Hamza's 30 Day Video Game Meme!
Sort by: Showing 30 items
Rating: List Type:
Racing Games - PC Games
Favourite Genre - No. 1
Need For Speed II: SE
Some of my earliest virtual memories have included racing games. Ever since I was exposed to the world of video games, my first stop has always been racing games, no matter what console or emulator I buy / download. When I had my PS1 with me for 3 years, I managed to collect as many racing games as possible, and if my full collection was around 90 games (which it was, more or less), then racing games made up for 40-to-45% of the collection.
But the word "racing" can mean a hundred different things. What type of racing games? Sports cars? Bikes? Skis? Motocross? BMX? On-foot? Trucks? Well, that's a little difficult to answer, but going through my favourite racing games list - yet to be uploaded - I've found that the most I enjoy / enjoyed were the arcade-type ones and the kart ones, especially with well-known characters from well-known series, such as Cartoon Network, Mario and even Mickey Mouse.
Although I'm not too picky when it comes to racers - hell, I played and even enjoyed Cocoto Kart Racer (a silly Mario Kart clone) - and am happy to spend more than 20-30 minutes on any racer in one sitting, the two genres I simply cannot stand are Futuristic Racers and Water Racers, which include water skis, boats, yachts, and water scooters. It's funny I mentioned "futuristic racers" when two of my most favourite racing games are F-Zero and San Francisco Rush 2049, both of which come under that genre; but futuristic racers by and large I cannot stand them.
Unlike other genres, such as RTS and fighting games, racers take less time to set up and even less to actually get to the game, although modern games are getting increasingly complex year by year. I mean, how many different tire sets and engines can you buy? Can't you set one default and get on with it?
Taking that into account, this is why I appreciate the pre-Underground titles in the Need For Speed franchise, and all this is further explained in Item 30 below.
First Person Shooter Collection (PC) - PC Games
Favourite Genre - No. 2
First Person Shooters
Whenever I take a stroll down video gaming nostalgia road, I often always unearth a long forgotten game that I used to play, and it often always happens to be either a racer or a first person shooter. After watching so many "documentaries" and "histories" of this classic genre, I've come to realize that I've played more of this genre than any other.
In the late 90's, when I was just a kid, one of the earliest video games I ever played was Rise of the Triad, which is a fps, and one of the damn underrated games of all time if you ask me. It also happened to be the first fps I ever played, thus starting my love - or obsession - with everything and anything first-person, although not necessarily shooters.
I can't tell you exactly why I love this genre, but I guess it has to do with the psychological aspects of it. Alongside RTS's, the fps genre is responsible for most of the controversies that occur that are game-related, and are the roots of some of the school massacres, most notably the Columbine Massacre. I'm personally interested in the genre because while playing it you become more than a gamer, you become the character, and sometimes the voice of the said character, because you don't see your player for a majority of the game, sometimes never. Weak-minded players of course become obsessed in a different manner and start viewing the world around them as a fabricated virtual system, but level-minded players know when and where the line appears, like me for example, and are able to keep their sanity in check.
But enough of the boring part, let's go back on track. The best decade (so far) for fps's was the 90's, when ID Software revolutionized the genre with seminal hits such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake, and were backed up by legendary titles such as Duke Nukem 3D and Half-Life and the not-so-well-known-but-damn-entertaining Rise of the Triad and Blood.
Stunt Car Racer - Commodore 64
Favourite Title from Genre 1
Stunt Car Racer
Stunt is easily one of the finest video games ever made, if not in general then just in the racing genre.
I so badly want to include another game but since Stunt is my love of the moment, I decided to go with this one. Now for those who haven't played this game or even heard of it, let me tell you that no YouTube video or review will do enough, or any, justice.
This game is probably the only in existence that must be experienced in order to find out why this is such a classic and beloved among gamers worldwide. Stunt is made out of pure love. The main ingredient is love, love, love and nothing else but love. Although there are far more superior games than this, almost 99% of them were made just because the developers could. Stunt is different, a sort of car-porn for casual gamers. Imagine watching a 70's xxx video: you know it has been perfected and bought to HD, but there's something delicious in the old ones.
Sorry for that. Now, you can easily download the game from Emuparadise.com, but remember to install Dosbox first, which is also easy to get by. As soon as the race starts, you know this is gonna be special; after all how many racing games start off with a crane carrying you to the race track? But it is only after when you take your first turn that you will have 100% fallen in love with it.
