Monday, June 27, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Number 47

Stats of Import
Platform: Gamecube
Absurdly Specific Genre: Snowboarding game with unnecessary Mario characters
Difficulty: 3, some of the later challenges were a little tricky, but nothing that sent the controller through the TV.
Beaten: Yes, actually. I didn't even know I had the patience for that sort of thing.

I like the universe that SSX lives in. In most boarding games of the skate/snow variety, they make sure you know it when you fall from 700 feet on your head. You don't get hurt or anything, you just get the sound effects to let you know that "oh, if this were real life, you'd be totally dead". SSX isn't interested in anything like that. If you fall, you just sort of faceplant, skid for a little bit, and then get right back up. That kind of optimism permeates the series.

Two seconds ago, you fell on your ass while going 75 MPH. That is a remarkable recovery.

I'll come clean, a lot of my love for this series comes from a very nostalgic place - specifically, the little patch of floor and the dish chair in front of the TV in Lindsey's old room where we spent hours playing this game when we had nothing better to do. Doing tricks was intuitive, if you failed a challenge, you could easily get back to the beginning of the challenge, but you could just as easily just keep boarding and enjoy the hill.

...but enjoying the hill responsibly, of course. Taking off your snowboard in midair is not responsible snowboarding.
 Climbing up the hill's "Power Rankings" list was slow, but rewarding, and unlocking more and more of the hill was kind of thrilling in a way that few games of its type could ever live up to. I had and enjoyed a few other snowboarding games, but none of them ever topped SSX: On Tour.

Note: You could supposedly ski, but I never even ventured into that option. Why would you?

Other notable games in the series: SSX 3 is just as good as this game, and would probably rank right around here. I just played this one more, because while I had SSX 3 for my home system, Linds had this one and enjoyed playing it with me. The SSX series is just pretty much solid all the way through.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Top 50 Video game Moments: Number 47

Programming note: because I accidentally hit 'submit' without setting the schedule, you get this one early. Don't expect me to be ahead of schedule again

Full disclosure: It's almost a certainty that I'll do this again... maybe more than once. I am a very forgetful person.

Today's moment comes from the game 'Splosion Man. It doesn't really reveal anything in terms of plot, but if you prefer to earn the listed moment, play the game first.

Seriously, though... the game is very good. You should play it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Number 48

Stats of Import
Platform: Playstation 2
Absurdly Specific Genre: Moving Violation Efficiency Trainer
Difficulty: 4, ramping up to absurd levels towards the end
Beaten: No. I got about as far in this game as everyone gets in racing games - just long enough to unlock all the awesome crap. The last few stages that I beat had me cursing the names of the developers, which I specifically looked up so that I could curse them.

I ask for so precious little in a racing game - fluid controls, cool cars, high speeds, and the ability to destroy my opponents in fiery wrecks. So few are able to meet my meager demands.
Carmageddon had the last one in ample supply. Not so much the first three.
Assuming that these are my criteria for a decent racing game, the Burnout series stands alone amongst the myriad. Its controls simple, yet intuitive; the cars you could drive looked vaguely like cars someone might drool over; you could drive at high speeds, and were in fact rewarded for doing so. With just these factors, Burnout 3 would've been a great racer - then you threw in the crashes.

Crashing opponents cars (without losing control yourself) was the name of the game in Burnout. Push an opponent off the road? Gain turbo. Push an opponent into a bridge support? Extra turbo. Cause a twenty car pileup the likes of which would haunt the evening news for months? Lots and lots of turbo - which you'd use to create even more crashes in a glorious cycle.

Yeah. I made that in MS Paint in like 2 minutes. Don't say I don't go all out for this.
As enjoyable and satisfying as the single player mode was, Party Crash mode was deliriously enjoyable. In this mode, you were given a few blocks of traffic with the express intent of causing as much damage as possible. Scattering wreckage across as large an area as you could while gaining multipliers and trying to one-up your friends in the greatest game of 'HORSE' imaginable.

I'm not a big fan of racing games (I'm pretty sure this is the only one on this list), but Burnout 3 is undeniable.

Top 50 Video Game Moments: Number 48

Today's top gaming moment contains a mild spoiler from Diablo 2. If you haven;t played Diablo 2, yiou may want to think twice about hitting the jump.

