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2015 Reading Challenge, getting started

31 January, 2015 Leave a comment

Hello again! It’s been a while!

I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon that is the 2015 Reading Challenge that has been circulating here and there on the internet. I saw it linked to 9gag and after talking with my girlfriend about it, we decided to give it a go. Then I got sort of carried away with the planning phase of it all. Now I have a very serious Excel file with all the books, grades, number of pages, genres, formats and whatnot. I like lists, okay??? It’s my coping mechanism…

This is what the list looks like. Click it and have a look.

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The following is the list I came up with after A TON of searching, thinking, talking about it, thinking some more and wavering back and forth. It’s by no means final.

A book with more than 500 pages: James S.A. Corey – Leviathan Wakes
A classic romance: D.H. Lawrence – Lady Chatterley’s Lover
A book that became a movie: Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl
A book published this year: not yet, waiting to see what comes out
A book with a number in the title: Haruki Murakami – 1Q84, Part 1
A book written by someone under 30: Jonathan Saffran Foer – Everything is Illuminated
A book with non-human characters: David H. Wilson – Robopocalypse
A funny book: Tony Hawks – Round Ireland with a Fridge
A book by a female author: Alice Munro – Runaway
A mystery or thriller: A.D. Miller – Snowdrops
A book with a one-word title: China Mieville – Kraken
A book of short stories: Ryan North – Machine of Death
A book set in a different country (from which you live): Neal Stephenson – The Diamond Age
A non-fiction book: Jacob Gudiol – Skitmat (Swedish for junkfood)
A popular author’s first book: John Green – Looking for Alaska
A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet: Neil Gaiman – The Ocean at the End of the Lane
A book a friend recommended: Neal Stephenson – Snow Crash
A Pulitzer Prize-winning book: Cormac McCarthy – The Road
A book based on a true story: Conn Iggulden – Stormbird
A book at the bottom of your to-read list: Barbara Ehrenreich – Bright-Sided
A book your mom/dad loves: Hermann Hesse – Siddhartha (originally a book my mom loves, but she died 20 years ago and I have no clue what books she loved)
A book that scares you: Mark Z. Danielewski – House of Leaves
A book more than 100 years old: Jane Austen – Northanger Abbey
A book based entirely on its cover: Joyce Carol Oates – Karthage
A book you were supposed to read in high school, but didn’t: George Orwell – Animal Farm
A memoir: Greg Sestero – The Disaster Artist
A book you can finish in a day: Noam Chomsky – 9-11
A book with antonyms in the title: Daniel Kahneman – Thinking, Fast and Slow
A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit: Bret Easton Ellis – American Psycho
A book that came out the year you were born: Astrid Lindgren – Ronja Rövardotter
A book with bad reviews: Margaret Atwood – Oryx and Crake
*A trilogy (First): William Gibson – Virtual Light
*A trilogy (Second): William Gibson – Idoru
*A trilogy (Third): William Gibson – All Tomorrow’s Parties
A book from your childhood: Enid Blyton – Five on Finniston Farm
A book with a love triangle: Martin Jern – Affektion
A book set in the future: Joe Haldenman – The Forever War
A book set in high school: Stephen Chbotsky – The Perks of Being a Wallflower
A book with a color in the title: Matthew Quick – The Silver Linings Playbook
A book that made you cry: holding off on this one until I know what book makes me cry
A book with magic: J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
A graphic novel: Matt Fraction – Sex Criminals #1
A book by an author you’ve never read before: John Scalzi – Old Man’s War
A book you own but have never read: Chris Kluwe – Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies
A book that takes place in your hometown: Moa Eriksson Sandberg – Söta pojkar är bara på låtsas (“Cute boys are only make-believe”)
A book that was originally written in a different language: Neil Gaiman – The Sleeper and the Spindle (I’m Swedish and this is written in English)
A book set during Christmas: Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol
A book written by an author with your same initials: Thomas Jefferson – Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson
A play: Harold Pinter – The Birthday Party
A banned book: Wilbur Smith – When the Lion Feeds
A book based on or turned into a TV show: George R.R. Martin – A Game of Thrones
A book you started but never finished: Tom McCarthy – Remainder

The plan for this is to get it its own blog tag and for me to write about each book that I read this year. I can’t remember a year when I read 52 books, but there’s a first time for everything. I need to average about 45 pages per day to keep this on track, but not all pages are the same. Some go by in a blur and some take forever.

