PK's All-Time Favorite Video Games
147 6.2 025. Sonic Spinball - Sega Genesis and Mega Drive
29 6.3 023. Ristar - Sega Genesis and Mega Drive
Just hangin'. What's it to ya?
A lot of stuff went on during the creation of Sonic the Hedgehog. He was designed, for one thing, and given a human girlfriend, Madonna, and the role of frontman of a rock group. Then his appearance was changed through plastic surgery by those filthy Americans who also tore him away from his life's love and executed his fellow band members before his very eyes. He learned the truth - that earlier concepts for his design had him as a rabbit and an armadillo. He soon realized that his inner armadillo has materialized as the wall-kicking Mighty, who he acknowledges as his evil curls-up-into-a-ball twin. I mean, anyone who kicks walls has to be reprehensible through and through, right?
His grabby inner rabbit was shown mercy by the gods and turned into a constellation advertising for Barq's Root Beer, or at least one of the stars in it. Ristar is able to grab things and pull himself toward him. Things like poles and skinny trees duly allow him passage left and right and diagonally upward or downward, but if his hands happen to find their way on some obstinate creature, that's just too friggin' bad, I guess.
Ristar makes for a nice best friend. Just keep him away from your wife, sister, and daughter.
941 7.3 021. Super Mario Sunshine - GameCube
In short: a fun summer action flick with due color correction.
Why is Mario always blamed for stuff? Saving the video gaming industry from collapse in '85, establishing Nintendo as a household name, and now painting graffiti on Isle Delfino. Poor guy can't catch a break.
Water makes this game. Mario soaks it in, blasts it out, and all in all can't seem to get away from it. Incidentally, water can also ruin this game, as I discovered when I used the disk for Super Soaker target practice. You'd think I used it as a target, but I actually used it as the platform I stood on while shooting. I still can't wrap my head around why what I did was so unforgivable...
Some games get by giving the player several characters with controls that differ on some basic level. Take Super Mario Bros. 2. This game is of the type that offers one character whose smorgasbord of different abilities offers variety within said character. Ironically, the only thing Mario doesn't do in Super Mario Sunshine is plumbing. His tendency to pursue and take on jobs that have nothing to do with his career is comparable to that of Homer Simpson.
Whenever I have time off - be it summers, Christmas, or Spring Break - I play this game. Real vacations are for girls, who smell, by the way.
4 10 019. SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium - Neo-Geo Pocket Color
Well, aren't you just the cutest little - OWCH!
I'm a pretty hardened individual, one who's been around and has had almost every experience you can think of. You might call me a cynic. And that's because I've come to know that the world is a cesspool of hardship and suffering which cannot be saved. I will hear nothing of hope and kindness, for these are merely illusions that mask people's doubts and self-motivations.
That being said, these little guys are adorable. It should be a sin how cute the miniaturized sprites for characters like Terry, Haohmaru and Felicia are. I mean, they should be arrested - no, spanked for it. They should be sent to their rooms without dessert. And, the scary thing is, they know how undeniably darling they are and will use it against you. Yes, these innocent super deformed peanuts have a master plan - an end game, if you will - and it involves you supporting them until they're eighteen and then paying for their college.
Be afwaid. Be VEWY afwaid.
It's with this cuteness that I was officially converted to straight 2D fighters (as I call the classic-style ones). I don't really consider myself a graphics junkie, either, but then I don't really consider myself dead but that doesn't mean it can't at some point be true. Er, point is, the aesthetic direction for these little NeoGeo Pocket Color games hooked me, and now there's a hole in my right cheek that may take a while to close up. It also helps that the sprites don't even take up half the height of the screen, because I like my space in video games as in life - sorry, Mary Beth, but I hold controllers, not hands!
Match of the Millennium it is. And what a violent and super-deformed millennium it's been!
45 8.1 018. Galaga - Arcade
My mommy tells me not to accept rides from strangers.
Galaga is to Galaxian what Sonic the Hedgehog is to the traditional platformer. Seriously, Namco sped the gameplay up so that it's Galaxian on cheap trucker speed. The protagonist spaceship can turn left and right faster than the speed of light, right? And the enemies dance onto the screen like wayward asteroids hurtling through a mysterious cosmos. Right? And then the bullets fly upwards like they're cuttin' out of the galaxy before its central star exthplodes. Ya get? And the screen's smaller compared to the ships so that the action is more unavoidable - you see? - as if it were rocks in the ring of Saturn, constantly complaining about intrusive visits from Mormon rocks and loud noise from the rock stars next door. So, basically, it's just a dern fun game - moreso to me than Galaxian, though that particular one is classic enough to be placed however higher up it may be. Understood?
When I ask you to talk, you may talk, PK.
