This is where I just started to get into games in a serious manner. I was way behind at this point and wasn’t on top of the latest games. I was only able to play what I saw at the game store and rental store. I didn’t read gaming magazines, and I didn’t even know reviews existed on the internet yet. This was back when there was still 56K dial-up and broadband had just surfaced in 2000. I didn’t even get on a computer until 1998 and even then I had no idea what the internet even was. The internet was still in its infancy before it turned into the pile of crap it is today.
This 10 ten list is a bit weird because I played a very small group of games. Mostly action games. While I played games like Metal Gear Solid I didn’t like it because it was too hard to understand. I couldn’t understand Resident Evil, I had never played a Tomb Raider game before (just saw it) and I never played or even heard about Final Fantasy VII until after I got my PS2. I had never played Tekken, Virtua Fighter, Mario 64, or any of the good stuff. I actually grew up mostly playing the crap with a few gems thrown in there. The older crowd ate those games up, but I have memories of hating the games. While I enjoy the games now — I didn’t as a kid. I actually didn’t get my PS1 until 1996 and my N64 until 1999, and I wasn’t out there playing all the latest and greatest. Think of this top ten as a mere trip down memory lane. While I have gone back and played many others I missed I just want to stick with my childhood.
I actually borrowed this game from a friend while they borrowed my copy of Syphon Filter. The game was weird and the art style didn’t really click with me, but I remember it being very fun and also extremely hard. I had no idea where to go (I still don’t to this day) and the story was really zany. I also remember how great the game looked, and this was one of the few games that I played that wasn’t crappy.
9. Winback: Covert Operations
I didn’t have a PS1 anymore so I needed the next great stealth action game, and the N64 didn’t really have any. Winback was great because it had good controls for the N64 and graphics. The bosses were fun to fight and I just remember playing this over and over to beat my high scores. This wouldn’t make it on to a top 20 list let alone the top 10. Most people would choose Zelda, Mario, or Crash Bandicoot, but I was sitting there playing WInback. Go figure.
While I also loved MK4 I actually played this more. I wasn’t really into the 3D fighters and I preferred the 2D feeling of the MK games. I bought this on PS1 when it came out along with the N64 when I got that. I played the N64 version until the cartridge stopped working. I did every -ality in the game learned everyone’s combos, and wished I still had the PS1 version. I loved the zero loading times, but having characters missing sucked. I played this with friends and probably played this more than any N64 game.
7. Syphon Filter 2
I was so stoked for this game when my dad came home with it from Blockbuster. I had no idea a second one existed because I didn’t know how to look for that online and I didn’t read gaming magazines. I freaked out and begged him to let me play first. I finished the entire first disc in one sitting. The graphics were awesome, and despite not being able to understand the story, I dug it. The game was really improved over the first and I remember screaming, “Oh my god! TWO discs?!” That was double the Syphon Filter love. I later remember on his birthday that year we drove to a game store in the local mall and he bought it for $30. That was also when during the trip, he explained to me how babies were made.
6. Silent Hill
I actually played this game on accident. I couldn’t remember the name for Syphon Filter so this looked close enough. The box was just white with the game disc in it and just the name. I took it home and when I saw what was on screen I realized it wasn’t Syphon Filter. My mom came home from work that day and watched me run down an alley from a bloody skinless dog. My sister started crying and I freaked out after being chased by the dog after getting the pistol from Cybil Bennet. I turned the game off and freaked out. My mom then later took me back and that’s when I exchanged it for Spyro the Dragon! The game was so atmospheric and is still one of the scariest games ever made. It set the bar for horror games and I just so happened to accidentally stumble across it.
5. Spyro the Dragon
This was one of the best adventures I played on PS1. It was bright and colorful and felt like a cartoon. I was a freaking dragon! I loved collecting all the gems and the levels were so cleverly designed. The story was heartwarming and the various things you did felt different from other mundane adventure games on PS1 and even N64. Both my sisters loved it as well and I only ever played the second Spyro before saying it was a kid’s game. I never got around to Spyro 3, which is the best one in the entire series.
4. Final Fantasy VIII
This was the first JRPG I had ever played. I traded my SNES and all the games for this, Syphon Filter, and a few other PS1 games. I remember seeing the opening cut scene and running to get my parents to show them. Of course, when the game actually started I was seriously let down. I remember the story and never get past disc 2. It was hard as hell and I just couldn’t understand the fight system. I also had no idea where to go half the time. It was a lot of fun, and with this being the first JRPG I ever played it led me to pursue them later on as I grew up.
3. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
Killing dinosaurs! Oh, man! This was probably the second game on N64 that I spent the most time on. My dad and I would sit and figure out every single secret there was. This was actually the first game where I finally figured out FAQs exist. We printed it out and sat there finding everything in the game. I remember how vast the game was and how well the levels were designed. They were so unique and the dinosaurs were fun to kill. I don’t remember the story at all, but there are a lot of great memories here. Surprisingly I never played any other Turok game until much later.
2. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
I remember going to a friend’s house and his drugged-out brother was playing this. It looked so exhilarating and everyone in school was talking it right next to Pokemon. Everyone held their copy sacred and wouldn’t let anyone borrow it. I just couldn’t get a hold of a copy! I didn’t get to play it until much later when I got an N64 and it was so much fun! The controls were perfect, the trick system was amazing, and I completed every level 100% several times over. It still holds up today and is so much fun.
While some people would put FF7 or Metal Gear Solid up here, it was Syphon Filter for me. The best third-person action game to ever grace the console. The level design was perfect, the guns felt and sounded like their real-world counterpart, and I discovered every single secret in that game and remembered every enemy placement. I still play it to this day and still remember everything. I rented this game multiple times, bought it 5 times over, and love it to death. The characters are memorable, the story is interesting, and it just felt so advanced for its time.
While I wish I could put Metal Gear and FF7 and even Tekken 3 up here, I never played them as a kid. I was between 6-10 during the 64-bit era so I couldn’t understand those games. If I put up a top 10 list for just the best one’s period…well everyone does that. No one puts up the list for how they remember it. I wish I played more games as a kid. I did try out Starfox 64 and didn’t like it. I watched a friend play GoldenEye and I couldn’t understand it. I played crappy games like S.W.A.R.M., Glover, S.C.A.R.S, Transformers: Beast Wars, Bio Freaks, Hybrid Heaven, and other horror games. I rented them time after time and didn’t understand the good games so I was screwed. I hope this feature brought back your fond memories of the 64-bit era.
1080 Snowboarding | System Played: N64 | Why: Graphics, Tony Hawk on Snowboard
Conker’s Bad Fur Day | System Played: N64 | Why: Graphics, Humor
Crash Bandicoot 2: Wrath of Cortex | System Played: PS1 | Why: Graphics, Platforming
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped | System Played: PS1 | Why: Platforming, Graphics
Die Hard Trilogy | System Played: PS1 | Why: 3 Games in 1
Excite Bike 64 | System Played: N64 | Why: Graphics, Sense of Speed
Fear Effect | System Played: PS1 | Why: Action, Sexy Chicks
Gran Turismo | System Played: PS1 | Why: Real Cars, Graphics, Felt Real
Gran Turismo 2 | System Played: PS1 | Why: Better Graphics, More GT
Mortal Kombat 3 | System Played: PS1 | Why: Better Graphics, First PS1 One
Mortal Kombat 4 | System Played: PS1 | Why: Graphics, More MK, New Fatalities, New Characters
Moto Racer 2 | System Played: PS1 | Why: Sense of Speed, Bikes
Motorcross Madness | System Played: PC | Why: Graphics, Sense of Speed
Outlaws | System Played: PC | Why: Solid Shooting, Western Setting
Paper Mario | System Played: N64 | Why: Combat, Graphics
Pokemon Stadium | System Played: N64 | Why: Graphics, Pokemon
Quake II | System Played: N64 | Why: On Sale, Graphics, Gore
Resident Evil 2 | System Played: N64 | Why: Zombies, Scary, Story
Spider-Man | System Played: N64 | Why: Platforming, Graphics, Combat
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! | System Played: PS1 | Why: More Spyro, Graphics, New Story, New Levels
Starfox 64 | System Played: N64 | Why: Friend was Playing it, Graphics
Star Wars Episode I: Battle for Naboo | System Played: N64 | Why: Graphics, Star Wars
Star Wars Episode I: Racer | System Played: N64 | Why: Graphics, Sense of Speed, Star Wars
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire | System Played: N64 | Why: Star Wars, Combat
Syphon Filter 3 | System Played: PS1 | Why: More SF, Story, New Weapons, New Levels
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 | System Played: N64 | Why: Graphics, More Tony Hawk, New Levels, New Tricks
Top Gear Rally | System Played: N64 | Why: Sense of Speed, Graphics