Legacy: A Video Game List
Video games have officially entered the “what real man doesn’t (insert a random male activity niggas do)” lexicon of conversation. Let’s be honest: even if it’s just sports games, every man plays video games in 2017. It’s no longer just some geek past time. If guys aren’t chopping it up in the barbershop, we are most definitely gossiping through our headsets while trying to “capture the flag” on Halo. (yes, men do gossip too and its time we accept that)
Thanks to channels such as G4TV, it has hit mainstream. Even women are getting busy on the sticks these days. Actress Rosario Dawson loves games so much she lent her voice in “Marc Ecko’s Gettin Up: Contents Under Pressure”, which went ahead and won a Spike TV Video Game Award for “Breakthrough Performance”. It’s even been said she goes to Comic-Con events in disguise so she doesn’t get noticed.
There are the old and uppity elitists that say video games can’t be considered art. I tend to disagree. If something is visually pleasing and captures your imagination, it can be considered art. This has been going on every generation in which the current artform has been criticized by the previous generation. Once upon a time, film wasn’t considered an art form. Now universities have film appreciation courses.
Anyhow, here’s my list:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time - Super Nintendo
As soon as I heard “Big Apple 3am” in the first level as a kid, I knew this was going to be my shit. Turtles in Time is a game I would consider to be one of those “you had to be there” things. The beat em up genre in general is dead and buried six feet under. The game is a pure nostalgia choice for me. Ninja Turtles was my favorite cartoon as a kid. Donatello is the best one in the crew (yes, we can squab it out if you feel differently). This game probably has the best stage names in video game history.
“Bury My Shell At Wounded Knee”
“Neon Night Riders”
You not getting hyped as a 7-8 year old kid on Saturday morning to hear that? Who made you?
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Xbox 360
So a few things about this choice here…this is the only Microsoft game to make the list (and also the only time I’ve ever owned a Xbox) I honestly don’t even know if this is an all time game for me personally. And I also barely remember the storyline. What I do remember is that COD4 has clocked in more time than any other game that I have played as an adult. Mind you, I’m self admitted garbage at shooting games. Don’t ask me to be on your squad unless you truly appreciate our friendship. I am the Zaza Pachulia of shooters. This even being on my list says a lot. The game is the blueprint for the modern first person shooter. If a release is doing a time period/war shooter, it’s going to be called a COD4 clone. You get that headshot kill, you hear that “thuck” sound that is so gratifying when you hit the piece of shit racist kid online. And this game got insane quotables in multiplayer. Yelling “GRENADAAAAA” is the funniest shit in life.
That being said, playing this game with a chick over the crib was the only time video games has ever gotten me the skins so it’s making the list.
Last of Us - PlayStation 3/4
If Modern Warfare is my most played video game over the past decade, Last of Us is my single most memorable experience over the same time period. In my opinion, developers today have thrown the single player aspect of gaming to the wayside to make way for the online experience. While playing with others extends the life of video games, sometimes you just want to get absorbed into a world without your homies online. Last of Us brought that feeling back to me since I consider myself more of a solidarity gamer.
The horror genre got the shot in the arm it needed because for a while, horror games was on life support. Resident Evil turned into a shooting game and the entire element of suspense was stripped away. Fans of the Walking Dead show will find parallels between the two. Running through this felt like I was enjoying games again and it wasn’t so bleh to me in story mode. It might also be because I played it on the harder difficulty my first time. Playing on the default level is for the suckers who don’t realize games have been dumbed down. Turn off “Listening Mode” if you about that life ( I wish I was). If you played this game, you know where I’m coming from with that.
Final Fantasy Tactics - Playstation 1
RPG nut over here. This won’t be the last role playing game you’ll find on my list. I don’t stan too many things in life, but I’m a proud stan of the company Squaresoft/Enix. Me and my guy FastTimes always say, “I don’t care what it is. If it’s Square, take my money.” Now that I think about it: being a writer kind of started with playing RPGs due to its focus on storylines.
Okay, my bad about the quick tangent there. This game is legendary. Possibly overlooked by the general public. You got to remember this game came out on the heels of the juggernaut of a certain Final Fantasy game. It didn’t have the graphics either to match up. It made up for it with as deep of a fighting system as you’ll ever find in turn based/strategy games with its job system. And it’s storyline is A1. You get classism, politics, war, religion, and spirituality themes all in one game. Imagine a teenager soaking all that in.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Nintendo 64
Depending on who you talk to, this can be considered the GOAT. Interesting bit about this game. The N64 cartridges are all around 750mb (yes, look how far we’ve progressed in technology). Because of the space available and the graphics of its time, you can finish the game in about 10-15 hours. But Nintendo fucking nailed it with this one. Pretty epic still what the developers were able to accomplish with the technology they had back then and still create something that captured everyone’s attention. It’s really feels like you are being immersed in a Disney movie.
