Top Ten Favorite Games

November 24th, 2009

Industry Gamers asked Cliff Bleszinski about his top ten games. Nick Chester linked to the interview and posed the same question to Destructoid readers (with a bunch of Dtoid staffer and community answers in the comments). Here are my favorites, in no particular order:

Rez HD
Okay, the rest are in no particular order, but Rez sits firmly at the top with its perfect mixture of simplicity and depth. Whenever I want to just zone out and play a game, this is the game I go to.

Mail Order Monsters
Probably the first game to really hook me, and a franchise I’d love to revisit as a designer. I still have a handful of monster disks around here somewhere.

Myth: The Fallen Lords
While the sequel was the better game, Myth: TFL led the way, and I do prefer its soundtrack (introducing me to the fine works of Marty O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori) over Soulblighter. Amazingly, the series is still strongly supported by developers in the fan community.

TRON
One of my earliest arcade memories is of walking into the Starcade at Disneyland and witnessing the overbright glow of multiple TRON cabinets, each with a spectator monitor mounted on the top. The experience burned something right in my brain, and I’ve been a huge fan of the franchise ever since.

Cave Story
Character, music, style, gameplay… Cave Story has it all. It still blows me away that Daisuke Amaya was able to create this entire game single-handedly, and I’m eagerly looking forward to Nicalis’ upcoming WiiWare release.

Herzog Zwei
Growing up as an Atari kid, I discovered the Genesis late, and Herzog Zwei even later. To this day, I don’t think anyone has done RTS on the console better.

Valkyria Chronicles
Lacking the polished veneer of nostalgia, recent games are always rarer on these lists. Valkyria Chronicles, flaws and all, was a breath of fresh air this year, and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Magical Drop
I’ll take any of the three in the series, really. Magical Drop is perfectly enjoyable as a single player experience, but the game really shines in versus play. Most frantic puzzle game ever.

Rampart
Back in school, I used walk through the student union at UNLV between classes and play a round on the (usually vacant) Rampart cabinet. One of the first genre-mashup games (see Puzzle Quest, etc), the alternating segments of arcade action and puzzle building strategy hooked me.

Halo: Combat Evolved
When Halo was announced at Macworld 1999, I was blown away. Halo was the title that sold me on the original Xbox over a PS2, and Halo LAN parties are some of the most fun I’ve ever had gaming.

So that’s my list. What are your top ten favorite games?

Who were you during No Russians?

November 20th, 2009

For those of you that have played the Modern Warfare 2 airport mission No Russians, a couple questions. If you haven’t played it, minor spoilers ahead.

ModernWarfare2_JosephAllen

After learning the hard way that turning on the other terrorists would end the game, I begrudgingly followed along. Uncomfortable with the idea of gunning down innocents, I pretended to take part, firing into the air, deliberately missing, nonchalantly walking along with the rest of the gunmen… and for all the problems I have with Infinity Ward’s approach to the mission, that particular bit stuck me as kinda fascinating.

I’m sitting on my couch, playing a game where I pretend to be a soldier. The solider I’m pretending to be is himself pretending to be a terrorist, and while pretending to be the soldier who’s pretending to be the terrorist, I’m (the player, not the soldier) pretending to shoot airport passengers.

Why did I do that? Why did I make the choice to pretend to play along? Did I assume that the game would notice, that I’d be chided or disqualified for not sharing in the civilian slaughter? Why not just shoot the civilians then?

Question 1. When you play a game like Call of Duty, are you consciously taking on a role (Hi, I’m Soap MacTavish!), making your decisions based on what you believe he would (or should) do, with a distinct schism between you and the figure on the screen, or is the character you, regardless of the details, with all decision-making based on what you would do?

If your answer is a little bit of both, or it depends, how does character definition affect your approach? How much do you need to know, what has to be presented to you as the player, before the role you are playing is no longer you, but a Mr. Soap MacTavish (or PFC Joseph Allen) instead?

Question 2. When you played No Russians, did you play as the undercover operative, or did you play as you?

link love 111709

November 17th, 2009

Whoa, almost a month since the last link love.

Jason Scott Sabbatical

Two excellent Kickstarter efforts met their goals this week: Computer historian Jason Scott‘s Sabbatical project and video game art mag Kill Screen. While Kill Screen fundraising is complete, there are several days remaining on Jason’s project… go give the guy a few bucks and let him keep doing what he does best.

The Making Of Tapper. Hey Edge, can we get an RSS feed just for the Making Of series?

The Running Man: behind the sketchbooks of Adam Saltsman’s Canabalt.

Pinball Hall of Fame’s new home.

November 14th, 2009

On Tuesday, November 3rd, Tim Arnold’s Pinball Hall of Fame reopened in its permanent location, a 10,000 sq ft former tile store across from the Liberace Museum here in Las Vegas.

I dropped by last night a few minutes before closing, and took a handful of photos of the new space.

New machine row!

Full story, after the jump »

DailyWiki

November 12th, 2009

I’m a fairly voracious reader of Wikipedia, and I like to collect and share the most interesting articles I run across. Last weekend, I turned that uh, hobby, into a site called DailyWiki.

DailyWiki, the best of Wikipedia, served fresh daily.

Every day, one strange, fascinating, or notable Wikipedia article will be simultaneously posted to both the blog and the @DailyWiki twitter feed. It’s like one of those word-a-day blogs, but longer.

While I’ve assembled a fairly deep queue of articles, please feel free to submit your own personal favorites.

[And yeah, I’ve since discovered another fellow who’s been doing pretty much the same thing since July (which didn’t come as a surprise, the concept itself isn’t particularly novel), but I’m hoping that my particular editorial take will help the site stand out.]