Gaming is a great pass time. I take a look at the top 50 titles that have shaped my gaming history.
I like gaming, probably not as much as I used to, but that is because I prefer old skool games rather than the new fangled behemoths we see now. At 36 I have lived through some of the greatest gaming eras ever.
So I take a look at 50 of my favourite and most played games over the last few decades, covering computer games, console games and handheld games. I decided to organise them in alphabetical order as it is too hard to put them in favourite order.
1. Burai Fighter Deluxe – Nintendo GameBoy – 1991
A side scrolling shoot em up. You guide a constant scrolling guy blasting in all directions killing anything that enters the screen. Simple as with most shooters, but quite difficult and intense. It has a password option too which while you cant save your progress you can at least pick up from later levels.
2. Burnout 3 Takedown – Sony PlayStation 2 – 2004
I have always like high speed racers, and this game shows off the capabilities of the PlayStation 2. Gorgeous graphics and incredibly fast paced racing. It builds on the existing games in series and adds ‘crash’ challenges. Absolutely superb.
3. Call Of Duty 3 – Sony PlayStation 2 – 2006
This is as about as modern as I get. I normally prefer my FPS games futuristic or on strange worlds, but I really got in to this WW2 shooter and is regarded as one of the best from the series. Intense fighting and gun fire from all sides make this a very difficult title, but the help from other AI players is essential.
4. Carmageddon – iOS – 2013 (Originally 1997)
Originally released in 1997, the aim of this controversial racing game is to destroy your opponents or win the races, time is added by smashing in to opponents and running over pedestrians in imaginative ways.
Its mature nature caused a stir when originally released. I choose the iOS version over the original Windows version as hardware at the time let this game down, but playing on an iPhone gives you a great experience with great graphics and speed – and I have spent more time on the iOS version than I did Windows version.
5. The Chaos Engine – Sega MegaDrive – 1993
A great gem. The Chaos Engine is a top down walking and shooting game. It is like Zelda with guns. A fairly simple game, but highly addictive.
6. Command & Conquerer Red Alert – Windows – 1996
Not my normal kind of game, but I really got in to this. A real time strategy game seeing you in charge of a bunch of troops. You direct them, move them and arm them and watch them fight and interact with others. I didn’t get very far as I found it quite a difficult game.
7. Croc Legend Of The Gobbos – Sega Saturn – 1997
The Saturn didn’t have many 3D platformers, cute and cuddly was the domain for Nintendo. Croc Legend Of The Gobbos is a great jump and run alternative to the likes of Spyro and Crash Bandicoot.
8. Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball – Microsoft XBox – 2003
This is a bizarre spin off from the fighting series Dead Or Alive and was a XBox exclusive. I admit to only playing this to because of the gorgeously rendered bikini clad girls – but then I bet most people did. The game play was actually pretty good too.
9. Die Hard Trilogy – Sega Saturn – 1997
One of my favourite Saturn titles. This game is broken down in to three sections. A third person shooter, a shooter that can use a light gun and a driving section. Even for 1997 the graphics weren’t the best, but the gameplay is great.
10. Doom 2 – Windows – 1994
I am a huge Doom fan. The whole series is legendary and while I have played Doom more than Doom 2, the advances in Doom 2 such as enhanced level design, lighting, larger maps and more complex puzzles means Doom 2 wins my vote.
11. Driver – Sony PlayStation – 1999
It might look a bit dated now, but this game rocked the driving game genre back in 1999. Free roaming and realistic driving made Driver fantastic. Other driving games focused on speed and locked you in to a route, Driver is a totally different and set a precedent for the Grand Theft Auto.
12. Everybodys’ Golf – Sony PlayStation – 1997
Sometimes gaming isn’t just about you, playing with someone else can enhance gameplay tremendously . Everybodys’ Golf has a cute look rather than the serious side like Tiger Woods. I spent hours playing this with my wife, so it holds a special place for both of us.
13. F-Zero – Super Nintendo Entertainment System – 1990
A futuristic racing game. You race your space craft around a track against others trying not to hit the sides as it damages your craft, which can only be repaired in a pit at the start of each lap.
14. Fifa International Soccer – Windows – 1993
I’m not a football fan. I don’t follow it or watch it, but everyone needs a footie game in their collection. I love this game. Its graphics might look dated, but it lacks that complicated feel of modern versions and focuses on kicking and passing.
15. Flashback – Sega MegaDrive – 1992
A strange 2D platformer. While others went for a cute feel, this is a serious dark sci-fi adventure. You play Conrad who mainly walks around levels, but can also run, jump and hang from ledges.
16. Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars – Nintendo DS – 2009
This takes the top-down style of the early GTA games and adds a slight 3D touch to it. It might seem like a cut down game, but it really works and is a very undersestimated game. Utterly fantastic.
17. Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories – Sony PlayStation Portable – 2006
This 80’s themed version of Grand Theft Auto started as a PlayStation Portable game and was ported to the PlayStation 2. However, I prefer the PSP version as the small screen makes the graphics look crisp and it is a great game for on the go.
18. Grid Runner – Sega Saturn – 1996
This is a bizarre and fairly unknown game. It was one of the first games I bought for my Saturn. A puzzle/platformer game that requires you to run around tagging/changing flags, it is a hugely addictive title.
19. Half Life – Windows – 1998
This game really got me in to PC gaming. When released this first person shooter was in a league of its own. The graphics are superb and the dark earie setting make it a scary game to play.
20. KingPin : Life Of Crime – Windows – 1999
Another first person shooter, KingPin is a very violent game with a lot of strong language. Extreme violence and language coupled with a soundtrack from Cypress Hill made this a fantastic game. Unlike a lot of FPS games it is quite difficult.
21. Mario Kart Double Dash – Nintendo GameCube – 2003
This is one of the best modern versions of Mario Kart. The ability to pick two people and then swap during racing gave it an excellent twist. This means you have double the ‘special abilities’ depending on the characters you pick. The GameCube was a great console and this fast paced game and fantastic levels make it a joy.
22. Mario Kart DS – Nintendo DS – 2005
My DS came with this game and for months it was all I would play on it. The GameBoy Advance version prior was terrible, but the DS hardware was perfectly suited to better gaming and its 3D nature made it a superb portable racer.
23. Midtown Madness 3 – Microsoft XBox – 2003
I bought both Midtown Madness and Midtown Madness 2 on the PC, but both required serious hardware to enjoy gameplay. Exclusive to the original XBox, Midtown Madness 3 took these worries away. It was the clean safe version of Driver.
24. Need For Speed 3 Hot Pursuit – Windows – 1998
This game had me hooked for months, and playing it on PC meant I could add my own cars and mods. It was one of the first games I played using my Orchid Righteous 3Dfx card and the rendering was awesome, it blew everything else away. Such a gorgeous game to watch and the high speed police chases are fantastic.
25. Need For Speed Most Wanted – Sony PlayStation 2 – 2005
Quite possibly one of the best racing games ever. ‘Most Wanted’ is different to other driving games. It has a huge open world as well as mission based. The driving is faced paced and the AI police cars were intense. If you don’t fancy doing missions, you can simply drive around the massive city and highways.
26. New Super Mario Bros – Nintendo DS – 2006
Mario platformer games are never bad. However the GameBoy Advance had a lot of SNES revamps, but this game is a whole new adventure. It is a brilliant game with superb graphics.
27. Nights Into Dreams – Sega Saturn – 1996
A totally unique Saturn game that really shows its graphical capabilities. It is a platformer with flying elements in an utterly gorgeous landscape and even spawned a Christmas Nights Into Dreams game.
28. POD – Windows – 1997
Racing games were all too much the same when this was released, but POD is totally different. A futuristic racing game on some very strange tracks with lots of jumps and split levels. The re-released/enhanced version added better rendering.
29. Polarium – Nintendo DS – 2005
A simple puzzle game. Complete puzzles by flipping tiles, converting black tiles to white and white tiles to black to complete lines and then ending the level.
30. Quake – Windows – 1996
Does this need an introduction? Quake is the successor to the Doom series and it introduced full 3D first person shooting.
31. Quake 2 – Windows – 1997
One of my favourite games of all time and still an amazing FPS. It takes the best bits from Quake and take it to a whole new level.
32. Quake 3 Arena – Mac – 2000
This took a break from the standard storyline FPS and delves in to the arena style, where you are cast in to a room, building or arena and the aim is to kill or ‘frag’ more than your opponents. Insanely fast and was one of the first games I played on my Mac after switching from Windows.
33. Rock ’n’ Roll Racing – Super Nintendo Entertainment System – 1993
A third person racing game. I loved this game in my youth and still play it now. Racing, weapons and rock music – pure genius.
34. Sega Rally Championship – Sega Saturn – 1995
Flagship racing game for the Sega Saturn, heralded as one of the best racing games of all time. and of the first rally racing games. It is very fast and your car handles differently depending on the road surface.
35. Serious Sam Next Encounter – Sony PlayStation 2 – 2004
Nothing fancy, just out and out shoot fest. If it moves blast it. This really shows the PlayStation 2 at its best. Great graphics and fast paced action and with 20+ enemies on screen at once it has no slow down.
36. Sonic Adventure 2 – Sega Dreamcast – 2001
Take classic Sonic with its speed and turn it in to a gorgeous 3D game and Sonic Adventure 2 is what you end up. Showing off the capabilities of the Dreamcast, it is blisteringly fast and beautifully rendered – even if most of it is gone in a flash.
