I’ll be honest; I’m a little upset more of you aren’t talking about my favorite games. Yes, that is absolutely justifiable and not at all irrational (Can you feel the sarcasm oozing?). We all have those games we picked up as kids and held onto for a little bit too long. I can be firmly in my mid-twenties and still playing Spongebob.
For whatever reason, be it my bizarre taste or my tendency to pick up the only games no one else wanted at the rental store like they were Pokemon, I love a lot of games most people ignore. Many of my favorites are the black sheep of their respective series, which makes me think I may have to self-assess why I pick the games I do.
10 Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix
The sweet sweet moves of everyone’s favorite Italian plumber weren’t the things we needed, but they were certainly what we deserved. Being able to stomp along to some shockingly catchy tunes made the entire Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix experience a joy.
The game even teaches a lesson we could all use; all of life’s problems can be solved by dance. Does a horrific tragedy reshape your hotel? Just dance the problem away! You do have to take on the criminally underrated Wario eventually, but beating him in a dance-off is worth it to see some real dance moves.
9 Mega Man Battle Network
Pick any entry from the Mega Man Battle Network series because they’re all awesome. Take Mega Man and throw him into the internet. Okay, maybe don’t do that; we don’t need him to become some edgy meme lord.
The games let you control Lan Hikari and his Net Navi to take on a group of villainous adults. Don’t ask me why a group of grown-ups can’t handle a grade schooler; it’s video game logic. These games aren’t for the faint of heart either; it’s full of soap opera-level reveals like Mega Man is actually Lan’s brother! Yes, really.
8 The Lord Of The Rings: The Third Age
There weren’t a ton of truly excellent and underrated RPGs on the Gamecube, but there were lots of great Lord Of The Rings games. Instead of hopping over to the PS2 to experience Tidus’ awkward laughing or entirely ignoring Xbox’s Jade Empire, I had The Third Age.
It’s a fantastic RPG that lets you play with characters from the many races of Middle Earth, and you even get to fight a Balrog with Gandalf. How is everyone not rushing to find a copy of this game? That’s without mentioning that if you’re feeling a bit evil, you can join the dark side to kill the heroes in various situations.
7 Cel Damage
For Cel Damage, think Twisted Metal if Twisted Metal had a really troubled childhood that resulted in an unhealthy fixation with cartoon violence. That’s basically what this game is. Seriously, go use the portable hole weapon and tell me someone didn’t spend too much time watching Bugs Bunny.
It's the kind of game you can play with a group of friends, and all have a blast. Maybe one or two of them won’t ever be able to forgive you for your sheer domination with cartoon weapons, but that’s showbiz, baby.
6 Final Fantasy 4
When people think of the black sheep of the Final Fantasy series, four (originally released as 2 in the west) might not come to mind. The second entry in the series might actually come to mind, but after being dominated in the opening battle, my child brain was just too upset to continue.
This game is filled with fake-out deaths, the kind that would only fool someone as gullible as me. It’s got some of the cheesiest characters in the series, but it’s also got one spoony bard, so if you don’t give it a shot for the gameplay, at least do it for the meme.
5 Kirby Air Ride
This game is so incredible that a group of speedrunners created a dedicated category to see how fast Kirby could eat hotdogs. That may sound strange for what is, on its surface, a racing game, but Kirby Air Ride is so much more than just a racing game.
Every time you boot up the City Trial mode, you’ll never know what to expect. Maybe there’ll be a secret chamber to explore, maybe aliens will invade, or maybe you’ll get absolutely bodied by a literal meteor. Anything can happen in this Kirby game.
4 TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
I promise I will never stop singing the praises of this masterpiece of the first-person shooter genre, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect. The time-traveling adventures of Sergeant Cortez, including that one level where he runs into himself multiple times, are some of the most bizarre video game levels you will ever experience.
Only a few games are ballsy enough to introduce and frequently use a character like Harry Tipper, a hilarious parody of decade-old spy heroes. If you like Doctor Who, this game has more timey wimey wibbly wobbly… stuff than you’ll know what to do with.
3 Mega Man X: Command Mission
Who doesn’t love this game? It features such hit characters as Spider… and Massimo… Okay, maybe this one is a bit under the radar, but at least it tried something different. It took the never-ending screeching of the bosses from Mega Man X-7 and really tried to give them a purpose.
Almost every aspect of the story will probably be clear to anyone over the age of twelve, but that’s not what makes a story great; a weird card-throwing, fedora-wearing ally is what makes it great. Spider was so painfully mid-2000s.
2 Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, or just Fire Emblem, was the seventh in the series but the first to come out in the West. Believe it or not, I played through this entire game without ever realizing Super Smash Bros' Marth and Roy were from this series.
If you know the lore, you’ll know why that’s sad. It’s sad because one of the main characters, Eliwood, is Roy’s father. I wasn’t the brightest I know, but this game is too good to pass up. It may not have all the fancy mechanics of Three Houses or Engage, but it’s got Lyn, and that’s got to count for something.
1 The Simpsons: Hit & Run
For me, this is the ultimate Grand Theft Auto clone. The Simpsons: Hit & Run showed me what was possible in gaming. People might say they talk about it, but where is the modern remake? There aren’t many games where you can walk around kicking people as Marge Simpson – not that anyone like me would ever spend fifteen minutes doing just that or anything.
If you asked me to recite the plot, I’d give you a bit of a shrug, but it really was the gameplay that shined in this one. I could try to give you some info, but all I remember is Homer kicking bees, there were aliens at one point, and plenty of vehicular explosions.
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