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A Game of Influence

Great achievements of the gaming industry

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The popularity of video games has exploded over the last twenty years. Once thought to be an entertainment only for the biggest of nerds, has become so mainstream that even your high school hotties will test their muscle at Wii sports. This transformation is a result of all types of people finding ways to enjoy video games.

While some people had to warm up to the idea of playing video games regularly, I have always enjoyed playing a wide variety of games. The games I will list below have helped shaped my gaming personality and my passion for the industry.

Nintendo 64:

  • Goldeneye- I still remember the first day I played Goldeneye. I had a few friends over and they were watching me play Facility. I kept dying on the last part of the mission, because I was trying to kill everyone instead of just exiting the Facility (great gamer I was). My friends, growing impatient wanted an opportunity to play, however I made it clear they didn?t have the skill set to play such a game. Eventually I was able to beat facility and enjoy hours of the multiplayer that revolutionized the gaming industry. Goldeneye is the father of the modern first person shooter.
  • Major League Baseball, Featuring Ken Griffey Jr- This game was released twelve years ago and it?s still the only baseball video game to combine fun with solid game play. That?s not to say there have not been good baseball games released since 1998 I.e. the MVP Baseball franchise and MLB The Show. However, these games have failed to attract the same mainstream audiences that other sports games have, such as Madden and the NBA 2K series. Griffey embraced its arcade style of play by having hitting circles that could take up half the strike zone, or power pitchers being able to throw 106 mph, and let?s not forget Tim Wakefield?s knuckleball. What really put the game over the top were Ken Griffey?s famous sound bites like ?look at that one handed grab? and ?going, going, gone.? Junior although you retired I would pay good money for you to be the cover athlete on one of the baseball games.
  • Xbox:

    The Xbox was the first system I truly gamed on so my comments will definitely be a little bias.

  • Halo- I know shocker! If Goldeneye is the father of the modern first person shooter, then Halo is the much more successful offspring. I have to admit the first time I played Halo I wasn?t a fan, but after reading a ton of reviews I decided to buy the game and give it a second chance. Thank god I did! Not only is the single player experience the best you can find, but the multiplayer is what brings you back again and again. At least an entire year of my life was dedicated to playing Halo. Every Friday and Saturday night my three friends (sometimes more) and I would engage in marathon Halo matches. I don?t think there is a better feeling in gaming then walking into the base at Sidewinder with the winning flag in your hand. Actually, check that. The walk into your opponents? room to celebrate the victory is much sweeter!
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein- Without a doubt this game in its prime was the best multiplayer experience Xbox Live had to offer. This game was years ahead of its time. It allowed clan tags, had private voice channels, and customizable classes. This game introduced me to ?competitive gaming.? I always thought competition only existed in sports, but the adrenaline following a Wolfenstein clan match could match any achievement on the sports field. I remember playing in a baseball game and my Dad walking up and telling me my clan had just beat the number two team in the game (no he isn?t psychic my friend called his cell). I immediately lost interest in the baseball game and started to think only of how I could contribute later that day. It?s a shame iD outsourced the multiplayer of the most recent Wolfenstein installment to Raven.
  • NCAA Football- College football has always been more appealing then the NFL. Perhaps it?s the high scoring offenses or the atmosphere, but nothing gets me fired up like watching the U (Miami) run through the smoke. While the NCAA franchise has most certainly had its ups and downs it tries hard to provide that unique college atmosphere. In my opinion the high point of the franchise was in 2006. It allowed gamers to create their own college and then recruit players to your school. It was a fun challenge to create a school that focused on education and put them in a dominant conference. However, NorConn never quite made it to the big time.
  • Halo 2- It?s hard to imagine any game topping the Halo 1 experience, but somehow Bungie was able to create a game that did just that. The Halo 2 single player added depth to an already great storyline and a cliff hanger that not even Battlestar Galactica could match. However, the star of Halo 2 was its multiplayer, which launched Xbox Live into a whole new stratosphere. Finally, a person could defend their trash talk and prove how good of a Halo player they were. The clan match feature was my favorite part of the multiplayer. It was first game that used both in game features and a website to keep track of how well a clan and player were doing. I remember checking the website to see how much progress we had gained following a victory, or much we had lost following a (rare) defeat. Halo 2 also accomplished a rare feat in gaming, and that was staying relevant despite the release of new games. Often gamers migrate from one new game to the next; however Halo 2 grabbed on to gamers and didn?t let them go.
  • Xbox 360:

