james debate
james debate

Thursday 31 January 2008

Well those of you who know me better know I do love a spot of videogaming. Not as much as I used to I must admit; I don't often get the time anymore. Nonetheless It still holds a special place in my heart, especially with some of the classics, and you will still hear me trumpeting the merits of the magnificent wii and 360 (and the failings of the ps3).

The other day I was reading about a particular game that I love. A game which, in concept, appears to be any videogame fan's wetdream, the Smash Brothers series. This is a series which so far has had 2 games, designed to celebrate all of Nintendo's history and goodness. This includes characters and levels from all of the main franchises owned by Nintendo as well as many eastereggs and nods to the more obscure ones, and it's all jolly good fun. Anyway it has inspired me to do this, ranking the Top 10 Videogame Characters of All Time.

10. Joanna Dark (Perfect Dark Series)

It is with some trepidation that I include Agent Dark on this list, as she is essentially two different characters. There is the Jo we know from her Nintendo days, when she was an ultra cool, British, james bond-esque super spy who came off credibly, and then there is her new Microsoft guise, in which she has become American (typical), rather more cartoony and cliché. However I include her based on the merit of her first game for the old N64, which was classic, epic, atmospheric, mature and much darker than what we expect on a Nintendo machine. Think bladerunner mixed with james bond and that's what it's like.

Best Game: Perfect Dark (N64)
Memorable moment: Infiltrating Area 51

9. Yoshi (Mario Bros Series)

I used to love dinosaurs as a kid. I like this one too. Who could blame me. Started off as a side character and proved so cool that he had to get his own games, and is now a necessary addition to any game featuring Nintendo's mascots, quite often appears as an easteregg in other franchise games, such as in Zelda. He's also my mario karter of choice.

Best Game: Smash Bros Melee (GC)
Memorable moment: Being ridden by Mario for the first time (snigger)

8. Bomberman (Bomberman Series)

Ah Bomberman. Now those were pretty classic games. I have pretty good memories of multiplayer mayheem with the old megadrive versions, and even the less popular 3d ones on the n64 which i quite liked. That's not even mentioning the contribution bomberman made to handheld gaming. With the launch of the gameboy advance handheld gaming first started to really hit the mainstream, and along with mario, bomberman was THE must have title. Its simple pick up and play gameplay was perfect for a handheld, and it took advantage of the multiplayer features to provide some of the best fun you could have with multiplayer games.
Best Game: Bomberman Advance (GBA)
Memorable moment: BOOOOM

7. Fox Mcloud (Star Fox Series)

Another classic Nintendo franchise, this game was cheesy, a complete star wars rip off (right down to fox's voice even sounding a bit like luke) but god was it fun, and the fact that it was one of the first games to include a branching structure, where you could take multiple paths to the end, and really make the most of it, made him an even bigger joy to play. He's also one of my mains in smash bros

Best Game: Star Fox 64/Lylat Wars (N64)
Memorable moment: Being rescued by his 'dead' father 

6. Gordon Freeman (Half Life Series)

He brought a new type of hero to the world. Rather than making games with either a cartoon character or a big muscley 'arnie' figure as the protagonist, Half Life gave power to the geeks, picking a bespectacled, mute, scientist to become the one man army at our desposal. The games in this series are about as close to gaming perfection as one gets, and he is all the more memorable for being a total badass.

Best Game: Half Life2 (PC)
Memorable moment: Picking up that iconic crowbar

5. Duke Nukem (Duke Nukem series)

I couldn't really resist having him here, just because he's so funny. The true anti-freeman, this guy is basically a blonde arnie, saving the Earth the only way he knows how, with cigars, oneliners, and his boot up their ass.

Best Game: Duke Nukem 3D (PC)
Memorable moment: "It's time to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and I'm all outta gum..."

4. Bob (Bubble Bobble Series)

Right now I have a lot of confused readers at who the heck this is. This one's a throw back to the really really really old days, this game, Bubble Bobble, was released for the original nintendo system in the same year I was born, and It was a real classic, with pure and simple addictive gameplay and cute colorful (if basic) graphics and annoyingly catchy music. However it is this dino, Bob, the blue one, who really makes the game. This is the character that a second player can control, and it is in multiplayer that this game really excels. Even today this is amazingly good fun for two people. It's just been released on the wii virtual console, so if you have a wii, go download it, thank me later.
Best Game: Bubble Bobble (NES)
Memorable moment: (hums bubble bobble music)

3. Mario (Mario Bros Series)

The so called 'Mickey Mouse' of gaming in the early 90s, if journalists are to be believed, which of course they are not. In fact as I recall, when I was young very few people had mario or nintendo, it was all about sonic and sega, but journos seem keen to pretend this wasn't the case for some reason. Never the less, he is still a classic gaming icon and appears in some of the tip top games. Right now he certainly does live up to the mickey mouse billing, as a symbol of nintendo's current dominance over all things videogame related.

Best Game: Mario 64 (N64)
Memorable moment: Its-a-me, Mario, now come play with my face

2. Link (Legend of Zelda Series)

Just one of those things that people who grew up playing it will never be able to forget. This was one of the darker and more mature games from Nintendo, pure fantasy, without the geeky over the top crap you see in something like lord of the rings. It was one of the first games to really immerse players, to be able to touch them and make them feel for the characters. They were also bloody huge games. It's no wonder that every single zelda game scores more than 95/100 in every review, no coincidence that when they are released they sit at the top of the gaming charts for months, and all the while you control this man, another mute character. Zelda was designed to recreate the feeling its creator had as a child exploring dark caves, and in that spirit the protagonist is moulded.

Best Game: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
Memorable moment: Saying goodbye to Saria, that was the moment I knew this wasn't going to be just like any other game

1. Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog Series)

Here's what it's all about really. This is the guy kids grew up playing as. Great early games focused on speed and (at the time) funk graphics, one can only shake one's head in disappointment to see how he has fallen in recent times, and how kids these days won't recognize him as the icon he is.

Best Game: Sonic CD (Mega CD)
Memorable moment: Racing Metal Sonic and getting the girl

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