Scott's Top 25 Games of All Time
by Scott

25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1 |

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all screenshots were taken by me.

25: Loom

Developer: LucasFilms Games (now LucasArts)
Publisher: LucasArts
System(s): PC, Mac OS, Amiga, Atari ST, FM Towns, TG16
Date of Release: 1990 (DOS Floppy), 1991 (FM Towns), 1992 (DOS with voices)
Genre: Point-and-Click Adventure
Reasons for being on this list:
I personally like to think that everyone from my generation (born in the 80s) has at least one cherished memory of playing LucasArts adventure games. Along with the confused feeling of why did these games have to die off. Loom was my introduction to the glory that was LucasArts adventure games. Before I played that game, most of the games that I played were text heavy adventure games, basic graphical RPGs, or simplistic platformers. Loom changed all that. It was the first game with a well-built fantasy world, some truly cinematic moments, and a no-death policy.

So why is this game on the list instead of the Monkey Island games? Because Loom made me realize how important graphics and music are to a game, from the shades of green with the up-beat music for the city of the glassmakers, to the colorful trees and peaceful music of the shepherds, to the brilliant flames and strong music of the blacksmiths. It proved that games had an ability to draw players in completely.

Finally, the appearance of the main villain, Chaos, has perhaps the best introduction of any point-and-click adventure game villain: he rips apart the lesser villain of the game without even breaking a sweat.

Ease of acquiring/playing: Moderate to excruciatingly hard. This game has long since been considered 'Abandonware' and the fans of these games are very against file sharing. However, you might be able to find a version of it floating around on the net. Getting it to run on today's computer will take a bit of work. First off, use the excellent SCUMMVM that was put together by fans of LucasArt's Adventure games. I suggest using this over DOSBox because with the SCUMMVM program, you can skip the password at the beginning of the game. Second, you'll need all of the files, not just the ones that get installed onto your computer. Just copy and paste instead of installing. This is what makes it so hard to find a copy, because most people don't have the original disks. Third, you need the correct version. Not every version of this game will work completely in SCUMMVM, I personally use the EGA version. You can go looking for any LucasArts adventure game, all of them are fantastic. Or you can get Sam & Max Season 1, which was made by people who worked on those older games. We'll get the second game made by LucasArts alumni in a little while.

24: Super Bomberman

Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Nintendo
System(s): Super NES
Date of Release: 1993 (North America)
Genre: Arcade Action
Reasons for being on this list:
Ah, the good old Bomberman franchise, before it went all platformer-happy on us. There is no greater pleasure in this world than blowing up a friend (who probably won't be your friend for much longer) with a series of bombs that cover half the screen. The vs. mode in this game is the best out of any bomberman game. Power zone for its brutally fast games (every one starts at full power), Pipe zone for "what the hell just hit me" moments (large pipes cover portions of the screen) and flower zone for the ultimate cheapery (You can get a detonator power-up there, I'll let you figure out how to use it). Plus, it featured a co-op mode, which too many games lack. Hell, the co-op feature makes the single player mode actually decent and fun to play, since it was possible (re: easy) to kill each other.

Here is a real discussion between my dad and me while playing this game:
"Damn it dad! You just killed me! Warn me when you detonate your bombs!"
"You should be more careful."
"Careful?! You have golden flame (max flame length)! And red bomb (bomb flame goes through walls)! And you put down eight bombs! How could I more be careful?! Hell, you hit every square on the screen! You even hit the exit twice (no, I'm not exaggerating)!"
"Just stand were I'm standing."
"I can't follow you everywhere, you'll just grab all the items and I'll be stuck with the short flame."
"You just have to move faster- wait a minute! You just killed me!"
"Sorry, I guess you weren't careful enough."
Yah, I don't know how we beat the game, either.

Ease of acquiring/playing: Easy to very difficult. It depends; do you want to play the insane four-player vs. mode? Then you also need four controllers and a multi-tap, and good luck finding one of those. Try on-line marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. However, Bomberman '93 has been put onto the Wii Virtual Console, which can provide 4 (apparently up to 5) player fun for a much lower price. Also, a new bomberman game is on Xbox Live Arcade, called Bomberman LIVE, so you could play that as well. Just stay the hell away from Bomberman 64 and every Bomberman since that one, because all of those are big piles of shit.
Screenshots are from the Video Game Museum (VGM).

