Our Favorite Games Through the Years - Part 3 - Gaming Thoughts

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

With the team spanning a range of ages, that generally means we have a pretty varied range of gaming generations under our belts. Still, now we are moving into an era where everyone had some experiences to compare and contrast and the genres began to get a bit more divergent than Part 2 was.


Sega Saturn: Daytona USA

Sega's underappreciated hardware, the Sega Saturn, was a constant companion to me back in the 90s. Even though it was a fairly basic title, Daytona USA was one that I always came home to and played on rainy days. Maybe it was the crumple mechanic, maybe it was the excellent (for the time) audio, or the way that the various stock cars would handle, I don't really know, but I can still smell the phantom smell of a heavy Michigan rain and it fills me with great warmth. That's hard to say of any other title, no matter how great, that was released on the Saturn.

Nintendo 64: Rogue Squadron

This was actually more difficult for me to decide than I figured it would be. When I think of the N64, I always think of Wave Race ... I don't know why, but I was enamored with it; yes, it was excellent and fun, but I didn't have any one specific memory or feeling associated with it. Then I was like, "Oh! Shadows of the Empire!" which, yes, was fantastic, but do you know what was better? Rogue Squadron. Sure, I played Elite and Wing Commander and the X-Wing / TIE Fighter games, but I think it was Rogue Squadron that truly sold me the dream that some 30 years later, Chris Roberts would be working to bring to reality with Star Citizen. Take an arcade-y space combat game and combine it with a flight control scheme that's easy to pick up (and that worked really well with the N64's goofy-ass controller) and set it in the Star Wars franchise and it's a near-instant success. For me? It was all about making wicked-cool attack runs and the cinematic feel that, some 25+ years later has heavily influenced my own virtual photography.


PC 2000: Heroes of Might and Magic V

Now we all know there's one King of turn based strategy. Heroes of Might and Magic III. Or for those others that truly want to go back further in time, Heroes of Might and Magic II. Both are valid depending on your point of view. The judges will allow either.

Outside of that though, as time moved forward and 3DO went under, Ubisoft nailed Heroes of Might and Magic V. With returning factions and a return to a more classic gameplay than 3DOs HoMM IV, the combination of gameplay, graphics and general quality of life upgrades made this a title to come back to again and again especially with the hotseat mode and a couple of pizzas over a weekend with friends.

Nintendo 64: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

This was another hard pick and most people may be thinking… That’s not the Ocarina of Time. Nope! For me, OoT was good, and it definitely helped pave the way for the epicness that is Twilight Princess, however, Majora’s Mask had this challenge factor that a lot of other Legend of Zelda titles didn’t. A ticking clock, the option to miss things, the option to fail. Being able to rewind time, you learned how to progress more efficiently over time and if you played around with the features enough? You could have almost all the time you needed if you played a certain song backwards. That was an awesome discovery for the time before there were really any walkthroughs and if you didn’t know something? You hoped one of your friends had figured it out or that someone bought a walkthrough as those weren’t cheap.

Gameboy Advance: Mega Man Battle Network

April cannot get here fast enough for the Mega Man Battle Network collection! This, a bit like Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, took a well-known character and ditched the format for something completely different. Instead of platforming around as a robot, Mega Man was now a computer sprite that played companion to the actual protagonist Lan who could get him into various networks in order to destroy viruses that were rampaging and causing havoc and destruction.

Combat was also unique in that you moved around a 3X3 grid vs your opponent’s 3x3 grid. Normal shots, swords, powered up blasts, health packs and summons of other powerful sprites, this series would go on to see 5 other releases. After Mega Man Battle Network 1-6, there was a continuation of sorts with Mega Man Star Force 1-3 and while it was fun, it wasn’t quite the same as the Battle Network series. So yay that the collection is almost here on our current platforms.


Nintendo 64: Bomberman 64: the Second Attack

Yeah, we're skipping the NES and SNES. I never actually owned either, and while I have played NES and SNES games on other platforms through virtual emulators, like what's available for the Switch, I can pretty much only give old Kirby titles or Donkey Kong Country 1 through 3, which I feel doesn't really give a good pool to pick from. Instead, we're jumping to the N64, which is the 2nd home console I ever played and is what introduced me to console gaming. Yeah, as a kid I always separated PC from home console gaming systems, it's probably an age thing. So, what is my favorite game for N64? Well, this was probably my hardest decision to make, as there are a lot of good options to choose from. The N64 saw titles such as Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie, Donkey Kong 64, and Chameleon Twist. All titles I highly suggest you play by the way. But surprisingly, my choice isn't any of these, it's Bomberman 64: the Second Attack. The sequel to Bomberman 64, an amazing game in its own right, Bomberman 64: the Second Attack is a challenging Bomberman adventure type game, where you explore planets, acquire new types of bombs, such as ice or wind, and use their special effects to help solve puzzles and to demolish an evil organization that's controlling a black hole. It also introduces Pommy, a cute little helper that a second player can control, and who can evolve if fed certain types of food. Me and my buddy had a lot of fun with this, which is why it beats out the other single player titles I've mentioned.

Gameboy Advance: Mega Man Battle Network

This wasn't even a debate, Mega Man Battle Network 3. I love Mega Man, and the Battle Network series is great. So great that there have been games that try to replicate the style, so that's saying something. A sort of action battler on a 3 x 6 grid where you use "battle chips" which are given to you every so often, Mega Man Battle Network was an interesting step away from the 2D action platformer style it's mostly synonymous with, and instead had this interesting and unique direction. Out of all the Battle Network games, the first three were the best, and I felt the third title was where they really managed to refine the system with the customization options. I've done everything in all the games, gotten all the stars and stickers, I love the series, so this choice wasn't hard to make at all. I'm super excited for the collection to come out.

