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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Favorite Games Part 2

7. Rise of Nations

I have a thing against real-time strategy games. I hate how they claim to be about strategy, but instead devolve into click-fests at the same general speed of first-person shooters. How can you actually plan that fast? Look, I know some people can do it, but those people have to play the game day-in, day-out for years. How can someone just randomly drop into this environment and expect to have fun?

That's why my favorite real-time strategy game is Rise of Nations, if only because you are able at any time to pause the action, issue orders, and then continue again. This was really one of the first games that allowed you to do so. Other games would let you pause, and sometimes you could issue an order, but not to the degree of Rise of Nations. It felt like a real-time/turn-based hybrid, and that's not even getting into how it was designed by the immortal Brian Reynolds and feels more like Civilization (one of the best strategy games ever) than any other real-time strategy game I've ever played.

6. Super Metroid

Some games are good. Others are great. Others are unimpeachably legendary. Super Metroid is in the latter category.

Setting you down on the site of the first Metroid game, you go through the eerily abandoned ruins of the first game. Happening upon the first of many powerups, a light shines on you. Mother Brain knows you're here.

I'm not going to say much more after that. If you've played Super Metroid, you know how amazing it is. If you haven't played it, you're an idiot. Go play it now. If you have a Wii, get the game through the Virtual Console. If you have a Super Nintendo, find a cartridge on eBay. Just do it. You'll thank me later.

5. Super Mario Bros. 2

My love for Mario 2 is well-documented. It was one of the most revolutionary platformers that paved the way for countless games that came afterward. It set the standard for quirky platforming play, and showed that you can break molds and still be successful.

It also excelled in another way: up until then, boss battles were fairly standard affairs. Spit fireballs at the boss. Shoot the boss with bullets. Stab the boss with a sword. Stock stuff, really. Mario 2 made changes to that. Consider Fryguy, a boss that you had to hit with blocks. After you hit him three times, he split in two, and you had to hit them too. Then, each of those split into four and you had to hit those too. This doesn't sound really impressive until you consider that there wasn't anything else like this at the time.

In other words, when you're playing God of War and have to climb inside a boss's innards to get a key instead of just shooting it until it falls over, thank Mario 2 for making it possible.