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No One Can Stop Mr. Talking Time's Top 50 32 & 64-Bit Video Games!

Issun

Let's 90s gaming
The 32 & 64-Bit era of gaming (also known as the 5th Console Generation) was a time of tremendous upheaval. For 25 years video games had had mostly two-dimensional graphics (and when graphics looked 3D it was almost always due to some clever tricks). Game music had evolved beyond beeps and boops, but aside from a few PC and Sega CD games, was still limited to MIDI tracks, which still produced many fantastic and iconic soundtracks, but were still a far cry from full-on bands and orchestras. For a decade, too, the industry had been dominated by two players, with one reaping the lion's share of game players and dollars.

All that was about to change,

The 5th generation was incredibly diverse and creative, and it altered forever how we saw and played games. Sure, some of the early games of the era may not be much to look at by today's standards, and many games from then take some getting used to to play, but the end of one century also defined what games were going to look and play like in the next. So let us pay homage to Talking Time's Top 50 32&64-Bit Video Games!

A note on ranking: If a game got the same number of points, I broke that tie with number of votes. If that was also tied, I then went with whichever game was ranked the highest among individual lists. Thankfully I didn't have to use the final tiebreaker, which was whichever game had more votes at that rank (if that had been equal, then I would have called a tie). So if at first it looks like two games should be tied, please look at the other criteria before commenting.

Okay, let's get started!
 

Issun

Let's 90s gaming
This is a top 50, but many very good games were nominated. So to honor some of those that came oh so close, the first four days I will be listing games #64-51, because 64 is a Very Important Number for this list. Also I am throwing out the tiebreaker rules for these and just calling ties on points. Okay, Letsa go!


#64-62 (Tie)
King's Field (II)
66 Points, 3 Votes

Final Fantasy wasn't the only 90s series with numbering shenanigans. What was King's Field II in Japan was released as the first game here. The King's Field series was From Software's maiden voyage into difficult action RPG games. It was derided for its simplistic graphics and its challenge at the time, but as the years go by and Soulslike gaming gets more traction, the series has gotten more appreciation for its gameplay and atmosphere.

*I have since learned that this image is from the Japanese King's Field III/North American King's Field II. Apologies.

Ghost in the Shell 66 Points, 3 Votes

In the mid 90s, Ghost in the Shell was the biggest damn thing in anime and manga (stateside, at least). Of course there needed to be a game, and it could easily have been a cynical cash in. While the final product is far from perfect, it is considered to be one of the better anime-to-vdjya game adaptations. You control a spider-like tank called a Fuchikoma, and its wall-climbing mechanics are still considered to be excellent today.

Worms Armageddon 66 Points, 3 Votes

I'm not super familiar with the Worms franchise. According to Wikipedia it is a turn-based tactical strategy game. It has cute graphics reminiscent of Lemmings, and is also well-loved for its sense of humor.
 
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Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
Worms was fun because it wouldn't crash a school network the way Quake 2 or Starcraft could. Also it was actually a game you could play on-line somewhat decently with only a dial-up modem. I should have thought to vote for it!
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Off to a good start! Man, I would have voted for Worms if I had thought of it. It’s a Dreamcast game for me, but I knew that it started out on earlier hardware.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Worms was fun because it wouldn't crash a school network the way Quake 2 or Starcraft could. Also it was actually a game you could play on-line somewhat decently with only a dial-up modem. I should have thought to vote for it!
I loved Worms but I only played it on JBear's X-Box in the 2000s. No idea which version, either.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I'm sure the discussed regional numbering discrepancy confused matters, but the image up top is from King's Field III, released overseas as King's Field II. For my part, I voted for a "King's Field II" and intended in doing so to refer to the second game by its original title, as in my mind the same long-standardized title nomenclature should apply here as with Final Fantasy numbering conventions and how they're understood today.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I'm stoked to see how this shakes out.

To my eternal shame, I have Worms Armageddon on PC but never put much time into it.
 
This is already a comfy and satisfying list.

I was a Ghost in the Shell voter. I think it muscled its way onto my list partly due to aesthetics and personal fondness for GITS, but it is also a quality recommendation as well. You can play it with an SNES controller, which is an interesting distinction.

I think, as a general statement, 3D action games were very different than what we think of today, with a major shift happening around 2001-2003. Ghost in the Shell is an good example of one of those earlier 3D action games, and it has the honor of getting the execution right and remaining pretty fun.
 

Issun

Let's 90s gaming
I'm sure the discussed regional numbering discrepancy confused matters, but the image up top is from King's Field III, released overseas as King's Field II. For my part, I voted for a "King's Field II" and intended in doing so to refer to the second game by its original title, as in my mind the same long-standardized title nomenclature should apply here as with Final Fantasy numbering conventions and how they're understood today.
Sorry about that. Google Images was being difficult about that one, and I thought I'd found one for the right game, but it seems not. All three votes were for the Japanese King's Field II/North American King's Field I. I'd find a new image, but I will instead let it stand as a testament to the fact that I really should play these games someday.
 
