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

ThornGhost

lofi posts to relax/study to
(he/him)
The last time I played Parappa was on a PS2 connected via composite to a late-2000s era LCD. I beat it all in one go, and I was fairly impressed with myself. Then I realized I was probably just so bad at the game that the input lag somehow compensated for my bad timing and was considerably less impressed.
 

Issun

My way, soon
#38

Fall down, you stupid beast!

Developers: Treasure, Nintendo R&D1
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 64
Release Date: November 21, 2000
93 Points, 4 Votes, Highest Vote: #6 (Peklo, Beta Metroid)



Sin & Punishment was Treasure's first foray into full 3D, and it's every bit as kinetic and stylish as their sprite based efforts from the 90s. It is a behind-the-avatar rail shooter in the vein of Space Harrier, but this being Treasure, and with the added horsepower of the N64, it's much faster paced, with a sometimes overwhelming amount of enemies coming at you all at once. Fortunately, the target cursor's controls are extremely fluid, and watching a video of a skilled player mowing down enemies like so many blades of grass is a sight to behold.

In the year 2000, arcades had begun their long, slow decline, and the shooters that populated them were also an endangered species. This coinciding with the rise of the first-person shooter on consoles and PCs meant that releases like Sin & Punishment were extremely special, especially on the by then also-ran Nintendo 64. It's too bad Sin & Punishment was not released Stateside until the virtual console, as it proved Nintendo's dark horse still had a few tricks up its sleeve.


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Issun

My way, soon
#37

You couldn't find a sale at a yacht club!

Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts
Platform: PC
Release Date: October 30, 1998
94 Points, 3 Votes, Highest Vote: #3 (Daikaiju, Ixo)



For about 10 years, LucasArts was the name in point-and-click adventure games, and Grim Fandango is largely considered to be its (and Tim Schafer's) singular achievement. The story, humor, writing and art style were proof that the creative team was firing on all cylinders. The premise itself was pretty original: What if film noir, but in a calaca style Land of the Dead? Having the protagonist be a travel agent for the more morally ambiguous recently deceased was also brilliant, in that it was creative and it allowed the player an excuse to explore the game's world.


Perhaps that is where Grim Fandango most shines. Tim Schafer had never been a slouch when it comes to worldbuilding. But it is Grim Fandango, out of all of his games, where the world is most fully realized. This is a Land of the Dead that truly feels lived in.

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Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Rail shooters are so good. Sin and Punishment combines the genre's fundamental appeal with a really intimate and tactile level and setpiece design where gravity factors in and platforming aspects are present, ranged and melee combat are both taken into account, and presentational cinematography varies wildly section to section. There's very little else like it. It's also just very platform-conscious in shaping its design and control methods exactly around the unique possibilities and challenges of the N64 controller--it's hard to imagine the game having come about in the form that it did in any other environment.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I didn’t think of Grim Fandango but it’s a good choice. I’ve since bought a copy, but my first play through was off a CD-R someone at school gave me. I had to skip one of the cutscenes because it would crash every time. My two clearest memories of it are the ridiculously lengthy poem I had Manny recite (not realising I’d wind up sitting through another recital of it later), and the song “This little light of mine”.

Oh, one more: “Run, you pigeons! It’s Robert Frost!”
 

spines

behold my godlike
(she/her, or something)
just in the past couple months a friend of mine played through grim fandango in a discord call on a handful of friday nights. we were all trying to figure out some of the answers (one guy had played before) together and obviously laughed along with the game a lot. it was pretty great, and the presentation of the game definitely really hit me with the same late 90s feeling as other games i'm sure will be on this list. but since we went through about the second half of it in the last two weeks, the timing was a little wrong to make my list personally, whether or not it would've beaten out anything that i'd already put. ah well.

demi spent like 10 hours or so i wanna say getting a 1cc on sin and punishment normal difficulty a couple months back. i guess she'd played it a fair amount before, but it was the first time i'd really seen the game. haven't tried it myself yet, so i didn't vote for it, but i'm definitely highly interested and have been on a low-key treasure kick again for a bit, so one day, maybe soon...
 
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ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
The controls in Sin & Punishment were such a sticking point for me, that I ordered a Wii/Gamecube controller that let me remap the buttons on the controller itself. I need to give it another shot with a proper N64 controller, but I will say this: the sequel on Wii is fucking fantastic.
 

Daikaiju

Rated Ages 6+
(He, Him)
"With bony hands I hold my partner,

on soulless feet we cross the floor,

the music stops as if to answer,

an empty knocking at the door.

