I have been playing a lot of older video games lately. Some I love. Some, I was curious. Others, I’m obsessed with. Some I regret.
This is an opinion piece about what I love in video games. This has no relevance, but you may agree with me!
First off, I love RPGs! Tabletop and video games! A great story makes a great game, is the way I feel! Especially when the actions I choose dictate the outcome!
So, that obviously means I loved the Mass Effect Trilogy. Right? Well, yes. I just hate studios like BioWare that don’t give you a complete game in one shot. Remember expansion packs? They added more to the story, frequently, and added more content. The way BioWare managed the DLC and exclusive pre-order content pissed me off. What do you mean, if I don’t pay more, I don’t get the whole game??? Any studio that does this, loses favor in my eyes.
Shepard was a great character, because it was the character I made through choices, and gameplay style.
It was a guided gameplay story, unlike open world RPGs, like The Elder Scrolls and World of Warcraft. It’s like playing a Dungeons & Dragons campaign book. You can be your character and the Dungeon Master has his story to guide you.
Mass Effect Trilogy, with the exception of how BioWare handled the DLC, is one of the best games of the genre. I half-love it.
Another game I can only half-love. Dragonball Z Xenoverse. It has a fun and fantastic story to play through as your own unique character. It fits into all things Dragonball Z! It even has DLC that give you GT and the new Films (Battle of Gods and Resurrection ‘F’) content. The enormous customization is fun, and if you do the tedious task of collecting all 7 dragonballs from a parallel quest grind session, you can reset your character and start again! The other wishes include; zeni, more characters, pieces of equipment, new finishers and super moves, and ingredients to make new z souls.
As far as fighting games go, it has a bunch of characters and it’s a ton of fun. The co-op and versus modes are spectacular and really balance the game out at the higher difficulty parallel quests. If it wasn’t for that damn DLC crap! If you didn’t pre-order (because I didn’t know the game existed!!!) or play on release day, you lost out, forever, on SS4 Vegeta. Yeah. Like a cock-slap to the face from Bandai for not giving up money ahead of time on the hopes that a game won’t suck (which, quite a few Dragonball games have been really awful).
Warcraft, Warcraft 2, Beyond the Dark Portal, Dark Tides, Warcraft 3, The Frozen Throne, Starcraft, Brood War, Starcraft 2, Heart of the Swarm. I love these games. It’s not just the single-player campaign, with an amazingly well written story and characters that you genuinely love and hate. It’s not just the endless power of the unique map editor that you can make an entirely new game (Defense of the Ancients)! It’s not just the well balanced online vs and co-op. It’s the community.
The Blizzard “Craft” games have been a centerpiece to video gaming since their first release. They are as equally influential and important as id’s Doom. More on that and Wolfenstein shortly.
Blizzard has created character and world driven fantasy that is not only fun by the gameplay mechanics, but by the story and depth of their worlds and unique heroes and villains. Whether the Fallen High Elf, Sylvanis, or the tired and rugged Ex-Marshall, James Raynor, there is a hero or villain you want to see win or lose. These are stories not to be missed!
I said I would come back to id. Well, Wolfenstein. The first shooter I ever saw. My family being of the Jew type, we loved shooting Nazis and making them scream. As did everyone else. Then there is Doom. A lone space marine, trying to escape Hell on Mars. It takes guts and ammo to get through this. That, and “IDKFA.” These were the shooters that were the first to make us want to get computers! Then id gave us Quake. Then we got Unreal (not an id title but purely inspired by its predecessors). Sure, some will say Duke Nukem was special, and it was memorable, but it’s not Doom.
Many of you who are under the age of 30 may not have a clue what this is. This game series made flight simulators AWESOME! It even had Mark Hamill in the third installation of the game!!! Fucking sweet! You could blow up evil anthropomorphic tigers from space! You could romance another pilot! You could become famous for your heroics, or infamous for being merciless. Either way, you could become legendary within the world of Wing Commander. It was a fine space opera before Mass Effect.
Flight sims like WC made possible games like Mechwarrior, also know by its table top counter part, BattleTech. With Mecha that were blatantly stolen from Macross/Robotech, FASA, the parent company who held the rights to Mechwarrior and BattleTech, would struggle with legal issues after huge successes with Mechwarrior 2, and its counterpart, Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries. Still, when I think of giant fighting robots, I think Mechwarrior, first. Then, I think of Gundams and anime, but, that’s another article.
The first game to give us a sex symbol and an action adventure game in one. We loved Lara Croft. We absolutely loved her. We loved her guns, and the weapons she used, too! You had to fight with strategy and skill to beat the first few games (or a game shark or good trainer hack). She was our adventurer. Our parents had Indiana Jones (and his infernal machine of Atlantis! That game pissed me off as a kid), but we had a woman with ferocity and charm! Also, low cut shirts and shorts, seemed to help. The third person perspective gave us a new realm of gaming for consoles and PC in this magnificent game series.
