A while back, this was making the rounds on Twitter and I was posting one “answer” per day, but the Twitter thread got far too unwieldy for my liking. Now I’ve moved it to the website so I can answer these things in full. Here we go!
1] Very first video game – Combat (Atari 2600)
Setting aside any games I may have played on my father’s computer that I can’t remember any more, Combat is the game that comes to mind. I was pretty good at it, though I remember having trouble with the “ricochet shot” mode, because I was too young to understand how it worked. The “invisible tanks” mode was incredibly fun, though…was that the first ever stealth game?
2] Your favorite character – The Boss (Saints Row series)
I’ve liked a lot of characters over the years, but there’s never been one as fun to play as The Boss from Saints Row. Not only are the games a bunch of ridiculous fun, but you can make The Boss be whatever you want him (or her, in Saints Row 2 and beyond) to be: Young, old, fat, thin, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, British, Russian, dapper, hoodlum, or stark naked. You can drive exploded cars, limos, sewage trucks, roadsters, tanks, helicopters, jets, and alien spacecraft. You can fight with fists, bats, dildo bats, knives, swords, pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles, machine guns, rocket launchers, dubstep guns, and lasers. You can battle street gangs, the military, zombies, and aliens, and take over Stilwater, rule Steelport, become President, survive the destruction of the Earth, fly through space, save the world, save Christmas, and travel through time. Saints Row rules, and so does The Boss.
3] A game that is underrated – Uniracers (SNES)
I’m not a huge fan of racing games, but this one was fun, fast, and silly, with tracks that were a lot of fun to memorize. I especially liked the speed boost you could get from doing tricks – so many times the race would come down to the very last straightaway, with my opponent and me both madly doing forward flips to gain or maintain our speed. The halfpipe levels were a blast, too, with all kinds of crazy tricks your unicycle could do. I feel like Uniracers didn’t get a whole lot of love in its time, and almost no one remembers it today, so it gets my pick for Underrated Game.
4] Your guilty pleasure game – ????
I can’t really think of a game I’d describe as a guilty pleasure, because why should I feel bad about playing a game that I enjoy? I love two different series (EDF and Musou) that are big, dumb, mindless fun, but I’d never feel guilty for playing either one of them. The closest thing I could think of would maybe be Katawa Shoujo, if I had to describe the game to someone in a single sentence…but even so, the game has fantastic art, music, and storylines, so I’ll never feel guilty for playing and enjoying it.
5] Game character you feel you are most like (or wish you were) – ????
This is another one I don’t have a good answer for, because I don’t feel like there’s anyone very much like me, and I don’t really want to be anyone else…so I did the only sensible thing: I took one of those dumb “which video game character are you” quizzes. The result – Solid Snake. Hell, I’ll take it. He’s pretty cool, and he’s based off of Snake Plissken, who is even more awesome. So there we go, I guess I’d like to be Solid Snake (minus the advanced aging and constant suicide missions, thanks).
6] Most annoying character – Nathan Drake (Uncharted series)
There’s one single reason why I don’t play Uncharted, and it’s Nathan Drake. I can’t even watch someone else’s playthrough of Uncharted without wanting to reach through the screen and punch him in his smug, stupid face. He and his wisecracks are absolutely insufferable. Ugh.
7] Favorite game couple – Geralt & Yennefer (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt)
I loved these two in the first Witcher book, and they’re even better in Witcher 3, where you get to spend a lot of time with both. I love their contrasting personalities, the way they can verbally jab back and forth at each other based on your dialogue choices, and the way they work together as Ciri’s adoptive parents. I really enjoyed my ending to “The Last Wish” in Witcher 3, the bit with the stuffed unicorn, and…well…Yen’s free DLC costume doesn’t hurt either.
8] Best Soundtrack – Final Fantasy VI (SNES)
Final Fantasy VI was the first soundtrack I ever purchased from our (now-closed) Game Hits store. Each and every track takes me right back to that moment in my life, and back to those places/characters in the game. To this day, songs from this soundtrack pop into my head every now and then, and get me humming along while I’m working or driving. Fantastic work by Nobuo Uematsu.
9] Saddest game scene – Gremio’s death (Suikoden, PS1)
Screw you Aeris, this is the saddest PS1 RPG death scene. When your faithful servant Gremio, who has been with you from the very beginning of the game, shoves you out of the room and locks the door after Oppenheimer releases the Spores of Agony…my God. This one really brought out the feels. But at least that makes it all the sweeter if you’re able to gather all 107 Stars of Destiny and reach through time and space to rescue him before the final battle. He even shows up in Suikoden II if you import your save data. So that’s another way in which he’s got Aeris beat.
