Our Favorite Games Through the Years - Part 2 - Gaming Thoughts

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Our second round of these finds us moving into the 16-bit and further into the handheld era, with RPGs being a common theme among the lot of us


SNES: Final Fantasy III/VI

This is actually a difficult one for me, mainly because the SNES felt like it was around forever so there were a ton of games to wade through. Super C, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the list could go on for miles... but when I sit down and think about the Game on SNES, I always fell back to Final Fantasy III / VI. A huge cast of playable characters that had deep, intricate stories of their own that's told alongside some of the best writing in video game history. It was a perfect mix- say, "the Opera scene" and most old-school JRPG fans will know exactly what you're referring to. Or, you know ... Suplexing a train. Final Fantasy VI's story is more than a simple collection of moving gears- it's an absolute masterpiece of clockwork-like mechanical precision. Strong characters, darkly enchanting and incredibly deep, Final Fantasy VI is to this day still considered one of the best. Ever. It's well-earned.

Genesis: NBA Jam

This one came as a bit of a shock to the others here at CGR. Namely because if it's not Baseball or Bowling, sportsballing just isn't my cup of potatoes. Thus, there was something of a collective, "wait, what?" when I put forward my list. Sure, there were great games out on the Genesis, but none to me were so great as NBA Jam. There's something magical at, given my lack of vertical stature in real life, being able to dunk basketball from damn-near half-court. The magic of NBA Jam worked so well that I, someone who still to this day utterly despises basketball, will always be up for a game of NBA Jam. It was fun, didn't really care much about realism, and just wanted to give an exciting experience. Give one it did, so much so that nearly 30 years later and I'd still be up for a game.

Gameboy Color: Link's Awakening

This was a difficult one for me to answer, mainly because I still love me some OG Tetris, but also because the Gameboy was my first real foray into gaming-on-the-go so there are a lot of memories associated with a lot of different games, but the one I always go back to when I need that warm-and-fuzzy feeling ... is Link's Awakening. Not only is it one of the best Legend of Zelda / Link games period, it was a nonstop adventure that I took with me everywhere I went.


SNES: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

This was a hard pick for me. The SNES is a treasure trove of amazing titles. Final Fantasy IV, my first RPG, JRPG, and Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy VI as we didn’t get V until the PS1 era. Chrono Trigger which I sadly wouldn’t get until the PS1 bundle with FFIV. Secret of Mana… I guess most Square Soft titles before they moved over to the PS1 and then into Square Enix.

But unlike the Final Fantasy Series, Super Mario RPG took a beloved character who at this point in time had been moving through the Mushroom Kingdom in 2D into a 3D realm and added turn-based RPG mechanics. Adding a real story to boot, Mario would adventure with new friends, his princess, and his nemesis as they all banded together to save the kingdom from an even larger threat. And it still holds up to this day.


Gameboy Color: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX

Here we go, the first and only Zelda title in my listing. While Oracle of Ages and Seasons were great titles, I have to say my favorite was Link's Awakening DX. DX specifically because it was the color version. Right Right Up Left Left Up Right Up. Yup, I still remember that to this day. Link's Awakening is probably my favorite Zelda title period. I enjoyed the dungeon design, the trading minigame, the music, the boss fights, and just the way the game feels overall. There's a reason I was super excited to hear Ballad of the Wind Fish when I went to the Zelda orchestra, before they announced the remake.

Susan N:

NES: Super Mario Bros 3

Okay. Super Mario 3 was a staple game for my brother and I. We spent so much time playing this game, and we did try to teach our mom but that just led to laughter and tears. Mom is not great at platforming even though she was a GOD at Loderunner which required some good reaction time. Anyways, this is my favorite in the series because each world had a different theme, the levels were challenging, and it was always fun. I loved the giant level because it was a small change but made a huge impression. I also loved the ice land levels with the cute white pac-man looking snappers. They killed you if you touched them but they looked adorable. Besides, who doesn’t love melting ice with FIREBALLS! Anyways, my brother and I played it so much that I have a permanent memory of certain cheat codes with the Game Genie. NXKXGLIE. WHY DO I REMEMBER THIS?! And if I recall correctly, that code was for permanent flying Mario. *looks this up* YEP. I told you. PERMENANTLY ENGRAINED.

Runner Up: The Legend of Zelda

The only runner up for the NES is the original The Legend of Zelda. There are many reasons for this. One IT’S FREAKING ZELDA. Two, it was a cool RPG that I don’t think I ever finished - despite my best efforts. Three, I played Zelda when I first started playing Dungeons & Dragons. On the surface that isn’t important. What is important is the fact that we didn’t have the booklet, so mom graciously sat with us to MAP OUT THE WHOLE THING so that we would stop getting lost. Even more important than that, I cleverly used that map to try and ‘create’ a D&D game. I didn’t exactly have faith in my skills as an artist, but Zelda was the video game that inspired me to try things that were strange. Who remembers the first time they accidentally put down a bomb and it revealed a secret passage? This game marked the beginning of RPGs, and that makes it right up there on my favorite list.

