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Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Man I remember standing in department stores eagerly playing around on the Apple IIes they had on display, typing into the keyboard and getting nothing back but,"SYNTAX ERROR"

We didn't get a computer or console in the house until the very late 80s, but my school had some (old even at the time) Apple IIes we got to play around on every so often and play some text adventure games on and learn a tiny amount of BASIC on. My friend meanwhile had a Commodore 64 which I thought was the coolest thing ever. When I finally got a Master System 2 the improvement in graphics from what I'd been used to seeing blew my tiny little mind. Then in the mid-90s we got a 486 and I played Doom and welp that was it, I've been playing videogames ever since.

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fridge corn
Apr 2, 2003





I can't believe I posted at the bottom of the page. How embarrasing

BeanpolePeckerwood
May 4, 2004

BUT SATAN'S BOY
I COULD NEVER BE!



Pork Pro

fridge corn posted:

I can't believe I posted at the bottom of the page. How embarrasing

it was a good post tho. holy poo poo a fridgekorne effortpost how can this be???

thrilla in vanilla
Oct 9, 2012







I donít know what to say about burnout 3 aside from this, itís the best driving game ever it has speed annoying graphics flames and so. Many. Crashes

Crash mode is life altering. Takedowns are Good. I really want to say more about how much I love this game but words donít really cut it. You just have to play it and Rube Goldberg your way into crash mode multipliers yourself. Game Rules

Party Boat
Oct 31, 2007

where did that other dog come from

who is he


The moment when crash mode clicked and I realised it was a puzzle game designed around delaying your run until you had a perfect line of petrol tankers you could explosively pinball between was so satisfying. It's a real shame that none of the modes in subsequent games or any of the spiritual successors to it really came close to recapturing the magic.

thrilla in vanilla
Oct 9, 2012





Yeah. They really nailed it, poo poo was so satisfying once you figured it out. Never played Revenge but Paradise really blew it wrt the things that made burnout unique. Not necessarily a bad game but definitely a generic one.

Wish they still made them, or that they would port it to the switch for me.

Violen
Jul 25, 2009

ohoho~


it feels weird to be talking about a game from this franchise for its aesthetic strengths since so many people find the style to be the most offputting thing ever created, but crash 4 has left a lasting impression on me as having some of the most impressive artistic direction and passion ive seen in a game. this isn't wholly surprising coming from any team with a palpably sincere love for the setting and characters, since the original trilogy was always a tech wonderland in terms of principally animation complexity with the character and enemy models having particularly advanced rigging and smoothness borrowed from the artists' 2d animation backgrounds. unlike n-sane trilogy however, which is by all means a technically arresting game with its own stamp, crash 4 forefronts those original strengths and catapults them while also siphoning the vibrancy and creativity in environmental and creature design from part of its teams' spyro remakes to make something that feels like playing around in a slapstick chris sanders movie (so, the croods, i guess).

im sure takes may vary on whether the grungier, harder, abes odyssey look of the remakes better fits the intentional grotesqueness and looney tunes-esque caricaturing of the originals than the softer, friendlier overtones of the new artstyle, but i personally find the breadth of enemy designs and environmental settings within crash 4 combine with the buttery smooth animations to create something that's the best of both worlds where i thought the remakes could feel stiff and lifeless with modeling and expression a lot of the time despite its closer direct proximity to the trilogy's lasting impression. having this in conjunction with the solidly charming SATAM writing, performance, and scene direction, with a selfsame approach to sass, violence, innuendo and language, plus crash's silent tom and jerry shtick, i think crash 4 captures the appeal of the naughty dog games perfectly.

im talking about the look, though, and on its own merits, crash 4 genuinely feels like it could pass for a next-gen game at the right fps and resolution. its approach to a level's visual construction reminds me heavily of tropical freeze, in that it keeps the interactive plane crisp and clear while busying up the margins to create very active and dynamic vistas that dont clutter and confuse the objective of your next immediate action. being a 2d/3d hybrid of platforming design in the vein of the originals or a 3d land/world, it has the breathing room to give this approach an even greater layering of depth to where every stage reaches the heights of narrative and presentation only TF's minecart or rocket barrel stages necessarily could. there's also just the flat benefit of added horsepower which is taken full advantage of for these express aims. there are some issues of clarity when it comes to natural lighting or asset obfuscation masking collectibles or hazard in ways that arent intended, but by and large it's a graceful marriage.

it feels odd to use a word like narrative for individual platforming levels, but both games are very interested in telling both hermetic and longform stories within and across their coursework. most have a clear sequence of complex events play out with acts, twists, and engaging consequences on the direct platforming. the visuals borrow all available space for this as elements interweave between the foreground and background crossing paths with the playing field to create your obstacles or opportunities as they do. direct story sequences will also often interrupt the path of a stage and upend your platforming scenario and context. the wider structure across the stages of a given world can also play out with a clear line of progression and consequence, like one world being dedicated to preparations for and journeying to a death metal show or another being a day in the life of each character's supposed victory lap. one of the principal gimmicks of the game is a literal invocation of this approach in that you get alternative perspectives on old levels with new characters who set critical incidents from those levels in motion.

always, though, you're getting at least a passive throughline across the environments of a world. you'll start on the outskirts of a edo era village trekking the surrounding ponds, traverse the village proper, and climb with it up a mountainside with a world tree center to find out there's a floating opposite to the village waiting for you at the top, with the materials you just went through in previous levels now visible above you, all while signposted setpieces are kept consistent between each stage to cement the progression and continuity of the journey. or another world has the same adventure in reverse where you start off in the middle of a day of the dead celebration in pseudo new orleans and wind up leaving the city and getting into the thick of the bayou. it's really creative stuff thats always full-throated in execution and helps give liveliness and freshness to any given level's setting even when you're dealing with surface staples like 'ice world' and 'tropical jungle' and 'caldera fields' and whatever else. even within levels, you're often wrapping around and flowing through the same canvas, so you'll ride rails or double back on top of or through the center of what used to be your playing field and is now just part of the environment.

it's the kind of thing that was always as much of a consideration as the hardware would allow either in natural environmental progression of stakes like mmx1's fortress stages or the dkc games, some depiction of chronology like the time of day in sonic, or small background sequences between games in a series like you killing the queen and king zingers in dkc1 and 2 and having the species extinct and replaced with mechanical versions in 3. it's an element of worldbuilding and example of ludonarrative that ive always really appreciated, especially in a genre that is not principally concerned with narrative in any of its forms traditional or medium-specific but that which is particularly well-suited to the latter from both an emergent and directed end if it's a conscious consideration on the second front.

one last aspect of the art design in crash 4 i really appreciate is the dedication to filled corners. i love that kind of clear signalling of earnestness and verve from a development team in any game from any genre, but it's particularly commendable when the genre is actively tuned to eyeballing the direct route through a given challenge and only the associated information on the screen and that flows with an often breakneck pace that whizzes details by beyond room for active processing of especially involved asides and flourishes. crash 4 doesn't really design around these considerations more than it powers through by packing small moments into the mix whenever and wherever and just trusting enough people will notice enough of them to justify their inclusion on top of their inherent worth as subconscious engrossment for the gestalt experience or, more pointedly, so people don't hit an unfilled corner if that's where they happen to land on attentive downtime. in a game that flits between action sequences, explorative secret-oriented platforming, and deliberate, methodical execution, there's more opportunity than many platformers to take all comers regardless. and the moments aren't just a handful of loops between models and environmental assets pasted across the expanse, which would be fine on its own, theyre often uniquely crafted exchanges that show up once in some optional alley.

ill try to end on some noteworthy examples without just appending a longplay of content. it really says something that this is one of the only games i can think of where i actively find the natural compression in any video no matter how crisp a recording i can gather undersells the color and life of the native experience. while im linking footage i should also awkwardly shove into this rant somewhere that the music for the game lives up to its visuals and the ps1 trilogy despite not having the same composers, where it manages to make melodic earworms out of ambient material that allows the environments to act as the main focus, something that's exceedingly hard to do since it's almost a contradiction.

here's a good example of an individual level's dynamic narrative and how it interplays with the active stage design:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDYiyLY-uPM

here's a few links for you to give a minute-or-two window to into sections of levels from a single world and how they showcase a clear singular adventure:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TURZRYAH920#t=38s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84pBEoVkQto#t=11s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMij3TgFkKc#t=10s

and lastly heres the leftovers of some gifs of filled corners from my favorite setting in the game generally (one of my favorite in any game honestly, even if it's a concept that's been give a billion interpretations) where im feeling the weight of that compression most which i recorded to show a friend since nobody with footage on youtube stops long enough for any of this nonsense and i am a giant dweeb. i just stitched it all into a video so i dont blow up peoples scroll wheels

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MPPf_DFUDw

im really into world design and how various other aspects of game design filter into it so i might make other posts like this about other favorites specifically along these lines if i ever work up the willpower for something im not actively in the middle of playing and thinking about

Violen fucked around with this message at 19:41 on Jan 17, 2021

haveblue
Aug 15, 2005




Toilet Rascal



Where to even begin with this game?

