This list was highly demanded after I posted my Top 10 Personal Favorite Games, so now I’m happy to bring you my Personal Top 10 Classic Games. To qualify what a classic games is, these are games that were released through the year 2000.
#10: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is the greatest sports game ever made. Period. The game places players in the role of a professional skateboarder undertaking quests to earn cash. The tricks system was completely unmatched, and the fluidity while stringing together the perfect trick combination was absolutely satisfying. The soundtrack in this game is also one of the all-time best in gaming, perfectly complimenting the gameplay and hyping up players for all the skateboarding action you could handle. Not only were the levels fun, but the ability to create your own character and your own maps meant that you could spend hours creating horrific death trials for your friends.
#9: Goldeneye 007
Goldeneye innovated nearly everything we love about modern First Person Shooters. Goldeneye places players in the shoes of James Bond, playing through the plot of the respective film. While the single-player was a blast, and was technically astounding at the time of its release, the true beauty of Goldeneye was its multiplayer mode. Allowing 4 players to compete against one another in a variety of modes, there were many hours spent playing deathmatches with friends. While the game’s controls and gameplay don’t hold up as strongly as others on this list, it is included because of its influence and the many hours of entertainment it provided.
#8: Shining Force
While everyone else was introduced to turn-based RPGs through Final Fantasy or Earthbound, my first love was Shining Force. Taking the role of the protagonist Max, players lead the Shining Force against the villain Kane and his forces of Runefaust. The gameplay was very similar to the Fire Emblem series, where each character was represented in a tactical turn-based conflict as a unit moving against enemy forces. Players are given units such as warriors, healers, archers and mages. Shining Force is a wonderful RPG, and I would highly recommend it to those who never played it before.
#7: Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire is a first-person/third-person shooter set in between the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Shadows of the Empire places players in the shoes of Dash Rendar, a smuggler working alongside the Rebel Alliance.
Shadows of the Empire allowed players to play through some of the biggest moments in Star Wars movies, including The Battle of Hoth, which was one of my favorite missions in video games for years. The game also introduced players to new locations throughout the galaxy, while interacting with familiar characters such as Boba Fett, IG-88, Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian. The levels where Dash is on foot are a blast, but the game really shines in its vehicle levels. While Star Wars games have come a long way, Shadows of the Empire filled a void that no other Star Wars game had filled at its release.
#6: Mario Kart 64
If you wanted things to get bananas (pun intended) between your friends, you would pop in Mario Kart 64 and good times were guaranteed. Mario Kart is the most iconic Kart Racer in gaming, and Mario Kart 64 deserves its place among any top 10 list. The game is incredibly well-balanced (except for those garbage blue shells), and the level design is impeccable. Levels like Rainbow Road set the boys apart from the men, and smack talk was all but assured throughout a race. Overall, Mario Kart 64 still holds up as an excellent game and it has earned its place in my top 10.
#5: Star Fox 64
Following the Star Fox team and its leader Fox McCloud, Star Fox 64 is an incredibly addictive 3D Scrolling Shooter that places players behind the controls of an Arwing, a spaceship very similar to Star Wars’ X-Wings. While most levels forced Fox to follow a certain path, there were diverging paths that could change the path Fox took on his progression to defeat Andross. The game also featured boss battles in All-Range mode that allowed Fox full control over the Arwing. Starfox 64 is incredibly enjoyable, and the shooting is satisfying. Despite its simplistic concept, Star Fox is well-executed and thanks to the branching paths, it holds a high replay value.
#4: Pokemon: Blue Version
The first generation of Pokemon games released on the Game Boy took the world by storm. Pokemon allows players to take on the role of a Pokemon trainer as they embark on their journey to become the very best Pokemon Trainer in the world. Along the journey, players capture Pokemon and battle them against one another to become strong enough to conquer gyms. This formula has been so successful, it has remained the heart of the series eleven years later.
Pokemon is one of the most rewarding games I’ve ever played, compelling players to catch each Pokemon in the world and level up your own Pokemon to become an unstoppable team. Thanks to its multiplayer features, allowing players to trade and battle against one another, it became easy to get attached and even prideful of your Pokemon team and collection. My Blastoise and I rank this game as one of our personal Top 10 Classic Games.
#3: Super Mario World
The pinnacle of 2D platforming games, Super Mario World gives players control of Mario and his brother Luigi as they travel across the Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Peach. Navigating the world via an overhead map, Mario travels through a variety of levels including haunted mansions, underwater lairs, forests and mountains to confront the villainous Bowser in his castle. Mario has a few tricks up his sleeve in Super Mario World, including fire flowers, cape feathers, and his faithful dinosaur friend Yoshi. As is custom for Mario games, this platformer stood apart thanks to its creativity, music, art, and solid gameplay.
#2: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
When there is a discussion on the greatest video game of all time, Ocarina of Time will inevitably find its way into that conversation, and for very good reason. Ocarina of Time is a masterfully crafted open-world action-adventure game that focuses on a combination of RPG elements and puzzles. Players take control of Link, The Hero of Time, who travels across the land of Hyrule to save the Princess Zelda from the sinister Ganondorf. The story is classic, and while the gameplay is vibrant, the world feels alive. The characters, music and gameplay have placed Ocarina of Time in the gaming Hall of Fame, and that’s why it has earned its place in my Top 10 Classic Games.
#1: Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 is highly regarded as one of the greatest games ever made, and for very good reason. The first game to bring Mario into a 3D world, Mario 64 is still considered one of the hallmarks of 3D platformers. To this day, Mario 64 still holds up thanks to its tight gameplay and simplicity. Each world that Mario travels to is highly diverse and creative, and the concept of a hub world where Mario travels between paintings is brilliant. Super Mario 64 is the one of the gold standards of gaming, which is why I am naming it my #1 Classic Game.