Since the boom of video games in the 1980s, these delightful pieces of tech have told stories, given friends fits of enjoyment and outrage, and have confused many from the baby boomers generation. Which video games are the most influential? Here are the games I’ve played that I believe you should play before you die.
- “Super Mario Bros” (Nintendo, 1985)
The classic platform side-scroller, this game is the reason video games made a comeback after the 1983 video game crash. As Mario, you jump on enemies, collect power-ups, rescue the princess and defeat Bowser.
- “Super Mario World” (Super Nintendo, 1990)
Even by today’s standards, this game is impressive in terms of graphics. Essentially an upgraded Super Mario Bros, there is more diverse levels, enemies and included the introduction to the iconic series character: Yoshi.
- “Earthbound” (Super Nintendo, 1995)
The only Mother game to be released in America, Earthbound is one of the greatest RPGs (Role Playing Games) ever. A strange game, as the character Ness, you go on a journey to collect melodies to stop Giygas from destroying the world. It’s also an idiosyncratic portrayal of America from a Japanese perspective.
- “Super Mario 64” (Nintendo 64, 1996)
A breakthrough game in terms of 3-dimensional gameplay, you play as Mario (again) and go through different worlds, journey through Princess Peach’s castle, complete different tasks to collect the stars and solve puzzles along the way.
- “Pokémon Stadium” (Nintendo 64, 1999)
A great game to introduce players to the Pokémon universe, Pokémon Stadium was the first game to have Pokémon in the 3D space. You can play as all 151 Pokémon (all the Pokémon at the time), face the gym leaders and participate in several tournaments.
- “Halo: Combat Evolved” (Xbox, 2001)
Set in the distant future, you play as Master Chief, and try to discover the secrets of Halo, which is an artificial, ring-shaped world. While GoldenEye 007 was the first classic first-person shooter, Halo was the first one to have a diverse world, lore, plot and universe.
- “Super Smash Bros. Melee” (GameCube, 2001)
A fighting game featuring Nintendo’s most beloved characters, this game had 25 different characters, great boss battles, beautiful stages and fun collectables. This is the essential fighting game.
- “Kingdom Hearts II” (PlayStation 2, 2005)
Featuring Disney and Final Fantasy characters, this game has you travel to different worlds, fighting classic Disney villains and a new group of enemies, Nobodies. This game has more content than the first and has more to explore.
- “Life is Strange” (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, IOS, 2015)
An episodic adventure, you play as a time traveling heroine, and try to find a way to the save the fictional town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon from a storm. Your choices affect the story, and out of the games I’ve played, this one affects you the most emotionally.
Honorable mentions: “Crash Bandicoot” (PlayStation, 1996), “GoldenEye 007” (Nintendo 64, 1997), “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” (Nintendo 64, 1998), “Donkey Kong 64” (Nintendo 64, 1999), “Paper Mario” (Nintendo 64, 2000), “Super Mario Sunshine” (GameCube, 2002), “Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door” (GameCube, 2004), “Wii Sports” (Wii, 2006), “Halo 3” (Xbox 360, 2007), “Fallout 3” (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, 2008), “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, 2012), “Fallout 4” (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, 2015), “Red Dead Redemption 2” (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, 2018).