Tuesday, 8 May 2012

This isn't a videogame, Fisher!

I've wanted to do a top ten blog for a little while now. At first, I was considering doing a top ten "Tech Guys" list to honour the arrival of my new computer. Ended up gushing about Avengers Assemble instead. Won't lie, a film well worth gushing over. Now that I've dispensed with my arbitrary Avengers/Joss Whedon compliment, I'm going to get to something of a point.

Digging around on Facebook, I found some old "Notes" that I'd done. A couple of twenty-five random fact ones, four movie quotation ones (pitching to do a fifth, but haven't quite found the nerdy energy for it yet), a couple of completely nonsensical ones and my list of top ten games.

This note was written three years ago. 4th March 2009 to be utterly precise. And the most intriguing thing I've noted is how much my top ten has changed in those years. So in addition to giving you pictures and blurb of the games in my top ten, they will come with a notation as to whether they've gone up, down, stayed in the same position or been dethroned something entirely. Also, I like the idea of using the phrase "dethroned".

So without further ado, my top ten games:

10: Mass Effect (Xbox 360)

New Entry
Dethroned: Worms 4: Mayhem (PC)

It took me a long time to get from my Xbox (acquired around 2004/2005), to get to my 360 (acquired in 2011). It didn't take long for me to indulge in Mass Effect, a game that had been highly recommended to me. It did not disappoint. Like many things in this universe, I love and hate it...I hate it, because I wish I had thought up that storyline first. Still yet to truly play its sequels and there's a part of me that wants to keep it that way. Not only stunning to look at, but Mass Effect created a rich, wonderful universe, populated with intriguing characters who generated a compelling story to play through.

9: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64)

Shuffled Down
Previous Position: 2

While from 2 to 9 seems like an incredible fall from grace, this should not reflect on the quality and beauty of this game. I can still remember the day I finally acquired this game, the fleeting opportunities to play it as my sister had hogged my N64 and later that evening was my nephew's first birthday party. But eventually, I became immersed in the game. Now I was eleven. I was a tempestuous child and I will admit to the odd falling out with Ocarina of Time. Threats of being thrown out, along with my N64 and entire collection, often followed repeated failures to defeat particularly diabolical bosses. Regardless, this game will always hold a special place in my heart and remains one of the finest games ever made.

8: Snowboard Kids (Nintendo 64)

Shuffled Down
Previous Position: 4

This is one of the games I credit with getting me through the stress of my GCSEs. Of course, having gone through A-Levels and a Creative Writing degree, GCSEs seem like an absolute cake-walk that I could probably do blindfolded at this juncture, I still owe this game. There's just something so cute and adorable about the game that makes it so much fun to come back to time and again. Snowboard Kids will forever remain a classic, a simple pleasure that I will never grow old. Kind of makes me wish I could really snowboard...

7: TimeSplitters 2 (Nintendo GameCube)

New Entry
Dethroned: Thief: The Dark Project (PC)

Represented here by my favourite level, 2019: NeoTokyo, TimeSplitters 2 is one of the best First-Person Shooters I've come across. I was first introduced to the game in 2008/2009 by one of my best friends, a man far more game-nerdier than I (with the unfortunate callsign "Lady Boy", but that's a traumatic story for another day) and completed the whole thing in a single two-hour sitting at his house. While that might seem far too easy and not so enjoyable, I keep coming back and back to TimeSplitters 2 and endlessly to NeoTokyo - mostly because I find it so damn pretty. Though one of its best features is its obvious use of time travel - thanks to this, you get to blast the living crap out of things from multiple time frames: cyberpunk gangs in 2019, bug-eyed aliens in 2280 and gangsters in 1932. Good...times.

