DanK's Top 30 Games - Part One (30-26)

Hey guys. Since a lot of people around here have been posting lists of their Top 30 Games, I figured I'd get in on the action and show my favourite games some love.

I'd like to get some things clear before we begin:

  • This list represents a selection of thirty of my all-time favourite games from all across my gaming years. As a result, it's not an illustration of what I think are the best games I've ever played. Just the ones that I had a ton of fun with and remember enjoying the most. Bear that in mind when reading, and the list may make a little more sense.
  • Apologies for the significant lack of Nintendo love across this list. I grew up with a Master System in the house, followed by a Mega Drive, then moved on to PlayStation before finally being able to choose my gaming oppotunities for myself. With the exception of the GameCube, I've never owned a Nintendo home console. So before you accuse me of any anti-Nintendo bias, it's not that I hate Mario, I just never played those games growing up.
  • I know it goes without saying, but this is my opinion. Mine. I don't expect you to agree with what I say in this list. I'll be very surprised if you do. With that being said, I do expect a little bit of respect for my own thoughts. I'm not going to slam your decisions, because I'm aware that the games you enjoy are your favourites for a reason. The same can be said of these. Please bear that in mind and be respectful when commenting.

With that little disclaimer out of the way, let's get this list underway!

30. Columns

I stacked up countless hours in Columns
Mega Drive (1990)

To most people, Columns will seem like little more than a cheap imitation of Tetris. To me, Columns is what Tetris is to numerous other people - the definitive puzzle game. The Sega Mega Drive was my first proper console. I remember a fleeting period where we had a Master System in the house, but it was the Mega Drive (or Genesis, if you're American) that really first got me into games. Columns was one of the first games we got for our Mega Drive (it was a family console) and it was probably the most family-oriented piece of gaming I can remember. Two or three evenings a week, all of us would gather around the console and take it in turns to play Columns. The objective was simple - to stack columns of jewels together in groups of three or more in order to clear them and gain points. A simple premise, but one that lends itself to addiction. My dad used to be incredibly good at it. I think he made it to Level 30-something on several occasions. Playing it back now as part of the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection, I still get the same feeling that I got from playing it all those years ago. Columns may not have been as well-known as Tetris, but for me (and no doubt countless other Mega Drive players) it remains the seminal puzzle game. That's why it's present on this list.

29. FIFA 99

FIFA 99 was an early high point for the series
PlayStation (1998)

I've never been big on football (or soccer, if you prefer). As a kid growing up, I took more interest in non-sporting activities like writing, or drawing. Now, as a young adult, I prefer other sports like cricket and darts. But there was a brief moment when I took a genuine interest in the beautiful game - namely, the season of 1998/99. For me, it will remain the golden era of football. Manchester United achieved an incredible treble, David Beckham was admired by the public for his footballing ability rather than his life, and Nottingham Forest were actually in the Premiership. Topping it all off was one of the PlayStation's best football games, FIFA 99. At the time, nothing could touch it. It had all the clubs, all the players, and all the leagues. The graphics, while not much to write home about now, set the benchmark back in the day. And, crucially, the gameplay was excellent. FIFA 99 was perhaps the only good 3D FIFA game before FIFA 2005, with an excellent control system and impressive AI for its time. Most interestingly, it will always be the game that got me interested in football games, a trend that continues to this day despite my distaste for the sport itself. I wasted several hours with FIFA 99, and if I had the chance I'd probably waste several more.

28. Worms Armageddon

Mindless violence at its most hilarious
PlayStation (1999)

I've never been into strategy games. There are simply too many variables for me to worry about, which isn't good if you're somebody who worries as much as I do. The antidote to this is to play a strategy game where the strategy aspects of the game are cleverly masked beneath an overwhelming desire to crush your friends. This is the reason why Worms Armageddon has made it onto my list. I played this for hours on end with both friends and family, creating custom teams of worms and pitting them against each other in fights to the death. The visuals were irresistably charming and the 2D gameplay was perfectly balanced. It was a strategy game that never forced the strategy into the forefront, always placing the emphasis on hilarious combat and crazy weapons. In fact, I think it was the weapons that kept me coming back to Worms Armageddon, and indeed that keep me coming back to the follow-up, Worms World Party. There's just something about using a Banana Bomb, or an Old Lady, or even a Holy Hand Grenade, that is oh so very satisfying compared to the utilisation of more serious weaponry. Worms Armageddon's strength lies in its ability to turn you into a ruthless commander of a crack squad of worms, while still leaving you open to laugh at some truly hilarious moments. That's why it's on this list.

