Ten Best Video Games of All Time for the over 30 crowd.
This list came about via a discussion with several friends of mine who are around the same age (mid to late thirties). We discussed how pivotol video games have been in our lives and how we are fortunate to not only have witnessed the advent of the home consoles, we are lucky to be around to see the amazing things being done in PC and console gaming today.
Super Mario and his brother Luigi have been around since the early 80’s and the first Mario Bros arcade game, but they are best known for the break out Nintendo hit in 1985 that started the video game revolution. Since the original game there has been a multitude of follow-ups and Mario has become Nintendo’s flagship character. I personally spent many, many hours of my childhood trying to pass through the eight levels of the first Super Mario Brothers game that Nintendo launched with their original console. These days I play Mario with my kids in various franchises like Super Smash Bros Brawl.
Legend of Zelda
In 1986 Nintendo launched The Legend of Zelda, with Link and crew soon becoming nearly as well-known as Mario and his co-horts. There have been over seventeen versions of LoZ to date with many more planned in the future. Zelda was one of the very first role playing games to become a mass market best seller. Zelda's first iteration was an additive puzzle RPG that had many a child (and adult for that matter) scratching their head while battling to save the beautiful princess. It should be noted that while Zelda is the title character of the series, you actually fight as Link.
Pac-man released as an arcade game in 1980 and things have never been the same. This international phenomona (along with his Mrs, Ms Pac-man) are still tried and true favorites of the gaming community but they are best remembered as the first "celebrities" of gaming. While Mario did indeed have an arcade game at roughly the same time he didn't become a household name for many years-Pac-man was known by every child and every parent almost immediately. During the advent of consoles Pac-man made the transition seamlessly and he still makes an occasional appearance in media today.
Space Invaders was the bane of every parent with a quarter-obsessed child in the late 1970’s and even today its found in many a retro-arcade. For those of us still obsessed Space Invaders is available for free all over the web, most notably on www.freeinvaders.org. This game is the epitome of "basic" but those pesky aliens just keep coming and coming. I challenge you to find anyone in their thirties who cannot remember their high score. While spin-offs have been poorly received this game is very much still a member of pop culture history.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sega released Sonic’s first incarnation in 1991 and gamers have held him close to their hearts ever since. Sonic replaced Alex Kidd as Sega's mascot nearly immiately and has since diversified greatly from his side-scrolling days, he even puts in an appearance in a couple of Nintendo titles, most notably Sonic and Mario’s Olympic games and Super Smash Bros Brawl. Nintendo may have cornered the market originally with Mario but Sonic came up as a fast second, proving Sega could indeed produce an engrossing side scroller game.
1992 saw the advent of Mortal Kombat, a one versus one fighting game that included some very graphic finishing moves. The game was first sold by Midway games which later went bankrupt, but fear not Mortal Kombat fans Warner Bros now owns the rights and plans on more Fatality fun for everyone. With several movies that grossed very well at the box office Mortal Kombat was one of the first cross-over products to bring gaming and specifically console gaming to the big screen.
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario Kart sprang onto the scene on the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) and hasn’t looked back, the newest franchise member is the Wii U version Super Mario Kart 8. The ability to play not only as your favorite Nintendo characters but against friends and family members makes this one of the most enjoyable co-op games of all time. Super Mario Kart for the origina Wii was used as sales prop, boasting that it could turn video games into "family fun time". It made good on its promise in my household as I regularly got thrased by my own parents as well as my children!
The first John Madden football was introduced in 1988 but fans may be surprised to learn the coach was first approached by EA in 1984. The series has since gone on to become one of the highest grossing franchises of all time with versions on virtually every console and many a computer OS. They stopped producing a PC version in 2007, but the game is still going strong with Madden 2015 releasing in August of 2014. A new version is set to debut later this year.
Final Fantasy started in 1987 and Square Enix (just Square back then) originally meant for it to be their last game. Little did they know this RPG Juggernaut is now the most beloved console fantasy game of all time. Devotees of the series can even play a MMPORG version or two, as well as PC and phone versions. There have been several movies based on the series and the scores have become best-selling hits on their own. It is open to debate but Cloud is considered to be the favorite charachter of most players.
Forza is Microsoft’s flagship racing series. Since the first installment in 2005 there have been over ten million copies sold and we have all spent a few hours going round the track in this fairly realistic game. The only real drawback is that Forza is exclusively a Microsoft product and only available on their consoles, so if you are smitten you are forced to purchase an Xbox of some kind. I still play Forza 5 on my Xbox 360, its virtually the only title that still gets taken for a spin.
This list is far from inclusive but I hope it gives you an idea of the highlights of my childhood as well as a peak into the future, as for the most part the franchises I mentioned are all still going strong. Just take a peak at the new Super Mario games for the Wii U. Final Fantasy seems to have made a fairly successful cross over toPC gaming and is now a true multi-platform experience. Honorable mentions go to Super Smash Bros Brawl as well as Xenosaga, Call of Duty, Castlevania and Grand Theft Auto.