With gaming more popular today than perhaps ever before and virtual reality gaming just over the horizon, today we take a look back at four classic games that did a lot to shape their respective genres and develop video gaming into the multi-billion-dollar medium it is today. Each of these tiles is well worth a play-through all these years down the road.
Super Mario 64
There are plenty of great side-scrolling Mario titles that you should have as part of any classic games collection, but Mario’ first real foray into 3D is still a favorite for gamers to this day. Released for the Nintendo 64 in 1996, the game received a 9.8 of 10 rating from IGN, who called it “the greatest 3D world ever created.” Mario must progress through an enchanted castle in search of the stars that come from beating each level or completing secret tasks, and earning every single star is no easy feat, but one made more fun through the game’s engrossing platforming action.
This PC game, originally released in 1994, does not sound like it would be all that engrossing. You, the player, are alone on an island with only strange puzzles and recordings from the island’s former inhabitants to keep you company. But those puzzles work like magic as the player is rewarded for gradually uncovering the narrative that got he or she there in the first place, and just what happened to the island’s former inhabitants. For puzzle-solving adventure lovers that wanted to check out MYST but with smoothed-out and updated graphics, the team released a remake a few years later called realMYST.
Sam and Max Hit the Road
Gamers in the modern era might already be familiar with Sam and Max, that wisecracking detective dog and psychotic bunny freelance police duo who starred in a series of episodic adventure games. The much older LucasArts-produced “Sam and Max Hit the Road” is similar adventure game fair, only a whole lot funnier. Poor hapless Sam and Max are chasing Bruno the missing Sasquatch all across America as the game lampoons popular tourist locations and classic Americana with often hilarious results. Released all the way back in 1993 and based on comic books by Steve Purcell, its gags still hold up well to this day.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
The Star Wars film franchise has produced a ton of video games over the years, and we can safely say that most of them were pretty forgettable. Not so with Bioware’s RPG gem Knights of the Old Republic, which had the player taking on the role of a Jedi or Sith. From very early on in the RPG gameplay experience, moral choices not only shaped the narrative in the levels to follow but also the player’s progression as a light or dark side master. New skills unlocked as the player strayed further toward the light or dark, encouraging multiple playthroughs to be able to try out different types of characters as well as see the different story lines these moral choices affected. The game was ahead of its time for 2003, and the good use of the Star Wars universe makes it all the more memorable.