I’m fairly sure about 90% of the list. There are a few books that I could very well be changing along the way. It depends on what I can get my hands on. I have most of them already and I have borrowed a handful from the library, so I’ll be reading those first. I’ve already read three of them and I’ve started a handful more. Reviews/impressions on the first three will be coming up shortly, along with pictures of my book piles, because pictures are always fun.

This is a new kind of challenge for me. When I went to university and took literature courses I probably came pretty close to 52 books in a year, but I don’t think I got there all the way. I’m really pumped about this because I’ve managed to get books that I’m very excited about. I’ll be elaborating on all of my book choices when I read them and write about them here.

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Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, The Entire List

17 October, 2010 5 comments

Here is the entire list of my Top 300 Games in one single post, for those of you who wanted that.

300: Sim City (Amiga 500)
299: Dogs of War (Amiga 500)
298: Star Tropics (NES)
297: Alien 3 (SNES)
296: James Pond 2 (Amiga 500)
295: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)
294: Moto Racer (PC)
293: B.O.B. (SNES)
292: Premier Manager (Amiga 500)
291: Goonies 2 (NES)
290: Soldier of Fortune (PC)
289: Sensible World of Soccer (Amiga 500)
Read more…

Categories: Games, Lists Tags:

Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, 10-1

17 October, 2010 Leave a comment

Final part of the Top 300 Games list. The older parts can be found here. This part of the list was so hard to rank, so think of it more as a collection of number ones, because they are all that good. Let’s go!

10: Fallout 2 (PC) – The only game where you really have the freedom to be both good and/or evil. It also has some of the best writing in a video game ever. And the best moody, dark, post-apocalyptic atmosphere music ever. It’s funny, it’s poignant, it’s raw, it’s just so multifaceted. I’ll give you an example. When you get to a small village called Modoc, you can sleep with either the son or daughter of a farmer. They are really jonesing for some bedroom action. If you do, the farmer catches you and forces you to marry whomever it is you got nasty with. Problem? Hardly, you just go the Slavers in The Den and sell them your spouse. Yes, it’s that kind of a twisted game and it is awesome for it. Pure genius.

9: Halo 3 (Xbox 360) – The third and, at this point, final part in the Halo story starring Master Chief. It’s the most solid console shooter I’ve ever played in almost every respect. It’s a great conclusion of the Halo story and it’s so much fun to play in co-op. It’s also awesome in multiplayer, both online and right at home on the couch with three of your friends. I’ve had so much fun with this game. It doesn’t have a weak point in my book.

8: System Shock 2 (PC) – I don’t think I’ve ever been as scared as when I played this game for the first few hours. At one point I crawled into a ventilation tract and just stayed there until The Many were gone. This game and its generally undiscovered greatness is the main reason why I’m annoyed by the attention and accolades heaped upon BioShock. BioShock is, apart from graphics, an inferior game in pretty much every conceivable way. You can play this game any way you want. You really can and not a lot of games can make that claim. The skill trees are very interesting and there is a metric fuck-ton of different ways to customize your character. BioShock is a joke in comparison. Shodan is one of the best villains ever and the narrative is insanely effective.

7: Mega Man 2 (NES) – Mega Man 2 is pixel perfection. It is the pinnacle of 8bit gaming. It is a perfect game. The theme music from the first Wily stage is the best game music ever composed. Metal Man’s weapon is the perfect Mega Man weapon. It just has it all. It’s a goddamn awesome game. Nuff said.

6: Zelda 3: A Link to the Past (SNES) – This is the last great Zelda game as far as I’m concerned. This will probably never be topped. The balance in this game between action, adventure, exploration, puzzles, tension and pure fun is perfect. The pacing and the narrative is awesome. And of course, it explains who Link, Zelda and Ganon are… WITHOUT FUCKING UP THE WHOLE STORYLINE *COUGH* OCARINA OF TIME *COUGH*!!! I will get to OoT later and I will explain further why it is not on this list, but that is the biggest factor. Zelda 3 is pure Zelda. When you go to get the Master Sword is one of the most atmospheric moments in gaming history. Perfection.

