Sometimes, you just have to stop, and smell the nostalgia.
These games are the ones that call up those wonderful childhood memories, of rushing to that console, excitedly putting in that favorite game of yours, and preparing for some good, old-fashioned fun.
1. Pokemon Snap
Who would’ve thought a game about taking picture of Pokemon would have gained such notoriety?
Pokemon Snap is one of those cult classics, a relic of a past age that people never forget, even though it’s not very well-known to begin with. By capturing Pokemon in an entirely different way, we received a very unique experience of the magic that Pokemon were capable of. It was basically a Pokemon safari, turned into a game, and who wouldn’t love that?
With an addictive point-based system to boot, and multiple courses that allowed for immense replay value, Pokemon Snap was not just a magical experience, but a solid game as well. It was fun, and as a child, I couldn’t help but be enamored with the world on the screen, with getting the best score possible, and finding all the Pokemon I possibly could. And with such good memories, there’s no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most nostalgic games of my childhood.
2. Super Mario Strikers
Who would’ve thought that out of all the Mario games, Mario SOCCER would’ve been the one to be violent, gritty, and action-packed.
Mario Strikers, as one can tell just from the box art, is…rather intense. Shoulder-bashing the opposing team like there’s no tomorrow, having a fast-paced, adrenaline-filled sense of action and intensity everywhere, Strikers was CRAZY. It was an exceedingly simple game, relatively speaking, but somehow, I ended up playing the game a ludicrous amount.
I mean, this game just had PERSONALITY. Every victory animation was full of sass, full of unapologetically adrenaline-inducing celebration. The characters’ unnecessarily powerful super strikes, the ridiculous explosions, electric mayhem on every field–you can’t get much better than this, and because of this personality, I wasted WAY too much time on a game that should have, by all means, been a simple gimmick.
This is a game that had Waluigi doing pelvic thrusts in victory. And geez, that’s awesome.
3. Warpath: Jurassic Park
Okay, we’re heading a little off the beaten path here.
What’s guaranteed to make any young, male child lose their freaking mind with excitement? Yep. Dinosaurs. And what did Warpath: Jurassic Park feature?
Well, I would think it’s obvious.This fighting game for the Playstation 1 was a source of many, many good memories–and not because of any corny, classic story, not even because of the gameplay, which I’m sure was mediocre at best. Rather, as a kid obsessed with dinosaurs, seeing two pixelated lizard beasts going at it on the television was just NUTS to see, much less play. It was a game I wanted to play with my friends ALL the time. After all, at that age, where in the world would you find any spectacle quite like that?
Well, I’ll tell ya–you wouldn’t find it anywhere but with Warpath: Jurassic Park.
4. Mario Party 2
Out of all the old Mario Party games, I’ve gotta say that this one holds that special place in my heart.
I’ve never gotten to play Mario Party 1, or 3, so I don’t have any comparisons on the Nintendo 64. However, I’ve got to say that I absolutely loved this edition anyways. In particular, compared to later Mario Party games, I enjoyed that every board had personality.
Giving costumes to the characters, theming every board around pirates, space cops, cowboys? It made every match intensely memorable. Combine that with some wonderfully addictive minigames (Hexagon Heat was my JAM) and you have a party game that I can’t help but look back on positively!
5. Kingdom Hearts
This was the most UNEXPECTED game to enjoy, as a child.
I have to explain, I HATED the cutesy abomination that was Disney. My adolescent self, being the edgelord I was, couldn’t enjoy Disney animations to their fullest, simply because I wished for something darker. Well, enter Kingdom Hearts. A game that combines the goofy Disney characters with an epic plot, and, of all things, Final Fantasy characters.
Shit man, I loved it.
Kingdom Hearts was a game that, from a gameplay perspective, was fantastic on (almost) all counts. But beyond that, I remember it being shocking, simply because it was so, so WEIRD. I mean, I had some fantastic experiences with the game–adventures in Traverse Town, mashing X to beat off Heartless–but to me, the sheer unexpectedness of such an adventure solidifies Kingdom Hearts as one of my personal most nostalgic games
6. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
Probably one of the most solid, fun Kirby games of the series (at least in my humble opinion), Kirby 64 also ends up being a prime candidate for nostalgic experiences.
