On our last Let’s Podcast, Nelson and I announced that we’d be undertaking a massive Top 100 Console Video Games of All-Time list for the site. Twice a week (maybe more if it’s a slow week) we’ll bring you ten from our list of the Top 100 Console Games. Of course this being Consoles that means no PC or Handhelds, so Pokémon fans settle down. Also some game franchises will combined into one entry, this is because we feel each game in that series is equally deserving on this list and we couldn’t decide which one should be represented. Those are our rules that we set for ourselves, so please enjoy the list and be kind in the comments. Also I want to note before I get killed in the comments, this list is only games we’ve played, sadly that means the Mother series is not included because as a kid I missed out on Earthbound, but I’ve downloaded it to my Wii U so eventually I’ll get to it in a Retro Replay and let you know where I’d rank it on this list.
100 Kirby’s Adventure: Starting our list is the pink puff ball Kirby with the Nintendo Entertainment System classic Kirby’s Adventure. Created by Masahiro Sakurai (you’ll be hearing from him again) at Nintendo’s first party studio HAL Laboratories (again you’ll be hearing more from them). Kirby’s Adventure is a very fun platform with an added featuring of being able to eat your foes to steal their powers (that sounds more morbid than cute but it’s adorable in the game). A fun fact about Kirby he premiered on the Gameboy and since that was monochrome on the box art he was white in the US and when he made his NES debut and was pink, many gamers in the US were confused.
99 Ninja Gadian: Other than Super Mario Bros. one of my oldest NES gaming memories was Ninja Gadian. To six year old me this game was the panicle of gaming, it was fast paced, had ninjas, and was one of the first games ever to have a cut scene. That opening scene in the game with Ryu’s father getting cut down blew my mind and I thought, “graphics will never be better than this!” A thought my young mind would think over and over again. A side scrolling action platformer Ninja Gadian had pretty much anything you could want from an NES game (except for a ridiculous difficulty). Not only could you run, jump, and kill with your sword, but you could jump and climb on walls, pick up power ups like ninja stars. The game was uber difficult but still fun and sadly I was never able to beat the game but I’ve always enjoyed playing the game, and when you can say that about a difficult game, you know you have something special.
98 Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor: Our first current generation game to make the list (Xbox One PS4), Shadow of Mordor is a fun deep game which took the Batman Arkham engine and gave it swords, what more could you ask for? This game is a side story to the main Lord of the Rings narration and you play as a phantom ranger from Gondor and you infiltrate Mordor to avenge your’s and your family’s death. It’s a fun game that isn’t just a hack and slash, you work your way through an open world environment tracking down captains and generals from the armies of Mordor. As you track down and murder various orges and Urugs you delve deeper into this story and the lore of LoTR. It’s a fun and great game and you can usually find it for under $20, definitely worth a play through.
97 Wave Race: One of the launch titles for the Nintendo 64, Wave Race really showed off what the system could do in terms of graphics and speed. The water affects in the game still look beautiful today. It’s a fun racer (especially with 4 players) and it’s great just to pop in for a bit and remember the fun times you had with your N64.
96 Tatsunoko vs Capcom: For years all of us pined for a Marvel vs Capcom 3 and finally got it and it was very underwhelming and fans went back to their roms or Dreamcasts (the only way to play MvC2), but we did get a true successor to MvC2 and that was Tatsunoko vs Capcom. It ran on basically the same engine with updated anime style graphics. This was kind of an obscure Wii title in the US since really the only Tatsunoko property that is known in the US is G-Force, but this game was awesome and so much fun. It’s a bit expensive buying this new, but you can usually get a used copy for under $20. So if you’re jonesing for a game very much like Marvel vs Capcom this is a title you should pick up.
95 NHL 94: This is the title that turned an entire generation of kids onto hockey. Granted I’ve grown up a fan and my first hockey game was Ice Hockey for the NES, but I have to concede to the game that did it for most hockey fans of my generation, plus this game had the NHL and NHLPA license, something new to console hockey, plus it was featured in one of my all-time favorite independent films Swingers.
