1.) Pac-Man: Championship Edition (Namco) – Most modern Pac-Man titles have the round yellow guy on some sort of party, adventure, or stuck in a go-kart. Pac-Man: CE returns him to his roots by putting him in an ever changing maze that increases faster and faster with only one goal in mind: Get the most points possible before time runs out. It’s one of the more “pure” experiences in modern-day gaming, and it’s not surprising that it retains the original formula so well, being created by the “Father” of Pac-Man: Toru Iwatani.

2.) Streets of Rage 2 (Sega) – One of the quintessential console beat ’em ups, Streets of Rage 2 brings improved graphics and an incredible soundtrack over its predecessor. While it does little to redefine the multi-player brawler, the elements that are present in this title are polished to the point where it stands above and beyond many of the games of the genre, becoming a leader in its own right. And deservedly so. It was one of Sega’s original franchises, and an experience that was found only for Genesis owners.

3.) Defender (Williams) – If you were an arcade junkie in the 1980’s, you knew Defender. It called to gamers with it colorful, flashy graphics, distinctive sound effects, and gameplay that would beat gamers senseless within minutes. Viciously hard, ridiculously addictive, and even if you were somewhat good, you could only hold out for so long. That sense of futility kept the quarters flowing, and while the game has been brought home several times over, the true experience is found only in the arcades.

4.) Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (Lucasarts) -While the first game in the series focused on the less exciting Star Wars Trilogy, it made even the most dull of parts incredibly fun to play. This game brought the classic gameplay and the excitement of Luke Skywalker and company, and continued for an entertaining and humorous experience that truly anyone can enjoy. While the Super Star Wars series was fairly true to its source material, it couldn’t recapture moments like the Rebels escaping the Death Star or Cloud City, training on Dagobah, or destroying the shield generator quite as accurately.

5.) Katamari Damacy (Namco) – Undeniably weird, infinitely wacky, and a soundtrack that will pop in a player’s mind at any given time (usually thoughts of clearing out large traffic jams), Katamari Damacy is one of the more novel ideas that has hot the gaming scene in a very long time. As the Prince receives more increasing bizarre commands to atone for their Father’s galaxy destroying drunken bender, the novelty of building a katamari with thumbtacks gives way to pets and people and cars, and mountains and rainbows and stadiums in an attempt to rebuild the night sky. The game’s “weird” factor, and uniqueness make this a must-play for any serious gamer.

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