Top 10 Video Games from my Childhood

Does anyone know that when I was a kid I probably had an addiction to video games? I loved playing games on my N64 and GameCube growing up, and eventually the Wii. I was only 3 when I played on a computer for the first time, and I have memories of having my dad help me get through the scary parts in “Ocarina of Time”. A vivid memory I have is being terrified of the Game Over screen in “Mario 64”; it would scare me so bad that I would burst into tears and run out of the room.

Even watching this video gave me a lil bit of anxiety.

Despite my fears, I love games, so I compiled a list of my top 10 all time favorite video games! Feel free to click each game to either watch a Let’s Play, or listen to a song from the game! Also, please enjoy my little doodles of each game as well!

10: “Harvest Moon: Animal Parade” for the Wii

I love the older Harvest Moon games. My first one was “A Wonderful Life” for the GameCube. You get to play as a rancher, growing crops and raising livestock to make money. You can also get to know the townsfolk in your small rural town, and even marry an eligible bachelor/bachelorette too! In “Animal Parade”, you live on an island and try to help the dying town by ringing 5 bells to help restore nature. You get the help of the Harvest Goddess, a recurring character in Harvest Moon games that you can actually marry in this game! The game is very massive, with lots of characters to befriend/marry, and tons of ways to be a rancher. You can grow crops, raise animals, go fishing, go mining, the possibilities of being a successful rancher are endless! I can tell there’s a lot of love put into this game by the developers, and probably the last good Harvest Moon game, in my opinion. The games would later be called “Story of Seasons”, and a new game called “Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town” was recently released on the Switch.

There are some problems with the game, it slows down in more populated areas and it takes a while to build up your ranch, but I really love the day-by-day work in the game. In fact, I still have the exact same save file I made way back in 2013! Every once in a while, I check back in on my ranch. I married the super extreme lumberjack, Luke, and I have a very successful ranch. I can easily spend all day playing the game, so it goes on my list!

9: “Fable” for the Xbox

I am very picky about RPG games. I was trying to decide if I liked “Fable” or “Skyrim” better, but I have more childhood memories of playing the “Fable” games. I remember watching my dad play this game back in the day. We had the original clunky Xbox, and I started playing this game when I was a little older. I remember it being hard, probably cause I was a kid, but I love the idea of your character and the people he interacts with growing older throughout the story.

If you don’t know about “Fable”, the setting has a medieval European aesthetic, and you play as a little kid who goes through a tragic event. He grows as you play the game, and you can either play as a morally good person, or be super evil. The combat, from what I remember, is really fun! You can use swords, bow & arrow, or magic, also known as “will”.

Thinking back on this game makes me want to play it again! I also played the 2nd and 3rd games, which came out on the Xbox 360. The 2nd was not my favorite, but I remember highly enjoying the 3rd game. Each one takes place further in the future, but the premise is the same; you start as a child, and grow up to an adult, leading down a path of good or evil. Very fun!

8: Jet Set Radio Future for the Xbox

This game by SEGA is a sequel to “Jet Set Radio”, which came out on the Dreamcast in 2000. I unfortunately didn’t have a Dreamcast growing up, but I have tons of memories playing the sequel on that same clunky Xbox. In this game, you play as multiple characters who skate around on roller skates in different places around Tokyo, making your mark on the world in the form of graffiti. You meet other friends and teams, and battle against the corrupt police. It’s a fun, fast-paced game that reminds me of a “Tony Hawk” game, or “Skate” game. Only it’s better!

One thing to take away from the game is the amazing soundtrack. The super energetic music has lots of tracks from J-Pop, funk, and electronic influences. If you haven’t heard the music from the game, I recommend looking up the soundtrack on YouTube, cause it’s there!

The game is mission-based, with a hub world and mini-games to play. I remember getting stuck way early in the game, and finally finishing it much later. My family and I would frequently visit a family friend’s house who had a room with an Xbox, so I would bring my favorite games over to play for hours. “JSRF” was definitely the game I would play the most. I’m trying to find a way to play this game on PC cause I miss it so much!

7: Simpsons Hit & Run for the Xbox/GameCube

Who needs “GTA V” when I have “Simpsons Hit & Run”? This action-adventure game plays a lot like “GTA”, but with Simpsons characters. Along with “JSRF”, this was the second game I played the most at our family friend’s house. The game follows a story about figuring out the strange occurrences happening in Springfield. I don’t even think I finished this game, but I have so many memories of just driving around the world, gathering all the collectibles.

These types of action-adventure games are my favorite; games with worlds to explore, missions to complete, and collectibles to collect. Games like “Bully”, “GTA”, and this one are the best.

6: “Super Smash Brothers Brawl” for the Wii

I remember this being the first game I was excited for upon release of the game. I hadn’t fully grasped the concept that games were made by companies until I followed the release of this game. I was 12 when this game came out in early 2008, and we had gotten our Wii at this time. I have way too many memories of playing as Pit from “Kid Icarus”, and my sister playing as Luigi. We would spend hours battling each other, 1 vs 1 style. This rendition of “Smash Bros” had lots of new mechanics that are still in the newest game; Final Smashes, Stage Building, and a story-driven adventure mode, known as “Subspace Emissary” in this one. But the main game-play is the same, a huge crossover of characters battling it out on different stages to some hot video game music.

