Retro Gaming Madness and My Favorite Games

on Tuesday, November 16, 2010
So anybody who knows me should know my undying love for retro games. Mostly because I used to actually design and make video games that were in the vein of SNES/Genesis level graphics and features. I think I made about four or five complete games before calling it quits (including one made in 48 hours for a contest), but I just love that era. Pixelation and sprite work, when done well, really sticks out to me, especially considering I had to do it myself for hours and hours of my high school career. Everytime you play a retro game, know that someone had to draw that sprite, pixel my freaking pixel, then animate it in the same way. Now it often seems its just big budget games with no soul anymore (though I still love quite a few modern games, they don't have the same feel as sprite-based games).

I managed to snag an N64 with a couple great games, two controllers, a rumble pack, and a memory expansion for quite cheap (all the games below and two very good controllers for only $45). I'm working on building a small but awesome retro game library. Here's what I've got so far, and what is on its way:

- Banjo Kazooie
- Banjo Tooie
- Star Fox 64
- Donkey Kong 64
- F Zero
(coming soon/in the mail)
- Zelda: Majora's Mask
- Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Super Mario 64
- Super Mario Kart 64
- Diddy Kong Racing
- Super Smash Brothers
(what I still want)
- Conker's Bad Fur Day (too stupidly expensive)
- Perfect Dark (should get this soon I hope)
- Turok 1+2
- Blast Corps
- Jet Force Gemeni
- Kirby 64
- Dr. Mario 64
- Harvest Moon 64 (also stupidly expensive)
- Paper Mario
- Yoshi's Story

And for fun, my brother-in-law's SNES which I have been adding games too! Games in italics are actually his but we are "borrowing" them indefinitely.
- Wario's Woods
- Super Mario RPG
- Super Mario All-Stars + World (suck it, Nintendo! I'm not buying your dumb re-release!)
- Super Metroid
- Final Fantasy II (IV)
- Final Fantasy III (VI)
- Chrono Trigger (!!! Yep, I was pumped when this game showed up)
- Super Mario Kart
- Zelda: A Link to the Past
(stuff I want but am still on the fence with)
- Killer Instinct
- All the Donkey Kong Games
- NBA Jam
- Super Castlevania IV
- Secret of Mana (not on the fence, just a pain to find)
- Yoshi's Island

I'm not going to get an NES (at least not for a while) because that is a can of worms in regards to my wallet that I can't currently get into just yet.
The perk is I didn't actually hand over money for these games; I got all of them (minus the ones bundled with my N64) off Goozex. Essentially, I gave them one beaten copy of Mass Effect 2 and got like 6 SNES games. Pretty amazing.

Anything I missed? Suggestions? Comments? I never actually owned a game system until the Gamecube, so I'm just reliving childhood memories from people whose houses I snuck over to in an effort to play these games (that or I'm re-living emulated memories). Most of these games I never played on the system of choice...ever (including Zelda 64), so this should prove to be quite exciting. Also, I'm finally making up for my years of emulation.

I won't lie: I'm pumped to play Zelda 64 and Majora's Mask again. Yeah, I know they probably haven't aged great, but just watching videos of both made me remember way back in 2002 or whatever when I had them emulated on my computer and played for hours.

Not looking forward to the water temple, though.

BONUS: So, you are probably wondering after all that what my favorite games ever are, huh? You know you were so you can go play them!
Actually I have a tie for first: Braid and Final Fantasy VI (III on the SNES).

Braid is a modern, beautiful puzzle-platformer with probably the best realized and best told story in any game ever made. The game fuses story with gameplay mechanics and common game tropes so amazingly well it will completely blow you away. It also was the only game that brought me to tears on the ending level, it was just that so immersive and divinely crafted. The game is on Xbox Live Arcade, PSN, PC and Mac, so you have no excuse, and it only costs $10-15 (depending on system) because it was an indie game made by three people (a designer/coder, an artist, and a musician). Seriously. You need this game. It will change the way you think about video gaming. Just look at it!

Final Fantasy VI because it was the only Final Fantasy that I felt the story hit the fine balance between the old, non-existant stories of JRPGS and the new overwrought, melodrama-fest that plagues modern JRPGS. Seriously, Final Fantasy XIII can suck it. The game is gorgeous, has probably the best soundtrack of any game ever made, and crafts a deep and entertaining story. Plus, it's really fun.

As for this year, Super Meat Boy is my pick for not only game of the year, but certainly sits in my top 5 games ever (though I'm not sure where yet). Game's great, but not related.

That's a lot of gaming. I'll get back to writing soon enough.



Ryan said...

You've already got all my favorite N64 games on your list, but I have a few SNES suggestions.

Kirby Super Star (One of the best multiplayer games I've played)
E.V.O. The Search for Eden (not a common game, but it's a lot of fun to play and it's very different from most games you've played)
Megaman X, Megaman X2, Megaman X3 (great games, the best in the X series by a huge margin)

Another one that I really would recommend is Rockman and Forte. It's a Japan only release, so you'll have to mod your console to play it (it's a simple, fast, safe, free mod to enable Japanese games on the SNES). It's one of my favorite SNES games. It was also released stateside on the GBA, if you don't want to deal with modding your console.

Nathan Major said...

I've actually been holding out on the X series (and all Mega Man games) because I've been trying to wrangle up a copy of the collections on the PS2 (might as well get 'em all in one swoop). The problem is the X collection is a real pain to find.

I should try getting Rockman and Forte, but it would probably be on the GBA since the SNES is my brother-in-law's. :P I love Mega Man games so I will see if I can grab it!

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