5: Chrono Trigger (Nintendo DS) – I haven’t played through this game yet. I’m at the end game, but I still have a ways to go, as is often the case with JRPGs. This is the greatest of them all. It might just be 16bit graphics and sound, but this game conveys so much emotion that it’s off the scale. It just grabs you and refuses to let you go. Hell, I never thought I’d care this much about a robot and a frog and even a villain. And Marle and Crono’s connection is just perfect. I love this game, pure and simple. Just play it. It’s like a fine wine, it only gets better with age.

4: Deus Ex (PC) – I recently replayed this game all the way through for the first time in six or seven years and it still holds up. Incredible feat, especially considering it being a first person shooter. I tried to make an effort to make my character a bit different than what I usually play as and I discovered that putting points into melee and using one of those nano-swords along with the melee combat bonus implant will decimate any fighting force in seconds. Especially if you have damage reduction and a speed booster so you can take a bunch of hits while you run up to people and chop them down. I discover new things about this game every time I play it. Just fantastic.

3: Secret of Mana (SNES) – I got this game for Christmas 1993, I think. I told my parents that I didn’t want anything else and I even snuck up at night to look at the presents under the tree. I found one that was for me that was shaped like a SNES game box and opened one of the folds and saw the title of the game in its dark green box along with a screeshot. Then I went to bed, calm and pleased that I would get what I wanted the most. The next day, on Christmas eve, I got it and I didn’t even have to fake surprise, because it all came naturally anyway 🙂 Then I went up to my room and popped the game into my SNES. When the first notes of the title music hit me I just couldn’t press start to start playing. I just sat there on my bed listening to the music over and over again. It was pure magic. It still is, I guess. Anyway, I played through most of this game with a friend of mine and I remember thinking at one point that “man, this game is really long” and I wasn’t even halfway yet. But it kept me going all the way through and the entire game is just genius. Sure, the story and narrative aren’t as deep as Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI, but it still beats them in my book. The art direction, the music, the fighting, the leveling up, the characters, the mood and atmosphere… it’s just all there.

2: Super Metroid (SNES) – Apparently this game was so good that Nintendo didn’t think they could do it justice with a sequel for the Nintendo 64, so that’s why they skipped that generation for a Metroid game. I love Metroidvania games and this is the ultimate game in that genre. You can play this one in so many different ways. Speedrun? You got it. Discover everything? Sure, and even if you think that you’ve discovered most things, I can guarantee you that there is even more in there. It has so many secrets for you to find and this is THE most atmospheric game I’ve ever played. The controls are perfect, the graphics are perfect, the music is perfect, the pacing is perfect, everything about this damn game is absolutely perfect. Just play it.

1: Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn (PC) – Here we are. The number one spot. I don’t want to count how many hours I’ve spent on this game, but I’ve loved pretty much every one of them. It’s by far and without hesitation the best RPG I’ve ever played and it has so damn much you can experience and if you want to get into the mod scene it grows even bigger. The crazy thing is that I never even got around to playing Throne of Bhaal. If I did, it would probably be a runaway victory instead of a neck-and-neck finish like it is right now. I don’t really know what to say about Baldur’s Gate 2… it’s so damn great!

The next step in this list is to make it a permanent part of the blog and add a few games that I’ve played since I started writing the list, such as Splinter Cell Conviction, which I’ve already written about in this blog. I will also make an aggregate list in a post so you can see all of it in its entirety. Then I’ll start writing the spinoff lists, starting with the games that I don’t want on my list even though popular opinion might put them there. Zelda: Ocarina of Time is number one on that list. It’s a bastardized Zelda game as far as I’m concerned. I have no idea what time frame I have on the next stuff since I don’t have as much of a drive to write when I work full-time, but it’ll get cranked out sooner or later.

Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, 20-11

19 September, 2010 4 comments

Next to last post until this list is wrapped up. Well, at least until I get to the spinoff lists, but I’ll sit on that one for a while. As usual, get to the rest of the blog posts in the series by clicking the Top 300 Games tag. I should note that at this point in the list, it’s extremely difficult to differentiate between games and make up my mind about whether or not one of them should be ahead of another.