It seems his skin was sweet as mango,

when last I held him to my breast,

but now, we dance this grim fandango,

and will four years until we rest."


Ixo and me... We know the score.
 

Issun

My way, soon
#36

The fear of the blood tends to create fear for the flesh.

Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Publisher: Konami
Platform: Sony Playstation
Release Dates: February 23, 1999 (NA), July 16, 1999 (EU), March 4, 1999 (JP)
94 Points, 4 Votes, Highest Vote: #9 (Ixo)



The original Playstation was truly a golden age for Konami. They revitalized existing franchises and created new ones, and the devs consistently showed a passion for their craft. Of the new series that began life on the console, Silent Hill was one of the biggest standouts. While Capcom had created two stone-cold classics already in the survival horror genre with the first two Resident Evil games, Konami saw a space for a game that was a little slower in pace, with less of a focus on action and more of a focus on mood and introspection. While the protagonists of RE games are always the Big Damn Heroes, in Silent Hill it's never so cut and dried. Harry Mason was the first in a long line of main characters who may have some skeletons in their closet.

So while the second game surpassed the first in almost every metric, the original Silent Hill is both a classic game in its own right, and it kicked off a series where our own pasts and our own inner demons are far more terrifying than most external threats.

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Issun

My way, soon

#35

Developer: Irem
Publishers: Irem, Agetec, Sony
Platform: Sony Playstation
Release Dates: November 19, 1998 (JP), July 31, 1999 (NA)
96 Points, 4 Votes, Highest Vote: #2 (Peklo)



The side-scrolling space shooter genre is filled with storied franchises, but only one of them can lay claim to being the most bonkers, over the top series in said genre, and this game is Exhibit A for why that series is R-Type. Colors and craft and lasers fly across the screen at warp speed, and yet it never feels like too much for the player (I mean players that aren't me, as I am terrible at shooters). There's a level where a giant robot space snake encircles you and you are constantly ricocheting your weapon off its body to hit the vulnerable spot, and it's absolutely ridiculous and wonderful at the same time.

This installment also innovated the series by giving you three different ships to chose from (hence the Delta), each with their own strengths and weaknesses, which added a lot of replayability. Fun fact:


Wikipedia said: Early planning documents for the game referred to it as R-Type EVE, a titled named after the novel Parasite Eve and met with a mixture of confusion from the production team.

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Regulus

Sir Knightbot
R-Type Delta is excellent. Probably the best in the series. I didn't submit a list, but it would have ranked highly for me.

Here's a cool interview that offers some insight into its development.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I dunno what to say about Delta anymore, since I wrote that big tribute to the series a couple of years ago where it played a big part in my overall read on the series. Look that up, I guess.

I didn't vote for Silent Hill, even if it's not ever far from my mind. It's one of the games I inherently think of when I picture excellent early 3D visual design. Another way I think it distinguishes itself in a larger video game context is that for a medium infested by toxic and glorified dads to the extent a pejorative catch-all had to be coined for them, Harry Mason is basically completely free of such negative characterization in ways that really deserve highlighting. I think those qualities were immortalized best in the film adaptation where they chose to adapt the original game's story to vague accuracy but very deliberately changed his role to a woman's, in a move of undisguised sexism as his narrative role and demeanour were deemed too nurturing and feminine and thus unappealing. Harry's the best.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I completely forgot to place Silent Hill in my list and so I take full responsibility for it not placing higher than #36. I only played it through some years ago, as a PS1 Classic on my PS3, but it was still a very good experience. I even had a strange emulation thing happen when I finished it where the music, like, cut out entirely during the ending scenes or something? But that didn't really diminish the overall experience I had with the game and ended up being oddly congruent to the whole thing anyway.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
Silent Hill is a good game. My memory of this era is that most horror was very hokey and silly, and Silent Hill feels closer to something that would resemble a movie I would actually enjoy watching. It has that sort of small-town-with-a-dark-side vibe I like and a lot of good, haunting imagery.
 
I did not forget Silent Hill, but I mostly just don't love it like that. It's a super impressive and important game though, and it consistently gave me the willies in ways Resident Evil never could. The thing that gets me is how emblematic it is of games of its time, where necessity really was the mother of invention. The ever present and suffocating fog in this game is because the PS1 literally couldn't handle a draw distance any further, so let's make this bug a feature. I feel like a lot of developers these days don't get as creative with their limitations anymore, simply because there are just less limitations.
 
oh i really should have voted for silent hill lol. it should probably be way higher on this list and im surprised it isnt
 

Tomm Guycot

(he/him)
Silent Hill changed my life, both as a player/future game designer, and as a guy who has worked on some Silent Hills. The original does things that the series hasn't done since. It's a true classic and should be higher on the list. I would've placed you like 10th buddy! Sorry for the oversight!

