Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top 5 games of 1991

I’ve been a gamer for most of my life, having lived through the third generation of gaming (NES) upwards. Over 25 weeks, I will list my top 5 games from 1990 – 2015. To ensure consistency, here are the rules I will be following
  • I will only write about games I’ve played (which means no Super Mario World today)
  • Even though I played most of these games a few years after they released, I will stick with the year they were released (otherwise this list will be all over the place)
  • Some games may have been released at different times for different regions. When this happens, I will use the year related to the version I’ve played
  • Due to the second rule, it does mean I won’t be able to list gems like Super Mario Brothers and Circus Charlie
This week I will highlight 1991
Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Mega Drive)sonic
Part of my infamous 8-in-1 (you can read about it here), Sonic led the charge like a blue Aragorn storming into the Mushroom Kingdom, a shot of attitude to counter Nintendo’s saccharine franchises.  ‘Attitude’ stood out in the little things, like Sonic tapping his foot impatiently if you didn’t touch the controller for a few seconds, coaxing you to get on with it. I dig the villain, Doctor Robotnik (proper doctor, not honorary). Sure the guy was evil, and turned critters into robots, but I got the sense he worked hard to build his evil empire. Let me know if my nostalgia-loving eardrums deceive me but I do think the theme music of Sonic is much more memorable than most games released these days.
Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior (Arcade and Mega Drive)
While not my favourite in the Street Fighter 2 series (that honour belongs to Super Street Fighter 2), Street Fighter 2 was my jam. That’s not to say I was any good at it (I was pretty much useless against anyone with working fingers). I didn’t let my countless defeats get to me, often blowing up to R5 at the arcade (I think It was 20 cents a go back then). Street Fighter was one of the first games to introduce me to lazy stereotypes (booga fire and all that), which was par for the course since it was published in the same era as Bloodsport.
Street Fighter 2
Tiny Toon  Adventures (NES)
Keeping with the theme from last week’s list, platformers were a staple of my formative gaming years, with Tiny Toon Adventures being one of the stand-outs. A large part of the allure was that my friend had M-Net (which meant he had a lot of friends, most of who did not have M-Net…) so we would go to his place and watch it on KTV. I really liked that you could switch to another character when you picked up an orb, with each secondary character having their own unique skills (Plucky flew short distances, The Tasmanian devil broke stuff and the cat (Furball or something – not sure, limited exposure and all that) could climb walls. The only thing I could fault it on was difficulty – the game seemed a little tough. There were these stages where you were chased by this crazy person, and if she caught you, you had to start from the beginning (this is something Prince of Persia would try to recreate (unknowingly) with their Dahaka character in their not-as-great-as-sands-of-time sequel.
Tiny Toon Adventures
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (Arcade)
I was a huge TMNT fan back in the day, which of itself is not newsworthy because it’s like someone saying they’re a huge Lionel Messi fan (doesn’t raise any eyebrows). I remember the arcade set-up at the Durban Beachfront (a questionable establishment that smelled like bubblegum ice cream, salt and wet towel), providing four cabinets for unrivalled co-op action (a joy I would only taste again half a decade later with Goldeneye, and now with Rocket League). I’m only just realizing how much I liked licensed games.
Sunset Riders (Arcade and Mega Drive)
We end 1991 with another co-op game, and what might possible be the last time I reference my notorious 8-in-1 mega drive cartridge. Sunset Riders is a side-scrolling western shoot-em-up in which you play as a bounty hunter killing outlaws and avoiding stampeding bulls. These games were really popular back then (Double Dragon, Final Fight, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe and Cadillacs and Dinosaurs being among the more popular ones. Maybe not Cadillacs and Dinosaurs but that was pretty bad-ass). I replayed the mega drive version a few years ago – not too shabby.
Sunset Riders
So these are my top five games that were released in 1991. Join me next week as I go through my favourite games from 1992. Leave a comment and let me know which were your favourite games from the nineties.

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