20: Thief 2: The Metal Age (PC) – Garrett, the ultimate gaming antihero, returns in this, the best sneak ’em up of all time. Karras is a really creepy bad guy and on the way to the end you go through the most inspiring levels I’ve ever seen in a sneak ’em up. Every single level is fantastic; the first warm-up mansion, the harbor, the bank, fleeing from your house, getting to know the mechanists and then the pagans, etc. It’s all set up so well.

19: Mega Man 3 (NES) – Among a lot of Mega Man fans, there’s a divide between those who regard MM3 as the best in the series and then you have those who give that honor to MM2. I’m one of the latter, but holy shit is MM3 close. I still remember firing it up for the first time and trying out Gemini Man because he seemed to be the coolest boss on the startup screen. Rush joined the gang and was a good addition. Facing the MM2 bosses was also an interesting curve ball.

18: Half-Life (PC) – Even though the first game is missing the gravity gun, the impact of playing it hit me more than playing the sequel. I still remember battling headcrabbed scientists, trying to get to the surface of the Black Mesa research center and then there are soldiers there and they … shoot at ME! It was such a cruel twist. People like to rag on the game for the Xen levels at the end, but I didn’t have any problems with them. The expansions are interesting too, especially Blue Shift. I’m still waiting for the mod called Black Mesa, which is a conversion of the entire Half-Life game to the Source engine used in Half-Life 2.

17: Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PC) – When I first played this game, I thought it was much more mature than anything I’d ever played. I think I’ve played through it four or five times and I still love the narrative and detail, but most of all I love the perfect action. The TV shows you can catch throughout the game are complete genius. I thought I would be annoyed by the change in Max’s appearance since the first game, but it actually worked really well. The romance with Mona Sax was perfect and the environments, the city of New York, it’s still like one of the characters in the game. I’m dreading the release of Max Payne 3, because it seems the new developers have dropped all the good aspects of the first two games.

16: Mass Effect (Xbox 360) – I fairly recently replayed this one, because I had only played it once and I wanted a second character to import into Mass Effect 2, one that was the complete opposite of my first character. My first character was a male good guy who had a romantic relationship with the soldier Ashley Williams. I saved the council at the end because I’m such a philanthropist. My second character was a female, evil, lesbian asshole who didn’t give a shit about the council and also saved that almost extinct murderous insect race. I figured that I will play through ME2 at least twice, so why not make it interesting? Mass Effect has its flaws, to be sure, but it’s the general impression that’s so lasting and thorough. Even though the battles can be a bit stilted, that’s easily overshadowed by the fantastic cinematic feel of the entire game. The inventory sucks? Fuck it, just sell everything. I love the whole story and the world just pulls you in. I also read the two books and they put some of the things in the game in wonderful perspective.

15: Final Fantasy VI Advance (Gameboy Advance) – This is a game that could just as easily be in the top three as in spot #15. One of the greatest RPGs ever and I’m actually glad that I didn’t get to play this one properly until I was a grown-up. I don’t think I would’ve appreciated it as much in my early teens. Kefka is the most evil bad guy ever and the whole ensemble of heroes is fleshed out A LOT. The storytelling in this game pulls no punches even though it’s just a 16 bit game. You care about those small sprites. I’ve been thinking about who are my favorites, but the longer I got into the game, the more I got to know each character and the harder it was to pick a favorite. Still, Celes and Locke has a special place in my heart. And Terra of course… and Cyan! See, it’s impossible to pick just one or two! And we can’t mention this game without bringing up Nobuo Uematsu’s excellent music. Quite possibly the best game soundtrack ever in my opinion.

14: Fallout 3 (Xbox 360) – The expectations I had for this game were so high, I don’t think I’d ever had them that high for anything. Apart from a few small details, this game lived up to them and was a slam dunk and a home run at the same time. What I missed the most was the witty writing from the first two games. The action was awesome, the blend between turn-based and real-time battles was perfect, atmosphere and settings were great, and the list goes on. At this time I haven’t even touched the five DLC episodes, but that’s coming and with them, this one might rise.