27. Grand Theft Auto 2

The birth of a gaming icon
PlayStation (1999)

Some of you may not believe this, but I was into Grand Theft Auto before it got huge. I remember my friend bringing the original Grand Theft Auto over to my house when I was around eight, shocking my mother to the point where he was banned from visiting me. At some point, though, things changed, because she agreed to buy me Grand Theft Auto 2 just two years later (I'd like to point out that I don't condone the selling of adult games to minors, but I don't object to my mother's actions either). I spent whole afternoons cruising the streets of the game's nameless city, stealing cars and shooting passers-by. GTA2 wasn't well-received by critics, but it remains my favourite of the series' 2D incarnations for several reasons. Most notably, it introduced a number of features that would later go on to define the series - working for different gangs, completing multi-tiered missions and using a variety of weaponry to get the job done. There was also a lot to be gained simply by simply exploring the city in your own time and looking for bonus stuff. GTA2 rewarded people who were willing to stray from the game's missions and toy with its open-ended structure. For me, it's the definitive 2D GTA, and one of my favourite games of all time.

26. TimeSplitters 2

Monkeys are enough of a reason for TimeSplitters 2 to make this list
PlayStation 2 (2002)

Prior to last year, I'd never been much of an FPS gamer. One exception to this rule was the excellent TimeSplitters 2. While the single-player campaign was quite dry and lacked any real drive, it was the multiplayer that kept me coming back for more. I remember spending hours upon hours at my friend's house with this game, playing deathmatch after deathmatch, and never getting tired of what it had to offer. It had pretty much everything you could expect from a multiplayer game in 2002: the weapon sets were perfectly balanced, it had all the standard multiplayer modes (Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag and Assault missions, as well as some more unorthodox ones like Virus), the maps felt like they were explicitly designed with four players in mind, and the gunning was fast and frantic. It even had a built-in Map Maker, encouraging players not only to develop the perfect multiplayer haven, but also enabling them to include their own objectives and even create their own single-player experience. The only thing it could be argued that TimeSplitters 2 lacked was an online multiplayer mode, something that was corrected in the sequel, Future Perfect. Even to this day, TimeSplitters 2 stands head and shoulders above the competition as probably the best multiplayer shooter available for the PlayStation 2.

---

Well, that's it for today. Be sure to check back tomorrow for numbers 25 to 21. If any of you would like to comment, feel free to do so. I'd love to hear your opinions after sharing my own with you. Thanks for reading guys, see you around


DanK

---

Currently playing - Burnout Paradise (X360)
6 Comments
7 Comments
Posted by dankempster

Hey guys. Since a lot of people around here have been posting lists of their Top 30 Games, I figured I'd get in on the action and show my favourite games some love.

I'd like to get some things clear before we begin:

  • This list represents a selection of thirty of my all-time favourite games from all across my gaming years. As a result, it's not an illustration of what I think are the best games I've ever played. Just the ones that I had a ton of fun with and remember enjoying the most. Bear that in mind when reading, and the list may make a little more sense.
  • Apologies for the significant lack of Nintendo love across this list. I grew up with a Master System in the house, followed by a Mega Drive, then moved on to PlayStation before finally being able to choose my gaming oppotunities for myself. With the exception of the GameCube, I've never owned a Nintendo home console. So before you accuse me of any anti-Nintendo bias, it's not that I hate Mario, I just never played those games growing up.
  • I know it goes without saying, but this is my opinion. Mine. I don't expect you to agree with what I say in this list. I'll be very surprised if you do. With that being said, I do expect a little bit of respect for my own thoughts. I'm not going to slam your decisions, because I'm aware that the games you enjoy are your favourites for a reason. The same can be said of these. Please bear that in mind and be respectful when commenting.

With that little disclaimer out of the way, let's get this list underway!

30. Columns

I stacked up countless hours in Columns
Mega Drive (1990)

To most people, Columns will seem like little more than a cheap imitation of Tetris. To me, Columns is what Tetris is to numerous other people - the definitive puzzle game. The Sega Mega Drive was my first proper console. I remember a fleeting period where we had a Master System in the house, but it was the Mega Drive (or Genesis, if you're American) that really first got me into games. Columns was one of the first games we got for our Mega Drive (it was a family console) and it was probably the most family-oriented piece of gaming I can remember. Two or three evenings a week, all of us would gather around the console and take it in turns to play Columns. The objective was simple - to stack columns of jewels together in groups of three or more in order to clear them and gain points. A simple premise, but one that lends itself to addiction. My dad used to be incredibly good at it. I think he made it to Level 30-something on several occasions. Playing it back now as part of the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection, I still get the same feeling that I got from playing it all those years ago. Columns may not have been as well-known as Tetris, but for me (and no doubt countless other Mega Drive players) it remains the seminal puzzle game. That's why it's present on this list.

29. FIFA 99

FIFA 99 was an early high point for the series
PlayStation (1998)

I've never been big on football (or soccer, if you prefer). As a kid growing up, I took more interest in non-sporting activities like writing, or drawing. Now, as a young adult, I prefer other sports like cricket and darts. But there was a brief moment when I took a genuine interest in the beautiful game - namely, the season of 1998/99. For me, it will remain the golden era of football. Manchester United achieved an incredible treble, David Beckham was admired by the public for his footballing ability rather than his life, and Nottingham Forest were actually in the Premiership. Topping it all off was one of the PlayStation's best football games, FIFA 99. At the time, nothing could touch it. It had all the clubs, all the players, and all the leagues. The graphics, while not much to write home about now, set the benchmark back in the day. And, crucially, the gameplay was excellent. FIFA 99 was perhaps the only good 3D FIFA game before FIFA 2005, with an excellent control system and impressive AI for its time. Most interestingly, it will always be the game that got me interested in football games, a trend that continues to this day despite my distaste for the sport itself. I wasted several hours with FIFA 99, and if I had the chance I'd probably waste several more.

