Saturday, June 14, 2008

"That's worth a lot of money. That's much more valuable than Steve Austin." "Well, that may be the case, but none of this shit is sexy, okay?"


Best Video Games of the 1990s: Part Two (#12 - #1): and we're back. Thanks in advance for not pointing out that my Top 25 list actually consists of 29 games.

T12. Name: FIFA 1998: Road to the World Cup (PS1, 1997)
Why it's on the list:
you can make a good case for the original FIFA (which went with numbers, but no names from what I recall), as it was probably more influential, but '98 was much more complete, with international squads and club teams, a very deep World Cup qualifying mode, a highly addictive indoor mode, and a soundtrack that prominently featured The Crystal Method.
Favorite Moment: Bo Jackson : Original Tecmo Bowl :: Michael Owen : FIFA '98. I have no idea why I vividly remember this, but, at a May 24 party at Andrew Henry's, I was beating someone something like 42-2 with England in an indoor game and, out of nowhere, Eric Mayr promised me an actual Michael Owen jersey (approximate retail value: $125) if I scored 50. I didn't, but, to this day, I firmly believe he would've made good on the promise had it come to it.
Biggest flaw: This was back before I realized the extent of EA Sports' greediness (stay tuned for my scathing editorial in my "Best Video Games of the 2000s" post three years from now entitled "How EA Sabotaged professional football video games forever by offering the NFL a poison pill deal that destoyed the NFL 2K series, otherwise known as the best football franchise in gaming by a wide margin"--admittedly, the title needs some work), but I should've known something was amiss when EA released FIFA '98: RttWC and then, roughly four months later, FIFA World Cup '98...even though RttWC already contained a World Cup mode. This strikes me now as especially devious. (Also, is it just me or is it like a major accomplishment if you actually score a goal in the latest iterations of this series? My word is it tough now.)

T12. Name: Gran Turismo (PS1, 1998)
Why it's on the list:
three reasons--> 1. it was the first real "wow" game from a graphical standpoint for Sony. I remember being basically mesmerized by the (then seemingly) photo-realistic replays (that it probably looks jaggy as shit now doesn't diminish this). 2. It was the first game to really cash in on the potential of the dual shock controller (hitting a straightaway with a Dodge Viper--my favorite car in the game despite having handling only slightly superior to, say, an apartment building--was somehow infinitely more satisfying with the analog stick). 3. It was awfully addictive.
Favorite moment: the day I bought GT, I brought it over (along with my PS1) to Eric's to test it out. Eric, Jeff Livingstone, and I started playing it around 5 p.m. Roughly ten hours later, I'd had enough and went to bed. I woke up around 11 in the morning to discover that Jeff and Eric had stayed up all night (and, indeed were still) playing. I know, I know, the average eight-year old Korean boy now does this routinely, but, ten years on, I remain in awe of this accomplishment.
Biggest flaw: Some incredibly stupid challenges (please point me in the direction of the game designer that thought that a 200 lap race made for compelling game, as it remains my life's mission to hit him in the mouth) and the license tests were no picnic (often aggravatingly so). I'd really like to complain about the six-car race maximum--a problem that only recently been addressed with the release of GT5: Prologue--but I'm told that the PS1 graphics card simply couldn't handle anything more than that, so that would be petty.
Unanswered question: I must confess, I still don't quite understand why car manufactures would allow their cars to be in the game, but wouldn't allow the cars to be damaged. So...it was okay for developers to unflinchingly copy the physical specs of all these cars, even if some of the vehicles were revealed to be too heavy, too slow, corners like shit, or all three, but a dented fender was out of the question? Why make everything else so realistic but then allow me to bash in to other cars with absolute impunity? Also, I never understood why some cars couldn't have horsepower added to them in the shop. Care to explain, Jon?