23: Final Fantasy

Developer: Square (now Square-Enix)
Publisher: Nintendo
System(s): NES
Date of Release: 1990 (North America)
Genre: Japanese RPG
Reasons for being on this list:
What can I say about the game that turned me onto RPGs? Hell, I've made D&D characters based off of the party members in this game (black mage). I've read the strategy guide put out by Nintendo as recreational material. While the latest Final Fantasy games continue to depress me with the same bland turn based combat system, way too much emphasis on pretty CGI, and quests to save the world from psychotic pretty-boys that had huge, obviously compensating for something weapons, this one I still love.

It was a game that was unapologetically old school, the type that would kick your ass and come back for seconds. You might have the best party in the world, taking down monsters left and right, and then BAM! You go up against a group of cockatrices, and in the first round, your meat shields have been turned to stone and you can't use a soft in battle. You're desperately trying to run away, praying to the gaming gods that they don't hit your party with another glance attack, when they strike one of your mages dead from normal attacks, and you find yourself thinking about when the last time you saved and hope you don't have to walk too far back to the dungeon.

The re-release made it so it is not instant death when you walk into a dungeon, and I often wonder if younger gamers would put up with all the crap we did. Now, people give some of the newer versions (Dawn of Souls) a bad rap because of the changed magic system and the extremely lowered difficulty. Course, none of them bring up the expanded inventory, which allows you to carry virtually every item you find in the game around with you. And if you've beaten the original NES game, you know how to abuse the items, so this makes the game even easier. But still, the lowered difficulty does give you the chance to try out some of the more, exotic, party combinations. I could go on, but Pat has summed up everything so nicely about this game already.

Ease of acquiring/playing: Depends, what version do you want? If you want the original, it might be kind of hard. However, Square has remade this game more times than you could believe, and they are all easy to find.
Screenshots are from the VGM.

22: IL 2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles

Developer: 1C: Maddox Games
Publisher: Ubi Soft
System(s): PC
Date of Release: 2003
Genre: WW2 Flight Simulator
Reasons for being on this list:
I'm not a plane simulator fan. Whenever I try one, I wind up having a love affair with the ground. Repeatedly. IL 2 impressed me with its fully customizable game play. You could turn it down to an arcade like game where you start in the air, never have to land, and just fly around shooting down planes. Or you could scale it up to the point where if you gun the engine too much, your engine dies on you, you plummet to the earth, and your plane rips apart in mid-air from the Gs, provided you haven't blacked out yet.

Think of this game as the Gran Turismo of WW2 flight simulators, the creator actually flies Russian planes in his free time. The game has a replay feature so you can watch the mission you just flew from any plane, inside or out, to find out where you screwed up or to show your friends your best crashes. It also includes dozens of planes, a huge campaign (I lost count around the 200 mark), lots of stand alone missions, a quick mission builder, and a powerful mission and campaign builder give this game endless playability.

Not satisfied? How about multiplayer support up to 64 players? True, the other expansion packs have even more features, but it was this one I found in a bargain bin for 10 dollars, and you just can't beat that price.

Ease of acquiring/playing: They just released a new version of this game: IL 2 Sturmovik 1946, which has every single expansion pack for this game, plus the original, plus more additional material. Trust me on this one; this game probably has more stuff in it than half of your game collection put together. For example, there are 256 flyable planes.
Screenshots are from the official IL 2 Sturmovik website.

21: The Incredible Machine

Developer: Kevin Ryan, Jeff Tunnell
Publisher: Sierra
System(s): PC, Mac
Date of Release: 1992
Genre: Rube Goldberg-ish Insane Puzzle
Reasons for being on this list:
While I like to say that I suck at puzzle games, the Incredible Machine is a game I don't care if I can't beat. Because it's just so damn fun to fool around in. The setup of the game is simple: you have an easy task to perform, such as popping a balloon, turning on some flashlights, or making a hamster run in his cage. The interesting part comes in when you build screen stretching machines that involve cats, bowling balls, punching gloves, conveyor belts, see-saws, and sticks of TNT. Plus more stuff that I can't remember. This game gets insane very quickly, and you keep clicking on 'next puzzle' just to see how insane the next machine is.

Also, this game comes with a very powerful 'make your own machine' mode, which I spent more time in than the actual game. Trust me, when you spend 2 hours building a complex machine to light a candle, you'll wonder why games need fancy graphics and epic story lines when something this simple is just so much fun. Don't try and tell me that when you looked over the screenshots, you immediately didn't start trying to solve them.

Ease of acquiring/playing: Easy. It's being put onto Xbox Live, so sharpen your brain! Sadly, it's the first version of the game. You might be able to find some of the later versions that have more machine parts on-line. It is a 'Wal-mart' type game, so you might be able to find the last version of it in stores, if you don't mind losing your 'street gamer cred' if anyone sees you buying it.
Note: screenshots are from my copy of The Return of the Incredible Machine Contraptions.

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