Turning is an essential part of racing - :) - but in a game this old you didn't expect it to be this smooth. It's so smooth it's beautiful, almost a mini-game in itself. Now that feeling you cannot understand if you haven't played it, and no video in all the world can capture it. It must be experienced, and you will!
Stunt Car Racer is an awesome game, and expect it to finish in 1 hour or so. Make sure the speakers are turned all the way up because the "woooooow" sound your car makes is classic!
Wolfenstein 3D - PC Games
Favourite Title from Genre 2
Wolfenstein 3D, for those who are in the need to know, was developed by ID Software, and served as a blueprint for almost every fps that emerged in the 90's, including its two younger, and more cooler, brothers Doom (and its sequels) and Quake (and its sequels). In short, ladies and gentlemen, modern fps took life from this title.
Although universally overshadowed by its successors and virtually every major fps, it's still a great game, and still heck of a lot of fun 20 years later. Playing this game is like a step back into time. Even those who haven't even heard of this game, will feel nostalgic: because of how stiff, one-leveled, and unmade it feels in front of others; akin to switching from a Samsung Galaxy Tab to one of those old 90's Nokia mobiles.
You're an American who is held hostage by the Nazis and must escape Wolfenstein, which is a castle. You must defeat Nazi soldiers and guards and dogs and then face off with a boss at the end of each episode. The story's simple enough, gives you enough reason on why you should shoot them and about certain placements of objects and such, but it is not deep, something that abundantly existed in pre-Half-Life titles. Seriously, that game changed everything!
Although originally released in DOS, I was quite disappointed by that port. It's fast and all, but the best one, and the most notorious, has to be the SNES port. Before you start telling me how "nice" and "friendly" that version was, let me assure you of the fact that the SNES version is by far the most accessible. It gives you the best experience of the game, however tame. The Jaguar version is mean, angry, highly detailed and fast paced, but quite less enjoyable. It's the DOS version with better graphics, that's all. In my opinion, play the SNES port first and then the others, you won't be disappointed, or at least repelled.
Happy Vader's rating:
Pimp My Ride - PlayStation 2
Worst Video-Game(s) I've Played
Pimp My Ride and Depth Dwellers
My gaming history is short and brief. In that short period, I purposely avoided video games which were notorious for negative reception because I wanted to keep my gaming history sweet with none of the stinkers. But, just like any other human being, I stumbled upon some really bad stinkers, thankfully very few, and the above two take the stale cake. Let's start off with Pimp My Ride.
*sigh* how do I even begin with this? If you ever need a reason to swear out loud and are not brave enough to hit your little toe against a table leg, then play 5 minutes of this game and you will have one. Based on the TV show of the same name, the only thing this game has in common is the title. Once you acquire a car, you race - seriously, race - around town, beating the clock, and entering several garages and pimping your ride. This may, on paper, seem interesting, but it is so tedious, monotonous, and gets repetitive very fast. After when your car has been pimped, you can drive by by several pedestrians and listen to their oohs and aahs, further adding insult to injury.
Now Depth Dwellers: to describe it in one line, DD is a massive sore to the eyes. Back in '94, when Id Software released their magnum opus, Doom, suddenly everyone wanted to hop on the new wagon that had drove into town and create a Doom-clone of their own: some achieved success, others not so much, and this game is the latter.
Attacking you head-on with spelling mistakes and a story no one bothered to read, DD starts off just like any other. You start off in a room, wondering how you got there, and blast! you get killed by the first enemy you encounter, in this case the one on the right. Its POV is first person, naturally, but it is so zoomed in, it feels as if you're playing through a fish bowl or a magnifying glass. The level designs are mediocre at best, confusing at their very worst, and completely uninspiring. I mean, Ikea has better mazes than this one.
If it took you 20 minutes to finish off the first level and you only got lost about 151 times, then yes, you're actually playing it correctly, because you were playing it "normally" - how you would play any other game. Apparently, Depth Dwellers calls for something else, and what's that I do not wanna know!
BioShock - Xbox 360
Favourite Character Design
Bioshock, when it was released, created ripples (no pun intended) across the world. One of the reasons for the ripples was this character, Big Daddy, silent adversaries that are as strong as the front part of a 1880's train.
There are hundreds of characters who are designed brilliantly, but there's something about this character that caught my eye. Is he Pyramidhead all over again? Doomed to live in pain forever? Doomed to wander for eternity?
Whatever the objective is, the fact that Big Daddy is a steampunk character is enough reason for me to include here. They should make a movie out of Bioshock.