Introducing for the first (and only) time, the mechanic of combining powers, Kirby 64 distinguishes itself from every other game in the series by having different styles of gameplay, with linear level design that is EXTREMELY diverse. Every level had its own memorable soundtrack, its own memorable design, and potential for new power combinations everywhere you could think to look.
Other Kirby games have since refined the 3D Kirby formula, but 64 will always have a place in my heart, as the one that started it all!
7. TMNT: Turtles in Time
The oldest game on this list, this SNES classic is one that I don’t know how to explain.
It’s a classic arcade beat-em up, and not one that has achieved legendary status, like Double Dragon, or the The Simpsons. However, it was one of three SNES games I remember playing in my young childhood, and boy, it was some simple, clean fun.
Playing as any one of the artist-inspired turtles, beating up Foot Clan ninjas, stone monsters, robo-dogs, and of course, the Shredder himself, was stupidly addicting. It provided a huge amount of variety, allowing travel to pirate ships, technological fortresses, and of course, the sewers, in an adventure that, for some reason, never felt old. The boss fights were ridiculously fun, the combat was enjoyable and felt good, and overall, I just remember having a lot of good memories with the turtles.
Simple? Yes. Effective? Absolutely!
8. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
ROLLING AROUND AT THE SPEED OF SOUND–
It’s the anthem of many, many people’s childhoods. Mine included.
Sonic The Hedgehog is a character I have fond memories of–he might not be doing well as of late, but with games like Sonic Adventure 2, I have to remember exactly why he was such a large presence in gaming. This was back when the story was fun, when cheesy dialogue was the norm, and Sonic wasn’t…well. You know.
With a headbanging rock soundtrack that has remained some of the best in gaming history, and simple, fun, FAST gameplay, this game was one of the best of the GameCube classics.
And, you can’t possibly forget the freaking CHAO GARDEN. Raising cute little Chao, racing them, having them do karate? I mean. Come on. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle was great, and remains one of the most nostalgic games of all time, to this day.
9. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos/Frozen Throne
This is a choice I’m certain is relatively unique to me, but I’m sure someone out there feels the same way.
If any of you guys remember a time where “Warcraft” didn’t immediately bring to mind the MMORPG, then you have my respect. For before delving into the profitable, beautiful mess that is World of Warcraft, Blizzard created a Real-Time Strategy game that my 13-year old self remembers fondly, as one of their masterpieces.
What can I say, it was a fun game.
Warcraft III draws you in, and doesn’t let you go. It’s a fantastic fantasy game, one that you didn’t need to be a pro to enjoy. As a kid, the infinite possibilities of controlling a hero of your choice, creating your own army, the colorful, varied landscapes presented, grabbed hold of my imagination and didn’t let go. It burned up hours of my time, and as such, I remember it fondly, with no shortage of nostalgic feelings.
Not to mention, the story was my first introduction to real dark, depressing narrative in video games! It was revolutionary, I tell you.
10. Paper Mario
This was it. The pinnacle of nostalgia for me. And I’d wager, for many other people as well.
Paper Mario was a magical story, one that took the cartoony, fun characters of the Mushroom Kingdom, and created a whole world from it. A tale of stars and dreams, of a hero and a princess, and of a villain that threatened the harmony that was so treasured by all. It was a world of color, of fun, of personality, and one that ultimately appealed to all the best things about my childhood.
Not to mention, it was defined by puns, and had, of all things, a PAPER aesthetic. What’s not to love?Paper Mario, by all accounts, is a solid game, that holds up well even today. It oozes of quality, and has an undeniable sense of personality that allows it to have been, in many people’s minds, the definitive nostalgic experience. Whether it’s roaming around Toad Town, beating down on the Crystal King, or using the Star Rod for the first time, you can bet that the memories of Paper Mario, is the stuff of pure nostalgia.
And man, that’s a great thing to indulge in sometimes, huh?
So, any nostalgic games of your childhood that I missed out on? Or do you share some of the same great experiences? Let me know in a comment down below! :)