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Games have become a part of normal everyday life. From the classic
Pac-Man to the modern Halo, video games have been shelved in our homes
since the mid 70's. This post dates the previous craze, pinball and
pre-date the future goal, virtual reality. But, every console, and
every generation has a few games that it remembers most, or that
influenced the next generation of games and gamers more than any other.
Here are my picks for the best games of yester year to ever grace
our homes. In this article, a game must be 4 years old or more to be
'retro' . Since the onset of the 'next-gen' systems and everyone
focusing on the new methods of game development, even consoles like the
XBOX and PS2 can technically be considered 'retro', though I intend to
go no further than PS2 since both Game Cube and XBOX were released many
years after the commercial introduction of the PS2. In many ways both
the GC and XB were out of the PS2 league in terms of power and
capability, yet the PS2 clung on to number one because of the game
titles and the long list of developers who had committed to continue
their support for the console.
A lot of you will be too young to remember the old Atari 2600, but
will still know what it looks like (mainly by the iconic black boxy
single button controller and the small rectangular cartridges). I never
owned one, but my father did, and I just played it. He and my mother
would play Barnstorming until the early morning hours when I was a kid.
The Atari didn't hook me in games, no, that was the Nintendo… however I
respect and understand the importance of the 2600 and It's bigger
brothers, the Atari 7800 and Atari ST (which I did have)
Arguably the first platform game ever in the US and a very early
platform title in Japan. Donkey Kong features Mario and the Lady in a
King Kong style of battle, where Donkey Kong held the princess captive
while hurling barrels down a series of paths that Mario must climb up
to save the princess. And, despite the presentation of Donkey Kong as
the villain, it was Jumpman (Mario) who mistreated his pet (the ape)
who in turn kidnapped Mario's girlfriend, Pauline (later converted to
The Princess) that started the whole thing to begin with…
A simultaneous 2 player game, you play a a knight on a bird,
knocking waves of enemy opponents or there other player off for points.
Points could also be obtained by collecting eggs and hatchlings. The
game saw many ports, up to and including the PS2 console system.
It is very hard to describe the point of this game, but from what I
remember (granted I was maybe 5 when I played it), the objective was to
escape a complex series of levels without getting killed by robots or
the evil smiley face that followed you everywhere. What I remember most
about this game was that it used computer speech synthesis,
non-existent in any other game until much later. There were 64,000
levels in this game, so beating it was rarer than winning the three
simultaneous lotteries while being struck by lightning.
Pitfall Harry, a little stick figure of a man, who must collect 32
treasures in 20 minutes in a classic platformer was a well known game
on the Atari console. The game stands out for the imposed time limit
and the simplicity of the game which had large part for the titles
success. The player had to avoid being trapped in tar pits, bottomless
pits and being eaten by alligators by running, jumping and swinging on
vines. Looking back it was mundane, but in those times it was exciting
because it was original.
Space Invaders set the globe on fire. It was originally manufactured
by Taito and licensed for production in the U.S. by the Midway division
of Bally. Initially released in its native Japan in 1978, it ranks as
one of the most influential video games ever created. Though simplistic
by today's standards, it was one of the forerunners of modern video
Upon release, Space Invaders practically causes riots across Japan,
as well as being responsible for a nation-wide coin shortage that
forces the government to quadruple Yen production to keep up. (true
story) To cash in on the craze, shopowners clear out their merchandise
and set up all-Space Invader arcades overnight. Midway, licensing the
game, soon finds itself in possession of the biggest arcade videogame
hit in America up to that point.
The iconic 'second row' invaders have surfaced on a few murals in form of mosaic… and become an element in some pop art today.
The Nintendo Entertainment System, or Famicom as it was named in
Japan, doused the world in flames. It was THE gift of Christmas in
1985. It also was the console that came with Duck Hunt and Super Mario
Bros, both controllers and a light gun. It was the complete gaming
experience in its time. I still shoot that *** dog hoping that I can
in some way silence his laughs when I miss the ducks.
Quite possibly the dumbest story ever written, Blaster Master was
just as popular if not more so than Contra and Iron Tank. The game is
about a boy (Jason) in search of his pet frog, who by chance escaped.