Happy Vader's rating:
Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed - PC Games
Favourite Video Game Franchise
Need For Speed
What, no Mario? No Sonic the Hedgehog? No [insert your favourite franchise here]... do you realize how many games Mario has? I would have to resurrect 5 times just to play the official ones, and then there are the others.
Need For Speed, ladies and gentlemen, is the only franchise I grew up with. True there are others, but this was the only one I'd finished "100%" till Prostreet.
There's nothing much to say here except for the fact that NFS gave us some of the most beloved racing games on the market, and still remains a widely appreciated franchise among gamers!
Happy Vader's rating:
Amnesia - PC Games
A Video Game I Want to Recommend
As you can see from the screenshot, Amnesia is an interactive game, meaning it's all text, meaning you have to use your imagination - something that automatically gets shut down when you play Call of Duty.
Text games had a brief, but solid, run, and managed to give us some great titles, especially Zork, the most famous of all text games. Playing a text game in a time like this, where games have come to cinematic level, is akin to listening to an old man recounting on what he had to do for "cheap" entertainment - you know, porn. Unlike us, who can easily access to thousands of videos in one click, that old man had to listen.
While playing this game, keep a pen-and-paper near you. Unlike modern games, where cheap shots sometimes work wonders, Amnesia calls for absolute precision. You forget a name, you're rejected by Charon, the ferryman of the Underworld. You forget it 3 times, the game ends. In the opening level, you forget to wear a bath-robe, you're instantly arrested for, er, flashing!
In conclusion, think of Amnesia as a novel. An interactive novel in which you're the author. OK, ghost-writer, at least.
Happy Vader's rating:
SkyRoads - PC Games
First Video Game I Ever Played
Although it was a long time ago, over 14 years, I still remember waking up in the pitch black of 4 A.M. and booting (yea, I'm old-skool) up the computer and playing this. Only the children of the 80's and 90's will remember the feeling of finally beating a tough level or boss of a game and then going off to sleep peacefully, but also with that dreaded-anxious feeling of what could the next boss in the new level be like. Yeah, we were a complicated lot. Concerning video games, we were never at peace, and if we were, we weren't.
Now, SkyRoads was the first game that I ever played, or at least my memory says so. There's another, called God of Thunder that's a strong contender of being the first, but I like this one better. In this game, you control a spaceship and for no reason at all you start jumping from platform to platform to reach the end. And it only takes about 40 seconds to get there. That's right, 40 seconds! Hell, Shadow of Chernobyl takes 40 seconds to just load.
So basically, SkyRoads is like as if a mini-game that serves as a time-pass game while waiting for the actual game to load blown up and made into a full game of its own. Ever heard of Kosmonauts? If you haven't, then the success of this game reaches far and wide, because this game is a suped-up remake of the above. But because of its success it became an original game of its own, and its predecessor a distant memory. Think of it as the video game equivalent of I Love Rock 'n Roll. We all know and love the Joan Jett version but more than 75% of us don't know the original one. There!
Just like all good games, SkyRoads gets increasingly difficult, to the point where you become tired of spamming the space bar and would want nothing better than to lie down and try not to cry manly tears. But, one way or another, you manage to beat that level and/or finish the game. It only took about 12 years for me to beat the last level, thus finishing it off 100%
If you want a solid entertaining game with zero story, then SkyRoads is just for you. It's fun, addictive, and totally worth the time.
Happy Vader's rating:
Portal - PC Games
Favourite Female Character
Favourite female video game character? Hmm. There's no definite character that's universally loved, as everyone has their own opinions, but GLaDOS from Portal is I think universally loved, and one must have damn excellent reasons if he is to admit to the opposite.
Unlike other video game vixens, GLaDOS doesn't have a sexy body with large features and flaming red hair and a tattoo of a heart on her arm and an outfit that makes you burst at your seams. No, she is an artificially intelligent computer system. Before you scream "woah! big words", GLaDOS is basically a machine. With a voice. And that's exactly why I love her!
She's the female Morgan Freeman - by that I don't mean she's black. Excuse me! No offense meant :) - but by that I mean she shouldn't stop talking. Her passive-aggressive attitude and a penchant for black-humour and sarcasm prompts her to pip such immortal phrases such as "I'm a potato. You can't kill me" and my personal favourite, "The Enrichment Center promises to always provide a safe testing environment. In dangerous testing environments, the Enrichment Center promises to always provide useful advice. For instance, the floor here will kill you. Try to avoid it."
Although we've had talking A.I.'s before, namely AM the Supercomputer, HAL 9000 and SHODAN, the direct influence of GLaDOS, almost none of them have been both a sarcastic villain with a sexy voice and a singer with a sexy voice. Can you imagine HAL singing a song? That's like asking Marilyn Manson to voice Chloe from Bratz.
