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Random top 5 lists for your enjoyment! Everyone likes lists!

Top 5 crappy NES games I found myself playing the most as a kid April 17, 2013

Filed under: Video Games — cowboyography @ 8:25 am
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Here are my top 5 games I couldn’t get enough of as a kid, my cousins and friends and I spent a lot of time on the NES, and the games on this list are the 5 that though aren’t that great, are still some of my fondest gaming memories. Now don’t get me wrong, I played the crap out of the classics- Metroid, Mike Tysons Punch Out, Contra, and the like, but bad games are like fat chicks, they need some luvin too!

#5 Rescue the Embassy Mission

This game was super sweet, it had 5 different levels and each one was really cool and really innovative. The first one that comes to mind was the sniper level, going from window to window picking off bad guys that would then plummet to their deaths, Too Cool! Then there was the repelling level, the object being to insert yourself into the bad guys headquarters, then there was the level in which you had to use awesome rolling techniques to avoid spotlights. I remember I never knew what the hell the story was but as a kid I would make up my own spy storylines and play this game endlessly! Great stuff!

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#4 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

“Soon Khali Ma will rule the world!” We didn’t know what the hell it meant, but I still to this day use the phrase, it was repeated every time you lost all of Indiana’s lives. OK so the game was crap, a kinda of sidescrolling, yet not, game full of dudes in turbans. The rail carts would constantly run into each other spilling Indy to his death and one misstep, which happened more often than not would send Indy to a lava drenched hell of which only his iconic hat would survive. However the whip swinging and the licence alone kept us coming back for more torture, game after game! The point I suppose was to rescue the kids and collect objects like maps and swords but I don’t believe I ever got too far, even though countless hours were spent playing the game!

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#3 WWF Wrestlemania

This game had it all for a young wrestling fanatic, Hogan, Macho Man, even Honky Tonk Man, it had theme music, and you could collect your logo from the top of the screen and “Hulk out”. Yeah it looked ugly and the most powerful move was the headbutt and the ever so impossible to pull off body slam, but who could resist! This game also had an awesome option to set up a huge 8 man tourney, My friends and I would gather around and pick our wrestler (whoever got Million Dollar Man was screwed) then battle each other in the grand Wrestlemania 4 fashion! Watch out for Bam Bams cartwheels, and of course you could choose to be the legendary Andre the Giant! I was a huge WWF fan and that’s one of the main reasons this game found itself so often in my console, even above the far superior Pro Wrestling, proving that licensing goes a long ways!

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#2 Friday the 13th

Another tough ass game that had a great license, Jason hunting was just to fun! The game would make us jump, curse, and replay day in and day out. I have so many fond memories of guiding the multiple playable character around crystal lake, lighting fireplaces in cabins and battling Jason’s mom’s disembodied head with machetes and torches to earn her sweater. Rowing across the lake to save poor helpless campers and doing everything I could to make it into day two. The game took many liberties such as where the hell did the Zombies come from? That aside the game was constantly plugged in to my NES due to my love of horror films, I just wished they had made a game based on the Shining!

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#1 Jaws

This game was intense! You had to navigate your little boat back and forth between two docks, the first time you reached the other dock you received the Jaws tracker, then each consecutive time you would gain power in your harpoon gun for the under water fights against jelly fish, small sharks and of course Jaws! But before you dive down do as much damage as you can by hucking cannon balls over the side of the ship. You could get crabs to help speed your swimming ability, the only kind of crabs you really want I suppose. Then when jaws was finally drained of all his life bar you went into the final sequence, this epic showdown involved watching his fin approach and when he got just close enough you had to strobe light the water which would pop him out at which point you had to spear him with the front of the ship! I still recall the first time I was succesful, awesome pixellated blood shot forth and sent the demon fish spiraling to the depths and I flew off into the sunset in my plane, wait that never happened in the film, oh well! My cousins and I played this game endlessly on my many vacations to Florida!

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Top 5 Moments in Gaming History March 28, 2013

Filed under: Video Games — cowboyography @ 5:10 am
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All good games bring out some emotion, fear, love, hatred, but a great game stirs such emotion that it embeds itself into your mind forever. These are my top 5 moments in gaming that I will never forget.

