In which I make a list of 15 lifelong gaming inspirations. Only 15.
I was taking a stroll along the interwebs earlier this week when I discovered The Influential 15 listed by Isey at ihaspc, and decided to try and formulate my own list of the 15 video games which had the most impact on my life. One of the few rules specifically states that I can’t take too long figuring it out.
But think about it: only 15 games?
Sadly, I broke that rule by a good hour or so as I tried to jog my memory by googling and youtubing various sources. Although I was happy with my original 15, a cursory bit of research blew almost half of them out of the water so I am glad I took the time, really. I wanted more entries from the ZX Spectrum and Amiga; the two platforms on which I played my earliest games, as well as to take out stuff from the current generation; the Mass Effect trilogy and Fallout 3 are some of my all-time favourites but I think I only have that appreciation in the first place because of my current tastes.
This list is much more important than current taste. So here it is – in chronological order of release and not necessarily when I played them.
Chuckie Egg 2
Although the prequel is more fondly remembered, I have some fond memories of my own with this game. Released in 1985, I associate it closely with Saturday afternoons when the football scores were being announced on TV.
An obvious spiritual predecessor to the Grand Theft Auto series, the game of the children’s TV classic had you racing against the clock to make postal deliveries to the good folk of Greendale.
Treasure Island Dizzy
The second in the series of adventure games starring the heroic egg. This particular one was absolutely impossible to solve which is why it sticks so well in my memory.
Because, Tetris! And also for all the reasons given in my Tetris post over at Geekocracy.
Super Mario Bros 3
Try all you like, but in a list like this you’re only going to name either the plumber or the hedgehog, not both. I’m calling it: I’m a Mario guy. This is the first game I really remember having to struggle to beat, and I still don’t think I ever have. Better go bust out my SNES when I’ve finished here.
The first real mystery of a game that I remember playing; with alien intrigue and some evil cyborgs, plus a unique graphic style and plenty of combat rolls.
Sensible Soccer International Edition
A football game that didn’t take itself seriously, and therefore absolutely the most fun one of all time, it’s actually been added to a list of All-Time Important Video Games by a panel of boffins from American universities. SWOS is still rock bloody solid though.
Frontier: Elite II
My dad read a lot of sci-fi books, and all those covers of exotic alien planets and cool spaceships are a fond memory. This was the first game I ever played that opened up those doors to a universe full of possibilities. Especially when I learned how to land a ship safely.
Super Mario Kart
It was between this and Road Rash for an ultimate racing game, but the fact that I still play updates of Mario Kart and the sheer amount of fun I had with the original makes this the clear choice.
The first time I got a really good look at what was out there on home computers was Quake, and it was quite a jump for my 11-year old mind to make! I much preferred its sequel when released, but this and Duke Nukem 3D really did a number on me in terms of ambitious first-person shooters.
While Street Fighter 2 was obviously the beat-em-up benchmark a few years previously, I think that Tekken 3 is a little more accessible and fun thanks to its superior hardware on the Playstation, plus the characters were just cooler.
Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding
We’ve covered this recently; this game was the precursor to my whole mid-teens in terms of music, culture and clothing. If it weren’t for this game and MTV’s Jackass, I wouldn’t still have a bump on my right foot that, ever so occasionally, cracks and puts me in agony for days.
I can’t have been the only one with an addiction to this game at the turn of the millennium; but that was the beauty of such an ordinary-sounding game. Wish fulfilment was a big deal for players of a certain age; and having already had the chance to shake up theme parks and entire cities, the shift to attaining domestic bliss was a natural progression. I may revisit this game in the near future on the blog.
WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role
I’d played a lot of wrestling games before this one, but Smackdown 2 offered a new depth of customisation that the others were lacking. I loved being able to create a wrestler and run through an entire year’s worth of storylines and Pay-Per-View stipulation matches as the same guy; even if some of the storylines began to repeat themselves before we’d even hit Summerslam.
Grand Theft Auto 3
One of the most notable early examples of what you could do with a sandbox game; I found the first two games somewhat lacking but this was an amazing example of reinvention that turned the franchise into what it is today. Also, Fernando is one of my personal heroes.
There you have it; 15 games that I like to think had a fair old impact on my life. I’d be interested to know how many of these are in your own top 15!