During my lifetime, there has been many achievements in the evolution of human history. The Berlin Wall fell as the Cold War ended, Cal Ripken Jr. played 2, 632 consecutive baseball games and someone invented video games. Video games have steadily evolved since the time of my childhood when my cousin's had Pong, a large black box dedicated to playing a single game. After the Pong fad ended Atari developed a game console that could play multiple games and like many kids I spent the first night firing tank shots into walls trying in vain to hit my opponent. The early 80's kicked in with everyone pumping quarters into machines to fight off Space Invaders, intercept nuclear missiles and get Pac Man Fever. Video games had become a pervasive influence on my life and the lives of others.
So here's a post for those hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours spent in my life vigorously mashing buttons and slapping joysticks (that sounded wrong) to make glowing dots on a screen do what I want them to do.
10. Pitfall (Activision game played on Atari 2600) 1980s
In the early 80's there was such a thing as a perfect Indiana Jones movie. It was a thing so perfect that it spawned many imitators including this video game, where a guy in a green shirt jumps over scorpions, big holes and swings on ropes to avoid alligators just to pick up some gold bars. This side scrolling classic had an above ground and under ground level and provided many hours of entertainment as I would leap across gator heads to grab some glory. And the setting made me feel Indiana Jonesish. There have been sequels to this game that are technically better, but none last in my memory like the original.
9. Guitar Hero 3 (Play Station 2 game) 2000s
For years I tried to play guitar, for years I failed. But some genius figured out that with technology you can play guitar with five color coded buttons and history was made. Now I can rock out, make guitar faces and flail around like an expert guitar player. Well, not quite expert I get lost when you get to the level that includes the fourth button. But anyway, air guitaring has been made obsolete. Guitar Hero gives you the powerful feeling of rock stardom without spending years learning an instrument. You know when you jump in the air and land on the ground to the beat. It really is better holding an instrument, even if it is a fake one. Gotta love it. Even if lining up the colored circles and making them glow with a press of a button reminds me of that game Will Riker had on Star Trek: The Next Generation. You know, the episode with Ashley Judd in it. You've gotta play the game Wes.
8. Goldeneye 007 (N64 game) 1990s
James Bond games are usually horrible marketing experiences and that's if they are worth playing at all(I got a Licence to Kill Pc game in 1989, I never got past the first stage). So when Goldeneye amped up the first person shooter genre, a genre I like a lot, it was as slick as an Aston Martin Db5. While there wasn't a lot of actual James Bonding (no hanging with babes or drinking martinis that I can remember, it could have happened in the cut scenes though), you got to run around enemy bases and shoot the hell out of anything and everything. Though I found Playstation 2's Everything or Nothing at All a more Bond like venture, Goldeneye was tough to beat for pure shoot 'em up action.
7. Super Mario World (Super Ninetendo game) 1990s
When we got a Super Nintendo, this video game came with the machine. My wife and I had played Super Mario before, so we had a blast as Mario jumped around avoiding big flowers and spinning on turtle shells. The new feature of flying with a cape was a blast as well as his ability to spin and crunch stuff. Sort of the spiritual son to Pitfall, Mario gave side scrolling action with greater speed and better developed obstacles. Silly simple fun. This game is a pleasant reminder of the dating and first year of marriage to my wife. We spent a lot of time in our first apartment playing this game. And you got to pal around with Yoshi!
6. Defender (Atari 2600 game) 1980s
Defender started as an arcade game, an awesome game that I paid a lot of money to play just to blow up within one minute. The arcade game had more buttons than I could handle, I never got the hang of moving the stick, hitting the propulsion button and the fire button at the same time. My uncoordinated shots would go wide of the target and the next thing I knew I had a mutant buzzing on my butt. Then I would get mad and kill all the humans which made the planet blow up and things would get worse.
So I was really happy when Atari dumbed down the game to play on a single joystick. And I kicked that game's ass on the 2600, I could hit what I was shooting at and evade enemy shots. I hyperspaced when I wanted to, not by accident. It was an awesome game. But my main memory of this game was that I would get really mad while playing and cuss a lot. My brother would get upset about the swearing and go bust on me to my Mom. What's funny about this is when my brother plays video games now, he swears all over the place. I'll have to remember to bust on him next time.
Well, I'm out of time tonight so I'll have to finish the list later. Part 2 will include the last five games on the list to go all the way to number one.