My Ten Favorite Games Ever – Part 3

Continuing from Part 2, these are my personal ten favorite games ever.  Not the best games ever made, or even games I want to play again.  But the ten games I had the most fun playing the first time I played them.

Red Dead Redemption and Undead Nightmare

Age I was: 20 and 21

Last attempt at playing it: Played through all the main content and DLC once.  Would play some more if more DLC hit, which ain’t happening.

Would I ever play it again: No

I’ve enjoyed games like Grand Theft Auto and Saint’s Row, but the thing about them is, I’m not really all that interested in the life of criminal or a gang banger. Take CJ from San Andreas.  Has there ever been a less sympathetic character that is the protagonist of a game?  Hell, you can almost feel a little bad for Duke Nukem.  With that much machismo and bravado, you know he has to have microscopic pecker.  But CJ?  What a douche.  I think that’s why I disliked San Andreas so much.  I kept waiting for a cut scene where he would realize he was a cancer on all those around him and cap himself.  Trust me, I was a frequent user of Right, L2, Down, R1, Left, Left, R1, L1, L2, L1.

That’s what I loved about Red Dead Redemption.  My buddy Cyril chastised me for short-handing it as “Grand Theft Auto 1910s” when its way more complex than that.  But really, that’s sort of what it is.  You know what?  I find that setting more interesting.  That doesn’t matter though.  It’s the writing.  It’s the fact that main characters John and Jack are complex but have a genuine sense of goodness about them.  So when it comes time to take control of them and lead them through their outstanding adventure, the scenarios it puts them through feels like something they should be doing.  Whereas the only thing I thought CJ or Vice City’s Tommy should be doing is stuffing their pants with large rocks and hurling themselves into the river.

By all rights, Red Dead Redemption should have been an unmitigated disaster.  Six years to make.  Over 800 people involved in its production.  It went way over budget, suffered numerous delays, apparently was the source of bad working conditions and an unhappy staff, and all that for a sequel to a game that wasn’t really that good to begin with?  How was this not another Duke Nukem Forever or Galleon?  Even more puzzling, how on Earth did all that create one of the best games ever made?  It’s mind-boggling.

Yea, it’s a bit rough around the edges at times, but Red Dead Redemption was really the first game of its kind from Rockstar that felt like it was actually made just for adults.  I always thought the Grand Theft Auto games seemed more targeted towards what I call your inner-bastard.  Sure, the storylines were “mature” in the sense that they involved swearing and committing crimes.  Yet, the games were always cartoonish enough and so over-the-top that I always kind of figured the M rating came with a knowing “wink-wink” and a nod towards the kiddie set.  And it worked.  Twelve-year-old me wanted Grand Theft Auto III because my parents said no.  On the other hand, Red Dead Redemption feels like something that twelve-year-old me wouldn’t, or more accurately couldn’t, appreciate.

And yes, I actually liked Undead Nightmare.  While I still say I’m baffled as to why zombies are more popular with the nerd set than free blowjobs, I have to concede that Undead Nightmare is actually better than the main game.  Intense as hell, lots of “holy shit” twists, and startling moments that complement an overall sense of dread.  For all the unjustified hype surrounding each new Resident Evil release, has any horror title done better than Undead Nightmare over the last ten years?  After playing it, all other DLC seems lackluster.  The bar is now set so high that you need jet-powered pogo stick to reach it.  Then again, this and Black Ops probably should be flogged just for setting off this new “every game needs to have zombies shoehorned into it somehow” trend.  I’m officially done with games if they find their way into Reader Rabbit.

But let’s not kid ourselves: After a very good-sized adventure and five installments of DLC, I’m beyond burned out on Red Dead Redemption.  Yea, I would certainly play more if they put it out, but I can’t say I’m still wanting more.  I’m totally satisfied, and I have no expectations for what the future of this series holds.  Like Final Fantasy VII, this felt like lightning in a bottle.  What I would like to see is a totally different setting.  I’m actually pretty pissed that Assassin’s Creed called dibs on the American Revolution.  As much as I’m enjoying Assassin’s Creed III, I would so rather have Rockstar use that as the setting for the next Red Dead game.  They could call it Red Dead Red Coats!

GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark

Age I was: 10 and 11.

Last attempt at playing it: at least ten years ago for GoldenEye, last year for Perfect Dark.

Would I ever play it again:  Noooooooooooooo!

I can’t properly explain what GoldenEye and Perfect Dark have meant to my life (yes, life), so instead I’ll just tell you a story.  I’m sure you all will be rolling your eyes as much as I’m wiping tears from mine.