Trent: I wish they still had fights in this game so I could bitch-slap Wayne.
Mike: What? They don’t have fighting anymore?
Trent: Doesn’t that suck?
Mike: Why’d they get rid of the fighting? It was the best part of the old version.
Sue: I think kids were hittin’ each other or somethin’, man.
Trent: Yeah but you know what, Mike? You can make their heads bleed in this one.
Mike: Make somebody’s head bleed.
Sue: No man, we’re in the playoffs.
94 Super Return of the Jedi: The Super Nintendo Star Wars games were a lot of fun and Super Return of the Jedi was the best of the bunch. All three games took liberties with the story to make a game, but honestly this one was the closest to its movie counterpart. Also the game had some cool Lightsaber fights and you got to fly the Millennium Falcon and blow us the Death Star, and the ensuing “escape from the Death Star” level was a pulse pounding romp as you were desperately trying to out race the flames as well as dodge pieces of the exploding Death Star. The battles vs Darth Vader and The Emperor are a bit cheap but you can beat them and bring peace to the galaxy. This along with Empire and Star Wars are two games I want to buy again and have been looking for on ebay.
93 Donkey Kong: The game that basically launched Nintendo in the video game market, Donkey Kong which was originally released in the arcades appeared on the Colecovision first and then later game home to the NES. The game is some much fun and brought us two lasting characters, Donkey Kong and Mario (both of which we’ll see later on in the list). It’s a simple platformer, Kong kidnaps your girl and you have to climb girders and ladders and jump over barrels and flames in order to get to the top. Click here for my retro review of this simple and addicting game.
92 Nights: Into Dreams: To say the Sega Saturn was a failure of a system would be an absolute understatement. It launched unexpectedly to retailers and consumers who weren’t ready for it, it lacked 3rd party support, and was just a mess. However it had a very bright spot and that was Nights: Into Dreams. A unique 3-D game what saw you take control of the title character and fly around in a 3-D dream world. There was never really anything like it before and nothing really like it since. In fact it was so unique you could use a standard Saturn controller with it, they packaged a new controller with it that used a thumb stick (the first of the major consoles to do such a thing) which looked like the predecessor to the very awesome Dreamcast controller. Nights was a fun game that I never owned but everytime my mom dragged me to Sears that summer I always found my way to the Saturn demo station and played the hell out of Nights. I loved that game and always wanted a Saturn as a kid in order to play it.
91 Jet Force Gemini: Rare’s first foray into shooters, Jet Force Gemini was a unique little game for the N64. You took control over two space twins as you tried to liberate a teddy bear like people from this race of space ants. It was a simple concept and was a lot of fun to play. Aiming could be a bit wonkey from time to time but overall it was a blast. During the N64 days I was a huge Rare fan, they could do no wrong in my eyes and when I saw the preview for this in EGM and the commercials I knew I had to have it. On release day it was storming out but I was like “F this, I’m getting this game.” So I drown down to Toys R Us to buy it and on my way home a 6 car pile-up happened right in front of me. I was 16 at the time and not very experienced driving and I panicked and slammed on the breaks (a no no in the rain) and began hydro plaining. I thought for sure I was going to slam into that last car but an angle must have been watching over me because I stopped two inches from the other car’s bumper. I was shaken and scared when the old police officer came up to my window and asked if I was okay and had I been involved. I told him I was fine and that I luckily stopped in time and glanced at how close I was and laughed “oh yeah, you lucked out” he then proceeded to stop traffic so I could pull out and head home. That scary incident filled me with adrenalin and I basically stayed up all night playing that game because I couldn’t sleep. You can still find this game for under $10 on the N64 or you can buy the Rare Replay on the Xbox One to get this game and others that will appear on this list for under $20.
Check back next week as we do 90-81 in the Clash of the Nerds Top 100 Console Games of All-Time.