13: Duke Nukem 3D (PC) – I think you could say pretty safely that this game is what got me so heavily into the FPS genre and it also got me to appreciate the fun of multiplayer. You see, when a bunch of other people were praising Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64, saying how awesome it was in slow four player split screen multiplayer with worthless controls and boring, bland settings, I was playing with eight others, each of us on our own screen, killing each other in colorful and detailed settings at a fast pace and with incredibly fun weapons. This game had it all and I replayed the single player part of the game last year on XBLA for the 360. With the news that Duke is finally coming back, I don’t really care how good or bad that game is. This one is the grandfather of FPS games for me and it still holds up today.

12: Counter-Strike (PC) – I could have included this with the Half-Life spot, but I’ve spent so much time playing this that I view it as an entirely separate experience. Counter-Strike. CS. I guess I’m referring to the old-school version here and not the one that was released along with Half-Life 2, with the upgraded Source engine. At first when I started playing this I didn’t really like the constant interruptions of new rounds and I didn’t like that I could only carry one rifle and one pistol. That you ran faster when holding the knife was so ridiculous that I didn’t even know where to begin. But then I started liking it and I got really good at it. I didn’t play with a clan or anything like that, but I played consistently with the same people at a few servers, so we got to know each other pretty well and could play together as a team. I was pretty good with most weapons, so it wasn’t like I went AWP sniper rifle all the time, although that was pretty fun. I liked to vary my play style to keep the opponents on their toes. My favorite map was cs_office because I always dominated that one by listening to the enemies while sneaking around the corridors.

11: Quake 2 (PC) – Quake 2 is the game I was probably the best at at one point. I knew for a fact that I was among the top 30 in Sweden when it came to free for all deathmatch. Several different server stats made that a sure thing. I was simply good at the game and even though I didn’t work on becoming better, the insane amounts of time I spent on the game probably helped make me even better. When we played local multiplayer I could take on everyone else at the LAN, 8-10 people, in CTF and still come out on top. A friend of mine was the same when it came to StarCraft, but Quake 2 was MY game. Online, I liked to play the regular DM maps, but there was a special server that ran only one map over and over. It was a secret map in the single player part of the game and it was called Space. What made this map special was that the gravity was very low, so when you jumped, you flew across the big rooms and this made it a wonderful place to use the railgun, my favorite weapon in the game. I had a lot of fun on that server.

The next post will have the final top ten.  After that I’ll get it up as a separate part of the blog and update it with a few games I’ve played since I started making the list.

Shows are getting back

18 September, 2010 Leave a comment

Real Time with Bill Maher got back on the airwaves yesterday, which is good. I haven’t seen the episode yet, but I’ll get around to it sooner or later. Soon the rest of the regular show lineup will start up again. Here are the shows I’m looking forward to this fall.

The Office – My favorite show for severals years running. I’m dreading what happens after this upcoming season because Steve Carell has said that it’s going to be his last year as Michael Scott. That’s why I’ll savor every minute of this upcoming season.

The Big Bang Theory – Sitcom that’s could be getting close to jumping the shark with getting Sheldon a love interest, but I’ll watch it.

How I Met Your Mother – This one’s getting drawn out to the extreme. Apparently Jennifer Morrison from House M.D. is going to join the show as Ted’s love interest. Considering how much they teased the mother to us last season, things will have to start happening for real soon. Could she be it?

Chuck – Obviously, considering my recent posts about the show. I haven’t caught up to next season just yet, but I’m still excited about a new season coming.

House M.D. – Last season I didn’t watch it until all of the episodes had aired. Actually, I plowed through the entire season in early August.

Fringe – Loved what happened in this show at the end of last season. Can’t wait for the next season to start.

Family Guy – The Griffin family keeps being Simpsons on steroids and ecstacy. Sometimes the show gets a bit tiresome, but it’s mostly good.

American Dad/The Simpsons – I’m getting more and more “meh” about these two. Don’t know if I’ll keep watching them.

South Park – Best social commentary on TV, still as smart as when Matt Stone and Trey Parker started out. Can’t wait for it to start.

I usually download them and watch them whenever I have some time to spare. Other than these shows I’m already watching The Daily Show, of course. Real Time and The Daily Show gets me all the American political satire/commentary I need.

