1.) Galaga (Namco) – One of the classic ’80’s shooters that still remains as relevant today. Whether it’s the catchy music, the twisting patterns of alien ships, the bonus rounds, or the ability to bring in that dual ship for the extra firepower, Unlike many of the slower paced shooters of the time (Galaxian, Space Invaders), Galaga has a much faster tempo to it, with its multiple shots that didn’t have to travel the screen length or hit an enemy to fire another shot. While Namco recycles the game with nearly every Museum collection, the game has lost none of its charm, appeal, or playability.

2.) Mega Man 2 (Capcom) – The second game in the numerous Mega Man series, this still remains to many enthusiasts (and myself) as the pinnacle of the series. The game still holds a solid level of challenge, great bosses, fantastic music and fun level design. This title remains one of the “NES Greats”, and is a reminder of when “Number 2” sequels were to be looked forward to in 8-bit gaming. Besides, who could ever forget that giant robot dragon at the end, or that strange Dr. Wily battle?

3.) Super Mario 64 (Nintendo) – Undoubtedly, this was the face of the Nintendo 64. Sure, Goldeneye brought in a significant fanbase, but Mario 64 was the game that brought 3D gaming to consoles like never before. It’s not hard to see why: The same tight gameplay mechanics of its 2D predecessors, varied worlds to fully explore, and the game had the advantage of being just fun to play, without doing anything to reach the objectives. Climbing trees to do handstand backflips from the top, swimming, wall climbing, seeing if you could reach that one tantalizing area that seemed just within reach, as well as players could play the game the way they wanted to, choosing the goals that they saw fit. Super Mario 64 remains one of those benchmark titles, and still remains fun to play even today. It’s truly a testament to good game design.

4.) Tron (Midway) – As it never came home to the console scene for years, I had to go out and buy the arcade machine (true story). Tron as an arcade machine is a sight to behold, with its movie graphics, black lighting effects, and flight stick style joystick (Midway knew how to make games back in those days). The game was broken into four parts: Tanks, MCP Cone, Light Cycles and Grid Bugs. Accompanied by a note perfect and fantastic soundtrack, numerous references to all the creations of the Game Grid (but you had to work hard to see them), and gameplay that got pretty darn merciless as you got farther, it’s a game that never has been able to find a proper console home due to its unique controls (XBLA and the Game Boy Advance tried, but it’s just not the same). For those who still find a Tron machine out there in some random arcade, it is almost a requirement to go out and play one of the best movie licensed games of the 1980’s.

5.) Kings Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella (Sierra) – The King’s Quest series always captivated me as a kid, with it “amazing 3D” (which really was for the time), clever puzzles, sense of humor, and fantasy setting. The series blended numerous fairy tales together to tell the story of King Graham and his family, and Rosella’s story, with its day/night settings, scary trees, interesting characters, and still pretty graphics, was one of those graphical showcase titles for the Apple IIc. The 24 hour time limit was a novel idea for its time, and one that changed the look and world around Rosella. While this is a pretty standard feature in today’s games, it way unique for its time. It’s a shame that Sierra has died due to the recent Activision merger. While the gaming public hasn’t seen a King’s Quest compilation in years, one can’t help but wonder if these games will ever see the light of day again.

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