17 6.4 017. Donkey Kong Jr. - Famicom and NES
28 7.5 016. Mario Bros. - Arcade
217 7.4 015. Sonic Adventure - Sega Dreamcast
43 7.8 014. Mega Man Zero - Game Boy Advance
I slash through your bullet so quickly I don't even touch it.
I believe that helps me somehow.
Spanning almost ten years, the Mega Man games I've played in my life have distracted me from school time and time again.
Time #1: In middle school I played Mega Man 6 at the end-of-class break. I liked it, but since then I've had to look back on my enjoyment with a grain of salt because I hadn't played 1-4 where all the innovation took place.
Time #2: At the beginning of college I got an itch to play Mega Man Zero via the DS collection. I had ordered a bundle of the whole series on GBA years previously, but the first game had a glitch where I couldn't talk to Ciel and thus couldn't save. When I tried it again on my favorite video game system so far, it took me the weekend and then the beginning of the following week to beat it. I was dreading it to an extent, because almost everything I'd heard about it focused on its extreme difficulty. But I found that, with a growing collection of Cyber Elves to help out, it got progressively easier as I played it.
The controls are amazing in this game. You wanna go left? You can go left, baby. You wanna pause the game? Slam that sucker on the 'Start' button, mister. When I gave it effort, I found myself able to dodge and take out enemies easily. I even enjoyed the more difficult parts of the game simply because I had Zero to play through them with.
Mega Man Zero has, instead of scratching my itch, irritated it so that now I have a rash that makes me want to play all the earlier games in the series. I call this predicament Poison Snarfblat. The first word in that name is a reference to poison ivy. The second I got from The Little Mermaid. I'm currently brooding over replacing the latter with something relevant to Mega Man.
So, yeah. There seems to be a trend of me getting distracted from schooling by Mega Man games. Two times this has happened, I says. Two times. It's beginning to become a problem for me.
2 10 012. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows - Nintendo DS
Howzabout this for a choice?
I choose to kick yo' butt rather than punch yo' face!
This game has to have one of the best control schemes in all of platforming. I'm a sucker for unique, smooth controls. There's a lot of depth to the combat system as well, and learning it helps in but isn't required for beating the game. When I play this, Spidey's practically an extension of myself - extensions of Spidey included.
When I first and second played this game, I don't think I appreciated its controls and solid Metroidvania gameplay. Kids are such ingrates. Fortunately, here third time's the charm. Unfortunately, this can't also be said of the Griptonite Spidey games.
You see, after Shattered Dimensions, Other Ocean Interactive stole the license from them, and laughed about it too. They spat on the faces of Griptonite employees, burned down their churches, eloped with their daughters, and created Spider-Man: Edge of Time. That last one was the worst offense of them all.
Other Ocean would indubitably argue that the makers of this game set the bar impossibly high so that any followers would be doomed to failure. But I say this: what happened to With great power comes great responsibility? Did you forget about that, Other Ocean? Did you? And how about giving the license to someone who can handle it properly, the way Spider-Man consciously let Miles Morales take his place after he died? Granted, that was in the Ultimate Universe, so I really don't get most people's whining, but then most people don't pay attention to this stuff. I, personally, had a laugh at Colbert's reporting of said tragedy, though this would be one of the few times I wasn't laughing with the guy.
But let us not dwell on the past; let us dwell on a slightly less recent past, which is when this game hit the stands like a baseball. And, believe me, the lucky kid that caught it added a valuable item to his collection.
58 8.3 011. Kirby & The Amazing Mirror - Game Boy Advance
1 10 09. F-14 Tomcat - Game Boy Advance
540 7.9 08. Sonic the Hedgehog - Sega Genesis and Mega Drive
The 'R' is for RESPECT, sucka!
There have been many works of art that have, over the years, delved progressively more into the human mind's potential to imagine the insanely weird and eccentric. The paintings of Salvador Dali. The first Sonic the Hedgehog game. The lists of Listal user Pumpkinate. And everything before, after, and inbetween.
I adore Sonic the Hedgehog's speed-based gameplay. It took the platforming structure made standard with franchises like Mario and Alex Kidd and pumped as much Pixy Stix powder as possible into every vein in its body. As the lightning struck the antenna on top of the lab, sending electricity into said structure, terrible spines protruded from out of its back, its body became an awe-inspiring cobalt, and a peach mouth uttered the chilling words "Let's do it to it!. The doctor who created it, realizing completely what a monster he had brought to life, screamed with great fervor - "I. Hate. That. HEDGEHOG!!!" - and thus one of video gaming's greatest franchises came into existence.
There's also the surrealism, of course, which we take for granted, being the entitled culture that we are. Seriously, my peers are always complaining about how they "deserve" a compatible "partner", how certain "laws" in this country are "unfair", and how they "don't like" me "calling" them "names". I'm like, "Who the heck are you!? What makes you so important???" They wouldn't know an imaginatively-created universe if it apologized to them for not consecrating their precious precious names. But I, being the enlightened intellectual that I am, can truly appreciate the checkered walls in Green Hill Zone which are contrary to how rock usually forms, the loopty-loops which serve no purpose beyond letting Sonic build up speed, and the dancing flowers which do the particular dance they're going for all wrong.
