These old things have cast my mind a little farther back in time today. A lot of the things I put in order were books and old N64 and PS2 titles. I'd nearly forgotten how much these titles imprinted on me: I will recount as many of them as I can recollect, though some titles have been scattered into the great beyond before I found this moment: fitting.
Banjo Kazooie / Banjo Tooie (Nintendo 64)
This was one of the first games I played all the way through. From the beginning, the absurd premise of the game and cheeky humor of the full cast has never left me. There's an unmistakable degree of self-awareness within this game that I've come to appreciate as well.
WipEout 64 and WipEout HD (Nintendo 64 and PS3)
Racing games have always been a weakness of mine: they have always found a way into my heart because of the artistic freedom that can be taken with the world of these games. With many games, the scenery is one of the first things that a person notices.
Before any dialogue, characters, or story can be laid out, the world-building is always the first thing a person notices when playing something for the first time.
For those not in-the-know, WipEout is a futuristic racing game. The player controls a hovering machine and uses weapons, racing tact and wit to beat the other racers to the finish line.
The WipEout series is so well-executed. It's actually the inspiration behind a lot of my work for how well it uses this neo-future environment in its storytelling. There's hardly a story in WipEout and yet the amount of feeling that's able to be conveyed with only the world is amazing.
To speak on the gameplay, there's nothing quite like playing WipEout because of its remarkable pace, either: only F-Zero has a faster click. The number of racers in the N64 version is also remarkable for its time.
The best part of it all is that the neo-future tone is maintained both throughout the game and throughout the series. The menus are sleek. The racing is fast and gripping. The game is one of the best I've ever played.
Burnout Paradise (Playstation 3)
Open-world racing has never been so well-executed. This is another instance of a game where the developers have paid great attention to detail, especially when it relates to the game's world and racing environment. Your fast cars and long drifts are flanked by only the most detailed scenery and interactive environment.
There's hardly a building you cannot launch yourself onto or a hill that you cannot tremedously tumble down.
This Burnout reminds me of Need for Speed: Underground; I've played some other titles in the Burnout series, but none are open-world or nearly as full-featured as this title.
The multiplayer aspect of this game is also done extraordinarily well. For most games on the Playstation 3, the multiplayer feels stapled-on, as if it were only an afterthought. The multiplayer for Burnout: Paradise is beyond exciting; you have the opportunity to play with people from across the world and co-operatively complete challenges which contribute towards your Burnout license and on-line notoriety.
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (Playstation 2)
The multiplayer really makes this game; unfortunately the servers have since been shut down.
Fallout 3 (PC)
This post-apocalyptic game has been a long-time favorite of mine. The atmosphere of the whole series has a real novelty to it, but Fallout 3 is a real stand-out in the series.
The soundtrack is untouchable, and opened a new world of music to me. Every song on Galaxy News Radio, Enclave Radio, and Agatha's radio complements the bleak, hopeful world so amazingly well.
The rising action leading to your first major quest, an escape from Vault 101, is so well orchestrated. Once you leave the closed society of the vault, you're immediately thrust into the vast, emptiness of the open world. But as you explore this new world, you begin to realize that no square foot is as empty as you thought: interesting and original characters help and exploit you at every corner, and the extraordinary variety of open-air and indoor locations you can explore invites you to explore every nook of the Fallout 3 world.
If you ever grow bored of the Wasteland's expanse, you can venture inside any one of the many metro tunnels, convenience stores, or supermarkets for a unique close-quarters experience with hostile raiders, ghouls, and super-mutants.
Fallout 3 must be one of my favorite games of all time.
Dance Dance Revolution 4th Mix Plus (Arcade)
This is the first and most remarkable title of Dance Dance Revolution I played. Every time I hop on the platform of any DDR game I feel in such a unison with the music. There is such a variety of music on these machines.
I do not like the catalogs of the newer machines, however. There is far too much touhou and anime-otaku music: to me, the real charm of DDR was its deep electronic and trance-ish soundtrack. Naoki is my favorite producer on the soundtrack, though he's produced under innumerable aliases.
Half-Life 1 (PC)
Why do we all have to wear these ridiculous ties?
I discovered this game because its dedicated peripheral, the trance vibrator, sounded too weird to pass up. The game, only four levels, is one of the more intense audio-visual experiences I've had while playing a console game, even surpassing WipEout HD. It's an on-rails rhythm shooter: don't try to make sense of what I'm telling you, just play it: THE MACHINE IS TRYING TO SHUT DOWN, TRAPPING YOU IN IT