As a direct spin off of the gameplay of FPS (Doom) and TPS (Tomb Raider), came a Star Wars title, that would give me countless hours of ignoring homework and sleep.
Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight.
Your character, Kyle Katarn, is stuck in a struggle between the light and the dark, as he embraces his destiny to defeat the 7 Sith, Dark Jedi. It’s a bit off the beaten path of a Star Wars, but it came out before the prequels and all the crap that came with it. After you get your light saber, you start training yourself in different Jedi skills, light side or dark side. The story is fun, as you get to choose, and the game play is exciting! The expansion pack gave us the ability to play as Mara Jade, the Sith Assassin, as she has changed sides and started to come around to being a hero. Also, throwing a light saber and chopping storm troopers up is tons of fun!
I have one racing game memory that stands out above others.
Does anyone remember the classic racing game, Top Gear 3000? I do. In fact, it will always be the first game I think of when racing games come to mind. This game was fun. It was simple, and how you customized your car was based on the money you earned from victory and ranking. Tires, transmission, engine, boost. The important stuff! Also, the game factored in rain, night, and snow, as environmental hazards. It was a 90s Snes racing game. I spent many afternoons with my childhood friend Joey Badders playing this. Good times.
So, online shooters…
Two player games where you fight each other are fun, but co-op is also awesome. There is something special about team work and friendly competition. This is what made the original Counter-Strike so great. Play with your friends. Play against your friends. You could have your friendships and Boom! Headshot! them too. The mechanics of the game were simple. Different play styles and game modes, and the gun selection was decent. It still makes for a fun time to be had by many. Also, when someone no-scopes you through a wall with a Scout, yelling “FUCKING BULLSHIT” became a thing.
Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning.
This game was let down hard, but the gameplay is amazing and fantastic. A truly fun RPG. You have freedom of class, weapon, customizing, skills, and so on. It allows you to be as good or evil as you see fit. Make allies, or enemies. Enslave a town or liberate it. Be a mercenary. Be a sage. Save people or kill them. This game is played well on console or PC. It’s dlc is worth the addition to the story and equipment, and quickly can boost your EXP before end game. The big downside is the level cap.
Fantastic replay value, for making new characters, and fitting them to different play-styles (caster, slasher, basher, assassin, etc.).
Sorry, reader. I really do think like this, as well. I am all over the map.
In the particular event you are thinking, “this guy doesn’t play MMORPGs or Destiny, he’s not a gamer.”
I played a little WoW. I got bored. I played Silk Road Online for about a year, before it, too, got old. I continued to try all these MMOs, and found the grind to be boring.
I loved Atlantica Online when it was with NDoors. Nexon are awful game-killers (sad face).
The graphics suddenly declined drastically. The game play slowed down. The growth of the in-game expansion slowed but the in-game store suddenly became almost necessary.
Time to throw down.
I’m talking arcade games.
Not just Mortal Kombat.
Marvel vs. Capcom.
You name it, I played it.
I played it solo. I played with friends. I played and made friends. I played and made enemies.
There was a year or two where my social life was arcade life.
Sure, most arcade titles came out for SNES or Genesis, but the arcade was a shrine for gamers to gather and play.
Long live the arcade.
Playstation gaming was spent playing Final Fantasy and Legend of Dragoon.
PS2 found me playing Dark Cloud and Devil May Cry. Also, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 lead to the destruction of many controllers. Thank goodness for cheap madcatz controllers!
I only had so many games I committed to on console. I have always been a PC gamer and table top player before all other things.
The age of SNES emulators and roms captured me on older jrpg games.
The first five Final Fantasy games astonished me with fun gameplay mechanics, never growing old or boring, and always differing from one title to the next.
Chronotrigger was the game that game me a powerful story, that I could work diligent to get the results I wanted for the characters. New Game + was also a great feature!
I could talk about the Final Fantasy games of all consoles until I went blue in the face. My point is, they all have their moments of strength and the different styles of gameplay are like ice cream. Everyone has their favorite.
Though right now there are many ports and mobile adaptations of SNES and PlayStation classics, the phone games that have stayed with me are different.
Infinity Blade (and its sequels). Fun finger-swiping slash games with an interesting story with awesome twists.
War of Eustrath is also a fantastic and difficult mech fighting turn based RPG for mobile. The fantasy story is great and though the game is short and doesn’t have a new game + feature, there is limited replay value. Choosing different mechs and types of growth for new strategy.
Eternal Legacy. As if ripped from the Squaresoft playbook, this turn-based rpg has decent 3D graphics and an amazingly lengthy story! You will kill your battery for weeks playing this through! If you enjoyed FF6, 7, or 8, then this game will be fun for you!
I had written a ton of interesting stories about gaming adventures and such, but accidentally deleted them. Fuck.
Oh well. That’s what I got for now, folks.
Stay tuned for more opinions and silly podcasts in due time!
Ol’ Doc needs to get in shape! Work is crushing his nerd spirit!