I do not discuss my hobbies on here often, except for my hiking adventures from time to time. But with all the negativity going on in the world right now, I thought I would do something different. One of my favourite hobbies, since I was a young one, was playing video games. I still play video games from time to time, but with everything else going on, they tend to take a backseat. Having said that, here are my top 10 favourite games ever (in no particular order):
Crash Bandicoot Warped.
Back when the Playstation was out, a 3D platformer with a cute, quirky animal called Crash Bandicoot was released. This game was simplistic, but really hard. All you had to do was dodge and jump on moving obstacles… and have the patience of a Shaolin monk. It was fun… but too hard. Crash Bandicoot Warped was the third installment in the series though, it was more forgivable, and by extension, more enjoyable. Furthermore, you could fly planes, ride cars and boats, with a bunch of levels that had different playing styles. Add in a vibrant colourful atmosphere, some quirky characters, and this game was a childhood favourite.
Crash Team Racing.
Like with Super Mario, the developers of Crash Bandicoot decided to throw their characters into racing karts. In this game, you collect power ups to thwart your opponents. Yeah, it’s a Mario Kart clone, but it’s a good clone. Add in a ‘power sliding’ mechanic and you will quickly realise it’s an easy game to learn, but a hard one to master. I was really pleased then, when they remastered this game for the PS4, which basically takes the original game but added in a whole bunch of extra characters and racing tracks. If you’re into customising your karts, you can do that too.
Age of Empires 2.
There are many real time strategy (RTS) games out there, but Age of Empires 2 helped popularise the genre and still stands the test of time. The gist of it is, you build an empire and then use your military to destroy your opponent’s base. OK, so why was this RTS so good? I don’t know, it just is, because it does everything that an RTS should. The game came out in 1999, but I still occasionally play it to this day.
The Diablo games are ‘hack and slash’ role playing games. Kill lots of demons, pick up new weapons and armour, repeat. There are many games out there that fit the bill, but the Diablo games do it better than most, because they give you so many different items and ways of developing your character. This gives you many different strategies you can approach when you play.
The Elder Scrolls series (Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim).
Back in high school I remember visiting a video game store and seeing a box for The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind. I looked at the back and it said something about being the ‘most detailed world ever created’ and that you could ‘play and be any kind of character you imagine’. I had played a few role-playing games before, but this was the first one which was truly open ended. From the start, your character and appearance were completely customisable. There was a main story you could follow, but you could choose to ignore it and do your own thing. Boy oh boy there was a detailed world to explore, and that was satisfying. For its time, the graphics were amazing, but the gameplay was even better. Since then, more Elder scrolls games came out, those being Oblivion and Skyrim, and I lost hundreds of hours of my life to all of them.
I was never fully sold on first person shooter games, unless I had some friends to play with. Doom was an exception to this rule though. The premise is simple, you’re a space marine killing hordes of demon aliens on Mars. It was violent, gory and fun. Come to think of it, I was surprised my parents let me play this game as a kid. They probably shouldn’t have, but I would like to think I still turned out alright in spite of it.
Take a first-person shooter game and combine it with the ‘hack and slash’ role playing antics of Diablo mentioned earlier, and you have Borderlands. The fun aspect of this game wasn’t necessarily shooting aliens (although that is fun), but the leveling up and constant ‘loot’ that you find to improve your character. There are all types of weapons in this game, and you will find that no two weapons are exactly the same. The cartoonish looking graphics look pretty cool too.
Half Life 2.
OK I’ll add another first-person shooter game to my exception list. Originally I got this game as a birthday present, but my computer couldn’t run it at the time. So I just forgot about it… Several years later I got the game as part of a discounted deal on Steam, and so I eventually got around to playing it. It’s difficult for me to explain here why this game here is so good, but if you like first person shooter games, then this must not be missed. The puzzle solving aspects and the atmosphere make this a game which stands out from the rest of the pack.
Portal 1 and 2.
If you haven’t played these games, they’re platforming games with a puzzle solving aspect to them. Also, you have been missing out on something great. In Portal, you have a ‘portal gun’ which you use to navigate your environment by teleporting. Portal 2 extends the re-playability aspect of this game with a ‘co-op’ multi-player mode and an online mode. Once you get bored with the original game, you can create your own levels and play the levels which others have previously created, and there is some fantastic user submitted levels out there.
When I was 13, my parents gave me a Game Boy for Christmas, with Pokémon Yellow on it. Pokémon was really popular back then, but I never got into the TV series. But the Game Boy games? They were fantastic, if you like your ‘role playing’ games, that is. In case you’re living in a cave, the game involves catching these critters known as Pokémon and training them up for battle. The objective is to beat these ‘gym masters’ with your Pokémon, and collect them all, all 150 of them. Later Pokémon games had several hundred more to collect. I never bothered getting all of them, but it was fun to try out different Pokémon, since they all had different abilities and playing styles.
A question for you.
Did you ever used to like playing video games, if so, what were your favourite games?