The 50 most memorable video games I've played through the years
Brian M
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A few of my friends on Geekchat have been talking about their top 50 video games. Ian did a thorough list starting here:
https://ianthecool.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/my-top-50-video-...

So, everybody is talking about their top 50 video games. But what are mine? I find that a very hard question. I'm bad about picking favorites to begin with. And how do you compare games that are so wildly different? Playing Rock Band with a group of friends is such a wildly different experience from playing AvP alone in a dark room twitching at every scrape. How do you rate things like that? And what about the games with huge nostalgia factor that were so much fun at the time, but seem so old-fashioned nowadays?

So I'm not going to try to pick favorites. Instead I'm going to list, in chronological release order, the video games that most stand in my out my memory as awesome or memorable or well-played games for their time.

I had to stretch a bit to get to 50.
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1. Video Game: Adventure (Atari) [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:1267]
Video Game: Adventure (Atari)
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1979

I had an Atari 2600 when I was young (and before that an even older console with Pong and a lightgun game built into it, but I don't remember a lot about that one! And technically I think it was more my parents that had that one )

One of the first, and most memorable of the Atari games was Adventure. If you haven't played it, you'll probably be incredibly underwhelmed compared to modern games. I mean, your character is a little block and the entire NPC content of the game is 3 differently colored dragons and a bat.

But if you were a kid and playing video games for the first time, Adventure was magic. A random world with tools that you could use in a variety of clever ways. Creepy dark mazes. Constant paranoia about when a dragon would pop up and eat you. For all its simplicity, this was one of the most memorable and impressive games I ever played.
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2. Video Game: The Warp Factor [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked]
Video Game: The Warp Factor
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1981

One of my friends in Elemntary school had this fairly complicated game of spaceship combat on his computer. When I went to his house, it was about all I ever wanted to play.

I'm not sure we ever completely figured out HOW to play, but it sure seemed cool!
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3. Video Game: Crush, Crumble and Chomp! [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:4237]
Video Game: Crush, Crumble and Chomp!
Brian M
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1981
This strange game had you build a giant monster and then attempt to destroy as much of the city as possible for it. It was turn based, but you never knew exactly how many actions you could take in a turn; you would give a command and suddenly your turn would end and the humans would take a turn, and then your last action would resolve. So sometimes you'd aim a zap at a tank and then have it drive out of the way.

I think I tried just about every combination of creature abilities possible! I really liked fliers and robots.
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4. Video Game: Pitfall! [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:2306]
Video Game: Pitfall!
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1982

Some of the best Atari games were from Activision. Pitfall was a classic and very memorable; jumping over rolling logs, swinging on vines over tarpits, and having no idea how to possibly get all the treasures in time! Simple to play, tricky to figure out and very exciting. Fond memories.
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5. Video Game: River Raid [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:949]
Video Game: River Raid
Brian M
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1982

Another Activision gem was River Raid. The first console shmup for me. You could shoot one bullet at a time. There were about 5 different types of objects/enemies in the entire game. And it was awesome! And it was effectively endless; an algorithmically generated river was the same each play, but no matter how far you flew you never saw the same stage twice. This is still a fun game today!
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6. Video Game: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain [Average Rating:8.33 Overall Rank:2286]
Video Game: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain
Brian M
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1982

I didn't have an Intellivision, but a friend did. I don't remember much about this other than thinking it was just about the coolest thing ever.
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7. Video Game: Lode Runner [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1252]
Video Game: Lode Runner
Brian M
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1983

These screenshots look strange to me - I only ever played Lode Runner on an old monochrome green screen.

A game of running around, climbing ladders, and drilling holes in the floor to jump through and to trap enemy guards. A bit of an early platformer, a bit of a puzzler.

Jumpman (1983), from the same era, was a similar game with a bit more variety, but Lode Runner had something very new to me at the time - a level editor! You could build your own levels with lots of possible pieces. I'm a sucker for construction sets.
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8. Video Game: Robot Odyssey [Average Rating:10.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Robot Odyssey
Brian M
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1984

IIRC, when I was a kid the school had a little library of computer programs that you could check out. I checked this one out a LOT. Connect a variety of circuits and devices to program robots to solve puzzles. I think I owe a lot of my interest in logic to this game.
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9. Video Game: Archon II: Adept [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:1388]
Video Game: Archon II: Adept
Brian M
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1984

The computer game that accounted for most of my gaming on the Apple IIe! All sorts of different monsters to summon, different battlefields to fight in, a mix of strategy and action. This was all around cool. Though I admit that even at the time I could tell that a lot of the monsters just weren't all that good compared to some of the others.
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10. Video Game: Autoduel [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:3369] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Video Game: Autoduel
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1985

A really cool conversion of Car Wars. All the cool stuff of building your car and driving it on missions and in the arena. However, as I recall, I wound up only using a fairly limited set of the weapons because some of them were just too hard to hit with.
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11. Video Game: Gauntlet (1985) [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1238]
Video Game: Gauntlet (1985)
Brian M
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1985

This was one of the few arcade games I dumped quarters into. Playing with a group of friends - or a few people you just teamed up with - was a blast.
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12. Video Game: Castlevania (1986) [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:762] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
Video Game: Castlevania (1986)
Brian M
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1986

I first played Castlevania in a hotel arcade at a mineral show my parents had brought me along to. All the games were free, so I just could sit and play for as long as I wanted. I didn't get very far, but I was really excited to get it on the NES and be able to play all I wanted!