11. Name: Mario Kart 64 (N64, 1997)
Why it's on the list:
right up there among the greatest party games in video game history. I'm kind of stunned that commenters have rallied (ha!) around the original version, since I think this one eclipses it basically every way: better graphics, more options (including support for four-player play), ghost mode, more challenging courses. (This seems like an appropriate time to mention that the original MK courses didn't actually feature any changes in elevation--plummeting off the track notwithstanding. Seriously, no hills. Look it up.)
Favorite moment: Dunno...I always dug battle mode...and seem to recall drinking battle mode being pretty entertaining.
Biggest flaw: Like, was the game programmed to self-destruct if I somehow managed to get a first place seeking shell? GOD!
In case you weren't aware: the latest Wii version of Mario Kart is phenomenal, though challenging (which is the official reason I'm giving for berating my seven-year old nephew--on his birthday!--for picking Wario's Gold Mine twice in a row during our custom cup. No fair, Max! Not cool.)

10. Name: NHL Hockey '94 (Sega Genesis, 1993)
Why it's on the list:
Ah...these were the years when the series was really in a groove (with the "run into the goalie and your guaranteed to score" cheat from the original game having been addressed and the constant 13-12 outcomes and "whoever has the puck last wins games" from NHL '97 and '98 a mere blip on the horizon). I'll also point out that, while NHL '93 told you who scored and got the assist (with the original NHL Hockey doing neither), '94 was the first to keep a running tally during the game. A great "well, we could go out that party...or we could just stay in and play a three person round robin first to five wins tournament" game.
Total choke job: I've wracked my brain...and I can't think of a single other thing to say about this game. Weak.

9. Name: Final Fantasy Tactics (PS1, 1998)
Why it's on the list:
because it's basically three-dimensional chess, except not boring, and if chess consisted of a completely incomprehensible plot. More than any other game in the series (with the possible exception of FF5, which I only played briefly with an emulator), Tactics mastered the job system--as in: whether or not you made your guy a wizard, a lancet, or a priest actually mattered. A terrific soundtrack, too.
Favorite moment: Losing a tough battle, sitting back and thinking of a new plan of attack, and then coming out and totally kicking ass. Very satisfying. As was being a mercenary (I imagine this is also true of real life).
Biggest flaw: ok, technically (technically) I didn't actually beat this game, struggling for several days with a particular difficult pitched battle and eventually giving up. Only later did I discover--courtesy of Taylor--that I'd completed something like 98% of the game and was thus agonizingly close to the end. Alas, by then my enthusiasm had waned (read: my memory card file had been deleted) and I never got to see how it ended (my guess: confusingly).
Unanswered question: Let's skip over the 1,000 word rant (that I don't particularly relish writing and that you don't particularly wish to read) about the confounding plot (suffice to say: I have my suspicions that it was translated from its original Japanese into Farsi and then back into Japanese before being converted to English) and the lack of a sequel (seriously...what the fuck??) and we'll finish with this: how could IGN possibly have given this 8.5 out of 10? Those are some staggeringly high standards. (On the plus side, how cool is it that IGN still has its PS1 reviews up?)

T7. Name: NES Open Tournament Golf (NES, 1991), PGA Tour III (Sega Genesis, 1994) and Jack Nicklaus Golf 6: Golden Bear Challenge (PC, 1999) (Note: three games taking up two spots--yeah, that just happened.)
Why they're on the list:
Because each game can properly be considered an evolutionary leap in golf games: NES Open introduced a (now-primitive) career mode with its tournaments (and live updates during the round--very cool in 1991); PGA Tour III introduced real golfers and courses to the mix, and all kinds of cool game modes (notably: the skins game and shootout mode); JN6: great ball mechanics, an incredibly sophisticated course designer, and a rapid fan base (churning out dozens of quality courses a day when the game was first released).
Favorite moment: a tie (course) between seeing Mario hoist the trophy after winning a tournament (note: this only applies if you were actually playing as Mario), winning a six-carryover skin on No. 18 against your buddies (PT3), and sinking your teeth into the latest U.S. Open course weeks before the actual tournament (JN6).
Biggest flaw: All three became too easy rather quickly (a flaw common to all golf games, if you think about: if you can't routinely pull off a 56 in any of the latest versions of Tiger Woods, you should probably stop playing golf games), with the one exception being the shootout mode in PGA III--you vs. 11 computer players on No. 1 tee, highest score gets knocked out, play until there's only one person left--which was inexplicably impossible to beat.
If I could only play one of three golf games for the rest of my life: it would, hands down, be JN6 (the course creator is that deep).
If forced to pick which one was most influential: hard not to go with PGA Tour III, since everyone played it, but I'm going to side with NES Open because: (a) it almost led to Misha murdering me (scroll to footnote #7 and the paragraph that immediately precedes it), (b) it has, far and away, the funniest controversy attached to it (the NAACP filed a complaint due to the fact that all of the game's caddies are black--look, I don't even think they had black people in Japan in 1991...), and (c) the main menu screen (bottom left hand corner above) is fantastic! It looks very much like Mario and Luigi, by virtue of being so good at golf, have been given free prostitutes!