37. Sonic The Hedgehog 3 – Sega MegaDrive – 1994
I didn’t get in to Sonic games until this one arrive, mainly because it introducing the ability to save. Sonic The Hedgehog 3 is a superb game – and quite possibly the best Sega MegaDrive game ever.
38. StarFox – Super Nintendo Entertainment System – 1993
This was one of my experiences at 3D gaming. It uses the specially created SuperFX chip to achieve superior polygon based graphics. While it might look crude now, in 1993 this was more than state of the art especially in a 16-bit 2D world.
39. Street Racer – Sega MegaDrive – 1994
This is the Sega alternative to Mario Kart, without the cuteness of Nintendo. Karting and battling and winning by any means. Other than racing, just the like Mario Kart there are battle arenas – and even a football match.
40. Super Bomberman – Super Nintendo Entertainment System – 1993
There are countless versions of Bomberman for just about every console, but the Super Nintendo version is still my favourite. Modern ones detract from the simpleness of the game by adding quirky features – where as this is just out and out bombing, made all the better by the addition of multiplayer. Blast a friend.
41. Super Mario Allstars + Super Mario World – Super Nintendo Entertainment System – 1994
This has to the crowning game for the SNES. I chose the 1994 re-release as it adds in Super Mario World, one of the best games ever. I also enjoy Super Mario Bros 3 which has the Battle Game which I spent many hours playing with a neighbour.
I have to admit to not really playing the rest of the titles in it though, only briefly looking at them.
42. Super Mario Kart – Super Nintendo Entertainment System – 1992
This cute karting game might look sweet but it will bring out the beast in you – especially if playing a two player or a battle game with a friend. A brilliant karting game and one of the first spin offs from the Mario platform series.
43. Tanx – Amiga – 1991
This might seem an odd addition to include, but it is an amazing game to play. I wasn’t fortunate enough to own an Amiga but a friend was and every visit would see us battling it out in this pre-Worms style blow em’ up.
Aim you tank turret and move your vehicle back and forth to gain the perfect angle for blowing up your opponent. Kaboom.
44. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fall Of The Foot Clan – Nintendo GameBoy – 1990
A side ways platform shooter similar to Shinobi or Golden Axe, where ‘you’ aka a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fight your way through multiple levels of nasties.
45. Tetris – Nintendo GameBoy – 1989
No game collection would be complete without Tetris. I was a big fan of the GameBoy and this game kept me busy for hours. Puzzler games don’t get any better than this.
46. Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends – Sega MegaDrive – 1993
OK, so this might be an odd choice for a 36 year old, but it is strangely appealing – and yes I spend a lot of time playing it. Drive Thomas around and collect and drop off carriages.
The Super Nintendo version is totally different and more of a puzzler.
47. Virtua Fighter 2 – Sega Saturn – 1996
The Saturn was notoriously hard to write for and sloppy developers produced some poor quality ports, however when done properly the Saturn was an amazing machine and Virtua Fighter 2 really shows off the true graphics capability of the Saturn.
Whereas the original was very polygon shaped, VF2 takes a new look on character design and the final result was amazing.
Oddly enough a 2D version was released after the Saturn version for the MegaDrive in 1996.
48. Wario Land – Nintendo GameBoy – 1994
Mario games went gone from strength to strength on the GameBoy and Wario Land dubbed Super Mario Land 3 was an amazing achievement on such a small device. A highly addictive and complicated platformer, put it amongst one of the best Mario games of all time.
49. Wii Sports – Nintendo Wii – 2006
I am not a huge Wii fan, but the sheer family element of Wii Sports puts it in my top 50. Old or young, the Wii is a console anyone can play and for the first time your grandma showed an interest in gaming. Bowling a virtual bowling ball has never been easier.
50. Wipeout Pulse – Sony PlayStation Portable – 2007
Yet another example of how powerful the PlayStation Portable is. This is an amazingly rendered game and the speeds are incredible. It takes the original PlayStation classic and sharpened the graphics.
It is interesting when you start to put together a list like this where you gaming loyalties layed.
PC gaming seemed my strongest at the beginning of the century with 9 games, plus 1 Mac and 1 Amiga game.
For consoles it would seem the Super Nintendo with 8 and the Sega Saturn with 6 were my most played, followed by the PlayStation 2 with 4, the MegaDrive with 3, the PlayStation and original XBox with 2 each and the GameCube, Wii and Dreamcast bringing in only 1 each.
Handhelds did well too with the Nintendo DS and GameBoy having 4 each and the PlayStation Portable with 2, plus an iOS version of a PC game too.
My gaming trends lean torwards first person shooters, racing games and platformers, but everyone needs something different at times with the odd puzzle and fighting game thrown in.
You might not agree with all the games in this list, but I hope you will agree with some of them. Gaming is a personal choice, for me modern gaming doesn’t thrill me as much as it did. Perhaps I am old. Perhaps it isn’t as good anymore.
My PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS sit pride of place in my TV cabinet and will for a long time.
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