Ask the Kliq #21
Every once in a while, you will think about video games and then ask yourself a question that has no rhyme or reason, but that just happened to pop in your head at that exact moment. In some rare instances, not even Google or Wikipedia can provide the answer you need. Sometimes you wouldn’t even need an answer to that question.
This is where we come in.
Our panel of experts is here to take on all of your video games-related questions, no matter how serious or silly they may be. With each new edition, we will submit a question to this elite committee, which will in turn try to provide you, our beloved readers, with the most accurate answer they can come up with.
Do you have a question for us? Just click on “email the author” at the top of this article and add the subject line “Ask the Kliq”, or leave a comment below. The best questions will be featured in an upcoming column.
This Week’s Question
There are probably many people reading this who either collect retro games, or simply saved their old systems as they grew older and still play them from time to time. Now let’s say you were selling all of your collection in order to buy something newer. Chances are that some of these games are significant to you in one way or another and nothing could ever set you and that piece of plastic apart.
Such is the problem here.
My brother is selling our old games in other to buy a PS3, and there are some games that I am quite reticent to let him sell. Some may be because of nostalgia, others may be because of sentimental value, but we still need to cut somewhere. This is how we came up with the following question for us (and the DHGF staffers) to answer:
“If you were only allowed to keep five games in your retro-games collection, which would it be?”
Here are your answers!
1) NHL ’94, Sega Genesis: I think NHL ’94, as a hockey game, was surpassed by NHL ’08. It only took FOURTEEN YEARS to make a hockey game that was more enjoyable than the Genesis classic, and even now, it’s a blast to play.
2) Phantasy Star IV, Sega Genesis: Still, in my eyes, the overall “best” RPG of the 16 bit era. I haven’t given it as much time as I have games like Final Fantasy IV and VI, but that doesn’t obscure that this is, especially through the lens of time, the best RPG of its era, and a beautiful way to end the classic series.
3) Super Mario Bros., Nintendo Entertainment System: Even after ALL these years, this is still my favourite in the series. I can still run through it purely on muscle memory, but it doesn’t matter. I’ll be playing this game on my deathbed.
4) Final Fantasy, Nintendo Entertainment System: This is the game that got me into RPGs. Dragon Quest got me started, but the original Final Fantasy hooked me forever. I even recently beat the NES game again, which is notable considering that episodes VIII, IX, X, XII and XIII haven’t been beaten once by me.
Last but not least…
5) Fire Emblem, Game Boy Advance: This is the most important game in my life. Not even because of the quality of the game – I can count four games off the top of my head just in the series that were better than Japan’s Rekka no Ken – but because of what it’s done for my life. From joining a random fan community, then ending up running it, building it up and watching it flow, I was able to gain a foothold for the rest of my life, a foothold that even the US Navy couldn’t outshine. I was able to meet most of my friends there. I was able to gain a foothold in this industry there. I was able to impact the lives of young people who looked to me as a mentor. Hell, I met my fiancee there. It’s the most important game of my life because I’m still feeling the affects of picking this game up at an EB Games in Norfolk, Virginia on a whim in 2003 for a two-week SITREP long after I beat and put down the game itself.
Mario Kart 64: Me and 3 buddies sitting around the TV, wailing away on each other with Red Shells and Banana’s.
Worms: Me and 3 buddies, sitting around the TV passing the controller around as we wail on each other with rockets, grenades, ninja ropes and sheep.
Street Fighter Alpha 2: Me and my buddy, sitting around the TV wailing away on each other with fireballs, hurricane kicks and custom combos.
Goldeneye: Me and 3 buddies sitting around the TV getting our MI6 on wailing away on each other with rocket launchers, proximity mines and sub machine guns.
Vice City: Me and my buddies sitting around the TV passing the joystick around as we caused as much chaos as possible in the streets of Vice City, all to the sounds of a sweet sound track.
As you can see many of the games I would keep are those that have a very in person kind of multiplayer aspect, and even the one that doesn’t was often played in the company of good friends. It’s a shame this generation of gamers isn’t likely to enjoy that thanks to online play.
1) Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – The one game out of the 10 or so on the N64 I have that I’ve actually turned on the N64 to play in the last ten years. Yeah this one can definitely stay.