The “Smash Bros” series is actually very important to me. Brawl was a game that I loved playing with my friends & family and introduced me to YouTube. “Smash for Wii U” was a game that introduced me to my friends and my boyfriend. The latest edition, “Smash Ultimate”, is another game where I can connect with my friends. I remember getting so hyped watching the game announcements with my friends when new DLC characters came out. Good times!

“Smash Bros Brawl” holds a special place in my heart.

5: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the N64

Halfway through our top 10 list is the first game that I ever played. I remember having a huge TV in my room. Not one of those flat screen ones on the wall, but those boxy CRT’s that would be all static-y when you touched it. My N64 was right in front, and this game would be in it probably 90% of the time (6% Mario 64, 2% Wave Race, 2% Wetrix). If you somehow don’t know about Legend of Zelda, “Ocarina of Time” is the 5th Zelda game that came out in 1998, and was the first 3D Zelda game that introduced a ton of different game-play mechanics. Namely, targeting on enemies, different sword techniques, new items, characters, and more. You start as a kid growing up in the forest who, after his own adventure, finds the Master Sword and becomes an adult. As an adult, the world of Hyrule takes a turn for the worst when Ganondorf, the King of Evil, takes the Triforce of Power. You travel around the world, and even through time to save Hyrule!

This game is a lot of people’s favorite game, and I can fully admit I wear my nostalgia glasses when I talk about it. Everything about the game brings me back to a child. Whenever I play it, I can remember when I made my dad go past the scary parts, when I rage quit the game during a side-quest, and when I would print out walk-throughs of the game and read them as I play so I can beat the game 100%. Lately, I’ve been watching speedruns of the game. It’s amazing how broken this game is when you know how to break it, and I can gladly watch a 3 hour video of a speedrun any day.

I love “Legend of Zelda”, it’s my favorite action-adventure series. If you are new to Zelda, I would recommend another game on this list to get you started, but you’ll have to read on to see what it is!

4: Super Mario 64 for the N64

Like “Ocarina of Time”, this game was one of a kind back in 1996. No other game even could compare to the revolutionary game mechanics at the time. In “Mario 64”, you have to rescue Princess Toadstool by going in the castle to collect power stars. To do this, Mario travels through paintings to different worlds. In one world, you are shooting out of a cannon to battle King Bomb Omb, and in another, you are collecting red coins behind a scary piano. One world will have you swim around with sharks, and another soaring through the skies with your wing cap. This game truly had it all, and honestly, it’s just fun to control! I could spend most of the time running around the start area, jumping and flipping around with Mario. This game is truly magical, and all the main 3D Mario games still hold up pretty well.

Like I said at the beginning of the post, I have memories of being really scared of the Game Over screen, but I still thoroughly enjoyed this game as a kid. I don’t know how well it holds up today, the only way I can play it now is with the Wii classic controller on Wii Virtual Console, but I love watching speedruns of this game too. It’s amazing how optimized the 100% category is now, and players can finish this game with all 120 power stars in less than an hour & a half. It took me 15 years to do that! Amazing.

3: Sonic Adventure 2 for the GameCube/Steam

As an 8 year old, I had a GameCube. On it we only had a few games. One of my most treasured being “Sonic Adventure 2 Battle”. It’s funny, from what I can remember, we bought the soundtrack of this game (in all of it’s CD glory) before I bought the game. This was my first introduction to video game soundtracks, and it’s a pretty good one to start out with, if you ask me. I have so many good memories of being in my mom’s old house, jamming out to “City Escape” and “Pumpkin Hill” with my sister. We loved the music, and we still bring it up when we hang out from time to time. The game has lots of cringey, yet awesome cut scenes, and a lot of the stages have some fun game play.

There are 3 types of stages, 6 different characters to play, and 2 stories to follow. The game play actually goes pretty deep, each action stage has 5 different missions to accomplish along with a final story mode, and the ever beloved Chao Garden. The Chao Garden is a lot of people’s favorite part of the game, where you can raise cute little creatures called Chao. I’ve probably spent hundreds of hours with this game, and I can remember Sonic being my first obsession. Well, along with two other games.

2: Sims 2 for PC

I don’t play too many PC games. I could never get the hang of mouse & keyboard controls. On my current PC I actually bought a USB controller so I can use that to play games on my computer. There’s only one game on this whole list that I’ve played consistently since 2005. And that’s “The Sims 2”. This life-simulation game came out in 2004 after its previous game, “The Sims” had a huge success. I don’t remember how I discovered this game, but I did play a few of the console games like “The Sims Bustin’ Out” and “The Urbs”. The PC game had a memorable installation process; there were 4 discs that you used to install the game, and while the game was installing, there were fun mini games that you could play! They were mostly matching games and little quizzes, but I have super vague memories of that.

