In honor of me turning 30, I’m compiling 30 different top-30 lists on a wide variety of topics ranging from trivial interests of mine to meaningful life moments. Read the introductory post for more background information on my 30 at 30 project. Reminder: there is no scientific rationale for these lists. They were composed by a panel of one—me.
Christmas 1990 was a magical day in my childhood. Up until that point in life, video games were a luxury that I experienced only when I visited my older cousins. My dad owned an old Magnavox Odyssey², but it didn’t compare to the state-of-the-art graphics and gameplay of the Sega Master System or the Nintendo Entertainment System. That Christmas morning, 6-year-old me opened up an NES, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Over the years, my family would go on to own various other video game systems, including Super Nintendo, Game Gear, Sony Playstation, PS2, and the Nintendo Wii—all of which are represented by at least one game on this list. However, original Nintendo was really my baptism into the world of video games.
Today, we live in a world where in a world where video games are an omnipresent force. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the video game industry in the United States made $23.5 billion last year, a figure that shows a 5% increase from 2014. If you haven’t heard of eSports, you’re probably old, but trust me, eSports are a thing and the younger generation doesn’t care if you disagree. Earlier this summer Pokemon Go, a game that cleverly blurs the lines between virtual reality and real life, dominated headlines and everyone’s social media feeds. The games produced for the likes of PS4 and Xbox One would make 6-year-old me’s head spin. The graphics are basically true-to-life renderings, and the gameplay is intricate and extensive. (The controllers have so many buttons!) Unfortunately, 31-year-old me doesn’t have time for all of the intricacies of 2016 gaming. Instead, I prefer to kick it old school.
Clearly I am not the only person in my age bracket who remains enamored with the systems I played when I was a kid. Recently Nintendo announced they will be releasing the NES Classic Edition, a special mini version of the original NES that comes pre-loaded with 30 classic NES games (there is a similar product in the works for Sega Genesis folks). While there are some great games included on the list for the NES Classic Edition, there are some notable games that will not be available as well, which leaves people like me turning to emulators like Nestopia or OpenEmu to get our retro-gaming fix.
As you scroll through the list of my all-time favorite games, you’ll notice a few clear trends: sports and platform adventure games dominate the list with very few deviations from those categories. I never liked first-person shooters. I never really got into role-playing video games. I played some fighter games like Mortal Kombat and Tekken, but they were never my top choice (unless you count wrestling games as fighting games, but I don’t). Nine times out of ten, my game of choice would be a sports game, and that tenth time I would pick one of the other classics included on the list below. Because sports games so dominated my list of favorites, I made some executive decisions to lump certain game franchises together as one entry rather than ranking multiple iterations of the same game. Continue reading 30 at 30 Lists #25: Video Games