6. Name: Madden NFL '96 (Sega Genesis, 1995)
Why it's on the list:
The best of the second-gen Madden games, as it was the first to include classic teams (which had to be unlocked), create-a-player, and combine mode (think Madden-meets-Nintendo Track and Field, but minus the power pad). It was also around this time that the passing game got really good (with passing windows being discarded in Madden '95) and the computer stopped sucking so thoroughly.
Favorite moment: creating yourself, sending him to the combine, rocking the 40-yard dash (say 4.2), and then signing yourself to your favorite team. You did this. Admit it. (Who won't you admit it?)
Biggest flaw: The Lions--despite being a respectable 10-6 in the regular season before flaming out in the Wild Card round of the playoffs in the real world--were really, really bad in this game. Like a QB rating of 20 bad (Scott Mitchell was pretty shitty, don't get me wrong, but not like, you know, armless), a WR rating of 46 (even though they had Herman Moore, Brett Perriman, and Johnnie Morton), a RB rating of 51 (with Barry Sanders!) and an overall rating of 55. In fact, looking over the team ratings, the disparity between the haves--San Francisco (99, the same score as the All-Madden team in the game, as if such a thing were even possible...), Dallas (90)--and the have-nots--Minnesota (35), the Jets (32), and Oakland (29!)--was such that you were basically forced to be one of the powerhouses, which is kind of lame.

5. Name: Tecmo Super Bowl (NES, 1991)
Why it's on the list:
two words: season mode. Now several more: this was seriously mind-blowing in diggity-one, especially because I'd been languishing for over a year with my Sega Master System copy of Great Football (that's what they called it!) which was anything but. Going from that to TSB (which had real players, real schedules, real uniforms, etc.) back then would be roughly akin to a child today going from a well-worn CD single of Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend"on a skip-prone discman to a fully stocked 80 GB iPod. Worlds apart.
Favorite moment: This may seem like such a small thing, but mine was the moment after I completed the first game of my first season and it went back to the season menu and I watched the computer simulate the other games that week (stunning for an eleven-year old) and then spending an hour sifting through the stats for (gasp) real NFL players. I may have wept. (I was kind of an odd child.)
Biggest flaw: There were all sorts of hilarious quirks in the game, none more confounding than the one where a ball fumbled on a botched flip from the QB would be whistled dead.
Unanswered question: 1. I maintain that the "star player runs away from hospital after getting a clean bill of health" screenshot should have been incorporated into all subsequent football games. Think of the possibilities! Players running away from prison; players running away from VD clinics (hey...same guy!); players fleeing Vegas strip clubs (too soon?). Missed opportunity, if you ask me.
2. If I told you that three NFL players weren't included in the game (due to those players not being a part of the NFLPA licensing agreement), I think the hardcore gamers could probably name two--Jim Kelly (QB Bills in the game) and Randall Cunningham (QB Eagles)--but the third? No fucking way. This is because it was Bernie Kosar, QB extraordinaire (career TD to INT ratio: 3:2) for the Browns (or, as I like to call him, Old Concrete Shoes). Cunningham I kind of get (he was a superstar) and, to a lesser extent, Kelly (by then, one of the most successful QBs in the game) is explicable, but Kosar's non-inclusion is, frankly, flabbergasting. What hubris on his part! He played in one Pro Bowl! Was there some sort of Bernie Kosar Double Dragon-inspired game in the works where he would fight his way through the mean streets of Cleveland (come to think of it, that would've been kind of awesome...)? All of this really reminds me of the Buffy episode where everyone was under the delusion that Jonathan was the most famous person in the world.

