Greatest "Retro" Console Games of All Time - ejronin Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Greatest "Retro" Console Games of All Time

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.

ATARI 2600

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)

Donkey Kong

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…

Joust

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.

Berzerk

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

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

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 gaming.

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.

NES

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.

Blaster Master

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)

Final Fantasy

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.

Ninja Gaiden

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.

Metal Gear

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".

Castlevania

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.

Contra

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 .

Astyanax

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.

GENESIS

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

Golden Axe

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 Adder.

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

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 gold cart'.

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.

SNES

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 graphics.

U.N. Squardron

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.

StarFox

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.

PlayStation

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 say.

Soul Edge

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 of fighting.

Rival Schools

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

Resident Evil

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…

Warhawk

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 PlayStation era.

Twisted Metal

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...

Lunar

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.

Vagrant Story

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.

Nintendo 64

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 them

Operation: Winback

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 each other.

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.

Turok

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…

Perfect Dark

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 Sound.

Golden Eye

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 Famitsu.

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.

DreamCast

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 Calibur

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 Game Rankings.

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…

Rez

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."

Hydro Thunder

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…

PlayStation 2

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

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.

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