#5 Finish Him – Mortal Kombat 1 Arcade

My number 5 moment in gaming history is standing at the local arcade, and some guy you have never met before walks up to the Mortal Kombat machine that your playing on, climbing the tower of computer bad guys and this shmoe drop his quarter into the machine and presses player 2 start. This is a direct challenge, it had existed in the arcade for years, I remember bitter battles taking place at a Karate Champ machine, and years later Street Fighter 2 was the measuring stick for bragging rights, but Mortal Kombat brought this challenge to a whole new level, by introducing fatalities. If you were good you may be able to defeat your opponent, but if you were awesome, you would FINISH HIM! preforming a fatality against an unknown real life adversary gave a sort of gratification rarely felt before in gaming history, hold block and press up up- Toasty!

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#4 Final Fantasy 10, the Battle vs Sin and the Aeons

Final Fantasy endings were always epic, ever since the first installment. Part of it was you had invested so much time with these characters and struggled so much to final face off against your adversary who had thrown everything against you. FFX had such an epic feel to it, SIN the ultimate bad essence, the world destroyer, and throughout the entire game you grew to love your characters, build your characters, Tidus, Yuna, Wakka, and Auron just to name a few, and then you had worked so hard to gather the Aeons, only to have to fight them all. This finish brought a tear to my eye, it was Beautiful!

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#3 TIE- The first ten minutes of Both Resident Evil 1 and Resident Evil 4

My first tie but a deserving one. The first ten minutes of Resident Evil parts 1 and 4 were both epic in their own way. When I purchased the first Resident Evil for the PS1 it came in that over sized case and I was carded at the checkout counter for the first time! I had no idea what the game was even about, but I knew it was going to be amazing after I popped it into my PS1 system and got a real life movie about these characters getting stranded at an abandoned mansion. The horror levels rose fast as I roamed alone and stumbled onto my first zombie, and only minutes later was attacked by a dead dog that leaped through a window. The film like angles were superb and for the first time I felt a new level of submersion in game play. Years later Resident Evil 4 shocked me again, the first village you come across was so well laid out and the Spanish speaking locals had some serious issues. Both games were revolutionary and you knew it within ten minutes of turning on your console!

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#2 Golden Eye – 4 Player Bliss

I still recall the endless nights we dumped into this game in my dorm room.
Golden Eye brought Friends and enemies together like never before. The 4 controller ports on the front of the Nintendo 64 revolutionized what designers could do for games. Golden Eye was a solid single player game with some of the best level design of the day, but the game really soared to new heights when four buddies got together for an evening of death and mayhem! From all the customizable options to the amazing map layouts, Golden Eye kept everyone enthralled and the game never got old or stale, if someone got fed up with it, change it up, go Man With the Golden Gun or all rocket launchers and watch the smiles light up.

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#1 Metal Gear Solid – Mind Games

Psycho Mantis is by far and away the most unique, clever, and evil design for a boss in gaming history, he came into the real world and messed with your head. He got you to shut your console off, unplug your controller, and bang the side of your TV. While MGS remains one of the most well designed games in history, with some of the most memorable characters, Psycho Mantis remains the one that outshone them all! He would look into your memory card and recall games that you had played sometimes years earlier, commenting on such things as Castlevania, and Suikoden, two games I was a huge fan of, but how in the hell did he know that? This battle has stuck with me through all my gaming years, and I have yet to feel as confused and yet in such awe of the genius that was Psycho Mantis!

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Top 5 Point and Click Adventure Games March 27, 2013

Filed under: Video Games — cowboyography @ 11:44 pm
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For years Lucasarts dominated the point and click adventure genre and rightfully so, with awesome titles such as Zach McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders and the entire Indy saga, they put out some great products in the 80’s and early 90’s. I made this list not excluding them but only ended up with one Lucas game on the list and that brings us to number five:

#5 Loom

Released June 1990

Loom was a beautiful game that combined great interface and graphics and for the time brought a music theme to the table. As Bobbin Threadbearer you must uncover different spells that you can weave on your distaff. The game had very serious undertones but with the notion laid out early that you can never die, and will never have to go back, your just play and explore mentality was able to take over. I remember experimenting at great lengths to uncover different spells and their effects on the world. Guilds rules the world and as a member of the weavers guild you very early on must venture out into the world and seek the help, or hindrance of other guilds including the blacksmiths, glass makers, and Shepard’s. The game has top notch story telling and a climatic ending worthy of my top 5!

