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About
Currently playing:

PC
-Guild Wars 2

XB360
-Fez

PS2
-Persona 4
-Persona 3 FES
-Nocturne

PS3
-Rayman Origins

Vita
-Wipeout 2048
-Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

Platinum Trophies:
-Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
-Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
-Prince of Persia
-Infamous
-Burnout Paradise
-Sly Cooper
-Sly 2

and Some Favorites
Skies of Arcadia
Grandia 1+2
Xenogears
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Lost Odyssey
Silent Hill 2
Shadow of the Colossus
Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past
Vagrant Story
Chrono Trigger
Secret of Mana
River City Ransom
Little Ninja Brothers
Eternal Darkness
Metal Gear Solid
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher's Bay
Shenmue 1+2
Shining Force 1+2

Starting Off Strong "Series"
Vagrant Story
Three Descents

List Blogs
10 Games That Influenced Etirflita
7 Bromances
6 Characters I Wouldn't Want To Meet
3 Dream Games
List Fever

Looking Back
That One Mook: Bogimoray
Those About to Die: Game Companies
Weddings and Funerals in 2008
Listening to Games?
I, The Author: Gamer as Designer
Wipeout: Distinguished Features
Something About Sex: Roleplay
2010 Sucked: Suicide Missions and Game Overs

Things that have been FPed
Monthly Musing April 2009
Monthly Musing May 2009
World 1-1
Badges
Following (12)  




I've only begun dipping my toe into the Guild Wars 2 beta that's been running this weekend, and I'm already impressed with the design of the world. It takes a special sort of game to cause me to stop and admire my surroundings the way Guild Wars 2 has. In just a short amount of playtime, I've amassed a substantial number of screenshots.



I created a human thief, crafting a backstory and personality I found appropriate for my character. He's a commoner whose only regret is never joining the circus when he had a chance. He's chummy with the local tavernowner and his daughter, and up to his neck in charisma.



Guild Wars 2 has something called a 'home instance' that is a section of the starting city unique to your character. This area adapts and grows based on your actions and decisions. Buildings may be destroyed due to your characters ineptitude, such as my thief's plan to save the orphanage using a 'cat-a-pult'.



Inside the city walls are shrines to the whichever god you worship, whether it be Balthazar, the God of Fire and War (pictured above); Dwayna, the Goddess of Life and Air; Melandru, the Goddess of Nature and Earth; Grenth, the God of Death and Ice; Lyssa, Twin Goddess of Illusions and Beauty; or Kormir, the Goddess of Truth and Knowledge. Others may bend their knee to only the Queen.



There are many sights to see within the walls of Divinity's Reach, from the flying banners to the aquarium lined hallways.



The actual structure of the city is something of a mix between the circular pattern of the Imperial City of Oblivion and something out of a Miyazaki film. The city has shops and houses spilling out of the walls and reaching into the sky.







Outside the city walls is an agrarian paradise reminiscent of pre-searing Ascalon. Farmers need help feeding their cows and watering the corn (in addition to slaughtering dozens of wurms infesting their land), I assisted in a group event gathering apples for a pie, and many adventurers helped plug up the leaks in a giant dam that bordered a portion of the valley.



The dam first appeared to be something painted on to the background to make the environment seem large, but as I approached, I realized the entire area was fully explorable.



This whole valley was quite diverse with its large windmills that cycle slowly, deep pools of water to swim in (and do combat in), fields for the farms, the hilltop on which you can clearly see the vastness of Divinity's Reach, babbling brooks, waterfalls, rivers, and hidden caves.



At night, the graveyard comes alive with swarms of bats, which help demonstrate the beauty of the day-night cycle. This passage of time is not limited to the wild outdoors, but is also seen within the city itself.



As I continue to explore, I am continually fascinated by the effort placed in the design of each environment. Revisiting Lion's Arch was intriguing in its simultaneous familiarity and refreshing novelty. It has been many years since the Lion's Arch of Guild Wars, and much has changed. One thing that has remained the same is it's wondrous quality of being a hub for characters coming from all over.



