The year of 2013 has been a busy one; between balancing the last year of my extended stay at University and finally entering the daily grind of the working world, time has gone by much quicker than I would have perhaps preferred. It’s important then to take the time for a brief retrospective, not only to supplement the lazy journalism that comes with the end of the year but because when I stop and think back, it has been another banner year for videogames. Continue reading Dazcooke’s Video Game Land Review Of 2013
Part IV of the Best VGM List (301-400) begins today! And we start this new installment by returning to the adventure that began my love of video games – didgeridoos at the ready…
May just ignore the British Grand Prix today and listen to this soundtrack on repeat – the guitar riffs are nothing short of GLORIOUS!!!
When I look back at more youthful times, I realise that I played an huge amount of games as a child – perhaps more than I do now. This wasn’t exactly difficult, considering my platform of choice was the PlayStation, which had nearly 2.000 games to its name by the time production of the console ended. Many of them I adored; and to this day I have kept copies of my favorites. However, the crushing reality is that over time, my mind has become hazy, and there are several PS1 games that I completely forgot that I played – some I genuinely wish I hadn’t forgot, some I wish I had never remembered.
This article therefore is a brief summary of all those games that I played on the PlayStation that I can’t really be bothered to give a full review to…the long forgotten, the good, the bad, and the downright awful. Continue reading All The PlayStation Games I Forgot About – Miscellaneous PS1 Reviews
Tonight, Sony will be (most probably) showing off the next Playstation in New York City. To celebrate the event, today’s piece of music celebrates their origins; the background music from Demo 1, which was bundled with the console in Europe.
And if that isn’t enough nostalgia for you, I would recommend playing the opening jingle for the Playstation itself on loop until 11pm – I voted it my favorite console start-up ever in this article
11 – METAL GEAR SOLID (1998) – KONAMI
There was a time when games could get by with relatively simple stories. Kill the aliens descending from the top of the screen, save the princess, get to the shiny teleporter at the end of the level; all of these were relatively standard fare before 1998. Then, a man by the name of Hideo Kojima gave the world Metal Gear Solid, and showed the world that games could deliver a narrative that rivalled anything coming out of Hollywood.
Featuring numerous detailed FMV’s that advanced the story, along with hours of CODEC conversations that revealed more about the world and the facility that Snake was infiltrating made Metal Gear Solid feel like so much more than just another game. It was more like an interactive movie, one that you could affect with some quite big consequences depending on how you reacted to certain elements of the story. The added effect of having more video footage also meant that bosses could become more fleshed out characters, leading to some pretty memorable sequences with Psycho Mantis taking the top plaudits.
And alongside this cinematic development of events, there was a totally new way to play the game. Running in with guns blazing was a sure fire way to end up dead – instead, Snake had to be as stealthy as possible, using the environment to his advantage to avoid the constantly patrolling guards. Metal Gear Solid was the first game to perfect stealth, which has become a staple feature in pretty much every action adventure game since.
The adventures of Solid Snake proved to be only a starting point for the evolution of outstanding narratives in video games. Alongside the Metal Gear Solid sequels, the likes of Grand Theft Auto, Bioshock, Mass Effect and Uncharted have all been shining examples of giving the player an engrossing story to play through whilst not sacrificing anything on the gameplay or graphical front.
12 – THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME (1998) – NINTENDO EAD
People will never seemingly shut up about Ocarina Of Time, which indicates that it must have done something to change the playing field. The first Legend Of Zelda game to feature the adventures of Link in three dimensions didn’t just change the much lauded series for the better, but also implemented some features that most modern games would even think twice about including.
Probably the most significant change was the introduction of the Z-targeting mechanic. The ability to lock on to a target and then move around freely whilst always keeping him in your sights allowed for a tactical element to be added to boss fights, and also allowed ranged attacks to be reliably successful. Ocarina Of Time is also credited with popularising the use of context sensitive actions where one button could be used for several different actions depending on the situation, e.g. pushing a box, opening a door, picking up bombs etc.
It wasn’t just the new mechanics that impressed though; it’s the small things that make Ocarina such a delight to play. The limitation of the use of certain items by young and adult Link means that you would have to travel forwards and backwards through time on a regular basis to solve the trickiest puzzles the game had to offer. The use of the Ocarina itself to solve puzzles was a genius idea, seamlessly integrating music into the game. The detail of the world of Hyrule, whilst looking average at best nowadays, was also well ahead of most other games released at the time.
