Top Ten Video Games: Honorable Mention

20 Jun 2011

I’m currently in the process of making a top 10 list of video games. It has been exactly as difficult as I expected it to be, but there have been some surprises on the list. At the moment, I’m nailing down the exact order and putting my thoughts together. But until that’s done, here’s the honorable mention games that didn’t make the cut, in no particular order:

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Stealth Action Adventure - XBox 360
I have always had a fondness for the Dark Knight. It isn’t because he’s “just some dude who decided to be a superhero”, because that’s bullshit. And it isn’t just because of geniuses like Christopher Nolan and Frank Miller. The truth is that I like my heros dark and brooding. When they come out with Emo-Man, I’ll be all over that. But until then, I’ll stick to following the Caped Crusader. Oh and Arkham Asylum? It was the first Batman video game to be any good and, as things stand right now, it stands alone.

Pokemon Snap
First Person Rails Shooter - Nintendo 64
I don’t care whether you were into the Pokemon craze or not: this game rocked. Rails shooters had been around for years, but Snap took the idea in a completely different direction, making the genre kid-friendly, while perfecting the completionist aspects that drive some adults crazy. It wasn’t a game that was ever really copied–probably because it was such a strange combination–and I think I prefer it that way. Instead of becoming the first of a series of mind-numbing games that never captured the magic of the original, Pokemon Snap remains that aberration that everyone fondly remembers.

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
Space Combat Simulation - Nintendo 64
I got to fly a tie-fighter… SQUEE!

Max Payne
Third-person Shooter - PC
I am a sucker for the noir genre. I’m also a sucker for mythologies. I guess I’m also a sucker for being awesome at killing dudes in slow-motion shootouts. Everyone and their dog liked something about this game: the ridiculous storytelling, frequent bullet time battles, the movie-like atmosphere. There were lots of poisons to pick with Max Payne and I loved them all. Plus, I could dedicate an entire post to the fantastic and terrible writing, but instead, just a nugget: “The rain was comin’ down like all the angels in heaven decided to take a piss at the same time. When you’re in a situation like mine, you can only think in metaphors.”

Dwarf Fortress
Real-Time Strategy/City-Building - PC
Boatmurdered. ‘Nuff said.

NHL ‘11
Sports - XBox 360
I don’t know if this is a good game or if I just happen to play it all the time as a way of being social. Either way, Adam and I have logged enough hours on this one to rival my World of Warcraft time played (but not EverQuest–sweet merciful Norrath, nothing can ever top the time that I lost playing EverQuest).

Battletoads in Battlemaniacs
Action Platformer - SNES
The reason this game wouldn’t ever actually be listed numerically is because I hated it almost as much as I loved it. Battletoads taught me that there are some things in life I will never have. I didn’t beat it and I certainly couldn’t today.

Homeworld
Real-Time Strategy/Space Combat Simulation - PC
When just casually adding games to my “list”, I scribbled “Homefront” on the bottom of the page. Later, when I was going over them, I saw “Homefront” and was confused. Why had I added a first-person shooter that takes place in Korea-occupied America? I just crossed it out as some sort of brief madness and moved on. Eventually, while skimming Sierra Entertainment’s Wikipedia article I came across Homeworld, a real-time strategy game about a desperate journey home across the stars. That game seemed more worthy of top ten list. Unfortunately, try as I might, I can’t recall much about playing the game itself other than a vague sense that I enjoyed it. Even the combined might of Wikipedia and YouTube do nothing to remind me enjoyment I had with the series.

Knights of the Old Republic
Role-Playing - PC
Bioware makes good games. I know this because I’ve played almost every single game in their catalogue.1That’s not to say their games are for everyone. If you hate RPGs, no amount of awesome will convince you to play ‘em, but Bioware played an important part in making video game history. With Knights of the Old Republic they took on the Star Wars universe and created something ten times as good as Lucas’ prequels. Yes, the Star Forge was kind of a weird concept, but damnit, so is the Death Star.

Super Mario Kart
Racing - SNES
Truth be told, the only reason this is anywhere near my list is because I can’t get the song out of my head. You know the one.

Rocket Crowbar
First-Person Shooter - PC
There was a time when Half-Life mods were all the rage. You’ve probably heard of a couple: Team Fortress? Counter-Strike? Day of Defeat and Natural Selection weren’t exactly no-name mods either. But I spent many a LAN-Party playing some of the more off-the-wall mods, like Ricochet, Arg!, and Rocket Crowbar. Choosing my favorite is an impossible task and the reason Rocket Crowbar makes the list is because Wes mentioned it first.

And then, games that I scribbled down, but can’t really assess because I didn’t spend enough time with them. These are the games I wish I’d played more:

Breath of Fire
Role-Playing - SNES
A lot of people enjoyed the Final Fantasy series. I think I kind of liked the 6th one. Maybe. It could have been the 4th. I can’t remember which it was, but, regardless, there was never really an opportunity for me to get into any of them. The FF games were almost always already rented out when I got there for my weekly pick, so I got stuck with with what I still identify as the Poor Man’s Final Fantasy. I have no idea if that’s true, but I do know that Breath of Fire was one of my first RPGs and probably played a large part in my enjoyment of the genre.

The Neverhood
Graphical Adventure - PC
The claymation of this game was great and so was the story. Too bad I only ever played an hour of this game, before… Actually, I’m not sure what stopped me. I have a vague memory that tells me that was on a friend’s machine and we moved onto other things. And it’s too bad, because everything that I do remember tells me that it was good.

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures
Graphical Adventure - SNES
I remember absolutely nothing about this game. I played it. I may have owned it. And I told people that it was great. It might have been. Who knows. It appears that I’ve repressed those memories in a deep, dark recess of my mind.

Blast Corps
Action/City-Destroying? - Nintendo 64
I don’t know if this game was awesome all the way through. I think I played one level. Maybe two? But I liked the idea and I wanted to play it, long before it ever came out. Thanks, Nintendo Power Magazine! Reading the Wikipedia article makes it seem completely ridiculous, but I choose to let pre-teen Steve’s dream of saving the world from nukes take precedence over the boring neutral point of view.

  1. No, not the Sonic game they made for the DS.