Friday, August 14, 2009

The 100 Best Computer Games Ever?

Ok, been reading the Empire Magazine Top 100 games list and thought I'd weigh in on it. I never owned a console prior to my Wii, so the games I have played on this list are mostly limited to PC, Amiga and Commodore 64.

Firstly, there is no clear indication how the Top 100 were assessed. I personally think it should be on durability technical merit and originality. Looking at this list there are too many FPS games - Doom and Quake are fair enough. But Half-Life, Half-Life 2, Halo and so on? I suspect like "Who is the best Doctor Who polls" there is a slight bias to newer games.

Secondly there are too many series of games salamaied. While I agree Resident Evil or Grand Theft Auto (probably) merit mention I don't think a series should count more than once unless the game is sufficiently distinct from its predecessors. So GTA 1 and GTA 4 are fair game, but GTA 3, Vice City, 4 and so on are all essentially the same game tarted up slightly.

#100 Speedball 2 - I never really saw the appeal of this game. I guess it was Grand Theft Auto for the 90s.

#98: Worms 2 - Worms is pretty good isn't it?

#95: Alone in the Dark - no, not the new quasi-emo version Atari made, this is the 1920s era Call of Cthulhu inspired masterpiece that basically launched the 3D survival horror genre. Personally given this ground-breakingness I would rate it higher than any subsequent 3D horror game.

#93: Dungeon Master - this was similarly groundbreaking, the first 3D realtime RPG. I personally preferred Eye of the Beholder or Knightmare but this clearly belongs here on this list.

#91: Another World - actually really surprised to see another Amiga game. This isn't particularly significant in my mind beyond some pretty graphics.

#88: Thief II - Thief defined the sneak 'em up genre, while Thief 2 was pretty much the same game, only prettier and with more sneak 'em up type missions and less Raiders of the Lost Ark scenarios. This game came with medieval robots. And some neat fan missions.

#87: Lemmings - surprised this is so low. Good game. Loved the music.

#86: IK+ - this was an awesome game. I have it on my Wii. Should be higher in the list. Should also be remade... hmmm.

#81: Sim City - this is too addicitive and too lowly rated here.

#77: Day of the Tentacle - great game.

#72: Diablo 2 - never really saw what people saw in this game. Diablo 1 & 2 seemed very shallow dull games to me.

#71: Quake - never got into Quake like I did with Doom.

#70: Guitar Hero - not sure this belongs on this list.

#69: Secret of Monkey Island - should be higher. Recently remade, with (I wish) MI2 to follow.

#61: Gauntlet - classic!

#54: Silent Hill - this was quite a scary surreal game. I really need to reinstall this and finish it. The movie wasn't bad (despite what everyone else thought).

#53: Tie Fighter - a good solid flight-sim that was much much better than X-Wing.

#49: Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion - I have to admit I was hooked on Oblivion for a while, but after completing both the Knights of Nine expansion and the main plotline I began to by the Shivering Isles feel it was a bit repetitive and samey feeling, with any characters you meet lacking any depth. A bit like how Elite gets if you play it for waaay too long. Not really a classic, but very very pretty - I also find its predecessor Morrowind lacks any real direction in how to get started which makes it difficult to play.

#43: Sensible Soccer - Despite a lifetime aversion to football I believe I found this quite fun on the Amiga, although when I played it there were absurd scored like 42-26. Good football simulator and actually fun as well.

#41: Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem - This is probably the game on the list I've played most recently on my Wii. It's really quite good and has the distinction of being a game that made me scream like a little girl whilst playing it in front of Naomi and Claudia. Lovecraftian horror agogo with time-hopping sections involving characters going from Ancient Rome to the Gulf War and the ability to suffer insanity. It starts with screaming in the background, then you start walking into rooms upside down. Flies crawling inside your TV. Phantom ammo and hallucinated enemies. Messages telling you that you must buy the sequel or that the game has crashed. Scary stuff!

#34: Resident Evil 2 - yes, this is a serious scary game, but is it scarier than Alone in the Dark was?

#31: Knights of the Old Republic - this is the best RPG I've played in a long time with a plot to rival Empire Strikes Back. Slightly hampered by a dodgy rushed sequel that promised an as-yet undelivered 3rd installment, which is now going to be the MMOO.

#30: Resident Evil 4 - wow, they really like Resident Evil. Certainly a better game than RE2 I wonder, was it really scary and such a big advance? Fuelled my fear of masked men with chainsaws.

#28: Tetris - should definitely be higher in the list. This game's got some serious durability and replay value.

#25: Resident Evil - ok, this list is definitely overdoing it on RE. This is not as scary as 2, but does have 'excellent' voice acting in the original version.

#22: Grand Theft Auto 3 - I presume they are going to have IV or Vice City (my favourite), San Andreas (2nd favourite despite the gangsta talk subtitles really needing their own English subtitles!) show up later.

#19: Baldur's Gate 2 - excellent RPG, though I feel it is a little too high in this top 100.

#17: Mario Kart - the original. Me-likey. Wii version is a fixture in my household.

#16: GTA IV - haven't played this but I told you it'd be here.

#13: Elite - oh hell yeah! But why isn't it in the Top 10? Or is Elite 2: Frontier going to be there?

#11: Planescape Torment - surprisingly higher than BG2 this is a game I continually start to play and end up stopping. Perhaps I find Planescape too weird for my tastes compared to conventional D&D (Baldur's Gate) or Star Wars (Knights of the Old Republic). I need to reinstall it though and give it a 20th chance.

#10: Goldeneye - personally I thought this game was overrated.

#7: Doom - I was wondering when we'd get to this. Technologically I would say Wolfenstein 3D deserves an honourable mention too!

#6: Street Fighter 2 - I used to be a master at this, tanning all and sundry when I was a teenager and hearing cries of, "Stop using the same sets of moves on me." Definitely a fair ranking.

#3: World of Warcraft - haven't played it (which is why I occassionally see sunlight and feel the sun on my skin) but this is overrated. Ultima Online was the first successful MMO and should occupy this spot if you have to include an MMO. Which you shouldn't IMHO.

#2: Final Fantasy 7 - suffers from Planescape Syndrome - I keep promising myself to play through it fully so I can watch the Advent Children movie. FF7 personally I find less immersive than Knights of the Old Republic or Baldur's Gate 2 (which in turn are less immersive than Ultima 7 or Ultima 5 Lazarus). Good game but massively overrated, including sadly in this poll.

#1: Super Mario World - again good game but overrated! Is Mario World the greatest game really? It's fun, but it's not exactly a classic as its superceded by later Mario games.

What's missing?

Personally I'm sad Frontier, Elite 2 didn't get in. With a realisticish physics engine, a good representation of our solar system allowing you to fly from London to Tokyo, or off to Alpha Centauri and beyond it's a classic I still reply.

If Mario World is #1 surely Sonic should be in there somewhere. (Personally I think Super Mario Bros was more significant than any further Mario spin-off).

Ultima Underworld - the first ever game to use proper 3D rather than the 'cheat' that Doom or Wolfenstein 3D, allowing you to swim under bridges whilst maintaining the ability to walk over the bridge, not to mention its relatively more sophisticated interactions.