Anyway, enough rambling, GLaDOS is my favourite and it has nothing to do with how she looks, but rather how she sounds like. She could be Oscar the Grouch's trash-can and I would still be in love with that voice. Ahh! She's like Renee Zellwegger for the more imaginative.
*ahem* before I get too carried away, let me tell you this; be sure to listen to her song, Still Alive, on YouTube. If you don't fall in love within the first 30 seconds, repeat and try again.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - PlayStation 2
Favourite Male Character
Appearing as a npc somewhere in the middle of the game, Mike Toreno is one of those characters that despite appearing for a short period, manage to leave a big impression. Toreno is a relatively unknown character, especially among those who haven't played this game, and many get bored reading about someone or something that they don't know about. (that's psychology). Well, to spark your interest, he's voiced by Hades. *sigh* James Woods!
Although originally a comic-relief character, his strange, almost nonsensical phrases and almost limitless power (backed up by the government and all) makes him arguably the most dangerous character in the game. The man's capable of giving out any order, can convince anyone literally with both hands tied behind his back, and speaks more smoothly than a pair of well trained parrots. To me he's still an enigma. Is he actually half-paranoid or just fakes it? Who exactly is he? Toreno never reveals which government he works for, if any, or any organization or whatever, and almost literally seems to pop up from the grounds whenever he wants to bully CJ.
Almost as soon as you meet him, he hands you the toughest bit of mission in the game, Flight School, which, I'm sure everyone will agree, is the toughest, and the most boring, of all missions. But his hilarious comments and serio-comic phrases prevents from hating on him too much. In fact, by the time he last appears, you actually begin to like the guy.
In conclusion, I agree that there are tons of other better male characters than Mike Toreno and that this mysterious man in black wouldn't even be in the top 50 for many, it's just that in my brief time spent with video games he's the one who left a very big impression on me.
Happy Vader's rating:
iD Software - PC Games
Favourite Video Game Company / Developers
Contrary to not-so-popular belief, there's no such thing as a bad video game company. Every company has their ups and downs and just because most of their games don't appeal to you doesn't mean they're automatically bad. They may not be your cup of tea, but someone somewhere is gladly drinking from it and enjoying every sip. Now, before I start sounding like a text version of Nigella Lawson, let's get to the main thing.
I've played games from both obscure and well known gaming companies, and my current love of the moment is Shiny Entertainment whose 4 games I've played, but my most favourite, and the most recurring in my greatest games list, has to be Id Software. You know the story behind the company, you know their achievements, so I'm not going to get into that. However, if you're interested, I suggest you read Masters of Doom by David Kushner. It's totally awesome!
Unlike most others, and just like a fair few, I wasn't introduced to them through their immortal classics, but through their rather obscure games; Dangerous Dave, Rescue Rover and Heretic. Before they were big, they were small, (???), and the above results were all they had in their resume. These are not at all disappointing games, but unfortunately none of these 3 appeared in my greatest games list. However, 5 of their other successes did appear.
Rescue Rover is a puzzle game which sees your dog kidnapped by killer robots. You must brave peril and use your wits to outsmart those robots and rescue your puppy... only to have him kidnapped again. Dangerous Dave is a game we all know and love. In my school lab, it was practically a standard in all PCs, so everyone ended up playing it one way or another. Heretic is a difficult one. It was only published by Id Software, but one of its key people, John Romero, worked as a producer, and this game uses the Doom engine, so its practically 50% Id Software and 50% Raven, the original developers of Heretic and its subsequent sequels. Heretic is a first-person horror-themed shooter with a fantasy setting. Expect a lot of jump-scares, scary music, and awesome collection of weapons and magics!
The other games I've played are Doom, Doom II, Doom 3, Quake, Quake II, Wolfenstein 3D and its horribly disappointing prequel, Spear of Destiny. So that's a grand total of 10 games. Unfortunately I haven't played any from the Commander Keen series, but something now tells me I might.
Other notable mentions go to Nintendo EAD, Valve, Shiny, Apogee, and EA!
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island - Super famicom and SNES
Favourite Theme / Music
Yoshi's Island - Flower Garden
Technically, almost no game music / theme is bad. Unless of course you're playing either Manchester or Crazybus, but even they're wildly appreciated among contrarians; just like how people like Freddy Got Fingered. Hey, there's no such thing as universally bad, someone always finds a way to like that thing.