The game when you think about it is a lesson about life. You begin your journey as a kid, inexperienced and you continue to grow to develop your skills into an adult. Along the way, the world around you changes and you try to make sense of it all. You have to overcome obstacles along the way in order for you to face your biggest fears and challenges. At the end of your journey, you realize the idea of legacy and what you leave behind. “Legacy, legacy, legacy.” Y’all heard Jay on 4:44. You get it.
Chrono Trigger - Super Nintendo
Again. “I don’t care what it is. If it’s Square, take my money.”
If there was such a thing as the Dream Team in video games, this game was it. The development team included the creators of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Dragon Ball Z. The musical score composed by Yasunori Mitsuda is considered a classic and has spawned countless tributes and even has been sampled in hip hop. (I ain’t dry snitching on who for the sake of the culture though). Masato Kato wrote the story. He and Mitsuda have gone on and contributed to other acclaimed games under Squaresoft/Enix.
A no fail formula for success turned out to be even bigger than imagined. It shifted the landscape. It’s sold 6 million and is a stone cold classic by all accounts. One of the very very few RPGs that has replay value due to the multiple endings. Can’t bring up role players without bringing Chrono Trigger up. No way.
Super Mario 64 - Nintendo 64
I struggled with which Mario game to put on here. After all, who in their right mind doesn’t play Mario? I almost went with Mario World on SNES. After careful consideration, I have to put N64 game on this list due to the impact on my life.
So around it’s release, I was dying to play this game. I saw pictures of previews of the game in the Nintendo Power magazine. (let’s see who knows about that) I begged my mom if I can get this game and system. She told me no countless times. Of course I was upset. Fast forward to Thanksgiving break and my mom comes home with the Nintendo 64 system and the game I begged of her to get for me! There was a catch: it was a rental from Blockbuster so I had a few days before I had to return the system and the game. When Pac said “and Mama made miracles every Thanksgiving” on Dear Mama, I felt that one deeply. She met me halfway on this and to this day, I never forgot about that.
Metal Gear Solid - PlayStation 1
The cinematic video game experience you find in today’s games owe it all to Konami’s magnum opus. The company in general has quite a solid catalog, but this is the series everyone remembers. Headed by Hideo Kojima (or GOATjima as you have probably seen me call him), Metal Gear Solid got to be the only video game I’ve seen to have a short 4 minute demo be more fire than most games on the market.
This is a franchise that I can honestly put the entire shit on but to keep it fair somewhat, I’ll stick with the PS1 game. Kojima is a lover of films so there’s a lot to admire in the game. The dialog is top notch, with the voice acting to match. It was the first I’ve seen be good in games and not just tacked on to sound cheesy. A cast of memorable characters and villains. The cinematography rivals many Hollywood classics. This really was a high budget action thriller in the living room that you can control. Picking a favorite scene is tough. I ain’t going to spoil it for you. Just play the game. Or watch it on YouTube. You’ll be amazed that a video game can feel like a movie.
Street Fighter Alpha 3 - Playstation 1
This is another game in which I can put the entire series on the list, but I’ll stick with just the game that impacted me the most. SFA3 is the best fighting franchise of all time and the single best game out of the franchise. You get the most diverse set of characters; different playing styles (“isms) for each character, and you get the complex fighting system fans have grown to love/hate. Hate only if you are just stinky at these types of games. That’s okay. You don’t get it like I don’t get most shooting games.
This game is special in particular because its robust World Tour mode. In a genre that always has very bleak single player options and relies on multiplayer for longevity, Alpha 3 has this option to where you can build a character with attributes and even color schemes. This game needs to be remade for these gen systems.
Final Fantasy VII - Playstation 1
Square gets the money, all time no cash. Of course I’m going to have this game on here, it’s my GOAT game. The only RPG I have maxed out every single character level, their stats, and all the materia magic available in the game. I got every single item that was offered in the game and secrets. I know the game practically like the back of my hand. I’ve stated that when the remake of this finally drops, I’ll probably stop playing video games. I can play this forever
If the only knock on this game to me is graphics that are now dated in 2017, you know how I feel about this one. It’s basically the perfect game to me. Cloud Strife was created so I can see myself in the mirror. Sephiroth is cold, calculating, and probably suffers from the same girl syndrome Usher and R. Kelly sang about. I still can’t decide between Tifa Lockhart and Aerith Gainsborough as my main chick (we don’t call her Aeris over here). It’s perfectly paced, the story is perfect, the music; everything.
The honorable mentions list because this was long and arduous. I already know I’m forgetting some:
Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night
NBA Street 2
Super Mario World
Legend of Zelda: A Link To the Past
Grand Theft Auto Vice City
This was a tough list to narrow down but I think I got it. Yes, I love Sony. I don’t apologize for that. Make your own list so you can put all your little shooters in it or whatever.