The actual game, like I said before, is a life-simulation game where you can create your “Sim”, move them into a house, and their life path is up to you! There are three neighborhoods to choose from, each with different pre-made families and homes, all with their own stories ripe with drama! I can easily play this game all day and more. I’m pretty sure I’ve spent whole summer breaks at the computer taking care of my sims. I remember I had a family that had 10 children that all lived together in a huge house, and I ended up making a cute comic about them! I still have the pages too!

“The Sims 2” had tons of upgrades from the first game. The first game mostly relied on surviving; make sure your sims are in a good mood and keep up with their motives so they can go to work on time. But this game brought “Aspirations” to the game, each with their own set of “Wants and Fears”. Any sim can follow a different path in life. They can focus on starting a family, growing their career, building their skills, and even having as many friends and lovers as they can! This game also has tons of DLC packs that came out throughout the game’s lifespan that truly enhanced the game-play. It would take a whole other blog post to get into the specifics of the game so I’ll just say that “Freetime” is my favorite expansion because it added “Hobbies” to the game, which gave even MORE things for your sims to do!

I have played “The Sims 2” on and off for at least 10 years now, and I currently am still playing to this day. Right now, I’m following along with the pre-made families in the neighborhoods called “Pleasantview” and “Strangetown”, and it’s fun to watch the drama unfold with each family. This is actually the only game that I’ve ever used modifiers, or “Mods” to further enhance my playtime. It makes me feel like a IT specialist when I install mods and things! I love this game, and I still say that its successors could never top this one. “The Sims 2” was truly peak sims play.

If you didn’t know, I actually have a Twitch Channel! I’ve been trying to work up the nerve to start streaming games on Twitch, and I 99% would stream “The Sims 2”. I know a little bit too much about this game, so I would be the most comfortable streaming it. If you want to see my sims families and watch me play games, let me know that’s something you’re interested in, and I’ll muster up some courage and do it!

1: Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for the GameCube

This is my all-time favorite game. Even above the obsession I had with Sonic the Hedgehog and the fun simulation game of “The Sims 2”.

“The Wind Waker” came out on the Gamecube in 2003, and it was unlike any Zelda game before it in terms of its art style. Zelda, at that point, had more of a serious style. But Nintendo isn’t one to stick with the norm. “The Wind Waker” has a super cute, cel-shaded look that originally threw people off. The graphics were super colorful, bright, and made you feel good. Much like the game “Super Mario Sunshine” that came out around the same time, both games have a bright, colorful aesthetic that felt very nice.

The story behind the game is that a horrible monster came back from the depths after being conquered by a hero that disappeared after its defeat. The people of the world prayed to the gods for an answer, so they flooded the world with torrential rain, only leaving small islands, the castle below lost to time. You play as a new incarnation of Link, a young boy whose sister is captured by a giant bird, and on his quest to save her, he awakens as the Hero of Winds, and defeats the evil king Ganondorf. In order to do this, Link meets the King of Red Lions, a boat that helps him travel across the Great Sea to each of the islands.

If I could find my favorite thing about the game, it would have to be its story. I was heavily captivated, even as a kid, to the story being told here. I won’t spoil anything, but you learn things about the past that may or may not connect it to other games, and Link takes a big initiative in this game to restore the Triforce, which I love. This game has lots of criticism regarding the sailing, but I love it. I like controlling your sailboat, traveling to different islands each with their own stories and side quests to discover. While some islands may be barren with not much going on, the sea is filled with treasures to uncover. I would spend hours as a kid sailing around trying to find all the Treasure Charts and Pieces of Heart, and using my telescope to look at the islands from a distance.

Along with my irrational fears of Mario 64’s game over screen and Ocarina of Time’s redeads, I had a big fear of the “Big Octos” that inhabit the Great Sea. Once while playing this game, I was sailing along when all of a sudden a giant octopus monster arose from the sea. It scared me so bad that I became obsessive about how a sailed around the islands. Once I figured out their pattern, I highly avoided them. They would only spawn around seagulls, so I would avoid any islands with seagulls. Did I mention that I was a huge scaredy cat when I was younger?

Despite that, I love this game. “The Wind Waker HD” came out on the Wii U in 2013, and the remake made the game even better! Higher quality graphics, more polished game play mechanics, and added motion controls with the Wii U game pad. It let me replay my favorite game again, and I even did what I call the “3 Heart Challenge” where I don’t collect any heart containers or pieces so that I remain at 3 hearts for the duration of the whole game.

That’s it for my top 10 list! These games all hold a special place in my heart, and so do many more! Maybe I’ll do a top 50 games or something, cause there are so many games out there that I really like and have impacted me in some way. If I have the ambition, maybe I will!

What are your favorite games you played as a kid? Or even favorite games now? I’d love to hear them all! I hope you found this entertaining, and got some insight on the types of games that inspired me.

I be back soon with a more informative post about art, so please follow along! I’d love to have you. <3

-Allison

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