Letís begin with the end, which happens on the first level. And then again a few levels later, and a few levels after that. And the optional ends, hidden down secret paths. And you could see even more endings than that because itís possible to loop back to an earlier level at times. Infinity was meant to be an ending, of the game series and of Bungieís involvement with it and of an era of Mac gaming and an era of FPS technology, so naturally it loves endings of all kinds, but at the same time it was more than one beginning. It was developed by a studio spun off of Bungie named Double Aught Software, which unfortunately never released another game- Infinity was its beginning and its end as well. The final level takes the form of a series of concentric circles, possessing neither beginning nor end; the ends and beginnings are elsewhere.

Durandal posted:

What part of "smash the control circuits" don't you understand?

The first Marathon was notable for delivering information to the player through readable computer terminals. These presented detailed, wordy, even illustrated mission briefings that both spelled out your exact goal and gave some context to the very basic FPS mechanics involved, but itís questionable whether most of the things you read in Infinity count as ďmission briefingsĒ any more. Sometimes you get orders that follow on from your tasks on the previous level, sometimes those orders follow on from a situation you were never in. Sometimes itís the babbling of a broken computer, sometimes itís a bit of poetry (the previous games had all these things, but rarely on the critical path and rarely in place of something you actually needed to know). The game takes place across multiple timelines, dream sequences, and alternate realities, and rarely warns you when one is about to swap to another, leading to a disjointed deluge of information thatís almost impossible to sort through in the process of playing.

Tycho posted:

Prepare to drink vacuum, fool.

Infinity does love confusion, which it inflicts upon you by shifting wildly between settings, situations, and histories. Despite stealing a page from the yet-unreleased Half-Life and giving the player glimpses of future and past levels across transition points, the relationship between those levels is disjoint and inconstant. At one point your commander shows you a picture of the next level youíll visit- itís the first level of the previous game. But you donít go there, you go somewhere else. This ambient level of surprise and uncertainty is baked into the gameplay as well, thanks to an engine upgrade that allows each map in Infinityís wad-equivalent to have separate and distinct versions of certain gameplay parameters, most importantly the big table that determines alliances and combat preferences throughout the bestiary. On each level you will have to discover, through experimentation, who is friend and who is foe. The aliens youíve been slaughtering on the first level are suddenly your allies on the second, against different aliens. The first time you encounter human survivors of the conflicts of the previous games, they try to kill you, and you are defended by what were challenging minibosses before, and on a later level theyíre attacking you again. Thereís ambient life in the game now, wandering around doing nothing in particular, but your radar doesnít know that so they register as threats (and the aforementioned survivors register as friends even if they are behaving very differently). Even the enemies are confused by this, as they will sometimes prefer taking fruitless potshots at the harmless and nearly unkillable ambients rather than their designated enemies or the player. Nothing is certain and everything is fungible.

Durandal, probably posted:

pr?The last hour is on us both?mr.s?tuck this little kitty into the impenetrable
brainpan?

And if figuring out who to shoot and who shoots you wasnít confusing enough, Infinity pushed its map design just about as far as the 2.5D engine concept could go. Its portal-based engine supports room-over-room layouts and, while not truly scriptable, is capable of some fairly intricate linkages of doors, elevators, lighting effects, and pools of liquid that can rise, fall, and flow. These tools were assembled into a tour de force of high-concept levels with a more representational bent than the series had displayed before. A space station with a tracery of distinguishable components visible outside every window. A hydroelectric dam and associated facilities. A water treatment plant with a sinuous flooded cavern tucked underneath. An alien archaeological dig, taking place across several sites linked at first by teleporters and then physically as the player discovers shortcuts and doors to open. Admittedly, these levels were often beyond the simple top-down map viewís ability to render comprehensible, but they sure were impressive in first-person. Outside of these setpieces, the levels also veer into the abstract, in a set of interludes that can only be described as dreams. Unsettlingly dark and filled with silent enemies that are in some cases literally invisible, these haunted space houses further destabilize the playerís footing in the game world with dirty tricks and violations of the basic rules of reality. And if you think reading the terminals will help, those offer nothing but bizarre streams of consciousness that may or may not be some kind of allegory or may just be one dev staying up way too late one night.

Your subconscious? I think? posted:

I'm back in the hangar again, but now they are all screaming at me.

The parts of the story that are clearly intended to form a linear narrative are not much better. As the third game in a series with a large and dedicated fanbase, Infinity builds directly on its predecessors, picking up right where Marathon 2 left off with no real attempts to orient or tutorialize new players. Powerful late-game enemies appear from the get-go, as does much of your arsenal. The story assumes a fairly deep familiarity with the previous games, dropping names and concepts without much in the way of definition or context- again, with significant and frequent changes. In the first level Durandal, the original snarky power-mad Bungie artificial intelligence, mourns the breakdown of the victorious situation at the end of Marathon 2. The next few levels have you serving Tycho, the psychopathic villain of that game, before arbitrarily returning to Durandalís command, again in a situation sort of like but also unlike the beginning of Marathon 2. Before the end of the game you will serve an alien admiral, Tycho some more, a human resistance leader, and others. Itís rapidly evident that the player is crossing between timelines and alternate realities to make this happen, but the how and why take significantly more effort to bring into focus.

Ösomeone elseís subconscious? posted:

Cross over the cell bars, find a new maze, make the maze from it's path, find the cell bars, cross over the bars, find a maze, make the maze from its path, eat the food, eat the path.

This is another way in which Infinity was ahead of its time- to truly understand the Marathon games you almost have to collaborate. So a fan community sprung up around them, dedicated to piecing together the story both from the core text and from the metadata hints throughout its presentation and outside the game itself. Infinity was built to serve that community, not only by giving to the lore mavens the giant pile of madness that was the plot, but to give everyone else the official studio toolset along with it and ensure the community could exist long after the studio itself ended development. And it worked- the Marathon mod scene already existed (using third party tools) but Infinityís release of the Forge map editor and the Anvil asset editor began the best period of the era in which Mac gaming had a meaningful existence separate from PC gaming. The scenarios and maps flowed, with a focus on long single-player campaigns, until the entire community blew itself up over deciding how to respond to Microsoft buying Bungie and making them Xbox exclusive, but thatís a story for another time.

Is this even from Infinity? I think it is posted:

a line of infinite ends† finite finishing

I was a big part of this community, and my experience there ended up shaping the rest of my life, really. I learned programming and game development largely from messing around with the Infinity mod tools and releasing a few small projects. I made social connections that led to my first job, which was also game development, and which eventually led to direct collaborations with Bungie on more than one project. I donít do game dev any more, but I made Infinity and Infinity made me, so I have a relationship to this game in a way that not a lot of people can say about anything. This isnít even the first time Iíve written a big essay about it.

Any games thread discussing Breath of the Wild posted:

He was vomiting and I knew that he was alive because he kept saying something like 'durability' between convulsions.† What happened next was really bizarre.†

Infinity is a Best Game Ever because it represents the apotheosis of many things, both good and bad, an intersection and inflection point of a sort that happens very rarely in the game world. It was what the studio wanted, it was what the fans wanted, it was a set of internal tensions pulled towards and against each other to sustain something magical and transformative in the nascent world of online video game fandom. We were among the first and weíll probably be among the last and I don't expect to have another experience like it.

The Marathon Infinity final screen, in 1996 posted:

You are Destiny.

Mr. Pickles
Mar 19, 2014

GOOD BOY



Quite an awesome thread. I'll go on about the games I loved most in childhood excluding Diablo and Diablo II because nobody wants to read basic poo poo about a dead franchise.

1) Legend of Zelda (NES)



An iconic RPG title, huge world to explore full of dungeons, secrets, lore, hundreds of hours of gameplay. It was the first RPG I ever played, only passively though. I was like 5-6 years old and my aunt was playing it on her NES. As far as I know, it is the first "open world" RPG ever produced on such a scale. Later on they released a remastered version for the Gameboy which I loved. I consider this the original bird's eye action Crpg. Imho it belongs among the greatest ever made.

