10 Games that defined YOUR childhood


#1

Its quite easy to come up with a “top 10” games list for a decade or system, we have the luxury of the internet at our finger tips, but for many of us growing up we had to make do with magazine reviews and word of mouth. Getting hold of a game was also an issue as we were pretty much limited to what we could buy locally or what we might find while on holiday (game boy multicarts!) Games where also expensive compared to today, I remember NES games costing £30 and SNES/Mega Drive/Genesis games being £40-50 over 30 years ago, this meant that games where something of a premium (unless you were rich) Looking back, many of the games I played haven’t aged well or where pretty poor to begin with but we had to make the best of what we had, lending games at school or renting from stores, games that defined my childhood, games that many people wouldn’t consider, games that may never make any other top 10, but I played them to death and love them still today.

  1. Punchy (Commodore 16) The very first game I ever owned, basic left, right & jump controls used to jump hazards and across gaps.
    Punchy%202

  2. Granny’s Garden (BBC Micro) At primary school UK (ages 4 -11) we had 1 computer for the whole school, yes just 1, if you where lucky you would get about 45 minutes in a single school year to use the computer (in pairs) just as you started to progess through the puzzles in Granny’s garden (the only game available) your turn would be over. As such nobody at school got anywhere in the game and it remains a frustration to this day.
    Granny

  3. Golden Axe (Sega Master System) One of the first console games I owned, I asked for it for my 12th Birthday, I remember my mum asking me to pass her cigarettes from her handbag about a week before my birthday and seeing it inside, (longest week of my life!) we thought the graphics were stunning! (at the time)
    Golden

  4. Solomon’s Key (NES) Stumbled across this by accident in a toy shop, it was in the glass case that held the very limited number of NES games, my brother had some birthday money to spend and we liked the cover art, we played it to death & I remember leaving the NES switched on for 4 days so we could continue our game, we never completed it.
    solomon-s-key-usa

  5. Turtles Mutant Hero Turtles (NES) During the ninja turtles craze (they had to be renamed “hero” in the UK because ninja was a naughty word!) of the early 90’s we played this game for months on end, when you lost a life we would pass the controller to the next person and continue to play. at one point in my life I knew almost every level in detail and position/spawn of each enemy.
    Turtles

  6. Super Mario World (SNES) We had to endure what seemed like an eternity to play this game, we had months of screen shots in magazines as the Super famicom launched in Japan in 1990 & US in 1991, we couldn’t play until the SNES was released in Europe early 1992, we were not disappointed and the step up from the NES was incredible.
    total

  7. Street Fighter 2 - The World Warrior (SNES) The first SNES Game I owned, it came bundled with my SNES which I received for Christmas 1992, we spent hours learning all the moves and holding tournaments in our attic, we believed all the playground rumours thats pressing certain button combinations on the title screen would unlock the bosses as playable characters!
    Street

  8. Championship Manager (Commodore Amiga) Its fair to say I spent far too long playing this game, I had a copy made from a friends copy which would mysteriously corrupt disk 3 on a weekly basis, which meant I had to make more and more copies and always have a backup to hand as not being able to play this game would have been serious to me at the time! :expressionless:
    disk2

  9. Lemmings (Commodore Amiga) I played this game & the Holiday/Christmas Lemmings 93 & 94 on Amiga and I had the SNES version (which was a very good version) there’s something incredibly nostalgic when I hear the music or the “oh no” sound effects, one of my all time favourites and still just as playable today.
    Lemmings

  10. Mariokart 64 (N64) Probably the final game of my childhood, played it constantly for years afterwards, played this with girlfriend at the time (now my wife) and we both love the game, I don’t currently own a copy but fingers crossed for an N64 mini in the near future (so I can beat her at it all over again :sunglasses:)
    MK64%202

Thanks for taking the time to listen to the ramblings of an old man, what games defined your childhood?


#2

Oh this is such a great idea and I want to give it the proper post it deserves !


#3

What an odd concept.


#4
  1. Super Mario Bros - Probably what started my addiction. I used to wake up early as a little kid to play it on Saturday morning before cartoons came on. Very distinct memories of sitting with my dad in front of that old CRT while Mom was cooking dinner in the kitchen also.

  2. Legend of Zelda - I really never had a lot of patience to sit with the family and watch movies, because I just figured it was more fun to play what was on the tv than just watch it. I had no idea what the hell I was doing in Zelda, but I remember sneaking off at night and playing the game upstairs when I got bored of the tv. And for some reason those damn snakes in the dungeons scared the shit out of me every time, and I’d come running back downstairs.

