50 Game Round Up: 451-500 (Jeroen)

Posted: 3rd April 2016 by Jeroen in Round-Up

I’m not sure I would have expected to write this five years ago. Five hundred games in, we’re nearly halfway there, and the list becomes a lot more manageable – as much behind me as there is ahead.

I don’t think I could answer all of these questions for a full 500 – I’ve been asked about the best game more than once, something that’s only becoming more difficult to define.  I’ll just stick to the 500 then… plenty of choice in that.

Best Game I Had Not Previously Played


I’m sure I say this every time, but it feels like the games we’re playing are still getting better. I do feel this is in part experience – FPS games sometimes feel better simply because I’m better at them and shoot ’em ups like Gradius V feel better because I’m more adept at them. This feels like it shows especially in one of the candidates I had listed here – Dwarf Fortress. It’s a game that’s impenetrable to anyone not used to the likes of Nethack, using ASCII graphics for an intricate simulation at least as deep as Nethack‘s is for a dungeon crawler.

Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends on the other hand, is a genre I know well that really hit all the right parts for me. Just another good game.

My real winner, the best game of the 50, however, isn’t either of those. Shenmue might not necessarily have looked like the best game, but it continued to occupy my game thinking ever since, making me want to play it a lot more. It has a compelling story as an adventure, with some interesting exploration, but the minigames and extra features just add so much more to the world. One of the big shames about the game is that there’s just not more to explore, you want to keep going.

Worst Game


There have been a few worse games in this set. Mario Golf felt disappointing – it felt like golf had been done better at the time, while all other trappings felt out of place.

No game has ever had me swearing and ranting at how bad it was than Resident Evil Code: Veronica however. The controls were terrible, directives unclear, and the struggle wasn’t with tension, it was with ill chosen gameplay mechanics. I just didn’t want to play more than I already had, and I tried. The fact that save games were so limited that I basically had to restart the game on every death was just the brown icing on top.

Most Surprising Game


On some level, it feels like more surprises are coming around – so many good games are coming in. Even several where I was unsure when starting turned out to be great. Other games, and Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is a good example of this, are games that I was expecting to enjoy, but that turned out to be even more addicting than that.

Ultima I, however, did both. As an old RPG, I was expecting something more dreary and simple, basic dungeon crawling without much to it. Instead, the slow start I was expecting wasn’t there and I just had to keep playing a little bit more. What I was expecting to be okay turned out to be addicting.

Biggest Disappointment


Looking at the list, there were two games that felt more of a disappointment. Giants: Citizen Kabuto seemed like a fun game. A strategy/FPS hybrid is an interesting idea that could lead to some interesting gameplay. It did not, however, came together for me, both due to difficulty and control issues. It’s a shame, really, but this seemed to have been intended.

More disappointing, however, was Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. I enjoy LucasArts adventures and haven’t been disappointed by them before, so to see this on the list is such a shame. The setting and puzzles didn’t work, the graphics aren’t there, and it really is an early game of a company that did greater things later on. It didn’t seem worth it.

Best Blast From The Past


I’ve come back to a few good games. Arkanoid is a very recent game that was still fun – something I feel I’ve written about very recently.

Even so, the best game to come back to was Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, the fourth generation Pokemon games (and most recent when the first edition of the book was published). It feels lik the most interesting region the games had, as well as balancing the gameplay best – not too few Pokemon, not too many on the inital run. It is, however, mostly the world that impresses, feeling the least artificial of the Pokemon game regions, without any areas forced in or too neatly laid out. I feel the need to get back to it most of the time.

Games We Kept Playing

Railroad Tycoon 3-03

There’s just one clear candidate here. We started playing Railroad Tycoon 3, we continued playing Railroad Tycoon 3, and even now we have a level in progress. Some of the more puzzley levels feel a bit unnecessary, but when it’s doing its normal thing, it’s a lot of fun. I don’t expect to really stop playing it any time soon.