2)Severance - Blade of Darkness



This game, omg. A darksouls-like hack n' slash fest, extremely ahead of its time. Came out in 2001, same year as RUNE mind you. The graphics were great, gameplay was unique and highly skill-intensive. You could pick from 4 characters golden axe style; The Dwarf, Paladin, Ranger and Barbarian, each with different moves, combos and level of difficulty. I remember the Ranger lady was the easiest one because she could tumble like in Darksouls. What was most captivating about this game was the level design, the high difficulty even on "easy" and well, the Severance. It was as if the game tracked the movements of your weapon instead of just hitting hitboxes. Limbs and heads were flying off as you swung, and you had to time every block and plan each dodge perfectly, or it was your own head and limbs flying off instead.

3) Thief: The dark project



This title was buggy, faulty, the AI was lovely and basic as gently caress, but still people loved it and it became a great success. Music, atmosphere, ambience and aesthetic were 10/10, plus it was the first FPS game ever to introduce stealth mechanics properly. My only real beef with the creators was how they just HAD TO include magical foes and undead on such a game. I believe it belongs among the greats for its uniqueness and innovation.

4)Star wars: Racer



OK, episode 1 SUCKED, but this game ruled, I poo poo you not. You got to race pods and earn upgrades, then do it allover again to upgrade other pods. The design of the tracks was great, and the gameplay was also great. Overall greatness. Did I mention how great the game was? Was great.

Mr. Pickles
Mar 19, 2014

GOOD BOY



Somebody post a huge wall of text of pure emotion about Half Life before I do it myself

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Oh God Severance was such a bizarre but fun game, I don't think I ever got very far through it before restarting to try different characters etc, but it was a blast to play.

Mr. Pickles posted:

Somebody post a huge wall of text of pure emotion about Half Life before I do it myself

Literally praying somebody does Half Life 2 before I get free time and basically end up replaying the entire game over again just so I can gush about how much I love it.

Mr. Pickles
Mar 19, 2014

GOOD BOY



Jerusalem posted:

Literally praying somebody does Half Life 2 before I get free time and basically end up replaying the entire game over again just so I can gush about how much I love it.

HL2 was done on page1 :P
To me it was nothing like the original, but to each his own

Erwin the German posted:

10. Neverwinter Nights (Enhanced Edition)

Thanks for including this. It really is the greatest Bioware dnd game ever made, and it still reigns supreme after 19 years. I play daily on the Arelith server, its RP with intense hack and slash and huge playerbase which I find appealing since I am in EU GMT+2. I'll check out the Risenholm realm. This is the perfect game to enjoy online with your SO, btw.

Mr. Pickles fucked around with this message at 13:11 on Jan 20, 2021

Glare Seethe
May 15, 2004

Tenochtitlan, looking east.


haveblue posted:



The final level takes the form of a series of concentric circles, possessing neither beginning nor end; the ends and beginnings are elsewhere.

It's probably my favorite level in the series (other candidates: Poor Yorick, Kill Your Television, 6000 Feet Under, The Hard Stuff Rules), which ties into what I wrote about exploring and getting lost in Marathon - the sheer size of it can be overwhelming, but in a good way.

I definitely didn't understand most of Infinity, and M2 will always be my favorite of the series, but it's still an amazing game. The Acme Station -> Post Naval Trauma TC gauntlet is so goddamn brutal. The 'remix' of M2's "Begging for Mercy Makes Me Angry" was also hugely memorable. I haven't done a playthrough of the series in years, maybe it's time to go back.

punk rebel ecks
Dec 11, 2010

We dance for socialism!


Mr. Pickles posted:

I produced on such a scale. Later on they released a remastered version for the Gameboy which I loved. I consider this the original bird's eye action Crpg. Imho it belongs among the greatest ever made.

2)Severance - Blade of Darkness



This game, omg. A darksouls-like hack n' slash fest, extremely ahead of its time. Came out in 2001, same year as RUNE mind you. The graphics were great, gameplay was unique and highly skill-intensive. You could pick from 4 characters golden axe style; The Dwarf, Paladin, Ranger and Barbarian, each with different moves, combos and level of difficulty. I remember the Ranger lady was the easiest one because she could tumble like in Darksouls. What was most captivating about this game was the level design, the high difficulty even on "easy" and well, the Severance. It was as if the game tracked the movements of your weapon instead of just hitting hitboxes. Limbs and heads were flying off as you swung, and you had to time every block and plan each dodge perfectly, or it was your own head and limbs flying off instead.

Is this as much like Dark Souls as it seems at first glance?

exquisite tea
Apr 21, 2007

Carly shook her glass, willing the ice to melt. "You still haven't told me what the mission is."

She leaned forward. "We are going to assassinate the bad men of Hollywood."




It's really Dark Souls that should be called Severance-likes.

Mr. Pickles
Mar 19, 2014

GOOD BOY



punk rebel ecks posted:

Is this as much like Dark Souls as it seems at first glance?

It is like dark souls except for 1 thing: Only the amazon character tumbles, the rest will have to l2p or die. Tbh, this game could have been much more successful if the controls were not so hard to master

Erwin the German
May 30, 2011

:3


Mr. Pickles posted:


Thanks for including this. It really is the greatest Bioware dnd game ever made, and it still reigns supreme after 19 years. I play daily on the Arelith server, its RP with intense hack and slash and huge playerbase which I find appealing since I am in EU GMT+2. I'll check out the Risenholm realm. This is the perfect game to enjoy online with your SO, btw.

hahahaha

But anyway, yes, do check out Risenholm, it's cool. Tends to have people on most hours of the day.

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority


I could spend literally my entire day writing up stuff for this, so I'm gonna try to keep it brief. gently caress, there are so many games... I'm just gonna start from childhood and write about whatever comes to mind.

Night Stalker - Intellivision
An early "Pac Man-like," except you and the enemies have guns. I mostly remember this game for its creepy ambiance, with a pounding heartbeat serving as sort of a soundtrack. I'd play the poo poo out of this whenever Pops hooked up the Intellivision (which he only did a few times per year, as he didn't want to wear the console out).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaqbN480Wog

Super Huey - Atari 800 (and other old PCs of the time)

Quoting my recent write-up on it:

Shine posted:

I tracked down Super Huey for Atari 800XL and played around with it on an emulator, and it holds up surprisingly well as a super early, basic flight sim.

It's based on a fictional offshoot of the Huey. Because the Atari joystick was basic as hell (8 digital directions and a single button), the Super Huey's "main controls are incorporated into one stick, a revolutionary and controversial innovation that replaces the collective, cyclic, and anti-torque controls of conventional helicopters." It also has advanced automatic stability features, as an in-universe cover for the simple flight model.

So yeah, you use all three flight controls + the throttle with the one joystick. Cyclic and pedals are enabled by default, and the collective and throttle are enabled while you hold the fire button. It's clunky, but it's a workable solution for such a basic controller.

The flight model/physics are simplified, as you'd expect for something made in 1986 (flight/hovering are always very stable, there's no vortex ring state, etc.) but it still feels more grounded in reality than straight-up arcade games of the time, with collective manipulation required to maintain a given altitude as your speed changes. There's even basic avionics operation.

I wouldn't necessarily say this is a must-play, but if you like messing with oldass games, then this game is worth a curiosity play. RTFM, because the avionics controls are not obvious. Atari Mania has a scan of the manual. The Atari section specifically begins on page 28: http://www.atarimania.com/8bit/files/Super_Huey_Cosmi.pdf
And a basic reference card: http://www.atarimania.com/8bit/files/Super_Huey_Flight_Instruction_card.pdf

As someone who now plays flight sims with VR headsets and controllers that one could only dream of back then, I appreciate what Super Huey tried to do with its extremely limited options. That said, it's mostly on this list because I loving loved the music and it has been stuck in my head, note-for-note, for 30 years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nblRiGoEQ34

Every time I hear this, I'm sitting on Pops' lap and pretending I'm a pilot


Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves - NES
This, for the better part of a decade, was one of my go-to "I need to kill an hour or so" games. It has some of my favorite title screen music, and as a kid I thought the boss fights were badass. Most of the game is played from a Zelda'ish overhead view, but boss fights (such as the Sheriff) switch to a 2D fighting game view, where you stab each other to death. The gameplay is nothing special, but it required just enough mental energy that I wouldn't be bored, but just little enough that I could play it if I was feeling lazy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDe8AIrwNW4
This theme still owns.


Mega Man 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Punch Out!! - NES games that are so well known that I'm not gonna bother writing anything beyond "yup, I loved these too!" Though the last boss music in Mega Man 3 is my favorite NES Mega Man track.

Track & Field 2 - NES
Another game that I played off an on for years to kill some time. The gameplay is nothing deep (mostly "button mash until you win"), but once we got NES Max auto-fire controllers (or "rapid repeat," as my brother called it), the focus shifted from pure button mashing to mastering the timings of the follow-up button presses, like in the pole vault and triple jump.