It's worth noting that if you haven't played Diablo 2, you should probably track it down and play it. It's pretty damn entertaining.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Top 50 Video Game Moments: Number 49

While the first entry on this list really wasn't a spoiler, this one is. If you haven't played through Halo: Reach, don't read it. If you have played through Halo: Reach, or if you're just a big fan of spoiling things for yourself, click right on through.

You've been warned.

Also worth being warned over, don't go to the Picasa account I've made for this list, as all of the headers will show up in the images, so if you don't want to know that Rosebud is Luke Skywalker's father, it's probably best to avoid that.

Top 50 Video Games: Number 49

Stats of Import
Platform: Gamecube
Absurdly Specific Genre: Crossover Fan-Fic Fighter (with Pokémon added)
Difficulty: Wait. People played this in single-player mode?
Beaten: What would that even mean?

The idea behind the Super Smash Brothers series is simple. Take some of the most beloved characters in video game history, place them in some of the most iconic environments in video game history, and let them beat the crap out of each other. The results are predictably spectacular.

Pictured: Kirby, Luigi, Bowser, and Samus fighting on Brinstar. I shouldn't have to tell you that this is awesome.
Could Link beat the snot out of a Pikachu? Could Samus beat Bowser in a one-on-one fight? I didn't even own an NES and I wanted to know the answer to these questions. Melee gave us the answer (well, ostensibly, Super Smash Brothers 64 gave us the answer, but Melee easily surpasses the 64 version in both roster and playability). Link could, in fact, beat a Pikachu, though the friend who was controlling the Pikachu would probably make your life hell by spamming those annoying lightning moves. Samus could beat Bowser, unless I was playing as Samus, in which case she would shimmy around like an epileptic rabbit before entering ball mode and roll off a cliff (I never got the hang of her for some reason).

The game lacked pretty badly in single player, and it wasn't the most precise "fighter", per se, but that was never the point. This was a game meant to be enjoyed amongst friends, and for at least two summers, Stu, Jordo, Branny, and I would play this game for hours whenever we got together. I don't think I'll ever another multiplayer party game that matches Melee's approachability and depth.

Also, after a one hour four-player brawl on the Poké Floats, you were pretty much allowed to conquer time and space.

Other notable entries in the series:
Brawl is cool and all, but by the time it came out (and by the time we got a Wii), most of the friends that played Melee with me had moved away from the area. At its heart, it could very well be better, but this is the one that has the memories.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Top 50 Video Game Moments: Number 50

Hey everybody, sorry about the wait.

Today, I'm posting number 50 for the 'Moments' list. We'll get the whole 'both lists on the same day' thing going starting this next Monday, and assuming that there are no more horrible computer malfunctions, we'll be good to go.

This particular entry isn't really a spoiler, but many others will be, so I'm mostly checking to make sure this "jump break" function is going to work the way I want it to.

On with the countdown.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Where's Pete?

Between having my wisdom teeth extracted and losing my computer to a motherboard issue, it's pretty clear that I shouldn't have started the list this week.

The bad news is that both master lists are on my main computer's hard drive, leaving me dead in the water until I'm able to get at them.

The good news is that I should be able to get at them early next week. The countdown will commence from there.

This post has been tagged "cockflickery", because motherboards dying when you're trying to live on a budget is cockflickery in one of its most distilled forms.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Number 50

Stats of Import

Platform: NES
Absurdly Specific Genre: Soccer Ball Tensile Strength Simulator
Difficulty: 2
Beaten: Yes

A couple of guys at Technōs Japan decided to make a soccer game where the game played resembled soccer in name only. I propose a toast to those paragons of sports gaming, for what they created on that fateful day was Nintendo World Cup. It is to soccer what NFL Blitz is to football - absurdly unrealistic, violent, and above all, stupidly entertaining.

The game itself was pretty decent, filled with passing, tackling, and goalkeeping - you know... vaguely soccer-related activities. Then you learned how to power kick.

"...and he passes it to Roaldinho and HOLY SHIT, DID HE JUST KICK THE BALL INTO TWO PIECES?!?"
You only got a certain number of power kicks per half (or at least, it seemed that way to us as kids, I think we were wrong on that one, but whatever), but it was unblockable (in fact, it straight up killed anyone who attempted to block it other than goalies toward the end of the game), defied the laws of physics and it only required the slightest bit of timing. There were all kinds of shots, from a weird glowing slow moving ball of doom to the strange fishhook that Mexican players launched. Most of them didn't even try to tether themselves to reality.