I have autism.  Kids can have a tough time growing up, but growing up like this was at times very isolating.  I only went to school through first-grade, and was tutored at home after that.  My only social interaction came in the form of a sort of support group that met in San Francisco, where kids all across the autism spectrum could interact and feel as normal as possible.  This was mostly done with games and physical activities.  Later, a Nintendo 64 with four controllers joined the fray.  Then GoldenEye showed up and was hot for two days before the counselors declared it to be inappropriate and banned it.  That lasted another couple of days before parents actually requested they let the kids play it, because it was causing such a positive amount of social interaction.  Thank God Xbox Live didn’t exist back then, or it would have ended up in a firing barrel.

I was going to complain about how Wikipedia has the European box art instead of the American one, but hey, it actually looks way better than ours. Carry on.

I never actually touched it that whole time.  I was firmly in the PlayStation camp at age eight, and only joined in when Mario Kart 64 or Diddy Kong Racing made an appearance.  But those moments were rare.  It was all GoldenEye, all the time.  It wasn’t until two years later that I finally got curious what all the fuss was about.  So I started watching the other kids (ranging from ages ten to early twenties) play it.  I did that for, oh, about three months.  Never daring to actually play, or even try.  By that point, I owned a Nintendo 64, but I never thought to buy it.  I hadn’t even played any shooter before.  With the exception of Mario Kart 64 and Diddy Kong Racing, every game I owned was a platformer.  Then, one day, I worked up the courage to play it with the group.  Do I even need to go any further?

I guess I should, because to not do so fails to give GoldenEye the justice it deserves.  It was something special.  I had played Mario Kart with the group, and yea, great game.  I owned it.  Spent many hours with it as a kid.  But Goldeneye.  Wow.  License to Kill mode.  Proximity mines.  The facility with automatics.  Hours and hours, and full years spent with it and Perfect Dark.  I miss that time.  A lot.

But let’s not kid ourselves:I shed many tears sharing that with Brian and reminiscing about the skill levels of each dude I used to play against.  But no matter what, those days are gone and I can’t get them back.  It will never be the same.  The Nintendo 64 originals are downright unplayable today.  They’re glitchy, skippy, and Perfect Dark especially chugs at like two frames an hour if you have four players and eight sims going.  Stuff you didn’t notice in 2000 when games didn’t play any better.  But they do now and I can’t pretend they don’t.

They tried a sequel to Perfect Dark, and I’m still honestly not sure if it’s any good.  The problem with it was it was so different from the original.  Perfect Dark was awesome because it felt like GoldenEye.  Perfect Dark Zero didn’t feel like GoldenEye at all, which is all anyone wanted.  They’ve remade GoldenEye a few times since 1997, and it never feels rightIt’s actually obnoxious, like someone doing a bad Sean Connery impression.  Meanwhile, they brought out a spot-on Perfect Dark port with online play to Xbox Live Arcade.  It still wasn’t the same.  As much as I cling to Xbox Live today, GoldenEye and Perfect Dark made the leap from great to amazing because of Chris, Matt, Bradley James, OddScott, and Bo.  Five guys out there know exactly who I’m talking about.  If you guys still live in the Bay Area, send me an e-mail.  I would love to play Halo 4 with you next week.

Continue to Part 4: Banzo-Marzooie Galaxy!

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

8 Responses to My Ten Favorite Games Ever – Part 3

  1. Argamae says:

    I share your love for both games, albeit for different reasons concerning Golden Eye 64, naturally. And you are right in announcing Red Dead Redemption one of the best games ever made. It amazes me every single time I play it – and I seriously need to get that undead DLC. Shame on me.
    With Golden Eye 64 I have to admit that I would probably still enjoy it today. It played reasonably well with four players split-screen (which friends and me did a lot back then). And I welcomed the return of Perfect Dark to XBL Arcade which really was a perfect port.

  2. Pingback: My Ten Favorite Games Ever – Part 2 « Indie Gamer Chick

  3. CJ says:

    I loved me some Goldeneye 64. To me, it holds up well, not as great as it did back in ’98 though. The more recent remake was alright, but the developers strayed too much from the Rare “awesome kick-ass” game formula.

    The only way to get my Goldeneye fix on consoles now is through the Timesplitters games, which are super rad. 😀

    Come to think of it, my entire game collection was full of Rare/Free Radical games. I believe they(the old development team(s), not the wussy-filled, zombified Rare today) knew how to make games, they had the “magic formula” – even their mediocre games were pretty cool to me. Blast Corps was totally worth the multiple rentals. I hated games with vehicles in them though, but Rare knew how to reel me in. 😀

    • Argamae says:

      Maybe there’s an idea for a new series for Kairi: “my ten favourite developers that put out games which mostly did not suck”. Or something along those lines. 😉

  4. Pingback: My Ten Favorite Games Ever – Part 4 « Indie Gamer Chick

  5. Pingback: My Ten Favorite Games Ever – Part 5: Portal « Indie Gamer Chick

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