Jason goes on an extraordinary journey to retrieve his frog an in the
process finds a super sophisticated tank and engages in battles
sub-terrain style. The game has awesome OST, especially for its time
and was SUNSOFTS most successful franchise. Of course the little glitch
cheat was nice too (bomb the giant frog and pause the game for about 30
seconds, then unpause and you beat them)
No 'retro gamer' who is worth their weight in salt can leave out
Final Fantasy, just as any retro game list loses credibility if it were
to leave this delicatessen out. The game was a last ditch effort by
Squaresoft (now Square Enix) to save themselves, and subsequently has
become one of the best selling titles in any genre. The game simply
enthralled RPG players the world over. A used mint copy of this game on
ebay goes for around $50, but a used copy from a store has been spotted
at around $150. Crazy? That entirely depends on your level of devotion.
C/mon... 'man' up.
A side scrolling action adventure game where the player takes Ryu
though the game trying to find out the details of his father's death
and the cult responsible for it. The game saw two other main sequels
and more recently an updated and unrelated storyline.
The epic beginning (depending on your point of view) to some of the
greatest espionage style games ever. Playing as Snake, you try to
infilitrate an enemy base and destroy the walking tank that would be a
harbinger for world destruction codenamed "Metal Gear". This game was
actually chronologically the second title, as MGS3 served more as the
introduction given that it takes place in the 60's with the original
Snake prior to becoming "Big Boss".
The Belmont clan gets a much acclaimed introduction in the Original
Castlevania. The original has no real story other than you play a
vampire hunter who sets out to destroy Dracula. The sequels and gaiden
(side story) titles gave the original a lot of depth, adding value to
the original. The game was fun, challenging, and colorful.
A standard setting game for side scrolling shoot-em ups, Contra was
the 8-bit icon that every kid who owned an NES took pride in beating.
It was as if the measure of your game used Contra as a metric. Lunch
room table arguments would surround how fast or with how many 'extra
men' you could beat this game. I'll never forget the first time I beat
this game; it was 6:15 am and I was in 5th or 6th grade, waiting to
leave to catch the school bus. I beat it with no codes .
This was a popular title with the same crowd that also enjoyed
'Little Nemo', but it is a very hard game to find these days. The
premise was a sixteen-year old high school student at Greenview High
known as Astyanax has dreams every night about a princess calling for
help. One day while walking to school he is summoned to the mythical
realm of Remlia by a pixie named Cutie. He is directed to rescue
Princess Rosebud, but first he must fight off hordes of monsters set
loose by the evil wizard Blackhorn. He must rescue the princess in
order to return to the real world. During his last fight Cutie gives
her life so that Rosebud can send Astyanax home to his proper time
space. When Astyanax returns home, he believes that he was again
dreaming, until he runs into Cutie, who was transported to the real
world as a gift to them both for their bravery.
The NES version of the game featured weapons upgrades, but due to
its large pixel size and high level of detail (for a mid-generation NES
title) the game suffered slow down and page tearing. Despite this fact,
the game lives on as a little known, but very classic platform title
with one of the best endings for its time.
Sega Genesis, known for being ahead of its time, the quirky "say it"
commercials, and the onslaught of Sonic games was the center of debate
for kids. Which was better? Nintendo or Sega. I've seen fist fights
ensue these heated debates, and in my opinion it was Nintendo (for
quality of games over quality of graphics). The Genesis stood out
because the titles generally featured superior graphics than the Super
Nintendo, and later the Sega CD could be added to play 32bit CD media
games like "Sewer Shark" and "Earthworm Jim". Despite the early success
of Sega with their consoles, the Sega Dream Cast was the last console
that Sega would produce before legal issues in 2000 drove them into
being 'game only' in 2001 to present. Currently there are rumors of a
Dreamcast 2 (and holy hell would I cream myself if this were fact).
One of the key design features of the console is its backwards
compatibility with Sega's previous console, the Sega Master System. The
16-bit design was based upon the 8-bit design, albeit enhanced and
extended in many areas. Nintendo had not made an attempt at making a
backwards compatible console until the Wii.
Sonic the Hedgehog
The flagship title that embodies SEGA. Sonic the hedgehog was a
platform game, that in its time rivaled Mario and Luigi of Nintendo.
