Another episode of my occasionally regular series.

1.) Adventure (Atari) – For it’s time, this game was incredible. A huge mazed world to explore with (ooh) multi-colored walls, an annoying bat that always seemed to steal your most-needed item and leave you with some piece of crap you didn’t need, and of course, the dragon-duck-dragon things that would hunt you down wherever you went. Nothing stopped them (not even walls), and the red one was by far the worst of the lot. And of course, Adventure is the first game credited to have an “Easter Egg”. But for most games that were usually one screen, or based off a variant of an arcade-style game, this was a very innovative title. Playing it now evokes more of a sense of fond nostalgia, and after all these years, the gameplay is still competent enough to have some fun.

2.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Konami) – As a kid, playing a game like this really was a great thing. I was in middle school at the time, and would walk to the local arcade to pump quarter after quarter into this machine with good reason. It looked exactly like the cartoon, it was a lot of fun to play, and there always seemed to be three other people around who wanted to step in and have all four turtles fight on screen. Outside of the original Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat 3, Dance Dance Revolution, and Street Fighter II, I don’t think any other arcade game was quite as inspiring to me. Sure, Konami brought it home for the NES, but it was only so much as good as the arcade machine (though TMNT IV for the SNES came close). It’s still a fun experience to romp through, as long as you have other players who have your back in the game.

3.) Legend of Zelda (Nintendo) – I remembered reading about this game in the Nintendo Fun Club magazine (thanks for the tip, Little Mac!), and thought it looked cool. Little did I know that 20 years later, I’d still be running back to this series time and time again. Even more surprising is that I still run back to the original NES game. From the shiny gold cartridge, the music you know in a second when you hear it, and will hum for days, the two quests, the challenge, the secrets, the cool items, Link. This is a true study in classic game design, and one of my “Top 10” favorite games.

4.) Marble Madness (Atari) – I’m feeling a bit “arcade” for this entry, and this one is another game that is simple to learn, but maddeningly addictive. This is the kind of game that can be played for hours, always trying to beat that high score. It’s fun, it’s original, and it can be pretty intense when that black marble gets it in for you, and you have to butt heads(?) to finally knock it over the edge, then try to race to the finish line before time runs out. This is a solid reminder of the 1980’s where Atari was still king, and even the most “out there” idea could be turned into a fun arcade game. Home versions are sorely missing the trak ball, but the Midway compilation versions are pretty decent with analog control.

5.) Marvel Vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (Capcom) – I admit to having a weakness for 2D games, and as far as fighters went, this one was insane. I can’t even begin to describe the countless hours invested in the Dreamcast version, collecting characters, stages and other bonus items. Both Marvel and Capcom sides were well represented with the majority of characters returning from the previous Vs. games, along with introducing a lot of new characters for this version. This was one of the games that prompted me to get a Dreamcast, and while the game is a bit of a madhouse, the tight control and frenetic action do not disappoint.

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