Every video game generation there is one game that blows people away and grabs them without letting go. I have been playing video games ever since I moved to the U.S. as a small child and I have been fortunate enough to have multiple video game consoles over the years. Every console generation there has been one game, one gem that surprises me and captivates me like no other game. I would like to take you on a journey through some of those games that blew me away and kept me playing for endless hours.
My first video game console was the insanely awesome and successful original Playstation. This gray box provided me with literally thousands of hours of fun and to me it’s priceless. Somehow when I was a child I persuaded my parents to get me a Nintendo 64 soon after receiving a Playstation. If I can recall correctly that has to be the one time in my life where I felt spoiled. I somehow had received one console and shortly thereafter another one. It is difficult to compare the two consoles since they both had their strengths and weaknesses. The Playstation had a much bigger and more diverse selection of outstanding games for maturer audiences but, less straight forward, family friendly and simple multiplayer games like the Nintendo 64 did. There are two games in particular that received a lifetime of gameplay and memorable moments and have led to a tie for best game for that generation. These two gems are 007 Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64 and Twisted Metal 4 for the original Playstation.
Each game is very different from one another. Goldeneye is a first person shooter based on the James Bond movie Goldeneye and Twisted Metal 4 is a car combat game. What made these two so special at the time was the multiplayer. The single player components in both games were very good but, the multiplayer kept me hooked for hundreds of hours. Every weekend my cousin would visit me and we would play the multiplayer in Twisted Metal 4 for hours and hours. The deathmatch style multiplayer was perfect. Pick or create a car, use its machine guns, specials and any other weapons at its disposal and destroy the enemy. With creative and diverse maps to play on, fun and competitiveness was its main results. Being able to team up with my cousin and destroy everyone on the map and then turning on him was a delight especially on the unlockable map Son of a Ditch.
Goldeneye on the other hand was my first introduction to the first person shooter genre and is probably one of the core reasons why I love the James Bond franchise. The singleplayer was very well done but, the multiplayer in my opinion is to date, the most perfect multiplayer for a shooter ever. I know that sounds insane but, I had more fun and less frustration playing with my friends on that multiplayer than any other multiplayer for any game since. Splitscreen 4 player multiplayer (not online) was amazing back then and it is something that sadly has been lost over the years. The closed maps and amazing weaponry like rockets, throwing knives and proximity mines made this multiplayer a treat. Playing as Oddjob running around in the Bunker map induced a lot of side splitting laughter and great gameplay. Goldeneye made owning a Nintendo 64 a must and set the bar for first person shooters.
When the Playstation 2 came out it really took the original Playstation to a new level. The visuals, sound and overall playability like controls was improved on every level. Console online play for the most part was introduced with that console as well as the original Xbox. At that time I had a good history with the original Playstation and decided to continue that by purchasing its sequel over the new Microsoft Xbox console. While Xbox during that generation released Halo, the most popular shooter ever, until Call of Duty of course, I decided to stay with my Playstation 2. That console kept cranking out amazing games like Grand Theft Auto 3, Gran Turismo 3, Tekken 4 and of course the first game I bought for the system Final Fantasy X.
While early in the PS2’s life cycle there were some amazing and captivating games I still had not found that one game that blew me away. Final Fantasy X did come close, it surprised me on many areas particularly on its gorgeous visuals, story and voice acting, but it still was not that amazing beautiful blond girl among ordinary girls. In the year 2002 when Facebook and Youtube didn’t exist and the internet was still a cocky teenager, it finally happened. One unforgettable game was released, Grand Theft Auto Vice City. I had played Grand Theft Auto 3 and did enjoy it very much but, Vice City took that to an unprecedented level. The setting portrayed Vice City as a 1980s Miami filled with all its amazing, cars, women, sunny beaches and of course the 80’s music. Running around as the sociopathic Tommy Vercitti voiced by the awesome Ray Liotta in a city directly modeled after Miami in the Scarface movie was thrilling. The colorful visuals and awesome cars stayed ingrained in my head for years.
There was one hugely important part of this game that made me fall in love with it and that was the music. As an 11 year-old at the time I had never listened to 1980’s metal, rap or any of the one hit wonders so, these songs were drilled into my head from the hours and hours spent playing the game. Anytime I hear any of those songs on TV or on the radio like Billie Jean by Michael Jackson or Atomic by Blondie I instantly remember playing Grand Theft Auto Vice City. Along with the amazing music, it had a great story and awesome missions. It felt like I was playing as a cooler and more well spoken version of Tony Montana. This game blew me away with it’s gameplay, characters, cars and the awesome soundtarck. I have to thank developer Rockstar for making this game and asking for them to use that Vice City location again like they did with Liberty City in GTA 3 and GTA 4. Grand Theft Auto Vice City made it even easier to own a Playstation 2 and still makes me believe that I Ran So Far Away by A Flock of Seagulls is one of the best songs of all time.
When the year 2006 came rolling around the Playstation 3 was finally released in the United States and I was super exciting, until I saw the insane price tag of $600. No matter how much I love video games I could not then and would not now spend that much on a console. I am happy I did not, since the launch did not have many good games and by waiting just two years later the price had decreased to $400 and better games were released by then. While everyone I knew and frankly most people in the U.S. bought a Xbox 360 I continued my support in Sony and their Playstation brand. I had my decision made a few years earlier due to all of the Playstation exclusives that were planned, but,one in particular caused me to buy the console, it was a system seller. That game was Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. I was so excited about this game that I had picked up my pre-ordered copy the day it was released before I even purchased a PS3. It was hard waiting two weeks to play the soon to be critically acclaimed and multi-award winning video game of the year.
Metal Gear Solid 4 at its release was in my opinion the best looking game ever made at the time. There was immense detail in the environments, characters looked super realistic and the cutscenes were damn right flawless. From a technical standpoint that game was and still is perfect and I have yet to encounter any glitches. The gameplay was improved to give the option of playing MGS 4 very stealthy like previous games or very action based like shooter games. It made old fans of the series like me happy but, also made the game fresh and easier for new players to try it out. The main character Solid Snake looked old but still better than ever. With improved skills in stealth and more gadgets than ever, he was a walking one man army. I don’t want to get into the story, since it is so amazing but, very confusing at times. All I can say is that if this was a movie it would win best picture, best actor, best supporting actor and a number of other awards. This game single handily made me purchase a $400 Playstation 3 and I have never regretted it. All I ask is for another sequel or prequel to the best Playstation 3 game ever made and one of the best games ever made.