This game propelled the Genesis into mass popularity in North America.
After it was released, it eventually replaced Altered Beast as the game
bundled with the console, and was later replaced with its first sequel,
Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The game featured many novel elements which
contributed to its popularity and helped to promote the uptake of
16-bit consoles. The game is widely considered to be one of the
greatest games of all time
The game places the player in control of one of three warriors each
bent on revenge against the vile tyrant Death Adder. Death Adder has
taken over the once peaceful land of Yuria. One of them is a battle
axe-wielding dwarf, Gilius Thunderhead, from the mines of Wolud, whose
twin brother was killed by the soldiers of Death Adder. Another is a
male barbarian, Ax Battler, wielding a two handed broadsword looking
for revenge for the murder of his mother. The last is a long-sword
wielding Tyris Flare, an amazon, whose parents were killed by Death
Progress is made through the game by hacking and slashing through
Adder's henchmen, including men armed with clubs and maces, skeleton
warriors, and knights. Aiding the characters in this quest is their
ability to cast spells that hurt all enemies on the screen. The force
of this magic depends on the number of "bars" of magic power currently
available. The bars are filled by collecting blue 'magic potions' found
throughout the game. The male warrior Ax, limited to 4 bars, is able to
cast Earth spells. The dwarf Gilius, limited to 3 bars, casts lightning
spells and the female warrior Tyris can cast devastating fire magic,
but her most powerful spell costs 6 bars.
Various steeds found in the game (bizarrians) can be ridden when the
enemy rider is knocked off or if one is found dormant. These mounts add
further attack prowess to the player by allowing them to attack groups
of enemies at a time by swiping the bizarrian's tail and, in the case
of the larger dragons, can deal heavy damage by breathing fire.
Golden Axe was voted as the most important and influential arcade
game in 1989, and as a result saw many ports to different systems, but
mainly to the Sega Genesis, adding to its already mediocre arsenal a
very solid title.
Phantasy Star was the leading RPG for SEGA. It pre-dates Final
Fantasy but due to its early surface never gained the popularity of
Final Fantasy. Also, many elements present in Final Fantasy were not
yet developed for Phantasy Star. Despite the small audience, SEGA
gamers were well acquainted with the title and it was still a very
popular game. Today collectors still seek the coveted 'limited release
Phantasy Star has several sequels, if you'd want to call them that,
but like Final Fantasy, it is only the universe that remains intrinsic
and not the characters themselves.
Each compilation is different from the other. The game featured
maze-like 3D-like dungeons, which the characters could traverse in
real-time from a first-person perspective and is noted for helping the
start of female characters to play bigger parts in games with Alisa
from the original Phantasy Star being the main protagonist.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was Nintendo's second home
console, following the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The console
introduced advanced graphics and sound capabilities that compensated
for its relatively slow CPU, compared with other consoles at the time.
Additionally, the system's support for numerous enhancement chips
(which shipped as part of certain game cartridges) helped to keep it
competitive in the marketplace.
The SNES was a global success, becoming the best-selling console of
the 16-bit era despite its relatively late start and the fierce
competition it faced in North America from Sega's Genesis console. The
SNES remained popular well into the 32-bit era, and although Nintendo
has dropped all support for the console, it continues to be popular
among fans, collectors, and emulation enthusiasts, some of whom are
still making "homebrew" ROM images.
Super Mario World
SMW has gone on to become a tremendous critical and commercial
success, becoming the best seller for the platform, with 20 million
copies sold worldwide. Like in previous games in the Mario series, the
plot involves Mario traversing through different lands on a quest to
rescue Princess Toadstool, who has been kidnapped by Bowser.
The title featured smooth graphics with soft colors, rich sound and
an all around better general feel. It was an aesthetic break from the
older NES whose title were suddenly ugly and primitive in comparison,
and an improvement over the Sega Genesis who had sharper but more rigid
U.N. Squadron (known as Area 88 in Japan) was ported to the SNES in
1991. The principal difference between the SNES version and the arcade
version is that in the SNES game each pilot can use a range of planes.
All pilots start out with $3000 and the basic F8 Crusader and can buy
other aircraft as they progress.
