Wake Up Buddy

I am not entirely sure that this goes for all programmers but the ones that I know of are all obsessed with videogames. Interestingly not all of them have the desire to create their own videogames, whether it be through failed prior attempts or just a lack of creativity in that particular area. Something I have also come to realise is that their tastes in videogames tends to be quite similar. There is always a mix of old and new, tending towards the RPG, with a heavy interest in good story and technical trickery which is relative to the platform. So lets start with fivesix of my favourite games (in no particular order):

Jet Set Willy (ZX Spectrum)

There is a very large chance that although I have spent most of my life playing this game, I will never truly complete it (at least when sober). Jet Set Willy follows on from Manic Miner, another top game, in that Miner Willy comes home after completing the previous game, has a massive party and wakes up with a dirty house and lots of monster in it. He is then made to clean the house before he is allowed to go to bed... Obviously. This game is leathly hard in places and terribly unforgiving, but I remember its randomness being so inspiring, even just the concept itself.

Another World (Amiga)

Another insanely difficult game to beat, starting to see pattern here already, but so thoroughly compelling to play. Another World seemed to start off as a tech demo, showing how you could use basic polygons to render 2D vectors, but ended up being so much more. It involved you controlling Lester Knight Chaykin as he tries to escape the alien world he has been teleported into during a science experiment gone wrong (it actually ends up being a really remarkable story that you just want to get through)! It is essentially a 2D platformer/puzzle game set in some really difficult environments, the key thing with this game is there is no explanation as to how to progress from one area to another, and usually you have to fail several times to work it (usually seeing yourself die horribly in the process).

Zelda : A Link To The Past (Super Nintendo)

As with many of my top games you will also find the follow ups excellent as well, which is especially so in Zelda's case! A game so good Robin William named his daughter after the princess it is titled on, The Legend of Zelda : A Link To The Past, to title it fully, follows the exploits of a boy named Link who is trying to find a captured princess. Not the most compelling of stories, but as it is an RPG, and very uncomplicated one at that, it makes you feel so connected to Link. Zelda is often beautiful to look at, and really shows of what I personally think was the best era for fantastic looking games the 16-bit era (you can shove your 3D graphics!).

Street Fighter Alpha 2 (Saturn)

This is easily the most contentious on this list, but after spending some time thinking which Street Fighter I was going to stick in here I judged that in terms of what I enjoyed the most it had to be Alpha 2. After what seemed like an eternity of new versions of Street Fighter 2 (turbo, championship, super, turbo-championship) on home consoles, Capcom finally managed to get Street Fighter Alpha 2 (also known as Zero 2) from exclusivity at the arcades. It was a lot more rapid than the standard series, had 'super moves', which were difficult to learn but so rewarding, and a much more varied roster of fighter styles. It also featured an art style heavily influenced by Manga (which was growing in popularity in the west), and on the Sega Saturn version it boasted super impressive framerates (there were inferior versions released for Playstation and Super Nintendo).

Final Fantasy 7 (Playstation)

I remember when Final Fantasy 7 was released and unfortunately I didn't have a Playstation to play it on, I oddly chose to buy a 386 PC with my Christmas money... So it wasn't until a few years later that I was actually able to buy a second hand Playstation and play it all the way through (although I knew a lot about it). Final Fantasy 7 is obviously part of the wider Final Fantasy series, which apart from sharing a name, and all of the games being RPG games the series entries didn't really have much to do with one another. It follows the story of a former soldier called Cloud Strife (FF game characters always had top names) as he joins a terrorist organisation that tries to uncover the evil dealings of the Shinra Corporation. To begin with Cloud is in it for the money, but as the story unfolds he very quickly becomes the quest against the corporation and finds himself at the very center of the story.

Fallout 3 (Playstation 3)

Just to prove that I can do modern I obviously came into video games at a very certain point, and my life recently hasn't allowed me to dedicate as much time to games as maybe I would like. That said, for the right video game I can make exceptions, and Fallout 3 is certainly the one that has most recently taken hold of me deeply. The first two Fallout games were supurb, but for me the point and click RPG didn't really grab me like others, it wasn't until the transition to FPS (with a twist) that I really got into the fantastic world of Fallout. Set in an amazing looking post-apocalyptic Washinton DC, you literally follow your character from the womb (it fast forwards childhood!) to track down their father, who has disappeared mysteriously. Although termed as FPS the action in Fallout 3 can be paused and actions can be chosen, shoot that guy in the head etc, and then played. It is actually wonderfully done, and is such a departure from the normal FPS experience that it feels nothing like one (which is good in my book).

So any developers want to chime in here?


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