No doubt about it...we ARE the video game generation! There has never been a generation of child that was as smart or as quick as the kids from the 80s and 90s. This can be related to the films and television programs that helped develop or precious little minds...but nothing effected the way we think like the all mighty video game! Parents would never admit it at the time, but these games were incredibly vital to the development of our minds, thoughts and abilities. I personally would never deprive my child of playing video games because I know what they can teach. (No serious gamer really believes that what he/she sees in the game has anything to do with real life except for sports games; stupid kids that kill or hurt people because they "saw" it in a game, really give gamers a bad name) I (like most kids) had a strong sense of reality and never once believed that I could do most things I saw in video games...I KNEW THE DIFFERENCE! But, I also knew what I WAS being taught...quickness, memory, problem solving, determination and most of all...COMMITMENT. This is what this article is about, our commitment to these addictive games and our enability to turn them off (No matter how hot your system got or how late in the night it was) We all had those special games that we just could not turn off, and now, I would like to share with you the games that truley taught me how to stay tough and not give up....NEVER EVER GIVE UP THE CONTROLLER!!!
These games are in NO specific order, just random memories as they come to me...enjoy!
-Super Mario 64-
This was one of first games released (along with Pioletwings64) on Nintendo64 in 1998. Aside from it being the first 3D Mario game (and yes I am aware of Mario Clash but please, lets not be silly) it was by far the biggest Mario game seen at the time, and maybe possibly to this day. I remember renting a Nintendo64 system from my local video rental store just weeks after it came out. It wasnt until Christmas that I got my own, so for the first few months I would pay like 20 bucks for 2 nights just to be able to play this system. I also remember not knowing in the begining how to hold the controler because it had 3 hand grips, did you hold the middle one with the joystick or the left one with the keypad? After figureing it out, I could not believe how much power I had with this game! Sidescrollers were officaly out and this was the new era of gameing. From the opening intro when Mario jumps up out of the pipe and approaches the castle, I was hooked. The entire premise of this game was to collect stars in different levels so you could unlock certain doors within the castle to save Princess Peach who was being held against her will (assumably) by Bowser.
There was so much to do in this game, so many places to explore and so many secrets to figure out. I once left my system on for like 4 days straight because I couldn't leave it alone for more than 15 minutes at a time. This was one of the deepest games ever made at the time and still to this day is a blast to play!
-The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time-
This game was sick! Also released on Nintendo64 in 1998, Ocarina of Time was the 5th Zelda game released but actually took place before any of them. In this game you play as Link (of course) and the idea of the game is to stop Ganondorf from obtaining the Triforce by traveling through time with the "Ocarina of Time", a musical horn instrument of sorts (if memory serves me right) that when used to play particular songs could allow Link to travel through time. What I remember most about this game is how big it was (A common theme among addictive games) or maybe a better word...Endless! It was the first game that was so big and spanned across such a vast time period, that Link actually grew older during gameplay! I was still fairly new to the "3D, free-range world" concept of videogaming so I spent alot of time just roaming around. Although I do not remember alot about this game now, I do remember how obsessed I was with it. I was never a big Zelda fan (I just couldnt get into all the hype) in fact I think this is the only Zelda game I ever really played. You could ride a horse (which had never really been done like this before) and in one area you could even fish! This was a side quest that really wasn't all that important to the game, but you could spend alot of time just fishing in this dinky little pond trying to catch a bigger fish than the one you caught before. Now I know there are alot of BIG Zelda fans on this site that will be reading this article, please excuse my lack of knowledge of this or any of the Zelda games but damn...can you blame me! I really wish I could dive deeper into what this game was all about but unfortunetly I havn't played it in like 10 years so most of my memory of this game is shot. What I CAN tell you though is this...It was the "Game of the Year" for a reason! It was absolutly incredible and impossible to turn off. In fact I played it for so long, I could have bought 2 copies of the game with the money I spent in late fees renting it (I didnt get to buy very many games because they were so expensive) If I can ever get my hands on a N64 again, this will be the first game I buy for it!