6: Tachyon: The Fringe (PC)

Shuffled Down
Previous Position: 5

She's not gone far and there's pretty good reason for that. Tachyon: The Fringe is the best space-fighter game ever. Not only is it aesthetically pretty (being set in space, it has a lot of pretty things to look at), it has an incredibly gripping storyline that - like Mass Effect - I really, really wish I thought of first. Nonetheless, I love this game. I particularly love the pictured ships - the GalSpan Orion. A well-balanced fighter and when armed with Deimos Heavy Lasers and Solaris Torpedoes, a force never to be frakked with. That being said, when I go into the Twilight Region, I tend to favour the GalSpan Phoenix. Slower, but she takes much more punishment. Much, much more. To the point though, Tachyon was a brilliant piece of gaming ingenuity, with freedom to roam around vast areas of space populated by some pretty colourful characters. A superb game and timeless classic.

5: Half-Life 2 (PC)

New Entry
Dethroned: Tachyon: The Fringe (PC)

I wonder if I should have discovered this game sooner. On the other hand, I came to it at the perfect time. As borderline Obsessive-Compulsive (though many debate the "borderline" part), I had to play the first game...well...first. While it was a hard slog, I enjoyed the game and was richly rewarded for my time when I came to Half-Life 2 and was first given the Gravity Gun. When those two words enter the sentence, you know there is so much fun to be had. Especially when you get the super-charged version and pick up people and hurl them into disintegrating energy fields. Whilst humming Johann Strauss' "The Blue Danube" . Not to mention it has yet another brilliant, deeply engrossing storyline I'm jealous of.

4: Portal (PC)

New Entry
Dethroned: Snowboard Kids (Nintendo 64)

When it comes to be being jealous of storylines and ideas...the beauty of Portal makes you just want to travel to Bellevue, Washington and bow down before the writers of Valve Software. Then tell them "If you can't beat them, join them. I must join you. NOW!" It's near universally held that Portal did something so simple, yet so incredible that it blew the minds of many a gamer. And an honourable mention should go here to its sequel, Portal 2, equally mind-blowing and featuring J.K. Simmons. But here we are honouring the brain-teasing joy of Portal and the immense fun it has given us imagining practical applications for the Portal Gun in our everyday lives. Kudos, Valve...just...kudos.

3: Perfect Dark (Nintendo 64)

Previous Position: Right Here

When it comes to favourites, even the brand-new, shiny beautiful games cannot beat those classics that stole your heart as an innocent child. The other game responsible for my survival through my GCSEs and the best FPS I've ever played, Perfect Dark cannot be matched. It beat Portal and Half-Life 2. To most gamers that's a tall order I imagine. But when it comes to storyline, aesthetics and kick-ass British female heroines, Perfect Dark wins. Oh yeah and it has Area 51. I'm a bit of a conspiracy enthusiast. I love playing with Area 51, especially in my writing. I love what they did with the place. Oh and they named an alien "Elvis". Dude. Awesome.

2: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (Nintendo 64)

New Entry
Dethroned: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64)

I suspect this may be viewed as a controversial decision, but Ocarina of Time's direct sequel wins. Both games are beautiful, but Majora's Mask is so much more colourful, as well as being quite a bit darker in content. It also plays a lot more with temporal mechanics and I do thoroughly enjoy a good spot of casual time-travel. Also, it has an utterly beautiful soundtrack - my favourite piece being the song the Indigo-Go's play over the top of the end credits. While it was quite the short game in terms of bosses and temples, the three-day Groundhog-Day-reminiscent cycles kept you on your toes and kept those side quests going for many a sleepless night after the final triumph of defeating the ultimate boss.

1: Deus Ex (PC)

Previous Position: Right Here

I don't think anything will ever, *ever* be able to top this game. When it comes to games I wish I'd written first, this is the Big Kahuna. The storyline is so vast, so rich in background information - painstakingly researched, pieces of scientific information slotted in at exactly the right points. This game is responsible for a great many things in my writing - my fascination with nanotechnology and cyberpunk. While the reputation of the game may have been sullied by its demon offspring, Deus Ex: Invisible War (still enjoyable and I love it, but it's that drunken mistake you wish you hadn't woken up next to), its prequel, Deus Ex: Human Revolution restored its honour somewhat. While not as radical as Portal, this one was a game-changer. For the hours of enjoyment I have received and the influence it's had on me, I owe this game a debt of thanks I can only repay by continuing to play it over and over again.

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