Chris Pressey's Favourite Video Games

Well, I figured that if Wouter could have such a page, and that since I've been told I have good taste in video games...

Gameplay impresses me far more than the graphics or sound effects or "realism" of the game. Music does has some influence on me though, in that an exceptional soundtrack will count for some extra points.

  1. Typhoon Thompson (Shoot-'em-Up, Amiga 500, mouse)

    Quite possibly the cutest game ever.

    Not actually a shoot-'em-up, as the author, Dan Gorlin, pointed out in his interview for Halcyon Days:

    I like it because it's unique, the gameplay is simple but infinitely variable, and for me the characters really come to life. Some people mistook it for a shooter at the time, but it's really more like a game of Blitzkrieg Chess. If you just start blasting you lose immediately. Each kind of enemy has moves it can make, and the player has his moves, but things never happen the same way twice. It's not high concept in the way that "Choplifter" is, but rather a kind of art piece.

  2. Pepper II (Maze-Runner, Arcade, joystick)

    To the untrained eye, it's a ripoff of Pac-Man: fill in all the regions instead of eat all the dots. But there's something about it that sets it apart — maybe it's that the action is more frenetic and somehow smoother (if slightly buggier,) maybe it's because the strategy is different (more emphasis on getting the power-ups just to stay alive.)

  3. City Connection (Platformer, Arcade, joystick and 1 button)

    A jumping minivan? Yes, a jumping minivan. And European police. And a devil-cat-thing with a checkered flag. And a balloon that warps you to other cities. How can you not love it?

    Not sure if it's truly a platformer, though.

  4. Katamari Damacy (Maze-Runner, Sony PlayStation, dual analog joystick)

    An extremely original game — sort of a four-dimensional maze game where the fourth dimension is scale. Rolling things up is also surprisingly satisfying and disturbingly addictive. To top it all off, the soundtrack can't be beat.

  5. Liquid Kids (Platformer, Arcade, joystick and 2 buttons)

    Very cute. Quite possibly a sequel or pseudo-sequel to The New Zealand Story, since you play what appears to be a platypus, and there are oblique references to TNZS (in one of the secret chambers, the platforms are arranged in the shape of the kiwi.)

  6. Lost Tomb (Shoot-'em-Up, Arcade, dual joystick)

    Gnarly game, but very hard. I especially liked the 3D effect on the intermediate levels with the staircases. (Even though it's awkward to control and far too easy to die on these.) The "word from our sponsor" interruptions are also quite cute.

    There is something coherent and unified about the design of this game that you don't often see in other games; you get the impression that it was crafted rather than simply produced.

    Well, maybe I'm overstating it a bit, but you get the idea.

  7. The New Zealand Story (Platformer, Arcade, joystick and 2 buttons)

    "This game is dedicated to all maze fans." However, that should not deter fans of kiwis, archery, flying machines shaped like bears' heads, laser pistols, magical fireball-belching staffs, and the like.

  8. CoolBoarders 2 (Sports, Sony PlayStation, D-pad and 6 buttons)

    The only sports game on my list, but that's probably because it doesn't really feel anything like sport. It's only barely realistic — for example, there is clearly no limit to the amount of spin you can impart to your jump. The longer you keep holding X and right, the more rotational velocity you'll have when you catch air. Whee! And it has another soundtrack that can't be beat, too.

  9. Super Monkey Ball 2 (Maze-Runner, Nintendo GameCube, analog joystick)

    I didn't think I'd like this one, since I really don't like those wooden mazes that you tilt with the two dials — which is essentially what this game is. But somehow it manages to be fun. Especially when you start barrelling down a spiral, completely out of control. The party games I could mostly do without, with the exception of racing, which is at least as fun as the main game.

  10. Llamatron (Shoot-'em-Up, Amiga 500, joystick and 1 button)

    Fast-paced, psychedaelic, mindless fun, like most Jeff Minter games. Basically a clone of the arcade game Robotron, but with shaggy, smelly quadrupeds. And cans of Coke. And Mandelbrot sets...

    Llamatron was written for the Amiga 500, but I only ever played a version for the IBM PC compatible, and apparently this an erstaz version, although I do not recall where I read that.

  11. Fall Down (Platformer, Atari 2600 VCS, joystick)

    A retrogame I recently discovered where two players, starting at the top of some multi-floored structure, race to fall down to each next lowest level; the first to fall through a floor captures it, and the player who captures the most floors wins. Strangely addictive in spite of (or possibly because of) its simplicity; there is a large element of luck, since you don't know where the holes are going to be in upcoming floors, but also an element of strategy, since the floors are low-friction and you carry momentum, and a lot of just frantic fun running-around action.

  12. Cloak and Dagger (Shoot-'em-Up, Arcade, dual joystick)

    There's something that's always attracted me about being able to shoot out bits of wall. The boxes and conveyor belts hold a similar draw. Not sure if I can put my finger on exactly what it is, though.

See Also