What do Ico, Killer7, BioShock, Flower, Call Of Duty and Braid all have in common? Well firstly, they’re all great titles, but second they are games that are talked about by gamers the world over, at length, regarding their merits, infact if there were a hall of gaming fame, the aforementioned would definitely be in it. With all of the buzz surrounding these products, it’s easy to have other titles get lost in the shuffle, so without further ado, here are 5 games or game franchises that just don’t get enough attention.
The Skate Franchise (Multiformat)
The phrase ‘immersive experience’, gets bandied around a lot these days, particularly to ‘open world’ titles such as GTA and Saints Row. But if you’re looking for a game that truly provides an immersive experience, look no further than the Skate series from EA’s Black Box studio. Anyone who has ever attempted an ollie will tell you this franchise captures the experience of skating perfectly. Introducing the Flick It control scheme which relies on the analog sticks for almost every action on and off the board, it provides a level of accuracy that requires patience and dedication to get the very best out of. It’s a game that creates a world that is full of trick possibilities, provided you have the kind of creative mind the very best skaters seem to exhibit. Spending 45 minutes perfecting 20 seconds of skating might seem dull on the surface, but those who have played know it’s anything but.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3)
The sequel may be getting as much media exposure as Katie Price’s ample cleavage, but the original was a fairly subdued affair, due, in part, to the low uptake of its native console at launch. Being several years old now you might think about skipping the first installment, but don’t, it’s still one of the best looking games out there and is as much a cracking yarn as it is a superb representation of what would happen if Gears Of War had a gaming baby with Tomb Raider. But this alone isn’t why it makes this list. No, it deserves more recognition because of how filmic the whole experience is, and whilst I don’t think games should necessarily be compared to celluloid, this is certainly the closest we’ve come to create a decent gaming representation of a Hollywood blockbuster. Fans of Joss Whedon’s writing style and anyone who enjoys a well constructed, superbly paced story, should be able to pick this up cheap, the game having been added to the Platinum series for some time now.
Pilotwings 64 (Nintendo 64)
A perfect blend of balls to the wall fun, and accurate simulation, Pilotwings 64 is the antithesis of the traditional and incredibly dry flight games that flood the racks of PC Software sections in your local game store. The visuals are bright and vibrant, as you’d expect, and the rest of the signature motifs of a Nintendo product are here for sure, but it’s no less hardcore a title for it. A series of tests lead you to obtaining badges showing your worth as a pilot, but only hardened players clocking in several hours of air time will get the top scores. It also does an excellent job of mimicking how different modes of flight feel, without bogging the player down with hundreds of buttons, dials and readouts. Nintendo claims that the 64 controller was designed with Mario in mind, but that’s bollocks in my mind, as it was Lark and the rest of his flying buddies that used the three pronged wunder-device to it’s utmost capability creating, potentially, one of the greatest representations of flight in all it’s forms, ever made.
Tetris (Gameboy, Multiformat)
It needs no introduction, but that is perhaps why Tetris is hardly talked about by gaming press anymore. Just because a game is visually unexciting, just because a game hasn’t necessarily changed in over 25 years, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be discussing it. Flawless, quasi-minimal design, one of the most recognisable soundtracks in gaming, and a host platform seemingly designed to play it, Tetris should make every single ‘best games’ list because it continually reminds creatives that flash and pomp and theatrics only go so far, and that a compulsive title can be as easy as left, right, and turn.
Bishi Bashi Special (PSX, PSN Download)
Mini-game collections have become fairly stale of late, but this title remains fresh years after release. Originally an arcade title with just three buttons, Bishi Bashi Special is the kind of game your imagination comes up with when someone mentions the phrase ‘crazy Japanese game’. Bishi Bashi teaches us as players to expect more from video games, that asking ‘how far can a shaken cola can make it into space?’ and ‘how many oiled up bald guys can you fire out of a cannon onto a moving platform?’ are topics for fun, not social exclusion, much in the same vein as the Katamari series. But beyond the questionable irreverence of its topics is pure gameplay in the style of competitive classics like Track And Field and Micro Machines. Playing Bishi Bashi reminds us why, on a very base level, we play. To compete, to conquer and to understand.
Have I missed one you think should make the list? Is one here, that you simply don’t agree with? Drop a comment in the box below, and let me know!