Easily one of the best Bond games ever made! Ok, and lets face it, the game itself was great but the real fun...was multiplayer mode! We spent hours a day for a good 2 years playing against each other in this riveting first person shooter based off of the 1995 film. (the game itself however wasn't released until '97) This game is a typical James Bond game...First person shooter loosley based off of the movie. But for me and my friends, this was not the addictive part, again, the multiplayer mode was as much a part of this games success (if not more) than the game itself. With different modes like "Flag Tag", "You only live twice" and my personal favorite "Slappers Only!", you could set the match to limit what weapons would be used or how many kills it takes to win. I peronally enjoyed playing with only throwing knives...it was very "assassin" like. You could also pick which area you wanted to play in such as the Complex, the Bunker, the Temple or the Caves (I hated the Caves because it was so dark and confusing). I remember the most devious weapon to use in multiplayer mode was the remote mines. (a standard for alot of todays first person shooters but a brand new concept at the time) You could plant them on a wall or a door and just wait for your opponent to walk by and...BAM! There was nothing more impressive than killing your friend with a well placed remote mine and nothing more devastating than being obliterated by one. This was also the first game to have a real "zoomable" sniper rifle that could be used to take out enemies from great distances with one percise shot. This game had a few more elements to it if you owned a Gameshark...but I did not, (it was either that or the Rumble Pack and I chose the latter) so I will not get into those extras. Unlike the other games in this article, the strength of this game WAS its multiplayer mode so it had a longevity that made it fun well after the game itself was beaten.
-Donkey Kong Country-
You know a game is great when your grandma loves it! This was the only game my grandmother would play with me, and she was actually pretty good at it! Released in 1994 (SNES), this was probably the most popular of all the Donkey Kong games. (except maybe the original) You play as Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong in a "tag" like format. Basically, you start the level with both and when one "dies" you then play as the other, and if that one "dies" then the level is over and you try again. You could also "tag" each other and switch between the two characters as needed to acomplish many levels. Although this is technically a sidescroller, you wouldn't think of it that way because of the great artwork and backgrounds (thanks to Rare ltd.) The idea of this game was pretty simple, Donkey's banana hoard has been stolen by King K. Rool and the Kremlings and so you must set out on an adventure to recover it. Along the way you get a helping hand from many characters like Cranky Kong, Funky Kong, and Candy Kong who would lend advice and other forms of help to get through the many areas. Such areas were Conjo Jungle, Monkey Mines, Vine Valley and Gorilla Glacier (My favorite because of the extreme snow and slippery ice) also towards the end of the game was Kremcroc Industries, Chimp Caverns and a short but sweet final level called Gangplank Gallion which was basically a pirate ship if im not mistaken. Just like early Mario games (and most sidescrollers) the simple idea was to get to the end of the level while collecting extra lives to be used to get through the game. Ways to collect extra lives were by gathering bananas (I think 100 gave you one life) floating balloons (better hurry when you see them because they float away quickly!) and by collecting the letters K-O-N-G to obtain 1 extra life. You could also collect golden animal tokens to enter special areas. 3 of the same animal tokens would grant you access to that particular animals special area where you had X amount of time to gather as many bananas as possible and rack up extra lives. What I remember most about this game is (and I think the same would go for most of you) that damn minecart level! The only thing you had to do in this level was jump but the timing was crucial. I remember playing this area and not even holding the controller because you only needed to press one button. A classic spin on a timeless character.
-Tony Hawks Pro Skater-
Released in 1999 for the Sony Playstation, this was the first "legitimate" skateboarding game for any console. I loved the build of this game. It wasn't about storylines and characters, rather, it was all about achieving goals, racking up points, and unlocking better equipment and different levels. The idea of the game is fairly simple, you pick a skater and a basic board type, then you take off advancing your way through the game collecting "tapes" by achieving milestones and goals that are set for each individual level. Every level has a high score and a pro score milestone, as well as hidden tape (secluded in hard to find areas) and a S-K-A-T-E objective (much like the K-O-N-G objective in DKC only a little harder). Each level also asks you to find five different things. (unique to each level but basically the same idea) The levels in this game are really the prize for your acomplishments. You start out at the "Woodland Hills Warehouse" which is basically a tutorial level because of its small size and lack of difficulty. Other levels are the "School in Miami", the "Mall in New York", a "Downtown" and "Downhill Jam" level, and "San Fansico". There are also three competitions; the "Skatepark in Chicago", "Burnside in Portland" and of course, "Roswell". In these levels you compete against other skaters in "heat" style rounds trying to place either bronze, silver or gold medals.(of course who settles for anything less than gold, right?) Another great feature of this game is the fantastic soundtrack. I cannot remember all of the songs **By the way, the only things im researching for this article are the release dates. I think these articles should be "nostalgia" based and not so much researched-fact based, so please excuse me if I do not remember so many details**....but, the KEY songs were "Jerry was a Racecar Driver"(Primus), and "Superman"(Goldfinger). In this games prime (and the prime of my addiction to it) I could sing the words to every song on the playlist. I didn't even know most of the bands or even any these songs at all...but, from just playing the game so much I subconciously memorized every word of the soundtrack.
