Top Cat’s Top Ten: Video Games (Chris edition)

If you were a kid that grew up in the 80s then you were able to experience some amazing things. I mean we had: MTV, amazing toys (MASK, He-Man, GI Joes, Star Wars, Transformers), ground breaking clothing styles (black high top Vans, cutoff half shirts, light up LA Gears, tight acid wash jeans and The Pump Reeboks), the movies (The Karate Kid, Back to the Future, The Goonies, Star Wars, The Neverending Story), TV shows (Perfect Strangers, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Alf, Who’s the Boss?, Saved by the Bell), your mom’s mini van, and who could forget the mullet. Most important of all, the 80s and into the 90s brought something that would literally change the world forever: video games.

Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘but Chris, video games were made as far back as the 50s and Pong was made which was the most popular video game of its day was made by Atari in 1972’. I know all of this. I know about OXO that was created by Alexander Douglas in 1952. I know about William Higinbotham’s Tennis for Two. I know about Pong. I know about Space Invaders and the Atari 2600 but I’m referring to the home and handheld video game systems/games that has caused the zombification of kids around the world. All the eyes bloodshot for hours, fingers riddled with carpal tunnel, bellies full of hot pockets and Doritos…..just to get in more time with your favorite game. Everyone had their favorite. Kids today have their favorite. Daniel (and other kids his age)’s list will be VERY different from my generations because the generation that I grew up in had the pleasure of seeing and playing everything from the NES and the Sega Genesis to the current Xbox 1 and Playstation 4. So since I have had the pleasure of playing video games since I was old enough to hold a joystick at the arcade, corded or wireless controller or handheld device; I am going to list my favorite games of all time.

Chris’s Top Ten Favorite and Most Influential Video Games of all Time

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10. Tetris – The 1984 time sensitive puzzle game had me hooked as a kid. I had just got a Nintendo Game Boy in 1989 and Tetris was my favorite game. I remember the times that I wanted to throw my Game Boy out the window because of the complexity of the falling shape variations; but all in all it was and still is as simple and addictive as it was 30 years ago.

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9. Killer Instinct -By 1996, the video game industry had completely revolutionized gaming and changed the landscape for the better. Killer Instinct followed a lineage of fighting games, which at that time had failed in comparison to Killer Instinct. The arcade style fighting game had a huge push from Nintendo and I even purchased one of the limited edition black cartridge with remixed game soundtrack CD that was included. I would turn on my black-light in my bedroom, turn on my fan and blast the game’s soundtrack while playing the game. The game was pushed by Nintendo enough that it got my attention and was able to keep it for years to come.

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8. WWE All-Stars – I have been a wrestling fan for as long as I can remember {I even blogged about my love for wrestling here} and by the time 2011 rolled around, I had had many years experience with wrestling related video games. I remember wrestling video games all the way from Wrestlemania for the NES system back in 1989 to one of my favorite video games of all time (this would have made the list at around 12) WCW vs nWo World Tour for the Nintendo 64 to the current WWE 2k?? games. There was just something special about WWE All-Stars though. The larger than life, muscular characters could throw their opponents higher, hit harder and almost possessed super human abilities. It was a perfect blend of a great wrestling game and Mortal Kombat. What could go wrong there?

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7. Batman: Arkham City – As a comic book lover, I have also been intrigued to play comic book related games so I had no doubt that one of my favorite superheroes would have an amazing video game. After the immense popularity of the first two movies in the Dark Knight trilogy and the award winning Batman: Arkham Asylum game, it only made sense that DC Comics would continue spewing out action-adventure video games for our favorite caped crusader. The graphics and storyline of Batman: Arkham City are as spell-bounding as the Dark Knight himself.

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6. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – After Sega asked their creative team to create a mascot for their company (like Nintendo has Mario, Disney has Mickey Mouse, etc); the creative team created Sonic: an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog with super fast speed. Sonic allowed Sega and their Sega Genesis to lead the way through the early 16-bit era. Sonic the Hedgehog had his own cartoon voiced by 90s icon Steve Urkel (yes I know his real name is Jaleel White). The coin grabbing hedgehog’s was joined by a double tailed friend and this second game was by far my favorite at the time.

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5. Super Mario Kart – Oh the hours…oh the hours spent playing the 3rd best selling Super Nintendo game of all time. In single mode, Super Mario Kart allows you and seven other computer-controlled Mario series characters to race around tracks on your souped up go-kart. In a multi-player mode, you and a friend can simultaneously take part in the cups and race one another while the third multiplayer mode is Battle Mode. The Guinness World Records has chosen Super Mario Kart as the top console game ever and my 10 year old self can reassure you that it is deserving of that title.

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4. Super Mario World aka Super Mario 4 – By the time Christmas of 1988 rolled around, I had been playing video games for more than half of my life, thanks to a hand-me-down Atari 2600. When I tore open the wrapping paper to reveal my “Action Set” NES which included the normal game controllers, NES Zapper and a game containing Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt; I think I shed a tear. I plugged in the appropriate cords and begin to journey on my quest to save the Princess. Well years went by and Super Mario Bros 2 and Super Mario Bros 3 came and went. Also the Nintendo NES became obsolete because the new “Super” Nintendo had been released in a bundle package with the new Super Mario World aka Super Mario Bros 4. This game brought about all the things that you loved about the original three games and jumped them into the 16 bit landscape. The  joy of riding Mario’s newly found dinosaur friend Yoshi was reason enough to have this game Spin Attack itself into my 3rd slot.

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3. X-Men – I have always loved comic books and the X-Men have always been some of my favorites but when the X-Men video game was released around the same time that my second favorite cartoon of all time was released……both had me hooked immediately. F0x’s X-Men cartoon was a huge hit and the X-Men video game followed suit. The side scrolling video game allowed you to take out Mutant frustration on all sorts of evil villains and live our your X-Men related dreams. From the Optic blasts of Cyclops to the claws of Wolverine…your favorite X-Men was available at your finger tips.

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2. Mortal Kombat 3 – Mortal Kombat was a phenomena. First beginning as one of my favorite arcade games, the Mortal Kombat fighting games came spinning wheel kicking its way onto the Nintendo Entertainment Systems. By the time the fanfare of the release of Mortal Kombat 3 had ceased, I was enjoying the new Fatality finishing moves and all of the new characters. The fighting seemed smoother and I got better at it the long that the game stayed inside my Nintendo; which was a really long time.

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1. Injustice: God’s Among Us – To say that a game is your ‘favorite of all time’ is saying a lot but DC Comics released a video game in 2o13 that completely blew my mind. There had been games where you could play as your favorite comic book super hero before but this game brought the DC Comics legends to a Mortal Kombat style arena. In the Injustice storyline where Superman from an alternate universe goes a little crazy after the Joker tricks him into killing Lois Lane and destroying Metropolis. In an effort to stop Superman, Batman comes to our reality and enlist the help of our superheroes. Of course you can follow the storyline or you can just go straight up and fight. You really want to find out who would in an all out, battle to death between the Joker and Batman? Well…now you can live out your fantasy. You want to find out who can punch faster: Flash or Superman? Well now you can. The game and the storyline are intriguing and I am definitely looking forward to the sequel which will be released next year.

Honorable mentions: Shadow of the Colossus (2005), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (arcade game), Street Fighter II: The World Warrior 

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