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Small Moments That Make A Big Difference

The Game Informer staff has amassed a sizable collection of articles that highlight the top moments in video games. Whether its Kim defending Final Fantasy X's awkward laughing sequence or Tim reflecting on Castlevania: Symphony of the Night's inverted castle, our writers provide insightful looks back at some of their favorite gaming memories. Most of these stories center on specific story sequences and amazing reveals; they usually don't account for the gameplay that defines these titles.

This blog focuses specifically on little gameplay touches that make games great. These entries don't necessarily highlight the key gameplay components for each game, but rather point out elements that continue to resonate and impress. This is a partial list. If the editorial gods are kind to me, I'll update this blog with new entries when I have time. Help me out by leaving your own list of gameplay moments in the comments section below.


Deploying Banana Peels – Mario Kart

This moment may just be special to me, but I love watching cars wipe out on banana peels. The fact that something as lame as a banana peel could cause so much chaos is amazing. Hats off, Nintendo.


Playing As Bo Jackson – Tecmo Bowl

He’s unstoppable and the closest a video game has come to shipping with an active cheat code. Because of his Superman-like abilities on the field, I became a Raiders fan for the majority of my childhood. The combination of a Howie Long interception and a Bo Jackson touchdown was as sweet as video game sports got back in the day.


Immediate Death – XCOM: UFO Defense

The fogs of war proved to be unforgiving in X-COM: UFO Defense. Aliens would lay in wait for X-COM soldiers to descend a dropship ramp. As soon as the soldier would step out onto the darkened field of war, a laser blast cut through the darkness, dealing a deathblow to the hapless X-COM trooper. One by one, my soldiers would fall, not due to my poor strategies, but because the X-COM military didn’t do any scouting prior to dispatching their squadron. I remember thinking “The aliens must be rolling with laughter over how poorly run this military force is.”


Jump Punches to the Face – Mike Tyson’s Punch Out

In the 20-plus years that have passed since Mike Tyson’s Punch Out was released on NES, no boxing game has delivered a punch with as much power or emotion behind it as Mac's jumping jab to the face. These punches are powerful enough to topple giants.


Eating All Four Ghosts – Pac-Man

I’ve probably accomplished this feat a thousand times in my lifetime, and each time, it brings a smile to my face. It’s satisfying knowing that I cleared the board and gained a few seconds of pellet-eating freedom from it.


Cutting Through the Insanity – Geometry Wars II: Retro Evolved

David versus Goliath-like odds are often thrown at gamers. The “unlikely hero” is the archetype most used in games. When Geometry Wars really gets cooking, and the screen is filled to capacity with colored enemy vessels and nasty wormholes, the odds are more like David versus Galactus (the giant world eater from Marvel Comics). Cutting through this madness is one of the craziest experiences any game offers. Sure, the player usually only survives this insanity for 20 to 30 seconds, but it’s an incredible feat nonetheless. Every gamer should invest time in this game to get a taste of this thrill.


Lightsabering Walls – Star Wars: Jedi Knight II – Jedi Outcast

Whenever Kyle Katarn’s lightsaber would come in contact with a wall, it would leave scorch marks on it. This isn’t a gameplay moment, per se, but I still remember this small detail fondly. It made the act of wielding a lightsaber more exciting.


Unleashing New Summons – Final Fantasy VII

Each one played out like a mini-movie, with dragons and titans raining death down on enemies in extravagant and unnecessarily violent ways. Knights of the Round is still one of the most impressive ways to annihilate a foe in all of gaming.


The Need for Speed – Super Metroid

Samus Aran runs through walls. ‘nuff said.


Playing The Ocarina – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
If you really think about it, Link's ocarina is the most powerful item in all of Hyrule. This stylish blue instrument can create storms, summon horses, and alter the very fabric of time. It is also tied to several of gaming's catchiest melodies, and is a hell of a lot of fun to play. I still have my notebook of note charts at home.


+10 – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
It's the feel good number of multiplayer gaming. Whenever "+10" appears onscreen, it signals a job well done for the player, and also adds experience points to his or her rank.


Fade to Black – Mortal Kombat

I stress more during the Fatality entry sequence than the fight itself. If the correct buttons are hit in this short window of time, the screen fades to black, signaling the player to sit back and watch the show.

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