No video game has really managed to match the legacy left behind by Ocarina Of Time. It received perfect reviews across the board upon its release, and has been voted as the greatest game of all time by no less than 13 official publications – nevermind receiving the same accolade from thousands of normal punters. It continues to be a defining, maybe the defining, moment in video game history 14 years since it first burst onto the scene.
9 – FINAL FANTASY VII (1997) – SQUARESOFT
There’s a good reason why Final Fantasy VII remains in so many topics when discussing RPG’s and gaming in general. When it was released in 1997, few games could hold a candle to it. Offering an expansive story, cutting edge 3D graphics and superior sound spread over three discs, it transformed a popular series that have thrived on the SNES into the behemoth it has become today.
The reasoning for its place on this list however lies in its cultural impact rather than its technical achievements. Before Final Fantasy VII, JRPG’s had not exactly been unpopular – the likes of Dragon Quest, Secret Of Mana and Final Fantasy IV and VI (confusingly called II and III in America) had received warm praise and a cult following. What Final Fantasy VII did was bring the JRPG into the mainstream, aiding in part by heavy advertising on Squaresoft’s behalf. The game sold over 10 million copies across the world, bringing a whole new audience into the genre. The game also maintains a significant impact on what could have been – you see, it was originally intended for release on the Nintendo 64; but when Nintendo revealed they were to use cartridges instead of discs, Squaresoft decided to publish the game on the Sony Playstation as an exclusive. Having a game of FFVII’s quality as an exclusive was crucial in giving Sony’s new upstart console a significant lead in early console sales, one that the N64 ultimately could not overcome.
10 – POKEMON RED AND BLUE (1998) – GAME FREAK
In my short lifetime, there have been few games released that can claim to have stolen the childhood’s of millions of young kids and utterly dominated popular culture at the same time. For me, Pokemon Red & Blue is that game – in the blink of an eye, it changed how the lunchtime hour was spent at school; even on the most gloriously sunny days most children in my class were glued to the screens of their Game Boy’s as they attempted to ‘catch ‘em all’.
It was a combination of things that gave Pokemon such a broad appeal – the colourful designs of the monsters, the gradual learning curve, a simple plot to follow and of course the ultimate goal of enslaving all 150 Pokemon to prove your mastery of the game. That by itself could have commanded enough respect, but it was taken one step further by the ability to link up your Game Boy to another using the Link Cable and battling your friends Pokemon. It promoted a sense of angry and fevered competition in the playground that managed to actually get the game banned for a short amount of time.
Pokemon Red & Blue also replicated the trick that Pac Man had been able to pull off in the 1980’s, cashing in on a run of merchandise that spawned an anime and equally popular trading card game alongside pretty much every domestic good you could imagine, from lunchboxes and bags to sticker albums and even varieties of jam. It may be too simplistic to say that it was the right game released at the perfect time, but that is exactly what Red & Blue was. The series continues to move on strongly with four direct sequels, leaving a pile of discarded AA batteries in its wake.
Today, It’s part two of my initiative to get other people writing on this blog, as we chronicle some of the most important games of all time. I covered the efforts of Microsoft in this article, and today it is the turn of Stephen Jackman to present his case for Sony. Stephen is a good friend of mine from Lincoln University, where he holds the enviable position of being the reigning champion at the Gaming Society I help to run (trust me – its a big deal). So, take it away…
Top 10…Most Important Games On Sony Consoles
I just want to thank Mr Cooke for allowing me to post on his blog as I always find it enjoyable to write about games, since most of the time they are pretty awesome. As someone who grew up with Sony and the Playstation console line, starting back in 1997 with a package deal along with the not so stellar title of Bubsy 3D (one of the times when games aren’t awesome), up to the present day with the Playstation 3 and my acquisition of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, I have seen a selection of great titles come and go with some leaving a large impact on the games industry and becoming a huge benefit, if not a major means of success, for Sony and their endeavours into the games industry.
Whereas the first console played a lot of copycat with the N64, for example the introductions of analogue sticks and the controller rumble feature, it had some strong titles that allowed it to reach the level of success that it did. The Playstation 2 built on what the original foundations the Playstation set out and ended up having one of the largest selections of titles any console ever supported. The most current iteration of the console, the Playstation 3, is a powerhouse of a machine and the most powerful console on the market at the moment, bringing high definition with blue ray among many other features.
From each Playstation console I have had a chance to play a fair amount of the games. From when the older titles were new on shelves and not yet nostalgic memories, as well as the newer releases, I feel I am able to look back at Sony’s history and find a top ten of important titles. As with Darren my aim was to give preference to console exclusives over multi platform releases, or at the very least the console the game launched on and what it was well known for. Continue reading Top Ten…Most Important Games On Sony Consoles