10] Best gameplay – Lumines Live! (360)
I really wasn’t sure what to put in this spot, because lots of games play great, especially these days. So I tried to think of what games had really smooth gameplay, games where I could really get into a zone, with my fingers moving of their own accord, pulling off amazing moves while my active brain drifted away…and Lumines Live! is absolutely that game for me. There’ve been so many nights that I sat down to play “just a few games”, only to spend hours dropping blocks, grooving to the music, and totally spacing out on the bright visuals. I’ve played a couple different versions of Lumines (and a couple of knock-offs), but the 360 version is the one I connect with the most – you can’t beat those flashy visuals on a nice big screen, with the music pumping through your speakers.
11] Gaming system of choice – Various
Uh, I’ll just list favorites from the different eras. NES, SNES, PS1, Dreamcast, Xbox 360, PS4. If I had to pick one or two that I have the most awesome memories of, they would probably be SNES and Dreamcast.
12] A game everyone should play – Braid (360, PS3, PC)
I was having a hard time thinking of a game to fill this slot, so I went onto my Steam account and started scrolling through my installed games, the games I’d marked as favorites, and the hundreds of others I’ve got in my library…and then I found Braid. Freaking Braid! How could I have forgotten? Braid is an incredible time-manipulation puzzle platformer with beautiful graphics and music. It’s such a chill experience, but the puzzles are really clever. If you haven’t played Braid, you really need to give it a shot. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
13] A game you’ve played more than five times – Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers (NES)
I’m going to assume that this one means “a game you’ve beaten more than five times”, because I don’t think I’ve played any game less than five times apart from a few rentals from Blockbuster. Even so, I had to think quite a bit to come up with an entry here. I’ve always been a big fan of RPGs, or longer games in general, so even when I was young I tended not to play games to completion over and over again. Probably the only exception to this rule was Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, and I’m not sure why. There was just something about jumping around as Chip (never, ever Dale), throwing tomatoes and apples and boxes, and blazing through each of the stages I’d memorized on previous runs. It’s strange, because the graphics weren’t that great, the sound was annoying, and the game was super easy…but for some reason it was my jam. Go figure.
14] Current (or most recent) gaming wallpaper
I don’t often put gaming wallpapers on my PCs or phone, so here’s my current PS4 theme:
15] Post a screenshot from the game you’re playing right now
I’ve been playing Yakuza Kiwami, of course:
16] Game with the best cut scenes – Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
There are games with beautiful cutscenes, games with dramatic cutscenes, and games with action-packed cutscenes…but no game with cutscenes as over the top and ridiculous as Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. MGS is weird and goofy enough on its own, but when you add Ryuhei Kitamura to the mix, things just go off the rails. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t a fan of the updated cutscenes when this first came out, because I was Very Serious about my Metal Gear games, but looking back at them now is like looking back at a great B movie. Yeah it’s dumb, yeah it’s silly, but it’s ridiculous in just the right kind of way. Jump off that missile, you magnificent bastard!
17] Favorite antagonist – Kefka (FFVI, SNES)
He may not be the best antagonist, with layered motivations and a tragic backstory fueling his quest, but Kefka is just so damn fun that I had to put him on this list. He does his fair share of awful things, like poisoning Doma Castle’s water supply, slaughtering espers for magicite, and breaking the entire world, but his zany personality and classic lines made him one of the very first video game villains that I truly enjoyed, even more than some of the heroes. It didn’t hurt that most villains of the time were serious, dark, and brooding, while Kefka was flamboyant and sometimes outright ridiculous. And hell, I still find myself thinking of the quote above when I see someone rushing around or running from something. Kefka is crazy, he’s colorful, and he’s still memorable after all these years.
18] Favorite protagonist – FemShep (Mass Effect 1&2)
The reason that I specify Female Shepard instead of just Commander Shepard is that I play each Mass Effect game twice – once as a male, where I play a total white meat babyface, picking all the good answers and being altruistic and unselfish…and once as a female, where I play a stone cold bitch and take the galaxy for everything it’s worth. You could argue that being evil is more fun in most games, which I’d agree with, but Jennifer Hale’s voice acting really puts FemShep over the top. You can tell that Evil FemShep really relishes the threats, beatings, and pure evil she dishes out, and I absolutely cackle each time my teammates recoil in horror from her latest atrocity. I actually haven’t played Mass Effect 3, but I can’t see my FemShep going with any of the three endings. She’d find the projector for that stupid hologram kid, kick it to pieces, and ride through the galaxy on a skeleton horse, wielding a flaming sword of death!
