Let me start off by saying: I’m not a serious gamer. You will probably be looking for games on this list that you simply wont find. It could be for the reasons you expect (i.e.: I’m a douchebag who’s not too crazy about Mario 3), but it’s way more likely that the game you’re hoping to read about is missing because I haven’t played it. I’ve never played a PS3. I’ve barely touched the 360. I’ve only played 2 Zeldas, 1 Final Fantasy, and only the original Metroid after the Justin Bailey code. This is by no means a list to be taken seriously–but, you may just see a game on here that you love, and you’ll be glad it’s getting some due respect. Sit back and enjoy. Or not.
Honorable Mentions: Conker’s Bad Fur Day (N64), Contra (NES), James Bond: Agent Under Fire (PS2), Smackdown vs Raw (PS2), Sonic 1 (Genesis), Skitchin’ (Genesis), Sports Talk Baseball (Genesis), TMNT 4 (SNES), Virtual On (Arcade)
10. Robocop (Arcade, 1988)
It’s the game that got me hooked on going to arcades. As a young kid who loved everything Robocop, this game was the world to me. Authentic music and sound effects from the movie made this such a fun little side-scrolling shooter, and its place on my top-ten list was cemented after a nostalgic trip to my old arcade about a year ago. I found in my old stomping grounds the Gamechoice 2K, a machine that can load up just about every classic arcade game in history. With literally thousands of titles to choose from, I did not hesitate for one moment in deciding what to play first: Robocop.
9. Super Mario Bros (NES, 1986)
Do I need to explain? Fine, I’ll explain with an embarassing admission (one that I know I’m not alone on): I first played this game when I was 4. I first beat this game when I was 20. It never stopped being fun in between. That is a great fucking game–and IMHO, better than Mario 3.
8. Street Fighter series (multi-platform, 1987-present)
Pretty much the sole reason I picked up Capcom Classics Vol 2 for PS2 was because it included Street Fighter 1, a game that I loved even before its HOF sequel sparked the second great age in arcade gaming (a designation I just made up, please don’t take it literally or seriously). I can’t even imagine the amount of time I spent playing/watching SF2 in the arcades or at home on the SNES. I smile thinking back to the shock and awe I had the first time I laid eyes on SF2 Champion Edition. I’m still proud of the fact that I was able to routinely beat Marvel vs Capcom on one quarter in college. The Street Fighter series is simply the gold standard, and WAY better than Mortal Kombat in my book. If only I could figure out the Guile Gun Trick…
7. Grand Theft Auto III (PS2, 2001)
Like GordTep, I would cut class in college simply to play GTA1. It was easily one of the most mind blowing games in history. Now? The game is simply unplayable. Why? Because nobody in their right mind can stand GTA1 after they’ve played GTA3. Pretty much the sole reason I have a PS2 is because of this game. I don’t know which is more fun: playing the actual game, or aquiring 6 stars and then attempting to drive crosstown to the pay-n-spray.
6. Goldeneye (N64, 1997)
There was a month during my Freshman Year of college where this game was being played in every other male dorm room. That sounds a little embellished, but I’m honestly not sure if it is. Everyone played that game repeatedly because there was so damn much to do: Multiplayer with Pistols. Multiplayer with Automatics. Multiplayer with, by god, Proximity Mines in the Caverns stage (the holiest of the holy). And let’s not forget how fucking awesome the single-player missions were, even before you get caught up trying to score record times in each mission to unlock cheats! This game is a fucking legend.
5. Super Mario World (SNES, 1991)
Best. Mario. Sidescroller. Ever. Period. Even Yoshi’s annoying pansy ass can’t hold this icon down.
4. Super Mario Kart (SNES, 1992)
The original. Nothing beats it (though the Wii version comes close). Honestly, Nintendo could have released the racing mode and the battle mode as 2 seperate games and nobody would have flinched at buying both. SUCH an awesome game. And really, is there a better feeling than drilling someone with a green shell from 200 yards out?
Hey Nintendo! Release this on Virtual Console already!!! (Pilotwings too, while you’re at it)
3. WWF No Mercy (N64, 2000)
I know that Fire Pro has its followers, and the SD vs Raw series really took it to the next level, but No Mercy is the Grandaddy of all wrestling games. It’s just not debatable. What made it so great? Absolute perfect control and nearly unlimited freedom to make any character, do any move, have any match. Try and find someone who played this game in its time and didn’t like it. You can’t.
2. RBI Baseball (NES, 1988)
There are still RBI Championship Tournaments played these days. Are there Baseball Stars Tournaments? Sorry Gordo. Baseball Stars was highly innovative, but RBI was simply WAYYYYYYY more fun. I wish all modern baseball games had the option to go back to those classic controls.
1. Final Fantasy IV (as “Final Fantasy II” on SNES, 1991)
What can I say? You already get it if you’re a FF person. If you’re not, well… I feel sorry for you. You don’t know what you’re missing. Consider this: in June of 1996 I needed a 92 on my Biology final to avoid summer school, and instead of studying I played this game. That’s how addictive and amazing this game was! The horrifying threat of summer school wasn’t enough to stop it! (got an 82 on that final, btw, and my teacher passed me for the year anyway). I still feel guilty that I haven’t played another Final Fantasy game, before or since, considering how much I love this game.