2) Final Fantasy XII – Out of all of them I have for the PS1 and the PS2, this is the one I enjoyed the most after I got out of my ‘FF VII is god’ phase many, many years ago. The story and pacing were decent and you couldn’t always take on everything in the wilderness areas and win. Very refreshing.
3) Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes – Yes I have this for the PS1, and they have it for the PSP and PS3 on the PSN, but this took one of my favorites in the series and slapped a fresh coat of paint on it using the MGS2 combat and graphics engine breathing new life into the game. As much as I love the original, this one was one of the few reasons I turned on our GameCube and it’s one of the things that finds its way into our Wii on a regular basis as well.
4) Silent Hill 2 – For me arguably the best in the Silent Hill series. It hasn’t been remade, the story is just as compelling as the first game but there was just something about the second title that sucked me in more than the first. Pyramid Head? the search for a lost love? Who knows. Whatever it was, I’d take this one over the others any day.
5) Fatal Frame 2 – One of the few games I’ve ever tracked down well after release date when a friend let me play it and then took off for Japan. This entry into the series tightened up some issues I had with the first game, and it had a really interesting change-up with two sisters as playable characters revealing what was going on as opposed to just the one guy in the haunted mansion.
1. Maniac Mansion – Nintendo Entertainment System: I was always the kid who would run my games up to Funcoland at any given opportunity and sell away everything for the newest thing out. When the Playstation 2 was announced, I did just that: sold my entire Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, and Sega Genesis collections in order to add money to my PS2 pre-order. Obviously, looking back, I regret this, but I have found a way to deal with it: buying back as much of my retro collection as possible. That is what I have done through today, and I have just about every game from the bygone eras that I want (excluding PS2 because there is still a ton of games I want for that amazing system).
With that said, Maniac Mansion for the NES holds a special place in my heart, and not just because it is a kick ass game like most on my list. I remember when my grandma Spiter bought me this game from her neighbor’s garage sale. It came with a poster (which is long gone by now), and I remember it caught my eye because it looked like a scary game. Grandma being grandma saw my interest and bought it for me. She passed away a couple years later. I wish I could say that I still owned that same cart that was bought for me years ago by my grandma, but I can’t. I now own this game again, and even though it is a different plastic cart, my fond memories of it remain, and I will never make the mistake of selling this game again.
2. Timesplitters 2 – Playstation 2: Not only does this game kick absolute ass and is still the best first-person shooter available, I have very fond memories of this one because it’s one of the only shooting games that my sister and I played together. We would play co-op through the Timesplitters series story modes for hours on end, and then would blow the computer away in co-op multiplayer mode (it had good AI bots). I would want to keep the first in this series as well, but if I had to narrow my list down to 5, I would have to limit it to this one because it is the best in the series. This game has given me some of the greatest multiplayer memories I have, and it being the original copy I bought years ago at Gamestop, will never be sold.
3. Fire Pro Wrestling – Game Boy Advance: This one is on my list due to the amount of time I have stapled in to my particular cartridge. Fire Pro Wrestling is one of the greatest wrestling games ever made on either handhelds or home consoles. What makes it so special is the amazing amount of customization options the player can take advantage of (being on a handheld system just makes it that much better). This cartridge contains every wrestler and division renamed to their real-life counterpart (due to licensing, all wrestlers have fake names), and a load of other created wrestlers, as well as career mode progress. I have devoted too many precious hours into this cart to see it ever leave my side.
4. Resident Evil: Director’s Cut – Sony Playstation: This one, like my next one, has close ties to my uncle, who is the guy I credit/shame for getting me into the video game genre. I have always been a fan of horror movies, books, games, whatever, and this is one of the first horror games I remember playing. I would spend almost every weekend over at my Uncle Jimmy’s just to watch him play through this until all hours of the night. I would generally take control of the strategy guide as he played through, and help him navigate through. I always got the hell scared out of me, but I loved every second of it. This is one of my favorite games from my childhood, so I will not be selling this off any time soon.
