Lucard’s Note: Yes, you’re reading that date correctly. Feb 4th, 2004. Three and a half years ago I did a little something called the “Top 30 RPG’s of All Time” for 411Mania. Since we moved to Inside Pulse, we’ve gone through 3-4 design changes and our archives have been pretty messed up, meaning a lot of my older stuff is hard to find. Several times a week, I get a request from someone to find this countdown, so I figured that if I’m going to repost this in 2007, I might as well add a little something back to it. It reeks of sloppiness to just repost a column without any new content. So consider this reposting of the Top 30 RPG Countdown to be a Director’s Cut.
Note that 3.5 years is a long time in gaming. That’s half a console’s lifespan. As we look back on this, I’ll be adding screenshots and box covers (Since god knows we couldn’t at 411 back in the day), but also adding some modern commentary on my own thoughts looking back on this list from an older and hopefully wiser Sub-Cultural Icon. It is interesting to see how my voice and style has changed over the years as well.
Holy + Fuck = the ride it’s been to get this thing done. Originally it was going to be a redux of the Top Ten Franchises column I did to start Retrograding. Then I went a little too hardcore by doing a listing of every game in all of my top ten series, a history, and my god it became a book. To have done it on 411mania would have taken six months. At least. God knows we would all be sick of the games, my column and life if I did it that way. However, as it is enough material for a book,
But enough about that teaser. After all, FISH! For Life (Alex’s note: Fish For Life was a book from Charthouse Learning I helped work on. Who else at IP or 411 have not 1, but 4 NYT bestseller credits to their name? Only me baby. Behold my wacky ego!) just came out, and that’s enough on my plate NYT list wise as is.
Then this was going to be a Top Ten solo RPG game list. But as I mentioned the games I was putting in, (But no in order) people would say, “What about this game? You love this game!” And I would in fact agree; I did love that game, but it wasn’t top ten worthy. So I realized I would have to do a larger list.
In a five minute brainstorming session, I had a list of 50 games. That rather creeped me out, mainly because I still had more games to go.
Then there was the problem of quasi-RPGs. Games like Guardian Heroes and River City Ransom. They both kicked ass but I considered them to be Side Scrolling Beat ‘Em Ups with RPG elements ala Dungeon and Dragons Arcade by Capcom. So I removed them.
In the end I went with 30 games. Ten weeks of RG columns to be followed by 2 weeks of the offshoot this little series created: Top Ten Side Scrolling Beat ‘Em Up’s Ever. (Alex’s Note: I never did the Beat ‘Em Up List. At least never released it publicly…)
Why 30? No real reason. Just accept it. You’re going to have to accept a lot of things with this list. Why? Because sadly, as I’ve seen with every Top anything list any publication does, there seems the usual idiocy from the fanbase. And before it begins I’m going to address it here.
1. Guess what! If it’s not on the list, that doesn’t mean it sucks!
That’s right! Too often gamers that read a list blow their load and whine like a schoolgirl because a game they truly love is not on the list. But guess what? You didn’t make the list! The writer in question did. In this case, it’s yours truly writing the list.
There are SO many games I love that didn’t make the list. That doesn’t mean they are bad. They’re still good and great games. They just aren’t in my top 30. DEAL WITH IT. This column is not the word of God handed down from on high to his prophet. This is one guy with an opinion writing out HIS list of favorites. If they don’t match up worth yours, the word does not end. I am but one man with my opinion. It is no more right or wrong then yours. Don’t bitch or whine or moan. If you agree, great. Don’t do a big ass post about how much I rock. If you hate it, don’t show your immaturity by string profanity together in a sing song-esque sentence. You just look like a dipshit. Especially after this commentary. (Alex’s Note: Of course people bitched anyway. God bless the internet.)
2. You, the reader, asked for this list. And to sate my public, it has been given to you.
I didn’t have to this. But I get two groups of questions more than anything else “What are my favorite RPG’s” and “Why the f*ck do you tear nearly every game you review a new asshole?”
You’re getting the first right here, and the second is unfounded. I am nice to lots of games. I can just be King Bitch to games I hate. (Alex’s Note. Three years later, I have to recant here. I really have earned my rep for being one of, if not, the strictest reviewer in the industry.)
Because you guys asked for it, I’m devoting a massive amount of my time to this project. So instead of bitching because it’s not in the exact order you want, try and keep an open mind and realize that a lot of these games are ones the usual 411 reader has never played or forgotten about, or in the case of the quote-unquote, “HARDCORE GAMER,” these are all games you should know and play for conversation’s sake, if not love. Sure they won’t be in the order you 100% agree with, and they may not be in your top 30, but I can’t imagine anyone saying, “Wow. I really hate that game.”
3.The less adult of you will get pissed off.