4. Name: Dusty Diamond All-Star Softball (NES, 1990)
Why it's on the list:
because it was a softball (!) game with 60 playable characters, each with their own idiosyncrasies, and stadiums with different park effects (if you broke a window with a home run at the school diamond, it counted as an out; if you hit it through the outfield in the park, the ball would...actually roll through an enjoining park, etc.) How can you not love a game universe where the following scouting reports exist:

"Ace" - Great arm, some power, and can run through water. A good choice for an outfielder.
"Artie" - This guy wears a hardhat, and swings a pick axe! Other than that, he sucks.

"Arnie" - Crap.
"Froggy" - I like this guy, he hops around the bases like a frog. He has decent speed, and can hit the long ball, or run out a double. Can run through all kinds of obstacles. Great choice for lead off, or #2.
"Diablo" -This guy rules. He uses a spiked club for a bat, and boy can he bat.Use him as your cleanup hitter. He hits a homerun about every other hit he gets.
"Dizzy" - Crap, total crap.


Favorite moment: Wow. Three, I think: 1. Having an official player draft (or even a free-for-all turbo-draft) and then duking it out in a best-of-five series (rotating among the parks).
2. beating the Amazons (the all-girl team you had to take on after beating the regular players five times in single player mode) for the first time has to rank right up there. (If you call Misha, I can almost guarantee that he could reel off the ideal starting lineup, position-by-position, to neutralize the Amazons).
3. The moment you realize that if you put someone like Sparky or Mikey in leftfield (though, in the ordinary course of things, they should be at SS and 3B, respectively), you can throw slowish baserunners out at first base on groundball singles.
Biggest flaw: Honestly? Nothing. In doing some research for these posts (read: googling the game names) I stumbled upon the Dusty Diamond Online League, where people are still playing the game by way of emulators. I won't lie, I spent about twenty minutes perusing the league leaders (Louis hitting a cool .700! Diablo slugging 1.149--what, no OPS?) My only beef is that Rule IV in the league charter states that players must pitch the ball straight down the middle. Huh? What, you couldn't figure out how the code for a tee ball mode mod? Why not just make it the first to 100 runs wins?? I thought you guys were hardcore!
Neither here nor there: DDASS (hmm...starting to understand why they didn't push the acronym) would be a sure-fire hit on the Wii. Think about it. Use your arm to pitch, breaking left or right for a curve or a slider (something I, ill-advisedly, attempt to test out in the shower), conduct a player draft (hell, even the Miis could be playable), pick your park and go. This would be a huggggge hit. (To the Nintendo execs no doubt lurking here: money please).

3. Name: NBA Live '97/NBA Live '98 (PS1/PS1, 1996/1997--note: I consider these to be one game, so it's only taking up one spot).
Why it's on the list:
the first realistic NBA game(s) to realize the potential of the next gen systems.
Favorite moment: 1. My brainstorm to create the 50 greatest NBA players (in their prime) and then--in a nod to Dusty Diamond--have Misha and I draft teams for a best-of-seven series. This was riveting...and I'm fairly certain we spent whole weekends doing this (alcohol may have been involved).
2. A couple of months later, I created classic teams--'70 Knicks, 80' Sixers, 84' Celtics, '87 Lakers, '89 Pistons, '96 Bulls--which also led to numerous heated battles, thrown controllers, and people storming out of the room.
3. Video game Voshon Lenard of the Miami Heat (circa 1997) was a stone cold killer for three-point range (not to be confused with the real Voshon Lenard of the Toronto Raptors circa 2003, who--no doubt as a result of a secret wager that he couldn't eat himself to death--resembled an amorphous blob) and won me countless games (and series against the Bulls) with his heroics. Fun fact: If you mention Lenard in passing to Misha, there's about an 85% chance he will cringe involuntarily.
Biggest flaw: While I feel like they've really bricked the series since '98, I'll limit my comments to the one flaw I can remember: they never left enough room between the three point line and the sideline--to the point where, if you spotted up from there, there was a 50-50 shot you'd be called out of bounds. If basketball freakonomics teaches us that, next to the lay-up, the corner three is the most efficient shot in the game, shouldn't it stand to reason that you can, you know, actually attempt one of those instead of loitering in the first row?
Unanswered question: You wanna know the most underrated features of Liva '97/'98? If a guy had the ball three feet from the basket, he would lay it in or slam it home. And yet, for whatever reason, this is a massive issue in current NBA video games, with virtual players--frustratingly--insistent on shooting the dreaded three-foot jumper, which never seems to go in more than 40% of the time ans is, generally, incredibly annoying.

