Happy Monday, folks...Hope you've all had a great weekend.
As you know, we here at Pardon My Fresh take pride in bringing you the dopest content in media, music, movies, TV, art, and fashion to the forefront. As I was going over the site this past week, I noticed that there was an inadequacy in the amount of light shed on video games, game culture, and the gaming world in general. This simply could not do for the simple fact that I, personally, have been an avid gamer since I was about 4 years old, and still very much am. Gaming has been a very important part of my life, not only for entertainment value, but for appreciation of culture, and even therapeutic purposes. I'd probably go nuts many times in my life if I didn't have a good game to get into and take me out of the world for a little while.
The term "video game" might seem to most people as a bit of a "geeky" or "nerdy" thing to the average person unfortunate enough not to be into the culture. However, my first and most important point that I would like to make is the fact that "video games" are not only just for entertainment, but are very much so a form of ART and expression...much in the same way that a music album is, or a movie, or a painting, or a book, or a poem. Most popular games these days are realistic, and even cinematic. Many of these games are pretty much interactive full on movies....but they didn't always start out this way. Regardless, even the simplest of games back in the Nintendo days are capable of giving off an inner feeling of nostalgia and warmth that cannot be duplicated by any other work. That's what ART does to a person. So without further ado I'd like to give you guys my personal Top 10 list of the games that have made the biggest impact on me...
1. Super Mario World (SNES)
Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System is considered the grandfather for the modern platform game, but Super Mario World took the concept of the game to a contemporary high at the time it was released in November 21st, 1990. It was basically the entire concept of Mario Bros. and Mario Bros. 3 in all its glory, expanded into a massive world with countless secrets, new abilities like the flying feather cape, and let's not forget the first time you stumbled upon the awesomeness that is Yoshi. I remember getting lost in this game and finding out secret after secret. What made it awesome was the fact that back in 1990 we didn't have the Internet to give away all the secrets, so whenever you figured out a secret or found a hidden door somewhere above the level that you didn't even know you could reach, you felt really bad ass.
2. Sonic The Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (Sega Genesis)
Sonic the Hedgehog will forever be one of my favorite video game characters of all time. I mean, he was just too damn cool, and fast, and everything that Mario was not. He spun in a razor sharp ball to defeat enemies, had a dope two-tailed fox as a sidekick, and pretty much went super saiyan when he collected all the chaos emeralds. So when Sonic The Hedgehog 3 dropped need I say that this game was nothing but the shit. Every level was just completely entertaining, and perfect, and the storyline was actually good for a Sonic game. You could choose to play as Sonic, or Tails, or both together, and this changed the way you interacted with each level and different areas you could reach. Then they went and released Knuckles; a second cartridge that wasn't just a new game on its own. You could put your original Sonic 3 cartridge onto the Knuckles cartridge and pretty much combine them to create one bigger game that continued the Story where Sonic 3 ended, but also gave you the ability to play as Knuckles, who was just as cool as Sonic was, and was pretty much like the anti-Sonic anti-villain kinda character and who had his own story line with different abilities....and I pretty much lost my shit. You could also hook up your old SONIC 2 CARTRIDGE AND BRING KNUCKLES INTO THE SECOND GAME AS WELL! Mind blown. A noteworthy thing to add about this game as well was that the SOUNDTRACK WAS FUCKING INSANE, and that's saying a lot for a Genesis game released in 1994. A cool fun fact to note was that it was actually rumored that Michael Jackson secretly produced the music of this game during its creation, but was never confirmed.
3. Tomb Raider (Sony PlayStation)
I remember walking through Toys R' Us and seeing a display for this weird looking game console that was gray and had a really weird shaped controller with shapes on the buttons instead of letters. Though the display wasn't turned on in the store, I was just so curious off of just the look of the console but I wasn't aware of what I was in for at the time. So when Christmas came around, and my folks had bought me a Sony PlayStation, I can't really say that I was as excited to play it, as I was a bit confused. What was so good about this thing? What could this machine do that my Super Nintendo or genesis can't? I just wasn't with the shits at the time. However, they also got a me a game to go with it that was called "Tomb Raider" with a 3D looking girl holding two guns on the front of it. The first time I popped that disc in (first time ever experiencing games on a disc...I was only familiar with cartridges at the time) and I saw the first 3D video game I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The graphics on this thing were light years ahead of anything that I had seen before....and at the time it all seemed so realistic! Tomb Raider was amazing. Lara Croft (the protagonist of the game) was pretty much a playable action hero and the female equivalent of Indiana Jones, but better...she held two handguns, shot shit up, and flipped around and swam and raided tombs. I mean, c'mon. I don't even have to mention the first time that I fought a damn T-Rex in that game it was just nuts for me at the time. Tomb Raider, released in 1996, was my first introduction to the modern 3 dimensional game...and that's why its very dear to me.
4. Grand Theft Auto 3 (Sony PlayStation 2)
In the year 2000, my older brother had a friend that was a pretty good "computer hacker" and this was around the time Napster was big and the modern Internet of today was beginning to form. While I was downloading music at the time (Blink 182's "Aliens" was my first ever pirated song) this guy had came and put a few games on my PC. I'm not a big PC gamer at all and never was even back then, but he had put this old game in there called "Grand Theft Auto". It was a game that was played with the camera view from the top down but it was actually pretty violent. You played a criminal and you could shoot everyone and anyone, even cops, and steal cars and I remember thinking how nuts this game was....so twisted that I loved it. So in 2001, when I was a freshman in high school, one of my boys showed me a game magazine that showcased the upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto 3. It was basically everything that was the original except full on 3D played as a third person game. You literally had the freedom to do ANYTHING you wanted in the game, steal whatever car you wanted, shoot whoever you wanted to. The cops would come for you and would chase you. If you blew a car up, the fire department came, or ambulance, and you could shoot them and steal the damn firetruck. So dope, such guilty pleasure this game was that let you do unspeakable things that you know you couldn't really get away with in real life. There was so much freedom in the game that a majority of time spent playing it wasn't even spent doing missions, just free roaming and doing whatever you wanted to do. GTA3 was the first true sandbox "go anywhere" game of our time, and to this day, many games are built on that platform that GTA3 created. One of my favorite games of all time, and one of the most important.
5. Halo 2 (Xbox Gaming Console)
My older brother had owned an Xbox game console, back in 2007. A few years prior the game Halo was released and created a nationwide craze, due to its awesome graphics, first person shooter action, great story, and fantastic enemy AI. When Halo 2 dropped in '07, however the game was changed due to the first true successful boom in Online multiplayer. Game sales broke records at the time, and for good reason. While the story, graphics, and gameplay were a one up on the first installment, it was the multiplayer part of this game that really made this game shine. You could play online, with people from across the world and compete in competitive online matches arena style. At the time, online play was just getting started, but most people would literally go home after school, or even skip school, just to meet up with their friends at their house, and all split screen play multiplayer. I remember Going home after class with all my boys and linking up two or three Xbox consoles to each other just to have giant halo sessions with 10 of my friends and family. It provided moments, and memories that will forever be in our minds in high school. Things would get serious really fast as Halo 2 first brought us all into the world on online multiplayer competitive gaming. To this day some of my friends still bring up the Halo tournaments we used to have in my place. Halo 2 was also a very pivotal gaming in fueling what is known today as "Pro gaming" where you got guys winning millions now for being really good at playing online competitive games.
Check us out next week for the second half of my dopest games list....
- Balistik The Messiah