Current Game: Warframe (PS4)

Well, Fish is back to write up another article that you probably couldn't care less about, but hey I'm doing it anyway. So keep reading, or I will come to your home and force you. Yes that's right, you. I'm tracking your IP address and this is the blog post you're looking for *waves hand like a Jedi*.

Welcome back, friends and weak minded non-Toydarian fools. Today, I wanted to talk to you about a few of my all time favorite games. In all honesty, it is pretty difficult to narrow down the list because there are so many phenomenal games I've played over the years. I'm sure you'll look at a few of these games and scoff, wondering what in the blazes I'm thinking and what criteria am I using. To be quite honest, the only elements that matter to me are personal fun factor(how much I enjoy playing the game for whatever random reasons) and good old fashioned nostalgia. Like most gamers out there, my list is all over the place. Some of these were great because I got to play them with my best friends for hours on end, while others are empirically awesome. I'll try to keep it short, and fortunately for you I ran out of bourbon so there will be less rambling...

River City Ransom (NES)

Because why not?! I've been replaying this game since the early 90's and I've never lost my love for it. Its comedic graphics, fun fighting style and simple RPG elements keep me coming back on a regular basis. While I no longer own my own NES, Beadle still does and whenever I visit him for a bro weekend I play alone or bribe him into some team beat em up action. I think what stands out in my mind the most is that River City Ransom is what would occur in real life to Beadle and I if one of our respective significant others were placed in Cindi's situation....

Sonic The Hedgehog (Sega Genesis)

I first played the original Sonic in my grandmothers basement on a 13 inch color tv on Christmas morning at the age of 7, after receiving my first personal console from her. I spent hours zipping around those beautifully crafted stages collecting rings and ramming Doctor Robotnik in his crazy devices. This was truly my first solo gaming experience (as I didn't have to share it with siblings) and I never grew tired of using Sonic's blinding speed and the gorgeous backdrops of the game to escape the harsh reality of my early life.   

Goldeneye 007, Star Fox 64, Bomberman 64, & Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo 64)

I'm cheating a bit here, listing multiple games at once, but it has to be done because I love all of these games for the same reasons. First of all, Nintendo got multiplayer right with the N64 gaming console. Four players at once! Four friends and nobody has to drop a controller! The graphics were amazing by those days' standards. The controls were fluid and the gameplay was addictive and solid. Some of my greatest memories with friends occurred playing these games. At a time in our lives (middle school) when there were so many changes and confusing situations (GIRLS) there was nothing greater than some 4 player competitive action with awesome people. I want to thank Emmanuel (Goldeneye monster), Chad (Bomberman beast), Micah (unstoppable force of nature in Star Fox), Beadle (*&^% Captain Falcon), Billy and Travis (The sleeper agents) whom I spent most of my free time with for all the fun times we had playing these games. We logged hundreds of hours playing them together from evening into the early morning. We were yelled at by moms and dads for being too loud, had pepper shakers and other foreign objects thrown at us for the same reason, we took beatings from older brothers to rent some of these games and the controllers to keep playing them, and we ate pans of homemade chocolate chip cookies to fuel our fun. Yes, those were truly good old days, and I'd give your right hand to relive them.

Final Fantasy VII (Playstation)

Final fantasy VII fully brought me into the RPG fold. It was the first of that genre that I played from start to finish, and then I played it several more times after. I have Blake to thank for this, as he loaned me his copy so that I could have a taste of something I thought I'd never enjoy. This game stayed number one on my list of greatest game of all time for well over a decade. I fell in love with the strong and dark story line, the best character development I'd ever witnessed (who didn't shed a tear when Aeris was run through by Sephiroth's epic nodachi?)[Editor's Note: Spoiler Alert for a 20-yr old game?] and the most addictive battle system to date. I loved leveling my Materia, grinding for a Gold Chocobo, and figuring out the strategy for beating the all powerful Weapon monsters (cheat mode, Knights of the Round repetition FTW). Sephiroth and Cloud Stryfe remain the best antagonist and protagonist in my mind to this day and as of this writing I patiently await the release of the Final Fantasy VII remake. The announcement of it is literally what convinced me to purchase a Playstation 4 console.    

Monkey Target, Super Smash Bros. Melee (Gamecube) and Halo (Xbox)

For all the same reasons as the aforementioned N64 games do I love these titles. Add copious amounts of booze (I'm pretty sure we pioneered making video games a valid drinking game, don't argue because remember I'm tracking that IP address), Incubus' 'Make Yourself' album, and sprinkle in some Rocky IV, rinse and repeat.

Mass Effect Trilogy (Xbox, Xbox 360) 

If you aren't aware of Mass Effect I don't even know how to respond. Also, in case you were wondering, it's the game that finally trumped Final Fantasy VII for me. Though it had a few issues, it powered through them with awesome graphics and game play. The story was so immersive at times I thought I was reading real history in its codex entries. Character development left me loving some characters, sympathizing with the plights of some, and flat out hating others. While many felt the conversation and choice options were too cut and dry, for me it was another form of immersion that left me feeling like my Shepard was an extension of self. To date I have played Mass Effect from start to finish seven times, four of them on the Insanity difficulty setting. I thoroughly enjoyed the second and third installments as well, highly appreciating the changes to combat which seemed to make things more fluid. My only disappointment was the decrease in character power customization which detracted from the games RPG elements a bit too much for my liking, but they were still very solid games. I'm so anxious to play the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda that I pre-ordered the deluxe edition in the fall of 2016, months before its release date.

So that's it folks. These are the games that stand out the most in my mind. I wish I had the time, and you had the attention span, to talk about more of my favorites like Half-life (PC), Witcher 3 (PS4), World Cup Soccer (NES), Rogue Squadron II (Gamecube), NCAA Football (Xbox 360), Need For Speed (various systems), Snow Board Kids (N64), etcetera etcetera, but this is already too long. Maybe next time. Thanks for reading!

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