5. Tecmo Super Bowl – Nintendo Entertainment System: Arguably my favorite game of all-time, and without a doubt the greatest football game ever made, Tecmo Super Bowl is special. This is the first football game that I played with my aforementioned Uncle Jimmy, and it started years and years of football rivalry that continues through to this day. I would play this over and over again when I was at my house in order to improve my skill for when I met my uncle to play over the weekend. He always won, but it didn’t matter, I just kept training. Eventually, we moved on to the PSX with the Madden NFL and NFL Gameday series, but whenever I come back to Tecmo Super Bowl I am reminded of those Saturday nights with my family. Those are memories that I could never sell. I should note that I can beat his ass at just about any sport game nowadays, and it feels great to say so.
2) The Legend of Zelda (NES) – As much as I would like to say I would never get rid of this game in a million years, I’d already done it once. I used to get Funcoland catalogs in the mail as a kid and so I knew what individual games were worth. So using knowledge gained from that catalog, I traded my copy of this game (which could be purchased again for $5) to someone else for two GameBoy games (which sold for about $20 each) and I told myself that I would replace it someday. I did, but not until about a decade later. I promise I’ll never do that again… honest!
I really did regret not having that game during that period of time. I always wanted to play it, but as a kid with a limited game budget, I would much rather buy games that I haven’t played for that $5 rather than buy one that I have. How naive I was. I mean, c’mon… I used to dress up as Link and run around in my backyard with weapons and tools I created with things I found around the house. I even built my own raft. A RAFT!
3) Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN) – My friends never wanted to play this game with me, which is a shame, as it was the only game I wanted to play multiplayer constantly. It didn’t matter though. With or without them I would play this game if I didn’t have anything else to occupy my time with. Not only was it the ultimate in Nintendo fanservice, but the gameplay was just addicting as hell. And if I wasn’t playing it myself, then I was setting up computer controlled “What If?” matches that I could watch the outcome with.
4) Perfect Dark (N64) – Before first-person shooters went online and became a cesspool of derogatory slander and body language, friends would huddle around the same television set and play with the screen divided four ways. Not only did Perfect Dark allow you to customize your character and matches with a ridiculous amount of options, they had something that modern games can’t seem to get a grasp on: Bots (or Sims as they called them). That’s right, you can have CPU controlled opponents to test your reflexes against. I don’t know about you, but both myself and my friends are sore losers and don’t take to being defeated by each other very often. That’s why having AI controlled enemies was such a great thing.
“But Sean,” you might be saying. “Most shooters have some form of horde/survival mode now. Doesn’t that count?” No, it doesn’t. Three reasons:
1) Most modern games won’t allow split screen play anymore, much less for four people.
2) The customization options for such modes are usually lacking. If you want to complete the mode, you have to sit through a set number of rounds or waves that could take you an excess of 3 hours or more. I literally fell asleep while playing one of the 20 round Mad Moxxi tournaments on Borderlands.
3) They don’t allow you to put human players and cpu players on the same team for even matchmaking.
5) Shining Force (Genesis) – I can’t believe I got this far down the list without including a game from this era. Shining Force was my first Strategy RPG and is still one of my all time favorites. The first time I played it, I rented it from a video store and got all the way to the last chapter before I had to return it. I was afraid I would never be able to finish the game. The next time I went to that video store I rented the exact copy of that game that I had before and to my surprise, my saved game was untouched! I promptly finished the game at that point, but I still wanted to own it to replay to my heart’s content. I won’t ever let that one go.
1) Guardian Heroes (Sega Saturn). This is by far my favourite game of all time. Five playable characters in normal mode, tons of branching paths and a six player precursor to the Super Smash Bros style of fighting games that people like only with sixty plus characters and a better engine. No way I could give that up.
2) Sakura Taisen Complete Edition (Sega Dreamcast)
All four of the original Sakura Wars titles in one collection with added connectivity and continuity? Not only is it a cheat, but it’s my favourite gaming franchise all in one nifty box.
3) Shadowrun (Sega Genesis)
Say what you will about Neverwinter Nights or the SSI D&D games, the Sega Genesis Shadowrun title is the best tabletop pen and paper to computerized RPG ever. Not only did it convert both the entire gaming system and world perfectly, it was a blast to play even if you’d never made a Dwarven Street Samurai or Troll Decker before. I have a ton of memories around this game. it was the first Genesis game I purchased with my own money after finally finding a copy for sale in a store. No more constantly renting and living in fear that might save might be gone.
