Filed under Gaming

Ted’s Favorite Video Games from 2001

I have been playing and witnessing the evolution of computer/video games for most of my life now.  I can still remember the days of playing black and white (actually green) games on my old Apple IIe.  And since then we have come a real long way in the video game evolution.

Ultima

This has to be one of the greatest role-playing game sagas to date.  It comprises over nine games, each one being fairly unique to its predecessors.  Unfortunately, not all of the games are of the highest quality.  The last two games were a new low.  Sure the technology behind them was state-of-the-art, but the implementation of the story was sub par.  The big upside to these games was the absolute freedom that you had.  An amazing amount of  thought went into this feature that no other game has come close to.  It’s too bad that this game has fallen into disrepair and limbo.  I doubt we’ll ever see a sequel any time soon. 

Wing Commander

This is one of the greatest space combat/simulators ever created, hand down.  These games consisted of a really good story and amazing character to go along with it.  The first four games are my favorite of the five.  It’s unfortunate that the movie sucked so much… It’s odd that the writing in the games’ is actually better than the writing for the movie, oh well.  As with Ultima, this game too is in Origin limbo.  Unfortunately, I don’t know if we’ll see any more sequels from this saga.

Doom

This one is a given.  I can’t remember a game more fun than the first time playing Doom.  This was the first really fun game to include multiplayer capabilities and it is the one of the first games to take full advantage of the 3D style of graphics (Ultima Underworld was actually the first.)  I still remember playing a 4 player deathmatch with my friends at the VGC (Video Gaming Center) in Milwaukee.  Ever since ID made this game open source, there have been a number of private projects to make this game even better, like atmospheric effects and the ability to look up and down like in Quake.

X-COM

This has to be one of the most addicting strategy games I have ever played.  There isn’t much more I can say about this game, the only thing it’s missing is multiplayer capabilities and/or the option to play as the alien invaders.  That would be really cool.  However, I’m looking forward to the upcoming sequels to this game, especially the first-person shoot game that is due out soon.

Quest for Glory (a.k.a. Hero’s Quest)

This is one of the coolest role-playing games ever made.  There are five games in this saga, the first two games start off really goofy and silly, but by the fifth game they  become fairly serious.  Nonetheless, all of the games are really cool in there on the right and they ended on a high point.  It’s too bad they had to end this game series, I was really beginning to like it.

King’s Quest

My friends and I played this game series to death.  We used to work together to get around all of the really tough puzzles.  I think my favorite of the series was the third game, because there was so much to explore.  I never got around to playing the second and the seventh installments of this great saga.  Oh well, someday I’ll make up for that.  It’s too bad that these games didn’t keep up with the times and technology.

Space Quest

My friends and I used to play this game series all the time.  I don’t think there is another game out there with as much humor as in this game.  This game series would make a really cool TV show.  Unfortunately, just like with King’s Quest, it’s the member of a ‘dead’ genre.  Oh well, maybe someday Sierra will port these games to Windows or Linux; that’s a big maybe.

Mechwarrior

At the moment this game is the best way to experience the Battletech universe on the PC, at the moment at least.  This is one of my favorite simulators of all time.  It’s almost like a flight simulator, only that you never get off the ground (unless you use jump jets.)  ‘Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries’ was my favorite of the series, primarily because you wound up with a lot of freedom in this game.  I just wished that the player had a little more freedom in this game; more room to explore the vast universe.  Other than that these games really rock.

Baldur’s Gate

This is one powerful game saga, it actually made the player care about their party members.  This series of games are also one of the best, if not the best, implementation of Dungeons & Dragons into a computer game.  I actually like the first game a little better than it’s sequel, being the first game gave you more areas to explore and a lot more freedom.  Other than that, everything about these games rock.  Besides that, there’s nothing like a game that lets you score with your female party members, especially that drow chick.  The only downside to this saga is that it’s too short.  I really wished they would have, at least, made a third game.  The add-on to Baldur’s Gate II was not quite enough for me; a lot of bone and not enough meat.  Oh, well at least it ended on a high note.  You either wind up as god or with a woman… What more can you ask for?  

Diablo

This game is really tough to rate.  It’s clocked in as a role-playing game, but in reality it’s more of a hack & slash type of game.  It closely resembles an isometric view version of Doom (or Heretic.)  The whole premises of the game is: go down into the dungeon and kill anything that moves.  There is hardly any interaction with NPCs, other than the ones in the town.  The saving grace for this game is the randomly generated maps, which is pretty neat, and Battle.net.  Multiplayer on Battle.net is kind of fun, though I’ve only had negative experiences with it (people cheating.)   I haven’t tried the sequel yet, though I’ll probably wait until it shows up in the bargain bin before I buy it.

Fallout

This series of games are really neat; it’s like Mad Max meets Baldur’s Gate.  It’s probably the most graphically violent 2D game ever created (at least for what I’ve seen.)  The inventory and the party members systems kind of suck big time, but other than that this game is all fun.  Look for it in the bargain bin at your local computer store.  

Starflight

This game is really cool, and it’s also a lot like Star Trek.  You get a ship, you create a crew for that ship, and you go exploring.  The game lets you negotiate with aliens, wander around planet surfaces with a lot of freedom.  The only downside to this game was the bugs.  If I remember correctly, if you exit the game without saving, you have to reinstall the entire game.  However, I would really like to see this game revamped with today’s technology.