I’m going to miss watching 24, Lost and Numb3rs, but I’ve found an old show that I used to catch sometimes on TV when I still actually watched shows on TV. I’ve been searching on and off for this show (both to buy or download, whatever works for me) for years and yesterday I finally found it for download. It’s the show Ed with Tom Cavanagh and a bunch of others in an amazing ensemble cast, one of them being Justin Long before he broke onto the movie scene. I used to catch an episode here and there and I really loved it, so I was a bit bummed out when I couldn’t find it.

Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, 30-21

12 September, 2010 2 comments

Time for some Sunday gaming goodness, getting this list down to 21. As usual, check out the Top 300 Games tag to look at older posts. Let’s go!

30: Soul Calibur 2 (GameCube) – We used to play endless matches in SC2 and this is my favorite beat ’em up of all time. What we did, usually we were four or five people playing together, was that we played a team game where we chose eight characters on each “side” and then we took turns playing until all eight on one side were defeated. I also plowed through the single player part of the game, which was more of a series of different challenges that you had to go through. Looking at the stats, I played about 1200 games with the character Yunsung. Link was a bit overpowered because he was the only one with long distance weapons, but if you just sidestepped, that was all taken care of. The extremely buxom girls in the game were… well, they had extremely large and bouncy boobs, so much so that it just became comical more than anything else. They’ve only gotten bigger in every sequel since then.

29: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC) – Whenever I think about this game, I think about atmosphere and a beautiful world to play in. The story is okay and the side quests are really good at times, but what kept me playing was the world I was playing in. It got me hooked from minute one with the beautiful music and the beautiful setting. Beautiful is really getting a lot of mileage here, but the game is truly beautiful in almost every single way. The only not-so-great part of it is the dialogue. The people look weird and there is a huge shortage of voice actors, so most of the people sound the same. It’s also a bit silly that in order to level up your athletics skill, you go around jumping constantly whenever you walk from one town to another. But all in all this is one of the best RPGs out there and I had so much fun with it.

28: Halo 2 (Xbox) – The game that got FPS multiplayer going on consoles. I played this two years ago or something on my Xbox 360, so I missed out on its release, but I really like the story part of the game and the time I’ve spent with it in local multiplayer has been a lot of fun too. The narrative in the single player story is interesting in how you switch between playing Master Chief and the Arbiter, giving you a better understanding of the enemy from the first game. I co-oped my way through it a couple of times and I think it’s interesting that they included a song by Breaking Benjamin at the end of the game. That felt like a gamble that, if it had paid off, we would see a lot of popular music in more games today, as opposed to just being the soundtrack in sports titles.

27: NHL 94 (SNES) – There was one pretty essential feature missing in this game that was added in later versions and that’s the season function. I promptly started playing my own season where I drew up a schedule on paper and counted goals and assists for all of my players. Most of the times I’ve played a season in the NHL games, I’ve played with the Detroit Red Wings since that’s my favorite team. Same thing here. Steve Yzerman ended up with something like 268 goals and 480 points in 84 games. As a reference for you normal people who aren’t complete hockey nuts like me, the most a player has ever scored in the real NHL is 215 points by the best player ever, Wayne Gretzky. In later years, me and my best friend have taken to playing Detroit vs Pittsburgh (his favorite team) in an endless stream of games. We’re so even and it’s a blast in every game. The games usually end up something like 9-8 to one of us.

26: Super Mario All Stars (SNES) – You can call this my cop out pick of the list because it’s a collection and I’ve been really really torn on where it should end up. We’ve pretty much all of us spent considerable amount of time with the Mario games, especially 1 and 3, but I don’t know… to me there’s something missing. I always preferred Mega Man to Super Mario back in the day if I could have my pick. Regardless, this is a collection of games that is almost second to none. SMB1 is THE video game, in my eyes the one that started it all (or restarted it all, if you started with Pong and those oldies). SMB2 is the black sheep of the family, but it’s still fun. SMB3 is one of the most impressive evolutions of a game series ever and then you have SMB The Lost Levels, which I’ve never actually finished. I will probably go back to it just to finish it one day, probably as both Mario and Luigi, but until then, it’ll have to remain that “too damn hard!” game I never managed to beat.

25: Resident Evil Remake (GameCube) – As good as RE4 and 5 are, they don’t hold a candle to the original game. It was the first game I got for the GameCube and today it’s the only one I haven’t wanted to sell. It is beautiful and sooooo damn creepy with atmosphere so thick you can slice through it with a knife. It’s a testament to some games really benefitting from remakes and it makes you think about how other games could be remade.