4) Shining Force CD (Sega CD)
Three Shining Force games in one disc! Two of these titles were originally for the Sega Game gear, but they were ported, cleaned up and given a special third adveture once you beat the first two games and had their save files on the same ram cart. Heh. Remember those days? I do remember a girl asking me out over the phone while I was playing this and I was like, “Umm…Shining Force?” With this I get every REAL SF game (as the others are on the VC or Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection) besides the SF3 titles, and as they were never sold in a collection, that would take up four slots, so fuck ‘em.
5) Baseball Stars (NES)
It actually took me forever to come up with a 5th title, if only because I had two action RPGs and two SRPGs. I could have taken an RBI Baseball or Lakers Vs. Celtics and the NBA Playoffs as I loved both of those franchises. I could have done Tecmo Bowl or Touken Retsuden 4. I could have even taken something light Night Warriors or Street Fighter Collection for the Sega Saturn. Instead I went with what remains the best game I ever played on the NES as well as the best sports game I have ever played regardless of system or generation. Baseball Stars let me make my own team and even watch the players grow or shrink in stats as time went on. I could have an entire team of fighting game characters or a team or Veritech pilots if I wanted to. The complexity and depth of this one 8 bit baseball game was something we didn’t ever see again until roughly this generation, and even then MLB: The Show is nowhere near as fun as this. I went weeks as a kid playing only this game because I wanted to do an entire season. I could easily do that again now.
1)International Superstar Soccer 64(Nintendo 64):
I only ever owned one soccer game ever for Nintendo 64 and this was it. Regular readers will know that I am something of a football fanatic so if something keeps me satisfied for the entire duration of the N64′s lifespan then you know it’s good. Sure, it’s dated now but at the time it was amazing and had features that many later football games would lack such as scenarios (one of the best parts of FIFA World Cup 2010 and the ability to showboat by juggling the ball in the air.
Shame though it had a complete lack of licenses which made the England team sound like the Iranian first XI.
2)Captain Tsubasa 3 (SNES):
For those that don’t know, Captain Tsubasa is a long running Japanese manga started in the 1980s chronicling the rise of a young boy (named Tsubasa obviously) who dreams of being the world’s best footballer. The manga is still running today actually! (It started with Tsubasa joining his Junior High’s footy team and now he’s at the U-23 World Cup and playing club football in Brazil!). The anime version got dubbed into many different languages in football mad regions like France, Italy, South America and my native Middle East (where it was called Captain Majed after Saudi football star Majed Abdullah).
Tecmo released a Captain Tsubasa game for NES that was a strange sort of “soccer RPG” (It was westernized as Tecmo Cup Soccer Game) where you input text commands to preform special skills and moves. It was followed by another NES sequel before the a graphical update, Captain Tsubasa 3 arrived on the SNES.
It was glorious. Tecmo would forever ruin Captain Tsubasa games past this and so it has a bit of a cult following through the use of online in emulators.
3)Skull Monkeys (Playstation One):
An LSD inspired platform game rendered in claymation. The introduction of this Tim Burton-esque game (a sequel to the Windows game The Neverhood) is patented nightmare fuel for small children and it doesn’t stop there. It’s still quite playable today but due to it’s obscurity it’s somewhat pricey (Usually going for 50-60$ on Ebay) but I would STILL buy it at that price.
4)Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (Nintendo 64):
Early on in the N64′s lifetime there was a dearth of good titles for the system (Kind of like Wii to those who completely forget how we were drip fed good first party titles in the N64 and GC days) and Mystical Ninja caught my eye. I was a kid at the time and the bright cartoony characters immediately endeared me to the game. I popped the game in back home and discovered it was a weird mix of Super Mario 64 and Legend of Zelda:OoT (before that game came out mind you). It had weird sense of humour due to being a game steeped in Japanese injokes and with a poor translation job (which really didn’t register with me as a kid because I sucked at grammar anyway) but if you can look past that you’ll find a quirky game.