Susan N:

PS2: Gran Turismo 4

I had a PlayStation 2 sometime around the time that the PlayStation 3 came out. I bought it off a friend, along with a couple of games. With my newly found console, I grabbed my first ever console racing game in Gran Turismo 2. But my favorite of the series was Gran Turismo 4. Out of the series, this was the first one where I had become an ‘alright’ driver. I could pass several of the licence tests. I could tune my car to suit my driving style. And I was learning more about cars because of the game. The fourth installment was my favorite because it was the first game that had a photo mode. It was also the game where I began practicing on the Nurburgring and Cote D’Azur. Graphically, it was stunning and had a music list that I loved. The list consisted of songs by Van Halen, Jimmy Eat World, Judas Priest, Papa Roach, Joe Satriani, The Crystal Method, The Roots, Jet, and an exclusive track by Will.I.am of Black Eyed Peas fame. My love of cars and racing really started to unveil itself by this point, and I now compare every racing game to it.

PS3: Gran Turismo 5

In a move that would shock no one, the PlayStation 2’s game was trumped by Gran Turismo 5. Not only had I become a better driver, but this game was the first appearance of the mighty McLaren F1. This is significant because it was one of the FEW formula one racing cars I could keep on the track. Unlike some of the other high end cars, concept cars, and formula one options, the F1 was the one that just felt right. This explains why I am totally buying a P1 if I ever become rich. Even more than that, I had improved my skills to a point where I could make it around the Nurburgring with greater speeds than I was capable before. Additionally, GT5 had a completely new layout which took some getting used to. It included A-spec mode, where you get to drive the vehicles and tracks, as well as a B-spec mode where you could get an AI to do those pesky 24-hour endurance races for the big bucks. Overall, GT5 became my favorite game even though they took out one of my favorite tracks (which was Rome. RIP Rome track. You will never be forgotten).

PC 90s-2000s: Myst

From 1990 to the year 2000, there are several games that I enjoyed. Chips Challenge, Gruntz, Tomb Raider, Stunts!, Civilization II, Warcraft II Tides of Darkness, and BattleTech, were all titles that I couldn’t live without. I played a ton more puzzle games like Lighthouse: The Dark Being, Atlantis: The Lost Tales, Starship Titanic, and Syberia. But of all the amazing games, there can only be one winner. That winner is none other than Myst. As mentioned, Myst was a pioneer in the puzzle genre and it stumped a few family members because of the interesting puzzles. I became so enthralled by the game that I came up with the idea to have a Myst styled room for my ultimate dream home. It’ll have gadgets and knickknacks, and Myst paraphernalia like the famous dagger. There is something about travelling to different worlds through a magic book that I found to be fascinating. Perhaps that’s because as a kid I adored books like The Secret Garden and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe where you would do the same. So it only makes sense that this is my favorite game during those years.


PC – 2000s: World of Warcraft

The granddaddy of the MMO genre. Sure, there were others prior, and plenty since, but none of them had the sort of influence on the genre that WoW did. What was crazy is I had a terrible laptop to play it on. I used to joke with my friends that I had to knock all of the settings down to minimum and what should have been grass looked like a giant green tarp. It was good for a laugh but didn’t diminish my excitement any as I played for so many years and so many, many hours. Even when I quit playing for a time – I found myself coming back again. Lather, rinse and repeat a few more times. If there was an all-time PC favorite of mine on this list? It would be World of Warcraft, as it spanned its way into three different decades for me, releasing in 2004, getting played on and off through the 2010s and as recently as late last year around Halloween for a time. This is hands-down the game I have played the most in my life. Played is an odd badge of honor and walk of shame at the same time by now.

Arcade – 2000s: Tekken 5

My time in the arcades fell off considerably during this decade, and I don’t think I’ve played an arcade game once the 2010s hit, but I distinctly recall playing a whole lot of Tekken 5 when it came out around the middle of that decade. Similar to Street Fighter 2, Virtua Fighter, Mortal Kombat and more, Tekkan just felt at home in an arcade cabinet. The music and visuals were top-notch, and as much as I liked pulverizing the AI, nothing beat sending a human opponent away with their head down in defeat. Sure, I lost as well – but I gave more losses than I took and I had a helluva lot of fun doing it.

Sega Saturn: Dragon Force

This is one of those titles that to this day, I really, really wish would get a frickin’ remake. I didn’t own a Saturn – but my roommate did and while we had a lot of fun with a wide variety of games on it, Dragon Force was far and away my favorite. It’s mix of strategy / RPG / tactics gameplay was hugely addicting. It sort of reminded me of Dark Wizard from the Sega CD days, but far more polished and entertaining. Seriously – remake this game and take my money!

Nintendo 64: Super Mario Kart 64 – I realize that there were better games. I didn’t even wind up owning an N64 until a few years after it came out. But my buddy Landon had one, and we all had a tendency to hang out over at his house. Madden. Tecmo Super Bowl. Golden Eye. These were all favorites and a whole lot of fun – but it was Mario Kart 64 that brought out the best (and probably worst) in us as we played. Friday and Saturday nights were for Magic: The Gathering, D&D, board games, Golden Eye but mostly? Mario Kart. “I’m a Wario, I’m a gonna win!”

Article by RobertPierre-YvesRichard, Susan N., and Nick