I was planning this as a weekly feature a long time ago, but it never happened, so I’m going to cheat a little, and add two entries this week. It won’t always be the case, but for now, here we are.

1.) DuckTales (Capcom) – One of the few Disney games you could actually get away with being “cool” as a kid, and actually mean it. And in all honesty, it actually was a great game. The graphics looked just like the cartoon (for the time), the music was typical NES-era Capcom music (which always had that distinctive flair to it), and was just a lot of fun to play. The game didn’t cheapen out with the license, either. It felt like a Scrooge McDuck adventure from the show, with enemies to fight, secret areas to find, and just doing whatever it takes to rake in the most money as possible by the end of the games. That classic 1980’s materialism was quite intact for the theme of the game, and you know, it just worked. In fact, it kind of makes me want to dig out my old NES again just to play it….

2.) Conker’s Bad Fur Day (Rare) – From a cheery anthropomorphic Disney duck to a crude, foul-mouthed and urinating anthropomorphic squirrel, this is definitely not a game for the wee ones. One of the Nintendo 64’s last gasps of breath, this game came out after spending years in Development Hell. I had actually played this game at an E3 in Atlanta when it was still “cute”, and this game went way South from that… in the right direction. What’s interesting about this game is that all the gore and crude elements aren’t just there for shock value, it was an integral part of the gamepaly. And what a game it was. As far as platformers go, this game was brilliant, and quite funny. What’s even more surprising is that it’s as complex, well-crafted and intricate as one of the N64 Zelda adventures. And also to date, it’s the only game I’ve ever played that featured an opera singing pile of poo.

3.) Seaman (Sega) – Not everyone’s type of game, but if you devoted time to it, Seaman became a fascinating experiment. Sure, you had this creepy-looking man-fish thing to take care of and frequently insulted you in a tone of voice similar to George Takei (ironically the narration was voiced by Leonard Nimoy), but it was the type of game, for the time it lasted that drew you in to see what it would say next. The Seaman not only insulted you, but conversed with you, remembered what you spoke about, and even waxed philosophical and made jokes during your talks. This was one of the games that broke into a new level of personal interactivity for me, where I felt less silly talking to an electronic fish, and more interested in seeing how far the experiment could go. I’ve often wondered about a sequel, but can’t even imagine where they’d want to take it next.

4.) Dance Dance Revolution (Konami) – It’s hard to choose any particular one of these games. To be honest, they are all basically continuations of the same core idea, just with new songs. Some mixes are better than others, other mixes just lack overall but have a few notable songs. And some even go into specific themes such as Mario or Disney. But all in all, it’s a great work-out and a fun crowd-pleaser if you’re actually any good at it. It also has that twitch appeal, as it’s fairly simple to learn (as long as you possess an iota of rhythm), and proveds a quick and simple gaming experience. Fortunately, Konami’s been kind enough over the years to bring the arcade experience home, and how well you want to recreate the arcade experience is entirely up to your wallet (Me: 8 years, 9 home-based variants of the game and a metal dance pad). While perhaps a bold claim, DDR is probably one of the main reasons why arcades till even exist at all into the new millenium.

5.) Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (Activision) – As I may have said before, I am not a sports game enthusiast. I can’t fathom spending money for a game that will be totally and utterly outdated in less than a year’s time after purchase. Disregarding that, Tony Hawk is an exception. At the time of its release, the gaming sites were going insane over this game, and they had every reason to. It was a well-polished and fun arcade style exhibition that allowed the player to practically go anywhere and do anything, while pulling off sick amounts of combos the whole time. The game became maddeningly addictive. There was always that “next game” where you could find that hidden item or beat your previous score, set in a world that actually felt like a skater’s playground. Not some whacked-out and sanitized version of skating. You couldn’t help but feel more than a little hardcore playing this game. While this series has spawned a quadzillion sequels, the first game has always been special to me. It was one of those rare sports-based titles that took me away from my platformers, RPGs, fighting and dance games to see what a game based on a skating legend was all about. And best of all, it didn’t suck.

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