(NOT CLICKBAIT) (ALMOST DIED)
When I started writing blogs on Destructoid roughly three years ago, everyone could agree on one thing -- their titles were absolute trash. But now it's been years since the last time I got a proper smackdown in the community blog recaps. Since then I turned into an absolute hothead. Turns I need to be knocked down a little every once in a while.
Riff-Raff's recent blog about some of the most influential games in his life is a great read that you should definitely check out first. Since Soulbow and AtomicBanana joined in, I figured I would copy borrow the idea as well. With a much worse title, like in the old days. Don't be afraid. All is as it should be.
The Super Smash Bros series has been quite the wild ride for me. I couldn't play the original in its day -- I did not own a Nintendo 64, to begin with. I did not get much from its release apart jealousy. And when Melee came around, I went directly to Kirby as my main because I loved his games... Can you really blame me for not being in love with the game at first? And though I did like Brawl more, it was mainly for its single-player.
Everything changed when the fire nation attacked. And by "fire nation", I mean a friend, and by "attacked" I mean brought a Wii decked out with Project M to our university association. Social status was determined by Smash victories. Productivity was ruined as we played games between classes and after school hours. It was sweet.
There's no single thing that makes this version of the game that special. It's a combination of a lot of factors, really. The fanservice game was on-point, taking Brawl's already strong roster and adding a ton of unique costumes that tingled everyone's nostalgia in just the right way. Its gameplay is still the series' height for me as well, with a mix of high-speed gameplay and all-around excellently balanced characters. Anyone could play, and regulars could play seriously as anyone.
These days I'm mainly playing the newest entry, Ultimate. While Brawl and 4 are too slow for my taste, Ultimate is at a point where I can be happy dropping my favorite entry for something that much more convenient to play. Yet my fondest memories will always be with Project M... and playing Smash 64 online with college friends on a poorly coded N64 emulator.
I'm not much of a shooter guy. While everyone out there is playing online bang bangs of different flavors, I'm usually found playing a Japanese RPG or a platformer. A large reason why I'm not fond of multiplayer shooters is that they feel like they're more tailored to quick reflexes than learning the map and mastering the mechanics.
Arena shooters, though, are a different story. The mobility of the characters mixes incredibly well with the dense level design, giving these games a lot of depth to learn at your own pace. I'll take anything that can give me some edge over G-Fueled shooter aficionados!
As for why I'm choosing Quake III in particular, it's because it was my game of choice during lunch breaks while I was working in Quality Assurance for Activision. I know it sounds counterintuitive to play video games in the short break you get in twelve-hour crunch days. Trust me, this game really hit the spot. When you're playing Skylanders all day long, all you want is to launch some missiles towards your friends.
Putting aside flash games on the internet, Cave Story was my introduction to independent games. And oh boy what an introduction it was! Gorgeous sprite art, lovely level design and fun weaponry. The soundtrack sounds just like Kirby too, and you know by now how I felt about Kirby!
Many of my favorite games today can be traced back to Cave Story. I'm always on the lookout for smaller/independent games and platformers. If I look for games like Celeste and Gravity Rush today, it's probably all thanks to Cave Story.
This is a game I doubt many of you will have played. An edutainment game based on the original Rayman, Rayman Jr eases off the technical difficulty of the original in favor of asking grammatical and mathematical questions. You select an answer by going down the corresponding path in the level. If you get it wrong instant death spikes appear out of nowhere and kill you.
It's a good thing kids have a much lower risk of heart attacks.
Out of all the myriad edutainment games in my day, Rayman Jr was my favorite by far. It's a concept Ubisoft should revisit!
Who has not heard about Kingdom Hearts? Sure, the thing most people think about it these days is that its storytelling is a little scatterbrained... But it wasn't always the case!
The original game just sticks to the point. Good guys, bad guys, Disney worlds, Mickey Mouse with a sword. It's the embodiment of childlike wonder. I distinctly remember maxing out the in-game clock in my original playthrough, though it would be difficult to check at this point.
Now, I know it looks like I'm recommending the game with some of the clunkiest controls in the series -- and I am -- but there is something to be said about the context of Kingdom Hearts 1's release. Action RPGs were a relatively new genre. Disney had no right working that well in a Square RPG. The original Kingdom Hearts was something truly special.
Gajknight is going to cream when he sees how often Kingdom Hearts is part of these lists!
One of my friends used to bring her Nintendo DS around with her. It's a bit awkward to think that we spent so much time together playing single-player games on a handheld, but sometimes friendship does not have to make sense.
In any case, Ace Attorney quickly became a favorite for me. I am 100% the audience for its brand of humor and its murder mysteries are at the right balance between obvious and buttpulls. I have played every entry in the series and plan to keep up with it as well, but one entry stands above the rest for me. The third game, Trials and Tribulations, felt like such a perfect conclusion to the first two games that it almost feels like a stroke of luck.
I'll also quickly mention the Danganronpa series for being another excellent Japanese whodunnit. It's a little on the quirkier side, but its finale in Danganronpa V3 is no less impactful.
I don't think this will surprise anyone. Have you watched my 2017 awards? I played Automata for a straight week during spring break. Smiling while listening to its popping soundtrack, crying to its heartwrenching story beats... This has been a game that kept my attention and satisfied my senses in every way. As far as I'm concerned, Automata secured its place as an instant classic.
It's a shame that for many Automata will be remembered for 2B's butts, rather than the game's storytelling.
What, are you surprised to see Persona 4 instead of Persona 2 in this list?
Truth is, I'm a poser. I started with Persona 4 like many plebs, working my way down the series history over time. They're all really enjoyable in their own way, so I want to thank Persona 4 for reaching mainstream appeal and making me try these games out! Grinding them on my Vita has been a dream.
As it stands today, I think I'd recommend Persona 5 the most as an overall package, with Persona 2 Innocent Sin having my favorite writing. But Persona 4's simple mechanics and cozy atmosphere are a perfect way to get into the series!
This should come as no surprise to many. My relationship with Sticker Star on the 3DS is well-known and I've dedicated two blogs to my love of Paper Mario and the way the series has shifted over time. It's fair to say that I care a bit too much about these paper adventures.
But why didn't I choose the original game in the series, my favorite game of all time?
Like Persona 4, I want to bring attention to this entry for introducing me to the series. I did not have a Nintendo 64 growing up, so my love of the series started with its sequel The Thousand-Year Door. I had not played much in terms of role-playing games before this one either! The vibrant locales, fun characters and engaging combat instantly grabbed me. If I've become a JRPG junkie today, it's in large parts thanks to TTYD. That's why I wish more people were able to appreciate this game -- or others of its ilk -- without relying on emulation.
I love you, Intelligent Systems. Why can't you love you too?
This one is a bit of a rogue entry! Wii Sports is an extremely important video game not just for me as a person, but as a way to share my love of gaming with people outside of the medium. The controls cannot be easier to grasp, and the included sports offer something fun for every group.
My grandfather is not getting any younger, so we don't exactly have the chance to play golf in real life. Wii Sports is a way for us to play sports, kinda, in a very fun way that crosses generations!
Nintendo has, ironically, moved away from motion controls over time. But the impact of Wii Sports can still be seen in the virtual reality games that I so desperately want to try out.
Phew, counting to 10 is hard! But making this list was a ton of fun too. There are other games that shaped me as a person too -- like Super Mario Sunshine on the GameCube, my best friend when I was moving to a new house in primary school! And Super Monkey Ball, single-handedly turning my father away from video gaming for good. But this has already been a lot of rambling, so I'm signing off.
Thank you Riff-Raff for sharing the idea!