N64: Ocarina of Time

What a surprise. Another Zelda game! Except that this game was a bit of a departure from the other two I had played before it (The Legend of Zelda and the TERRIBLE Zelda II which can die in a fire. SO. MUCH. RAGE.) Ocarina of Time was one of the first 3D games. I was used to playing 2D side-scrolling or top down views. I also played text based games because I had dabbled in some computer programming. As this was the first 3D game I really played, it took some getting used to. Plus, there were all kinds of puzzles to solve, creatures to fight, and tunes that would get stuck in your head. In case you want to know, the one I’m referring to is Saria’s Song. This Zelda and the first one are my all time favorites for good reason.

Runner Up: F-Zero X

I had very few games on the N64, but I can’t let one of them slide by so easily without mention. Aside from Ocarina and Super Smash Bros, my friends and I spent COUNTLESS HOURS playing F-Zero X. This racing game was just the right amount of chaos and fun. You could choose a random mode where the game would generate a track. On one day, the game generated a nasty half-pipe track that I died on repeatedly. We had found out that if you hit restart just before everyone reaches the finish line (or before the timer runs out), you could keep repeating that track. My friends became SO GOOD at this one track, that it was insane. It became a competition between the two gents. And I, being ‘dead’, had the opportunity to play the slot machine. For those unaware, the slot machine in F-Zero X had the images of the other players on the track. If you matched the image on all three cards, the game would take away that players HEALTH BAR. So while the two gents kept trying to knock each other off the half pipe, I got to make their lives hell. At one point, I became so good at the slots that they BANNED ME from doing it. Party poopers…


Sega Genesis: Warsong

Next to the NES selection, this console is probably the hardest for me to narrow down a winner. Like the Tandy 1000, this was a gift from my uncle after he bought it for himself, but only really played it when I came over – so he gave it to me as a birthday present. Between the Phantasy Star titles, the Sonic titles, Shining Force and so many more classic games – it’s hard to just pick one. That being said, readers of the site have heard me extol the gameplay of Warsong plenty of times throughout the years. It was one of those titles I bought on a whim and wound up absolutely loving as I played through it over and over again. My friends like it so much that two of them bought copies for themselves as well.

Sega 32x: Virtua Fighter

Like the Genesis CD, the 32x was a short-lived addition to the Genesis that saw that system on life support a bit longer than it probably should have been. I found quite a few of the CD games enjoyable – fewer 32x that I liked. NBA Jam Tournament Edition comes in a close second here, but Virtua Fighter was something I enjoyed a great deal. I was pretty heavy into fighting games at the arcade during this time, and they just never seemed to hold up very well when they were ported over to consoles. Virtua Fighter did not feel like as big of a step back as most of them, and I enjoyed my time with it.

Sega Genesis CD: Lunar: The Silver Star

The CD addition to the Genesis console was a doomed-to-fail half-measure before the next generation of consoles went out, but hey – I did my part and bought one. Truth be told? I enjoyed it quite a bit, as did my friends. Sure, there were some absolute stinkers on that platform (I’m looking at you, Street Fighter: The Movie), but titles like Dark Wizard, Vay and Shining Force CD were thoroughly enjoyable. Still, none of them hit me the way Lunar: The Silver Star did. The visuals and sound were fantastic – I am almost embarrassed by how many times I probably watched the intro song and movie, which had a very Saturday morning cartoon quality vibe to it. The characters were fun, the world was vibrant, and the story definitely hit me multiple times throughout.

Super Nintendo: Chrono Trigger

I was a bit late to the SNES party, having sunk my time and money into the Genesis. That being said, I eventually got my hands on a SNES, and found a lot to love here. From strategy games like Ogre Battle, or great adventure games like Zelda or so many of the fun brawlers out there. I probably sunk more time into Final Fantasy III than anything, but I think I got more enjoyment out of Chrono Trigger than anything else on that platform. I must have replayed it at least three times back in the day, and it always felt like time that was well spent.

Sega Game Gear: Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya

I spent a ton of time on these games when they released on the Genesis and absolutely loved them. The mix of strategy and RPG elements was highly rewarding for me from a progression standpoint as I maxed my characters’ stats out for optimal pummeling of the AI. When this released for the Game Gear, it was a perfect fit. Easy to start and stop, unlike action games, the gameplay mechanics were identical to the earlier games in the series that I loved.

Article by RobertPierre-YvesRichardSusan N., and Nick



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