is HORRIBLE...but that's what makes this game.
Tony LaRussa Baseball (Sega)- For a sports obsessed kid, this was my favorite baseball game. With no internet in the early 90's, this is how I learned all the MLB rosters. The Expos were AMAZING in this game.
NHL 94 (Sega)- This was the hockey game wait...it still is the best hockey video game. Addictive, easy to play, easy to pick up, yet there are people who somehow were ungodly good at this game, it defied logic. They knew techniques and found a way to beat you every time. Ben Shaw is like this but only in Street Fighter. God I hate that game and he made me hate it.
So there's my list! I know Andy's got one coming too and then we're also going to have one from some of our readers! Stay tuned.