R#09's Top 25 Video Games of All Time! (20-16)

Alright, folks. Here's the next five entries in my favorite video games of all time countdown! Look for 15-11 on Saturday.

No. 20 — Pokémon (Red / Blue)
Genre: Role-Playing Game
Release: 1996
Platforms: Game Boy

Admit it: you spent many, many countless hours hunched over your Game Boy, roaming the wilds for that elusive Pokémon you just couldn’t nab, training hard to beat all the gym leaders, overcome the tyranny of Team Rocket, and collect all 151 of the little guys. You still have neck problems today from craning over this thing. Admit it! Even if you weren’t into the out-of-control phenomenon that Pokémon was when we were kids, you have to realize that the games were legitimately good. I owned Blue Version as a kid, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I drained my Game Boy’s batteries on countless one-sitting occasions. Addictive? Yeah. And did it bring out my OCD compulsions? Yes. But was it fun? Oh yeah. It sure was (and still is, I’ll admit).

No. 19 — Star Wars – Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release: 1997
Platforms: Windows

I’ve probably clocked more hours with Dark Forces II than I have with literally any other FPS out there, current or classic. The sequel to the Doom-esque Dark Forces, Jedi Knight puts you in the shoes of Rebel agent Kyle Katarn, who, through the course of the game, realizes his Force potential and trains to become a Jedi Knight. The game was a good shooter with tight gameplay and sweet graphics, sure — but the real joy came from hacking away at Stormtroopers with a lightsaber and Force-pushing Trandoshans around. I beat this game more times than I care to remember, and still dust it off from time to time. I mean, come on — this game brought me that much close to fulfilling my dream of becoming a Jedi. What’s not to love?

No. 18 — Sonic the Hedgehog
Genre: Platformer
Release: 1991
Platforms: Mega Drive / Genesis, iPod, iPhone OS, Virtual Console, Game Boy Advance, Xbox Live Arcade

Alright, so the Sega Genesis didn’t have blast processing like they claimed in the early ‘90s (what the hell does blast processing even mean?), but the console did sport the fastest thing around: Sonic the Hedgehog. He was blue, he had red sneakers, he was a hedgehog, and he could run fast — really, really fast. Speeding through the levels at breakneck speed was job one in this game, and its intensity and innovative level design have yet to be rivaled. The ‘90s were an extreme time — there was Surge and Pearl Jam and Ninja Turtles. Sonic fit right in — an extreme hero for our extreme childhoods.

No. 17 — Advance Wars
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Release: 2001
Platforms: Game Boy Advance

I loved my Game Boy Advance — I still do, in fact. If my Game Boy Advance had been a pet, I would have smothered it with love until it curled up and died. It was like holding a Super Nintendo in your hands, and it really just did not get better than that. Advance Wars, a turn-based tactics game, was my favorite game on the console, and still remains a regular contender in my roster of games I play. The game was simple, elegant, and masterfully designed. Gameplay was intuitive and the difficulty ramp was steep, but not too steep. I beat this one probably two or three times and then continued playing on the versus maps long afterward. Maybe the best feature of the game? The map editor.

No. 16 — Halo 2
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release: 2004
Platforms: Xbox, Windows

The day Halo 2 came out, I did not stop smiling for probably seven hours. And even then, the only reason I stopped smiling was because we ran out of pizza (traumatizing, I know). We had two TVs, two Xboxes, and two fresh copies of Halo 2 still smelling of cellophane. The game improved upon its processor in so many ways, and still managed to keep the core of the game alive, something Halo 3 kinda sucked at. Of the trilogy, Halo 2 remains my favorite, and my high school buddies and I got together fairly regular to school each other over system link. Oh, and about that cliffhanger ending — suck it up and quit whining, n00bs. I thought it rocked.

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