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Old 01-16-2023, 09:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default 1998 - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

1998

And yet another great year in gaming. And once again, I find myself in the situation that I really don't know which one to pick as a lot of the games from this year are some of my favorites of all time. I talked about Banjo-Kazooie somewhat recently, so I don't think I want to jump into that again. Other games like the Pokemon Trading Card Game for Game Boy Advance, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, and Spyro The Dragon all released this year. Great games, but if we're talking my favorite game from this year as a whole, I would have to go with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Anybody who's anybody knows how good Ocarina of Time is, and when put up against the other games that were released this year, it should really be no surprise as to why I chose this game. But I'll tell you why anyway. I still have vivid memories of the first time I ever played Ocarina of Time. I was relatively young and I had just borrowed a copy of Ocarina of Time from a friend of mine. I got home that night and literally less than a week later, I had completely finished the game. And that's not implying this game is short. Rather, I just couldn't help myself going from one part to the next. Because not only was it one of the first time I ever beat the game in its entirety, it was also one of the first time I had ever played the game, period. So it was a fresh experience either way you look at it. And I honestly don't really need to tell you any of this since Ocarina of Time is often touted as one of the best games of all time. And I know nowadays we've got games like Breath of the Wild and Twilight Princess etc, but when you want to go back to how the Zelda games were back in the day, I always recommend people playthrough Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, and even Wind Waker. I'm sure I'll be discussing Wind Waker later on so I'll keep my thoughts on that to myself for now. The reason I always send it off with high recommendations is simply because it deserves it. I think throughout the different iterations of my gaming journal, Ocarina of Time is certainly one of those games that I probably have the most written about. But again, that's simply a testament to the quality of Ocarina of Time. It's got everything you need. Adventure, a great protagonist, an amazing antagonist, and an overarching story that never goes stale even if the game starts to feel like it's taking a while. I don't think the game is really that long though, especially if you know how to play through it already. Going back to it again can actually be a pretty fun experience since you can enjoy playing through it and just seeing everything you experienced back in the day. Lots of nostalgia for this one, and I still feel nostalgic anytime I play it, and definitely when I watch other people play it. Hell, people have been doing these crazy randomizer runs of Ocarina of Time, and it's truly a blast watching it because you get to see the game played in different ways despite it being the same game every time.

The other big reason why I always love bringing up Ocarina of Time is because I like to remind people just how good the soundtrack is to the game. Despite it being released back on the Nintendo 64, that didn't stop them from making one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time. You've got Song of Storms, Epona's Song, Zelda's Lullaby, and that's not even scratching the surface. You've got the song that teleport you to different dungeons which then becomes it's own form of fast travel and makes getting everything in the game done just that much more enjoyable since you can literally warp to different parts of the map after playing a dope track on the Ocarina. Epona's Song is just one that always sticks out to me, and I still hum it whenever I'm just doing anything:



This song along just brings back so many feelings of nostalgia, god damn.

That's honestly all there is to it, really. Like I said, I've talked about Ocarina of Time many times over the past few years, and I honestly have no problem bringing it up again in this fashion because it really is just a testament to how good the game actually is. If you for some reason have yet to sit through at least one playthrough of this game, I highly encourage you to do so. It's one of those games you will definitely want to have had played at some point in your life. Hell, Majora's Mask is up there too, and sometimes I prefer Majora's Mask, but Ocarina of Time gets the spotlight today.
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Old 01-17-2023, 03:36 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default 1999 - Super Smash Bros

1999

We are closing out the 90's today, and while the list of games released this year may not be as full of greats as other years so far, there are still quite a few to choose from when talking about my favorite game from that year. A few examples would be Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Pokemon Gold & Silver, Donkey Kong 64. I know I've talked many times about the aforementioned, so I'm going to try to talk about a different game from that year, though I still would consider it one of my favorites from that year. That game being Super Smash Bros.

Honestly, any of the games that I mentioned would easily take the spot for my favorite of the year, but as I've talked many times about those games already, I figure the next best one would be to talk about Super Smash Bros, and that's what I'm here to do today. Despite this game having many sequels, all of which are infinitely better in multiple ways, the series had to start somewhere right? And while Super Smash Bros as a whole is not all that impressive, the fact that it basically started or at least helped pioneer an entire subset genre of gaming is pretty remarkable. I remember time and time again getting together with a couple of school friends and just duking it out either on this title or the sequels that had come out during that time. That was so long ago so I barely remember. I just know that there were many many sleepless sleepovers due to playing hours upon hours of Super Smash Bros.

One of the coolest things about Super Smash Bros and hell, the smash games in general is the fact that you can fight your friends with your favorite video game characters. And obviously as time has gone on, the roster for whom you can choose to fight with has just continued to increase over time. I mean, Super Smash Bros Ultimate has 74 different characters you get to choose from. So, whether or not you think that's too many is just it's own thing. But god damn, they are dedicated to making the games as accessible and as fun as humanly possible. I'm eager to see which characters make the roster for the next game.

The thing I also remember really enjoying growing up is trying to guess which characters will make it to an official Smash roster. And while the theory crafting was much more satisfying back in the day without the depth of the internet, it is still fun to think about why some of your beloved characters haven't made the cut. But I mean, at this point, the amount that haven't made it must be significantly smaller than the ones that have made it. Again though, I don't really know what to expect with the next addition of Smash, but it will be cool to see who makes the cut.

