I do like a list, and since moving to the UK 6 years ago I’ve become quite addicted to those Top 50 or Top 100 TV shows that they do so well here. You know the ones, Top 100 Toys of All Time, Top 50 Happiest TV Moments or Top 300 Ways to Slap Down Katie Price which also shares many clips from the happiest moments show…but I digress. Lists are good. Lists bring order and neatness. Lists are also total b****cks and are completely subject to whoever controls the keyboard and, in this case, it’s me. I’m going to give you my List of Top Ten Games Shooter Reckons You Should Play. Which, on some reflection could also be named as: The Games That Have Probably Most Influenced My Life/Thinking/Exam Results.
Now I’ve been playing video games a long time, probably even longer than Dan (and he is really old) and I have seen a lot of games, PCs and consoles go past like water under a bridge – literally, in the case of Battle Toads on the Sega MegaDrive once I hit a particularly hard bit – so I have had to agonise over what games should be included in my top 10. These games are not necessarily all shining examples of their own sub-genres and there are some games I have decided not to put on this list, even though they deserve to be and even though I have spent a LOT of time on them because they’re just far too obvious (World of Warcraft – 110 days, Fallout 3 150+ hours and Skyrim 160+ hours).
My top 10 games, rightly or weirdly, have gripped me with a ferver, infected me with a passion that gets me thinking about them night and day, and coerced me into devoting far too much time to them. Far, far more than any normal, functional, sane human being should. Games that I revisit now and again and ones that have somehow found their way to a special place in my gaming heart. To some of you, there might not be many great revelations here; but I hope there are some games here that you have not heard of or played and might inspire some gamers to give them a try.
Developer: ID Software
Doom needs no introduction. It kickstarted the FPS genre. If you have never played Doom through on nightmare difficulty, you are hereby required to hand in your gamertags and to go do something else for a hobby – trainspotting, for example. Doom is pure FPS awesomeness – no jumping, no cover mechanics, no automatically replenishing health and some truly great music. To get the most out of this game, play it in a dark room on a 486 (that’s an old type of computer to you younguns) with just the keyboard. Special Doom moment: Sitting down at my computer after my dinner at 8:00pm, mentally thinking ‘So what’s this Doomall about then?’ Playing just for a little while and then looking out the window and realising it’s 6:30am…
Warcraft II Tides of Darkness. (1995)
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Sheep: clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky SPLAT. Enough said.
Developer: Runic Games
Made by the team that brought you Blizzard’s Diablo (a game that I spent a lot of time on), this is an excellent dungeon crawler with great cartoonish graphics, brilliant atmospheric music and is packed to the brim with TONS of loot and monsters. Torchlight has great replayability as, much like Diablo, the game utilises a random layout generator for the dungeon levels.
Total Annihilation (1997)
Developer: Cavedog Entertainment
Chris Taylor’s and (the now sadly defunct) Cavedog’s completely 3D Real Time Strategy game was, for it’s time, immense. The game featured huge maps and unlimited unit building for land, sea and air units, and was set in a robotic futuristic of world settings where you controlled the field with your commander unit. Resource gathering was handled differently compared to other RTS games at the time insofar as, rather than arriving in chunks, they were a constant incoming stream of resource-related goodness. Sound fimiliar? You may have some across a game called Supreme Commander 1 and 2 in the last couple of years: Chris Taylor was responsible for both Supreme Commander games, partnering up with Gas Powered Games.
Developer: ID Software
ID software’s follow up to the Doomseries, whilst conceptually a complete and total mish-mash of ideas, had truly addictive gameplay AND it was truly 3D. Dark, moody with music by NiN’s Trent Renzor – awesomely, the game install CD also doubled up as an audio sound track CD which spent a LOT of time in my car stereo. Mulitplayer was complete and utter crazy chaos largely thanks to the total overabundance of double barrel shotguns, bouncing grenades and rocket launchers. It had all us PC gamers out buying Voodoo 3DFX Cards…
One day in the 70s, my Dad brought this home for me and my brother, plugged into the old black and white Hanimex TV we had and BAM!! Unwittingly he’d set my feet firmly on the road to video game addiction. I feel kind of privileged that I have played the original game at a time where it was a major part of getting the whole gaming shebang off the ground and, because of that, it really holds a special place in my heart.
Battlezone Arcade (1980)
This game sat in my local corner shop, directly on the way home from primary school – it had Donkey Kong on one side and Space invaders on the other, I kid you not. But it was this game that really got my attention. You had to stick your face up to the eye mask and, before you knew it, you were in your own little secluded world of green tanks hewn out of the finest vector lines known to man. The thrill of slowly manoeuvring around pyramids and blocks to get that crucial clean shot away… and not giving a monkey’s about the other kids waiting in line behind you. If they really wanted to play, they should’ve cut out of class early like me.
Burnout Paradise (2008)
Developer: Criterion Games
My love of the Burnout series started with Burnout 3: Takedown on the original Xbox; but it was the open world detailed loveliness of Paradisethat took away over 250+ hours of my gaming life. Exploration, fast cars, big crashes, forgiving driving physics and seamless drop in drop out multiplayer makes this one of my favourite games of all time.
Monster Truck Madness (1996)
Developer: Terminal Reality
There’s just somethingabout repeatedly spending several hours in a darkened, smoky room with 6 other people on a LAN, drinking beers and trying to drive unwieldy monster trucks around with your Thrustmaster steering wheel. That’s what this game was all about, and just thinking about it makes me come over all nostalgic for 90s LAN parties.
Dungeon Siege (2002)
Developer: Gas Powered Games
I know, I know – it’s another Chris Taylor game (if I had a uterus, I’d seriously consider having that man’s babies) , but this time he’s paired up with developer Gas Powered Games. Dungeon Siege had a big (if somewhat linear) world, nice graphics and addictive gameplay that kept me up many nights before I discovered the nerd crack that is World of Warcraft. Tons of loot, armor sets, weapons and simplified RPG elements made this a fast-flowing adventure game. You leveled up depending on what weapon you used – a mechanic that, to me at least, made complete sense (as, y’know, practice makes perfect and all that). To keep the good times rolling, Dungeon Siege’s multiplayer was set in a completely different world to the single player game; you could even play on this other world by yourself, basically doubling the gameplay experience. Win.
An action adventure 3rd-person shooter that also had a quirky sense of humour. Developed by the makers of Earthworm Jim, MDK sees you fighting aliens that are using massive, hulking machines to strip-mine Earth. Thankfully, you’ve got a variety of interesting weapons at your disposal – the mini localised A-bomb springs immediately to mind as a particular favourite – this awesome arsenal, coupled with the ability to glide due to a ‘strip’ parachute that deployed out of your character’s back, made for some mighty fine shooting fun.
So there you have it, my Gaming Bucket List For You and possibly a little more insight into my gaming life than you would have liked. Other games that fell just short of the mark for the list but deserve an honorable mention were Descent, Betrayal at Krondor, Might and Magic, Heroes of Might and Magic, Heretic, Hexen and Hexplore. Now off I go to find my copy of MDK and game on.