Now, Yoshi's Island is arguably one of the cutest games in history, and one of my personal favourite games of all time. This bit of music, by the legendary Koji Kondo is instantly lovable. It's cute, too cute in fact that it almost becomes a game in itself when you lay back and close your eyes. The music is akin to listening to a lullaby while take a stroll down a garden where the roses are red, violets are blue, the grass is green and the girls are pretty.
There are far more superior themes out there, especially Kondo's own masterpieces, Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda, but this one is enchanting.
Honorable mentions go to God of War, Halo and Psycho Mantis's theme from Metal Gear Solid.
Most Played Video Game
Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone
There have been (so far) two such phrases in my life where I was so morbidly obsessed by something that I literally took a rest from the real world and indulged in that subject for nearly 3 years, soaking up every last bit of information I could muster. One was when Greek mythology was exposed to me via encyclopedias (if you're 14 years or below, chances are you don't even know that word). For 3 years I studied that subject, becoming an all-knowing 13 yr. old. The second time was when my elder sister handed me the first book of Harry Potter. For the next couple of years all I knew or cared about was Harry Potter and his pals. Now for the game.
Although, technically speaking, my most played game has to be either Skyroads or Need For Speed II: SE because I'd played both of them countless times prior to Harry Potter... and kept playing even long after I stopped playing Harry Potter. But since I've mentioned those two earlier, I'll go with this one!
Now you believe it or not, but this game is the textbook definition of nostalgia for me... at least the PC version of it. If I were to make a dictionary of my own - although that would be pointless - I would just paste a picture of this game in front of the entry nostalgia. Man, the graphics still to this day are beautiful, mesmerizing even. I'm aware that everything in the game, from Harry's feet to Hagrid's beard, is pointy, square and huge, the fact that everything looks beautiful cannot be denied. The shelves with their paper thin books, the walls with their flat bricks, characters with TMNT hands, all are still a treat for my eyes 12 years later.
The game largely follows the book that it's based on, although some minor alterations are done; in the book the midnight duel between Draco and Harry never takes place - in the game it does, although frankly speaking, that's not how I imagined a wizarding duel to be like. If that's how Dumbledore and Grindelward fought, then woah! I've seen better water-balloon fights!
Anyway, great game, beautifully rendered, and a huge game that's almost sandbox, but not quite.
Happy Vader's rating:
Excitebike - Famicom and NES
A Game Everyone Loves But Not Me
Excitebike is a cool game, no doubt about it. Virtually every list of greatest games has this game included, not always at a higher spot, but included nonetheless.
The graphics are good, but the gameplay is so-so. I mean, it was very contrived. Halfway into the first race and I was bored as hell. To me, personally, the game's borderline irritating, and it's funny because I enjoyed Shigeru Miyamoto's other games, especially Starfox.
If you want to play a cool game, try out Stunt Car Racer; now that's a game supposed to fall in love with.
Batman & Robin - PlayStation
A Game No-one Loves But Me
Batman & Robin
Although I never finished it 100% - more like 55% - I thoroughly enjoyed it, not only because it was dark and moody, but because it was an open world game. All right, now for the details;
If you think the title's familiar, it's because the game is based on the film of the same name. That's right, the very one, the Atari Pac-Man of cinema. As legendarily bad the film was, its electronic counterpart wasn't at all bad. Sure, the controls were a hassle - it took about 7.5 seconds for Batman to take a complete turn and surprisingly, even more just to take half a turn - and the driving too was very blocky. You hit a wall and you literally "bounce" back, and it takes eons to get your bearings.
But despite these setbacks, and others, the game was pretty cool. Gotham City in this game was presented as a factory of darkness and neon lights. You could just stand by the road and watch headlights go on and off, or you could take your Batmobile and just cruise the city, neglecting your role as a vigilante and indulging in random drive-by's and reckless accidents. Batman has been everything, but in this video game, especially in your hands, he will be a serious case of misprision. Now that's something!
Jurassic Park - Sega Genesis and Mega Drive
Favourite Game Played at the Arcade
I'm one of those people who never stepped in the arcade. Neither am I one of those who had his initials filled out somewhere in the top 5 in of a very noisy, very flashy long forgotten arcade game. Not because I was an uncool kid or because my parents were very strict; but due to lack of arcades here in Muscat, Oman. We never had proper arcades, just one or two machines propped in random places - if you can find them, you can play them. We didn't have any centres devouted only to arcade machines, no kids standing in line waiting to play the hottest game on the market, no flashy noises, no roll of quarters, no nothing.
