It’s easy to remember your early days of gaming, even if your first console was the Playstation 2 or the more recent PS3. But no matter your circumstance, the games you’ve played have grown alongside you, taking you on adventures only your imagination could begin to compete with. For some, the list of games grows too long to remember but those rare, exceptional titles will always stand out.
This series will pick apart the five games from each gaming genre that helped define my gaming persona. You, too, have your own.
#5 Pokémon Yellow (Game Boy)
Back in the late 90s, Pokémon was all the rage. After the release of Pokémon Blue & Red, Nintendo cashed in on Yellow, a special Pikachu edition. My infatuation with Pokémon began with Pokémon Blue and grew into something closer to an obsession with the release of Pokémon Yellow. The idea that Pikachu followed you around outside of battle was mind-blowing. When you’ve got a game clearly centered around Pikachu, you’ve got a parent’s worst nightmare.
Sad to say I’ve outgrown Pokémon despite my early attempts at convincing my parents that such a case would never happen. For me, Pokémon Yellow will never be forgotten.
#4 Jet Force Gemini (N64)
When Rare was an exclusive developer on the N64, they made some of the best games of all time. Jet Force Gemini was a rare 3rd person shooter that took you across the universe to save the Tribal’s and eradicate the evil drones. Easily the most memorable character was Lupus, the wardog mascot with a back-mounted gun and jetpacks on his feet that allowed for some long distance hovering. The single player was a challenge and but its multiplayer was icing on the cake. Countless hours were lost playing what was one of the best games to grace the N64.
#3 Banjo Kazooie/Tooie (N64)
The Banjo Kazooie titles were second only to Mario’s with an unlikely pairing of a bear and bird. Evil Gruntilda kidnapped Banjo’s little sister Tooty and it was up to Banjo the bear and Kazooie the backpack dwelling bird to collect jigsaw pieces to unlock more worlds and foil Gruntilda’s evil plans to steal Tooty’s youthful good looks. The parallels to the Super Mario games are astounding but that doesn’t stop the game from being one of the best platformers to hit the N64. The sequel, Banjo-Tooie was as good as the first; a rarity in the gaming world.
Note: I’m not on drugs. These are real games.
#2 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
One of the best Zelda games of all time, Ocarina of Time was the first time Link made his way into the 3D world. Based on a modified Super Mario 64 engine, the game quickly became the epitome of adventure games in a way no other could compete. The graphics were amazing, the gameplay was challenging, and the adventure was never-ending. If there’s one Zelda game you play in your life, let it be this.
Ocarina of Time remains the highest rated game of all time.
#1 Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
The Super Mario franchise is one that manages to consistently outclass itself with each sequel. Super Mario Sunshine is worlds better than Super Mario 64, and Super Mario Galaxy leaps ahead of Super Mario Sunshine. Having not played Galaxy’s sequel, I can confidently say that Super Mario Galaxy is hands down the best action/adventure game I’ve ever laid my hands on. World after world I found myself in awe of the level design and gravity shifts from platform to platform. We finally saw one of the best mushrooms known to man, the Bee Mushroom that transformed Mario in something too adorable for this world. If you own a Wii, Super Mario Galaxy is one game I’d still pay $50 to play. Buy it…and presumably the sequel.
So there are the five action/adventure games that will stick in my head until the end of time. You’re a gamer so I want you to share your five favorites in the comments below. Those five should be the best of the best, even if they’re no longer relevant to the rest of the world.