One aspect of gaming I have always enjoyed is the sensation of exploration. I feel this is often lost on games, even those with fantastic level design. Often we feel herded towards our objectives in such a way that the setting is largely irrelevant. This is gladly not the case in Guild Wars 2, and I cannot wait to dive further into the world this game has to offer.








etirflita
11:49 PM on 03.16.2011





I departed for PAX East 2011 with no previous convention experience and no idea what to expect. I had few goals other than "enjoy yourself", check out the 3DS, and attend at least the Community panel to support Hamza (or more accurately, boo him affectionately). I returned- groggy, with a light head and a heavy heart, thoroughly satisfied, and surprisingly jet lagged for someone living on the East Coast. In most sports, the phrase "There's always next year" is used most often when a team (or fan) has given up and consigned themselves to their fate, but with regards to PAX, it's a positive statement that positively drips with the excitement of wondering what games will be there, how much bigger it will have grown, and how many more dtoiders will manage the trek. It was great to see/meet a few people the night before the Expo began, and I wish I was able to spend more time with everyone.



The PAX convention floor is a Mecca for gamers. When I first stepped foot inside, surrounded by booths, giant displays, cosplayers, and hundreds of playable demos, I'll admit that the sensory overload almost paralyzed me with 'awesome'. The first thing I had to try was the Nintendo 3DS, because that was the only thing that cannot be properly portrayed via internet or XBL/PSN demos. After about fifteen seconds of Pilot Wings 3DS, I was satisfied with how the 3D effects worked. With a little tweaking of the slider, I found a depth that worked for me. After the brief demo, the rest of the show was available to explore. One thing I absolutely loved was how Indie and smaller games found ways to be represented amidst a sea of triple-A titles. Right in the middle of the Rockstar, Capcom, Bethesda, BioWare corner, people could play demos of Fez and Warp. Twisted Pixel had a fairly sizable booth with a playable build of the kinect title the Gunstringer, with Ubisoft's gigantic wall of Child of Eden (also playable on kinect) and Harmonix's Rock Band stage all very close by.



People who didn't want to wait out the several hour lines of L.A. Noire or Portal 2 (or several day line of Star Wars: the Old Republic) waited through shorter lines and were exposed to games they might not have heard of otherwise. A few games that excited me personally were Bastion and Gatling Gears, both I had heard next to nothing about. For every Red Faction: Armageddon, or Darkness II, there was a Spy Party and Dishwasher: Vampire Smile. All in all, for fans of games big and small, PAX was fantastic. Portal 2 looks like it's nailing the humor, L.A. Noire is really spot on with the facial animations and detective aspects of investigations, and I am more excited than ever for Guild Wars 2. Also, holy hell, where can I get a four-player Castle Crashers arcade cabinet? Care and dedication aren't sufficient words to describe that labor of love.



Duke Nukem finally got his throne, and Capcom was selling extremely limited supplies of Okamiden plushes that cost more than the game itself. Big Daddies put the Kool-Aid man to shame, I got to poke through a Red Faction mech like a chest-burster, and even got to play a little vintage Turbografx 16.




Oh, and anything with a steering wheel attached, ArcticFox drove.









The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.
-Robert Jordan


The Undead have been shambling into our games for the past couple of years, making zombies one of the most popular trends in gaming recently. Want a dose of zombies in your four-player co-op shooter? Try Left 4 Dead or Borderlands: Island of Dr. Ned. Dead Space had necromorphs, the more recent Resident Evils had Majini and Ganado, and Dead Rising had the zed word by the boat-full. This trend has ushered in a new type of zombie, a super zombie, the zombie Dreamcast!

I know there is no shortage of love for the Dreamcast here on Destructoid, and even the people who never owned a Dreamcast are excited at the possibilities of playing classic titles that passed them by. The announcement that these Dreamcast titles will be available for download directly to their console of choice (via PSN or XBLA) has perhaps revitalized some long-dormant franchises. While I rarely mention zombies without saying "Kill it with fire!" or "Aim for the head!", this is one instance where I suggest we cohabitate, living peacefully side-by-side with this altered beast.

This is a great opportunity for both the developers/publishers and the gamers as well. People will begin to ask "Why don't we see more games like these?", and perhaps a Chu Chu Rocket game will see the light of day on the DS or Wii. With the current booming resurgence of fighting games, a game like Power Stone would make a nice change of pace from the Street Fighters and Tekkens.

This got me to thinking. Having a game like "Sonic Adventure" on the PS3 brings the cycle to a close. What cycle? The Bleem!cycle.



Bleemcast! was a commercial emulator for the Dreamcast that not only played certain Playstation 1 games, but enhanced them as well. Games like Gran Turismo 2 and Metal Gear Solid were supported and ran at twice the resolution they had on the PS1. Bleemcast! and the Dreamcast both "died" in 2001. So in the year 2000 people were trying to take Playstation games and improve them on the Dreamcast, and in 2010 people are trying to take Dreamcast games and improve them on the Playstation. These improvements are things like online leaderboards, achievements/trophies, higher resolutions, and possible multiplayer support for games, but I want more.

