After the announcement of the PlayStation classic and the anticipation of Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee coming out in November, I’ve been looking back on my childhood and the fond memories I have of playing classic games in the 90s. These are games I can always go back to, especially when stressed from my job. They just give me this warm fuzzy feeling that I remember when I was a kid. Some of these are arguably not the “best quality” games in retrospective, these are games from my childhood that I loved at the time and are personal to me.
10. Ape Escape (PS1)
You ever have that game that you always remember playing the first few levels of over and over again? Either at a friend or relatives house? This was that game for me. I don’t remember if I ever owned it personally but I remember loving the Saturday morning cartoon fun that this game thrived with. The ridiculous plot and cheesy voice acting aside, the game play was just fun and addictive and was backed by the most happy go lucky soundtrack that has never left my memory since. The devs did a hell of a job in making each gadget useful and fun to use, although this game was hell bent on making sure you knew how cool the new fancy analogue sticks were; it had a very tight control scheme even if its quite an unusual control layout (R1 to jump!?). I always go back to this one every so often and get ko’d with nostalgia from the opening level.
9. Bugs Bunny & Lola Bunny: Operation Carrot Patch (Game-boy Colour)
Yeah……let me explain this one. One of my most adored portable consoles was my Game-boy Colour, being a very young kid I didn’t really have any idea to what games I would like if it wasn’t my usual favourites. I’ve been told that when shopping with my mother, that soon as I saw a Bugs Bunny game I immediately wanted it and I don’t even remember being a big Looney Tunes fan. The game its self is a basic 2-d side scroller were you play either Bugs or Lola, both with their own unique styles of animation. The level’s progress through a movie set of different genres that are housed with famous Looney Tunes villains. I only ever got to the first main level boss or just kept replaying the first level. However, I sunk many hours into this on family holidays to the point I remembered where every collectable was located and I now have the level complete music stuck in my head permanently. I put this ahead of Ape Escape purely just for the fact that I have a lot more memories of this one and remember owning it and playing for ages.
8. Odd-world: Abe’s Odyssey (PS1)
This was a game that always fascinated me as a kid, the incredible cut-scenes were so charming and deeply oppressing in the context of the story. Although I didn’t fully understand the concept of the game (as I was very young) I still felt really intrigued to play this game. I never played a game as challenging as this before, having to strategically plan your way round enemies that can kill you by themselves instantly was too much to handle for me as a kid. But the game play and puzzles were so satisfying and it was so rewarding to get to watch the cut scenes, giving me an incentive to keep trying. I was so happy to play the re-imagining of the game “New N’ Tasty” back in 2014. Odd-world has always been a nostalgic series for me every since.
7. Luigi’s Mansion (Nintendo GameCube)
I still fully believe this game is underrated as hell, as a kid I was actually a bit scared of this game and it was my first step into more “horrorish” games I guess. I remember having to play the GameCube downstairs in the living room with my parents there just to have the guts to continue. However, once I got over that I discovered how awesome and unique this game was. The charm comes from that family friendly horror that is similar to Disney’s Haunted Mansion which is more kooky than scary, although Nintendo made sure to add their own character to it. The boss (mansion family) ghosts were all so unique and I think the ghost designs in general got a bit confused in the sequels. Can’t wait for the 3DS remake, but I could always go back to this game and laugh at those memories of being scared of it during one point of my life.
6. Tekken 3 (PS1)
Anyone got siblings? If so I bet you have fond memories of having that one fighting game that was the decider to who was the cooler one and who was the maniac button masher who still somehow managed to win every time. That was me. I was the younger brother who would button mash on Tekken 3 as Law or Eddie and just destroy all, Tekken 3 is just such a masterful fighting game on the PS1. The amazing backdrops, improvements to the 3-D fighting but just the general amazing polish that can be seen when you look back at Tekken 1. I’ve never been a big Street Fighter fan, but Tekken was always there to fill that spot as the childhood competitive fighting game.