It is a shooting/action arcade game by Capcom. It is based on the
anime/manga Area 88. Although it doesn't bear any resemblance to the
original history, it still uses many of the characters and place
settings. Here, their mission is to stop a terrorist group known as
Project 4. It was followed by the sequel Carrier Air Wing.
The title is considered by some, the number one shooting arcade style game of all time, surpassing even R-Type.
Final Fantasy III (US version)
In truth, Final Fantasy III is really Final Fantasy VI, but due to
the order of American Final Fantasy releases, it was renamed Final
Fantasy III. The true Final Fantasy III was not released in the US
until 2006 with the port to the Nintendo DS, which also shares the name
Final Fantasy II, but different story than the SNES cart game.
Though it was not the first game to utilize the Super Nintendo's
Mode 7 graphics, Final Fantasy VI made more extensive use of them than
its predecessors. For instance, unlike both Final Fantasy IV and Final
Fantasy V, the world map is rendered in Mode 7, which lends a somewhat
three-dimensional perspective to an otherwise two-dimensional game. It
would be both the intricate graphics, the emotional story line and the
powerful score that moved players to fancy the title. However, the
longevity of the title lends credit to the power the game has wielded
over the industry for 13 years and the franchise for right at 20 years.
The game's story focuses on a group of rebels as they seek to
overthrow an imperial dictatorship. Final Fantasy VI was the first game
in the series to be directed by someone other than producer and series
creator Hironobu Sakaguchi; the role was filled instead by Yoshinori
Kitase and Hiroyuki Itō. Released to critical acclaim, the game is
regarded as a landmark of the series and of the role-playing genre.
Final Fantasy VI has more battle customization options than its
predecessors and has the largest playable cast in the Final Fantasy
series to date, excluding spin-off titles. It remains widely praised
for its storyline and characters.
Final Fantasy is the only game worth mentioning twice, IMO, in a
'best ever' list due to its continued evolution and rearrangement of
gameplay without tampering with the overall universe and storylines.
It was the first three-dimensional nintendo game, and it included
the Super FX chip, a coprocessor used to accelerate graphics display.
The complex display of three-dimensional models with polygons was still
new and uncommon in console video games, and the game was much hyped as
a result. Star Fox featured kemono character designs, music composed by
Hajime Hirasawa and obstacle course style gameplay. The game was
coveted among elite gamers in its time. It was unique, and as stated,
the first 3D console game that utilized truly rendered 3D polygons.
There are unique elements of Star Fox that make it a little
different from the standard scrolling shooter. Most scrolling shooters
force the player forward at a constant speed. While this is true for
Star Fox as well, there are thrusters and retro-rockets on the Arwing
that allow the player to temporarily speed up and slow down
accordingly. These can be used to maneuver around enemy attacks as well
as other obstacles.
The damage model is another difference. In the standard scrolling
shooter, touching almost any object (whether it be an enemy ship, enemy
fire, or other obstacles) results in the destruction of the player's
craft. In Star Fox, the Arwing has a certain amount of shield energy
that represents how much damage can be absorbed before the destruction
of the craft. The game also has a small degree of locational damage
detection. For example, if the ship's wings clip too much against
obstacles or the ground, they will break off. This slightly affects the
flying ability of the craft and the ability to upgrade the weapons.
The PlayStation is a 32-bit video game console of the fifth
generation that was first released by Sony Computer Entertainment in
December 1994. The PlayStation was the first of the ubiquitous
PlayStation series of console and hand-held game devices, which has
included successor consoles and upgrades including the Net Yaroze (a
special black PS with tools and instructions to program PS games and
applications), PS one (a smaller version of the original),
PocketStation (a handheld which enhances PS games and acts as a memory
card). By March 31, 2005, the PlayStation and PS one had shipped a
combined total of 102.49 million units,becoming the first video game
console to reach the 100 million mark. Proof is in the pudding, as they
The first in the series of 'Soul' games, Soul Edge introduces
characters such as Cervantes, Taki, and Mitsurugi. It featured advanced
hit zones and fluid animations in a one on one, Samurai Showdown style
Despite being rather obscure, the series is known for being a very
plot-heavy game for the genre, where storylines are usually ancillary
and disposable. The games feature a story mode with dialogues advancing
the story before and after fights, and include a secondary,
non-fighting mode that reveal additional details about the characters
and their lives.