Give me the ability to import DC games onto a PSP (much like you can with PSX games). This is the one area where having only one analog stick and two shoulder buttons actually fits perfectly. The PSP has already seen compilation releases of PowerStone and Crazy Taxi, so it isn't too ridiculous to think other Dreamcast games could be well suited for the under-supported handheld.

First off, games I would love to see made available for the PSP:

Jet Grind Radio and Chu Chu Rocket.
Both games feature gameplay well suited for portability yet engaging enough to sink countless hours into. CCR would feature Ad-hoc and Infrastructure multiplayer, while Jet Grind Radio would feature leaderboards you could tag.

Sonic Adventure would be fun as a portable game, especially if you could play the VMU mini games with the PSP either in conjunction with the PS3 or separately. Another title that would fit with the PSN's library of PSX titles is Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Seeing as how most of the RE games are well represented on the service already, another one couldn't hurt. Of course, I also offer my obligatory recommendations for Skies of Arcadia, Grandia 2, and Shenmue 1 + 2.

Next up, games that wouldn't fare as well (or I wouldn't want to see on the PSP):

Typing of the Dead, while a great example of a quirky inventive niche title, would be near impossible on the PSP. That is to say, by all means bring it back for PSN and XBLA, but I can't for the life of me see it working portably. As for games I want to "remember as they were" (aka "forget altogether") there's a decent selection of them. Outrigger, Kiss Psycho Circus, and Heavy Metal Geomatrix all fall into this category.

The "Kinda Want" category would have games like Slave Zero, Omikron: the Nomad Soul, Rippin' Riders and Zombie Revenge in it, games that weren't fantastic by any means, but were enjoyable for one reason or another.

While the notion that these games will make it to the handheld market might just be pipe dreams, I'm still very excited to see these games claw their way through the dirt of their shallow graves back into the light of day. Who knows, maybe this is the Voodoo we need to see the end of the Shenmue saga. As these games shuffle onto the networks, dragging dlc behind them, an old SeGa fishing reel in one hand,

we ask that you remain calm, stay in your homes (trying for those high scores), and remember:








After finishing a game that I liked, I often wished for a sequel.

After countless bad spin-offs or sequels to good games, I've refined that desire a bit. No matter how much I loved Shining Force I and II or how bad I want a Shining Force III port or compilation, it doesn't excuse the other games that share the SF moniker from their atrocities. Same goes for you, Mana games; the Seiken Densetsu series has been dead a long time in my mind, and I still get chills when starting a new game file in Secret of Mana.

So if I shouldn't want a brand new game that destroys the memory of the games I love, what should I be excited for? Downloadable Content? DLC can extend a game further, but oftentimes it feels tacked on. The Prince of Persia Epilogue was great at extending the gameplay further and creating more of a challenge, but it didn't have quite the same production value or polish as the main game. If DLC isn't gameplay tacked onto the end of a game, it often ends up being something like Bioshock's extra plasmids: a neat addition, but the game itself doesn't change much. DLC works with games like Burnout or Rock Band where it offers substantially "more", but not all games are designed to be bolstered in quite the same way as Rock Band.

For me, my dream games are mostly divided into three groups: games that expand into different genres (the Mario Theft Autos, if you will), games that are fresh, untapped IPs, and games that crossover with other games. There are three games that would make my day if they were ever made; these are their tales:

Pilot Wings MMO

I have always wanted the ability to fly- to soar through the air with ease. My favorite parts of Pilot Wings 64 were the birdman segments. With complete control over his bird-like wings, I flapped and glided birdman around the world taking snapshots of its natural beauty. I would try to capture every picturesque mountain, sunset reflected off the ocean's surface, or even the oil refineries that were constantly aglow in the light of their flames. Everything had a beauty all its own, whether man-made or natural. My dream game would be set in a vast world dotted with a stunning variety of geographies, much like our own.

Many would disagree with the choice of it being an MMO, but I stand firm (it's my dream, damnit! Also, no subscription fee because I said so). It would control just like a standard Pilot Wings/ flight combat game in spite of it being an online experience. The franchise would thrive in a persistent setting, day/night and weather cycles constantly changing the environment, gaggles of bird-people flying in formation high above canyons and sparkling rivers. Every player has a camera which uploads screenshots directly to a central website where players rank the screens.