5. Crash Team Racing (PS1)
I prefer this over Mario Kart 64. I’m sorry it’s just so good, the boost system and the complete chaos that is the Crash universe perfectly depicted in a kart racer. Occasionally, myself and my brother would stay overnight at my uncles house and these were nights were we would bring our PS1 round and play loads of games with my uncle. The game we always went back to and competed at was always Crash Team Racing, whether it was racing or battle mode; it was always the most played game during those nights and I hold so many good memories with my uncle because of it and the fact it was such a fantastic game. The track design was so good in this game, so good that when I returned to it a few years ago I was able to remember all of the tracks and their layout: That isn’t completely down to nostalgia, that’s just how good the level design was.
4. Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer (Ripto’s Rage in the US) (PS1)
The Spyro trilogy has always been up there with Crash as one of my favourites from my childhood. The first having this magical fantasy land that always reminds me of when I was a kid, but the second game has much more importance to me. As people know, the second game was much better in game play and featured a wider variety of mini games and level variety than its debut. Same with the Crash series they both laid their foundations with the first and then perfected it with the sequel. But the importance this game holds for me is that its the game that me and my best friend from my childhood neighbourhood would play every time we saw each other. We were next door neighbours and our parents were long time friends so we saw each other a lot, he introduced me to Spyro and the second game was what we sunk the most hours into. We don’t really see each other anymore, but we both have those memories as kids thanks to Spyro 2. Imagine if we got together to play the reignited version.
3. Crash Bandicoot: Warped (PS1)
I love all 3 of the Crash Bandicoot platform games, with Cortex Strikes Back being my favourite game out of the series in terms of quality. But does anyone remember those play area/restaurant places in the UK? In my town there was one called Charlie Chalks which then became Brewster Bear, well I already loved Crash Bandicoot at this point and this particular establishment held a PS1 kiosk with Crash Warped ready to play, every chance I got I tried to play it and was able to get the gems on the first warp room and beat Tiny till eventually my mother told me to go play in the play area which was also awesome. Fantastic game with the same consistent and excellent platforming levels, gets a bit bogged down by the overabundance of vehicle levels. However, playing through Toad Village and Orient Express now is incredibly nostalgic to me and brings me back to that play area where I sat like the sad child I was.
God bless the N.Sane Trilogy.
2. Pokemon Ruby (Game-boy Advance)
Potentially a controversial choice for a Pokemon game? I loved Gold & Silver and Red & Blue, but this was the entry that I truly invested myself fully into as I became much more able to take advantage of the systems that Pokemon offered at the time. This game was my childhood, the Hoenn region was beautiful and all the new Pokemon designs were incredible to me. I have so many memories with this game that I would be going on all day, but I remember its element of discovery most of all from all the secrets within the game with my friends at primary school. Meeting my friend after school after he was telling me he found a legendary green dragon Pokemon in a tower, seeing Rayquaza on his screen was amazing and we sat there as he helped me retrieve the Pokemon as well as discover the regi’s and more. I replayed this game several times and I remember playing it everywhere, at my grandad’s when I stayed over, at school, on planes, at home. I love this game so much that I still have my original cartridge that I got for Christmas all those years ago and I just refuse to get rid of it.
1. Metal Gear Solid (PS1)
What else can be said about the amazing Metal Gear Solid series? Incredible game play, a sleek cinematic style mixed with some of the most well thought out game play for the time from the genius that is Hideo Kojima and his team. However, there is a much more significant reason to why this made the list. My dad initially bought this game to play through himself, he isn’t much of a gamer but he was very fond of the PS1. I have some treasured memories of myself and my brother watching my Dad play this game and swapping the controller round as he showed us how to play it. I used to be terrified of the alert sound and always would call surveillance cameras “major cameras”, I have no idea why but my dad found this amusing. I go back to this game a lot and enjoy it for how amazing of an impact it had as a game, but also for the nostalgic memories of myself, my brother and my dad playing it when we were younger. This game is truly special to me and it led to me becoming closer to my dad.