I honestly don't play games anymore, which
probably isn't a good idea! However, I have played a lot of games
in my time - and many of them influenced what I would go on to do in my
own career. So here's a rundown of my favourite games of all
time. Not all of them are particularly great -
especially not nowadays - but they were certainly very memorable and
WWF No Mercy N64
A lot of wrestling fans are divided between the Playstation's SmackDown!
games, and the N64's distinctly different WWF series. Although they're
both made by THQ, I prefer the latter 100%. SmackDown offers the
shallow WWF experience that plagued the SNES in the early nineties - and
for me, leaves a lot to be desired. The N64 incarnations on the other hand
are based on superior Japanese wrestling, and pride themselves on strong wrestling gameplay.
Also, the limitations of the N64 seem to have forced them to make the game
so much stronger. The wrestler animations are created manually, and look
stunning compared to SmackDown's motion-captured efforts. Fundamentally,
this is as good as wrestling games get and the gameplay should not be
Age Of Empires 2
The only real-time strategy game that appeals to me, largely due to
its realistic setting. The controls and
interface are perfectly designed, making the task of controlling an entire
Empire enjoyable rather than frustrating. The freedom to develop, attack
and explore is complimented by an inspired selection of units and
technologies. If only the game's timeline extended further...
It plays like a board game, but its unparalleled depth and historical
accuracy make it a hugely involving strategy game. Like Age Of Empires,
it makes the task of managing an entire civilization as easy as possible.
Especially impressive, given that this game takes everything one step
further - even placing you in charge of international politics.
This adventure game cast you as an explorer, stranded in the depths of
Colorado where a hostile Indian community resided. Armed only with a
knife, a rifle, and a canoe, you had to navigate the area in pursuit of
valuable items. It was a frighteningly realistic experience, because you
could interact with anything in the beautiful scenery - from camp fires to
the Native Indians. Enemies were few and far between, but they were so formidable
(you could die at any moment) that every single confrontation was satisfyingly
At the time, this was by far the greatest first-person-shooter to ever
grace a console. Like most licensed games, the expectations were very low
but this was a truly great piece of software. As Perfect Dark
proved, the James Bond setting was merely a luxury. The graphics were
stunningly well textured and smooth, making everything look perfectly
realistic - a rarity on the N64's hardware. The visuals didn't hide a bad
game either - the stealthy mission-based gameplay of Goldeneye put
every other FPS to shame. A captivating multiplayer mode sealed the game's
Super Fire Pro Wrestling Super NES
Never had a game been so under-rated for my brother and I. We read
reviews condemning it with scores of 20-40%, but we still hunted it down at an import shop. Being
real wrestling fans, the official
WWF efforts didn't quite cut it - but Fire Pro had 3 times as many
characters, an amazing amount of great moves, and all kinds of cool little
wrestling details that only a fan could appreciate. Yes, the animation was
poor, the gameplay was sluggish, and the one-player game was literally
impossible - but hey, we played it more than any other game ever. The
influence it has on my games, ten years on, is no coincidence...
Lords Of Chaos Amiga
A turn-based strategy game, where multiple players each controlled a
wizard trying to gather resources and weapons. You could assemble armies
by casting monsters, or by stealing those of your enemies. You would then
battle for treasures and powerful weaponry, hoping to be the first to
escape the level through the magic "Portal". The sheer
level of control and freedom made each game unique, and thoroughly
Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games PC
Offering similar gameplay to Lords Of Chaos, this too was a
turn-based strategy game and appealed to me for similar reasons. However,
this game gave you control of a team of mercenary soldiers as they
attempted to complete various missions. The tactical gameplay was seminal,
in and out of the battlefield, because you had to arrange your team and
manage their resources. The game also had great personality, thanks to the
out-spoken characters at your disposal.
Grand Theft Auto
I value freedom very highly in games, and GTA provided it in a massive city
full of vulnerable cars and pedestrians. Initially criticized for its dire
(but functional) graphics, I didn't think much of the game until I
casually came across a free demo. The gameplay is so uncommonly open that
you can enjoy the game on many different levels. For instance, I hardly
ever played the "missions" - much preferring to roam the streets
causing as much chaos as possible, and seeing how long I could avoid the
cops for. For me, it wasn't so much a "game" as an interface to
simply have fun.
This wrestling game amazed WWF fans in the early nineties. At the
time, the only wrestling games on home systems were particularly dull and
cheap - so the sight of this great-looking game in the arcades was
stunning. It had all the most popular wrestlers, in glorious cartoon
style, complete with special moves and mannerisms. To top it off, the game
placed these wrestlers in all kinds of exciting matches: from the Steel
Cage to a realistic Royal Rumble (which even had 6 wrestlers in the ring
at the same time). Being an arcade machine, the fact that you couldn't
play it so often also added to its appeal.
