Best Game Ever: Chrono Trigger

Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.

Chrono Trigger. Back in the heyday of the 16-bit era, RPGs were one of the most popular genres and Japan was producing nearly all of the top titles. Square was one of the top companies during the era, producing the illustrious Final Fantasy series and other popular RPGs. Among those big hits was the fan favorite, Chrono Trigger, originally released for the Super Nintendo.

Chrono Trigger stood out for several reasons. First, the story was very engaging and the storyline could be altered depending on how you played the game. There were several possible endings to see, and some items could only be collected at the sacrifice of missing out on others. It was a fantastic game to discuss with friends to find out how your ending or order of events played out.

Another big reason that Chrono Trigger was so popular was due to its fantastic battle system. The game didn’t have random encounters, so you could skip fights if you wanted, but once you got into fights, they were tons of fun. Chrono Trigger allowed you to combine character attacks, and those attacks varied based on what characters you were combining. Most of the rest of the battle system was pretty standard, but each character was quite unique and it allowed for lots of experimentation and fun. As far as the standard JRPGs go, Chrono Trigger is still a game that provides an enjoyable battle system under the modern lens.

Finally, the other big memorable aspect of Chrono Trigger is its music. From its joyous victory fanfare to its moody and slower tracks, just about any old-school RPG fan can recall multiple musical selections from the game easily.

Luckily, Chrono Trigger is available widely these days. There are re-releases for the DS, the Virtual Console, PSN, and some older consoles. The game holds up very well, and it’s a game I seem to go back to at least once a year for a revisit. There was a sequel released for the PSOne, called Chrono Cross, but it didn’t quite have the same magic as its predecessor despite being a very good game in its own regard.

For these reasons and more not stated, Chrono Trigger is the best game ever.

Best Game Ever: Star Wars: TIE Fighter

Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.

The Force is strong with this one.

There used to be a time when having a PC for games meant that you played with more than just a mouse/keyboard or joystick. Back in the ’90s, it was almost a necessity to own some sort of flight stick. While it didn’t require a flight stick, Star Wars: TIE Fighter was easily the best reason to own one. I personally had the Flightstick Pro, and I probably logged enough hours on TIE Fighter to become a certified pilot.

Released in the summer of 1994, Star Wars: TIE Fighter was the much anticipated sequel to Star Wars: X-Wing. Bringing to the table a better flight engine, improved graphics, and better effects, TIE Fighter provided the ultimate flight combat experience in its time. The missions were laid out with both primary and secondary objectives, the story was interesting, and the game really forced you to use strategy and well timed attack runs in order to be successful.

Star Wars: TIE Fighter and its expansion Defender of the Empire are easily one of the best PC gaming experiences ever created. For all the Star Wars games that have been released, none have done so great of a job of bringing such a strong sense of immersion. If you’ve never played TIE Fighter and you can drum up the means to do so, definitely get right on it ASAP. Also make sure to check out Star Wars: X-Wing (and its expansions) and X-Wing vs TIE Fighter as well.

For these reasons and more not stated, Star Wars: TIE Fighter is the best game ever.

Best Game Ever: Streets of Rage 2

Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.

Streets of Rage 2.

Released for the Sega Genesis back in 1992, Streets of Rage 2 was the follow up to the popular Streets of Rage. Very much a product of the early 1990s when beat ’em ups were a dime a dozen, Streets of Rage 2 still managed to stand out in an insanely crowded genre.  Like many brawlers of the era, Streets of Rage 2 suffered from generic names (Mr. X, Max Thunder, etc.), repetitive enemy types, and a world right out of the beat ’em up template set; but these couldn’t drag down the addictive and enjoyable gameplay offered. In a big improvement over the original Streets of Rage, each character in the sequel had their own unique set of moves and special attacks. The different play styles offered by each character lends to repeat plays through the game, especially in multiplayer.

The music in Streets of Rage 2 was also quite good for the beat ’em up genre. Rather than simple loops, we were treated with varied and fancy beats. One of the first things always mentioned when Streets of Rage 2 is brought up is that the soundtrack was one of the best on the Genesis. Obviously, I would agree.

If you were ever a fan of the beat ’em up genre, and you want something more than Final Fight or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Streets of Rage 2 is a great way to get your fix.

For these reasons, Streets of Rage 2 is the Best. Game. Ever.

NES game collecting after day 1

So yesterday I posted about how I was going to try to collect all the North American NES games. Well, things kind of got out of hand from there. A few hours later I went from a decent stash to owning 1/3 of the releases. Some of the games I picked up are unofficial releases, so I’m debating whether or not I want to keep them or to sell them to fun the purchase of official releases. I’ll make that decision later, but for now here’s a pic of the day 1 haul, which came in at just under 250 games.

It’s becoming more and more apparent that I might have issues.

Also, anybody interested in donating to my noble cause should feel free to contact me. I’m also interested in purchasing. Email me at jar155 [at]

I’m going to buy every NES (NA release) game ever made

Yeah, it’s a stupid thing to try and do, but dang it, I’m going to try. Over the next few years I’m going to try to collect the entire run of NES cartridges that were officially licensed and released in North America. By my count that is 731 games that I’ll need to collect, though I already have around 100 of them. I’ve done some looking around and there are some rare ones that might give me trouble, but for the most part it isn’t too hard to do this sort of thing. The real challenge is just staying focused enough on it to make it happen. Obviously I’m not concerned about tracking down the games that only saw 4 or 5 copies leak to market, I’m talking about full scale releases.

