10 Games Every Gamer Should Play At Least Once
Through the generations there have been numerous video game consoles and countless video games to accompany each of them. Gaming and gamers have long evolved from the classic Pong and Pitfall on the Atari to the drastic and immerse land of San Andreas in Grand Theft Auto Five on the brand new Xbox One and PS4 consoles. Through the ages, like most large industries, there are milestones and landmarks. In the video game industry these are renowned and revolutionary games. Games that change the way we as gamers look at what companies are capable of. Games that literally make our jaws drop when we realize we've only covered half the map with 50+ hours already invested. Games that throw our minds for a loop when you realize you were playing the villain in a seemingly moral playthrough. These are the games that every person that considers themselves a gamer should play. My list here displays the top ten games I believe should belong up there.
10. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Genesis)
In the early nineties Sega developed a franchise. One that would make sounds in the video game industry for years to come. And these sounds came from a tiny blue creature. A hedgehog named Sonic.
In 1991 Sega released Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis. This game brought shape, interaction, and diversity to the world and level system that most people had never seen at this time. Though like most games of this time it lacked in any type of story element, but the player knew the objective of stopping Dr. Robotnik, A.K.A. Dr. Eggman, and still enjoyed trying to get through these advanced Pitfall type levels. Each one progressively getting more and more difficult always with the threat that losing all three lives meant starting the game completely over from Green Hill Zone. This game was one of the early rage inducers causing players to throw the controller when losing your last life in the Scrap Brain Zone, but that didn't stop gamers from persevering and taking out Dr. Robotnik once and for all on The Final Zone and having that overwhelming feeling of accomplishment that the last week of your life was not spent in vain.
Aspects that made Sonic the Hedgehog a game on this list, though, are the milestones within it. Sonic himself as well as many aspects of the environment had multiple animations and interactions that many games before didn't have. Most of them having two to three different animations. Sonic also had a bonus level system which came to be incorporated in many games even to this day. If one were to find they finished a level with a high enough number of rings they had the opportunity at a bonus level to collect a chaos emerald. This was different in that it was non-linear but it could still affect the linear levels of gameplay which was unheard of at this time.
9. Doom (MS-Dos)
Often hailed as "the first FPS" Doom had its start in 1993 on the Microsoft DOS computer system. This was peculiar at this time considering the Sega Genesis and Super NES were both produced and completely functional. Doom amassed a huge fanbase nonetheless on the online community. So much so that by the time of it's release there had already been dozens of fan made alpha copies circulating the internet. As part of its release id had made Doom shareware so that it could reach as many players as possible. And it did, though often not in the most legal of ways. This did cause a spike in sales for later versions of the Doom series since it had become so popular.
Many argue that Spasim, from 1974, was the first FPS, and it may have well been; however, Doom opened the door to our modern day FPS. Doom brought to the table unique enemies, a unique story line and a chance to explore the world you were shooting down. With the possibility of those atrocious pig demons being around any corner it brought a certain level of suspense that most games didn't have at this point. Most games had started to adapt the save feature which meant no more starting completely over after a Game Over. But not Doom. No sir. Instead Doom presented more ways for you to die. More diverse enemies and a diverse boss system. This game knew how to drag you along for the long haul and it made sure to give you plenty of weapons to make sure you didn't get bored with the enemies. So if you haven't played it yet then add Doom to your 'shit to play' list.
8. Need for Speed: Underground (PS2)
Racing games, as well as sports games, just feel redundant these days right? Well there was a time when the only game you wanted to play when your friend was over was Need for Speed: Underground. You had to show off your customized car and just how cool it looked. Then you had to show it off on the streets. Every kid who grew up with hotwheels had their minds blown when this game hit homes. Bar none the best racing mechanics as well as some game changing camera angles brought to play. You were in the drivers seat here. It was an amped up Midnight Club and it pulled off just nicely.
