Peaches' Top 25 Games of All Time
by Peaches

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

#20 - Super Mario RPG

It's hard to think of what, exactly, I can say about this game.

It's kind of a Mario game - it's got nasty turtles, mushrooms, fireballs - but at the same time, it's not. It's got a 3-D element to movement, which is something even the later Final Fantasy games didn't quite pull off. The battle system, however, is painfully generic - special attacks that cost points, regular attacks that don't, items, and run away.

I doubt this would crack the Top 25 Console RPGs of all time - but as an RPG for the non-RPG-inclined gamer, it delivers.

#19 - Sim City 2000

Ah, Simcity. The game that forced marketing executives to finally take a deep look into their bleak souls and ask themselves, "Can we slap 'Sim' in front of this game's title?"

If you haven't figured it out already, I love sequels that actually feel like sequels. In the original SimCity, you could bulldoze the areas around fires and build temporary fire departments to keep your city from burning. In 2000, you could actually deploy your police, firefighters, and even the military to control riots and floods. You could even choose what kind of sport your stadiums played, and what your team name was. The newspaper would give you your city's stats in a tongue-in-cheek tone that Maxis still manages to inject in The Sims.

Long-term simulation games such as this one have been largely replaced by MMORPGs, but would we even have The Sims on the Wii if Maxis hadn't develivered on this title?

#18 - Star Tropics

Link. It's all about Link, isn't it? And that smug brat Ness. Well, here's a well-deserved shout-out to Mike, that yo-yo weilding island boy with a heart of gold and an alien girlfriend.

Whatever Link could do, so could Mike. Top-down action in an original setting (gotta give some credit for mixing tropical and sci-fi themes), monster-whacking (I still dream about those red ostriches with human skulls), item gathering, a bit of puzzle solving, interesting characters... really, what more could you ask for? The sequel was even somewhat like the original, instead of being a lame side-scroller!

And lots of the little touches I love... like the three secret rooms in the first level. The first two give you very helpful potions, But the third room... That deserved to be a genuine "Fuck You" moment, but somehow, it wasn't. You could almost hear the developers snicker at you, like your friends who drew on your face while you were passed out drunk. There was a sense of good humor to that moment that not every game can pull off.

#17 - Banjo-Kazooie

I once played a game called Vexx. It was well-programmed, and the slightly distored, macabre style was a refreshing change of pace in a platformer, a genre normally dominated by Mario-esque cuteness.

The reason you may have never heard of the game is because, theme aside, it was like every other platformer you've ever played. The 64-bit years called, they want their genre back.

Banjo-Kazooie, by contrast, was an installment that came out during the heydey of the 3-D platformer and, I feel, stands out as an example of how a 3-D environment could be used to break new ground in video gaming, instead of just using it as a novelty. Somehow, this game just did everything... [i]right[/i]. The characters are naturally appropriate to the setting, yet original. The levels are varied in both design and presentation, there is a nice mix of combat, puzzles (in both the find-the-right move and solve-the-question variety), and a good selection of collectables, though not too many. You can taste the delicate balance of gaming flavors in this dish.

#16 - The Lost Vikings

Games for your brain tend to fall into one of two categories: point-and-click, find-the-doohickey, decode-the-mushroom-door abstractions that cause you to surrender a bit of your common sense (even Myst is guilty of this from time to time), or Tetris clones.

This game actually felt like a puzzle platformer. You get one guy who can run and jump, one guy who can fight, and another guy with a sheild. Somehow, they made this work.

This is also a testament to original characters. You are not some misfit boy hero resucing a princess. You are not some talking animal with ADD and "attitude". You're just three Vikings who want to go home. And make references to Steve Martin, before he lost his funny.

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