Snoopy Silly Sports Spectacular - NES
A sentimental favorite because it (along with Mega Man 2) was one of the first games I got from my grandma for Christmas. Funny enough, it actually has more interesting gameplay than Track & Field 2, with button mashing generally being less important than timing and patience. The ending screen where Woodstock gives Snoopy a medal is super

Super Metroid and Super Punch-Out - SNES
Two games I knew like the back of my hand after a while, and would play either if I needed to kill some time. I still replay both from time to time, particular Super Punch-Out as I can get 5-10 very fun minutes out of it and then be done. The ending sequence of Super Metroid is still one of the most cathartic gaming moments for me, striking back at the last boss after That Moment.

Mega Man X - SNES
This was so good. The later X games were hit-and-miss, but the original X nails Mega Man on SNES. The music, the sappy story moments, that sinking feeling when the last boss did its "Now... MY FINAL FORM" bit for the first time, the joy of finding a hidden capsule... I still play this here and there. Also, this was before Mega Man added voice acting, which has not gone well.


TIE Fighter - 1995 CD-ROM version - PC
This game is why I was so excited and anxious for Star Wars Squadrons. Excited because a modern TIE game with VR support sounded like it'd be an all-time great gaming experience, and anxious because EA screws everything up. SWS ended up being good poo poo (after some initial issues were patched), but TIE Fighter still wins out for atmosphere and campaign pacing. This is on most "best PC games of all time" lists, and it's easily up there on mine. I remember feeling super validated as a kid when it was #1 in one of PC Gamer's all-time best games lists. It's still a joy to play, though unfortunately there's a bug with its input engine that makes modern, super precise joysticks kind of a pain to use. But yeah, stomping Z-95s in that early campaign never got old, nor did the climactic lategame in which you flew alongside Darth Vader. TIE Fighter loving owned. If you get it on GOG, play the 1995 CD-ROM version, as it has the excellent dynamic soundtrack that the later release replaced with generic Star Wars filler music.

Unreal Tournament (1999) - PC
Holy poo poo, I played this so much, almost exclusively offline against the excellent bots. I will still, to this day, load up CTF-Coret with the Color Instagib mutator and enjoy a round of deadly laser tag. As stellar as the base game and deathmatch was, CTF, especially with Instagib, was the peak UT experience for me. I very seldom played with the base weapons. The mod scene was incredible, with Infiltration, Excessive Overkill, TacOps, Strike Force, Unreal 4 Ever, Lazy Matrix, and hundreds of other mutators and conversions. I couldn't begin to estimate how many hours I've played this over the years. Honorable mention to Unreal Tournament 2004's Onslaught mode, which is still one of my favorite game modes ever. This is my favorite game of my high school years. Nothing else really comes close.

IL-2: 1946 - PC
The complete package of the classic IL-2 games. The old engine is finally showing some cracks that make it hard to play now (if you're into ground pounding; aerial combat is as good as ever) but god drat, this was the iconic WW2 flight sim for many years, and it still has a dedicated following and receives patches. Whenever it's brought up in a flight sim thread here, you'll have a bunch of old farts fondly recalling the days of playing its co-op modes, which are still the best ever seen in the genre. The successor series, IL:2 Great Battles (i.e. Battle of Stalingrad/etc.) is a beautiful update. Not as rich in content or game modes, but it's a thrill to fly these planes in VR.


Armored Core 2 - Playstation 2
This is peak Armored Core for me. AC3's maps were annoyingly small, and later AC games abandoned the original control scheme to make them play more like standard 3rd person shooters. And I understand why they did, but the early AC control scheme, in which you raised and lowered your aim with R1 and L1, felt perfect to me in AC. The auto-aim was super generous (unless you used a sniper-focused fire control system), and I liked the feeling of pressing a button to make my robot's view move around. Felt like playing with a remote-controlled toy as a kid.

I remember having my friends over once to show them AC2. My next mission was a 1-on-1 fight in which I had a preview of the enemy, so I could see their loadout. I spend a good 15 minutes crafting a perfect counter robot to it, explaining to my friends in detail what I was doing and why, and they were like "wow, there's so much to change, this is cool!" Then the actual fight ended in 30 seconds as I hard-countered the enemy's loadout and just demolished them effortlessly, and I victoriously exclaimed, "everything worked!" My friends, meanwhile, were like "...that's it?" So yeah, AC for me was about spending 15 minutes tweaking the perfect robot for a given mission, and then beating the mission in minutes or seconds. So much fun

Ratchet & Clank - Up Your Arsenal - PS2
Your first weapon is a shotgun that shoots lightning, and the game has poo poo like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQFvUQA4p4U

Best game on the PS2.


Some PC favorites from more recent years:

Rocket League - I stayed in a lovely relationship for an extra year or two in large part because my ex and I had so much fun playing this together. I haven't played it seriously in a long time, but when I was into this game, I was obsessed. My first attempts at learning to fly did not go very well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZa2MwFndiA

XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Memories of my first playthrough still occasionally come to me when I'm dreaming. My first colonel, sniper Sonya "Alpha" Acosta, was a goddamn hero. I think everybody who plays this game has "that soldier," who survived so many moments and carried your team to victory. Alpha survived to the end, but just barely, as she was nearly taken out by a Sectopod in the final mission. I don't replay XCOM very often, because when I do, I get "XCOM dreams" and it really fucks with my sleep. Such an intense series when you don't use cheat mods (though those are fun, too).

Space Rangers 2 - I put up with Starforce just to play this game. The original release got knocked for its translation, but I thought it was charming. It wasn't the sort where I think "wow, this is just incomprehensible, lovely English," but more "huh, this feels like some weird outer space dialect of English." The updated Space Rangers HD on Steam has a more conventional translation, unfortunately, but it still maintains the game's whimsical sense of humor.

Marvel Heroes (RIP)
Fool! Doom does as he pleases! *toot*
Since it shut down in late 2017, I've not played another ARPG that scratches this itch. Marvel Heroes was a one-of-a-kind experience, with the massive roster of diverse characters who all feel true to their comic counterparts, both in their playstyle and their interactions with other characters. Charging headfirst (literally) as Juggernaut, unloading all the guns and grenades as Punisher, pointing an army of minions at your foes as Doom, lasers galore as Iron Man, chucking hot dog carts and cracking Bugs Bunny taunts as Thing, literally creating your class as Rogue by stealing powers from other characters... for all its dumbass design issues (that ultimately helped kill it), the parts that this game nailed, it loving nailed. I miss this game so much. It's been gone for over 3 years and we still get nostalgic about it in the thread here.

Earth Defense Force - Oh my loving god, EDF is the most videogamey videogame ever. Soldiers, big guns, and all the giant insects, monsters, and alien troopers you can blast. Just shoot things and make explosions until you win or lose. Don't worry about collateral damage; humanity can rebuild! The game has a wonderful sense of humor, in which the in-game events and dialogue are absolutely absurd, but the game takes itself completely seriously. Nobody in-universe is trying to be funny about all the nonsense; this is just how this bizarre world works and how people speak and process what's happening around them. When everybody in EDF 5 sees the alien solders and reacts with horror because they "look exactly like humans!", it makes sense in-universe, as your intel officer points out that they have "one head, two eyes, with hands and feet; bipedal" which is enough for them to look like humans and clearly not like 50-foot tall armored frogs. When I saw previews, I'd assumed the EDF would refer to these enemies as "frog-like giant insects" based on the EDF 4 dialogue, but they somehow did something even sillier. Best not to ask too many questions and just start shooting. EDF! EDF!

Dark Souls
I don't play this much nowadays, but I gotta still list it as a favorite, as when I played it, I played the poo poo out of it, and it has some of my favorite moments of all time. The primary reason why DS hasn't held up for me as well as I'd thought it would is because I discovered something that combines my favorite parts of Dark Souls (boss fights, co-op, methodical high risk/reward combat with a variety of weapons) into the sole focus of a game. That would be...



Monster Hunter World
If I had to pick my favorite game of the 2010s, this would win handily. gently caress, I could write so much about this game, and I often do in our thread. The "all boss fights" combat, the emphasis on co-op (this game is a Dark Souls Sunbro's paradise), the massive moveset variety between the 14 weapons (Lance and Gunlance feel nothing alike, Great Sword and Long Sword feel nothing alike, etc.), the whimsical sense of humor (not as bizarre as EDF, but similarly "weirdos taking their world completely seriously"), the gorgeous settings and monster animations, the satisfaction of learning the depth of a weapon's capabilities and inching toward its skill ceiling... I just love this game.

