Number 20 to Number 11
I say in my, now way out of date, about page that I will someday write a “top 20 All Time list” of games… well this is it. Christmas is coming, and so is the end of year – and in Blog Land that spells lists.
So here’s to the first of many!
The criteria for inclusion in this illustrious list is fairly arbitrary. The games you will find are definitely not all the best games around. they are the games that have stuck with me through my 20+ years of playing…
My God that is scary, 20 years… already? Sheesh…
Aaaanyway… where was I…
Yeah these games are the ones that have impacted on me most. Some of them have been plucked at random from the reccesses of my memory. I fully acknowledge the fact that there are many, many games that I have forgotten about – as well as several huge titles that I’ve just simply not included.
Any arguments for and against are encouraged.
Now are you sitting comfortably. Then let us begin.
20. Blitz (Commodore Vic-20)
Well this is where it all started really (for gaming and the reason I spend most of my life behind a glowing VDU). My forward thinking parents bought a Commodore Vic-20, and blitz was included in the box.
It’s still my mum’s favouritest game ever.
You’re flying a little pixel biplane that travels in a line from left to right, getting one line lower every time. Underneath lies a cityscape. Unfortunately you have to land where the buildings are – so you have to bomb the hell out of them to land safely.
One Line Review: Very simple, very effective.
19. Bubble Breaker (aka Jawbreaker) (PocketPC)
I didn’t now whether to actually include this or not. I mean it’s the game that’s come bundled with my last three mobile phones. It’s a bog standard puzzle game which has you trying to group coloured balls so you can pop them – the more you group the more points you get.
It’s crap really – yet I’ve played it literally thousands of times, and I will keep doing so as long as they keep bundling it on MS Mobile based phones.
My current average score on the Pocket PC, Portrait MegaShift (the best by far) mode is 1034 after playing 232 games. That’s 232 games since my phone last decided to hard reset itself without warning.
Because it’s a rolling game that collects running stats it becomes incredibly compelling. It’s because of this fact that I still play it regularly over three years after getting my first MS powered phone.
One Line Review: Visits to the toilet are rarely boring with Bubble Breaker around…
18. Trackmania Sunrise (PC)
This game has never quite got the respect it deserved. Probably because there are no fancy licenses and there are only three vehicles to choose from.
What it does have is a bag full of leaps, loops and er… le-crunches… all with a scant regard of Father Physics.
The tracks are fiendishly well designed, and the different modes of play all add something worthwhile. Its “one more go, I’ll get it this time” gameplay makes crack seem like a viable alternative lifestyle.
I don’t play it much now because it’s never run that well on my PC, and seems to hate my graphics card. Plus they insist on using bloody StarForce protection which is damn near unforgivable. (In fact in a recent review one site gave the forthcoming TrackMania United 0/10 simply for using StarForce.)
However I’m including it because it’s simply bloody good fun. Oh and the developers also give you massive add-ons for free.
This game needs to be brought to the 360 and Live.
One Line Review: Even all the wrongs can’t stop this being sooooo right!
17. Mario Golf (Gameboy)
I had an original Gameboy for about a year. Tetris was good (Mums second favourite game) but I can’t remember many other games.
Except Mario Golf.
Golf Games have been around for ever, and they have changed very little in that time. Two or three click based swing, aim, allow for wind, gauge distance, choose power, click away. It’s a simple premise yet it’s difficult to get right. Mario Golf definitely did.
Despite be held back by the crappy screen and the crappy graphics it pretty much nailed the genre perfectly. With a good balance of proper stroke play, tournaments and infuriatingly addictive mini games it kept you coming back for more.
I’ve played this on emulators several times over the years, and it always grabs me by goolies for a couple of weeks… Trust me, go and play it now, it still holds up extremely well.
One Line Review: Golf on computer at it’s most basic, awesomely executed.
16. Delta Force (PC)
Delta Force was one of those games I knew I would love from the first snippet of info I saw from some E3 style exhibition coverage in PC Zone. It didn’t say much, except that the game would have huge draw distances, destructable environments and ultra realistic weapons.
It was produced by Novalogic who, at the time, were more known for their flight sims. They used their flight sim know how to produce some impressively huge environments and the long draw distances using something called voxels.
Unfortunately the game looked as rough as badgers arse when viewing close up objects. Plus the AI was pretty shonky.
I still loved it though. A lot of the time you were just tromping around the massive landscapes looking at a way point… but when you spotted enemies 1km away then proceeded to snipe them off it was sooo rewarding.