I’m not aiming to do this as quickly as possible, so I’ll be pretty casual about picking stuff up. But be on notice used game stores of Utah, I’m going to be like a bloodhound each time I see NES carts for sale. Obviously resources like eBay will be a big help as I go about this, so if you have anything particularly hard to find, let me know.

Over time I’ll post updates about how this little project goes. I might set up a site to allow people to more easily track my progress, but we’ll see about that. I wonder how my wife is going to feel about this one…

January in Review

January gave us a chance to play through all the goodies we picked up during the holiday rush or to catch up on backlog titles that have been waiting a long time to get some play in our rotation. Here are the games I completed in January, most of which were for the first time, others just for nostalgic reasons.

Bayonetta (Xbox 360) – This was a game I reviewed for Kombo and one I was beyond excited to get my hands on after getting a few short minutes with it back at E3 last year. The game turned out to be what I was hoping to be and I had an absolute blast with it from start to finish. With fluid controls, an excellent combat/combo system, and a wacky presentation, Bayonetta will more than likely be in my top games of 2010.

Assassin’s Creed (Xbox 360) – Yeah, it took me until early 2010 to finally finish Assassin’s Creed. Like many I became a bit fatigued by the repetitive nature of the missions, so when other releases started coming out that interested me I set the game aside. With the release of Assassin’s Creed 2, I needed to go back and wrap this one up for storyline continuity sake. In the end I enjoyed the game, but I’ll always be quick to point out that it has its fair share of issues.

Duck Tales (NES) – One of my favorite games ever made (look for an upcoming Best Game Ever feature on this), I will come back to this one for a few speed runs or high score challenges. Never do I put this game into my NES and feel like I’m only enjoying it for the nostalgia effect. This game is a timeless winner from Capcom and Disney.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) – Simply a fantastic game that deserved the many awards it picked up in all the game of the year voting for 2009. The action, story, presentation, and overall experience all combine to make Uncharted 2 a must play for all PS3 owners. The behind the scenes content on the disc is pretty fun to watch as well (you can also find the videos on YouTube).

Castlevania (NES) – Another game I commonly go back to for a quick play, Castlevania is a challenging title that tests my ability to stay sharp when it comes to retro gaming. Much like Ninja Gaiden on the  NES, these old action games really keep the enemies coming nonstop and have very basic but solid level designs. This is definitely not the last time I’ll be playing through Castlevania.

King’s Quest VI (PC) – Ah, the Sierra On-Line classic. I was a big fan of the King’s Quest, Space Quest, Quest for Glory, and Police Quest games and I tend to play through one or two of them every couple of months. They’re great to have on your laptop to play on the go or to casually experience while watching TV. King’s Quest VI was probably my favorite in the KQ series, though they’re all pretty fantastic if you don’t recognize King’s Quest VIII (it NEVER happened).

So here’s what I’m working on in February so far, and I’m hoping to get to Dragon Age: Origins, BioShock 2, and Mass Effect (yeah, the first one) by the end of the month.

Assassin’s Creed 2 (Xbox 360) – Wow, what an improvement over the first iteration in the series. I put this disc in almost immediately after finishing the first game and right away I could tell they had upgraded the graphical engine. The first game looked nice, this one looks fantastic. The free running feels more accurate and the mission variety is way better. More importantly, the game really does a great job at urging you to explore the landscape, but there are also plenty of helps to make it an easy going experience rather than a frustrating one.

Retro Game Challenge (DS) – A funky little game that came out a few months ago, this is one I’m glad I didn’t pass on. It’s hard to explain this one in a few words, but basically you’re playing retro style games to meet specific challenges laid out for you such as a high score to beat or to achieve a number of kills in a certain manner or time period. The game has tons of nods to classic games, magazines, and industry professionals. It’s just a great package overall.

Star Control II (PC) – I come back to this game a lot. A lot.

Enduro Racer coming to Virtual Console

That’s right, suckers, Enduro Racer is coming to the VC this week! For the lamers not in the know, Enduro Racer was basically Sega’s version of Excitebike on the Master System. The main difference is that Enduro Racer allowed you to build up your bike and race on a variety of tracks with an isometric view. Ok, so the games are extremely different when you really think about it, but Enduro Racer was a must-own for Master System owners.

Dust off your Wiis and download this gem, retro fans. This was a pretty cool take on a genre that typically didn’t translate very well from the arcade to the home consoles.

Extremely rare Atari 2700 prototype sells on eBay

It’s pretty awesome seeing ultra rare and collectable stuff show up for sale, and this one is a true gem. Earlier today, an Atari 2700 prototype sold on eBay for over $5,000. It sounds crazy that someone would bid that much, but the winning bidder is definitely going to be in possession of something they don’t have to worry about finding over at their buddy’s house any time soon. The seller apparently was a game developer from Atari and was given the 2700 as a gift from Leonard Tramiel himself. The auction can be seen here: eBay auction.

Rare Atari 2700 prototype.

Oh, and yes, those are wireless controllers. For something that’s 25 years old, it’s pretty cool technology. To find out more about the 2700, check the Wikipedia page: Atari Remote Control VCS at Wikipedia.

Nintendo of Canada auctions off sealed NES, SNES, and GB games

Originally reported by Joystiq, Nintendo of Canada is auctioning off a ton of new and sealed games for the NES, SNES, and GameBoy. These are all in perfect collector’s condition, so they’re going at a high price. All the proceeds are being donated to charity, so feel free to indulge. There’s a good mix of both 1st and 3rd party offerings, as well.

Here’s the link: