I take the opportunity offered by The Well-Red Mage who launched this new challenge some weeks ago. I wasn’t actually invidet to write this post, but this is my blog so my blog, my rules 🙂 It’s interesting to have to decide just one game per year, since there are years in which I could write down dozens of games and years when I was not playing any game. However I managed to complete the list that goes from 1985 to 2018, so enjoy it!
1985 – Super Mario Bros.
Of course I played Super Mario Bros. a few years later its release date but I can consider this game the “alpha” of my gamng experience. released the same year I was born, this was the first game I’ve ever played on a console I owned, the NES my parents gave me in 1991. I don’t have to tell you that’s a great game but the fact that it was my first, adds more passion to the love I already spread for it.
1986 – Castlevania
That’s a completely different story in comparison to Super Mario Bros., since I’ve played Castlevania for the first time only in 2016 (shame on me) so 30 years after its original release date no less not on the actual cartridge but thanks to the NES Mini. Anyway the goal is ot get as soon as I can the phisical copy of the game to enjoy the real experience.
1987 – Contra a.k.a Probotector
That’s another game I played only in my adulthood since I managed to get it only last year. It’s one of the games I’m currently playing even though I’m stuck at a dead end. Even though the european and the american version are virtually identical I prefer the latter, since moving a pseudo-robot in the jungle is not as sartisfying as controlling a Rambo-style private.
1988 – Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario Bros. 3 is one of the games I owned as a kid and it’s probably the one I’ve spent most hours onto, especially with my frind Valentina back then when we were kids. It’s one of the perfect games that sums great gameplay, lovely level designa, everchanging settings, tough stages, high longevity and immense replay value. You can’t define yourself a games if you’ve never tried it. Not to be missed.
1989 – DuckTales
Another game I owned…kinda. Actually this was my friend’s game but we used to swap our cartridges every week so I consider it oneof “my” games. Even though it’s rather easy it features a funny gameplay and some of the best musics ever made, among which my favourite tune of all time, the Moon Theme.
1990 – Turrican (mettiamoci anche eye of the beholder?)
Even though in 1990 I was moving my first steps with video games, the game for 1990 is mainly an home computer game, since Turrican graced systems as the Atari ST or the Amiga. My first envounter with it was on my original PC with the DOS port which is for me the link between console platformers and more “adult” PC platformers.
With the beginning of the decade, it starts for me the “PC era”. Despite I’ve receive my furst PC in 1994, the first games I had on it were a bit older, so from the beginning of the 90s. Those were the years in which the graphic adventures were leading the market with the LucasArts-Sierra “war” in background. I’ve always been on Lucas side and this explains why in 1991-1993 you see a trilogy of LucasArts branded adventures. Mobkey Island is probably the first PC game I’ve played “with” my former roomate since we used to talk about our progress everyday.
This is one of the few games my uncle game me when I first got my 386 PC and it’s a great, great game that stands on top of my personal ranking. An adventure with a movie-like plot (that unfortunately has never been converted into an actual movie) and a great longevity. The first time I’ve completed it, when I was in my 20s, I cried on the phone with my friend giving her the news.
This one came together with Indy and it took me years as well to complete. I managed to beat it earlier than Indy but it took me anyway like 10 years to see the final screen. The surreal setting and the cartoonish style should not mislead: it’s funny but hard as the other adventures; probably harder since the puzzles have to be solved with some out-of-the-box thinking and sometimes stupid actions.
1994 – Doom II – Grand Prix 2
In 1994 two games share the cake: Doom II because is the first game that made me fall in love with the FPS genre and Grand Prix 2 because is still now in 2018 my go-to racing game if I want to enjoy some realistic and nostalgic simulation. Doom is also the first game in which I’ve used some cheat codes, the famous IDKFA and IDDQD.
