The one thing I do enjoy about this feature is that it’s not limited to my “Top 100” of the time. In a year, the list could be outdated, or something removed. This allows me to create a continually expanding “Hall of Fame” as it were, with titles that hopefully people would want to experience as they look through this and my previous entries. It also gives good games a chance that while may not fit on a conventional “Top 100”, but are still noteworthy enough of recognition. A little more of an explanation of how I choose my games is simple: Games have to be more than a year old, and I don’t add compilation packs as it would just be too easy.

Without further adieu, on to the feature….

1.) Out of This World (Interplay Productions) – The game’s rotoscoped animation, polygonal graphics, and animated cut scenes are only part of this game’s enduring appeal. The fact that it tells a fully compelling and dramatic story without the use of any text or spoken dialogue is one of game’s most memorable features. Leading physicist Lester Knight Chaykin through and extremely alien world where the player is truly on their own, yet aided by their nameless alien friend throughout most of the game. The game was one of a kind, with no status meters, no conventional power-ups, and death could come in one unexpected, fatal blow at any time. It’s my hope that this title eventually makes its way to the Virtual Console at some point or another.

2.) Doom (id Software) – While not the first 3D shooter that most people mistake it for (Wolfenstein came before that), Doom is certainly the one that thrust the FPS genre in the spotlight. The game was unique for a lot of reasons: Its dark themes, blending a science fiction theme with the very concept of Hell, demons, and other related imagery, to the iconic BFG-9000, and the horrific Cyberdemon. Outside of its single player campaign, and clever level design full of secrets and traps, the game was undeniably a multi-player innovator as well, allowing friends to blow each other to bits in many a Deathmatch. If there’s one game that remains an icon of PC and “Mature” gaming, it’s Doom.

3.) Yar’s Revenge (Atari) – Simple in concept, yet incredibly addicting, Yar’s Revenge allowed players to control the fly-like spacecraft to pick through the multi-layered wall of the Qotile base to deliver one well-timed blow to the fortress inside via a super missile. This was no easy feat as a destoyer missile was constantly homing in on you, in addition to the swirl that would quickly aim and launch to destroy your ship. As the player got farther, the enemy’s speed would increase as did the difficulty to break through the wall. But Yar’s Revenge remains a solid title due to strong gameplay, and its high replayability factor.

4.) Funhouse (Williams) – The first pinball game on the “Favorite Games” list, Funhouse is an addicting, complex, and challenging machine. The big pull of this title was “Rudy” a dummy that followed the movement of your ball, and commented on your playing style. One of the main goals, however puerile it may sound was to “sink your balls in Rudy’s mouth”, which has become something of a running joke, but if pulled off, can yield a high amount of points. From its catchy soundtrack, to diverse commentary by Rudy, to the number of bonus options found in the game, Funhouse is a fun title to find and play in the arcades. The game has even found its way home as well, on the excellent Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection.

5.) The Simpsons (Konami) – Back in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, Konami excelled at two things in the arcade: Beat ’em up titles and successful arcade games based on animated shows. As with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons captured the look and feel of the still-running show, better than any of the home games ever did. With the exception of Maggie, players could control the entire Simpsons family in a four-player brawler extravaganza, which included funny animations, voice clips straight from the voice actors, and in one-upping TMNT, the various family member could pair up with each other for different combinations of more devastating attack moves. It even included a few Life In Hell references for old-school Matt Groening fans. Sadly, the game has never been released on consoles (likely due to Acclaim releasing Simpsons games during that time), but hopefully this classic arcade title will one day find a home alongside its animated counterpart on the television screen.

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