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ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Color me surprised that at least one of my bottom five isn't in the very bottom also-rans tier.
 

WildcatJF

Red After Image
(he / his / him)
I voted for Worms! It's been a long while since I played it but I remember having a ton of fun with it on my DC.
 

spines

behold my godlike
(she/her, or something)
worms (armageddon especially, though world party is a similar game and the one my brothers and i personally played more) is so good. i didn't vote for it, it sticks out in my mind as more dreamcast/2000s era, but it's a fantastic choice nonetheless. one of my favourite british games of all time
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I did know about Worms back in the day (no idea which one, though). But that was mainly through magazines, where they showed screenshots of these little cartoon intros, that are shown before a level starts, or something. I assumed it was some adventure game with great cartoon graphics.

I was disappointed, when a friend got one of these games for the PS1, and I learned that it's this two-player tactics(?) game. I had not much interest in the genre, and only played it a bit, I think? He had only borrowed it, so it was soon gone, anyway.

For the record, I now think it looks delightful, it just wasn't what I had in mind.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Anyhow, I was another one of the Ghost in the Shell votes. It's such a triumph of polygonal design and presentation, as well as a downright inspired use of the license for its moment in time. The mid-'90s rush toward multimedia in the video game space is usually viewed with embarrassment in hindsight, but it was the perfect context for a concept like Ghost in the Shell to exist in, thematically and metatextually speaking.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Hah, I didn't think of Worms - though tbh I only played actual Worms a few times. What I *did* play a lot was some much simpler looking shareware tank battle game with essentially the exact same gameplay.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
Was it Scorched Earth? We were big Scorched Earth fans.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I completely blanked out on Worms. I lump it in with "party games," which I don't really have much attachment to, but reading that entry activated some memories I really hadn't thought about it in a very long time. I think we played Armageddon, but the time period in my life where I actually played Worms is really fuzzy.
 

Issun

Let's 90s gaming
#61-58 (Tie)

Resident Evil 67 Points, 3 Votes

While 1992's Alone in the Dark kicked off the survival horror genre in the west, Resident Evil popularized and perfected it. As you explore the creepy mansion, action and jump scares are aplenty, but it's the atmosphere that really made this game. Please do not order the Jill Sandwich.

Ape Escape 67 Points, 3 Votes

I'll admit, Ape Escape is one I missed due to not taking seriously at the time, and the online community I was a part of in the late 90s/early 2000s did not help disabuse me of that notion (they were also toxic and I am very glad I found TT in 2007). Yes, it is about catching monkeys, but it also a clever 3D platformer that people still laud today.

X-Men vs. Street Fighter 67 Points, 3 Votes

At the turn of the century one could not shake one's stick in an arcade without hitting a Capcom fighter. Along with their Street Fighter franchise, they also had deals with both Marvel and SNK. While both series did well, it's the Marvel games that have stood the test of time. I'm not too knowledgeable on the differences between this and the full-on Marvel games, but I'm sure the people that voted for this one can edify you in the comments.

Dew Prism/Threads of Fate 67 Points, 4 Votes

Ah, Square's Summer of Adventure. I'm sure a hefty percentage of tyrants remember it fondly, and at least 4 of us have played its middle child. Threads of Fate did not have the pedigree of Mana or Chrono, but its team had Brave Fencer Musashi under their belt, and their second effort was a charming, fun (if also very frustrating) action RPG that told the tale from two different perspectives. Just so y'all know: Mint all the way, ride or die.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I sort of split the vote for X-Men v Street Fighter. I suppose I could've voted for that "series" as a whole, but the individual game on my list came later on.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
I'm one of the Ape Escape votes! I love that game and I love how it tried to use every single feature of the dualshocks. Also, it's just charming and cute.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Fist bump for anyone that voted for Ape Escape with me. I love that game. Wish it had placed higher, but oh well!

EDIT: @Falselogic You have excellent taste. :) I actually put Ape Escape above Mario 64.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Ape Escape and Threads of Fate are both of mine. The former I played for the first time... last year, maybe, and it's just a system-defining powerhouse in exploring a 3D space set to an incomparable drum 'n bass soundtrack. Dewprism I'm not nearly as experienced at yet, but the little I've seen speaks volumes about what kind of curtain call it was for Square on the system, and how special. Unimaginably gorgeous game.
 

WildcatJF

Red After Image
(he / his / him)
I voted for XMvSF as well on its own merits. It blew my mind as a teenager! But it's not as good as its later, broader, and more notable sequel (which I also voted for. Which one? You'll find out [maybe]!).
 

clarice

bebadosamba
I've played Ape Escape when i was a teenager. It took some time to get used to the controls, but when i did, i finally understood why this analog stick was a fun thing. Loved the soundtrack, still love it to this day. I want to replay it....

My first experience with the PSX was watching my uncle playing Resident Evil. I'm not sure why he didn't care - i think i was eight years old. Still loved watching it anyway, despite being scared. My love for videogames was stronger than my distaste for horror.
 
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