2. Name: Final Fantasy VII (PS1, 1997)
Why it's on the list:
Wow...um, because it was less of a video game than something which more or less took over your life for weeks on end that happened to be in video game form? Yeah, I'll go with that.
Memorable moments: breeding a golden chocobo, the first time you see Sephiroth (chilling, unlocking all the summons, and--SPOILER--the cutscene where Aries dies (for the record: if I was crying, it was because I was thinking about a friend of mine who you don't know who is dying. That's right, dying.)
Biggest flaw:
some of the summons took entirely too long to unfold and there was no way to ever skip through them, not even after seeing them two dozen times each. Taylor and I have a theory that, because the game designers spent a disproportionate amount of time developing these (increasingly longer) summons(es?), they had it written into their contract that they couldn't be skipped.
Unanswered question: Lance Bass as the voice of Sephiroth in the U.S. version of the animated movie? Really??

1. Name: Coach K College Basketball (Sega Genesis, 1995)
Why it's on the list:
Because it's the best basketball game (and best college sports game period) ever made...and I love it. I was thinking about it today and, over the years, I'm sure I've played 1,000+ games...and it's still fun.
Memorable moments: me getting awfully drunk, losing an agonizingly close game to Misha (where I'd, no doubt, led by upwards of ten points in the second half) then promptly accusing him of using some sort of Coach K voodoo or "cheat codes" to do so (this later became a running joke at my expense); winning the national championship; breaking the backboard for the first time; the double alley-oop (could only be done with '79 MSU or '74 NC State); playing king of the court against a bunch of friends and reeling off five straight wins while everyone curses at you; discovering the guaranteed basket glitch in the game (if you ran full speed to the short corner baseline and launched a three as you were flying out of bounds, it would go in 95% of the time--I once watched my club basketball coach and current UWO coach Brad Campbell score 100 points in a game with Purdue's Cuonzo Martin doing just that) and then solemnly swearing never to use its powers for evil.
Biggest flaw: Boy, it's awfully tough to criticize this game, but depriving us of Allen Iverson (by not including Georgetown in the game) verges on the unconscionable. (Same for giving us MSU '79, but not ISU '79, so we could re-create Bird-Magic--that's a no brainer, people!) Also, I'm calling out Krzyzewski for obviously putting his foot down and not letting the developers include North Carolina--dick move, Coach K. Finally, sometimes the Coach K assistance (aka "Sega assistance," aka "let's make it impossible for one team to win by more than 12") could be trying at times. At some points, with a big lead, the game would effectively put a Was it still dramatic? I suppose, but artificially so.
Unanswered question: how in the world did the playtesters not notice that if you're called for goaltending in the game and the basket goes in, the other team was awarded four points? Admittedly, this happened rather infrequently, but still...

