Matt’s Top 25 All Time Favorite Video Games: 20-16
As you may have noticed, I happen to be a big time gamer (as with the rest of us here on Metal State). I started out on an Atari 2600 back in the beginnings of the 1980s and haven’t looked back since. I can not think of a time in my life when I haven’t been completely in love with my digital darlings. Not to brag, but I will, I have played and finished hundreds of games, and not like 100 something games. Roughly counting, I’d say that number is up around the 500 mark. Yet somehow in my ~30 solid years of gaming I have not sat down and tried to make list of the best games I have ever played. So given we are slightly obsessed with lists around these parts, I figured it’s time to do so (my cohorts will be joining in with their lists as well in the coming days). Every single game on this list I consider a must play and highly suggest you check all of them out.
For my own set rules I made the cut-off anything released before 2013 as I still need to let the new releases sink in a bit more and some games get an entry as a series and some games in the series get their own number. If a specific game in a series affected me more than the rest, that game gets top billing and a series gets the number if I feel that the whole series works together to make a cognitive whole. I hope you all enjoy this little list and find some games to either revisit or discover for the first time. And as always, I’d love to hear your favorite games. Even though I have played a lot of games, chances are I may have overlooked a hidden gem and point in its direction is always welcome. Peace Love and Metal!!!!!!
#20: Adventures of Lolo (Series)
If you happen to remember this slightly obscure NES game, bravo. If you actually enjoyed it, even more bravo! Back in my youth it was like pulling fingernails to get my friends to play these games with me and we usually had to settle for some Super Mario Bros. or Contra in the end. I guess solving puzzles by moving a little blue puff guy around the screen pushing blocks and kicking eggs to make way though a trap filled castle was too much for them. Oh, well, in my alone gaming time I soaked up as much as I could from all 3 entries in the series and hold it as a badge of honor that I actually finished the 2nd game before I reached my teenage years. Since I now have a homebrew card for my DS with an NES emulator on it I have been able to go back and finish all of the puzzles in all 3 of the games and compared to some of the best puzzle games of today, they really hold up strong and with a colorful art style that will always look good.
#19: Cave Story
Created by one guy as an homage to oldschool NES games, this little indie game ended up becoming one of the biggest modern platformers of the modern generation. It’s your basic Metroidvania style game where you run around a huge map shooting stuff, getting neat weapons and abilities that allow you to access new areas and yadda yadda yadda. What this game has that makes it stand out from the rest is some of the best level design this side of Super Mario and more charm than Kirby has sucked up in his lifetime of inhaling nearly every cute little thing that inhabits his world. Every aspect of Cave Story is perfect and it is so enjoyable that I’ve found myself playing through it many times over hunting down every single secret and alternative ending. If you enjoy platformers and like good solid controls do not pass up on Cave Story. Oh, and the music is so damn catchy, I find myself humming the tunes from the game at the oddest moments.
#18: Mrs. Crackman (Arcade)
Unless you happen to have spent time at the Retro Room at Seaside Heights, NJ, chances are you may have never played Mrs. Crackman in its purest form. Basically, Mrs. Crackman is a name penned by my friends and I for this particular Mrs. Pacman arcade cabinet that had its programming messed with to speed the game up to ludicrous speed. You basically have no time to react and not getting eaten by ghosts takes the nimblest of reflexes to survive. I have only made it past the first map once. How this game makes the list is the meta game me and my friends made out of it when we would go to the Seaside Boardwalk to get our bar hopping on. Of the 4 or 5 of us we would play for high score in between each bar stop and the loser bought the first round and down the line and the winner didn’t have to pay for any beers. Needless to say those who were close to their turn to pay for beers wanted to get to the next bar so we could stop at Mrs. Crackman and they could try to win themselves away from buying a round at the next spot. You can only imagine the emotions that ran high the drunker we got. I have to give that cabinet props for being able to survive the drunken onslaught me and my friends put on it as it has been kicked, punched, slapped, humped, and abused more than [insert incredibly offensive misogynistic joke here]. That’s quality Namco craftmanship there. I haven’t been able to check to see if Mrs. Crackman and the Retro Room are still standing after Seaside Boardwalk got slammed bad by Hurricane Sandy, but I got my fingers crossed, that was one tough machine. (note, the attached video doesn’t properly represent just how fast this cabinet was. I figure the one we played was about 2x as fast as the one in the video)
#17: Mortal Kombat II (Arcade)
Another arcade game on this list! Well, yeah, my age was prime time for the second arrival of arcade gaming. While console games at home were fun and all, you couldn’t get the very best and absolute latest in graphical technology or latest fighters or beat-em-ups unless you went to your local arcade or oddly enough, bowling alley. I’ll never forget how slack-jawed I was the first time I saw Sub-Zero rip off Kano’s head and saw his spine just dangling there. It was a revelation in my twisted little teenage brain and was the most ‘metal’ thing I had ever seen. I dumped a massive amount of quarters into that Mortal Kombat cabinet, but it was Mortal Kombat II that really blew me away. The graphics were just amazing, the controls so perfect, the gameplay fun beyond fun, but, you know, morbid little metalhead teenager, it was the Fatalities that really knew how to brutally massacre the coins in my pockets…err, parents pockets. And there wasn’t just a single Fatality per character, there was at least 2 common ones, then there were Babalities, Animalities, Friendships, and the always entertaining environment Fatalities. You never new if your opponent was going to simply embarrass you with the respectful head rip or make the onlookers laugh at you as he turned you into a baby and not even give you the time of day to finish your misery of losing painlessly. But man when I won and got to choose the fate of my foe, the taste of success was so sweet. As I write this, man do I wish that arcades would make a comeback. Nothing beats lining up to take a turn at besting the current ruler of the cabinet. Such a fun and social experience that is lacking in video games today.
#16: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
Here’s a game that no one in their right mind would have thought would ever happen. Somehow a game company thought it would be a good idea to turn one of the most twisted minds in contemporary (used lightly) literature into video game form. If you have ever read Harlan Ellison’s famous short story I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (which you can read here 😉 )you’ll quickly try wrapping your head around how it is even possible to turn the dreamlike dystopian character study piece into a video game, but somehow developers The Dreamers Guild pulled it off. It’s a point and click adventure game where you play as 5 separate characters who are the last living people on Earth after a psychotic AI named A.M. kills off the human race. He keeps what he deems as the 5 most despicable humans ever alive in his inner chambers and elongates their lives so he can give them endless torture as he rubs their worst fears and mistakes in their face for eternity. He likes to play a game with them where he pretends to let them get an opportunity to commit suicide and end the torture only to have them find out that they will never be free in the end. Until one day an opportunity seems to present itself. Or is it another trick. As you play each of the characters story lines the story between A.M. and his prisoners open up and the game goes from disturbing to even more disturbing. For a game released in 1995 there was some hardcore shit going on in the game and until recently was one of the very few non-patronizing adult games available. Also, it has one of the best opening monologues ever, actually performed by the original stories author himself, and he does all the voices for A.M. throughout the game as well (really, even if you don’t plan on playing this game, watch the video below, that monologue is just great). If you want to play a game with one hell of a great story and see how literary works can properly be adapted into video game form, hunt this game down (ProTip: SCUMM VM will help you out a lot).
Also, a metal band needs to turn I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream into a concept album. Carach Angren, I’m looking at you, hint hint hint.
Posted on July 1, 2013, in Matt's Top 25 Video Games and tagged Adventures of Lolo, Arcade, Best of, Cave Story, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Mortal Kombat II, Mrs. Pacman, Top 25, Video Games. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.