Been contemplating a number of different topics to write about next and finally settled on to this one. The internet is full of lists, and while I find the concept rather trite, I do think it can provide you with some insight about a person. Most lists, however, cover such tired topics that the content is expected and thus not really that meaningful. To deviate from the standard a bit, I wanted to list off some of the lesser known titles which hold a special place in my heart – and share some stories about why.
The Adventures of Gilligan’s Island (NES)
This is a pretty strange little game. You play as the Skipper and need to go around finding different items on the island to help out the rest of the stranded passengers. I’ve always enjoyed games that have a large focus on exploration and put a lesser emphasis on combat, and this game does just that. One of the reason this game will always stick out to me is that I played this game as a kid with my step-brother. He was always much better at games than myself and so he would often help me get through different sequences. One afternoon I was playing Gilligan’s Island and he refused to help me cross a river. So I attempted to ford the river myself and died. I got so angry with him that the game ended up being taken away from me. I didn’t play it again for 15-20 years when I finally purchased a copy for myself.
Rock n’ Roll Racing (SNES)
I’m not sure this game fits the topic perfectly. I do feel like this game is somewhat well known, but I don’t see it on too many ‘best of’ lists and so I don’t feel too bad about it being included here. Much like exploration, racing has always been a genre I enjoyed tremendously as well. I was fortunate enough to live near a racetrack as a child, and I would spend 2-3 weekends a month at the track. This game has a sci-fi theme, and adds a bit of car combat to the mix – along with a really fun soundtrack. It supports 2-player split screen which was also a big bonus growing up. The quality of this game should be surprising to no one since it was actually developed by Blizzard Entertainment (under an earlier company name).
Body Harvest (N64)
The N64 is probably my favourite console of all-time. I was 11 when the system was released, and spent many late nights playing together with friends. I don’t quite remember how I was first introduced to Body Harvest, but it immediately captured my attention and will forever have a permanent place in my collection. The game was like nothing else I had played at the time, and honestly it isn’t like much else I’ve played since. The world is under attack by a bunch of bug-like aliens and you must travel through time to save the humanity. You don’t just travel back to one time place though, you travel back to multiple different eras. Each era features a large map to explore and different vehicles to ‘borrow’ to get around. Much like with Rock n’ Roll Racing, this game also has an incredible pedigree of developers behind it. This game was developed by DMA Design – the creators of the original Grand Theft Auto.
Dokapon Kingdom (Wii)
Sorry to skip over the GameCube. Looking through my collection nothing really stuck out as qualifying for this list. Dokapon Kingdom on the Wii, however, definitely qualifies. If there are other games like this, please someone let me know! This game is is a unique mix of a party game and an RPG. It’s Mario Party, if Mario Party had you leveling up and completing quests along the way. The RPG mechanics are definitely simplistic, but since the game is a mixture of genres that can be overlooked. I played this game with my sister, and we played it semi-cooperatively, which is potentially against the spirit of the game, but that didn’t lessen our enjoyment. We played together on weekends, perhaps once a month, over the course of at least a year. She won in the end, and still I will always have immensely fond memories of our campaign together.
Toki Tori 2 (Wii U)
The last game on the list today is a downloadable title for Wii U. I never played the original Toki Tori, so I couldn’t tell you how this game compares. What I can tell you is that Toki Tori 2 is a sort of puzzle-platformer game, but it’s a platform game in which you can’t jump. You play as a bird and need to figure out how to get around the environment using nothing more than a whistle and a ground-pound ability. There’s a little more to the game, but for the most part it’s these two basic mechanics and these cause different reactions with other creatures in the environment. These reactions from the other creatures are what allow you to navigate through the different levels. Like many great puzzle games, it is simply the knowledge of the ‘rules’ that allow you to progress, and nothing is ever really just spelled out for you.
I may revisit this topic in the future featuring other consoles. In the mean time, I would love to hear about some similar games that other people have enjoyed, or any thoughts people have on these 5 games I’ve listed, so feel free to leave a comment.