Honourable Mention: Final Fantasy VIII (PS1, 1999; try as I might, I could never really get into this one, and I maintain to this day--much to Taylor's dismay--that the way you acquired magic in the game (drawing endlessly from a well) was irredeemably stupid); Links Golf (PC; great game, though it's shortcoming became obvious --you had to pay for course expansion backs and there was no career mode to speak of--when JN6 was released), Wipeout (PS1, 1995; if this were even one-tenth as cool as it was it was made out to be in Hackers--come to think of it, this, too, should be in the "aged worse" movie discussion--it would probably be in my Top 5); Super Mario World (SNES, 1991; sorry, everyone! I screwed up); Police Quest series; Space Quest series; College Football '96 (PS1, 1995; I'd by lying if I said that, 13 years later, I wasn't still angry about the fact that I took 113th ranked North Texas from the absolute cellar to 12-0, by only using the T-form formation, and then getting totally snubbed for the National Championship game. Grrrr.); RBI Baseball 3 and 4; Metal Gear Solid (PS1, 1998; MGS2 was amazing--but came out in the 00s. I barely played the first one. This is here solely to placate Taylor); Bases Loaded II: Second Season (NES, 1990; if Bo Jackson is the first inductee into the video game Hall of Fame, Paste has to be #2); Tekken 3 (PS1, 1998; I was never one for fighting games, but this one was pretty addictive); Super Punchout (SNES, 1994; loses marks for not being quite as good as the original); Olympic Summer Games 1996 (PS1, 1996; awesome...except my copy always froze after the 100m freestyle swim, which was only the sixth or seventh out of the ten events); Intelligence Qube (PS1, 1997; does anyone remember this? I loved this game. That poor guy...).


Alright, that's it. Sorry for ending so abruptly.

8 comments:

Jesse said...

I don't want to wait two years; do Best Of The First Half Of The Aughts now.

Mark P said...

Dustin Diamond's All-Star Softball is much less entertaining. The feature where Ron Palillo is repeatedly hit by pitches thrown by Lark Voorhies is just mean, in my opinion.

RT Murphy said...

Cheers: Good call on Gran Turismo. What's funny is that the 'car damage' was such a factor back then, it's the only reason many car manufacturers allowed their license in the game. Some say the big tickets (Porsche, notably) kept theirs out from the 'damage' that happened to be in there... Very uptight about their image. I always remember the intense, almost hysterical sensitivity of the license testing, and that it was the first and last to have the pure, unadulterated Mitsubishi GTO... in other words, the stuff 15 year old dreams are made of.

I'm with you for Mario Kart 64 over the original. For one thing, it had incredibly egregious exploit/shortcuts, most notably in Wario Stadium where you could cut the race in half from the starting line. Also, in Battle Mode, size mattered (TWSS) and the "Mr. Bomb" comeback for early knockouts was a great choice.

On FFT, quite surprised to see it on the list! I wholeheartedly agree with you, although I had to play through it 1.5 times, I was totally in the tank for the fancy Vatican of storylines (a comparison appropriate on so many levels, too) and it's easily my favorite just hedging out FFV. Apparently the remake of this for the PSP does a much, much better of making the translations work, although I'll always, always love "surrender or die in obscurity!" as a battle cry. It is on my top 3 PSX games, along with Metal Gear Solid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (which I note is missing- if you haven't played it you're really shanking yourself out of a great time).

Other notes: FFVIII had the even worse problem of unskippable summons, in which they commanded 'interactivity' which got pretty old by the end of the game IMHO. I'm surprised there's not more mention of FFVI, as well. Props on the FotC ref for FFVII though. I happen to disagree on Super Punch-Out!, though, I found it leaps and bounds better than the original, but then again I came across both at about the same time. Did you ever play the original version that actually had you against Mike?

RT Murphy said...

Jeers: to this rusty tailgate.

Taylor said...

Nice list. I still can't get over how many sports games you have on it. But then again, you don't like action games because you're a little girl. In all seriousness, you really should play MGS, because I think it would easily crack your top 3.

I agree with Jesse: you should do a quick post on your top 10 games of the 2000's up to now (or 2000-2004 or whatever). Great call with Intelligence Qube. We really should have bought the actual game instead of playing the demo over and over. And the best part of VII: using Cloud's Omnislash for the first time.

For the record, Wipeout XL was an incredible game (this is the sequel to the original and the one we owned). Don't you remember shooting the one laser that instantly destroyed the enemy's craft if you were able to hit it? It was amazing.