The other vehicles would be available; people can travel between cities by shooting out of a cannon (or attempt to knock another player out of the sky), areas that require more flight precision (such as caves or urban environments) can be traversed with a jet pack, and players who want to pvp can dogfight in their gyro-copters. All the vehicles would be fully customizable and upgradable from their stats to their appearance.

The closest game to this dream:
Aion: The Tower of Eternity

MMO? Flight-based? Aerial PVP? Ding-ding-ding! While not fully based on flight, flying plays a very large role in the game. Man-cannons and helicopters aside, this game captures my birdman fantasies. No cameras, (unless you count the print screen button) but Aion is home to some of the most beautiful, scenic environments I've seen in a game.

Flocks of players take to the skies and soar amongst the clouds in a stunning fantasy world, albeit only for a short time. Wings can only be used for a set period of time which increases at specific experience levels. And for anyone that's curious, that's my Spirit Master in the pic.

My second dream game:
A David Eddings Game

Many fantasy books have been made into games: the numerous Lord of the Rings games, the Wheel of Time, and a soon to be made Song of Ice and Fire game. Some of my favorite books have been written by David Eddings, and very nearly any of them would make a great game. My choice would come from either the Elenium or the Belgariad. The Elenium is set in a dark middle age setting where brothels are as commonplace as corrupt clergy, and the only way to survive is to keep your wits and blades about you.

In my dream game, you'd play as either Sparhawk (a badass who would fit well up against the likes of Solid Snake and Altair) or one of his companions as you sneak, outsmart your enemy, and bust skulls as a church knight of the Pandion order. The Queen has been poisoned, but magic preserves her health. She has twelve months to live, but every month that passes, one of the knights that engaged in the magic spell will die until the knights and the Queen are all gone, unless you find out who did this and find a cure. Sparhawk and pals aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, as long as it's done in the name of the Queen. The game would also have you be stalked by a Seeker: an insectoid with a bite that causes you to become its slave (forfeiting all free will). The seeker would be akin to the Nemesis from RE3, showing up at random times and terrifying the player.

The Belgariad is also host to a lot of ideas that could translate to gaming pretty well. Set in a sword-and-sorcery fantasy setting, these books follow a boy from his farming ignorance to his days as a master sorcerer. Highlights would include quests involving Barak and Silk, burning a stalker in the face, being seduced by a serpent Queen, and learning to shape-shift. The only thing better than a game version of the Belgariad might be a game version of A Wizard of Earthsea, but as far as "people sailing around the world in a one-person boat" games it's hard to beat Wind Waker.

The closest game to this dream:
The Witcher (or Dragon Age Origins)

Set in a dark middle age world much like the Elenium, the Witcher stars a slightly older, more mature main character (much like Sparhawk). Corruption is as familiar to the world of the Witcher as it is to the world of the Elenium. Bloodshed is the way to resolve issues, and the main characters shed blood efficiently. The more fantasy novels that are made into games, the more I want a David Eddings game.

And finally, the crossover game:
Power Stone vs. Darkstalkers

I will be perfectly honest, I'm not sure quite how to envision this, but I know it would be awesome. Since Power Stone 3 doesn't seem like it's coming out ever, why not breathe life into both of these amazing franchises? And let's face it, Lord Raptor with a flame thrower guitar would make me squeal with glee. I love the 2D animation of Darkstalkers, and I love the 3D worlds of Power Stone, so would it be Darkstalkers with Power Stone characters or Power Stone with Darkstalkers characters?

Easy- Set it in 3D, otherwise the thrill of scrambling for power stones would be lost, and with it all the excitement of the constantly shifting stages. In Power Stone, the levels are almost more of a threat than the other players. Items are constantly dropped, turrets can be manned, and falling from the sky is a regular occurrence. When players gather all three Power Stones, have a quick animated transformation snippet be displayed in the corner.

The game would be playable online in hi-def, and each player would have a tag team partner character with which they could swap. Just picture the combos of Gunrock and Sasquatch, Felicia and Rouge, or Bishamon and Jack. Everything would be frantic and flashy, but have a structured balance underlying it all. The Darkstalkers' stages would make an appearance in full 3D with dangers around every corner, beware the Soul Train!

