Let’s face it–video games are fun. Science has shown us that they improve our reaction time, our ability to make decisions, and act as a great stress reliever. Granted there are downsides to video games as well but we’re not hear to discuss those! In today’s article I pay homage to some of the great games of the past–particularly my past that essentially defined my gaming experience as a adolescent. In fact whenever these games are mentioned a huge wave of nostalgia comes over me and I instantly want to be transported to those relatively carefree days before a job, bills, and big responsibilities. I want to be whisked away to when I was massively motivated to finish all of my schoolwork so that I could kickback (on the floor, the couch, the rocking chair–wherever) and play my favorite video game. Some games that I played as a kid I still play today such as Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros franchise that I will never grow tired of playing. But here’s a look back in time from handheld to console to PC–the games that brought me great happiness and are associated with the happiest of memories with friends, family, and adventure.
5. Medal of Honor (Frontline and Rising Sun)
Medal of Honor was my first real experience with a first person shooter. I remember my mom being very leery about violent games, particularly shooting games but the reason that I was allow to get my hands on Medal of Honor is because I convinced my mom that it was a historical experience more than anything else. Of course the truth was that I wanted to kill Krauts and Japs with every weapon known to the 20th century. I remember being thrilled by the rush of being present at Pearl Harbor and the Guadalcanal and invading German headquarters with my M1-Garand and Tommy Gun. The missions were a load of fun, the characters were great, and the combat was satisfying. Although online multiplayer hadn’t been invented yet, you could still fight against bots or up to four players using controllers which made for loads of fun shooting up my brother and cousins. Turns out that Medal of Honor did become a great educational experience for me–and the best part is these events actually did happen unlike in a lot of new shooters where who knows what the heck is going on. So kudos to you, MOH! You got a lot of things right!
4. Spyro: Year of the Dragon
Spyro: Year of the Dragon was the first game I ever bought for the original PlayStation and became favorite for a couple years of my young life. I loved exploring the beautiful colors and imaginative lands, with the gliding purple dragon, the fun mini events, and the wide variety of unlockable characters each with their perspective abilities. The soundtrack was pretty catchy too–with a lot synthesizers, electric guitars, and toe tapping rhythms decorating the various worlds. The game had so much to offer in terms of the main story-line and side quests and you fell in love with the endearing characters instantly such as Hunter, Sheila, SGT. Bird, Bentley the Yeti, and Agent 9 (I remembered all of those off the top of my head by the way). From skateboarding, to shooting, to gliding, to driving tanks, Spyro really did have it all.
3. Stronghold (Stronghold 1, Stronghold Crusader, Stronghold 2, and Stronghold Legends)
The best real-time-strategy game ever in my opinion, the Stronghold games defined my strategic game playing experience and made for hours of building castles, growing economies, and defeating waves of invading forces. Stronghold’s attention to the detail and structure of medieval life was fascinating–so much time went into the design, detail, and historical context that awakened the history buff in me and served as an excellent way to duplicate the leadership and prowess that I had read about in my textbooks. The games also boasted the most authentic and moving soundtracks in all game history as far as I’m concerned–hearing one song instantly sends me back to the hours in front of my computer bolstering defenses, training troops, feeding peasants, and defending myself from notorious villains and their forces such as the Wolf, the Snake, The Sultan, and Vlad the Impaler. Stronghold woke me in so many ways and serves as one of the most definitive gaming experiences of my life.
2. Donkey Kong Country
The first definitive gaming experience of my childhood, Donkey Kong Country represented hours quality time with D.K. and Diddy Kong along with their color animal companions in a world full of baddies, barrels, bouncing, and bongo drums. With a simply AMAZING soundtrack and rich graphics especially for its time, Donkey Kong country was a vivid and spectacular gaming experience that was just the right amount of challenging and compelling. It is truly a masterclass in the platforming arena and represents for me an overwhelming amount of nostalgia to this day. Every now and then I listen to the Aquatic Ambiance song or just the opening theme and it brings me back to long car rides and rainy days curled up with my purple Gameboy Color indulging in Donkey Kong’s Country. Hats off to you, my old friend! They just don’t make games like you anymore.
1. Battlefront II
I have hope for future Star Wars games but in all honesty I don’t think they’ll every make another one quite like the original Battlefront II. With a incredible campaign, engaging and addicting multiplayer, and immersive gameplay that took you to every corner of the galaxy, Battlefront II got everything right. The classes were fair and balanced, the combat was simple yet challenging, and the worlds and missions made you feel as though you were on the front lines in a galaxy far far away. Want control an AT-AT? Done. Play as Darth Maul, Boba Fett, or the Yoda? Sure! Battle it out in the corridors of the Death Star, the forests of Endor, or the dungeons of Jabba’s Palace? Be our guest. Bet you’ve never played as a Tusken Raider or a Wampa have you? In Battlefront II you can! With a every single weapon and starfighter at your disposal in the galaxy Battlefront put the Star Wars Universe (yes all of it) in your hands! I played this game four about four years without ever getting tired. Against friends, online, or by myself–it didn’t matter. My favorite galaxy was at my fingertips and I spent way too much time bringing it to life. Hail to Battlefront II, the greatest of all Star Wars games and the most definitive gaming experience of my life as a teenager.