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Shaun's Top 100 Video Games of All-Time (2016 Edition) 70-61

{GAMING}

Shaun's Top 100 Video Games of All-Time (2016 Edition) 70-61

Shaun Cordingley

Welcome back! I hope you have been enjoying my Top 100 Video Games of All-Time (2016 Edition) list so far...and if you're just joining me, here are the first three sets of 10: 

100-91
90-81
80-71

Now let's get to the games I've ranked 70-61: 



70) Kingdom Hearts

The original, PS2 Kingdom Hearts starts us off today, with it being a series that I really enjoyed when I played the first one, and the never really paid that much attention to it, and now that I'm hearing that there's a Kingdom Hearts 3 coming sometime in the future, I thought "oh yeah, I should see...oh my"...for there are now piles of Kingdom Hearts games, and different iterations, and weird...decimal...sequels...

If you never played Kingdom Hearts it is an action-RPG set in a crossover universe that uses both Disney and Final Fantasy characters, and worlds. What was really neat was that when you went to one of the Disney worlds (based off of the films) the animation would shift into that films' style, The gameplay was a very entertaining mix of action and RPG, which, when combined with the quirky (and let's face it, nostalgic) setting, really did make something special. 

Maybe someday I will wade into the...prequels, and mound of sequels...but...

69) Tropico 4

As much as I do love Tropico 5the one that made me forever a fan of the series was Tropico 4 on PC. I had dabbled a bit with some of the earlier ones, but it was the depth of 4 that won me over. Tropico is a city-builder/political simulation strategy series wherein you take over the position on dictator on a small banana republic and lead the country through it's construction into...well whatever you want it to be. Tourist haven? Do it. Sugar cane as far as the eye can see (mostly processed into rum)? Do it. Military base for the Soviet Union to freak the American jerks out? Do it. It is your island. 

The setting is fun, the music is catchy and addictive, and at it's core, Tropico 4 has an excellent balance of construction and needing to play the political game (you know, if you're into that whole "democracy" thing). I'll never forget the first time rebels staged a coup on me in Tropico 4...I mean, I probably will, for I crushed it...and therefore wrote the history down, but seeing those rebels pop up in the jungle and start heading for my palace (something about me not being in-touch with the Religious faction, I believe) while I was trying to balance my import/exports just felt great. 

68) The Witcher: Wild Hunt

The Witcher: Wild Hunt was my honorable mention for Game of the Year last year, so there should be little surprise that it would make this list. I love RPG's, Wild Hunt was one of the deepest, most impressive games I have ever played. The bleak, horrible world just felt so alive, and a joy (wrong word, but you get me) to be in, and I cannot even begin to speak to how many side quests I lost days of gaming to, because they just felt amazing. Graphically stunning, an interesting combat system, and just so much to do, Wild Hunt is still a game I think about, and one of my favourite games of this generation. 

Again, as I said in the GOTY article, I did find the main story-line (because I had not played any of the other Witcher games, nor have I read the books...yet...) as compelling as I wanted it to be, especially as it drug itself into a mound of fetch quests, nor did I ever come to care about Gwent, so that is what keeps The Witcher: Wild Hunt that bit lower on this list than perhaps it could have achieved. 

67) NBA Jam TE

NBA Jam Tournament Edition (TE) was awesome. Ported off of an arcade machine, essentially the game was a ridiculous two on two basketball game featuring all the stars off of every team (of course no Michael Jordan because...baseball...) where you would play mini-games filled with crazy huge elbows, gigantic dunks, a strange, and excitable (and admittedly awesome) announcer, and an occasionally flaming ball. 

TE added in a third player for each team (only two played, but you had the option to rotate your lineups in case you felt you needed different stats), and a bunch of Easter eggs (like random characters). I think the best part about NBA Jam is that it did not really matter if you liked basketball or not, or if you liked sports games or not: it was easy to pick up, and fun for absolutely everyone. 

66) NHL Stanley Cup

NHL Stanley Cup was my SNES hockey game, and my hockey game period for a long part of my childhood, I loved this quirky NHL game, complete with it's revolutionary (at the time) pseudo-3D graphics. The game had a license from the NHL (so all 26 teams were available to play, with their right logos and jerseys), but not from the NHLPA, so unlike the EA NHL series, Stanley Cup did not have any player names in it (but...you know...numbers, so #99 on the LA KIngs was awful darn good...). 

I loved it, and I still have fonder memories of my solo-seasons in Stanley Cup than I have from any hockey game I have played since. 

...and for the record, despite my being a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, I did not intentionally put NHL Stanley Cup at #66...I just noticed that today when I was writing this, however I will not lie about how happy I am about that.



65) Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons

Oh man, this one takes me back.

Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons is a three-part episodic side-scrolling platformer which I played on PC (DOS to be exact), and originally came out in 1990. In the Commander Keen games, you jumped, ran and shot your way through colourful and fun levels, fending off an alien invasion as the Commander Keen, the secret identity of 8-year old Green Bay Packers fan/child genius. I think I probably spent the most time playing the first episode, Marooned on Mars, where you are moving around the old cities on Mars, trying to rebuild your spaceship (and eat candy). 

They were just really fun, perfect for super-young me computer platformers where you got to battle aliens with your ray gun and your pogo stick, and have a good time. They weren't super long, they had a funny story (spoilers the Vorticons are actually being controlled by your arch-rival from school), and are probably one of my earliest, favourite PC games. 

64) Super Mario Galaxy

There are not to many Wii entries on my Top 100 list, which...I guess is not that much of a surprise as Nintendo (of late) has had a rather lackluster lineup of games...coupled with the fact that that has essentially allowed me to drift further and further away from their hardware/software. HOWEVER, Mario Galaxy was an absolutely fantastic 3D Mario game which played with the platformer genre in new ways--primarily via it's use of shifts in gravity, and Mario's new spin-mechanic. I still think that Galaxy has the best visuals of any Mario game; the design of this one is just so cool. 

The graphics and gameplay of Galaxy are still wonderful, with the gameplay being some of the best I experienced in the last generation of consoles. I think I ended up being one of two games that I played multiple times on the Wii, and is my favourite post-NES Mario game by a fair margin (...spoilers I guess). 

63) Assassin's Creed II

I was a fan of the first Assassin's Creed, although I did find that it got a little bit tired and repetitive (and yes, the main character was drab and annoying at best), but there was an intriguing game there that I enjoyed. Assassin's Creed 2, and the beginning of the Ezio timeline (essentially a game that takes place in Renaissance Italy, and wherein you're battling Borgia) was exactly what I wanted: I studied art history, as well as European History at University, I knew pretty much every art piece and political thing that happened in the game intimately thanks to my studies, and the story of an Assassin working around these times was just awesome. 
Ubisoft took and improved essentially every element of Assassin's Creed when moving from 1 to 2, making the game play feel better, the missions having more variety, and the meta-story (the weird, weird meta-story) actually felt like it belonged in the game. I still have fond memories of getting to Florence for the first time, going "I have to climb Brunelleschi's Dome", and then ignoring everything else until I got there and climbed it. 

Assassin's Creed as a series has lost me since the end of the Ezio stories (I hated 3, and while Black Flag was a fun pirate game, I didn't care about anyone in the story, so I just...pirated until I was tired of pretending to care about the characters...so by the time Unity and all it's troubles came around I was done), but I will always hold II close to my heart. 

62) Micro Machines

I have to admit that this could stand for the Micro Machines franchise, but at the end of the day, it was always all about the NES version. I cannot tell you how many times I asked my parents to rent this from a video store, and I would just sit and play it over and over again...

Essentially, Micro Machines was a game franchise based on the old toy cars that were made to be incredibly tiny, which meant that the NES game was tiny cars, trucks, boats, etc. which you would drive around on every-day surfaces (like you and your friends were racing them around the breakfast table, or your blue billiard table). It was just a simple top-down racer, but I loved it so much. 

I don't really think that any of the games after the NES Micro Machines was anywhere near as good as the first one, although I do have to say that V4 was not too bad, but by that point, I had gotten way (way) better at video games...so there was not the same stressful challenge, or admittedly as much fun had as there was with the original. 

61) Bioshock: Infinite

Bioshock: Infinite is a strange game that I loved. While it differs a great deal in tone, pacing, and play-style from the earlier Bioshock games, Infinite is one of the more entertaining shooters I've played, that was helped immensely by an immersive, and gorgeous steampunk cloud city. These drastic differences (I feel) altered the opinions of a lot of the hardcore Bioshock fans (which I understand), but I do think that a lot of them get a little blinded to a very enjoyable game, with a few breathtaking moments.

I have to say, I really enjoyed the story: it is a bit convoluted, what with all the space-time continuum tearing, and it gets really strange at the end, but it was a bold decision, and once I had a few hours to digest everything that had happened, I found that I was loving Infinite more and more. The music in the game was wonderful, and even though there were two main characters, it was so great to have an AI companion that actually did things...helpful things. I really grew very fond of Elizabeth as a character, and...well I don't want to spoil it (as Infinite was remastered for this generation of consoles). 

Bioshock: Infinite is awesome.



Well now these lists are getting more and more interesting, as I'm getting to reminisce about some games that I haven't played in years....hopefully you have been enjoying this as much as I am, and I will see you again on Friday! 

-S (@Shauncord