You know how whenever the average person recollects something with fondness, the rosey tinge of nostalgia smears away any rough edges or imperfections? How if one was to recall a past love, like say Die Hard Trilogy for PS1, they would recall an amazingly deep game with jaw dropping visuals and enemies that exploded into human sized showers of blood. Ah the good 'ol days! However, the past is not always as we remember. Rewatch Thunder Cats and try not to tear your ears off, or attempt, if you dare, to sit through an entire episode of Voltron. Feel that warmness in your throat? That's vomit. Sometimes the opposite is true as well though. We can pick up a game from gaming past and get just as much enjoyment out of it now as we did then. In part one of this two part installment we will be looking at some of the games of yesteryear that have aged with grace and dignity, and are still every bit the classic today that we remembered them being.
Best o' time
These top 10 are the games we look back on with fond memories, but we could then confidently hand the controller over to the most jaded of tween ass-hats and know he/she could appreciate it in some capacity. These are games that while being good in their own right for when they were made, can still be played today without the player being totally off-put by dated graphics. No other medium has evolved as quickly, and as drastically as video games. In just a short 30 years we have gone from single color geometric shapes, to gorgeous open world environments. Our canvas is ever evolving, but the following games struck the perfect balance of tech and style to give them an appeal that will hopefully be timeless.
10. Aladdin -Sega Genesis (1993)
Back when Disney delivered animated hit after hit on the big screen (a time many of you may not remember), there emerged a game that captured everything that made Disney great. The Disney animation talent was put to good use making Aladdin one of the most beautifully animated games of its time, and not only that it played good too! Movie inspired levels, Genie load screens, and that 16 bit soundtrack came together in a package that still looks better than some 2d platformers today.
9. Team Fortress 2 -PC (2007)
I know it's not even that old, but there are games that came out at the same time that are already showing their age. This isn't so much a "it has stood the test of time" as it is a "it WILL stand the test of time". All the key elements are there. A great visual style, memorable color pallette, iconic characters, and sufficient animation. The only thing that could take instant timeless classic status away from TF2 is if they replace all the art assets with hats. Which is probably a 79% chance.
8. Metal Gear Solid -Sony Playstation (1998)
This one is open to debate. Some may look at the pixelated textures, and segmented characters and lol themselves retarded. However if you look at the overall look of the game, the rough character art, grimey locals, and in game cutscenes, you start to realize how well it all gels together. There is no moment where a pre-rendered video of Snake executing Sniper Wolf jarringly makes you realize the rest of the game looks completely different (Final Fantasy 7.....). MGS kept the player in the world the whole time, and although it is stylized to meet hardware limitations, it all works within itself to create an overall look that is hard to forget, or criticize.
7. Super Mario World -Super Nintendo (1990)
Home run. Mario's SNES debut was a delightful romp into the lush 16 bit worlds we never even knew we wanted. With dinosaur pals, and an island made of food items, this is one classic that is almost impossible to fault.
6. Street Fighter III -Arcade/ Sega DreamCast (1997)
The leap in quality from Street Fighter 2 to SFIII is mind blowing. Sure there is some pixelation to deal with, but for just outright amazing 2d sprite animation and iconic painted backdrops SFIII is hard to beat. Sure later games like BlazBlue may have HD sprites, but the weight and feel of the characters is nowhere close to what SFIII accomplished.
5. Earthworm Jim - Sega Genesis (1994)
In a time when weird sold, Earthworm Jim stood out as the poster child for a generation. The word Zany was invented for EJ and his games, and the game shone like the twisted gem it was. Unique levels, insane bosses, great animation, and cow launching: Earthworm Jim had it all.
4. Ninja Gaiden - XBox (2004)
If you have time to nitpick the graphics of this excellent Xbox epic, then you are playing it wrong. When it was released it looked amazing, animated amazingly, and played amazingly (minus the swimming). Years later they STILL can't seem to top this classic. While the prerendered tentacle-rape scenes are starting to show their age, the rest of the game is so focused on combat it's hard to stop and notice low res textures, or low poly environments. Also since the main enemy of the game is the camera, you probably won't get to look at any one thing too long.
3. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night -Sony Playstation (1997)
There was a turning point in games, before the full on 3d revelation, where the last of the 2d games really shone their brightest. It was almost as if the world of 2d gaming wanted to scream out "WE STILL FUNCTION!" And function they did. Castlevania SOTN is one of those games you can go back and play whenever and find classic 2d charm in the sprites, music, and deep gameplay. I didn't actually play through the game until I downloaded it as a PS1 classic on my PS3 circa 2006. It was as amazing then as it was in 97 as it is today.
2. Worms 2 - PC (1997)
I know this seems like an odd pick, but hear me out. If you were to simply look at a screenshot, or even a video of this game you would be very hard pressed to date the game, or even know what system it is running on. Like Morgan Freeman, Worms 2 was never young, never looked old, it just is, and always will be.
1. Metal Slug - Neo Geo (1996)
I honestly don't know what would make these games any better. If there is a series that reached perfection on it's inception, this is it. There's been countless sequels, ports, remakes, and bundles, but the core Metal Slug experience remains the same. Keep doing what you're doing Metal Slug. Don't ever change for me, or anyone else!