The RTSs are not precisely my games of choice but I have to admit that in the second half of the 90s there were a few smash hits that were permanently installed on my PC: Age of Empires at the beginning, then Imperialism, Heroes of Might and Magic III and later Cossacks, but Warcraft has always been a soft spor in my heart. Back then I was blown away by the detailed graphics and the fact that every character was able to “talk” was a great feature. I’m a “Scenario” pèlayer, not a “Campaign” one and play Warcraft years later against my friends via LAN cable has been an amazing experience.
Duke cannot be out of this list since I love it for an endless number of reasons. I’ve played it again and again and again but never beat it probably because I’ve always played it just to have fun and, very often, cheat with the DNSTUFF and DNKROZ codes. On the other hand even Resident Evil couldn’t be outside the list since it share just with Duke the top of my personal best games ranking with a score of 100/100. I’ve played it the first time on my uncle’s PS1 and I remember I couldn’t sleep for weeks aven though I always had the curiosity to play it again. This was the main reason that kept me away from horror movies for a good decade.
1997 – Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
Another great game from the PS1. The perfect mix of action and platform and the great story behind make Abe’s Oddysee the best game of the “second era” of the 2D platformers. I still have to beat it but I want to wait until I’ll find the original copy of the game to play on my PS1.
1998 – Half-Life
After 1997’s detour from PC games here we come back again on the keyboard with the game which is, in my opinion, the best FPS ever made. I remember I played it with my dad, or better he was watching me as I was playing it. It was one of the best experiences on a game, since it’s perfect in many aspects. I haven’t still revidited it but I can give you a small spoiler. It will be another 100/100
1999 – Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
The Resident Evil franchise is strong in my list of games and Nemesis takes the crown in the last year of the millennium. This would have been another 100/100 but the fact that the style and the gasmeplay are the same as in Resi 1 and 2 it doesn’t deserve the complete glory. Despite this it’s another incredible survival horror, scary as fuck with the difficulty and the tension that only the Resident Evil saga can give.
2000 – Deus Ex – Baldur’s Gate II – Shadows of Amn
It wasn’t fair not including and RPG in this list and that’s why the second installment of the Baldur’s gate series stands neck a neck with Deus Ex another great FPS with (ironically) some RPG elements. I was in high school in 2000 and RPGs and FPSs were the two main genres for us boys. We didn’t really side with one genre or the other, we used to play both and in 2000 these two games were the hot topics.
2001 – Max Payne
A more malinconic and sometimes terrifying FPS gets the cake in 2001. There were the years when my only goal when I was playing games, was shooting everywhere. Luckily I’m an angry bastard only on the PC, I have never touched a gun in my life, neither a fake one.
2002 – Europa Universalis II
I’ve always been a good student with excellent grades but EU2 was the perfect link between studying and playing. Do you know when you’re studying history and you keep reading about battles, places, whole regions that pass from a kingdom to another without really knowing precisely where they are? Well Europa Universalis is what you need. It can realy be defined as an educational games since sometime it helps learning history more than a book does.
2003 – SimCity 4
From the middle od the Noughties to, well, today we’re experiencing in video games and even more in the movies, an invasion of sequels, remakes and reboots always with bigger budgets and always with bigger hype. SimCity 4 is one of the games of this category but, luckily, is not a shitty one. The superb graphics and the endless number of parameteres you can modify give to this game a huge longevity and replay value and for me is still now probably the best game of the series (maybe no, in the end SimCity 2000 was fun as fuck)
2004 – GTA San Andreas – Half-Life 2
The first because it was the background game of a summer spent with my best friends. During the summer pause from school we used to stay out and play football everyday and at night we slept all together since one of us had his parents away for three weeks for a vacation. three weeks spent playing GTA at 3 a.m. is something to remember. Half-Life 2 instead is a game that has to be in the list because, as well as its predecessor, is a great FPS, probabaly even better even if my heart keep saying that the first was the best one.
2005 – Resident Evil 4
By this year my time dedicated to the game was shrinking so the title that I consider the top for every year are very biased due to the very very small amount of games tried. Resi 4 is not precisely my favourite game of the series since it abandoned the “cinematographic” visual and used an over-the-shoulder camera. However Resi is always Resi and even considering the small amount of games played in 2005, the fourth chapter takes the cake.