Half-Life

This game has to be the coolest action game I’ve ever played.  ‘Fun’ is the perfect word for this game.  Unfortunately, the end of the game kind of sucked, but the rest of the game was awesome.  I really need to try out the two add-ons to this game, just for the fun of it of course.  Personally, I’m trying to avoid getting excited about the prospect of sequels, since the original took a really long time to make.  So any sequels may be a long time off.  

Team Fortress Classic for Half-Life

I clocked in a lot of time playing this Half-Life multiplayer game mod.  The only thing that really sucks about this game are the weapons and friendly fire; I hate friendly fire.  Oh, and I hate snipers and spies, because everyone plays as a sniper or a spy, and it gets really old really quick.  And along with that, this game is really starting to get old.  I’ve tried Counter-Strike, but every one on there cheats, and if they’re not cheating they’re playing as a friggin’ sniper.  Oh well, I think it’s about time that I try Tribes 2 or even Halo (if it ever comes out for the PC); something with a little more depth.

Strike Commander

This game was, and still is, state-of-the-art when it first came out almost ten years ago.  It had a really involved story that not many games today can even match, and like most Origin games this one too gives you a huge chunk of freedom.  The only thing that I wished for in this game was more aircraft to fly beyond the F-16 and the short lived F-22.  But other than that, I would really like to see a sequel to this game, though I highly doubt that will happen in my lifetime.

Privateer

This game was so cool, there was so much to explore.  Though, I can think of a few ways that they could have made this game better.  Playing as a pirate in this game is a lot of fun… attacking every ship you come across.  I just wish they continue making these games, or at least port it into Windows with multiplayer support.  Oh well, I guess I’ll have to try out Freelancer when it comes out someday.

Crusader: No Remorse

This was an awesome game that had a really good mix of combat and movie/talking sequences.  Everything about this game was so cool.  The only thing this game was missing was multiplayer; that would have been so much fun.  God I wish they would continue to make sequels to this game.

Mega Traveler

The graphics and the play control sucked, but the concept and the ultimate freedom behind it was terrific.  I loved being able to explore planets on foot.  Unfortunately, I didn’t play the sequel much, primarily because the combat system was so bad.  When you enter combat mode your characters would take off towards the enemy, and within seconds the would have eliminated that threat without any intervention by the player… not much fun there.

Bard’s Tale

I can still remember playing this on my Apple IIe in back and green.  This game was really wild, you could walk into every house in the entire city.  One thing I really hated about this generation of games was having to record your own maps; no auto mapping.  The funny thing was that monks were the best class in the game.  Well, on the bright side, I can play this game on my Apple II emulator.

Pool of Radiance (The SSI Gold Box Series)

This is one of my first experiences with Dungeons & Dragons, and it was good.  The stories were pretty engulfing at the time.  I really wish they would revisit these games and port them to today’s operating systems, and up the graphics and sound a little.  That’s not too much to ask for.  Though, one thing stood out in this game was that it was really hard, a lot harder than the ‘Baldur’s Gate’ games.

Eye of the Beholder

This is one of the first really cool dungeon crawl games.  At the time, when the first game of the trilogy came out the graphics were top notch.  Unfortunately, the following sequels get progressively worse.  And also, this game begs for some kind of auto mapping feature, especially in the sequels, which have enormous maps.  Maybe someday this game will be resurrected with the Quake engine.  Or better yet someone will make a mod of it in another game.

Ravenloft: Strahd’s Possession

The atmosphere in this game is awesome.  I wish they would make more computer games based upon this AD&D realm.  Someone really needs to make a mod for Half-Life or Unreal, based upon this game.  That would be sweet.  Actually, maybe a mod for ‘Neverwinter Nights’ might be the ticket… I’ll have to think about that.

Golden Axe

This is the coolest arcade game ever made.  This game would be really awesome if it were ported to a 3D engine.  Oddly, this game is a lot like Gauntlet, but from a different perspective.  Hmmm, maybe they were made by the same company… who knows.  Oh well, thank god for MAME.  

Gauntlet

This was one of the first really fun multiplayer games.  A lot of games since have tried, successfully and unsuccessfully, at copying this game.  The simplistic characters and environment made this game a real treasure to play.  This game would be amazing as a multiplayer online game… with today’s technology of course.

Dark Castle

This game is really, really clever.  It actually made me want to get a Mac (for about two seconds.)  The sound effects in the atmosphere were really cool in this game, though, unfortunately all the graphics are limited to black & white.  I never saw this game in color until I played it on a Genesis emulator.  In any event, this game would rock if it were ported to today’s 3D technology.  Maybe someday someone will make a mod of this game for Quake or Unreal.  That would be really cool.

Oregon Trail

I used to play this game on the Apple IIe at school all the time.  The best part about this game  was creating characters with really screwy names; like “A Loser ” So, when the character dies, they get a gravestone that says “Here lies A Loser,” or something like that.  I don’t know, it was funny at the time.  

The Legend of Zelda

This was my first favorite RPG (that is if you consider it an RPG.)  I wish I still had the manual for this game, now that I can play it on a Nintendo (NES) emulator.  Zelda II was really hard to find when it first came out because of the micro chip shortage that Nintendo was facing at the time.  Actually, I can still remember the really weird TV commercials advertising the original Zelda game back in 1986.  Wow, that was a long time ago.

Super Mario Brothers

This Nintendo game series is a classic.  I can still remember the mad rush to get Super Mario Bros. 2 & Super Mario Bros. 3 when they first came out 10 years ago.  Unfortunately, I ditched my Nintendo and all it’s games sometime back…