Shine posted:

Every now and then this game makes me feel mean.

https://i.imgur.com/3Btbqjj.mp4

e: but then it makes me feel cool.

https://i.imgur.com/FIfXWzA.mp4

e2: Guard up

https://i.imgur.com/rOVfTP3.mp4


I love this game.

That's my main weapon, Lance. Still a blast to use after 600 hours, especially to respond to an SOS flare (another player in the world requesting help) and charge to my fellow hunter's side. I'm finally branching out to another weapon: the Hunting Horn. It's literally a woodwind that doubles as a giant club. I'm gonna quote a post I made recently in the Monster Hunter World thread, and you can see how much satisfaction this game gives me, even after so many hours played, simply from using a different weapon and experiencing the fights with a different dynamic:

Shine posted:

A few months ago, somebody asked why this game doesn't have [enemy] health bars. I've always appreciated that the game's substitute for health bars is the animation and damage modeling, and how much it tells you about how the fight is going for a monster. MH isn't like most games where the boss suddenly goes from regular behavior to immediate death. Even before the obvious limping away [when the monster is near death], you can tell if you're beating up a monster by how much more often it's flinching, exhausted, how it's missing feathers/body parts/entire pieces of its face, etc., and Horn is reinforcing how well that system works. It makes me better appreciate monsters slowing down as they take more and more damage, versus playing as the brick wall that is Lance.

By the time I finished off Diablos, the poor thing had a completely hosed up face and was stopping to catch its breath after every other charge. That damage is also there when I play with Lance of course, but it doesn't affect my approach as strongly as it does with Horn. Lance is basically a single phase fight for me (poke and counter and glue to monster from start to finish) whereas Horn has an initial cautious phase, and then a much more aggressive "FINISH THEM" phase with more echo spins and other high risk/high reward moves that really crank up your damage output. It's a different type of satisfying than the "haha gently caress you I'm invincible" of Lance.

It's starting to come together.

tl;dr in Monster Hunter you can use a giant metal bagpipe to buff your teammates and wallop a dinosaur. Game of the decade.

https://i.imgur.com/Kq8cZUJ.mp4

Shine fucked around with this message at 03:10 on Feb 9, 2021

BeanpolePeckerwood
May 4, 2004

BUT SATAN'S BOY
I COULD NEVER BE!



Pork Pro

Shine posted:


Monster Hunter World
If I had to pick my favorite game of the 2010s, this would win handily. gently caress, I could write so much about this game, and I often do in our thread. The "all boss fights" combat, the emphasis on co-op (this game is a Dark Souls Sunbro's paradise), the massive moveset variety between the 14 weapons (Lance and Gunlance feel nothing alike, Great Sword and Long Sword feel nothing alike, etc.), the whimsical sense of humor (not as bizarre as EDF, but similarly "weirdos taking their world completely seriously"), the gorgeous settings and monster animations, the satisfaction of learning the depth of a weapon's capabilities and inching toward its skill ceiling... I just love this game.

Shine posted:

Every now and then this game makes me feel mean.

https://i.imgur.com/3Btbqjj.mp4


e: but then it makes me feel cool.

https://i.imgur.com/FIfXWzA.mp4

e2: Guard up

https://i.imgur.com/rOVfTP3.mp4


I love this game.

That's my main weapon, Lance. Still a blast to use after 600 hours, especially to respond to an SOS flare (another player in the world requesting help) and charge to my fellow hunter's side. I'm finally branching out to another weapon: the Hunting Horn. It's literally a woodwind that doubles as a giant club. I'm gonna quote a post I made recently in the Monster Hunter World thread, and you can see how much satisfaction this game gives me, even after so many hours played, simply from using a different weapon and experiencing the fights with a different dynamic:

Shine posted:

I am! Enjoy repeatedly dashing into monsters' personal space with impunity


Horn chat:

A few months ago, somebody asked why this game doesn't have health bars. I've always appreciated that the game's substitute for health bars is the animation and damage modeling, and how much it tells you about how the fight is going for a monster. MH isn't like most games where the boss suddenly goes from regular behavior to immediate death. Even before the obvious limping away, you can tell if you're beating up a monster by how much more often it's flinching, exhausted, how it's missing feathers/body parts/entire pieces of its face, etc., and Horn is reinforcing how well that system works. It makes me better appreciate monsters slowing down as they take more and more damage, versus playing as the brick wall that is Lance.

By the time I finished off Diablos, the poor thing had a completely hosed up face and was stopping to catch its breath after every other charge. That damage is also there when I play with Lance of course, but it doesn't affect my approach as strongly as it does with Horn. Lance is basically a single phase fight for me (poke and counter and glue to monster from start to finish) whereas Horn has an initial cautious phase, and then a much more aggressive "FINISH THEM" phase with more echo spins and other high risk/high reward moves that really crank up your damage output. It's a different type of satisfying than the "haha gently caress you I'm invincible" of Lance.

I looked up some tips on how to work recitals into the fight, and it's going better than before. You have to play a song twice (or play it once + encore it) to maximize its buff, but after that, you need only play a song once to add time to the existing buff. As long as the buff doesn't expire, you can make a point to consciously queue up key songs every minute or so (longer with Horn Maestro) and refresh their duration with single recitals throughout the fight. Doing an encore takes forever, but you can sneak in a basic recital during flinches or claw staggers if you are quick about it, so I'm doing better now at keeping my songs up and running.

It's starting to come together.

tl;dr in Monster Hunter you can use a giant metal bagpipe to buff your teammates and wallop a dinosaur. Game of the decade.

https://i.imgur.com/Kq8cZUJ.mp4



nice post!

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Shine posted:

XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Memories of my first playthrough still occasionally come to me when I'm dreaming. My first colonel, sniper Sonya "Alpha" Acosta, was a goddamn hero. I think everybody who plays this game has "that soldier," who survived so many moments and carried your team to victory. Alpha survived to the end, but just barely, as she was nearly taken out by a Sectopod in the final mission. I don't replay XCOM very often, because when I do, I get "XCOM dreams" and it really fucks with my sleep. Such an intense series when you don't use cheat mods (though those are fun, too).

My first ever complete playthrough, my first soldier who was the sole survivor of the tutorial mission became the first guy to successfully get psi-powers, and ended up being the final soldier who does the thing in the final mission of the campaign. It was perfection, sheer perfection

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority



Thanks! Boutta play some Monster Hunter right now.

Mr. Pickles posted:

What was most captivating about this game was the level design, the high difficulty even on "easy" and well, the Severance. It was as if the game tracked the movements of your weapon instead of just hitting hitboxes. Limbs and heads were flying off as you swung, and you had to time every block and plan each dodge perfectly, or it was your own head and limbs flying off instead.

This made me think of Die By The Sword. That game's gimmick was that you controlled the weapon limb of your character directly, either with the mouse, or with the numpad (1 moves your arm/weapon down and left, 6 moves it to the right, etc.), so you could kinda create your own offense on the fly, though thrusts/stabs were MIA. You could also click/press a button to either extend your arm for better reach, or bend your arm for better defensive coverage. Limbs were segmented such that you might sever the foot, the knee, or the whole leg. Or they might sever yours, which would make things awkward. Lose your weapon hand and it's like... welp.

It's one of those games I reinstall every few years and play for an evening, just chopping orcs to pieces. The controls are awkward and the novelty wears off pretty quickly, but it's a fun and silly time until then. In a way, it's sort of a precursor to VR melee games today, with the direct control of your weapon hand.

Jerusalem posted:

My first ever complete playthrough, my first soldier who was the sole survivor of the tutorial mission became the first guy to successfully get psi-powers, and ended up being the final soldier who does the thing in the final mission of the campaign. It was perfection, sheer perfection

That rules

ShallNoiseUpon
Sep 10, 2010


Shine you're making me want to play more MHW until the Switch one comes out. Incredible post.

Harrow
Jun 30, 2012




Aw man Shine you brought up so many good games!

Shine posted:

XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Memories of my first playthrough still occasionally come to me when I'm dreaming. My first colonel, sniper Sonya "Alpha" Acosta, was a goddamn hero. I think everybody who plays this game has "that soldier," who survived so many moments and carried your team to victory. Alpha survived to the end, but just barely, as she was nearly taken out by a Sectopod in the final mission. I don't replay XCOM very often, because when I do, I get "XCOM dreams" and it really fucks with my sleep. Such an intense series when you don't use cheat mods (though those are fun, too).

I sunk way too many hours into this game back in grad school. One of my fondest memories is randomly getting a recruit whose name was Hideo Kojima and keeping him in my main squad for the rest of the game. I had a blast with this and XCOM 2, but I definitely have stronger memories of Enemy Unknown.

