5 Video Games Everyone Should Play at least Once
Game Series to Play
- Kingdom Hearts
- Tak and the Power of Juju
- Spyro the Dragon
- Mario Party
- Sly Cooper
Go on an Adventure...on Your Couch
Adventure video games are probably one of my favorite genres of video games to play. They're also referred to as action role-playing games, platform games, and action games. I will always love Call of Duty (Black Ops 2 is my favorite) but I'm a sucker for any game that lets me play through a story with challenges, bosses, plot twists, and lovable characters. I'm the kind of player who likes an objective or ultimate goal to work towards with somewhat of a guide as to where to go and what to do, leveling up or gaining more abilities with the accomplishments I achieve. That being said, I also like competitive games that are designed for groups because the outcome is different every time you play, and no two times you play are alike!
Also, with newer games especially, the games' difficulty settings can be adjusted in the very beginning (and some throughout the game after you've started playing) so that you're playing the game on your own level: easy, normal, or hard. There are games with variations of this spectrum but it's always discernible which one you should choose for your own experience. If you've never played a video game in your life, don't let that deter you!
These games are recommendations for new and experiences gamers alike. They're classics (for my generation, anyway) for a reason. Just grab a controller and enter a brand new world!
Note: I only included games I've personally played myself.
1. Kingdom Hearts
Playstation 2/3/4, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS/3DS, Xbox One, Web browser, PSP | 1 player
Do you love Disney? Mix it with anime characters and you've got this Playstation classic. You play as Sora, a young boy with crazy blonde hair whose whole world changes when the villains of the Disney classics seek to destroy the universe. The multiple worlds in the universe, usually separated, have been open and connected because of the disruption, and with the help of Sora's sidekicks Goofy and Donald Duck, you visit the worlds of the Disney movies - Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and Peter Pan, to name a few - to rid them of the villains' minions, the Heartless.
In addition, Sora's friends Kairi and Riku have been lost somewhere in the universe, and it's up to him, with the help of his sidekicks and his Keyblade (the weapon you play with throughout the game), to destroy the Heartless, stop the villains, save his friends, and restore the universe back to order. With each Heartless and boss you defeat, your ability points, or AP, build up and allow you new attack sequences and magical powers; for each world you save, you get a new stronger Keyblade on the grateful world's behalf.
Kingdom Hearts II follows a similar format with new Disney worlds to explore and even more exciting challenges to face, and there is a rumored third game in the works as well. There have been other versions of the game, but they were released primarily for handheld devices.
Admittedly, these games are not ones that you can finish in a weekend or bang out in a week. They take time and are intentionally complex so that the gameplay requires effort; when you play it at all, I promise you'll be playing in increments of full hours - that's how long it takes to fight through worlds, especially if you die multiple times. But that being said, you don't even notice the time is passing because you're so engrossed with the game.
Kingdom Hearts 1
2. Tak and the Power of Juju
Playstation 2, GameCube, Gameboy Advance | 1-2 Players
The village of the Pupanunu people is threatened when the prophecy foretelling that the evil shaman, Tlaloc, will rise against the Moon Juju and turn everyone into sheep comes true. Tak, the chosen warrior of the prophecy, must restore the juju and save his people before they become Tlaloc's herd of followers forever. Playing as Tak, you encounter exotic animals throughout the village, since it takes place in a rainforest, the good shaman Jibolba, and Jujus that come to your aid and give you special powers the further you advance.
There are three games about Tak, and each one is just as fun as the next. Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams deals with the worlds of reality and dreams, constantly flipping back and forth between them. It picks up where the first one left off, with Tak being unconscious after his battle with Tlaloc. Only he's not just sleeping - he's stuck in the dream world, where he finds out that the Dream Guardian is trying to take over the world one sleeping person at a time until everyone is trapped in the dream world forever. It's up to you, Tak, to restore the worlds' separation and use the Staff of Dreams to set everything right, all the while being asleep in the forest.
Tak: the Great Juju Challenge is the third and last game in the installment, and this one has the option to be played in co-op, up to two players. As Tak, a proven shaman apprentice, and Lok, the fumbling brute of the team voiced by Patrick Warburton, you go through challenges on behalf of the Pupanunu tribe to win the Great Juju Challenge. You're timed as you overcome obstacles and solve puzzles in various worlds with new two-player experiences, where effective teamwork is the only way to succeed.
Each game probably takes about a week to finish, or a weekend of binge-playing, because they're not overly difficult to play or beat. They don't need to be played in order, and anything you miss if you play them out of order can be figured out quickly while you're playing. The handy manual that comes in the sleeve of the game's CD holder is actually really helpful and tells you all the tricks to each thing you face; when you're frustrated with the rhinos that keep charging you, look to the manual.
Tak and the Power of Juju
3. Spyro the Dragon
Playstation 1/2/3/4 | 1 player
Since Gnasty Gnorc has encased every dragon in Dragon Kingdom in stone, it's up to Spyro and his firefly Sparx to save them and defeat the treacherous boss. With two attacks, fire-breathing and charging, you travel through worlds of dragons to free them all from their encasements, recover lost stolen treasure, and take out Gnasty's minions to end his tyranny once and for all.