  3. Mario 2 - first game where I would play and find secrets on my own. It meant a lot to make those discoveries as a child. I’d take the cartridge over to friends’ houses and show them what I found.

  4. Street Fighter 2 - I would be absolutely mesmerized by this game wherever I went, and it was set up in just about every restaurant, convenience store and shopping mall. I wasn’t tall enough to really reach the control panel, I remember standing in crowded arcades watching older kids play on the extra displays that were setup on top of the cabinets. So it kind of remained elusive until the SNES version came out. We played that game so much, and eventually I just got way too good for the neighborhood kids.

5,6,7,8 - Mortal Kombat, Super Metroid, LttP, DKC - I group these together just because I have very fond memories of riding bikes to friends houses with these cartridges and staying up all night trying to beat them. And talking about them at the lunch table the next week. I would wear my ugly preorder DKC shirt to school as often as possible, even wearing it once for a school photo. My mom was not pleased with that.

9 - Tekken 3 - As I got better at fighting games, the internet came along and fulfilled that yearning for in depth knowledge that I needed, and Tekken and all its mechanics was just the right game at the right time. I had played T2, but this game allowed me to actually go to the arcade and beat lines of people, just like I had seen older kids do when I was younger. It also taught me how to lose a lot. Unfortunately, arcades were dying at this point, I was getting older, friends were more into girls and drugs than games, and I’d say that pretty much coincided or caused the end of my childhood.

10 - N64 wrestling games - I’d play these with my younger cousins and it kind of took me back to the old days, so I’ll list it.


#5

When I was five my dad brought home a second hand NES and a stack of games he bought from a co-worker. This was roughly 1988. This literally changed my life. Not only did it blow my mind as a kid but it started me on a the road to a deeper interest in art and eventually a career making video games.

  1. Mega Man 2 - I hadn’t ever seen anything like this. The artwork was bright and beautiful, the game was incredibly challenging but you wanted to keep going to figure out how to master a stage and then the boss. I played it so much I had literally memorized passwords for specific stages. “Mega Man” Also kinda looked like a little boy and it was awesome to see a sort of kid-hero defeating bosses and growing more powerful. Tons of playground talk around this one. I spent hours drawing Mega Man levels and making paper bag mega man Boss armors for myself.

  2. Metroid - I didn’t know that a game could be such an open adventure. The go wherever you want, find power ups, open new areas game play loop was such a step above most other games of the era. That game created a sense of space like nothing else I had played at the time. Zebes felt like a real place with its own eco system. The music was key in creating the atmosphere as well as the sense of adventure that came with its exploration. One of the most important games I’ve ever played.

  3. Double Dragon - One of my favorites of the era. Loved playing it with my dad. I wasn’t aware of beat em up’s as a genre so this was something special. It also helped ignite my interest in martial arts as well. The graphics were awesome for the time and the combat felt deep and complex. The fact that you could gain new skills as you progressed was really cool. and learning when to use different moves was a great part of the fun. My dad also smashed two controllers fighting the Abobbos that popped out of the wall at the end of stage 3. I almost always ended up getting a game over int he cave with the falling stalagmites.

  4. Super Mario Bros. - What can I say about this one that hasn’t already been said. It’s where I cut my gaming teeth. I loved the bright colors and the music. It was a great game to get the hang of the eye-hand coordination that I was going to need to keep playing other games. There was a lot of playground talk about this one too. My mind was blown when I discovered the hidden mushroom in world 1-1 and the first warp-zone. It took me years to finally beat this game and I felt incredibly accomplished when I finally did. This was another one that I spent hours coming up with my own levels for. I think I even sent a letter to Nintendo telling them about my levels and how they should do them in the sequel.

  5. Excite Bike - This game was simple, bright, colorful, and fun. I can remember getting up early before my parents to sneak out and play this in the morning. I couldn’t read when we first got the Nintendo so I liked that I didn’t have to do any reading to play Excite Bike.

  6. Blaster Master - This is one of the first games that I got for a birthday after my dad brought home the NES and that first stack of games. Amazing graphics, great music, and a deep sense of place that facilitated exploration. Plus a jumping tank! I mean, come on. Jumping Tank! I don’t think I’ve ever beaten this one to this day. The fact that there was no save system really hampered this game overall but I didn’t care as a kid. I just wanted to spend time in that world.