Shine posted:

Monster Hunter World
If I had to pick my favorite game of the 2010s, this would win handily. gently caress, I could write so much about this game, and I often do in our thread. The "all boss fights" combat, the emphasis on co-op (this game is a Dark Souls Sunbro's paradise), the massive moveset variety between the 14 weapons (Lance and Gunlance feel nothing alike, Great Sword and Long Sword feel nothing alike, etc.), the whimsical sense of humor (not as bizarre as EDF, but similarly "weirdos taking their world completely seriously"), the gorgeous settings and monster animations, the satisfaction of learning the depth of a weapon's capabilities and inching toward its skill ceiling... I just love this game.

This was the game that cracked open the Monster Hunter series for me and I'm going to love it forever for that. I first tried Monster Hunter with the very first game back on the PS2 and never quite "got" what it was about so I dropped it pretty quickly. Then I tried the demos of the various 3DS games and could never quite get my head around the control scheme--not having a New 3DS with the extra right-stick nub didn't help, either.

I bought MHW on PS4 on a whim because it looked cool and I really wanted to be into Monster Hunter. It grabbed me for like two straight months right off the bat and I absolutely loved it. The insect glaive has joined the Threaded Cane from Bloodborne as one of my two favorite weapons in video games.

Something that really stuck out to me was that I immediately understood why Monster Hunter players had such strong opinions about which monsters they wanted to come back in each game, had favorite and least favorite monsters, etc. Every monster has so much personality that I can't imagine not having some favorite characters in that cast. Fighting one monster for 15 or 20 minutes never bothered me because they felt so alive and dynamic and unique. It was just a fantastic experience all around.

Absolutely can't wait to do it all over again when Rise comes out.

Big Mackson
Sep 26, 2009


thrilla in vanilla posted:



I donít know what to say about burnout 3 aside from this, itís the best driving game ever it has speed annoying graphics flames and so. Many. Crashes

Crash mode is life altering. Takedowns are Good. I really want to say more about how much I love this game but words donít really cut it. You just have to play it and Rube Goldberg your way into crash mode multipliers yourself. Game Rules

memories of destruction is flooding back now, i wonder if there are any modern games like that.

morallyobjected
Nov 3, 2012


The 1990s/2000s was like peak arcade sports game time (BMX, THPS, snowboarding, NBA Street, etc.) and for me there will never be another game that comes close to replicating the feeling I got from SSX3:

It's hard to express everything I feel about this game but I'm gonna try.

I never played the original SSX but I did play Tricky, and at that time I didn't know how they could possibly top it. My previous experience with snowboarding games was like Coolboarders on the PSX so the switch up to Tricky was a giant leap:



The shoulder button trick system on the PS2 controller was perfect in a way that just never really seemed to fit right with other controllers and that along with pre-winding to do the insane number of flips/spins you could pull off made it control like a dream. I played it for hours and hours without ever imagining they were going to make a sequel. And then it came out and you were treated to this as soon as you booted it up:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQAP3sENX68&t=27s

Already I was hooked. The original SSX and Tricky were both set up in discrete tracks that had nothing to do with one another, and (at least in Tricky) you would have race events and trick events on each--they were set up to be viable for both. In SSX3, they separated tracks into race tracks and freestyle tracks, which allowed them to hone in their focus on making race tracks speedy and making freestyle tracks insane playgrounds. But the biggest innovation and the part that blew my mind when I was a kid was that pretty much every single track is interconnected with the others. The mountain is separated into three peaks, and each peak generally has about two race tracks, three freestyle tracks, and one "backcountry" challenge that's more natural mountain geometry. To get to any of the events, you ride your board through the lodge area and follow the signs to get to whichever event you want--not just select them from a menu:



The kicker is that every peak ends with a race challenge and a trick challenge that spans the entire mountain that you've unlocked up to that point. The end of peak one challenge starts you in the backcountry, which then segues to the upper lodge area, then to a race track, then to the lower lodge area, then to another race track, and that's the end, but it happens all in one go--no loading between areas, no skipping the lodge zones. You ride through all of it. When you finish peak two, you start in the peak two backcountry and ride down all of peak two, then all of peak one, and by the time you get to peak three, you're looking at like a half-hour race/trick challenge down the entire mountain. No game I had ever played at this point had ever done something so ambitious--certainly not any sports game.

The entire time you're playing, DJ Atomica comes over the airways talking about random mountain news:

DJ Atomica posted:

What's goin' around town? Well, I'll tell you. The three peak drive-in wants everyone to know regardless of the weather, they are open. Saturday's triple horror feature is Night of the Rabbit Garden Gnomes, Attack of the Zombie Comeback Nurses, and locally made Frozen Films feat. Day of the Cough Syrupers. Quality entertainment people.

DJ Atomica" posted:

Here's an update to some earlier news. Initial reports of competitors jumping ahead of lift lines has now been corrected to, competitors jumping over lift lines. Well you know, that's pretty much to be expected I think.

The mountain feels like a place, and more specifically a place you want to come back to. When you fly up into the air, the music drops down to almost nothing, then comes in blasting again as soon as you land, and the soundtrack was honestly almost as iconic as THPS1. We're talking songs like Play It Loud by MXPX, Jerk It Out by Caesars, No One Knows (remixed) by Queens of the Stone Age, Do Your Thing by Basement Jaxx. They fit perfectly into the environment and made everything that much more exciting.

SSX3 is like number one on my list of games I wish they would remaster. the PS3 entry was a great game that I played the poo poo out of, but everything is just a pale imitation of the real king of the mountain.

punk rebel ecks
Dec 11, 2010

We dance for socialism!


SSX Blur on the Wii was fantastic. Arguably the best use of motion controls on the system.

BeanpolePeckerwood
May 4, 2004

BUT SATAN'S BOY
I COULD NEVER BE!



Pork Pro

I was really into the original SSX, moreso than the other entries in the series, but I understand their appeal. One of my favorite launch titles ever.

I still remember how awesome it was to unlock stage 10 'Untracked' for the first time. I had just gotten into Hybrid earlier in the year by complete chance and hearing it in the game so suddenly kind of rocked my world. I had never before played a sports game of any kind that had leaned into that sort of zen-state atmosphere.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cf-shiYGPro

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEOuxpai7YA

BeanpolePeckerwood fucked around with this message at 01:22 on Jan 27, 2021

Spuzzz
Mar 27, 2005

The Arcana is the means by which all is revealed.




Final Fantasy 4

I started playing games with an Atari and an NES but even though Mario and Mega Man were fun nothing really grabbed me. I played some Dragon Warrior but never got very far and a lot of action games were to tough for me to beat. I found SNES games were a lot more fun but still hadn't found my genre. Then I played Final Fantasy 2 at my cousin's house one summer. Secret of Mana was ok but this got me. The first few random battles almost made jump of my seat but I pressed on made it about half way through while I had time. The characters were fun, the story has redemption and betrayal and all those heroic beats. It might not be the deepest RPG or even the best Final Fantasy but it was the one that got me into RPGs so it will always be on the bests to me. I picked up FF3 the moment it came out and have kept playing them ever since.

Phenotype
Jul 24, 2007

You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance.



haveblue posted:



Where to even begin with this game?

Thanks for this! I ended up taking a deep dive through Marathon lore after that, and watching this video that explained what happened in Infinity. It's a really interesting setting! I played DOOM and Quake when I was a kid, but I just remember hearing about Marathon as a knockoff DOOM-clone that wasn't very good. The Infinity storyline of AIs and time travel and sci-fi superweapons is right up my alley though, and I'd love to see a modern remake with a proper 3D engine.

fridge corn
Apr 2, 2003





I remember being real into the Coolboarders series on ps1. I think buy the time ssx became the leading snowboarding franchise i had fallen out of interest in those games

Sardonik
Jul 1, 2005

if you like my dumb posts, you'll love my dumb youtube channel

Perimeter (2004)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AupJmfznA9s

It is an absolute tragedy that the ideas of Perimeter have never fully been realized. It is the gaming equivalent of the antikythera mechanism, lost at sea decades ahead of its time.

The story is the best kind of bonkers: going through a chain of tiny worlds shaped by psychic emanations from earth on gigantic floating cities called 'frames'.

It's an RTS game where you flatten and extract energy from the land itself, fight off other frames with squads of units that can transmute themselves into other units instantly.

There's a slew of issues and I go into them in the video, but overall, there will always be a special place in my heart for it. It tried, drat it!

Kestral
Nov 24, 2000

Forum Veteran

Mode 7 posted:

Kentucky Route Zero is one the most wonderful pieces of interactive art that I've ever played. It's a Southern Gothic magical realist point and click adventure game, heavily focused on narrative and exploration, about a magical highway under Kentucky and the people who travel it.