7. Fallout 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Is that Liam Neeson?
Imagine. The world is engulfed in nuclear warfare. For 200 years your community has lived safely underground in a vault. And then your dad, played by Liam Neeson of all people, decides... Nah I don't want to be here anymore.
And a massive franchise is born.
Fallout 3 left players in awe. This was something unheard of. In 2008 players were traversing a nuclear devastated Washington D.C. The threat of super mutants around every corner. The to this day tough decision of joining the Brotherhood or the Enclave. President Eden dropping his annoying patriotic spiel every few minutes over the radio. And Megaton... The homeliest home in the Fallout universe.
Fallout 3 was not just a great RPG it was semi-horror to go with it. I mean children's bones in school? And try and tell me you weren't terrified and unprepared when you met your first ghoul? Fallout 3 created a massive D.C area to explore, pillage, and become a cannibal in. And you didn't even have to do any of those things to play the game. It was a truly open world experience and one for the history books.
6. Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox)
Anybody that has played the KotOR games knows that they are more than they appear to be. As an early renegade in the RPG sector of gaming KotOR took a stand for what Star Wars and future RPG's should stand to be. It incorporated a fantastic companion system and a way to build relationships and reputation with each one. It also gave you a multi linear story line with multiple outcomes based on the decisions you make and the path you follow(Jedi or Sith.)
The combat system though not fully engaging was enough to keep you busy through the entire game. There was a well developed crafting system and plenty of side missions, stories, and plenty of planets and moons to envelop you for at least 60 hours of gameplay. And this is all from an original Xbox game!!
5. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2)
Though many renown Grand Theft Auto III as the kickoff of the franchise I dub that title to Vice City. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City brought more to the table of what the series has become and holds a special place in the minds of those who completed the story line.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City really pushed the boundaries of what can be allowed in a video game. It pushed that M rating further than it had ever been pushed and we could all tell just from the images on the main menu that this game was going to be intrusive and offensive to our minds, and we didn't care anyways. It was like every other line in the game was a curse word and around every corner there was a woman in her underwear begging you to take her to an alley. With a massive map for that time period Vice City left little to be disappointed in. Though you often found yourself not even trying to do the storyline at all, but just trying to reach that six star mark. And if you somehow stumbled upon a tank? All hell had just broken loose.
This was the playboy magazine of video games. The game you hid under your mattress so your parents wouldn't know you had it, but the minute they left the room you were right back to grabbing that AK-47 and taking out the poorly rendered mafia members.
For those of us that did manage to focus long enough to finish the storyline we know that this game did not disappoint in any way. Working with Italian mafia having them send you all across town without damaging your car just to dump a body was irksome, yet completely worth it. For this GTA: Vice City deserved the number five spot.
4. Super Mario World (SNES)
Super Mario World gave us a 96 level world, countless lives, two plumber brothers and a friendly green dinosaur and said go. And oh boy did we.
Super Mario World is the game that gave a 100% playthrough a true meaning. With an insurmountable number of hidden levels and a bonus star world to uncover there was almost the feeling of endless levels in the game. 8 worlds 7 bosses and over a dozen separate castles this game was long enough to keep even two players busy for days on the snowed in school days. Even after completing the final level you find out your only 92% finished with the game and have to traverse the gamescape once more to find what hidden levels were left to discover.
And although it sounds like a long, tedious and irritating task to finish the game only the contrary could be said. Each level was surprisingly unique each with a theme central to whichever world it was placed in. You knew which levels you needed to go and grab a Yoshi for and which levels called for the feather cape and which places called for just a tiny helpless Mario. There were plenty of secrets and cheats to gain unlimited lives such as the Secret Area in world 2 or using the star in the Forest of Illusions.
Although they were just simple jump and run techniques the controls on this game made anything else seem foreign and rather incorrect. You notably found yourself holding X for 90% of the game running through 3/4's of each level. It became comfortable to us and consequentially lead to how our current controller layouts are designed.