The unfortunate thing about the Smash series in general is, while it is a series of games I wholeheartedly respect and enjoy, I have never gotten very good at them. I know people and have known people throughout my life that their skill with Super Smash Bros exceeds my own 10 fold, maybe even 100 fold. It's one of those games that I really enjoy watching when someone is good, but can also be relatively painful when watching somebody else play.

I also don't think the Nintendo 64 made it very easy to get the controls down to a point where you felt overpowered, because that god damn controller is just a gift from Satan. Nearly impossible to play any sort of skill based game with a controller that works against you all the time. Doesn't keep the game from being fun though. And that's really all there is to it at the end of the day.

From here we move into the 2000's. That wraps it up for the 90's. Lots of gems. And many more to come.
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Old 01-24-2023, 12:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default 2000 - Banjo-Tooie

2000

We are moving on into the 2000's, and what better way to do that then to, well, y'know, talk about my favorite game from that year. The 2000's years were simultaneously some of my favorite gaming experiences of all time, while also being the years that I simply don't remember as much about the games as I'd like to think I do. Nonetheless, I could make a separate list specifically talking about my favorite games in the 2000's era, but I don't want to do that. Because I'm doing this here, which is really the same thing. Anyway, we're talking about Banjo-Tooie today. Not that I necessarily want to bring up the Banjo-Kazooie games again, as I've talked about them many times over the years, I just don't have many other experiences from this particular year that had the same effect on me as a lover of games that Banjo-Tooie brought. Games like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 and Spyro: Year of the Dragon are fantastic games in their own respects, but I haven't really experienced them enough myself to formulate enough words to express how I feel about them.

As you can probably guess, based solely on the many times I've talked about Banjo-Tooie, it is up there as being one of my favorite games of all time, while also being one of my favorite sequels of another one of my favorite games of all time, being Banjo-Kazooie. I've talked time and time again why this game falls in that particular set of categories, but I don't mind going over it again, be it a little less flashy. Banjo-Tooie is just one of those games that I feel I can go back to, and the experience would be as fun and rich as it was the first time I ever played it. But nothing would ever be able to replace how it felt to get through the game the first time. Especially when you consider that this game had a lot to live up to with Banjo-Kazooie being as good as it was. And man, they nailed every bit of it. The adventuring aspect, the new levels, the new moves you can learn. It basically took Banjo-Kazooie to another peak, and that's impressive considering Banjo-Kazooie was on a peak of its own. It's basically everything a sequel should be. Games have definitely managed to do this many times over the years, but back when I wasn't really all too familiar with the concept of a sequel, playing through a game like this was just a good experience through and through.

And despite the many times I have brought this game up, I still feel like it's worth mentioning that the level design is definitely on par in some areas and some are super creative and interesting. What they all have in common however is that they are not only fun to go through, they are full of little bits of adventure for you to get sucked into. It just feels grander in scale compared to its predecessor, and again, that is the whole idea of a sequel. But with the combination of the cool level designs, mix that with an open world that almost feels endless, the game wraps itself nicely in this atmosphere that makes you feel like your taking on this whole world, and simultaneously it feels like the world is living in its own right, and you're just adventuring through it. Each level has its own unique theme and all the characters revolve around that theme which just adds to the world feeling alive.

Other than the levels having their own unique charm, there are two other specific things that I remember enjoying the most, and that is both the transformation of Kazooie into dragon Kazooie, and the powerup that allows you to split the duo apart. Both of these add a unique difference in play style that we never really got to experience in Banjo-Kazooie. That game focused solely on the idea that the two work as an inseparable duo, so I always thought it was really cool that the two got to split up this time and learn things on their own. Which, I equally love the powerups between the two, and I don't think I ever enjoyed one more than the other. However, Kazooie is a favorite for a lot of people, and I could easily say the same, especially like I said with the addition of dragon Kazooie.

I hope the many times I've talked about this game has given you an idea of what I think about, but if it hasn't, I love Banjo-Tooie.

Last edited by Key; 01-24-2023 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 01-24-2023, 12:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default 2001 - Runescape

2001

This year is a particularly interesting one to talk about because, despite it being a game that has pretty much become the only game that will never be surpassed in terms of total game time, I didn't actually start playing until a few years later. And then went to play for many years after that. And when I say many years, I mean that I have 16+ years collectively, though there were a few years that I didn't play at all, but it has always sort of been in the back of my mind when nothing else took my time. I'm talking of course about Runescape.

With this game surely being the one I have spent most of my life playing, I couldn't really see any reason to talk about any other game other than Runescape, because while being one of my first if not my first experience with an MMORPG, it also managed to be one of the first experiences I ever had truly feeling the pull of addiction, and this led to me nearly failing out of high school. Looking back, was it worth it? Eh, sure. I mean, I wasn't going to college anyway so school didn't matter much. "It's just a game" some would say, but at such a young age, that pull to keep making your character better was something I wanted all the time.

As I got older, the more experience I got playing Runescape, and the better I got with it. So much so that I did a few posts about it in my previous journal, and I am honestly stoked about where my character is at its point in its life. Lots of gp and al the best armor I can get. It's one of those cases where when you arrive in the starting area when you begin your adventure, and first thing you see is a high level character with amazing armor. I always wanted to have a character like that, and minus the need to be looked at by low level characters, I can safely say that I feel like I have a character that mimics that need.

People already pretty much know my thoughts on this and I will continue to talk about Runescape throughout the year, but it's definitely the one game that stuck with me the most throughout the years. And surely, will continue to do so.

Last edited by Key; 01-24-2023 at 01:23 PM.
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