There’s something unique about games from your childhood. I personally can get more of a buzz from loading up my favourite game from 20 years ago over loading the latest FIFA or Call of Duty. That hit of nostalgia, while can be fleeting in some cases, is all I need to be sucked back into 1999, screaming in my kitchen at being unable to get past a certain level (I still get flashbacks to that damn Hog-Wild level from Crash Bandicoot). With that being said, I’m here to list the 10 favourite games from my childhood, and why I still look at them with high regard.

1. The Crash Bandicoot Series

Let’s start off with an obvious one. Everybody has some sort of memory with Crash (and Aku Aku). Whether it’s the Hog-Wild level, the High Road level, or countless other classic levels, there’s plenty to keep you coming back for more. I loved it when Uncharted 4 included it as a mini game, and even more when the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was released. With the release of the remastered trilogy a few years ago, and the release of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Feuled last year, I fully expect we haven’t seen the last of Crash.

2. Pokemon Red/Blue (and Stadium)

My childhood, as I’m sure many others were, was dominated by Pokemon. From the cards, to the animated series, and most importantly the games! I’d want to take my Gameboy and Charizard everywhere with me. It was a real test to catch them all, and since to train them was my cause, I went for the often-used method of MissingNo to multiply rare candies and master balls to ensure I caught all those rare Pokemon. I also want to shout out Pokemon Stadium on the N64. It was incredibly satisfying as a child to see my team of 6 Pokemon in 3D competing for the title of champion made all that grinding the shores of Cinnabar Island worth it.

3. Grand Theft Auto III

Is GTA the most important game series ever released? That sounds like another list to me, but there’s no denying the impact this game and the GTA series has had on gaming as a whole. Whether you’re a casual or hardcore gamer, or not even a gamer at all, you’ve heard of Grand Theft Auto. Everyone has their favourite, with countless reasons to justify their choice of Vice City over San Andreas, or vice versa. I’m not going to say GTA III is the best in the series, probably not by a long shot, but it’s the one I have the biggest recollection of playing and causing mayhem with which is why it gets the edge over the other greats. I personally can’t wait just for the announcement of GTA VI just to see where they take this game next.

4. The Sims

This game has dominated PC’s for decades! There is always something new to build or create and subsequently destroy with the Sims. I personally lost weeks of my life creating my perfect house, complete with hot tub, building relationships only to burn it all down and start again. The fact Sims recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and still continues to release new games with expansion pack after expansion pack shows the staying power it has and creativity this game allowed. With modding being such a huge factor in PC gaming today, the Sims will only continue to grow.

5. Halo 2

There’s no denying the importance Halo had for Xbox, and while I considered putting Combat Evolved as this pick, I ultimately went for the 2nd game in this instalment. This is one of my first memories of a multiplayer first person shooter game. This game has one of my favourite maps ever in Blood Gulch. There was something special about having a big group of friends all sat round the TV shouting as we tried to capture a flag only to be wiped out by someone holding the GOD DAMN ENERGY SWORD! HE’S RUINING THE GAME! ONE ATTACK AND I’M ALREADY DEAD! DAMN OVERPOWERED PIERCE OF SH… 

Halo 2 Multiplayer

6. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3

Grinding round the foundry, Ace of Spades blasting out whilst you pulled off a sick 720 heel flip. Need I say more? Yes I do, because there was so much more to this game than just that awesome component. From the simple goal of just getting the highest score possible, to the ridiculous moments of grinding somebody’s tongue off a pole, this game did feel like it had it all. While skating games would later be dominated by the Skate franchise, it’s hard to deny this as the greatest skating game of them all.

7. Super Mario 64

This is where I first fell in love with that wacky moustached plumber. This was Mario’s first venture into a 3D world, a boy did they nail it! Since Prince Peach managed to get captured again, we have to complete multiple lovable levels. The gameplay was something completely fresh and there’s no denying the ground-breaking nature of this title. If you do ever find yourself going back to this game, you’ll be amazed how well it holds up considering the limitations developers had at that time.

8. RuneScape

This was my first venture into MMORPG. Looking back there’s no denying the lack of story or the sketchy graphics this game had. But it was free! As long as you had an internet connection, you could find and join your friends, build up your characters traits and immerse yourself in the world. I had a riot playing this game, and the freedom this game allowed, and regular add-ons made this game a staple for myself. This is probably one I wouldn’t actually go back and play (partly that it’s outdated, partly due to forgetting my login and being too lazy to try grind from the beginning again) but it is a game I will always look back fondly on.

9. WWF No Mercy

Ask any wrestling fan what the greatest wrestling game of all time is, you will hear No Mercy a lot! 20 years after it was released it’s still talked about today as a staple, and after the failure of WWE 2K20, maybe should be looked back on as a guide of what to do right. The gameplay is still revered today, with it being simple to pick up, but difficult to master. It felt smooth and looked effective. I could spend hours spewing about the creation suite, from the evolving story mode, to the new modes this introduced such as ladder matches. This game was perfect at the time, and I just wish we had a wrestling game today that could compete with it. (Does anybody else remember trying to complete survivor mode by using a paperweight to hold the buttons as some cheat told you it was the easiest way to do it to unlock all the characters?)

10. Legend of Dragoon

Has anybody else actually heard of this game? This game felt was too big for the PS1, after all it had 4 discs. It is personally one of my all-time favourite games. I fell in love with the characters, I was engrossed by the long immersive story, I was addicted to mastering the timing-based attacks, and the cutscenes were something truly beautiful. I regularly still look up if I can download this game to my PS4 rather than struggle through an emulator to get to play it. Although that hasn’t stopped me replaying it multiple times. There are rumours of a Bluepoint Games potential remake, which is a dream I’m going to hold onto as a potential PS5 remastered version of this game has me excited just thinking about it.

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