You didn't think I'd overlook such a call to arms, did you Soulbow? Turning a heartfelt love letter to your lifelong obsession into a general thank-you to the community?
YOU WON'T GET AWAY WITH THIS.
Anyway, here's my Top 10 MTV Countdown of various electric boondoggle thingamajigs that made me feel feelings once. Possibly chronologically.
I don't know if this is universal, but for me there are always original sense memory providers that still manage to produce certain types of neurological responses, regardless of how they have aged. Whether it's some almost ancient NES-era sound-chips playing the original Legend of Zelda theme or a particularly lewd pixel-art gif, or some really cheap mall perfume from the 90s, every time I encounter them there is some sort of physiological response, whether whimsy, or high-adventure pumped upedness, or...um...other types of pumped up.
Such is the entire opening 5 minutes of Alone in the Dark for me. Clammy hands, cold sweat, immediate need to urinate. I saw a friend's older brother play through this game when I was way too young to handle any kind of horror media, and it instilled two things in me: a desire to play video games forever, and an utter pants-shitting terror of survival horror games. It's why I've never beaten Resident Evil 4 (or even played much further than the church) despite buying it a whopping four times.
Alone in the Dark, you done fucked me up for life.
Hey look, here's the other end of the spectrum, how can a Legend of Zelda game be scary? I mean...it's possible, but it's not here. No, Link's Awakening is here because it was the first game I ever played to completion, even after owning the NES for about three years by that point. Nintendo hard is a thing, boys and girls, and I'm here to tell you it was too hard for me.
Link's Awakening, however, got me past that, maybe because of endless roadtrips with a single-mom who worked the Arts Trade Show circuit, or maybe because I could carry it around with me everywhere. Regardless, I've beaten every Zelda I played after Link's Awakening. It fostered a love in me for the series, to the point where I'm one of those sad sacks who will buy a Nintendo console if a Zelda exclusive is announced for it; I'm also one of those rare fuckers who played and beat Breath of the Wild on the Wii U (It's my second least favorite of the series, btw).
So yeah, in terms of pride and accomplishment, nothing could beat Link's Awakening, until Kingdom Hearts comes along in my #4 slot.
Well, remember a few paragraphs ago when I talked about never wanting to touch horror games? That damn well applied when I was first introduced to Diablo. That intro cinematic (which I waxed philosophical about in my last blog) creeped the everloving hell out of me. You know what else did? That butchered villager at the entrance to Tristram Cathedral.
But do you really want to know what kept me feeling like I had to run to the bathroom every five minutes in that game?
Those fucking skeletons hiding in barrels. Zelda taught me that you break containers and rupies come out, not the terrifying animated calcium framework of the long-deceased. The only thing that kept me playing Diablo was getting hooked up with a sword that would do additional fire damage a split second after the first attack, thus killing any jack-o-lantern skeletons. I have that weapon to thank for keeping me in the Diablo series.
Facing and overcoming my fears was never something I wanted to do at ten, but by god I did and it felt great.
Time for an audio section. Everyone's got a particular piece of music that brings them to tears; for me it's the intro track for Secret of Mana: Fear of the Heavens. Well, that and the OP for Anohana. Fuuck that song is all about the feels.
ANYWAY! I'm talking about Secret of Mana, and that first haunting piano melody, with the scrolling story text that is first bounded by black boxes then expands with the background to showcase a visual masterpiece of SNES animation and sprite art. One of the reasons I keep playing SoM, year after year, is because of that piece of music. It kickstarts an emotional chain reaction that just puts me right back into the hero's shoes (I called him Mana, because random internet name generators didn't exist in the SNES era).
There's also the fact that one time when I was really, really high and a friend was playing Secret of Mana in the other room, and he got to Mantis Ant, and the boss music kicked in, and I started having a panic attack. But I don't like to remember that.
So...here's the part where I talk about actually being good at a videogame. Really, it's kind of where I realised that I could be better at videogames than other people, after years and years of avoiding the arcade because fighting games are not my forte. Racing games, though? Yeah, I do pretty well at those, and MK64 was the first one I could reliably beat my older brother at.
This was no fluke, either; as I've consistently beaten everyone I know at every MarioKart since to the point where, well, people rarely want to play it with me anymore. I mean, they'll agree to it, because Mount Wario is the best damn track in the series (fight me), but when we all convene around the switch for racing night, everyone knows they're gunning for second place.
I apologize if that sounded braggy, but I had to stoke my ego up pretty high before the next entry.
