8. Haunting Starring Polterguy • Sega Mega Drive
The oldest game on the list, Haunting was the Mega Drive cartridge I was dying to rent every weekend that I could. Who knows how many weekends 10-year-old me wasted playing this ‘game’? Probably a lot, like ‘if I had spent the same amount of time learning the cello I’d be Yo Yo Ma’ amounts of time. I loved it – being a ghost, haunting various household objects, scaring the bejesus out of a nice upper-middle class family.
The only part of the game I didn’t like was the game part. In order to get the chance to play these tricks on this family you had to go through these lousy dungeons dodging goo and fire and stuff. It was miserable. Still I’d jump at the chance to play it right now.
7. Rock Band • 360/PS3/Wii
I have sunk a lot of money into Rock Band – 6 games (Rock Band 1,2,3, Lego Rock, Rock Band Blitz and Beatles Rock Band), a whole mess of plastic instruments, like 100+ DLC songs and I even imported the Rock Band Keytar all the way from England. And again, I would play it right now if there were anyone around to play it with me.
But is Rock Band a good game? Did rhythm games die a quiet death because all you do is hit different colour buttons when the TV tells you to? I’m not sure, all I know is I have spent real dollars so that I can strum a plastic guitar along to ‘Call Me Maybe’ and I don’t regret it for one second. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.
6. Kung Fu Chaos • XBX
Back in the day, all you needed for fun on a Saturday night was three friends, bag of Starbursts and a copy of Kung Fu Chaos. Most Saturdays I had two of those things. But when I had all three, watch out! I played my (and probably, your) share of this weird, offensive brawler/party game mash-up. This was back in the original Xbox days when there was a reason to have four controllers. These days even if you and three friends were in the same room what could you even play? Soggy biscuit?
We played Kung Fu Chaos. Sure, the action was too crazy and you could never tell who was actually wining. Sure, the offensiveness of the Asian stereotypes/homophobic humour/lazy sexism begged you to turn the game off and throw it off a water tower. Sure, this parody of Kung Fu movies had a Titanic and Jurassic Park level for zero known reasons. But it was a four player game! And it was kinda fun!
5. Sim Tower • PC
FACT: I have played Sim Tower longer than all other Sim games combined. Not sure why.
4. LA Noir • PS3/360
I pre-ordered LA Noir, and I pre-order almost nothing. I watched the trailer a lot, ignored the stories of terrible work conditions for the programmers and I counted down the days until I could get my chubby hands on my own copy of LA Noir. I sped to the store picked up my copy and spent many days excitedly trying to solve the crimes laid out before me. I bought the season pass for the extra cases too. I am often planning to sit down and play it through again… but one thing holds me back.
I am pretty sure that it might suck.
While I remember my time with this atmospheric mystery game fondly, sometimes I can’t help but think about some of the issues it had. The interrogation feature was kinda broken and your character went from shouting blue murder to telling the witness that he was on their side like he was some sort of one man good cop/bad cop. Looking for clues sometimes meant just walking around until you heard the ‘right’ piano chord. And while I don’t have any bad memories of the action sequences, I have no recollection of the action sequences at all and that can’t be a good thing.
Maybe I’ll never play it again. And maybe that’s OK.
3. James Bond 007: Everything Or Nothing • PS2/XBX
Ask me what my favourite James Bond game is. Go ahead, do it.
It’s Goldene… No, honestly it’s Everything Or Nothing. Don’t challenge me, I know I’m wrong. But I don’t want to be right. With a script written by the guy who wrote the actual Goldeneye movie, Everything Or Nothing is the car driving, hand to hand fighting, Shannon Elizabeth romancing, third person shooting James Bond game that Goldeneye wishes it was. It has all the gimmicks and flash that I know shouldn’t impress me but it does. Willem Dafoe is the villain for Pete’s sake!
How could it be bad?!?
2. Wakeboarding Unleashed Featuring Shaun Murray • PS2/XBX
When people zig, I zag. I zag like a beast. When the whole world was perfecting their ollies and kick floops in Tony Hawk, I had already moved on and was looking for the next biggest thing. What is better than Tony Hawk? What about Shaun Murray? Who’s Shaun Murray? Shaun Murray is what you’d get if dragged Tony Hawk behind a boat.
Wakeboarding Unleashed is exactly like Tony Hawk Skateboarding except for one thing – you don’t decide where you go, the NPC guy driving the boat does. I’m not sure why I preferred that but I did. It didn’t matter if I was grinding on a building in the Venice level, or grinding up a building in the Hong Kong harbour level, or even grinding down a building in the flooded town level (OK, maybe the levels were a little samey), I loved my time with Wakeboarding Unleashed. I cross my fingers that someone out there is working on a HD version of this game. This game of a sport I didn’t even know existed until I bought the game.
1. Telltale’s The Walking Dead • 360/PS3/PC
Season One of The Walking Dead is easily in my top 5 favourite games of all time. I sat with my eyes glued to the TV harder than any game I’ve played prior or since. I gripped the controller tight, mashed its buttons as I gnashed my teeth. I consider it the apex of storytelling in gaming.
But… it’s not much of a game, is it? You pick what your character says, you walk around in a limited space and solve puzzles that seem like a tutorial level for a ‘real’ point ‘n’ click adventure. The ‘action sequences’ amount to Quick Time Events which are considered by most to be the ‘scourge’ of modern gaming. In saying that, I would encourage absolutely anyone to play The Walking Dead. It’s not much of a game but it’s one hell of a game!