Guess what? In the 14 months I have been doing this, I have learned one thing: I am better at fucking with your emotional nerves than most writers in the IVGC, whether it be intentional or accidental. Especially when it comes to my asshole side.
Remember my second RG column? I did a total parody of the typical gaming idiot who talks out his ass. I wrote about emulation killing the Dreamcast. So many people took it seriously. I know Bebito (Alex’s Note: Bebito Jackson co-ran 411Games and IP Games with me at various times. Great writer and even better person.) and I laughed and laughed and laughed at the mail I got from people agreeing with me and people flaming my ass. But the best emails were from the people that got the joke. Let it be said that the average gamer I have come across in my tenure in this industry lacks the ability to discern dry wit and subtle mockery.
So why don’t I warn you of all the things in this countdown that will make you angry now so you don’t have to read the countdown and you can sit in your parent’s dank basement and write angry letters to someone else who didn’t foresee your very scary obsession over GAMES THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FUN. Yay for passion. Boo for an alarming lack of acceptance of people think differently from you.
There is not a single Final Fantasy Game on the List
You should know by now I HATE every Final Fantasy other than I, II, IX, and FFT. If you’re reading this because of a link, then guess what? I hate Final Fantasy. The gameplay, the plot, the repetitive nature and the constant rehashing without innovation. The Games sure are pretty though! Before you think I just generally hate Square, one of the highest ranking games on here is made by them.
There is not a Suikoden Game on the List
They’re okay games. I prefer II to I and I think III is a pile of garbage. Deal with it.
There is not a Star Ocean Game on the list
Any game that focuses on the mini games and things like item creation more than the actual game annoys me. Any time the min games or “extras” take more time than the actual game (See FFVIII/ToD2) I will not enjoy it. Extras are good, but I want meat, not padding.
There are no games from the following systems on the List: GCN, N64, SNES, TG-16, Master System, Jaguar, Neo-Geo, CD-I, 3D0, or Game Gear.
This is the one that bothers me the most and that I feel deserves the controversy. At least in regards to the SNES. I love my Super Nintendo. But I never really got into the RPG’s. I played it for Metroid and Zelda and Populus and R-Type and Super Punch Out and games like that.
Earthbound? I love it. It’s just not in the top 30. Chrono Trigger? Good game. But again, not one of my all time favorites. Actraiser? I consider it for a sim than a RPG, like Princess Maker II. The two excellent games, but they’re not RPG’s to me. They’re SIMS with RPG elements. Shadowrun? The Genesis version is far superior in every way. And that one IS one here. Super Mario RPG? I don’t like Mario games. I just don’t.
I can drop that fake pissy/sarcastic asshole act on this point because I was shocked there wasn’t an SNES game on the countdown. But when I looked at what I had chosen, I knew those were the games I prefer. So SNES fans, know I love the system. I have it currently hooked up. I just didn’t play it for RPG’s.
4. To repeat: There are many games I love that are not on this list
I realize that no one is going to be happy unless I did a top 100. And even then I’d leave off some games or have ones people would bitch about “Virtual Hylyde? That game had Kirk Cameron! You fuking suck Lucard!” Or, “Where’s Repton? Sure it’s a game only British Gamers would know of AND it’s not even an RPG. But it should be on the list. You fucing suck Lucard!” And I realize that. Just please, for the sake of most people’s sanity: realize that too.
5. I welcome all emails to this: Hate and praise filled.
Just please be constructive, intelligent and verbose. Explain your thoughts with articulation, not profanity. And above all, be adult. I welcome discourse, but not inane jibber-jabber on this. After all, it’s opinion. I don’t write you saying your opinion is stupid because you thought Demikids was a Pokemon ripoff when in fact Megaten was around before Pikachu.
God help me, I think I actually covered every possible fan boy/insane fanatic possibility, save death threats, email viruses, and kidnapping my pet bunny rabbit.
Please note, although this preamble column was written with tongue firmly in cheek, a lot of this shit does happen to every VG columnist out there and will continue to happen as long as people suck. I wish to god most gamers knew how to express themselves without freaking out when someone disagrees with them. Thankfully that is the majority of the audience I have built up. I just wish it was the norm instead of the rarity.
Just remember this is meant to be fun. This is a chance for me to write and be all nostalgic towards so many forgotten classic. For you to see what games I really love. But most of all, because I’m the wacky Retrogamer who somehow owns nearly 50 NeoGeo carts, it’s to introduce those games long gone by to the casual gamer, which in fact makes up the majority of the 411 audience. It’s to get you to whip out your old systems and enjoy games that may lack the graphics of today, but have a hell of a lot more heart and soul and love poured into them that the crap we’ve been getting lately.
So take your anti-psychotic meds and share in the music and fun.
If you’re not careful, you may learn something before it’s done.
HEY HEY HEY!
Na na na gonna have a good time! HEY HEY HEY!
Na na na gonna have a good time!