And what we have instead:
We Love Golf (featuring Morrigan)

So that's what the Darkstalkers characters are up to these days (while breaking from their stint in Cross Edge). Power Stone fans have the port/compilation on the psp, and Darkstalkers fans have cameos to look forward to. C'mon Capcom, bring us a crossover that can compete with Brawl! These characters are itching for a fight anyway. But like I said, this is my dream, so I don't expect anything to come of any of these 'games', but as long as they're in my head, they live on. Do you have a dream game?








These are not my Top Ten games, in fact some of these choices are downright bad. These are just ten games that influenced me as a gamer. While there are other games that are more influential, these ones have a special place in my heart for various reasons. Also, note that I am a Genesis kid, this affected the list as well

and, because everyone loves lists:

TEN GAMES (in close to chronological order)

10.) The Black Cauldron Apple II


I started reading when I was young, fascinated by the world of books. What I craved most was fantasy, so the worlds of Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Lloyd Alexander were where I immediately turned, followed shortly by David Eddings and Ursula K Le Guin. The Black Cauldron (released by Sierra and played on my Apple IIe) was based on the movie, which in turn was based on the book by Alexander. The movie was a Disney classic, with adult themes (the self-sacrifice of a certain character), decent animation for the time, and a story (torn from the book) that lent itself for an adventure of epic proportions.

The game was designed in the style of classic Sierra adventure games. There was a set order to do events, but players explored the map they had access to and figured out different ways to set the events in action. The scale of adventure in the game was also impressive for the time. I had just as much fun figuring out how to avoid getting charged by the farm's goat as I did climbing the castle's wall, avoiding falling debris and hungry alligators swimming the moat below. This game makes a place on my list simply for being a quality movie-based game. If developers put as much love into tie-ins as Sierra put into this game, I'm sure the stigma would turn into a boon.

9.) Chip's Challenge PC


As a distant precursor to the movie "Saw", you awake in a room and must go through all sorts of torture to find the key and escape.


But seriously, Chip's Challenge is a game many of you might have played. It came pre-installed on most personal computers for years, and for some (myself included) it was one of the first addicting puzzle games that many experienced. The goal was simple: find all of the computer chips and escape the room before time ran out. It was a game that became challenging (hence the title) at the higher levels through devious level design, placement of enemies, and power-ups. Though other pre-installed games that came with windows were also addicting (the multiplayer remake of Lode Runner with the level editor included), this had the benefit of being released first.

8.) Fist of the North Star Game Boy


I will admit: I had never seen the show or movie when I picked up this game for my grey brick of a Game Boy, but still the tiny characters with their interesting back-stories drew me in. In hindsight, this game is not a quality game by any means, but it was my introduction to a genre I had no experience in: fighting games. Games for me had been all about overcoming the challenge of level design; I needed to traverse the traps in Prince of Persia in one piece, find the best place to land in Choplifter, and figure out the solution to puzzles in various adventure games. This was the first game I owned where the level did not come into play, it was just me versus the AI. I wanted to know as much as I could about each of the characters, and the only way to do so was to beat the game from each perspective. Fighters I loved playing as soon became my enemies, and I had to learn techniques to fight against myself. As a game, it does not hold up, but I wouldn't have SSF2THDR or Tatsunoko vs Capcom without it.

7.) Castlevania: Belmont's Revenge Game Boy


I see you like Castlevania.. My introduction to the series came from this bizarre entry. Ray Bradbury quotes Jaun Ramon Jimenez in his book "Fahrenheit 451": 'If they give you ruled paper, write the other way'; this game does this in a literal way by scrolling form right to left. While including subweapons, a Belmont, Dracula, and the whip- it doesn't feel like Castlevania in the traditional sense. The character moves too slow, you can select which level you want to tackle and in what order, and it includes a password system to retain your progress.

This game, however was my first Castlevania, and sent me down a long road of Belmont successors and offshoots. Several times I've contemplated picking up SOTN on PSN before remembering I have it on psx/xbox live/and psp (via Dracula X). Without this entry on my list, I would never have played the fantastic GBA Castlevanias or the three on DS.

6.) Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis


*Sigh* Any mention of Sonic the Hedgehog isn't complete without a reference to the franchise's current state. SeGa simultaneously gives me joy with titles like Skies of Arcadia, Valkyria Chronicles, Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, and even the daytime levels of Sonic Unleashed, while inflicting the pain that is the last 7 years of the Sonic franchise. Honestly, if the OutRun team can be content to rerelease the same content with updated graphics and features, why must Sonic Team feel the urge to "improve" the games by alienating the fanbase.. but I digress.