24: NHL 10 (Xbox 360) – At the time of writing this, it is four days until NHL 11 is released here in Sweden. I’m getting it on release and I’m trading in this sucker. Since I got it, I’ve played countless games, most of them online. It is THE hockey game to play and I hope that the next one takes it a step further. My friends and I have had endless fun playing together in the couch against random people on Xbox Live. The Be a Pro feature was fun at first but it didn’t hold up for long, especially when you started playing online. The center Thomas Johansson with the jersey number 36 was drafted by the Washington Capitals and quickly rose through the ranks, won the rookie of the year trophy and all that jazz. Then I stopped playing and forgot about that feature as soon as online matches caught my eye and I never looked back. At the end of summer my nephew was trashtalking about how he could beat me and I told him that he had no chance whatsoever. Finally we sat down and 12 straight wins (with a combined score of 80-23 or something like that) for me later, he wasn’t so cocky anymore. That was fun.

23: Half-Life 2 (PC) – I feel that this game is insanely overrated, much like Portal. Yeah, both are part of The Orange Box, but I felt there was such a difference between them, so I kept them as separate picks. I include in this pick, however, the “Episodes”. Writing this now, we are still waiting for Episode 3, so the story is not entirely finished, but it’s been years since Episode 2 was released, so fuck it. This game kept the narrative style from the first game and used more engaging supporting characters to tell a deeper story in HL2, for better or worse. Sure, Alyx Vance is a good female game character, but all too often I felt that she was leading me by the hand every step of the way. The pacing is one of the best things about this game and that’s an underrated thing. But the real star of the show is a weapon, just like in Portal. The Gravity Gun made this game what it is. Along with a solid set of vehicles and intriguing set pieces, the story has gotten deeper and deeper for every part, ending with a heartwrenching loss at the end of Episode 2. How it all ends in Episode 3 will be very interesting.

22: The Legend of Zelda (NES) – Link’s first adventure was awesome and it was also responsible for me looking up a word in the dictionary for the first time in my then short life. There’s a cave where an old man says something about a secret and a peninsula. I was seven or eight years old English wasn’t my first language, so peninsula was pure gibberish for me. Getting it translated didn’t help in making sense of the damn clue, but I finished the game anyway. One of the all-time classics. Not a lot more to say here, actually. Just give it a go if you haven’t already.

21: Mario Kart Double Dash (GameCube) – Another couch multiplayer favorite for the GameCube. We never tried connecting several GameCubes, although with hindsight I think we should’ve given it a shot. Then again, hindsight is always 20/20 and we still had loads of fun with this game. I never fell in love with the SNES or N64 versions and the Wii and DS versions are lackluster in comparison IMO. This is it when it comes to kart action. All the tracks are a lot of fun and the side games are also a really entertaining and that’s what this is supposed to be about. Pure goddamn fun.

Now I’m down to the top 20. From now on it’s nothing but slam dunks all the way to the top.

Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, 40-31

6 September, 2010 Leave a comment

Climbing closer to the top of the list, with this one we get down to 31, leaving us with the last tenth. No more chitchat. Check out the older posts in the blog series by clicking the Top 300 Games tag.

40: Halo 3 ODST (Xbox 360) – Bungie took the narrative of the Halo series to new and exciting places with ODST, which worked really well considering the group we followed instead of just Master Chief or the Arbiter. I loved the moody setting of ODST and it was, as is usually the case with Halo games, great fun to play in co-op. The casting of the voice actors was perfect and having a bunch of Serenity actors was a stroke of genius. The soundtrack also featured different music compared to the “regular” Halo games and that was also spot on. The downside was that it was pretty short and you couldn’t play Firefight online through matchmaking. I didn’t really play it that much locally anyway, but it was a nice addition.

39: Blade Runner (PC) – Voxels again! Well, some of it. Apparently the characters were made with voxels so they could be more detailed, or something like that. At the time of its release, it looked awesome and I think I finished it three or four times. You get different endings depending on what decisions you make and what people you talk to. This whole game is all about powerful narrative and even though you should have Blade Runner the movie in your repertoire – and that helps a lot to understand the game – it’s not needed to fully get the game. What really got to me about the game back when I first played it was also that it’s a point and click adventure, but not really. You don’t get a thousand weird inventory items and there are a bunch of other unconventional things about it, but it’s still a point and click affair. Masterfully done too, I might add.