-Grand Theft Auto III-
I almost didn't want to include this game because of its later release date (This article could go on forever if I included every addictive game EVER made, so im trying to keep this particular article fresh to one decade) HOWEVER...Being released in 2001, this game is close enough, seeing how it may be the most deserving for this topic. GTAIII was another absolutley brilliant game. Unleashed for the Playstation 2 console, this game boasted both driver and third person shooter elements while also bringing in factors that had never really been seen in a video game before; Aspects of the real world, the dirty side of society. Prostitutes on every corner, corrupt city police, drug peddlers, firearm dealers and more street gangs than local buisness. In this game, you play as an un-named criminal whose been betrayed by his own girlfriend in a failed bank hiest. After being convicted and setenced to prison, your police convoy is attacked during your transfer (I think for reasons unrelated to you) setting you and your new best friend "8ball" free. At this point you steal your first car and set off into Liberty City, a fictional metropolis similar to New York City. You start out as a small-time thug, working as a wheelman and an expendable
"problem solver" of sorts. Then you get deep, real deep into a life of corruption, blackmail, and relentless murder. This game was the posterchild for the "kids not knowing the difference" comment I made in the opening paragraph of this piece. Unfortunetly, im sure many people were actually harmed in one way or another by stupid kids who took this game to far. Nevertheless, if you were intelligent enough to "know the difference" you knew this game was nothing more than a really good time and a good way to let your aggression out in a "non-violent" yet "violent" kind of way. This game was huge, both enternally and externally. I still remember how long it took us to beat, (us being me and like 7 other guys taking turns) literally months to get through it. However, we did spend most of our time on this game just driving around aimlessly, provoking the police and seeing how high we could get our wanted level. Theres just something about being a careless, suicidal maniac that brings a smile to your face...Parents despised it, Teachers tried to abolish it, girls didnt understand the point of it, but to a young man, there was just something about wanting to blow up the whole damn world with an endless supply of rocket-launching torpedos that was pleasantly satisfying!
-Diddy Kong Racing-
One of the best spin-offs of a classic game ever made! Released just weeks before Christmas in 1997 (they really know how to do it, don't they?) Diddy Kong Racing was similar to Mario Kart 64, with the supreme addition of a fantastic adventure mode. The concept is kinda childish (which should be expected) but basically, Timber the tiger is on his home island alone (His parents are off somewhere) and he and his friends are left to race and have fun by themselves. This is short lived fun however, because the evil Wizpig shows up from space and atempts to take over the island to race for himself. After a few failed tries, Timber gets desperate and sends a letter to Diddy asking for his help. Now, Diddy Kong and company travel all over the island battling Wizpigs henchmen "Tricky the Triceratops", "Bubbler the Octopus", "Bluey the Walrus" and "Smokey the Dragon". After completing missions and races of all sorts, you finally get a crack at Wizpig himself. The story is kind of loose, but the build of this title very elaborate. You have your choice of 8 characters; Tiptup, Krunch, Tipsi, Timber, Bumper, Conker, Banjo and of course, Diddy Kong. There are also 2 unlockable characters in "T.T." and "Drumstick". You could also choose (although in some races the choice was made for you) between 3 different vehicles, a car, a hovercraft, or a plane. With the help of "Taj the Elephant" (A genie that serves as your game guide) you go through the different areas of the island collecting gold balloons by winning races to unlock different domains. Such domains are "Dino Domain", "Snowflake Mountain", "Sherbet Island", "Dragon Forest" and "Wizpigs Planet". Each of these areas consist of 5 courses plus one Boss course where you face one of Wizpigs henchman mentioned above. This game was incredibly fun, despite it's "child-like" innocence. Just like classic Disney movies...your never to old for something like this! NEVER!!
Here are some games I know were highly addicting for some of you, yet I personally never really played them. I could not put them in the main article because of my lack of knowledge about them, but I would like to give them the respect they deserve.
*Metal Gear Solid*
Please understand, this is not a list of the best games ever made, nor is it a tabulation of favorites (although some of these would be fitting). This article simply states some of the most addictive, and compelling games to come out of A CERTAIN ERA. It knowingly does not include games that are to old or to new. Simply put, this memoir is completly open to your opinions and I will greatly enjoy reading your comments; Just understand why some games may not be on here. However, if there is an incredibly addictive, deep and overwhelmingly popular game that came out of the '90s that I missed, please leave a comment to remind me and others of it. I hope you all enjoyed this post and agree that these were the games that were single-handedly (or should I say "double-handedly") responsible for giving us all a superhuman-robot-ninja grip!