For those new to my site, I do this little feature from time to time (It was supposed to be weekly, but I’ve been busy). It’s basically a listing of 5 favorite games from the popular to the obscure that I think no gamer should go without playing. These are favorites of mine from over the years, and pretty much covers every system, the computer, and the arcade scene. I plan to do another feature entitled “Arcade Oddities” (with Disco No. 1 as my first choice), but that will come later. Anyway, to see other entries, just click on the back tag. If it hasn’t been mentioned, it likely will eventually.

1.) Myst (Broderbund) – Myst is what you make of it. At one point, it was the highest selling PC game of all time, and a graphical showcase for the computer world. Today, most modern gamers fail to see the appeal. But if it was played with the right frame of mind, it was an incredibly compelling adventure. I kept a journal while playing, made detailed notes, and really tried to get into the role of the protagonist found stranded on this isolated, beautiful island. I even read the novels. And for those reasons, I was swept away into the adventure and mystery of the experience, and still find it one of the most atmospheric games around. Either you love it or hate it, and depending on your willingness to get involved is the real factor. Incidentially, Real Myst, the 3D update to this title, realizes the concept even more, but that’s an entry for a later time.

2.) Bioshock (2K Games) – One of the few first-person titles that removes the expected “shooter” element, and replaces it with an adventure flair (like Metroid Prime). Set inside an underwater art deco city with its remaining denizens gone mad, Bioshock plays out more as a morality play, regarding the consequences of being able to choose, and the results of attempting to harness too much power. This is another atmospheric game, with its period piece music, and amount of backstory and attention to detail. Fights are a fairly common experience, but things really don’t hit the fan until the introduction of the “Big Daddy”. The creatures are a force to be reckoned with, and if the player stays to the end, the origins are both horrific and tragic. I consider this a showcase title for the 360, and essential playing if you own the system.

3.) San Francisco RUSH (Midway) – The perfect example of an arcade to home port that goes above and beyond. RUSH took driving games to a whole new level by its encouragement and reward for exploring the environment, as well as the sheer thrill of pulling off some ridiculous jump that would have cars flying over buildings and other impossible locations. The racing was fun. The exploration made it something completely different, and never replicated since.

4.) Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers (Capcom) – Capcom had a knack for putting out quality Disney titles in the late ’80’s/early ’90’s, and this was another fan favorite. Two player simultaneous allowed gamers to take control of both Chip and Dale in a classic platforming adventure filled with great graphics, catchy music, and addictive gameplay. More than your standard licensed fare, this was a fantastic title, and one of those great NES memories.

5.) Samba de Amigo (Sega) – There has never been a better union than monkeys and maracas for all-out fun, and the Dreamcast version went above and beyond in nailing that sense of goofy fun that Sega was known for in the early 2000’s. Full of catchy Latin music that wasn’t the grating stuff found in Mexican food restaurants, the game itself was loud, vibrant, and full of energy. The Dreamcast version excels with its maraca attachments that accurately record every shake and movement, and once a player gets over their feelings of being self-conscious and really lets go, the game is a blast to play. The Wii version retains a good part of that fun, but the Wii Remote can’t recreate the motions as well. But it still excels at capturing the fun and manic atmosphere.

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