Ryan: The script for FFT on the PSP has been reworked, so, about 20 hours into it, the story doesn't have me totally confused (which is better than when I played it for the PS, but then again, I was 11). And the remake is worth it just for the sexy cut-scenes, even though, strangely, the characters still don't have noses. I didn't play FFV until it was released in FF Anthology, and even though I liked the job system, the game felt more like a chore than anything since it did not age well (in my opinion... mostly due to the fact that I played it after VII, VIII, and IX). And I seem to recall being able to fast-forward the summons in VIII, but it came at a cost, since you couldn't boost the spell.

Never played Symphony of the Night because Kyle, who rented it in the hopes of beating it by playing it for 3 days straight, stopped after about an hour and told me that it was only okay. And Metal Gear Solid is my favourite of the 90's (and maybe my favourite game ever).

RT Murphy said...

I'm guessing the SOTN thing is because he is a little girl when it comes to action games.

ALL THE PIECES FIT, WASKO(S).

Jon Arnett said...

Gran Turismo 1: "Also, I never understood why some cars couldn't have horsepower added to them in the shop. Care to explain, Jon?"

Well I'm not really sure what you're referring to here; if it's the pre-configured cars that had all of the fancy work done to them by existing tuning companies, it would make sense, because they're special edition that you would not want to screw with. In reality I guess you could, but one could make the argument that they used a custom manifold, ecu, etc. that your tuning company just could not easily work with.

If you're only referring to that some cars couldn't gain power by getting an intercooler, etc., it's because only turbo of supercharged cars would benefit from such a thing.

MarioKart: Hate to burst your bubble about the elevation changes, but there was one level on the SNES version that had several raised platforms, that you had to drive on ramps to get up to. Also, there was the infamous rainbow level, which at least on a visual level appeared to change elevations, which it may have done nothing to enhance gameplay. The SNES version was the best one, only because the hardware they had to work with was crap, yet they still made a fun game.

NHL 94': The only downside to this game, was that it permanently convinced me that the red wings are the best hockey team ever. Having Yzerman, Ysebart, and Federov as forwards, with Probart and the generic away-team member from startrek as the other defenseman was unstoppable. The best part being that while defending with Probart, merely touching a button while near any opposing team member, meant breaking out into a fight, where you would proceed to destroy, and make anyone's head bleed within seconds.

Another one I forgot about was Ice Hockey, how could that not have made it? The only hockey game so ultra-realistic, with it's single side(overhead) view, where it was always 3 on 3 hockey (like in real life), where you could pick a fat guy, average guy, or skinny guy. Favourite time with that game: playing as a team of three skinny guys, and being impossibly better than a team of three fat guys, because you can literally skate circles around your opponent.

In conclusion can I also say that you played way too many sports games and not enough good ones (see: fighting, action/adventure, racing, quest, all other games)

Kyle Wasko said...

Jesse: I still think it's too soon, but a Top Five at this stage would include the following:
-Rock Band
-Knockout Kings 2002: great story there.
-Metal Gear Solid 2 (and possibly MGS3 and MGS4, which I'm playing concurrently at the moment).
-Tiger Woods 2004
-The Sims
-Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
-NBA Street Volume 2
-Ratchet and Clank 2
-Gears of War
: I need to play more of this, frankly.
-NFL 2K5: given that this is the greatest football game I've ever played (Misha and I completed five seasons in dynasty mode in about a month), it's probably the leader in the clubhouse.

Ryan: I'm so old that I only remember the version that had Tyson in it, and I'm inclined not to recognize the bastardized Mr. Dream/Sandman version.

Spaz: I actually bought SOTN before finding out I hated it. Best part: the no questions asked return policy at EB--do they still do that? I doubt it.

Jon: it's the second thing re: GT and that makes sense.

re: Mario Kart--> yes, but there's no degree of difficulty component...otherwise Play Action Football would be #1.

re: Ice Hockey--> came out in 1988. But if was picking a hockey game from that era, it'd have to be Blades of Steel (1987), if only so I could tell the story that Misha and I played an entire 16 team, best of seven playoff series when he stayed with us for a week, despite the fact that: (a) there were only eight teams in the game, and (b) so far as I can tell now, every team played exactly like every other team in the game.