Yeah, yeah, I know. You could throw a rock in a room full of gamers writing a top ten list and chances are it would richochet of at least three and brain a fourth before losing momentum and falling between the feet of a fifth. They'll talk about the sad, sad Aeris death, or that Sephiroth is their personal hero, or how they could relate to Cloud.
Me? I'm a bit more down to earth, and wayyyy more pervy than those folk. Or just more open about it, anyway.
Regardless, I was going to have a picture of one particular character as this sections header, but the problem is when you Google Image Search "Final Fantasy VII Tifa," do you know what you find? Well, I found those results before Google was even an entity when I was a young teenager on a dial-up modem who could get turned on by a girl just sitting in the next chair over during class. You can probably guess what happened next.
And that's the story about how I will forever get turned on by Tifa Lockheart. Aren't you glad you kept reading?
Heyyyy, let's talk about another series that features Final Fantasy characters but my eternal videogame crush doesn't appear in until the second game.
I talked about pride and accomplishment before with Link's Awakening, so here I am again, but instead of being proud of finishing a game, I was proud at beating a particular boss enemy. No, no, none of those super hard optional bosses that appear in the various worlds at the end of the game, I'm talking about this guy.
Fighting this asshole in the Olympus Coliseum was the pinnacle of just so...much...frustration. One hit kills, teleportation attacks, and just plain assholery. LOOK AT THAT PUNCHABLE FACE. I lost to Sephiroth about thirty times before I scraped by with a win, and you can bet I did a fucking victory dance afterwards.
EAT IT SEPHIROTH. EAT MY KEYBLADE WITH YOUR STUPID MUG.
Ah...stress relief. Before fidget spinners were a thing, and right around the time I discovered that the worst thing in the world to do immediately after graduating high school was to take community college morning classes, I discovered the Yakuza series on the PS2. The first game was alright. The controls were a bit janky after dealing with Kingdom Hearts's user-controlled camera, but there was something just plain fun about beating in the heads of random Japanese thugs who did not realize who they were messing with.
Yakuza 2 upped that by including a series of bosses who were just as tough as you were. Ryuji Goda, the Dragon of Kansai. A hard-hat wearing Goro Majima. And goddamn tigers.
This game is to Yakuza 1 what Vice City was to GTA III. (Slightly) better graphics, same mechanics, 100% more insane. And those heat actions, baby. There was nothing like trying to figure out every single Heat Action in the game, with different weapons, locations, and enemies to try things on. *sigh* ...to experience that game again for the first time...
Ah, me. Moving on.
And look what we have here, a title that actually lists the 360? Yup, for a decent amount of time I was a Microsoft player, mostly because all my friends were 360 gamers, partially because of the exclusives to the console (Gears of War barely didn't make this list, mostly because Soulbow already wrote about that one, but I played the hell out of that game with my brother.)
This game, however, was the last time I ever had a LAN party with friends, where each of us hauled our 360s and our own televisions to a friend's place (I brought over two TVs and played on my crappy one, because I'm just a nice guy like that) and we played Borderlands for about twelve hours straight, only breaking for pizza and beer.
I'll give online play props for keeping me in touch with those folks, and other people who I don't share a city with anymore, but I gotta say there is nothing like taking up the same meatspace with three friends and just ribbing the everloving hell out of each other for missing a headshot or flubbing a grenade throw. To this day I still can't see the four protagonists of Borderlands without immediately having my friends' faces superimposed over them.
Camaraderie, man, it's a hell of a drug.
Well, we've finally reached the end of the list, thanks for sticking around! Here we've got FFXIV, and the one thing I can say about this game is that, as a certified card-carrying weeb, this is the one MMO I've played that actually makes me feel like those characters do in all those animes about Massively Multiplayer games. The ones where you embody your character and see your friends in the game, just hanging out and having adventures.
I tried WoW, and I think that setting just wasn't right for me. DC Universe Online came close, but eventually just kind of fell apart under the strain of Free to Play. Or maybe it's just that Final Fantasy XIV is just...more anime than the rest of those games. Or maybe it's that my friends are playing it. Regardless, I always thought I'd never get sucked into an MMO like my high school friends did with WoW, which ended up seriously messing them up, but there's just something about this one. Maybe it's that I'm older, maybe it's a way to keep in touch with people I care about.
Maybe it's that I'm just a massive Final Fantasy fanboy and didn't know it until now.
So I'm not too great at this whole signing off thing. I hope you had fun reading this, and thanks to Soulbow and Riff Raff for posting their iterations of this one. I guess it's time to issue the challenge for people to post their own top ten list. So, for anyone who read through all three of these CBlogs, or anyone whose sent me a slap gif, or if you just feel like writing something. Give us your Top Ten Games that Made You, Like, Feel Stuff.