    The 360 is such a hard system to examine, especially for me since I purchased the console on its release date only to have it break two minutes in. Furthermore, the release titles for the 360 were extremely subpar especially when you compare them to the original Xbox. Despite its severe hardware flaws (I?m on my seventh console) the system still offers the best online experience anywhere.

  • Rainbow Six Vegas/2- A lot of people have gripes with the Rainbow Six franchise. Maybe it?s the slower game play style or the realism, but in my opinion no game offers greater strategy and teamwork. While Wolfenstein was my gaming Bar Mitzvah, Rainbow Six was my graduation from college. The coordination required to play this game effectively was simply amazing. It required as much ability as it did brain power. As my clan learned through hundreds of matches, any team could be defeated with an effective game plan. I anxiously await the next Rainbow Six installment!
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare- It truly pains me to include this game. I thought the single player experience was truly phenomenal, but the multiplayer didn?t satisfy me like it did so many others. I know what your thinking, he likes Rainbow Six he must not have been good at Call of Duty. Well I?m not going to lie I didn?t thrive at COD like I did other games, but I still held my own and had a kill to death over 1.5. My gripe with COD is its desire to be mainstream. COD does its best to put everyone on a level playing field by rewarding success and failure. I truly hate games that allow absolute scrubs to be competitive in a room full of talented players. However, despite my personal gripes with the game I still have to tip my cap to Infinity Ward, it made one hell of a game.
  • PC:

  • Everquest- most of my interaction with this game was sitting next to my friend and asking him a shit load of questions about what was happening. I did eventually create an account and partake in the adventure, but never had the patience or time to level all the way up. However, you didn?t need to reach the level cap to have a great experience with this game. Everquest revolutionized gaming on so many levels, in my opinion it?s the best MMO of all time (sorry WoW players). Everquest required an incredible amount of time and effort, but rewarded players with an experience like nothing else. Even traveling in EQ was exciting for a new comer. Walking through an unexplored zone, or taking a thirty-minute boat ride was just another part of the adventure. What ignorant WoW players don?t realize is that a lot of the features you see today made their debuts in Everquest.
  • Battlefield 1942/Desert Combat- This game (and mod) to this day does the best job of blending vehicles into a first person shooter environment. A lot of games can incorporate vehicles into an environment (I.e. COD World at War), but very seldom do they work as well as in this franchise. Playing CTF on Wake Island consisted of a high altitude jump from a black hawk and then a perfectly timed jump back into the helicopter with the flag secured (Behind Enemy Lines anyone?). The game shows off DICE?s mastering of multiplayer, if only they could master single player they could produce some of the biggest games out there.

This concludes my list of the games that have influenced my gaming life. I?m sure some of you out there are thinking wow this guy has no life; while others are probably shocked and appalled I left certain games off my list. So for the people out there who are looking for their favorite games I have compiled a list of great games (and franchises) that didn?t make my top spots, but I strongly respect.

The Legend of Zelda: Orcania of Time (All other Zelda games too)*
Star Fox 64
Mario 64
Mario Kart
Perfect Dark
Ghost Recon
Super Smash Bros.
Grand Theft Auto
Gears of War
Unreal Tournament
Uncharted 2
Killzone 2
Metal Gear Solid
Fallout 3
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic
Splinter Cell
World of Warcaft
Star Craft
Red Alert

*Disclaimer - I never played Zelda. I know, I'm a horrible person.

The GM
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