38: Life Force (NES) – This is shoot ’em up at its best in my opinion. The controls are perfect, the music is perfect, the feel of the game is perfect and the length of the game is just right. Add the Konami code to the mix and you have 8 bit perfection as far as spaceships go. There’s not really a lot more to say here.

37: Fallout (PC) – I remember getting the Swedish PC Gamer magazine one day and on the demo disc that came with every issue, there was a preview copy of Fallout. It was a small town that wasn’t included in the full game and you basically went in there guns blazing. I’ve shot countless guys with burst mode in the Fallout games, but I still remember that first time I shot a leather-clad punk with the SMG and he staggered for a bit while falling to pieces. It blew me away and, although I had already fallen in love with the setting and atmosphere, I was completely floored by that display of balls to the wall violence. The game may look dated today, but I still think it holds up today. The story kept you on your toes throughout the entire game and there are few games that pull off the moral gray areas of all the actors and factions.

36: Mega Man X (SNES) – The only Mega Man game I’ve really played on the SNES. I tried X3, but that felt way too muddled with peripheral stuff which took away from the core gameplay. That doesn’t hold true for X1 though, because Capcom hit the nail on the head with that one. It’s a very good balance of story, bosses, skill development and music. You can play the game from beginning to end and still miss a huge amount of extra stuff that you can get if you revisit the levels at different times. I kind of miss Dr. Wily as the villain, because Sigma feels a bit too serious for a Mega Man game.

35: Dead Space (Xbox 360) – Dead Space is the reason I got myself a surround sound system and that game alone was worth paying for it. The sound plays such a big part in this horror game and the developers have created a very living and believable world. When I played the game, I also watched the tie-in animated movie, which only built on the experience. The game stands on its own more than well enough though, so don’t think that it’s needed to watch that movie. Whenever I think of Dead Space there’s one word that pops up in my head more than any other and that word is “visceral”. You FEEL this game when you play it. You are practically right there in that world and even though most of the scares are of the cheap “BOO!” variety, the main scare factor of the game is the general atmosphere and creepy feeling of solitude.

34: Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox) – I didn’t have an Xbox back when this was released and at the time I was playing what I considered to be better games on the PC. You CAN’T play an FPS with a console controller, I said. Then when the PC port was released a few years later, it was fun and all, but I still didn’t see what was so groundbreaking. After that I’ve played through it again on my Xbox 360 (backwards compatibility for the win) and that time something happened. I saw how this game made it possible to play FPS games on consoles, thanks to its perfect controls. It just worked. I also started paying attention to the story, something I hadn’t done when I played the PC version, and even though it’s cliche and all, it really got me hooked.

33: Liero (PC) – The original Worms got some Finnish (I think) guy thinking “wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to play this in real-time instead of waiting your turn?” and Liero was the result. And it was awesome. My friends and I played this A LOT, sitting two people in front of one computer, because network multiplayer wasn’t possible. We came up with a version that we called Action Liero, based on the Action mods for a few FPS games. We took down the health of the worms to 10% and severely restricted the weapons. We played it so much that we were able to fly across the screen at incredible speeds and still hit our targets the majority of the time. It was like a ballet of tiny worm violence.

32: Max Payne (PC) – Yeah, yeah, he looks constantly constipated. I know. That still doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s one of the most action-packed games ever. The comic book narrative combined with the dark voice-overs are perfect and James McCaffrey has the perfect voice. Why he wasn’t cast in the movie instead of Marky Mark Wahlberg is a complete joke. There still isn’t a game series that’s done the bullet time effect in a better way.

31: Rainbow Six Vegas (Xbox 360) – This game is some of the most fun I’ve had and the atmosphere is everywhere in this one too, both when you play solo or cooperatively. Perfect controls for a tactical shooter and even though it would be nice to have the skill point system from the sequel, I like this game more because of the environments and the story. I can’t wait for the next part in the franchise.

Well, that’s it for this post. As usual, comments are appreciated.