This set of games brings us into the modern era with several Wii U titles. Alright, I’m sorry – I know this is supposed to be a site about retro games, so I’m pretty much breaking all the rules with this. But these games really have a retro “vibe” to them! And like I said in the intro, this list is a journey through my life of gaming, so that’s a pretty retro thing, isn’t it? Ok fine, I’m sorry. I’ll (probably) get back in line tomorrow.
80. Bomberman 64 (N64)
Bomberman’s first foray into 3D was one of his best! Loveable characters, interesting gameplay challenges, and one of the best multiplayer experiences on the N64 (which is saying something). The single player campaign was actually pretty good (though I never finished it – which was unlike me). It was almost like a puzzle game, where you had to use different types of bombs to make your way through large, maze like structures. The game took you across several interesting worlds, each with different styles of puzzles to solve. I will never forget the Omni Cube. I spent many hours in the aforementioned multiplayer mode just having a blast with my friends! (sorry about that…. )
79. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance (PC)
This is the definitive Star Wars space combat game. It takes everything that the earlier X-Wing and TIE Fighter series did so well and takes it to a whole other level. The campaign was engaging (probably the most important thing about a game like this, to me), the graphics were beautiful, and the flight mechanics and game interface were intuitive and a lot of fun to use. It probably was a little bit too long, and some of the missions could get repetitive. I enjoyed this one a lot…
78. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (N64)
…but THIS is my favorite Star Wars fighter game. It was just SO GOOD! Beautiful graphics, with a campaign that brought you into some of the most interesting fights in the rebellion. I loved how it let you fly a lot of different kinds of ships, and the varied mission objectives were great fun as well. I tried (and failed) to get a gold medal on every level in the game – but simply the fact that it had that challenge at all as a completion bonus was something I loved. My name is Antilles because of the X-Wing series of books, and I played this game right around the time I was reading those.
77. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
The game that really should have been Wii U’s release title. Everything about this game is fun. It shows that Nintendo has truly mastered the integration of 2D and 3D styles of play. The cat suit, while initially something that weirded me out, was a fascinating and intriguing way to play. The game surprised me with how much I loved it. I did go through and get 100% completion in the game, and Champion’s Road was a worthy final challenge. Other than that, though, I wouldn’t say that any of the levels are terribly memorable. Maybe I’m too old and cynical for new games to hit me like they used to, but I don’t think I’ll have too much nostalgia for anything in this game. It’s a great game and a must-play for anyone with a Wii U, but it’s not necessarily a timeless classic like later Mario games you’ll see on this list.
76. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
I have a love/hate relationship with this game. Given my affinity for Donkey games, I really want to love it – but I feel it just lacks that special something which made the SNES classics so great. But that said, it really is an excellent game in its own right, and it’s extremely difficult – especially those unforgiving K levels. DKC: Returns for Wii could really hold this spot as well, but this sequel really surpasses Retro’s first entry in the Donkey world in every way. I’m hoping that they continue the series, but BRING BACK THE KREMLINGS AND MORE ANIMAL BUDDIES! But I have to say… this is one of the most BEAUTIFUL games I have ever seen. There were plenty of times where I would just stop and take in the detail of the levels. Absolutely a work of art in every way.
75. Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
The newest game on the list, and what a revolution it is. While any levels you might find in it are hit-or-miss, the way that this game took over and completely dominated my gaming scene upon its release was unreal. When I first heard about it I wasn’t too thrilled, but when I saw the additions of the Mario World and Mario Bros 3 tilesets I absolutely knew I had to have this game. Everything about this game just oozes quality. Its presentation is absolutely beautiful. I don’t have a lick of creativity in me when it comes up to level ideas, so I haven’t used it that much, but the level editor is insanely intuitive and super fun to use. It’s so easy to jump in, play some fun Mario levels, and jump out again. The Amiibo costumes are a great addition. I could see this being a game that I and others will keep coming back to for years.
74. Warcraft (PC)
The game that started it all. I’ll never forget the first time I played this game at a friend’s house. Getting through the first two stages wasn’t too bad. But the wall we ran into when trying to beat level three – the first time the enemy actually has their own BASE – was something else entirely. Within a few days I had bought the game for myself, and my eventual defensive front of archers/footmen with catapult and knight support became unstoppable! I get shivers just thinking about it, and that this game started off my love for this incredible genre makes it a worthy addition to the list.
73. Super Smash Bros (Wii U)
I never played much Smash growing up. I went through the single player mode of Smash 64 maybe once or twice and then completely missed Melee and Brawl. But I was reintroduced to the series when Smash 4 came out, and absolutely loved it. I’m not very good at the game, and certainly never play against others online, but the sheer quality of the game throws it onto this list. It’s so beautiful and so well polished. Combining so many classic and favorite characters (complete with their music and stages) together is a nostalgia trip like none other. Add in that this game inspired amiibos (which I love, though don’t use in the game) and you have a definite top-tier experience.
Note: It’s worth mentioning that I’m EXTREMELY excited about the recent announcement of Cloud joining the roster. FFVII is definitely on this list (but it won’t be showing up until late next week), and that alone is enough to get me pumped. Moreover, this means my lifelong dream of having a CHOCOBO amiibo is still alive!
72. Yoshi’s Wooly World (Wii U)
What an absolutely pleasant surprise this game is. Firstly, it’s absolutely ADORABLE. Everything about this game just OOZES style. The music is soothing, the characters are adorable, and the environments have so much detail. The subtle things that the creators of this game put in make it worthy of every bit of praise I can give. I wasn’t even planning to get this game when I first heard of it – and I ended up buying it just for the Yarn Yoshi Amiibo that came with (because my wife loves Yoshi). But playing it is just so FUN. It’s a wonderful game to just sit down and relax with. And co-op mode works wonderfully in this game. As far as gameplay goes, the yarn aesthetic really adds a lot of wonderful mechanics – creating platforms by shooting yarn at them or unraveling secret areas is really quite fun. I was expecting completing this game to be a headache – much like Yoshi’s Island – but really, the game is just so chill that it makes you WANT to play it more. I cannot recommend this game highly enough.
71. LEGO Harry Potter 1 & 2 (Wii)
Really, these games are acting as a proxy for the entire LEGO series. But they’re here because they’re the only ones I’ve finished through to the end. Also, even though it’s technically two games, they hold the same spot since they’re basically the exact same thing. In particular, these games are really fun and light hearted runs through the Harry Potter saga, which is a very entertaining one and great to play through! Running around Hogwarts and encountering all the characters there is a ton of fun. The LEGO games are a completionist’s dream (or nightmare…), as there is just so darn much to do! The multiplayer, much like Yoshi’s Wooly World, is great, too, as both players can play together towards the accomplishment of a common goal.
Ok! Done! Sorry if I offended your retro sensibilities. Maybe this sneak peak of game 70 will make up for it?
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis)
Reminder: I’ve considered things like gameplay, replay value, timelessness, story, unique qualities, cultural impact, personal impact, and overall just how much fun a game is. Except for the times when I don’t consider them at all. I may even think a lower-rated game is “better” than one higher than it, or even more fun. Ultimately, the criteria are entirely my own. I make the decisions, I make the ratings, and I don’t claim to be either fair or logical in any of this.