But however, there was one place back in the old days that had 10-12 arcade machines in a row, and one of them was Jurassic Park - a game that can be described as a rail shooter but I like to call it a scary roller-coaster ride gone wrong. You know, like that moment in I Am Number Four when Alex and his girlfriend get attacked by seemingly inanimate objects? Oh well, whatever...
This game, based on the film of the same name, is practically shoot till you drop. We were given two options; joysticks or light guns. I went for the latter. Ah, the feeling of holding a light gun in your hand, shooting at the destined places, and then pointing it off-screen to reload - bliss. This was Wii of the late 90's. Although I almost never succeeded in killing the T. Rex - I don't think you were ever supposed to - but the desire to encounter him again and again resulted in a Sound of Thunder complex.
I remember the last time I played it, I tried to take the light gun home, but never got far. The damn thing was chained to the machine...
Hot Wheels: Extreme Racing - PlayStation
Favourite Cut Scene / Cinematic
Hot Wheels: Extreme Racing - Intro
If boss battles are the meat of a game, then cutscenes are the backbone. They either propel the story further, or finish off the game in an epic climax. They are movies within a game, the turning pages, the poetic stanzas, the showcasing of graphical achievements.
In all the games I've played, almost no cut-scene was bad. Some were long, some short, but each and every was amazing in their own rights. Look at the cinematic ones in God of War II - feels like snippets from a movie. The part where Zeus kills Kratos is the highlight of the game. Or the ones in GTA: SA - subtle in their distinction, strong in their message. Or any of the cut-scene in the Final Fantasy series, especially in VIII with the ballroom dance. Man, that's classic.
So, instead of poring too much time on this, I took a quick stroll down nostalgia lane and came up with this one. This is an intro to the game, brilliantly showcasing the awesomeness of what the game can do; turn into a boat, plane, SUV, or land vehicle, just by going through a blue portal. It also focuses on the combat part of it, with all the missiles and explosions.
The intro is short and sweet, just like Ellen Page.
Happy Vader's rating:
Demon's Crest - Super famicom and SNES
Most Difficult Video-Game I've Played
According to popular belief, Ghosts 'n Goblins is widely considered as the most intensely difficult game of all time. I concur. Ghosts is the video game equivalent of Through the Fire & Flames solo. But I think I found a new contender: Demon's Crest, a gothic side-scrolling action platformer. Crest is the Eruption of video games. Awesome, but almost impossible to master.
Basically, every video game is difficult, even Pong, especially if you don't know the controls. Even Pac-Man and Space Invaders - but they were not meant to be. Demon's Crest however, was made for the sole purpose to get you. The difficulty is grueling, almost Another World-type and the forgiveness level is absolute zero.
You start off in a chamber with a dragon - arguably one of the coolest dragons in a video game. The dragon gives out a roar and starts stamping everywhere. He then follows you to the end of the room and starts shooting fireballs. This is the first level, or 1/10 of the first level. I played this part over and over at least 57 times before I realized you were supposed to attack his head. Once you do manage that, there's a boss battle that is so irritating it actually made me contemplate throwing away the mouse, the keyboard, and the laptop so that I wouldn't have to play the game anymore.
But after my 207th death, I finally deleted it and played Mickey's Speedway USA. At least that game's forgiving.
Honorable mentions go to Splatterhouse III, Another World, Sin & Punishment, Super Mario Bros. and every video game in existence, with the sole exception of Crysis... I still haven't played that.
Temple Run - iPhone
Most Addictive Video-Game I've Played
Just a week ago I received a Samsung Galaxy Tab from my parents: their way of saying, "part away from your old 2005 phone and catch up with the world". Although I took it, I still use my old one, a Motorola, and use the Galaxy Tab for, waitforit, *gasp*, GAMES! That's right, within twenty minutes, without even bothering to check for the phone signal, I downloaded 4 games in a row. Temple Run was one of them.
This game is Super Mario Bros. from a third person perspective, or to be more precise, a third person Pac-Man. Your player, Guy Dangerous, has stolen an artifact from a temple and now must run endlessly, or as long as you can manage, and avoid gaps, branches, fire and those monkey-bird hybrids.
Unlike a great or worst game, an addictive one needs no reason. I won't even bother explaining it, as none will understand why I'm addicted to it. Why don't you play it yourself and let me know?
Earthworm Jim 2 - Super famicom and SNES
Most Funniest Video Game I've Ever Played
Earthworm Jim 2
To say the Earthworm Jim series is surreal is an understatement. It's much more than that. It's Salvador Dali with juvenile humour. Shiny Entertainment, founded by gaming great David Perry, were known for their bizarre humour, and it showed perfectly in MDK, Sacrifice and the first two Earthworm Jim titles. All four games I love, with EJ2 being the greatest.
