Week of Games: 10 & 9

Monday 25 September (2006)

This week is devoted to games. ‘Boo,’ I hear you cry, ‘games suck.’ But wait! These aren’t just any games – these are the best games ever made! That’s right, I’ve played every single game ever made (twice) just so that I would be informed, and now I’ve aggregated the results, and I bring them to you. The only rule is: only one game from each game series (so there can’t be three Sonic the Hedgehog games in the list.) Every day I’ll reveal another two games on the list until the final two, which I’m giving a day each to so I can write more about them – because, I mean, they’re the best. So read on, if you want me to blow your mind with cool.

The 10th Best Game Everstreet fighter 2 (snes)

This game has abducted more hours of my childhood than almost any other. I remember the school holidays in the autumn and winter, when it was too wet to play football everyday, and my friends and I would gather around a SNES in someone’s house, and the game we would play is Street Fighter 2. The reason the game was so much more playable than other fighters was down to a part of the game that was apparantly not meant to be – a bug which allowed players to string moves together in quick succession. It was this which made Street Fighter 2 great, because a skilled player could suddenly take out an oppenent in mere seconds. Of course this led to incredibly competitive matches between friends, or incredibly difficult matches against the computer.

Quite simply, hours could be frittered away when this cartridge was in the machine. You’d go to a friend’s house at nine in the morning, and before you’d even got into your swing it was lunchtime. After a hurried sandwich you’d be back until tea-time, all the while ignoring suggestions from parents that it’s a nice day to play outside, and the threat that our eyes would turn square. God, we loved it. A game where I still distinctly remember getting a ‘perfect’ against M. Bison on level 5 difficulty (it went up to level 7, but this was before M. Bison was a playable character) and being treated with the kind of awed respect usually reserved for heroes of war has to make it into the top ten. So here it is.

 

The 9th Best Game Evergrim fandango (pc)

Most of you reading this will know of Grim Fandango. For those that don’t, let me put it like this: Grim Fandango is the Casablanca of the gaming world. I do not say this lightly, nor do I refer to the blatant references to that movie within the game – it’s just a classic from another age that will never ever die, but unfortunately will probably be shunned by generations to come for being out-dated and old-fashioned. Well, don’t let the fact that this game is showing it’s age put you off, because it’s without a doubt the most artistically refined and intelligent adventure game ever made.

When it was first released, however, I payed it little attention. Sure I loved the LucasArts adventure games, but they were 2D point-and-click affairs, not this 3D hokum about skeletons made out of paper. Sure art deco is cool, and the game looked incredibly stylish, but I didn’t even know what it was – it was 3D like Tomb Raider, but it was an adventure game like The Dig. How the hell does that work?

Luckily a couple of years later I actually read a review of the game, and finally decided to play it. I was stunned. How could a LucasArts adventure have so much depth? Sam & Max and Monkey Island were funny, and that was what LucasArts did best, but when they did serious games (like The Dig or Loom) they seemed somewhat lacking. Grim Fandango appeared to lack nothing at all – it was funny, but not in a goofball kind of way – it was more like the subtle comedies of the Coen brothers than any other game I’d ever seen. But what was more was that it had an amazing story to tell, with clever twists on age-old themes (I mean, we’ve all wondered what it would be like in the afterlife, but none of us ever came up with a 1930s New York designed by Cassandre) and characters that were at once identifiable, entertaining and tragic.

If ever there was an arthouse computer game, it would be Grim Fandango.

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4 Responses to “Week of Games: 10 & 9”

  1. bgbennyboy Says:

    If GF is only at #9 you must have some really good games coming up. Good idea for content btw, i dont think I’ve ever managed a solid week of updates.

  2. stan Says:

    Yeah I have a sneaking suspicion that my good friends from the LucasArts community will disagree with some of my choices on this list…

  3. Huzbo Says:

    Definitely a good idea for content. I may have to steal it. ;

    I’m guessing there will be more than a few additional LucasArts games putting in an appearance. Not to mention a pile of Nintendo ones. I hope I won’t be disappointed! >:

  4. stan Says:

    I was originally going to do a ‘List Month!’ and each week would be a countdown of games, or books, or movies, or music albums. Then I realised, heh, that was stupid and mad.


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