2006 – New Super Mario Bros.
During the university years my experience as a gamer was virtually over. I only had a small laptop with Ubuntu installed (they were the years when I hated Windows), no games on it and no time to play. But years later I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy the return in 2D of Super Mario with this game, played on my DS. Nothing more to say, Mario is always Mario.
2007 – Portal
I fell in love with Valve the first time I’ve played Half-Life. I’ve then briefly played Team Fortress and Counter-Strike and I loved portal. In 2007 it was an entire decade I was playing FPSs so their time was about to come: Portal was the swan song.
2009 – Forza Motosport 3
I’ve always been a lover of racing games and, as I loved back then the first Gran Turismo games I loved as well Forza Motorport. It’s funny how the thirst chapter of a series has something very special for me: I consider GT3 the best game in the series, I super-love Resident Evil 3 and Forza Motorsport 3 is the best game of the franchise I’ve played. But it’s even the only one…:)
2010 – PES 2011
This was the last PES game I’ve bought and it’s the one I still play with my ex-roomate come to visit to have some wine, beans with sauce and PS2. Of course I’ve modified all the team, players and logos so there’s noting less of the original game but we love it like this. It’s one of the game I’ve played the most in my life and has the unenviable record of first cause of broken PS
2011 – Mario Kart 7
I couldn’t help but include one of the Mario Kart games. Even though I’m a fan of my fellow countryman plumber, I’ve never been an hardcore Mario Kart gamer but I did try Mario Kart 7 on my 2DS and it was cool! Of course not something to celebrate as the game of the decade but when I have some spare time I always enjoy this
2012 – Black Mesa
Again another Half-Life iteration. The loyalty to the series I loved in the past made me play almost only games related to them during the years in which I wasn’t almost playing at all. Take my favourite character and one of my favourite FPSs, enhance it with great visuals and there you have it, Black Mesa.
2013 – Europa Universalis IV
Having experienced the great Europa Universalis 2, I couldn’t miss Europa Universalis IV, a game I’ve started to play last year that I still play sometimes. Harder and more sophisticated that its predecessor, it’s not a game to miss if you love srtategic historical simulations.
2014 – Shovel Knight
I’ve never followed the indie scene not for diffidence but simply because I had no consoles where to play the new games, since my go-to system was the PC and for years I haven’t played anything new. But the first time I tried Shovel Knight with its retro (but not so retro) visuals I was happy to see that, even in the era of perfect graphics there was still time for lighter entertaining.
2015 – Axiom Verge
With the same point of view I’ve adopted for Shovel Knight, even 2015 sees as a “game of the year” an old style one, Axiom Verge, that I can consider (quietly whispering) a blatant copy of Metroid and sequels. But still, it’s a funny game so it deserved its rank.
2016 – Doom
Let’s be frank, I hate it when they take a good game and they transform it into a franchise pumped with steroids. Doom was a simple FPS with an unnamed human protagonist. Now he’s an hyper technologic soldier with futuristic weapons fighting who-knows-what. But still it’s Doom and it’s a great game, even if it’s a remake/reboot.
2017 – Resident Evil 7 – Super Mario Odyssey
I want to be completely honest with you. I’ve just seen people playing these two games and I’ve not played them myself. But as far as I’m concerned they look like groundbreaking games. Not only Resident Evil 7 if played with a VR set cuold be the most terrifyng experience of your life, but also Super Mario Odyssey looks like the great return of Mario in 3D in a completely unusial environment. I always support Nintendo and I hope that with this new Mario game the Switch can really forget the nightmare of the Wii U.
2018 – ?
This will be the second complete year for me as a collector but I still have to make an importand last step: getting in touch with new consoles. Yes, retro is ok, but one day even the PS4 will be retro and moreover I cannot pass completely on the new games: among the shitty one for sure there will be something good! So this is the goal for 2018: fing a good “game of the year”.