Monday, March 27, 2006

Favorite Video Games

This week is my spring break, so I spent the weekend relaxing and playing some video games. Specifically I spent a lot of time playing Half Life 2 and Civilization 4, which got me reminiscing about some of my favorite games of all time:

-Super Mario Bros. 3. This was my favorite game on the NES system. I didn’t like the original Super Mario Bros. all that much, because it got hard fast, and a lot of the bonuses that were available in Super Mario 3 were not there in the original. Super Mario Bros. 3 had all sorts of cool bonuses, like the different suits, the ghost ships, the giant/small worlds and the P-wing. I had so much fun playing this.

-Marathon. Marathon was designed by Bungie, which later did the Halo games. I think a lot of people aren’t as familiar with it because it was designed for the Mac, and I only knew it because the computers at my school were Macs, and they let us play this after school for a number of years in middle school, as Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity were created. This was the first 1st person shooter I played for a significant time, and I have fond memories of 8 of us in the computer room playing and talking trash after school.

-Warcraft 2. This is my all time favorite real time strategy game. I liked the theme and layout much better than Starcraft, even if I’m in the minority on that. The game play was really straight forward, but tons of fun. I preferred the humans and the heal feature over the orcs and blood lust.

-Civilization. The original had more to do than any game I had played up to that time. And it could take up insane amounts of time. I also loved Civilization 2, which took everything that made the first one great and made improvements that made it smoother and better looking. After that point, it’s just been variations on the formula.

-Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. Again, the exploration ability was fantastic. The storyline really made you care about the characters, and the whole game felt so epic. Just riding around on the horse was fun, and I think this game spoiled me on Zelda forever, because I just don’t see how they can improve upon this game. The next Zelda game on the GameCube was pretty much the same game only with a different type of animation and the sea feature.

-Baldur’s Gate. This is and Baldur’s Gate comprised the best role-playing games I’ve ever played. Similar to Zelda, it feels like there wasn’t much they could do after Baldur’s Gate. Huge world. Tons of different ways to advance through classes. A billion optional missions to pursue.

-Half Life. Playing Half Life 2 reminded me of how much I loved the original. It was the first video game I played that felt like a movie. There were interesting characters and a storyline that really kept you intrigued. Half Life 2 has great level design, but it doesn’t have the intrigue of the first, and the feel that you were working through a real world rather than cool, well designed video game levels.

-Grand Theft Auto 3. You may notice a trend here. I love a game with a huge, unique world to explore. The time period and Godfather theme I thought worked better than the next two games, even though those were also awesome. Again, the ability to do a bunch of different things on every block of this huge landscape allowed you to get lost, even if there wasn’t as much driving the story forward as some of the others.


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