Most people hated it, I loved it. It was the first game I ever played online in full on 56k Shonk-o-Tron.
One Line Review: I still love this fugly odd ball FPS with it’s massive draw distances… I’m a sniper at heart.
15. Virtual Pool (PC)
There aren’t many pool sims around these days. That’s because Celeris pretty much nailed it first time back in 1996, before perfecting it with Virtual Pool 2 in 97. In 2000 they added some extra bells and whistles to make it look a bit nicer with Virtual Pool 3.
There hasn’t been anything close since. I’m not kidding.
It’s genius was in the controls – you use the mouse as you stroke the cue. The faster you stroke, the harder the shot. You didn’t have to make sure you were doing it a straight line either (a la Links golf), you could just focus on the power and the angles.
The physics were perfect too, with all the spin shots you could want being there. Every style of game ever played on baize (including snooker), plus extra mini-gametypes and the setting up of trick shots.
The only thing was that Celeris found themselves with nowhere to go, how do you improve on perfection? They were also published by the now very defunct Interplay. So it’s unlikely there will be another Virtual Pool, which is a shame.
One Line Review: Virtual Pool 3 is still by far the best pool game around, even after 6 years!
14. Afterburner (Spectrum)
Afterburner was the only full price game I ever bought for the Speccy. I remember going to a little indie computer shop and picking it up with my Mum.
It came in a proper cardboard box and you got a cool sticker. That sticker stayed on my bed head for the rest of the beds life… which was way after I had turned 18…
The thing was, being like 8 at the time, I couldn’t get my head around how to actually load the game. It didn’t work like normal Spectrum games as it loaded levels in sections. I didn’t actually play it for months…
but when I did – WOW! Dodging enemy missiles, doing 360 flips, saving your own missiles as much as possible, inevitably spaffing them away only to leave the last minutes of each level with nothing but your poxy machine guns… the sweet relief of the refuelling plane…
Brilliant. Though this is one of those games I won’t ever play on an emulator… that would only lead to bitter, bitter disappointment.
One Line Review: It would have been game of the century if every box had come with the hydraulic arcade cabinet…
13. Daley Thompson’s Decathlon (Spectrum)
Ahh the Joystick Destroyer itself.
Basically this was just another version of Konami’s classic Track and Field tagged to Britains athlete du jour.
Daley Thompson was the first one these games I, and most of the people my age, remember playing.
Waggle the flimsy plastic stick as fast as you can, press the fire button, hold to 45 degrees, crack stick off at the base.
I have great memories of playing one of the Track and Fields on the N64 with a bunch of lads in uni, using the controversially effective Sock-Over-The-Finger-Sliding method and trying to break each others records. I’m sorry but these games are still cool today!
I seem to remember Track and Field is Live Arcade bound. That’s the perfect place for them, cheap and insanely cheerful.
One Line Review: These games have their critics, but they are also have their place, and Daley’s was awesome back in the day.
12. Footballer of the Year (Spectrum)
FotY is another game that’s, essentially, crap. Yet I have very fond memories of it.
You would have to say really it’s almost like an overblown fruit machine with a bit of a football theme.
You play as a striker, and your ultimate aim is to become Footballer of the Year. To do this you simply have to score lots of goals.
Scoring goals is actually very easy – it’s basically a 2-in-3 chance when you press the space bar. However to get the chance to score the goals you have to buy goal cards. You get a wage, but this won’t be enough to get you bags of goals – you need to gamble, save and/or invest the cash using simple games of chance.
Basically it’s off it’s head.
By which I mean it’s er… very unique. However when I occasionally fire up a spectrum emulator I find I can still inexplicably waste and hour on it.
One Line Review: I think someone should make a Flash version, it would be awesome.
11. Virtua Tennis (Lots)
I did a couple of stints as a Christmas temp in HMV. In the staff room they had an old Dreamcast stand set up – it always played Virtua Tennis – and did so for many years.
It’s not realistic, it’s not a sim, it just plays a real good game of tennis. The intensity of the rallies, the simple but subtly brilliant controls, the decent graphics, the awesome mini games and the perfect career mode. Plus, of course, it’s a cracking multiplayer game.
Virtua Tennis 2 was just as good on the PS2, and Virtua Tennnis 3 lots like it’s going to be just as hot as the rest of the series.
One Line Review: Simply the best tennis series ever…
To Be Continued
Well there you go, a real eclectic mix of games from the many ages of gaming. There’s a bit of something for everyone there I feel, and there’s still another 10 to come!