19] Picture of a game setting you wish you lived in
You know, video games are dangerous places. Sure, the world of The Witcher is filled with natural beauty, but it’s also filled with murderers, rapists, and literal monsters and undead. Vice City is a ridiculous ’80s playground, but at any moment Tommy Vercetti might run up, beat you to death, and steal your car. That’s why I’m going to play it safe and go with the world of the Phoenix Wright games, a world where courtroom proceedings are over the top and ridiculous, lawyers and attorneys are colorful and wacky, and most people have punny names that play off of their most obvious characteristics. Sure, there’s a lot of murder in this world…but I don’t have a punny name, so I wouldn’t ever be a victim. Or a suspect. Or a witness. I’d just be one of the nameless people chilling in the courtroom watching it all play out.
20] Favorite genre – Strategy RPG
I love a lot of different genres, and play all different types of games, but strategy RPGs are probably my favorite. Whether they’re Japanese-developed games like La Pucelle, Disgaea, Phantom Brave, Final Fantasy Tactics, Front Mission 3, Fire Emblem, or Advance Wars, or Western-developed games like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, there’s just something special about moving your characters around on a grid, anticipating enemy movements, setting traps, and clearing the field of enemies. Like a certain wise man once said, I love it when a plan comes together.
21] Game with the best story – Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (3DS, Vita, PS4, PC)
I’ve talked about this one a bit on an early episode of IG2G, so I won’t go into it too much here. Suffice to say that I’ve never played a game with as many twists and turns as Virtue’s Last Reward. Right when you think you have things figured out, the game either throws another twist at you or impedes your progress with a password or puzzle you don’t have the answer to yet. And when you jump timelines to try to find the answer, you’re likely to get blindsided by another reveal, another twist, or yet another mystery you’ll be dying to figure out. This game kept me up so late, so many nights in a row, because I just had to keep playing to find out what would happen next. Amazing.
22] A game sequel which disappointed you – Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon (360, PS3, PC)
This wasn’t a direct sequel – EDF:IA was made by a Western developer, so it’s more of a side game than a proper sequel, but it’s the first game I thought of when I read the category. It’s been quite a while since I played this one, but I remember it being a lot less fun, and a hell of a lot shorter, than EDF 2017. If I remember correctly, it had something like 15 stages to the original’s 50-60, and the improved graphics in IA somehow made it look worse. EDF is supposed to be bright and cheery and goofy and low-poly in a charming way, so upping the detail and making it more brown and gritty really hurt. I’ve seen good reviews for this game, so it’s clearly not outright bad…but it wasn’t 2017, and what I really wanted at the time was more of the same. I just didn’t get that with Insect Armageddon.
23] Game you think had the best graphics or art style – Okami (PS2/Wii/PS3)
A lot of people talk about games that look like “watercolor paintings come to life”, but nothing embodies that more than Okami…and more than that, no other game melds its watercolor aesthetic with its gameplay the way Okami does. Since everything looks painted already, using the magic brush manages to bring you further into the world instead of distancing you from it. Okami may not have the most technically impressive graphics (even on the PS3 HD edition), but the style and watercolor motif brings the whole game together.
24] Favorite classic game – Super Dodge Ball (NES)
I was originally going to put Asteroids on the 2600 in this spot, because it was one of the first games I really fell in love with, but as far as hours played, there’s probably nothing that beats Super Dodge Ball. The game may be super easy (I don’t think I’ve ever lost at the tournament mode), but it’s just such a blast to play. Unleashing super-powered throws at the enemy team, knocking them out one side of the screen and back around the other, beating them until they poof into little angels, leaving your team to celebrate while the survivors of the other team cry…there’s nothing better than that. A hundred million thumbs up for Super Dodge Ball.
25] A game you plan on playing – ???
I feel like if I put anything here that’s coming out any time soon, it’s just going to make this article look horribly dated. And besides, there’s not really anything I’m looking forward to in the near future. So I’ll go ahead and throw out some pie in the sky games like Borderlands 3, Cyberpunk 2077, and Persona 6. If and when those games are actually revealed I’ll be very excited, and when they’re released I’ll be there on day one.