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#4 Maniac Mansion

Released October 1987

Maniac Mansion is one of those classic games that most gamers especially pc gamers remember fondly but few ever truly finished. That’s because this game was hard, damn hard! As the game opens you must choose two characters to join the protagonist on his adventure into the Edison mansion, this is a crucial point as each character has abilities and ethics, some things one could do within the mansion, another couldn’t, such as place the gerbil in the microwave (c’mon we all did it!) The game was unique in that events occurred in almost real time and the player was treated to cut scenes of the evil characters in the mansion going about their business as your three kids wandered around, the only clear goal was to save Dave’s girlfriend. This game has so many memorable sequences, such as the bullying purple tentacle , or finding dead cousin ted in the shower! With 5 different endings and a feeling of freedom rarely seen at this time in gaming Maniac Mansion still holds it own, and there are many dedicated fans who still cherish this title.

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#3 Legend of Kyrandia Book One

Released 1992

This is one of the lesser known games in the point and click world which is a shame because its one of the best! With amazing story telling, a great bad guy, a love story, and simplistic but elegant game play Kyrandia was an easy choice for my number 3 slot. The game starts with an evil Jester, Malcom having just slain the King and Queen of the realm, Malcom this goes on a killing spree against nature, destroying trees and turning people to stone, he is one powerful and evil little dude. As Brandon you must explore the treacherous world of Kyrandia and figure out how to stop the Evil Jester. The game has some awesome puzzles and top notch cut scenes. The birthstone puzzle still haunts me from time to time and the grotto is one of the coolest location ever put into a point and click adventure! If you never played it I suggest you find yourself a copy of this gem and give it a whirl, for fans of point and click games you wont be disappointed.

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#2 Shadowgate

Released July 30 1987

This was my first jaunt into the point and click genre and boy was it a doosy! Shadowgate still stands as one of my most memorable gaming experiences of all time, never before had I played a game that had so much freedom and so many pitfalls, in an era dominated by the platformers, this game broke convention and threw a curve ball at my little brain! As an unnamed hero you awake outside Castle Shadowgate and must find the key to even open the front door, once inside a torch must always be lit or you will die, and yes there is only a finite number of torches thus giving the game a constant since of urgency. Shadowgate is filled with some ingenious puzzles and foes at every turn, careful thought must be applied for any progression to be accomplished, but don’t tarry to long as the torches are constantly burning away. I remember being so often frustrated at how to advance sometimes that the game became a constant source of agony but the AH HA moments when you finally solved a puzzle was so much greater! I still recall being stuck at that damn Wraith for days, before I finally realized I had a “Special Torch” and the Warlock Lord/Behemoth at the end was a trick that I believe may have been figured out by calling the Nintendo hot line! So many fond memories as my best friend and I toiled away days of our lives inside Castle Shadowgate, that’s why it belongs at number 2 on my list.

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#1 Kings Quest 5 Absence Makes the Go Yonder

Released November 9 1990

I purchased two of my favorite games of all time on the same visit to the game store and for months had to split my gaming evenings between Kings Quest 5 and Covert Action. KQ5 is as classic as PC gaming comes as the only member of the royal family to escape the tragedy at Castle Daventry, the protagonist Graham and his trusty talking owl sidekick Cedric set out on an epic quest that will take you over the great mountains and across the sea to far away lands. You will battle Yeti’s, bump into Sirens, and eventually confront Mordack and his pesky cat to save your family. This game contains some of the toughest puzzles I can recall, and it also required the player to create their own maps, the desert and the labyrinth come to mind. I recall talking with friends who were also playing through the game all of us stuck at different locations but helping each other through. Who would have guessed that the pie from the bakery was the ultimate weapon against yetis or that the old man could only hear you if he held a seashell to his ear. Some parts required precise movements and timing while others parts required deep thought and everything required proper order, one thing always led to the next. So many nights, so many memories, such a great series, and such a perfect game!

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Top 5 Video Games of All Time across all platforms!

Filed under: Video Games — cowboyography @ 1:33 am
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#1- Baldurs Gate 2 + Throne of Bhall on the PC

Released September 24, 2000

This was the amazing follow up to the Original Baldurs Gate from Black Isle Studio. These guys know how to make RPG’s! As Gorions ward the player must uncover their true identity and rise up against Irenicus and fight the forces of evil. This game has it all, true Dungeons and Dragons rules with roll by roll action, a sprawling world that you could spend years exploring, small side quests, and an expansion that is almost as big as the original game. For those of you who played pen and paper D&D this game allows you to take your character into the 20 levels and makes you square off against god-like creatures! Winner of RPG of the year award this is a must play for any PC gamer out there! Remember you can import your character from the original saga to get that feeling of continuity of the epic quest that this game offers. My first play through was with a monk character, as I wanted to try one of the new classes that were offered up, I was so enthralled that once I finished I immediately imported my cleric from the first Baldurs to play through yet again. Since I must have played through this game 5 or 6 times, finding new things each time and playing from different perspectives each time…  No doubt my number 1 game of all time!Image