Rival schools was a very unique fighting game in that it allowed tag
teaming and gave a little bit of background on some of the characters
that would later appear in the Street Fighter games, like Sakura. In
Rival schools, the objective is to kick the ass of people in other
schools, in the tradition of Street Fighter. Players could mix
characters from different school, but super combo attacks would do more
damage with players who were friends or attended the same schools. As
an example there were 2 "sakura" characters. One was the tough school
girl that most people would recognize, and the other was a leather clad
(think Angelina Jolie from Hackers) biker "sakura". Teamed up, one
would hold the opponent while the other would work them over in a
flurry of fists and feet. Though, personally my favorite were the group
of jocks, and the boy with a bat would power swing across the opponents
face while the soccer player would follow up with a slide tackle.
The PlayStation version also included a second disc with several
minigames, including a date-sim like game where a player could create a
character who went through normal school life, interacting with
characters from the main game and could be later used as a playable
character in the main fighting modes. This mode was initially going to
be included in the North American release of the game under the name
School Life Mode, but eventually scrapped due to time constraints (the
other minigames were included, though
I can remember playing this game with an audience in my barracks
room. Every Saturday from 10am to 5pm people would pile into my room to
see what would happen next. At one point, the game startled me so much
that I threw my controller at my TV out of reaction. Nothing borke, but
it was funny. We took a break and got pizza…and I calmed down.
Resident Evil was a masterpiece in the Survival Horror arena. It is
still heraladed as better than Silent Hill, though I love them both, I
feel that RE was original, complete, and distanced itself further from
anything having to do with an RPG than Silent Hill or Parasite Eve did.
Aside from that RE has one of the most expansive story lines while
remaining outside of the RPG base with in depth sub plots that have
entertained gamers from the word "go".Though, in all fairness RE was
not the first Survival Horror game to grace the game world, and was
heavily influence by 'alone in the dark', but 'AitD' was never on a
major console, being left to rot on a 3DO…
the game centers around a megalomaniac named Kreel who has become a
global threat and is threatening various nations with his seemingly
unstoppable armies. As the player you take the role of two pilots named
'Hatch' and 'Walker' who are part of an international force devoted to
fighting Kreel and his varied minions.
As the campaign progresses, it is revealed that the source of
Kreel's power is Red Mercury, which provides his forces with their
nigh-invulnerability. However, the game does fall short and is
extremely difficult. Despite this, it is still definitive of the early
If you played "demolition Derby' then you've played Twisted Metal
and vice versa, the difference is that Twisted Metal has a loose story
line and allows projectile missile attacks. The driving force behind
the game is that the contestants in the touney are to be granted a
single wish upon being victorious.
Twisted Metal provided hours upon hours of drunken fun, and sometimes more drunken frustration...
The Lunar series are noted for its high level of NPC interaction,
well composed music, and excellent characterization of the main
protagonists. Much of the flavor of the English language versions of
Lunar series games (the sense of humor, bubbly character voices, etc.)
is thanks to the colorful translation job done by Working Designs.
Unfortunately Working Designs is no longer in operation and all of the
Lunar titles are considered semi-rare collector's items.
While the game was not originally developed on or for the
Playstation and saw several system ports prior to the Playstation, it
is quite possibly most famous ON the PlayStation by American gamers. It
is for this reason that I've listed it as a definitive PlayStation
title and one of the consoles all time best games.
It should be a complete surprise to find a gamer from the 90s who
had never heard of Vagrant Story. It was the 5th best selling game in
its time. Sqauresoft, during these years had figured out a way to
hammer out superb games, one after the other. It was largely developed
by the team responsible for Final Fantasy Tactics, with Yasumi Matsuno
serving as producer and director.
Vagrant Story is unique as a console action/adventure role-playing game
because it features no shops and no player interaction between other
characters; instead, the game focuses on weapon creation and
modification, as well as elements of puzzle-solving and strategy.
Overall though, it was simply a dungeon crawl… a beautiful one at that.