I loved Kentucky Route Zero right up to the point where, after spending the entire game avoiding being an alcoholic, it forces you to be an alcoholic. That's reeeeaaaally not something I want in a game, and I had to nope out of it right there and haven't gone back since. Someone want to spoil me on whether that improves by the end?

haveblue
Aug 15, 2005




Toilet Rascal

Kestral posted:

I loved Kentucky Route Zero right up to the point where, after spending the entire game avoiding being an alcoholic, it forces you to be an alcoholic. That's reeeeaaaally not something I want in a game, and I had to nope out of it right there and haven't gone back since. Someone want to spoil me on whether that improves by the end?

There is no other point where you get forced to do something with no choice. But Conway goes downhill from there and his story ends about 3/4 of the way through act 4.

Mr. Fall Down Terror
Jan 24, 2018


Kestral posted:

I loved Kentucky Route Zero right up to the point where, after spending the entire game avoiding being an alcoholic, it forces you to be an alcoholic. That's reeeeaaaally not something I want in a game, and I had to nope out of it right there and haven't gone back since. Someone want to spoil me on whether that improves by the end?

conway's story is that he is an aging alcoholic. he was an alcoholic before the story began, and he will always be an alcoholic. your choice as the player/director is whether he, up until the point he falls, is an alcoholic openly longing for the bottle or an alcoholic maintaining an unsteady sobriety. thematically, the alcohol represents conway's poisoning and destruction by capitalism - ruining his body with a lifetime of abuse - and ultimately his story has an inevitably tragic end. this is why the distillery is underneath a graveyard, manned by skeletons in perpetual debt slavery

i understand your revulsion though. KRZ has some real emotional gut punches, rooted in real life poo poo

Rinkles
Oct 24, 2010

What I'm getting at is...
Do you feel the same way?


Sardonik posted:

Perimeter (2004)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AupJmfznA9s

It is an absolute tragedy that the ideas of Perimeter have never fully been realized. It is the gaming equivalent of the antikythera mechanism, lost at sea decades ahead of its time.

The story is the best kind of bonkers: going through a chain of tiny worlds shaped by psychic emanations from earth on gigantic floating cities called 'frames'.

It's an RTS game where you flatten and extract energy from the land itself, fight off other frames with squads of units that can transmute themselves into other units instantly.

There's a slew of issues and I go into them in the video, but overall, there will always be a special place in my heart for it. It tried, drat it!

Neat video. Interesting game.

VinylonUnderground
Dec 14, 2020
Film and TV can't have subtext, there's NO TEXT!! Let me spend 10 years fucking up threads because I genuinely don't believe in "meaning".

I'll give my list in no particular order. I tend not to have a computer and haven't had a console since PS1, so when I come back to computer games I'm always amazed by the new shiny graphics. But I also haven't gotten used to the new graphics, it's all just sort of a continuity for me. I like games that "stick" with you, where you dream about them or you have moments pop into your mind. Worlds you can build on in your imagination.

Morrowind: A wonderfully constructed world from a truly insane visionary, I feel like Morrowind is the last real RPG that got made. Like it's predecessor Daggerfall, the game's ambition exceeds the ability of any team. Unlike Daggerfall, Morrowind is easy to mod so people were able to take the deeply alien world of Vvardenfell and make their own stories out of it. The base game has an amazing story that usually has three different viewpoints you can explore. The dťtente between the civilized Dunmer and the colonizing Imperials is mirrored by the dťtente between the civilized Dunmer their wild Outlanders. Three great houses you can join, each with their own relationship to the aforementioned three factions. Three distinct religious movements you can join. Etc. I still find new things from the base game. Plus it has real RPG combat and real RPG scaling where you can get yourself in over your head quite quickly. And, of course, you can break the game over your knee, embracing CHIM and turning janky mechanics into pathways to new heights. Do you want to save the world? Great! Or maybe you'd prefer to pick flowers for your alchemical pursuits while falling for a femme fatal. Or maybe you want to make a potion that makes you go so fast you escape reality entirely. You can do it all. Then there are the mods that expand on this, breaking the world open and giving you limitless horizons to explore.

Fallout 2: Like Morrowind, it is a huge world that enables you to be as flexible as you want. No wrong way to play, just plenty of new exciting paths to take. The combat is also really fun, I break out the game occasionally just to fight. After a rough day, the sadistic joy of crushing someone's skull in the boxing ring, castrate someone or shove a knife into their vagina and then slaughtering a town of innocents is a nice release. Like Morrowind, the world is also nicely interconnected, so you can choose which factions you want to help, which ones you want to hurt and which ones you want to use to get what you want. Choice is the name of the game. Edit: Also, if you haven't played Fallout 1.5, do yourself a favor and play it right now. It combines the best elements of Fallout 1 and 2 with the sensibilities of post-Soviet creators. I'm playing Disco Elysium right now and it really vibes with Fallout 1.5.

Crusader Kings II: Do you like history? Do you like imaging alternative histories? This is another game with limitless potential. You have a huge range of start-dates. There are some bookmarks but more importantly, you can choose any day between September 15th 1066 to Jan 1st 1337 -- I've used this feature to educate both my spouse and myself about the goings on of the medieval world. Do you want to be the Byzantine Emperor and conquer the world? Great! Heck, why settle for that when you can be Genghis Khan! But you can also be a lowly count trying to work your way up. This game is at its best when you set a goal for yourself, fail and then try to figure out what to do next. One time, I started as a lowly French count (Hugues de Lusignan) who had some interesting possibilities. I forget how, but I managed to gently caress them all up so now I'm down to one county and basically just screwed. So I created a breeding program. Not your normal breeding program, this one was based on seduction. For six generations, I would impregnate the wives of all the lords of France. At the end, the other lords of France were all terminally inbred. I was able to grow and become king of France because everyone else was too inbred to do anything about it. Granted, I was king of a bunch of drooling morons so it's no surprise that the combined pressures of neighboring Muslim Spain and the Holy Roman Empire made me a weak vassal within the Holy Roman Empire. A vassal who became weaker and weaker as France collapsed for obvious reasons. Get creative, get weird. It's fun.

Phantasy Star IV: A nice quick JRPG, very short by modern standards that takes place in a post-apocalyptic Wild West world. The Algol Star System used to be a highly advanced space faring civilization until the AI Mother Brain went insane destroying the climate of the planet Motavia and straight-up destroying the planet Palma in PSII. 1000 years later in PSIV, civilization has rebuilt itself with "modern" technology being essentially medieval and ancient technology being wildly advanced. There are a lot of fun easter eggs for fans of the previous 3 games but the world stands quite nicely on its own with a compelling story and nice anime cutscenes. There are also a lot of subtle mechanics at play, enemies have vulnerabilities and immunities but unlike the Final Fantasy series this is never actually pointed out to the player and you just have to figure it out on your own. It's obvious with some enemies, which lets you know the mechanic exists if you are looking for it. From there it is all on you to figure out. Likewise, there are powerful combo attacks your party can use against enemies.

Night in the Woods: A beautiful coming-of-age game about Mae, a psychologically disturbed college drop-out returning to her rust-belt home a depressed failure. She sleeps in until the late afternoon every day and the art design makes it clear that she never showers or changes her clothes. Mae is a loving mess and you get to see that as she tries to reconnect with her friends who stayed home and have moved on with their lives without her. There is also a murder mystery but really the game is an exploration of the capitalist hellscape we find ourselves in. It's more of a visual novel than a "game" and would probably work better as a TV show but there are some cool "gamey" moments to it. Like you move around in a basic platformer but unlike most platformers you start on the right side because Mae is from the "right" side of town. Her friend's boyfriend who was abused as a child has a good reason to still be stuck in this dump of a town. Then there is another friend whose mother died when she was young so she had to enter the workforce rather than go to college. She has a good reason to be in this dump of a town. What right does Mae, who was given everything, have to come crawling back and act like she belongs? Plus, the soundtrack is really good and has inspired a lot of cover songs.

Prey: A much more modern game than a lot of others on my list. It's basically System Shock 2 but instead of an evil AI gaslighting you, it is a cast of human characters including possibly even yourself. A great narrative FPS with old school open level designs and freedoms. What does it mean to be human? What's the difference between exploitation and murder -- how do you draw that line? What would you sacrifice to go beyond your limitations and how do you decide which gains justify which losses? The whole game is a long fun trolley problem. On a personal note, I just got to play this game this year which is really funny because it's been a vaporware game since forever. I remember being told about Prey by Coconut Monkey, so it is cool that I got to finally experience it and it is good.