26] Best voice acting – Portal series
Without the outstanding voice acting, would Portal be remembered as fondly as it is today? It would still have the really clever puzzle rooms, sure, but just imagine Portal without GLaDOS, maybe just set to some electronic or groovy music, with text prompts on the screen explaining the basics of the rooms. It’d still be fun, yes, but it just wouldn’t be Portal. The voice acting absolutely makes both games in the series, so they get my nod.
27] Most epic scene ever – Battle with The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater)
Near the end of Metal Gear Solid 3, Snake is forced to fight against the greatest soldier alive, The Boss. It’s one final battle, mentor versus pupil, “mother” versus “son”, and Snake has to surpass The Boss once and for all, or die. And he has to do it within ten minutes. One last battle, among the flowers, with MiG fighters on their way to bomb the area, and the Snake Eater theme eventually playing over the action. And then the ending…I can’t describe it well enough in words, so if you haven’t experienced it for yourself, you really need to play Metal Gear Solid 3 all the way through to see it. The entire game builds to this scene, and the epilogue adds even more weight to it.
[But if you’re super lazy and want the CliffsNotes version, check out this excellent video by HyperBitHero.]
28] Favorite game developer – Atlus/CD Projekt RED
Look, we all know my favorite game developer is Gearbox Software. I do a podcast about them, for God’s sake. So, setting them aside, it’s a tie between Atlus and CD Projekt RED, because the Persona and Witcher games are some of the absolute best in the business. Atlus gets a few extra props for being a publisher as well, and for their Devil Summoner games, and while CD Projekt RED really only makes one series of games (which is an A+ series), they seem like one of the coolest developers around, regularly interacting with their fans and flying their biggest supporters out to their studios for sneak peeks of what they’re working on. Two awesome companies making awesome games – what more could you ask for?
29] A game you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving – Battleborn (PS4, XB1, PC)
We’ve covered this on the show before, but when we first got into the Closed Technical Test for Battleborn, I didn’t like it at all. The art style was strange, the characters felt weak, and everything felt weird and floaty, with none of the impact I normally associate with first person shooters (even RPG-like ones like Borderlands). Everything about the CTT version of the game turned me off…so it was really strange when Player X alerted all of us to an Amazon deal featuring the Digital Deluxe version of the game (base game + season pass) for only $39.99 and I immediately jumped on it. The rest is essentially history, as I fell in love with the game, sank well over 100 hours into it with Eric and the rest of the crew, and now I’m doing a Gearbox podcast. It’s really all due to Battleborn, a game I never thought I’d like.
30] Your favorite game of all time – Catherine (360, PS3)
Y’know, I don’t think I can put it much better than I did when I submitted some memories of Catherine to the Cane and Rinse podcast last year. So here’s that writeup in its entirety:
“In addition to being one of my absolute favorite games of the PS3/360 era, I’ll always remember Catherine for being one of the few games in recent memory that I’ve been able to share so completely with one of my best friends. We both picked it up on launch day (or at least close to it), and since we worked together, we could play the game separately each night and share our experiences with each other in the morning. He and I would share theories about the story, hints and tips for shifting blocks to make pathways, the choices we made in the confessionals, and the fun alcohol facts we learned from drinking in the Stray Sheep each night. Once both of us had completed the game, we even started to meet up at his house to drink a few beers, perfect our gold statue runs, and ultimately tackle the Babel stages as well. We don’t often share the same level of passion for the same game, so Catherine was something really special in that department.
On a more individual level, Catherine was a game that sucked me in as few games have done since. During my initial run through the story, I would routinely stay up far too late with that “just one more” mentality…just one more landing, just one more boss, just one more morning, just one more night in the Stray Sheep…especially when things really started going off the rails, Vincent’s friends began to appear in the nightmare, and the other sheep became darker and more violent (the SHEEP JUICE one being my favorite). I even started to have dreams about climbing block towers in the style of the game. The puzzles were just difficult enough to provide me with a challenge, but were never really frustrating, as any outright deaths I experienced were clearly my own fault for running across the wrong block at the wrong time or moving the wrong blocks in the wrong sequence…and, really, once you start using the Undo button, you can get yourself out of nearly any jam.
While I do wish that your choices had a more immediate effect on the story (as Vincent will end up fooling around with “Catherine With a C” for a while no matter what you do), the world this game created was so entertaining and engrossing that I can’t look back on it with anything but positive memories. If you like puzzle games and are old enough to think seriously about the kinds of themes this game deals with, you owe it to yourself to play Catherine.”
So that’s it, my full list of 30! Huzzah to you if you made it this far!
Got any questions or comments? Drop them in the box below or tweet me @TheRealDocFunky!