Considered a flop by some, the N64 carried some heavy titles in
light of its critical recpetion. Nintendo chose to stay the course in
using cartridge based games to keep low load times, but audio quality
and storage space then became an issue. There were expansion packs that
would enhance the visual aspect of a game, but it wasn't until Turok
and Donkey Kong Country that player got keen to the advantages of using
The story follows one Jean-Luc Cougar, a secret agent infiltrating a
laser satellite's command center. Gameplay revolves around taking cover
behind corners and then ducking out to shoot. The player cannot move
while shooting; instead, the control stick is used to aim, a task made
easier by the fact that every weapon is equipped with a laser sight.
Metal Gear Solid seems to have influenced much of the story and
aesthetic, though in terms of gameplay, the two are decidedly unlike
WinBack was the first game to combine this with full control over
your character. This proved to be influential enough to be integrated
into Kill.Switch, and more notably, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of
Liberty. The latter also used the game's laser sight mechanic,
something used to greater effect still in Resident Evil 4. Currently,
the recently released Gears of War uses a similar reliance on cover as
Kill. Switch and WinBack. Winback is popular for its unique style of
gameplay and somewhat notorious for its difficulty.
Viewed at first as another Doom clone, Turok turned the FPS world on its head with new graphical elements such as distance fog.
As Turok you must fight your way through each level in search for
keys and parts to an artifact called "Chronoscepter" which can be used
to destroy the evil cyborg (they're always evil aren't they?) who wants
to conquer the lost lands and ultimately the universe. The game
features a large number of platforming and adventure elements, with
many types of walls, cliffs, and underwater caverns to be explored.
Besides obtaining ammunition, the player can acquire extra lives by
collecting floating runes, scattered across the levels.
Jet Force Gemini
The single-player adventure spans many varied planets as the player
assumes the role of the Jet Force Gemini as they try to stop the evil
plans of the bug dictator Mizar. The game is unique in that it employs
the rare cooperative style of gameplay, where two can play the story
mode at once. Multiplayer modes can be unlocked, including the
traditional death-match and survival matches. Also available in
multiplayer are racing games, as well as the firing range mode, which
is similar to a rail shooter game. Jet Force Gemini shares elements
with platform games, first person shooters, and run and gun games.
The title also demanded the use of the N64 expansion pack due to
it's massive textures and high level of detail. Rare, sure knew how to
make 'em in those days…
The game was developed and published by Rare, creators of the
multimillion-selling GoldenEye 007, an earlier first-person shooter
with which Perfect Dark shares many gameplay features. This game is
also considered the spiritual successor to Goldeneye 007. The game was
first released in Canada and the United States in May 2000, where it
was greeted with critical acclaim.
The game features a single-player mode consisting of seventeen
missions in which the player assumes the role of special agent Joanna
Dark, an operative for the fictional Carrington Institute, as she
attempts to foil a conspiracy by rival corporation dataDyne. It also
includes a range of multiplayer options, including co-operative and
"counter-operative" modes in addition to traditional deathmatch
settings. Technically, it is one of the most advanced games developed
for the N64, with optional high-resolution graphics and Dolby Surround
It could be considered that Golden Eye 007 was an original MMO FPS
game. The title was excellent as a standalone, with its mission based
gameplay and FPS mechanics. Players took the role of James Bond,
completing missions to complete a story. But, the N64 had the ability
to do something no other console until the Dreamcast and Xbox would do
– natively support 4 players. The game used the N64 expansion pack
which gave the console a wider memory base to support longer viewing
distance, more players and slightly better graphics.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time / Majoras Mask
The Zelda franchise had seen huge success on both the NES and SNES.
The birth of the N64 version gave players more eye candy than they
could handle at the time. The game had new mechanics and a broader
range of abilities in terms of camera control and field of view. Of
course, this was also the first 3D version of the Zelda franchise.
Ocarina of Time met with both commercial and critical success.
Reviewers praised the graphics, soundtrack, gameplay and story. It has
been inducted into GameSpot's "Greatest Games of All Time" list, and is
ranked fourth on the 2007 edition of IGN's "100 greatest video games of
all time" list. It is the first game to receive a perfect score from
In 1998, Ocarina of Time won the Grand Prize in the Interactive Art
division at the Japan Media Arts Festival. It also won six awards at
the 2nd Annual Interactive Achievement Awards including "Game of the
Year", "Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Design", "Outstanding
Achievement in Software Engineering", "Console Game of the Year",
"Console Adventure Game of the Year", and "Console RPG of the Year".
Despite being available for only the last 39 days of the year, it
was the best-selling game of 1998, with 2.5 million units sold. It went
on to sell a total of 7.6 million copies worldwide.
A pioneer of online console gaming, the Dreamcast was well ahead of
its time. It was powered by Windows CE. if OS alterations needed to be
made, it was done so through the GD-ROM and handled on a per game
basis. This allowed developers a lot more freedom in developing games
as they were not stuck with an outside force, but rather could tweak
the base code to fit the purpose. The Dreamcast had several unique
features, one of which was a VGA port for player to use computer
monitors and get a much crisper, color rich image. Very few games did
not allow the VGA port to be used for the game, and even still, hacking
that function was cake. Another aspect of the Dreamcast that was unique
was the VMU, or Visual Memory Unit. The VMU's has a monochrome LCD
screen that could play small games downloaded from either the Internet
or certain game titles. The Dreamcast had internet connectivity and
allowed users to surf the web freely and get updated content for games
when available. Truly, the Dreamcast was ahead of both itself and the
times. It is a classic example of how being too advanced can hurt. The
Dreamcast wouldn't stand a chance in today's market. Many of the titles
released in the US were actually arcade ports or ports from N64 and
PlayStation and served as a kind of as a conversion tactic.
Jet Grind Radio
At the time of it's release the cel-shaded animation techniques used
in the game were cutting edge and many games followed or tried to
follow the graphic style. However what made the game work with the
graphic style aside from it being new and edgy, was the manner in which
the game was played.
Players go around the game like one would in Tony Hawk Pro skater
and spray paint graffiti (graf) tags on rival turf to win the next
area. It is supplemented with music by artists to include J5, Rob
Zombie, and Cold.
Marvel Vs. Capcom: Clash of the Super Heroes
Another coin-op legend, MVC1 rode the success of the Street Fighter
titles, particularly Street Fighter Alpha. Despite the capabilities of
the Dreamcast, this title was indeed a sprite based versus fighter
(like SF Alpha). It was the fourth in the series chronologically, but
the first one to appear on the Dreamcast.
Soul caliber is the second game in the Soul series of fighting games
developed and produced by Namco. Soulcalibur was ported and released
for the Sega Dreamcast with improved graphics and new features and
became one of the best-selling Dreamcast titles overall. The Sega
Dreamcast port is often cited as the greatest fighting game of all
time, and even one of the greatest games across all genres; it is
ranked as the fourth-best game of all-time by review aggregator site
When this game came out I was working at Babbage's (dating myself
here), there was no buzz about it at all, then like the plague, word
spread to those who weren't game savvy about the title and it was
constantly sold out. With the VGA adapter, this game looked better than
the very best XBOX game – it is no contest. It was fluid, detailed, and
the audio was crisp…
People may know this title from the PlayStation, but it was a
Dreamcast game first. The game is set in futuristic computer
"supernetwork" called the K-project where much of the data flow is
controlled by an AI named Eden. Eden has become overwhelmed with the
amount of knowledge gathered on the network, causing her to doubt her
existence and enter a shutdown sequence, which would create
catastrophic problems everywhere should she be able to complete this.
The player plays the protagonist hacker, logging into the K-project
system to reboot Eden while destroying any viruses or firewalls that
happen to inhibit progress, and analyzing other sub-areas of the
network to gain access to Eden's location. The K-Project name and much
of the game's visual and synesthesia inspiration comes from the Russian
painter Wassily Kandinsky, whereas the Rez name was inspired by the
Underworld track of the same name. the game also featured a soundtrack
featuring other artists such as Adam Freeland, Coldcut (ninjatune), Ken
Ishii, and Oval.
It was a great game, but a little weird on gameplay, which is why it
didn't do so hot in the US. Still, without a doubt a very definitive
game for the Dreamcast.