"You know how we were planning on coding realistic looking shots, let's get really drunk, instead."

You could always play by yourself, but co-op was where it was at. With one player going around brutally murdering every defender on the field, and the other player perching himself right in front of the goal (offsides wasn't even something you could turn on), Cameroon never stood a chance.

They almost scored a goal in this game. All defensive players for Team Mexico were flogged for their shoddy effort.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Running Tally

This is a running tally for the “Top 50 Video Games” list that may or may not (depending on when you’re reading this) be ongoing right now! To read an entry, simply click on the link.
I’ll obviously be updating this as the list grows.

  1. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  2. Jak 3
  3. God of War 2
  4. Halo 3 / Halo: Reach
  5. Diablo 2
  6. Madden 2004
  7. Knights of the Old Republic
  8. Frequency
  9. Cyber Empires
  10. Geometry Wars 2
  11. Starcraft
  12. Rock Band 2
  13. Ikaruga
  14. Shadow Complex
  15. Vectorman
  16. Kingdom Hearts
  17. World of Warcraft
  18. Donkey Kong Country
  19. Grand Theft Auto 3
  20. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  21. Tekken Tag Team Tournament
  22. Angry Birds
  23. Mega Man 2
  24. Gears of War 2
  25. Tony LaRussa's Ultimate Baseball 2
  26. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
  27. Goldeneye
  28. Twisted Metal: Black
  29. 'Splosion Man
  30. SSX: On Tour
  31. Burnout 3: Takedown
  32. Super Smash Bros. Melee
  33. Nintendo World Cup

Top 50 Moments in Video Games: Running Tally

This is a running tally for the “Top 50 Moments in Video Games” list that may or may not (depending on when you’re reading this) be ongoing right now! Most of the posts in this list will have spoilers, so in the interest of keeping unwanted spoilage to a minimum, only the game title will be displayed on this page. While the “one game per series” rule in in effect on the other list, this list has no such restriction. There will be a couple of games with multiple entries.
To read an entry, simply click on the link.
I’ll obviously be updating this as the list grows.
Again, lots of spoilers ahead. If you haven’t played one of these games, you may want to think twice about clicking the link. Easy enough, right?

  1. Half Life 2
  2. Megaman 2
  3. Red Dead Redemption
  4. Fallout 3
  5. Chrono Trigger
  6. Psychonauts
  7. Fallout 3
  8. Shadow Complex
  9. Half Life
  10. Super Mario Brothers 3
  11. Gears of War 2
  12. Tetris
  13. Tony LaRussa's Ultimate Baseball II
  14. Red Dead Redemption
  15. Call of Duty 4
  16. Metal Gear Solid 3
  17. Mass Effect 2
  18. Halo
  19. Frequency
  20. Assassin's Creed
  21. Eversion
  22. Metal Gear Solid 2
  23. Halo 3
  24. Final Fantasy VII
  25. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  26. Resident Evil 4
  27. Descent 2
  28. Final Fantasy XIII
  29. Ikaruga
  30. 'Splosion Man
  31. Diablo II
  32. Halo: Reach
  33. Lemmings

My 50 Favorite Games: How It’s Going to Be

So, I may have mentioned that I’m making a couple of lists. I’m looking forward to doing them, but I should probably note a couple of things real quick.

For the “50 Favorite Games” list, I’ll be doing a self-imposed maximum of one game per series. This way, I’ll get a lot more variety, and I won’t have to do four different write-ups for Halo. If there are a bunch of games in a series that I enjoy, I’ll make a little note at the bottom of the entry saying where they’d show up if they appeared.

For a variety of different reasons which would bore you to tears, I didn’t own an NES until I was 25. Fortunately, I was able to play a bunch of different NES games at friends’ houses, so it’s not a total wash. Unfortunately, these lists are pretty much screwed from the start because a lot of the “classics” are games that I didn’t play until it was way too late to get a nostalgic attachment to them. You won’t see the original Metroid on this list, nor will you see Punch Out!, the original Contra, or (gasp!) much from the Zelda series. They’re all fun games, but by the time I was able to devote the time needed to really get into them, I had an Xbox 360.

Sorry to keep dragging this out without actually providing anything in the way of content, but overanalyzing and pointless explanation is kind of my “thing”.