Then again your fanbase ruined half a decade of my life, so go to hell.
 

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
I'm one of the weirdos who prefers the first Silent Hill to any of its sequels, probably because it was the first one I played. It's difficult to overstate how refreshing SH1 was compared to every other survival horror game that preceded it, and the foggy/grainy PS1 graphics only enhance the game's nightmarish atmosphere.
 

WildcatJF

Red After Image
(he / his / him)
I voted for Silent Hill! While 2 and 3 are far superior imo, this is still an amazing game that really did some incredible work on visuals, atmosphere and mood for the PS1.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
Silent Hill was #10 on my list, so I was almost its top voter. The use of darkness and fog is in retrospect an obvious way to overcome problems of draw distance, but creating a game whose effect in large part comes from not knowing what's out there is a great way to utilise that restriction.

I remember when I played SH I missed the hunting rifle, probably making things harder for myself than they needed to be. But that fits with the spirit of the game, I guess.
 

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
I remember when I played SH I missed the hunting rifle, probably making things harder for myself than they needed to be. But that fits with the spirit of the game, I guess.
Yeah...one of SH1's worst sins (perhaps besides the camera) is not making some of the weapon pickups more obvious. The hunting rifle is an especially egregious example because it's tucked away behind a broken shutter on one side of a boss arena in the dark-ass "Otherworld" version of SH, making it really easy to miss.
 

Issun

My way, soon
#34

It has been said that in the end of all things, you will find a new beginning.

Developer: Blizzard North
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Platforms: PC, Mac, Sony Playstation
Release Dates: January 3, 1997 (NA), November 2, 1997 (EU)
115 Points, 4 Votes, Highest Vote: #3 (Torzelbaum)



On the shortlist of games that cast a long shadow over PC RPGs, Diablo has got to be near the top. It changed what people expected from the genre, and it, along with the Warcraft RTS's put Blizzard on the map.
When Diablo came out, PC RPGs were already evolving away from the first generation of titles like Wizardry, Ultima, and Might & Magic, but it was Blizzard, along with Bethesda and their Elder Scrolls games, who positioned themselves as the new kings of the genre. While The Elder Scrolls series took a couple of games to find its footing, however, Diablo was strong out of the gate. Its hack-and-slash gameplay was refined, its world brimming with atmosphere, and its dungeons were early exemplars of what procedural generation could look like. While many consider the game's sequels to be superior, and Blizzard has made its biggest mark with World of Warcraft, Diablo is still a landmark game that plays as well today as it did nearly 25 years ago.


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Issun

My way, soon

#33

If you're talking business, then you'd better have money.

Developer: Square Product Development Division 2
Publishers: Squaresoft, Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: Sony Playstation
Release Dates: July 11, 1997 (JP), March 31, 1998 (NA)
117 Points, 4 Votes, Highest Vote: #3 (Peklo)



They say greatness is rarely appreciated in its own time. Such a case could be made for SaGa Frontier. When it was released stateside, its sales were underwhelming, and while it got some pretty good reviews, its reception by fans was almost vituperative. One could call it Square's first flop.


This was entirely unjustified, of course. The game was brilliant, and it remains one of Kawazu's most accessible games. I remember enjoying it quite a bit when I owned it, though I burned out on it long before I finished every scenario. The scenario system is what sets it apart though, especially for those of us across the Pacific. Japanese audiences had already gotten a taste of the multiple characters, multiple scenarios style with Live A Live (though unlike that game, SaGa Frontier's scenarios don't come together in the end, which is either a drawback or a bonus, depending on who you are), but aside from a snippet of the style in Final Fantasy VI, this was Square's first such game released over here. And it did tell some compelling stories. A young mage, a secret agent, a bard and an ancient robot were just some of the characters whose stories you would get to experience. It also helped that the aesthetics that delivered the stories were some of the most gorgeous on the system. One could argue whether the sequel's art and music surpassed the original's but regardless, this is a beautiful game, and now you have another chance to experience it with even more gussied graphics. I suggest you do.

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Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
Mother-effin' Diablo. Helluva game (pun intended), and it showed that Blizzard wasn't merely concerned with establishing themselves as a major player in the RTS space. Diablo took the team's existing fondness for pen-and-paper-style dungeon crawling and blew it out into a slick overhead isometric action game that became a genre unto itself. This and the first Quake dominated my high school computer lab for years, and you better believe I was lined up for Diablo II day-one after investing many, many hours into the original.
 
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