So are you ready to save Peach in this spectacular Mario installment?
3. Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64)
Praised as the greatest game of all time it only makes sense for Ocarina of Time to be on here.
As you travel between time with Link you can easily see why this game is so noteworthy. As a Nintendo 64 game it obviously can't hold up to par with current releases of games but as a stand alone classic it could blow almost any game out of the water. It has such a lush in-depth story line, a complex, and in one particular case, frustrating dungeon/level system. Astounding character development a rather large open world to traverse, plenty of little side quests to keep you occupied should the Water Temple prove to live up to its name, a day and night system, and two separate worlds to mess around in!
For those of you that have a love for music this games story line, though 64 bit has beautiful musical pieces that are crucial and required for the progression of the game.
The constant nagging the Navi could probably have been done without, but it often times gives you the chance to sit back and take a breath when you realize you've already completed two temples and you have class in 30 minutes.
The first time completing this game will leave you yearning for more and thankfully Nintendo has given us just that. With plenty of sequels and prequels to follow suit of Ocarina of Time the Zelda series as a whole leaves little room for disappointment and a lot of room for a childhood well spent.
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Oh come on we all knew it was going to here somewhere... I know Fallout 3 was already on the list, but both games add a lot to the table.
Ever since it's release in 2011, Skyrim has become the standard in video games. Anytime a game comes out, especially in the RPG field, it is immediately compared to Skyrim in almost all of its aspects. Though Skyrim has some major faults like the fact that often times physics don't apply, or the lack of reaction in battle when you slice somebody in the face and all you get is a splatter of blood, there are some really defining attributes here.
Obviously the map is... frankly overwhelming. You are suddenly sprung into this immense, beautiful, relentless world. There are a countless number of dungeons, and even larger number of quests, and an even crazier amount of enemies and that's just in Whiterun alone! There are about 6 or 7 different questlines within the game as well as each individual hold having their own quests and stories. Though the physics again are underwhelming the combat system is beautiful. The diversity and lore involved in this game has only been surpassed perhaps by Dragon Age: Inquisition. An entirely new language was created and has already been dubbed as an official language on many different fandom sites.
Needless to say Skyrim is a fantasy lovers dream in a gamescape. The character customization itself is enough to keep you occupied for almost an hour and that's before you've even taken three steps. There is so much to keep someone busy that it requires multiple playthroughs just to keep yourself satisfied.
The only game in recent years to have surpassed the expectations of Skyrim is perhaps Dragon Age; Inquisition, but that's two different play types, and two different fan bases.
Skyrim still holds the height of what a game can and possibly should be both in the game itself and its online community.
1. The Pokemon Series (Numerous Platforms)
Yes. Number one on the list of must plays is Pokemon.
Pokemon has taken over media and entertainment ever since the release of Pokemon Red and Blue in 1996. Since then Nintendo has made multiple releases on several different platforms including the Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Wii, Gameboy systems, and Nintendo DS systems.
Though the console versions may be a little lacking the handheld versions of the games more than make up for them. And Pokemon isn't limited to just video games. It has a huge television presence and a merchandising line that doesn't stop. It's safe to assume that Pokemon has the largest fandom possibly in the world. Its hard to find someone that has never heard of or played one of the games. And if not everybody can readily recognize Pikachu, the mascot of the franchise, without hesitation.
Pokemon made it enjoyable to go on cross country vacations when you had to leave your Nintendo 64 at home. Or even just a trip to the grocery store was long enough to take out Sabrina's Alakazam.
So I ask you today dear trainer, have you Caught Them All?
Honorable MentionsClick thumbnail to view full-size
"A hero is not defined only in battle. They also inspire. They bring hope of a new horizon. They return faith to faithless. You are a hero in every way. The courage of your heart is unmatched. Let us stand together, for you are the hero of legend… Heroes need not stand alone."— Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Novelization
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