5) Super Mario World (Super Nintendo):
Sure, SMW came packed in with the SNES but I played it for the entire duration of the SNES lifespan is by far my favorite 2D Mario game (I actually never played Super Mario Bros 3 on the NES). These days I can’t play videogames for a day before going “OH LOOK NEW SHINY GAME I MUST BUY IT!”. When a game can keep the attention of a hyperactive kid better than most of these new eye popping Next gen games can keep the attention of a grown man then….you know it’s good.
I miss the good old days.
1) Final Fantasy Tactic (PSX) – If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times. I love this game and I’ll never get bored of it. How can my favorite game of all time not make the list?
2) Killer Instinct (SNES) – I haven’t had an SNES in more than half a decade, let alone had one to play, but I’ll be damned if anyone will ever take KI from me. This is my favorite fighting game bar none and I doubt it will ever be surpassed.
3) Medievil II (PSX) – It might not be the best game, nor have I even touched it since I first played through it, but one look at Sir Dan’s “face” and I can’t help but get nostalgic. Medievil may be a dead franchise (and a great choice for a S4 column someday), but it still holds a special spot in my heart.
4) Rampart (NES) – Yes. It’s an NES port of an arcade game. Yes. You can get in on just about any download service. Yes. I’ll probably never pop it in an NES ever again, but for whatever reason, I can’t picture my collection without it.
5) Ratchet & Clank (PS2) – If I technically owned several of the N64 games in my possession, this probably wouldn’t make it above them, but as it is, the first in one of my favorite series is a no brainer. I don’t often replay games anymore, mostly because of how freaking many I haven’t played at all, but I still get the urge to plow through this one on occasion and to date, it is the only game in the series I’ve beaten multiple times. (Four times to be exact.) It was the game that kicked me into the PS2 era, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
1) Einhander (PSX) – OK, this is partly on here so that I don’t end up with all RPGs. Still, it’s fun trying to beat this with different fighters and weapons, and the soundtrack really sets the mood. Plus, flying around blowing things up never gets old.
2) Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (PSX) – I almost never buy games on impulse; to this day, even if I randomly spot something that seems interesting, I’d go research it first rather than pick it up right then. This was one of the only exceptions to that, and I’ve never regretted it, and only partly because if I were to get it now I would have to drop a lot more money than I did then. Shame we never did get the other half, though that was at least fan translated eventually.
3) Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons (GBC) – Maybe this is cheating a little, but I can’t pick just one, and it feels wrong to separate them. The fact that you could link them up (either with a cable or passwords) and get a different game added a lot of replay value. I have a soft spot for the GBC Zeldas, but especially these two.
4) Parasite Eve (PSX) – I have an intense love-hate relationship with horror: I tend to get freaked out by it (to what degree depends on the source material), yet I can’t help but keep coming back for more. Yes, some of the science is questionnable, and the Chrysler Tower dungeon could’ve used more variation. Nonetheless, this hits the sweet spot of satisfying my morbid fascination with horror without making me want to sleep with the lights on afterward (I’m looking at you, Fatal Frame games).
5) Fire Emblem (GBA) – I picked this up before a trip to Argentina after seeing a good amount of praise aimed in its direction so that I’d have something to play on the 11 hour flight there and back. Not only did it get me hooked to the series, it also led me to the community where I met a bunch of people, including the love of my life (here, have a toothbrush for the cavities). So yes, this one’s never leaving my hands.
1.) Phantasy Star (SMS) – I pretty much pick this up and beat it about once every two years or so, partly because I pretty much have the whole game memorized at this point, and partly because it was pretty much the first good RPG I ever played. The game is pretty much a dinosaur at this point for a number of reasons, and Sega has unfortunately chosen not to port the redone Sega Ages remake of the game to the US, but these things don’t diminish the experience of playing the first game for me in the least. While the fourth game offers a far better story and better mechanics and the second game offers custom parties and better visuals, the original Phantasy Star will probably never bore me to a point where I don’t want to play it anymore, and that’s good enough for me.
2.) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSX) – While I’m not quite at Mr. J. Rose’s level of having to play the game from beginning to end once a year, I still enjoy busting what is probably the best Castleroid game ever made out now and again just to kick the crap out of it one more time. Alucard is a complete badass, and the customizable equipment system was and still is pretty fantastic for a game of this type. That very few Castlevania titles have managed to capture the experience of Symphony of the Night in a meaningful way speaks volumes, and for that reason, I will probably never get tired of playing this bad boy.