Along the way you meet characters who help you and ones you need to defeat, but overall the game is pretty straightforward and full of fun objectives to fulfill. The games aren't hard so it doesn't take long to beat them, but you'll love the little purple dragon whose sass and fire-breathing aren't in short supply. Named after the dragon of the Zodiac, Spyro is the titular character that will make you want to play these games over and over again. Even the villainous bosses you can't help but enjoy because of their corny one-liners and outrageous schemes to take over Dragon Kingdom and the rest of the worlds.
The other main installments of the Spyro games, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, follow Spyro as well through worlds of so many different creatures you can't keep track of them all and defeat the bosses that pop up for their day of villainy. They all follow roughly the same format of gameplay, so not only does the order you play them not matter but the stories are both formulaic and classic Spyro plots. The series has so many spin-offs, though, that you could pick up any one of the games and enjoy the full dragon experience.
The Legend of Spyro Trilogy
Playstation 2/3, Wii, Xbox/Xbox 360, GameCube, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS | 1-2 players
Nintendo 3DS, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii/Wii U, Microsoft Windows, OS X | 1-2 players
Spyro the Dragon
4. Mario Party
Wii/Wii U, Nintendo 64, Gamecube | 1-4 players (Mario Party 7 has up to 8 players)
This isn't a platform adventure game, but it's so fun for solo play, co-op, or groups that it deserves to be on here. Plus, it's not all that hard. There are nine Mario Party games (the tenth announced to be released in 2015) where you choose one of the beloved Mario Bros classic characters and race around a game board through a series of minigames, from shooting targets to walking on a tightrope. I included this game specifically because the different minigames you have to play are somewhat like levels in a platform game, except you're competing with three other people, friends or computers, for the same prize.
If you have any hand-eye coordination at all, you can play this game and have fun doing it. If you don't, the minigames all require you to complete different tasks in order to win, whether it's tackling other players, shooting things, balancing, or racing cars. Lacking the coordination to play video games is often the reason why people avoid them altogether, but games like Mario Party improve those skills and even help you practice them. And since they're all so different, everyone usually finds a couple that they're great at, and others that make them groan.
The first three were released for the N64, the next four on the GameCube, and the last two for the Wii console (the tenth will be for the Wii U). As you collect stars and take out your opponents, you're earning credits for Bonus Stars later, like the most minigames won and the most candy consumed while playing. These types of settings can be adjusted by the players before the game, and there's a selection of maps from which you choose that determines what type of star-collecting challenges await you. Not only do you have to compete in every challenge to be considered the Superstar, but you have to beat everyone else, too.
Since each minigame takes about a minute, if even that, to complete, one game of Mario Party is usually around a half hour. Of course, there are settings you can change to make the game longer or shorter, like how many rounds you play. No character has attacks, special powers or abilities, or advantages and disadvantages: everyone is on the same playing field, and the only differences between everyone are the players themselves.
Mario Party 8
5. Sly Cooper
Playstation 2/3, PSP, Playstation Vita | 1-2 Players
Move over Batman, there's a new night stalker in town. Sly Cooper, a kleptomaniacal raccoon similar to Robin Hood, is the master thief: he bugs offices, steals pieces of art, finds bottles with messages in them, and donns every disguise he can use to trick the henchmen of the various bosses, all to stop the evil criminals from wreaking havoc on the world. His buddies provide the brain and the braun, as the former is a turtle named Bentley known for his tech saaviness, and the latter is Murray, a hippo who packs quite a punch. Together, they're known as the Cooper Gang.
The Sly Cooper trilogy is all about criminals versus criminals and who can outsmart who. The Gang has plenty of obstacles and not everything goes according to plan all the time - especially when Sly's love interest Inspector Carmelita Fox from Interpol steps in - and sometimes the situations they get themselves into are unforeseen and tricky to fix.
There are four installments in this series, and it's mostly recommended to play the games in order because of the reappearance of certain characters whose backstories wouldn't make sense without context. Travel to different countries - and even back in time - to stop the evil masterminds of the world from complete domination, but don't get caught!
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus introduces the Cooper Gang as they try to recover the Cooper family book of thieving and secrets, the "Thievius Raccoonus," from Clockwerk, a mechanical owl, and his Fiendish Five. The book holds too much information for it to be in the hands of anyone but a Cooper - especially someone as evil as Clockwerk.
Sly 2: Band of Thieves is a struggle against Clockwerk again, except this time the Gang has to collect mechanical pieces from the owl which have been scattered by the Klaww Gang, led by the parrot Arpeggio, who plan to revive the fallen evil bird. Without the parts, the bird cannot be rebuilt, so the Cooper Gang must retrieve them before the Klaww Gang gets them first.
In Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, we learn of the Cooper vault, where all of the stolen riches have accumulated through decades and generations of thieving. Unfortunately, Doctor M has also discovered the vault but has been unable to open it. The gang has to travel through different worlds, and even recruit past friends for help, in reclaiming the vault on behalf of the Cooper family.
The last in the series, Sly 4: Thieves in Time, is a different journey entirely. For some unknown reason, the pages of the "Thievius Raccoonus" are disappearing, along with the ancestors of the Cooper line, and the gang must travel through time to recover the lost pages and stop whoever is wiping out Sly's relatives one century at a time.