james debate
james debate

Monday, 6 April 2009

What are the best videogames ever made? For someone like me who has played many over the course of many years, such a question would be impossible to answer. I'm sure the same can be said to an extent for many people reading this article, but it's likely that a lot of you would come up with similar ideas.

I'm sure the likes of Mario, Sonic, Grand Theft Auto, Halo, Guitar Hero, Zelda and the likes would all come up frequently, these are the 'big' names in gaming after all. But with all the kudos and praise that gets heaped upon these big name games, it's easy to overlook some of the other equally great moments in videogame history that never achieve the recognition and appreciation they deserve. And so in this article we discuss 5 great videogames that you probably have never played, but definitely should.

5. Jet Set Radio
jet set radio sequelAs far as ideas for games go, this one is pretty original. Rollerblade around the huge and bustling cityscape of Tokyo, spraying graffiti and rebelling against an oppressive and corrupt government in the name of free expression. And all of this is represented in stunning cel-shaded graphics, this is the game which started the trend. One thing this game has in spades is a sense of style, from the impressive art work and character design to the addictive and peppy dance soundtrack that blasts out over the airwaves from Professor K's pirate radio station. Seriously fun and with more character than pretty much any other game ever made, badly needs a new sequel.

4. Tyrian
tyrianClassically addictive arcade gameplay, bags of customization and wry humor makes this one of the more memorable pc games of the 90s, for those who have played it at least. Take control of a bog standard spaceship and explore the galaxy in a mission of... well it doesn't really matter, with gameplay this simple and good, that's all that matters. A vertically scrolling 2d shooter that sees you fly your ship through a series of imaginative and colorful planets, asteroids, weird alcohol themed acid trips, it's a pretty dazzling sensory experience. On top of this one can completely customize their ship, buying new ships, fitting it out with weapons and shields and engines, it will take several plays through to find the very best equipment.

3. Bubble Bobble
bubble bobbleOne of the first great multiplayer experiences, and still stands up today. Two dinosaurs engage in a series of colorful levels where they must trap their enemies in bubbles to destroy them in order to save... i dunno some chicks i think, this was back before storyline was important for games. This game is about as addictive an experience as you'll ever encounter, and there is no better choice when it comes to two player gaming. Now available on the wii virtual console, go check it out, find a friend to play it with, and thank me later.

2. Skies of Arcadia
skies of arcadia sequelThe word 'epic' is thrown around far too often these days, but rarely is it used as aptly as it is here: this game is pure epic. A grand and beautiful adventure in a mystery filled world of floating islands and flying pirate ships. You take control of young Vyse living amongst a group of good natured pirates intent on bringing down the big and oppressive Valuan Empire. Everything changes one day with the discovery of a mysterious young girl on a captured ship, and Vyse must set off on an adventure with his childhood friends that will see him travel the world to vast steampunk cities, icy wonderlands, hidden jungles and endless deserts. The writing is top notch, the art and sense of character is stunning, the musical score is sweeping and it all comes together into a simply stunning package that is so overbrimming with imagination, freedom and wonder, it's hard not to be blown away after each and every set piece, even now, a decade after the game was made. Another game desperately needing a sequel.

1. Archimedian Dynasty
archimedian dynastyThis game is simply storytelling at it's finest. Exploring a post apocalyptic world under the sea, packed full of backstory and detail, you play the role of a freelancer, sailing around in his hunk of junk doing oddjobs for various people. You bounce around between majestic cities, rundown ports and intimidating battleships, interacting with every little detail of the world around you to find jobs and information. As you do this, you upgrade your ship and kit it out as you see fit so that eventually you can go kick some ass for your chosen allies. It is a sign of the immense scale and epicness of this game that yu don't even find out what this game is really about until the final act, in a reveal so sudden and out of the blue that it goes down as one of the most impressively shocking moments in gaming history. And they actually did make a sequel for this, didn't really get into it, some things better left alone.

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