The main reason I have Sonic on here, is that it was the first console game I owned. I had many friends with NES or even Ataris, but Genesis was my first console love. A close second for the reasons it makes the list is the music. Listen to the video above with its smooth blues influenced sound, and then listen to Scrap Brain Zone's frenzied electronica. Video game music did not have to just be blips and bloops, and games like this prove how varied it could be in spite of limited technology. Now there are almost no limitations, and I feel that developers need to take full advantage of that (games like Every Day Shooter or Flower come to mind).

5.) World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Genesis


This is a game that allowed me to literally plunge into adventure. From magic carpets to Atlantean worlds, from capes that froze things in place to living cards ripped straight from Alice in Wonderland, this game had it all. More importantly, this game had cooperative play. When my brother and I were tired from playing wiffle ball or catch, we'd team up to conquer these fictional worlds together. More often than not, it would devolve into a bout of who could freeze the other and use them as a platform, which ended poorly (especially in the canyon level, where to stay still signified a certain death).

When people scoff at the inclusion of Disney characters in Kingdom Hearts, I look back on this game and smile. More games need the charm of this little title.

4.) Chakan: The Forever Man Genesis


Here's one for the comic book fans: Chakan. Think action/platformer close at heart to Castlevania, but slower in pace. Chakan was a great sword fighter when he was mortal. In his arrogance he challenges Death himself, and wins. Granted eternal life, he is tormented at night by the evils of the world and finds no respite. Chakan dual wields swords that can be imbued with elemental powers. First game I ever played with lightning swords.

Chakan was a darkly themed game, ahead of its time. If any game deserves a sequel, it's Chakan.

3.) Shining Force Genesis


Aside from being an excellent title, Shining Force was my first strategy RPG, and in many ways spurred my love for the genre. I had played some RPGs, but SF pulled me in, causing me to spend late nights invested in the characters. Having never played the Phantasy Star games on genesis, I didn't have much else that stood out in the Role Playing department. This game changed all that. Without this game, I wouldn't have gotten into Final Fantasy (tactics or otherwise), Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Legend of Zelda, Illusion of Gaia, and all the titles that Nintendo had that Sega didn't. I regret never playing SFIII, and hope some day it may be rereleased on a different platform. If I had to place one entry at number one in terms of influence, it would be Shining Force. As a pioneer of the genre, it still holds up to this day on GBA and Virtual Console.

2.) Super Mario 64 Nintendo 64


Games were 2d. Not that there was a problem with that, it's just the way things were. Level design in platformers were based on a 2-dimensional plane. Characters were sprites. Even in 3d games like Doom or Wolfenstein, characters and enemies were 2d. I remember playing the original Crash Bandicoot and saying "This is 3d. My character is a polygonal model, the enemies as well. I can move forward and backwards, left and right on a 3-dimensional map. How can anything be more 3d than this?" And then I got my N64. I couldn't even fathom what I was playing- no scrolling screen, I had control of the camera. An enemy could approach me from any direction! I could even swim in the fountain- in a 360 degree path. Anything that came out after this on the system was impressive, but Mario blew my mind.

1.) Shenmue I&II Dreamcast


My brother got me a NOT copied version of this game right after it came out, neglecting to include the second disc. After days spent repeatedly playing through to the finale of the first disc (looking for Chinese, and buying a delivery guy a soda), I finally ran out and bought the game. I enjoyed everything you could do in Shenmue, from playing Space Harrier to working as a forklift driver at the docks.

I liked the genre blend of the game: practicing my fighting styles in the parking lot at night, racing forklifts in the morning, building a relationship with the people of Dobuita, taking care of a kitten, and exploring environments like an adventure game. When I finished the game, I was psyched for the sequel. Unfortunately, I live in America. When Shenmue II was cancelled for a North American release, I was sad. Naturally I "imported" the UK version in order to play through to completion. Shenmue II was action packed, taking the faults of the first game and fixing them up for a more streamlined experience. The game culminated with a massive fight through a large decrepit building in a decaying city leading to a boss fight on the roof. It was challenging and took seemingly forever, and then it was finally over.. but I still had a disc left. Disc 7 of the Shenmue Saga is my favorite part of the entire game. All the urban and suburban influence is stripped away, leaving just a forest environment. Ryo saves Sha Hua (the literal girl of his dreams) from drowning, and proceeds through woods and fields, rivers and waterfalls, caves and bridges to get her back home. It is here that I finally met the titular 'Shenmue', a great tree growing on her yard. Somehow this sequence has influenced me more than the other six discs of the game.

Thanks for reading, guys!