A side-scrolling space adventure, where you controlled an astronaut
who was stuck on an alien planet until he could gather the resources to
fix his ship. You had complete freedom of a massive planet, and felt that
you could explore any avenue. To top it all off, the impressive gravity
and wind effects were enjoyable to play around with.
This Bladerunner-inspired RPG/adventure was an absolutely
chilling experience. Its futuristic setting didn't soften the feeling of
poverty as you roamed the mean streets of a lawless city. There was a
great sense of vulnerability, because it was easy to die (and painfully
harmful to your progress) and enemies would appear at the most unexpected
times. The eerie music, dark graphics and disturbing story enhanced the
tension further. To top it off, the premise was also highly
original and creative: good progress forced you to visit bars in search of
"Shadow Runners" that would protect you for money. Very cool...
Another World Amiga
Way back in its time, this was spookily realistic and consequently
extremely entertaining. Beautifully animated graphics, great atmospheric detail and eerie sound
effects gripped many gamers. Giving a nod to Prince of Persia, the
game revolved around calculated jumps and attacks - best described as a
stealthy, realistic platform game. As with Shadow Run, what I liked
about it was the vulnerability. A foolish move or a stray gunshot could
end your game in a second, so it had some very tense and absorbing
The sequel to Another World delivered the same realistic
gameplay with even more style. The graphics finally looked realistic,
which complimented the smooth animations and produced a more convincing
world. At the time most platform games were from the Mario mould,
so the sheer realism of this game was compelling. Unfortunately, the 3D
incarnation Fade To Black didn't make quite the same impression...
This game took the tawdry racing/car genre and shook it up in a major
way by placing less emphasis on the "racing" aspect. Here you
competed against other cars in what could either be a race around the
circuit or a destructive war. The most fun being the latter, as you freely
crash around the level seeking to destroy your competitors with calculated
knocks and smashes. The comical car physics made every single incident
fun, amusing and strangely realistic.
Street Fighter 2
This was an incredibly stressful game for me, but its gameplay was so
perfect that you never blamed it for your failures. The line between
success and failure was always so thin that each round was agonizingly
tense and engrossing. The characterization was great, the moves were revolutionary, and the whole concept was very
fresh at the time.
I was always intrigued by the Mortal Kombat series. The
relentless violence, the basic control system, and the
"Fatalities" that ended each bout culminated in the most
original fighting game ever. However, throughout the ever-improving
series, the second game was the only one that I truly liked. The first one
was far too primitive, and the more recent ones over-complicated things a
little too much. The pure brutality of the gameplay was its appeal, so
simplicity was very important.
Super Mario World
All of the Mario games are "good", but this is the only one
that I consider to be great - including his N64 outing. It just seemed to
be the perfect blend of everything that had gone before, with a plethora
of great new features to boot. The graphics were perfectly suitable, the
sounds were charming, and the responsive gameplay shamed every other
16-bit platform game. Best of all, this great game was wrapped up by a
huge unfolding map of unique levels.
World Of Soccer Amiga
The distinct style of this football simulator, in terms of both
graphics and gameplay, pushed it way ahead of its unoriginal competitors.
It had all the fun of an arcade game, yet still managed to be the most
engrossing simulator around. Great design, with a penchant for simplicity,
made it accessible to all.
At the time, this was a great concept: a three-way fighting game
starring martial arts students competing for honours. Having your scores
translated into belts/dans was a great touch. It had a surprisingly good selection of attacks, and
benefited from some cool training sub-games.
The most original concept ever: guiding lemmings home by commanding
them to manipulate their environment. The sequels always seemed to
over-complicate this basic premise.
The game I could see coming, and wanted, the minute I played Lemmings. It took the destructible landscapes of the said
game, and filled it with armies of worms trying to kill each other in turn-based combat.
Super Star Wars
Licensed games rarely turn out to be anything more than a cheap
cash-in, especially in the 16 bit era, but Star Wars broke the
mould as a genuinely good shoot 'em-up. Granted the Star Wars
setting added a lot, but this was still an extremely entertaining
laser-fest. The furious pace of the action was complimented perfectly by
the responsive controls and graceful animations.
Mana Super NES
This innovative RPG was a perfect compromise between Zelda's action
and Final Fantasy's depth. Players explored the huge world and
fought battles in real-time arcade style - yet the statistics behind it
all were satisfyingly complex. It even took the arcade gameplay a huge
step forward, by allowing up to 3 players on screen simultaneously.
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