The setup is bizarre enough: an earthworm in a supersuit. His enemies are crows, flying bladders, penguins, Psy-Crow, fish in a tank, and Queen Slug-For-A-Butt. No, I did not make them up, they're real. The game employs Irish-Scottish music - Perry's Irish - and self-aware quotes which have become iconic, such as "Cow launched", or as how it becomes in the sequel, "Dunk the Cow".
The levels are shockingly bizarre. Check out "Jim's Now a Blind Cave Salamander!" Again, I did not make this up. As the title says, he's now a blind salamander and must flap his tiny wings and fly to the other end, all the while avoiding red-weed-type things, which curiously resemble intestines. The next level sees all the cows being abducted, and this is where flying bladders come and spray you with bullets. Let that sink in...
If Jim stays idle for quite some time, he throws a brick in the air, and after 10-15 seconds, it crashes right on top of him. Sometimes he pulls out a miniature Rambo-type guy from his, er, waist and either eats him or lets him go as if he's a wind-up toy. Also, babies in this game hurt a lot than in real life, so you gotta be careful. Babies... hurled towards you by crabs!
If you look at the picture it shows Jim and fish in the tank. It also says "fight" because it's a boss battle. But don't worry for it's the shortest, and funniest, boss battle in video gaming history. I didn't know of that fact, and here I was ready with my fingers on the specific keys, ready to brave for whatever was in store for me: maybe the fish enlarges into a shark, maybe he starts tearing you apart with 3 rail-guns; or maybe he turns into a hybrid of this and that. My mind was whirring with limitless scenarios. Just as it was reaching its zenith, the game started and Jim picked up the fish... and ate it!
Let that sink in...
Honorable mention goes to Pepsi-Man... *pepsi-pepsi-pepsiiiiiimaaaaannnnn*
Happy Vader's rating:
Duke Nukem 3D - PC Games
Favourite Video Game Hero
3DRealms, formerly Apogee Software, were one of the two coolest gaming developers in the mid-90's. The other was Id Software. What made this company cool, if for a short period, was because of the fact they released Rise of the Triad and Duke Nukem 3D, the only game (back then) on the market which could rival head-on with Id Software's revolutionary titles (I think I've mentioned them enough).
One of the earliest talking fps hero, Duke Nukem was a mixture of the big muscular, ass-kicking, snarling action movie stars of the 80's and early 90's, namely Arnie, Stallone, Van Damme, Willis and Russell. That's too much testosterone for us, but a small spark for him. A politically incorrect macho-man, Duke wants nothing better than to tote lines and kick alien butt and then "time to watch some porn".
What made this character so better, and greater, than the others of its time was that he would start using his boot - the Mighty Boot - when he would run out of ammo. And believe me, that Boot was times stronger than any weapon.
Although I just played him in one game, 3D, he definitely won me over. He's now in my top 10. I mean, the dude's a household name, a genuine ass-kicker, always manages to save the day, and his famous army haircut never once does lose a strand in all the bloodshed.
Happy Vader's rating:
Wolfenstein 3D - Super famicom and SNES
Favourite Video Game Villain
What's better than Adolf Hitler? Flying Hitler you say? Well, I think it is Hitler in a mechanical suit with 4 chain-guns coming for you. That is enough to wet anyone's pants, but that depends on the reason - some by the awesomeness of it, you know, nerd-gasm, and others by the sheer horror of it.
True, he does look like a toddler wearing a Lego suit, but you can't deny this is awesome. The crafty developers behind this game purposely designed the character's sprite in such a way that his back was never on you. That means, evil is always looking at you, no matter wherever you are, wherever you might be... hehehehe!
Ork - Amiga 500
Ork and Beneath A Steel Sky
You can check out my 500 greatest game covers list here: www.listal.com/list/500-greatest-game-covers
A cover alone doesn't a great game make. But it does help reel in the slobbering masses. It may not be prudent to judge a book by its cover, or a movie by its trailer, but its perfectly safe to judge, or buy, a game solely by looking at the cover, because most of the time they're honest. But at other times they serve no purpose than to act as a shiny gold foil hiding a hot-dog sized excrement underneath. If that has happened to you, then you're instantly forgiven, because we all have made that mistake. I did it with Pimp My Ride... *sigh*
Let's start off with Ork. It's a painting by Richard Clifton-Dey called Behemoth's World. If this image seems familiar to you, it's because it also appears on the cover of Cultosaurus Erectus by Blue Oyster Cult, although reversed. It is instantly grabbing, and truly powerful in its aggressiveness. Almost every game published or developed by Psygnosis had cool artwork - check out Barbarian, Baal, Ballistix, Blue Ice, Blood Money and Obliterator - but Ork is the best from the bunch.