Sonic 3: Not much to say here. It's just basically the perfect platformer. It also has a bitching soundtrack. It is the second game on my list with an amazing soundtrack made by a very creepy bad person who was cancelled but in this case that creep is also the King of Pop. Not a great guy but he could make a great tune.

Master of Orion 2: I preferred the original Master of Orion until maybe six, seven years ago when I started playing MoO2 on smaller galaxies. This is where it really shines. Lots of flexibility with custom races, find one that works for you and imagine conquering the universe. At a smaller scale, the combat also allows for a lot of creative options that is a lot of fun. Always choose uncreative and let luck be a component to your playstyle. That way you have to get creative and, even though the AI isn't that great, you will still find a regular challenge.

Faster Than Light: A nice lite rogue-like where you *can* yell, "Scotty, more power to engines!" or "Divert power from the shields to our main weapons array and fire!" It is a game design that is so obvious and fills such a clear niche that I simply can't believe it took this long for it to be made. There is always enough challenge that your victory is never assured but the game is sufficiently knowable that an experienced player can chain wins starting with a random ship.

Alien Isolation: A great survival horror game set in the Alien universe. I haven't been able to play this game since COVID because I keep muttering "gently caress gently caress fuuuuuuuck" under my breath when I play it and that stresses my spouse out. Which, I think, is the highest compliment you can give a survival horror game.

Pirates Gold!: I haven't played the modern version by Bethesda because the original is just too much fun. Sail around the Spanish Main during the age of piracy. Be a privateer and capture pirates or be a pirate lord and loot the world. Endless flexibility and endless replay value. When you become a skilled player you can also reshape the world in ways that excite the imagination.

Tropico: You can pick pretty much any game in the series, though Tropico 2 is a little different and I haven't bothered with 6 yet. I tend to prefer Tropico or Tropico 4. Anyway, be a Caribbean dictator. Build a paradise or rule over impoverished slaves and everything in-between. The games are very easy from a gameplay standpoint but that allows for suboptimal playstyles. Creating a democratic socialist paradise is fun but why not try being Pol Pot and have an agrarian society ruled and watched over by military death squads? Or be Pinochet and create a small group of wealthy people (with yourself being the wealthiest) on the backs of underpaid workers living in slums? Or a society that embraces modern ideals of electoralism and equality and also shuns electricity. So many options for a fun world.

Another World/Out of this World: A game without a word of dialogue that still manages to have a movie-worthy story. In an experiment gone wrong, you are transported to another world. After dying many times due to the poisonous slugs everywhere, you narrowly avoid a lion/bear monster only to be captured by members of an intelligent slave-holding society. Sparking a slave revolt you and a native companion escape and try to get somewhere safe. You really feel the tension in every move as you try to fight and hide your way out.

Other people have said all that needs to be said about Deus Ex, TIE Fighter, KOTOR, etc. Those all deserve mentions too but I'm getting tired.

VinylonUnderground fucked around with this message at 19:28 on Jan 29, 2021

The 7th Guest
Dec 17, 2003



after messing around for a couple of days with my reverb G2 i finally found a solid first game to play through:

A Fisherman's Tale



It's actually surprising how easy it is for even a high-effort game to screw up something as simple as traversal and comfort. I recently played a little of XING, a Myst-inspired first person game with VR support, and the VR version is just flat out worse than the flat version because of movement. It placed forward movement on a button on the left controller, and reorienting on a button on the right controller, and jumping on.. menu button?? No quick turn, no teleport. An awful experience. Even in a room-scale situation (which I do not have currently), that would be bad, especially a game with a lot of traversal.

So it was nice to find a comfy VR experience in A Fisherman's Tale, which understands what makes VR work well no matter how it is played. The game's controls have what you want; easy teleport on both controllers, turning options including quick turn, and set design that is only a few feet in each direction for those who like to walk around the space. You can also extend your hands forward with a button press to reach things without worrying about bonking your controller into a wall or your monitor if you're standing/seated, and objects light up when you're able to grab them. The developers of this game wanted to make sure there was no confusion for the player whatsoever outside of the puzzles themselves.

You play as a wooden puppet of a fisherman in a lighthouse, who has just finished a little wooden model of the lighthouse he lives in. One day he opens the windows to find... himself. Much larger. See the screenshot? You probably have some idea of where this is going.

Fisherman's Tale is a recursive puzzle game in which you interact with different versions of the space you're in. Anchor in the way of the door? Reach into the tiny model and pluck it out. Pipe not large enough to fit your plumbing? Drop it into the tiny model and then pick up the newly large pipe that just landed next to you.

Eventually you will branch out to other rooms in the lighthouse, which will require you to do a little more legwork, but you'll also have to be a little more creative about how you get items in and out (in one chapter you utilize a crane, for example).

The only real flaw with the game is that it doesn't really throw new mechanics into the mix.. but it's also only a 90 minute game, so it's just going to stick to what it wants to do and then get out. There is one little extra trick to the final chapter that is.. interesting to say the least. I'm neither up or down on it, it was a bit convoluted but I think it was still pretty clever, as awkward as it was in execution.

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority


VinylonUnderground posted:

Alien Isolation: A great survival horror game set in the Alien universe. I haven't been able to play this game since COVID because I keep muttering "gently caress gently caress fuuuuuuuck" under my breath when I play it and that stresses my spouse out. Which, I think, is the highest compliment you can give a survival horror game.

There is a VR mod for the PC version. It's exactly as spooky as you'd imagine

Fat Samurai
Feb 16, 2011

To go quickly is foolish. To go slowly is prudent. Not to go; that is wisdom.


VinylonUnderground posted:


Pirates Gold!: I haven't played the modern version by Bethesda because the original is just too much fun. Sail around the Spanish Main during the age of piracy. Be a privateer and capture pirates or be a pirate lord and loot the world. Endless flexibility and endless replay value. When you become a skilled player you can also reshape the world in ways that excite the imagination.

The remake is very good. Yes, even the dancing minigame. Beating Marquis Montalban on the highest difficulty is still one of my greatest gaming achievements.

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5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?




The SaGa series has undergone something of a revival in recent years. It's gotten a new game, a lovely mobile gacha game, and two of its more well-like entries, Romancing SaGa 2 & 3, have gotten enhanced rereleases. But their predecessor, the original Romancing SaGa, also received an enhanced remake that made it to the West, and it's one I dearly love.


This lovely, low-res image was the best I could find. It's really underappreciated.

Unlike the rereleased of RS 2 & 3, Romancing SaGa got a full remake on the PS2, complete with 3D graphics, new content, and full voice acting. Known as Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song in Japan and just Romancing SaGa in the West, it has a lot of features that should be instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with the series. Eight playable main characters? Check. A huge, open world? Check. Obtuse, inscrutable mechanics that can hurt one's play experience as much as enhance it? Wouldn't be a SaGa game without them. And yet, despite that last element, I feel that the game is a lot more accessible than many others in the series. The most basic mechanics are relatively simple to understand, and the game has a lot of little tutorial messages to explain, in general terms, how things like learning combat techniques and character health and death work. This, I think, was a big part of why I got so into it, yet bounced so hard off of most of the other games in the series.

The graphics are pretty hit or miss. I love them: they have a unique watercolor aesthetic that you don't see often in games, especially titles from big-name developers like Square Enix. Unfortunately, the PS2 doesn't seem to have been powerful enough to do what the designer really seems to have wanted, because it often comes out looking blurry or unnatural. The voice acting is mostly fine. Most of the voice actors are pretty recognizable veterans who've been in a lot of games and anime, and while I wouldn't call their work stellar, there's nothing really egregious. The game's writing is likewise fine, and I have to give the writers a lot of credit for fleshing out the game world. Although what's here is mostly standard fantasy stock, there was clearly considerable work put into giving the world an interesting history, and then letting that history show in the game world. Most quests in the game are optional, and many of them provide a peek into the world's history, mythology, and politics, making it feel more alive.

But if I'm going to rave about anything in the game, it's the music. I still hold Romancing SaGa as the standard by which I judge video game soundtracks - the songs are numerous, memorable, and just plain excellent - especially where the battle music is concerned. Naturally, I feel compelled to provide a few examples.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlEMWnT51rM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBqvopxjKHE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJtitQo2slQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k1OsApDSIw

I love this game. I love the world. I love the music. I love the characters. I love the battle system, the voice acting, and even the esoteric bullshit. It's not my favorite game, nor a perfect one, but I played it enough to finish it with all eight protagonists and get the bonus ending, and I still go back from time to time. It's criminally underappreciated and worth a look for anyone who likes JRPGs and wants something different out of them.

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