My Personal Video Game History
While I would still play the other systems, I was not thrilled by the console game selection in the 1990's, and became bored with video gaming by 1991. I hated jumping, side-scrollers, and the limited exploration of most console games. Arcades were still part of my social life, and it often you could find me and my friends at some Tulsa mall pumping quarters. But, I was hungry for something different. Then in summer of 1991, my father would buy an greybox Hewlett-Packard home PC running MS-DOS and Windows 3.1. This was a revolution for me and my relationship with home gaming. Given the power of the PC, I was able to run games like LucasArts Battle of Britain, Loom, War in Middle Earth. Instead of investing in another console during the Bit Wars, my (and parents) money was funneled into the greybox. Games like X-Wing, Terminator: 2029, Wolfenstein, DOOM, and Wing Commander filled my high school years. It was not until the original PlayStation came out that I switched teams back to a home console system.
1. HALO: Combat Evolved (2001/2011)
HALO is one of those gaming franchise that transcended beyond the console to be a multi-media empire. But, it all started on a new home video game console, and the success of the original 2001 HALO: Combat Evolved for the original Xbox gave birth to one of the greatest military sci-fi series of all time. When I bought my Xbox in 2005, I bought HALO: CE, and it was a damn nearly religious experience. I knew within a few hours, that HALO was going to be my game and that this game would be forever something special. Even to this very day, I play HALO: CE once a year, and I do not need to make nostalgia excuses for it, especially with the anniversary edition. It is a rock solid game that took the tropes and made them their prison bitch. This game carried a dynasty that expanded throughout all types of media and culture, and if it is ever made, the HALO movie could be the best video game film of all time...which is not a high bar. To me, HALO: Combat Evolved one of the best games I ever played, and we are still very much in love.
2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)
3. Medal of Honor (2010)
4. Half-Life 2 (2004)
I played the original Half-Life on the PS2 conversion, and it was okay...but it wasn't until HL2 that the everyone, including me, woke up to this masterpiece of gaming. In some ways, HL2 pulled an Road Warrior on the audience, taking the world of Gordon Freeman, and altering it in a post-apocalyptic, post-alien invasion controlled Earth. The human races is one their collective knees, and they need a hero. I still play this game once-a-year, and enjoy it on the many levels that it exists. This game would also give us Portal and the machinima series Civil Protection starring Dave and Mike.
5. HALO: Reach (2010)
6. Xenophobe (Arcade 1987)\
Ah, the 1980's! I spent many years in the arcade, and it was in 1987 that I met that one arcade game that made me fall in love: Xenophobe. Let's face the facts, there has not been a "good" ALIENS video game until ALIEN Isolation, but Xenophobe came close to giving us ALIENS fans something enjoyable to play that was similar to that dark world that we loved. Xenophobe was a unique fusion of humor, dark sci-fi, and classic arcade gaming that made an impression on gamers at the time. So successful was the arcade cabinet, that the game was ported to every major home console and computer gaming system from 1987 through 2004. That says something about the longevity of Xenophobe. I really wish there had been a sequel...maybe one day. If and when FWS ever gets an official office, Xenophobe will be in the office for stress relief.
7. Mass Effect (2007)
I've never been much for classic fantasy RPGs, either paper-and-pen or video games. Sure, I played D&D and Dark Tower back in the 1980's..but it wasn't until 2007 that concept of Mass Effect got me thinking that this game could a space-based RPG that I could get behind. When I finally played it as FemShep (of course), I was shocked how engrossing, beautiful, and complex the original Mass Effect game was. Even today, I love the first and third game...not a fan of Mass Effect 2. During a recent playthrough of all three games back-to-back, I continually impressed with the epic nature of the original Mass Effect, and I firmly believe that it is one of the finest science fiction games of all time. Oh, FemShep is the real Commander Shepard!
8. Wing Commander (1990)
At times, video games allow new types of stories to be told in a new medium, and that was the case with 1990's military sci-fi flight sim Wing Commander. This game takes concepts from The Man-Kzin Wars, Enemy Mine, Star Wars, and BSG to from a tale of Terran space jocks onboard a space carrier in the Vega Sector battling Killer Space Tigers. I played this a few years after its original release, but it was of the best games I played in the 1990's, and the second and third games were also good, but the first game will always have a special place in my heart.
9. Star Wars: X-Wing (1993)
Flight simulators have always been one of the most popular computer games, due to the technologically ability and advantages of PCs over consoles to simulate flight conditions with a joystick...not some damned controller! Not all flight simulators were devoted to dogfights or simple simulation, there was an healthy market for space combat sims, and one of the best of all time was X-Wing by LucasArts. X-Wing would allow the player to take control of the iconic space fighters of the Rebel Alliance in historical simulations and live missions. This game was packed with insight to the world of Star Wars, and unlike the most Star Wars games, there was no fucking Jedi! X-Wing tells the story of the Rebel Alliance guerrilla campaign against the Empire via a military sci-fi setting, and not lightsaber duels. I loved this game back-in-the-day and its expansions, and it is still a game that I think holds up. This is the best Star Wars game there is.
10. Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 (2005)