Next we have Beneath a Steel Sky. The cover is very reminiscent of Mean Streets by Martin Scorsese. The title refers not to an actual sky, but is a metaphor describing the Union City, the majority of where the game takes place in. Think of it as a factory with a neighbourhood inside it. The cover is bleak, yet beautiful. Its monochromatic tone with a stenciled feel really gives off a doomed atmosphere but at the same time a feeling of security and trust. Well, that's my deduction!
Nintendo 64 - Game Hardware
I agree when people say that emulators don't stand up to the real consoles. In my opinion emulators are those plastic guitars you get with Guitar Hero to a real genuine Gibson. But hey, something is better than nothing, and you will have played that legendary game you always wanted to play.
Of all the emulators I've downloaded (I currently have more than 8), this one, PJ64, is by far the best. Not only there's true full-screen and the games run amazingly smooth, but there's also a cheats menu where you can activate certain cheats of your choice, and they range from the most important of ones - god mode, infinite health - to the minor ones - debug mode, fps editor. The reason why I like this emulator is because the graphics are great, at least compared to the others ones, namely SNES, NES and GBA. I cannot say for sure just how well it captures the feeling of a true N64, but play Doom and you will understand the awesomeness of it.
If you're the guy who cannot afford a console but can download an emulator, then download this one, as it does not disappoint and plays all the major, big name titles as well as obscure ones. Also, the cheats menu...
Another World - Sega Genesis and Mega Drive
A Video Game I Wish I Had Made
Another World a.k.a Out of This World
Another World is one of my personal favourite games, because of its endless replay value, insane difficulty, catchy and sad music, ambiguous ending, and legendary graphics that still stand to this day.
Man, I wish I had developed this game, or a game like this, because I'm a sucker for art games like this. This left a big impression on me. Bravo, Eric Chahi, bravo!
Happy Vader's rating:
Silent Hill 2 - PlayStation 2
Favourite Voice-Overs From a Video Game
James Sunderland and Angela Orosco
Just because I signaled out these two doesn't mean the rest weren't good. Each and every actor in the game was top-notch, with convincing chemistries, good control over their voice, and almost perfect line delivery
But it was these two who impressed me the most, especially when they interacted with each other. Guy Cihi voices James Sunderland, the main protagonist of this game. It felt authentic, in control. That is something you don't see everyday.
Donna Burke voices Angela Orosco, in my opinion the best actor in the game. Even though her screen time was quite short and her appearances were widely spaced, Donna 100% won me over by her smooth transitioning from a vulnerable confused girl to a silent femme-fatale. And I positively love the way she says "sorry". I don't know why, but I liked the way she delivers that word, with the emphasis on the two r's.
Halo: Combat Evolved - Xbox
God of War II - PlayStation 2
Favourite Video Game Quote
Athena! You will suffer for this!
The aforementioned Athena
We all know Kratos, the Ghost of Sparta, the new God of War, blah and etc... he utters this immortal (no pun intended) quote after at the start of the game when an eagle (presumably Athena) robs Kratos of his godly powers and shrinks him down to our size, you know, normal. While being lowered, he shouts this quote to the heavens. Whether she heard it or not is a moot point. The eagle later on turns out to be Zeus.
Now, what makes this quote so great? Was it the delivery? The message it carried? Had this been the first game, Kratos wouldn't dare scream something like that to the heavens. But now that he's a god - of war, no less - he can pretty much do anything he wants, and that's hardly surprising because he ends up doing pretty much the exact same things he did in the first game - when he was not a god. To us earthly mortals that is like turning 19 and being legal for all the things we had been doing since the age 14. Really not too much difference there!
I often find myself saying this quote a lot - [insert name of victim], you will suffer for this] - but I largely say it in my head, lest someone should hear it. I really like this quote because of the angry delivery of it, and of Kratos's matter-of-fact voice while saying it.
"Only in one's mind can words flow freely. Throw them in the air, and they become poisoned for eternity"
Honorable mentions go to "Finish Him" - "Tor Hund" - "I Have Fury" and the perennial classic "Do a Barrel Roll"
Happy Vader's rating:
Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed - PlayStation