We are currently living in a cultural shift. Last week I discussed the ascension of EDM over hip-hop as White America’s music of choice. This week I want to discuss another declining form of entertainment-video games. I know what you’re thinking, “Bro, me and my boys play Madden/FIFA/Halo/CoD all day err day!” Exactly. When was the last time you played anything besides a mindless shooter or an EA Sports franchise? When was the last time you even played a game alone? Our tastes in video games have simplified, and why shouldn’t they? It’s a lot more attractive to pay 99¢ and fling some Angry Birds between subway stops than to plunk down 60$+ on some RPG that takes three hours of tutorials before you get the chance to fight someone. Besides, let’s be honest here- if you’re playing anything besides the aforementioned console titles and mobile apps, you’re probably getting ridiculed by friends and family anyway. There is just something markedly unsexy about single-player, story-heavy adventure games. Maybe it’s the elves. Video game sales are in their 10th straight month of decline. I only use my Xbox for Netflix. But rather than focus on the negative, I’d like to salute the games that shaped my youth, because it seems that games like these will become nothing but a memory. I proudly present, My Favorite Video Games from Back in the Day.
The rules are simple:
1) I am only writing about the consoles I owned. Sorry, I wasn’t that spoiled brat who had both Sega Genesis AND Super Nintendo. Jeremy from 1st grade was such a dick.
2) I’m keeping each category limited to MY very specific thoughts on 3 games that were important to ME. No need to go on and on about Mario. It’s quite obvious Mario was a good game, homie.
3) Some of the games I talk about may be shooters/sports games. It’s not that they weren’t a big deal then- they were. But unlike now, they weren’t the only games normal, non-virgins played.
The first system I ever had. I still think I can fix anything by blowing on it. Pause.
1. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest
There was something very progressive about a game featuring a positive female role model. Sure, the female was a monkey who could use her ponytail to hover through the air, but it was progressive nonetheless. Furthermore, the music as lush as the graphics. Now vibe with me.
2. Super Mario World
Okay, I lied. You can’t write a blog about classic video games and not give props to everyone’s favorite mustached plumber. How many of us panicked when Yoshi got scared and began to run away. I feel like I’ve spent all my life chasing after that cuddly bastard. Also, there’s very few feelings better than getting the yellow cape power-up.
3. Mortal Kombat II
My cousin Robbie use to keep a list of all the Fatalities on a piece of notebook paper that he’d refer to throughout the final around. He’d get so overjoyed when he could pull off a “forward forward down down A” correctly and rip my head off. Toasty
The height of my video game playing days. There is a graveyard of smashed controllers in my parents’ house.
1. Star Fox 64
My favorite video game of all time, hands down. I really became emotionally engrossed. I shed a tear when Fox reunited with his father, I heeded Peppy’s words of wisdom, I didn’t give a shit about Slippy! Who cares that this game didn’t have a “save” option? I’d beat it and play it again before my pizza bagels were ready.
2. Goldeneye 007
Before 10-year-olds could smoke you on Live and people knew what the word “strafe,” meant, Goldeneye was the greatest first-person shooter ever. I don’t think anyone has ever seen the movie, but everyone 20 and up adores this game. Plus, when you shot the girl, she made a funny orgasm-y type noise. Da-na Da-na….briiiiin.
3. Mario Kart 64
The one game that girls know how to play. The ultimate icebreaker at any social gathering. So simple, yet so effective. Mario Kart is like McDonald’s fries. Everyone likes McDonald’s fries. Toad was the fastest, but Bowser was the best with balloons. People have strengths and weaknesses in this world.
Not this Dave and Busters- swipe a credit card and get in a giant canoe machine for 20 bucks-bullshit. I’m taking about pockets jangling with quarters. I’m talking about playing with strangers. Forget Facebook, this was real social media. I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but let’s beat this boss together. Straight up extinct except for in the basements of some crappy hotels.
1. The Simpsons/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/X-Men
All developed by Konami, all basically the same game. Pick your favorite character and mash buttons. These three games were as essential to my childhood as were their television shows derivatives. The X-Men cabinet was a monster. You could fit like 20 people on that bitch. Lines were never an issue.
2. NBA Jam
2-on-2 Professional Ball? Sure. Fantastic dunks from superhuman heights? Okay. But god damn it, you cannot have a basketball game that features Jeff Hornacek over Michael Jordan. It just doesn’t make sense. But I digress; “Boomshakalaka” is a great thing to yell during climax.
3. Star Wars Trilogy Arcade
This bad boy is still in the big arcade chains today, and that says something. Also something about getting into the cockpit of an X-Wing really excites me, even though I’m guaranteed to get a game over with 30 seconds.
Got any classic games to share? Think I got it right? Think I’m way off? Are you a fat virgin who wants to yell at me for saying only fat virgins play games that aren’t shooters/sports? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!!
Krun is an NYC based comedian and you can follow him on Twitter @KrumLifeDotCom