Monday, March 23, 2015

The Best Games of My Lifetime - Part 1 - 1987

Hi there! I once thought about writing this in Finnish somewhere, but I guess I'll take this as practice and try to produce it in English here. The idea now, is to list the best games (in my humble opinion) from my lifetime, the best game of every year, starting from the year I was born; 1987. I'm trying to grab the European release dates, but there can be some errors, because I'm not always sure about these dates. When I wrote the first one in Finnish, I read that Castlevania (NES) was released in 1987 in Europe, but then I found out that it was really a year later. Oh well, maybe we'll hear about it more in the next part...maybe....

It will be a lot less confusing later on, when globalization took over and games are released almost on the say day! Think about waiting for 2 or 3 years for the localization....

The Best Game of 1987


1987 was a brilliant year for gaming, I couldn't ask a better year to be born....or well, maybe it would have been better if I was maybe in a playing age rather than a newborn. Aaanyway, a great year! Some of the great games and series that started in 1987 somewhere around the globe were Contra (Arcade), Double Dragon (Arcade), Metal Gear (MSX2), Street Fighter (Arcade), Mega Man (Famicom/NES), Final Fantasy (Famicom), Leisure Suit Larry (PC), Phantasy Star (Sega Mark III) and Maniac Mansion as the first game to use the SCUMM engine! Thanks to Aric Wilmunder and Ron Gilbert at Lucasarts, we now had a system which would later be used to make some of the greatest games in the world possible! There are so many things where George Lucas has influenced my life indirectly...

So what's the best game?

The Nintendo Entertainment System also came out in 1987 in Finland. I probably should ask my parents when they got it, but it was probably around 1990-1991 that we got it, and there was one game that I liked to play with my mom.

As we've ruled out Castlevania, that came the following year, and looking at the European releases, I'll have to go with Kid Icarus, as the best game of 1987. I have many fond memories playing it, usually with my mom. We had some notebook full of passwords and probably even maps of the dungeons. It was always so exciting to get to the dungeons, and the bosses were heart-pounding. The music in the levels had a really adventurous feeling in them, the dungeon theme really felt like we were exploring some mystical place, and even though it sounds more Egyptian than Greek now that I listen to it, it didn't really matter as a kid. Listen to the adventurous Underworld Theme.

The game has some really difficult platforming, jumping around, and it can be frustrating when the screen scrolls and the platform that was safely there just a second ago, was swallowed by some unholy darkness and you miss a jump and get consumed by the same demonic darkness. And then start the level over. Lots of trial and error, but eventually you get better in anything you practice, and I got through the game all by myself. I do remember that I eventually even got the good ending...because I remember that Pit transformed into an adult. And got the girl! Hooray!

Maybe I should have picked The Legend of Zelda, which is by far the better game objectively, but this is a really subjective listing, and truth be told, even as a quite huge Zelda fan, I've never played the first one that much.

So that's it. One down, 28 to go. I wonder what games were released in the year I turned a year old. Maybe we'll find that out....eventually. Don't know if it'll take me a month or a day, but I'll try to write this thing to the end.

Please let me know about your pick for the best game of 1987 in the comments. If I was going by the North American released, I would have said Castlevania, and if I was in Japan I'd probably say Final Fantasy. So there.

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