I didn't actually beat it until several years later though.
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13. Video Game: Rampage [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:4330]
Video Game: Rampage
Brian M
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1986
Yet another arcade quarter-eater. Great fun with multiple players. Smashing tanks, jumping on buildings, and playing tennis with streetcars!
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14. Video Game: The Legend of Zelda [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:89] [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked]
Video Game: The Legend of Zelda
Brian M
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1986

Do I even need to put commentary in for this? Zelda is practically mandatory on every "favorite" or "best" video game list around. No exception here. Amazing game with tons of to explore.

After beating the regular game and the alternate world a few times, my self-created challenge was to see how far I could get in the game without picking up the sword. As I recall, you could get quite a ways, though there was eventually a boss that you needed the sword to fight.
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15. Video Game: U.N. Squadron [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1902]
Video Game: U.N. Squadron
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1989

I really feel like the SNES should get at least one game, but I don't remember playing much on it. I do remember Lisa and I taking turns and spending a lot time trying to beat this shooter.
 
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16. Video Game: ZZT [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:5753]
Video Game: ZZT
Brian M
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1991

They should use this in introductory programming courses. Seriously. Not the fun puzzle game part, but the power object-oriented designer to build your own levels. Had a ton of fun with this.

Sigh...I made a really big game for this, but all the copies I had vanished somewhere along the way. If anyone has ever found an old 3.5" floppy with "The Haunting of ZZT" on it, please let me know.
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17. Video Game: Star Control II [Average Rating:8.74 Overall Rank:23]
Video Game: Star Control II
Brian M
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1992

A stand-in for the whole series. An awesome variety of different ships with different abilities. Fun arcade combat combined with a bigger resource management and exploration game. And it was a blast to play melee 2 player!

I think at some point we improvised a game where a group of us played a board game of moving fleets around, and then resolved combat using Star Control 2 Melee.
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18. Video Game: Worms [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:511]
Video Game: Worms
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1995

If you haven't noticed, I tend to be big on multiplayer games. Worms was a favorite with a group.

Before Worms, I was quite fond of its predecessor Tank Wars. Such fun to blow up the whole screen with a Death's Head!
Video Game: Tank Wars


EDIT: Whoops! I may have that wrong. I think it was Scorched Earth that I played a lot of. Basically the same game though.
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19. Video Game: Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:233]
Video Game: Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
Brian M
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1995

Lisa and I discovered Warcraft (the original) at a convention we'd gone to with the intent of playing and trading MtG at. They had a computer game room with Warcraft on it. I pretty much lost Lisa for the rest of the con as she got totally hooked on it.

We played a lot of Warcraft II, which had better multiplayer support.
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20. Video Game: Pokémon Red and Blue [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:114] [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked]
Video Game: Pokémon Red and Blue
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1996

Yep, I played this as an adult.

Prior to taking a long trip with a lot of potential downtime, Lisa and I each bought a used Gameboy and a Pokémon cartridge. She took Red, I took Blue. We never made it all the way through, but catching and battling the different creatures was a lot of fun.
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21. Video Game: Magic: The Gathering (MicroProse) [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:967] [Average Rating:6.95 Unranked]
Video Game: Magic: The Gathering (MicroProse)
Brian M
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1997

This game had a pretty terrible AI, but the entire quest experience of traveling around and finding cards gave it immense replayability and variety.
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22. Video Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night [Average Rating:8.54 Overall Rank:22] [Average Rating:8.54 Unranked]
Video Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Brian M
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Microbadge: GeekChatterMicrobadge: Spirit Island fan - Heart of the WildfireMicrobadge: Plays Games with LoverMicrobadge: Spirit Island fan - Sharp Fangs Behind the LeavesMicrobadge: Rainbow
1997

Working at Software Etc, I was understandably enthused about getting a more up-to-date game system. My wonderful Lisa bought me a Playstation as a birthday present one year.

My all-time favorite PS game was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Much like Zelda, another very common entry on top and favorite lists. Huge are to explore, tons of different weapons, gear and enemies, cool powers - this one had it all!

(Except multiplayer...)
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23. Video Game: Diddy Kong Racing [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:909]
Video Game: Diddy Kong Racing
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Microbadge: GeekChatterMicrobadge: Spirit Island fan - Heart of the WildfireMicrobadge: Plays Games with LoverMicrobadge: Spirit Island fan - Sharp Fangs Behind the LeavesMicrobadge: Rainbow
1997

Mario Kart is the kart racer of choice for most, but my favorite was Diddy Kong racing. A big variety of tracks, and three different vehicles - cars, planes and hovercraft. But the best part was the code to play it as a co-op game!
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24. Video Game: Devil Dice [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:3090]
Video Game: Devil Dice
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Microbadge: GeekChatterMicrobadge: Spirit Island fan - Heart of the WildfireMicrobadge: Plays Games with LoverMicrobadge: Spirit Island fan - Sharp Fangs Behind the LeavesMicrobadge: Rainbow
1998

A cute puzzle game with a co-op mode, of running around flipping dice to various sides. This was a blast! Its the sort of unusual game that there don't seem to be many of these days.
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25. Video Game: Micro Machines V3 [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:2338]
Video Game: Micro Machines V3
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Microbadge: GeekChatterMicrobadge: Spirit Island fan - Heart of the WildfireMicrobadge: Plays Games with LoverMicrobadge: Spirit Island fan - Sharp Fangs Behind the LeavesMicrobadge: Rainbow
1998

What made Micro Machines extra awesome was the party mode where you could play two players per controller. Big races with people struggling to both hold onto the controller at the same time were hilarious! And the game was quite fun as well, with a lot of creatively silly tracks.
 
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