#2 Ultima Online on the PC

Released September 24, 1997

Before Everquest, Before WOW, Before any other MMO there was a little game known as UO. Ultima Online was the best experience I have ever had online period. The community was awesome, if a bit rough and tumble, and it had a feeling of stress at all times! This game was designed by genius Richard Garriot who since has been into space! UO was an unforgiving mistress that I put more hours into than any other game in history. The constant threat that anyone could attack you at any time and if you died, they could loot your body, not just an item or two but literally everything you had on you, now many people viewed this as a turn off, I would call them chicken! Gangs skirted the city and awaited the poor souls that would wander out into Britains graveyard, or helpless miners in search of precious ore. Some of my fondess gaming memories are those of hanging in the bottom of Deceit Dungeon battling lich lords with silver weapons, when an army of RED PK’s (Player Killers) would come piling through the door and a three way battle would ensue, the blues vs the reds, vs the lich Lords! The only penalty for killing a person was you would be flagged red for a period of time, and the person could place a bounty upon your head, literally once you killed a red PK you could use an edge weapon to remove their head and take it to a guard to receive any bounty that players had placed upon that person! Also anything on the dead was fair game. I remember hiding (a very useful skill) in Destard and waiting for a Dragon to kill a brave soul, once they had died they became a ghost and had to wander around until they found a NPC (Non Player Character) healer, that is of course unless they were accompanied by a powerful enough mage to cast AN CORP, an 8th level spell of resurrection. Once their ghost left the room I would run to the corpse and try to snag any valuable loot from the corpse and run before the dragon struck me down as well! The game was unforgiving, besides players looting your corpse, smart creatures would kill you and steal from your body as well! You could build your own house, or castle or start your own guild, the game had so many possibilities that it easily qualifies for number 2 on my list! Corp Por!

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#3 Castlevania: Symphony  of the Night for the PS2

Released March 20, 1997

An epic game that revitalized a series, it has had many imitators since, but this game was the one! The side scrolling platformer had been in play for over ten years when this game was released, but this game added all the other elements that were missing, an epic storyline, a main character that mattered, one of the best soundtracks in history and role playing elements including leveling up, familiars, and attributes. The map alone is Worth the price of admission and many people thought that they had finished the game only to realize that they hadn’t even played through half of what the designers laid out before them. By this of course I am speaking of the correct ending where the player equipped the glasses to see that the final boss was actually just a puppet on Dracula’s strings, once finished properly the entire castle flipped upside down providing an entire new world to play through. The design was amazing the simple fact that the game was so big and worked upside down and right side up was mind blowing, then throw in huge grueling bosses from legend, plus one of the greatest tag lines of all time when you died “Let us go out this evening for pleasure. The night is still young” and you have my third favorite game of all time!Image

#4 Donkey Kong at the Arcade

Released July 9, 1981

The quarter sucker of all quarter suckers this game had to be on the list, if not for gameplay then just for the pure history of the game itself. Many pure gamers consider it the measuring stick that all gamers should place themselves against. It is pure reaction and muscle memory at work, not to mention its history and regarded by most to be the most difficult game of all time, very few will ever witness the kill screen in all of its glory live and in person. The movie King of Kong gave this game new life as Steve Webe proved that he is the best gamer and that Billy Mitchell is nothing more than an impostor poster boy!!Image

#5 Street Fighter 2 in the arcade and SNES

Released March 1991

The true test of player vs player gaming came in the form of a side view fighter, when Street Fighter 2 was released in arcades lines formed, quarters were placed upon the machines to designate who was next and the winner stayed while the loser payed. A culture phenomenon was born that spawned many sequels as well as Hollywood films and a ton of imitators, but no game would have the precise timing and elegant format that SF2 offered. I remember waiting 20 minutes or longer to get a chance to fight, only to get destroyed and wait in line again. SF2 revolutionized control schemes with its quarter circle forward and backwards setup and it proved that button mashing was futile! With some of the most memorable characters ever, forget Ryu and Ken, how about Chun Li, Zangief and of course the contorting Dhalsim this game had to make it into my top 5 list!Image

Thanks for reading and please look for more top 5 lists soon!