28. Worms Armageddon

Mindless violence at its most hilarious
PlayStation (1999)

I've never been into strategy games. There are simply too many variables for me to worry about, which isn't good if you're somebody who worries as much as I do. The antidote to this is to play a strategy game where the strategy aspects of the game are cleverly masked beneath an overwhelming desire to crush your friends. This is the reason why Worms Armageddon has made it onto my list. I played this for hours on end with both friends and family, creating custom teams of worms and pitting them against each other in fights to the death. The visuals were irresistably charming and the 2D gameplay was perfectly balanced. It was a strategy game that never forced the strategy into the forefront, always placing the emphasis on hilarious combat and crazy weapons. In fact, I think it was the weapons that kept me coming back to Worms Armageddon, and indeed that keep me coming back to the follow-up, Worms World Party. There's just something about using a Banana Bomb, or an Old Lady, or even a Holy Hand Grenade, that is oh so very satisfying compared to the utilisation of more serious weaponry. Worms Armageddon's strength lies in its ability to turn you into a ruthless commander of a crack squad of worms, while still leaving you open to laugh at some truly hilarious moments. That's why it's on this list.

27. Grand Theft Auto 2

The birth of a gaming icon
PlayStation (1999)

Some of you may not believe this, but I was into Grand Theft Auto before it got huge. I remember my friend bringing the original Grand Theft Auto over to my house when I was around eight, shocking my mother to the point where he was banned from visiting me. At some point, though, things changed, because she agreed to buy me Grand Theft Auto 2 just two years later (I'd like to point out that I don't condone the selling of adult games to minors, but I don't object to my mother's actions either). I spent whole afternoons cruising the streets of the game's nameless city, stealing cars and shooting passers-by. GTA2 wasn't well-received by critics, but it remains my favourite of the series' 2D incarnations for several reasons. Most notably, it introduced a number of features that would later go on to define the series - working for different gangs, completing multi-tiered missions and using a variety of weaponry to get the job done. There was also a lot to be gained simply by simply exploring the city in your own time and looking for bonus stuff. GTA2 rewarded people who were willing to stray from the game's missions and toy with its open-ended structure. For me, it's the definitive 2D GTA, and one of my favourite games of all time.

26. TimeSplitters 2

Monkeys are enough of a reason for TimeSplitters 2 to make this list
PlayStation 2 (2002)

Prior to last year, I'd never been much of an FPS gamer. One exception to this rule was the excellent TimeSplitters 2. While the single-player campaign was quite dry and lacked any real drive, it was the multiplayer that kept me coming back for more. I remember spending hours upon hours at my friend's house with this game, playing deathmatch after deathmatch, and never getting tired of what it had to offer. It had pretty much everything you could expect from a multiplayer game in 2002: the weapon sets were perfectly balanced, it had all the standard multiplayer modes (Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag and Assault missions, as well as some more unorthodox ones like Virus), the maps felt like they were explicitly designed with four players in mind, and the gunning was fast and frantic. It even had a built-in Map Maker, encouraging players not only to develop the perfect multiplayer haven, but also enabling them to include their own objectives and even create their own single-player experience. The only thing it could be argued that TimeSplitters 2 lacked was an online multiplayer mode, something that was corrected in the sequel, Future Perfect. Even to this day, TimeSplitters 2 stands head and shoulders above the competition as probably the best multiplayer shooter available for the PlayStation 2.

---

Well, that's it for today. Be sure to check back tomorrow for numbers 25 to 21. If any of you would like to comment, feel free to do so. I'd love to hear your opinions after sharing my own with you. Thanks for reading guys, see you around


DanK

---

Currently playing - Burnout Paradise (X360)
Posted by Retrogimp

Cool list dude, TS2 would definitely make my list too. Looking forward to the next set.

Posted by PowerSerj

Worms Armageddon + TimeSplitters 2 = successful list. Good jorb.

Posted by Why_So_Serious

Nice choices especially Timesplitters 2. I never got the chance to play GTA2 but I really want to play.

Posted by RHCPfan24

I don't know about Columns, but I love me some Timesplitters 2. Fine selections all around, though.

Posted by AgentJ

Very unconventional list so far. Nice work

Posted by LordAndrew

Worms Armageddon is great. :) I did enjoy Grand Theft Auto 2 more than the first one, but I couldn't get into it fully. I never had a chance to play Columns until the Sega Genesis Collection on PS2, but it seems pretty fun. If I had never played Tetris this probably would have been a fine substitute.