Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Top 25 on the N64: 25-21

Hello, friend! I trust this finds you well.

This is the start of a series of posts that will go up every Wednesday, to space out the me in your life. It is a list I began compiling several years ago, and even started to present on my old blog. But, as with my album, life got in the way and this got pushed to the back burner. Plus I kept making changes, and I would rather not do that after I start the list (again).

The idea I had was to talk about how great N64 still is, and how many awesome games I can still pick up and play 20 years later. But instead of rambling about it on the show with no sense of direction, I decided to structure it a bit (and add some pretty pictures!).

This does not take into account sales or critical success, though I may mention those things a few times. There are no honorable mentions, and that's another reason this project has taken so long.

This is merely a collection of good games for a great system. Basically I asked myself: If I had a bag full of N64 games, which ones would I play most often? Why 25? I don't know. It seemed like a good number, so I'll roll with it.

Also up top to my brother, Bill, for finding the N64 and letting me keep it at my house for the time being! So without any more rambling, let's get started!

25. Cruis'n USA

One of the first games released for the system, this is a pure nostalgia pick (and there will be at least one more of these). That, and the fact that I never owned it, puts it at the back of the line. This game was fun in its simplicity, though: be faster than the other guy and unlock new cars along the way. I was bummed out when I realized elements from the arcade version didn't make it home (roadkill and the White House party in DC to name two), but having a straight up racing game is still a good time.

Mr. President having some good family fun!

24. Ken Griffey Jr.'s Slugfest

A game that I would rank higher, but I only ever got to play it at someone else's house. A classic baseball game, I'd say the best one on the system (though that's not saying a lot in my opinion). And it's one that almost everyone mentions in a "hey remember how great N64 was?" conversation. Real player names, create-a-player, several modes to crush your opponents - this one had just about everything 1990's baseball fans wanted. Plus the graphics were ridiculous and Griffey was the greatest.

23. Pokemon Stadium

Every Pokemon fan [likely] either owned this game or rented it (remember when that was the thing to do?) several times. I was the latter. I'm not sure why I never bought this game or asked for it as a gift, because every time I got to play it I had fun. Two great parts of this game were that I was able to use my own Pokemon to fight to Mewtwo and play Red/Blue/Yellow on the big TV. Why don't I have this game again?

22. Banjo-Kazooie

Another game that would rank much higher if I had ever owned it. What a fun adventure!

To me, this is a great take on Super Mario 64 - which will be appearing later - with a BEAR. And It. Is. Awesome. Not only can you essentially roam free to collect stuff, but you can utilize a shaman (yeah, MAGIC) to transform into different creatures to get more stuff. This would certainly be in my top 10 if I didn't have to rent it all the time, but I had to settle for it being the last of the "great games I never owned" category.

21. Star Wars Rogue Squadron

Let's start with the obvious: Star Wars is awesome. This game is also awesome. I love the way it looks. I love the sounds of it, and it still plays well. (And yes, I realize it came out in 1998.) I think the premise is great. How could I not love flying through space shooting down bad guys? All in sweet ships from the movies, even!

But I'm going to have a totally honest moment here, friends: I would rank this game higher if I wasn't terrible at it. It is tremendous. It sold well, and critics praised it. I also praise it, but it loses spots on this list because I have yet to beat it. If I get back to it and somehow progress further, an edit might help this crack the top 20 at the very least. For the moment, though, it kicks off the "games I actually have here" part of the list, as unjust as that may seem to hardcore fans.

And it also, maybe fittingly, ends part one of our journey. Check back next week for part two, and let me know what other reviews or ramblings you would like to see here.

Until next time, my friends, crap open a cold one!

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