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
Almost a joke of a game, the game was popular none-the-less.
Throughout the fights in the game, you can earn letters by delivering
multiple hard punches. Each boxer has a special move (called a "Rumble
Flurry") that they unleash when you spell out the word "RUMBLE."
Leagues of kids used to pile into the arcades to play Hydro thunder.
It was a speed boat racing game in the spirit of Crusin' USA. However,
it was very fun and it was easy to waste hours of time… in a boat… that
had rocket engines on it…
The PS2 is part of the sixth generation era, and is the best-selling
console of all time, having reached over 120 million units in sales in
2007. On November 19, 2005, the PS2 became the fastest game console to
reach 100 million units shipped, accomplishing the feat within 5 years
and 9 months from its launch. This was faster than its predecessor, the
PlayStation, which took "9 years and 6 months since launch" to reach
the same benchmark.
Devil May Cry
Devil May Cry was an updated Castlevania with guns (basically, but
it still defined what you'd expect to see on a PS2), and it rocked. The
story wasn't exactly unique, but the visual elements parallel Silent
Hill with its often murky colors and down tempo non-combat score
Devil May Cry has been cited as the beginning of a sub-genre of
action games called "Extreme Combat", which focus on powerful heroes
fighting legions of enemies with a focus on flashy action. The game has
also been described as being the first game that successfully captured
the free flow gameplay that was often found in the 2D action games such
as Castlevania". The series has become the metric of comparison for
other 3D action games , with comparisons in reviews of games including
God of War, Chaos Legion, and Blood Will Tell.
Gran Turismo 3
In its time it was the premiere racing title of any console. It was
hotter (and still is in some circles) than PGR and Forza, both having
had the potential to be far superior (but not).
The game is the third best selling game for the Playstation 2
selling roughly 14.36 million copies. The game is highly praised by
game reviewers and players as one of the finest racing games ever made
and frequently appears on 'top 100 lists'
Disgaea is a Nippon Ichi title relased in the US in 2003. There are
related titles by Nippon Ichi that fall into the exact same style and
often the same universe. Those titles are LaPucelle Tactics, Phantom
Brave, Makai Kingdom, Marl's Kingdom and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure
that cameo NPC's or playable character from Disgaea and have interwoven
stories that bring all of the titles together in some fashion so an
almost mind numbing, but entertaining (if you can connect them) set of
events. For example, In LaPucelle Tactics, Preire can see a fake ending
in the game, which when done after defeating the demon overlord becomes
herself an overlord, and appears in Disgaea.
Disgaea has many features which differ from those in other tactical
RPGs. Humanoid characters may throw other characters across the map, in
order to allow allies to move farther or force enemies to keep their
distance. This even allows the player to capture enemy monsters by
throwing them into the base panel; these enemies then become allies,
and can even be used on subsequent maps. However, throwing a humanoid
enemy into the base panel will result in the death of all characters in
it, and the enemy will survive.
The game also has "cycles"; at the end of each trip through the
storyline, the player will restart the story from its beginning and
maintain each character's statistics and item inventory from the
previous game, but the player does not have to finish the last level
immediately, as there are many optional levels and objectives to be
completed. Characters that join and leave the party as part of the
game's story will only be usable in the same parts of the game that
they were before, but they, too, will retain their items, abilities,
and stats. This complements Disgaea's high character level ceiling of
9999,(you can even reincarnate to reach level 9999 multiple times – or
cheat with an Action Replay) while also giving the player additional
chances to see Disgaea's multiple endings, many of which require many
playthroughs of leveling to attain.
Disgaea's lets the player to select the audio and
soundtrack in the U.S. release from English or Japanese, which isn't all too uncommon for 'imported' games, yet wasn't part of the Euro release due to a lower capacity storage medium.
That wraps it up. I think next I'll do a list of the most annoying
games ever… and topping that list will be Steel Battalion…that was the
only game where I lost my cool enough to literally almost kick in my
TV. I'm glad I ebay'd that one away.
For those that question why the lack of XB and GC games listed it is because the GC was just under a year and a half and the XBOX just over a year
and a half... but the XBOX used newer technology and the GC used
different technology... neither game system really fits with 'legacy'
like the PS2 does.