Sonic comes and goes, but his legacy lasts for nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds. So hurry up, because he's waaaaiting!
455 8.2 07. Pokemon: Blue Version - Game Boy
Gotta Catch 'Em All has always seemed to be the modus operandi for virus-breeding grade schoolers, but this game took it to a new level. Back in the day we used to trade the common cold for Vulpixes, chicken pox for Eggsecutes, laryngitis for Jigglypuffs, and head lice for thimbles. Don't ask about that last one - it's a long story.
Like your typical kiddo, Pokemon Red/Blue exists in its own little world. That's really one of the things I quite like about it - that it exists. Grinding's a chore, but at least you're not as likely to injure yourself in a very private area when doing it in a video game. The variety of creative Pokemon speaks to the game's favor, and in bloopity-bleepy Game Boy voice rendition at that. If you read it, it must make sense.
Pokemon Red/Blue was one of the first truly immersive experiences I had when playing games at a younger age. I could never overwrite the file on my copy of Pokemon Blue with my Blastoise nicknamed after one of my guinea pigs (the one that I spent the most time with, my brother preferring the other). If you insult this game, then you might as well dig up the shoe box harboring little Fluffykins's body in my backyard and dress it up in a tutu, because either way you're dishonoring her name and misusing the word "iridescent" simultaneously.
1029 8.3 05. Super Mario 64 - Nintendo 64
I'm-a tired... Of messing around in the hub world, PK!
This game is warmth and love to me. It simply gives me good vibes. Just look at that view outside that castle. It's polygonal, it's pixely, but you know what? It's a view outside that castle. And you can't put a price on that.
For all its "datedness" (I'll give the reviewers the benefit of the doubt and assume they were going for a complementary fruit-based reference), I find such things to be much of the charm. And being a game starring super-stud Mario Bro. Jaywalker (that's his full game; I pulled his file), you can't possibly undermine the charm. It's just there. He oozes of charm. Look at that strut. I'll stop now.
All I'm sayin' is, the things that many people think holds the game back are really some of its finest assets. You hear an old song, see an old movie, read an old book - is it outdated? No, it's a classic. Those idiosyncrasies that associate it with a particular era are precisely what makes it timeless. The spirit of an age is encapsulated in that work, and when you experience it at a later date, it tugs you away from the time you live in, the current conflicts you experience, the complete and utter engulfment in just one facet of human history by which you are bound. It draws out something that someone, somewhere, long ago felt and perceived and by so doing proves your being as something integrated in the whole of time and space, releasing you from subjection to the worry and anxiety of your life, seeming so small by comparison.
It is-a you, Mario. It always was.
344 8.2 04. Pokemon: Gold Version - Game Boy Color
329 8.6 03. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - PlayStation
269 7.9 02. Sonic & Knuckles - Sega Genesis and Mega Drive
139 7.7 01. Super Castlevania IV - Super famicom and SNES
Out mah way, fool!
My first Castlevania experience being with the GBA's Circle of the Moon, which established the Metroidvania formula for the series and got the ball rolling for handheld games in the style, I went into that used game store with a rather simple goal: get in, find me a Castlevania game, get out. The fact that the game would have one big non-linear map and include RPG elements was rightfully assumed.
So when I plugged the cartridge the cartridge into the SNES, I was yearning for the freedom to explore at my own whim. And all I got was this epic piece of linearity.
I got the whip upgrade first. Hmm, that was a little too easy. Are all the upgrades going to come to Simon so simply? Then I passed the bridge. I thought that I'd of course be able to go back outside the castle entrance afterward, so I walked back to the left. That was when it hit me. "Oh, no..." I thought. "Oh, no, no, no, no! NO!" came my internal scream (the guinea pigs were down for their five-thirty nap, you see). "Dear Mahogony! I've purchased a normal, linear platformer!" And, as I would soon find out, it was actually challenging.
If we didn't grow and progress, the world would be a very close-minded place. The game's creepy atmosphere was the epitome of early horror archetypes, before Alucard and Edward Cullen came around and required classier scenery. The challenge was just what was needed to take advantage of the game's mechanics. The way Simon played - the eight-directional whip, the swinging from a hook - trumped every Castlevania title created up to that point. The music is the single most hauntingly atmospheric thing I'd ever heard. The level designs were fun and engaging and the game was long enough to warrant days of playtime.
And you know what? It's still all these things. Just as sure as Dracula always returns, this game will always be picked up and played to emphatically positive responses from gamers of all breeds. Especially Neo-Freudian.
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