Nowadays, I’m nothing of a gamer. I own an Xbox 360 that is covered in dust, my Live membership having lapsed long ago. In my youth, however, a video game controller was often in my hands (or being thrown from them during a temperamental rage-quit) after I reluctantly came inside. There were many games that I enjoyed, but here I will discuss five games that I miss immensely and long to have back in my life. These games span from the original Nintendo system, on through Nintendo 64, and encompass perhaps thousands of hours of gameplay between them.
For the Nintendo Entertainment System, lovingly referred to as NES, Dragon Warrior was a 2D scrolling RPG set in medieval times. You are a warrior set out to explore the lands surrounding your home castle and defeat a supervillain known as the Dragonlord, and along the way, you deal with increasingly strong enemies, speak with townspeople from around the realm, collect armor and weaponry, and become a force to be reckoned with.
Why It’s Great: For its time, it was an incredibly important entry into the nascent world of the role playing game. The ability to interact with people from around the explorable world, gaining advice for the gameplay, as well as the presentation of a slew of unique villains to fight, and armor and weapons to do so with as you gain gold and experience, make it an intriguing game that will hold your interest through the many hours. I played the game several times through, spending countless hours on it each time and it never lost its charm for me. I miss this game dearly.
One of my favorite games for the Super Nintendo was Mortal Kombat. Revolving around murderous fighters forced into a tournament to fight for their lives, the game was a monstrous hit. Each character had various special moves, many of them supernatural in scope, and when your opponent is down to his or her last bit of life, the words FINISH HIM! appear on the screen. That’s when the real fun begins. It’s then that you get to bust out a fatality move – a special and particularly gruesome attack that effectively ends the life of your rival. Kano rips your heart out and holds it up. Johnny Cage kicks his foot into your chest. Sonya’s “kiss of death” leaves you in a pile of soot. The list goes on. My only regret about the game is never being able to master Raiden’s fatality, no matter how many times I followed the instructions in the Nintendo Power magazine.
Why It’s Great: Mortal Kombat was revolutionary in the realm of video games, in that its pixelated gore caused uppity, overprotective parents to cry foul, followed by Congressional hearings over violence in video games. It’s also good for infinite amounts of fun, whether you’re playing against the computer or a friend.
Mutant League Hockey–
Who doesn’t love a good hockey fight? Throw a little murder and mayhem into the mix and you have Mutant League Hockey. The only game on this list that I never owned but for which I still have some of the fondest memories, Mutant League Hockey was a game for the Sega Genesis that involved tons of fatal action. The teams were comprised of robots, skeletons and trolls, all of which could be killed by opposing players with various weapons thrown down onto the ice by fans. The object of the game was still of course to score on the opposing goal, but the true joy came from mowing those rivals down.
Why It’s Great: I’ve always hated when dead bodies promptly disappear from the screen in video games. In Mutant League Hockey, the piles of bones and guts that are left of the opponents you mow down stay on the ice for the remainder of the period, and your players can actually trip over them. One-on-one hockey fights are there too.
Diddy Kong Racing–
We’re getting to the Nintendo 64 now, and to one of my favorite games for it, Diddy Kong Racing. This beat out Mario Kart 64 for this list for me, as unique characters and power-ups, as well as the addition of airplanes and watercraft for the races gave it a whole new air of fun. You can choose any one of eight characters to race, and my choice was always Pipsy the Mouse, as overall, she had the best balance of speed and handling. You can race against the other characters who are controlled by the CPU, or have friends join you for more fun.
Why It’s Great: Fun levels, a slew of power-ups and obstacles you can use to beat fellow racers (the “fart cloud” is obviously the best), and the ability to take the races to the air and water make this game a hell of a good time. This is one for the history books.
Well, we’ve made it to the top of the list of video games that I desperately wish were still at my fingertips – the grand poobah, as it were. Goldeneye 007 for Nintendo 64 is for me the greatest multi-player game to ever exist (eat your heart out, Halo…Call of Duty can suck it, too). In this beautiful classic, you run around as the James Bond, attempting to topple the traitorous Alec Trevelyan, completing various missions and fighting hoardes of henchmen along the way. That’s just the storyboard. The multiplayer mode allows you to face off against your friends, pumping them full of munitions courtesy of awesome weapons such as the Moonraker laser, the Golden Gun, or the delightfully violent RCP-90. If you don’t feel any need to get fancy, you can always just go with the trusty Walther PP7, Bond’s weapon of choice.
Why It’s Great: Classic characters, great weapons and the ability to explore all the levels through the story mode, or through the four-player deathmatch that is the multi-player mode.