3.) Fire Pro Returns (PS2) – Because a Fire Pro game was going to make the list somewhere, and since apparently the PS2 is considered “retro” now (God I feel old), this is the version I’m going with. Fire Pro Wrestling D is also an acceptable substitution in case the PS2 is too new for your personal tastes. Since I can pretty much play this game forever, it has to make the list, so there you are.
4.) Street Fighter Alpha 3 (PSX/PS2) – This one is pretty much my fighting game of the list, partly because I’ve spent a large amount of time playing this against other people and partly because it’s one of the best fighting games ever made. This is mostly on the list, however, because it’s one of the very few fighting games I can play against my friends without everyone getting bored relatively quickly. While I personally love King of Fighters 97 and Melty Blood: Actress Again more as fighting games, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a lot more fun, and Street Fighter III is more mechanically sound, Street Fighter Alpha 3 is the game I’ve spent the most overall time with against my friends, and for that reason, it gets the nod.
5.) Amplitude (PS2) – Amplitude is not my favorite game of its kind; I was more of a fan of Frequency, to be honest. Amplitude is not my favorite rhythm game; Rock Band 2 is more interactive as a group experience and generally a lot more fun, and if we’re restricting it to “retro” games, you could pick a Dance Dance Revolution title from the PSX or PS2 era that I’d probably like as much, if not more. I have no personal interest in the game per say, and while I like it fine, it’s not on my short list of favorite games or anything. Rather, this is on my list for the same reason Romeo Montague decided that drinking a bottle of poison would be a swell idea, and that’s all I have to say about that.
Yes, I will make a list and exclude Mario games. Shocking.
- Blades of Steel (NES): This is the first game I bought with my own money. I had to gather every last dollar I received on my birthday, for Christmas and for any other occasion I would receive money. It took a long time, but I ended up getting that game. My younger wanted to get a game of his own too at the same time, and he ended up getting Ghostbusters 2. I have a feeling he won’t want to hold on to it.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64): It is my favourite game of all-time, I have written two in-depth articles about it, and the version I own is the limited edition gold cartridge. It doesn’t get much more special than that for me. I still have the box because it had that shiny hologram thingy on it.
- Goldeneye (N64): We still play this game, so I will be really pissed if I walk into my brother’s apartment one day only to find out that he has sold this game. Even the coming Wii remake doesn’t look like the real thing. I must have spent hundreds of hours playing this game. I even remember dropping it in the street one day while taking it to a friend’s house, completely freezing thinking I broke it when I saw it pop open, and then breathing easier when I was able to put the cartridge back together. It still plays to this day! This game is INCINVIBLE.
- NBA Jam: Tournament Edition (SNES): A coworker and I still use that game’s slang when playing sports, even if we’re not playing basketball. A slap shot from the point when we play hockey is “FROM DOWNTOWN!”. It may make me obnoxious, but I like to yell “BOOMSHAKALAKA!” when I score too. Finally, whoever tells me he’s never said “HE’S ON FIRE!” when a teammate of his was on a good sequence is simply lying. I’ll have to wait until the Wii remake is released later this year to see if I can sell this game. I’m afraid they’ll mess it up somehow.
- Rampage: Total Destruction (GCN): Sure, it may be the worst game on the list, but it’s admirable in its simplicity. The real reason why I’m keeping it though is because smashing things is something that my brother and I enjoy. If we need to have a manly talk, we play this game and smash stuff. If we have nothing better to do, we still play this game and smash stuff. And if we’re angry, we definitely play this game and smash stuff. If we’re done smashing stuff in the newest game, the disk also holds the NES original as well as the N64 update, Rampage: World Tour. That’s a lot of smashing to be done.
It’s feedback time, my friends, and the DHGF staff would love to know which games you absolutely cannot live without. Tell us all about the retro games you will always keep with you in the comments section! If you would prefer to leave us a question to answer in a future edition, you’re more than welcome to do so. You can also click on “email the author” at the top of this article and add the subject line “Ask the Kliq”. We’ll put our team right on it.
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