  7. Super Mario Bros. 3 - My dad brought this one home on Valentine’s Day one year. Great excuse dad! I couldn’t believe the graphics and level of polish on this game. It felt like a return to form after Mario Bros. 2. (Although I also liked that game.) I loved that each world had its own theme and that each level felt entirely unique. There were so many cool secrets to learn too! Dropping behind the white blocks, warp whistles, etc. I played this game for years and felt like a boss when I finally beat it in the third grade.

  8. Mega Man 6 - I never had a 16 bit console as a kid and I got Mega Man 6 for a birthday. I played the crap out of this one! I already loved Mega Man 2 and 3 and didn’t even know that this one was out when I happened upon it at a Toys R’ Us. Needless to say I snapped it up and spent a lot of time learning the stages and bosses. I also thought the new Jet pack power up was awesome.

  9. Kirby’s Adventure - Beautiful, deep, and expansive. What a great late era NES game. Got this for a birthday in the 4th grade. I spent a ton of time with this one learning all of its secrets. I eventually got 100% and felt very accomplished when I did. I remember drawing my own Kirby Comics.

  10. TMNT 2: The Arcade Game - Mom brought this one home from a garage sale. Awesome! I loved playing this game 2-player with my friends. The Shredder fight was really tough but it felt awesome to finally get there and beat him and Krang! This game was absolutely gorgeous and a true feat on the NES.

Runner Ups:

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link - Borrowed this one from a friend and played a ton of it. Loved how deep, dificult and complex this game was. I wasn’t really aware of Fantasy as a genre as a kid and this helped introduce me to it. It helped me transition into that kind of game since it had its side scrolling levels that I pretty much expected in a video game by this point. Circled back to it years later when I started collecting NES games. Finally beat it legit in college.

Abadox: The Deadly Inner War - I got this for Christmas is second grade along with a Game Genie. I asked for it because I saw an advertisement for it in a comic book and loved the weird alien horror look. I had no idea that it was a shmup or that that was even a genre. It was hard as balls even with a game genie so I’d come back around and play it periodically. What a cool concept. Fighting inside a giant alien organism/world!

There were of course many more games down the road that were influential on me but the 8-bit era was the foundation upon which my love for the hobby was built. Cheers!


#6

Video Games during my childhood was a medium filled with mystery and intrigue as I wasn’t growing up a region that was officially recognised by the video game companies at the time. Well, yes officially PAL was the region but where I grew up independant sellers would import and sell consoles and video games from Japan and USA which were far cheaper than PAL versions officially sold at big department stores. It was a strange time but exciting due to the various different box arts and versions of games available. The Game Boy was the first console I owned given to me by my grandmother for a birthday with 3 games. My initial encounter with a video game handheld was sweet but short as I had managed to damage the device after owning it for less than 6 months. It wasn’t until a year later that my mother found it full of dust in a drawer and decided to get an engineer at work to take a look at it. Thankfully, that person was able to fix it and - to my delight - my love and passion for video games re-ignited. I took better care of it and invested in playing games on the device as well as engaging in conversations with kids in schools and trading game cartridges. After a few years, my parents gifted me a a bootleg NES console which enabled me to appreciate NES consoles as well as playing games on a TV screen…in colour! My uncle had a proper looking famicom (we called it the family computer) and its obscure shape with creme and red filled my childhood with glee every time it was brought out of the cupboard and hooked up to the TV. Seeing my excitement, my parents went to the store and picked up a NES Bootleg console that I would later realise in my life replicated the physical appearance of the purple fugly NTSC Super Nintendo. Nonetheless, I was so happy to have my own console with unlimited access to various NES games. It wasn’t until the late 90s that my father bought me an N64 as a welcoming home gift after moving away from the country I initially resided in, to his disappointment he wanted me to get a PlayStation as it was the more popular console with a stronger fanbase in the UK but nope! After numerous monthly issues of GamesMaster were purchased studying the games available on PlayStation, N64 and the upcoming Dreamcast, I decided that the N64 was the right console for me. As well as a close friend (the only other kid that had an N64 in my class) and a subscription to the Official Nintendo Magazine, the N64 almost became another part of me up until the end of my childhood.

Here are the games that defined my childhood

1.) Hudson’s Adventure Island II - Game Boy

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first level song and seeing Master Higgins with his stumpy legs running franticly with that uncertain look on his face. Hudson’s Adventure Island II was the first game my parent’s implemented the “Complete the game to get another one” rule and so I was glued to that small green puke Game Boy Screen all day and night trying my hardest to beat the game. I came close…I recall getting to the final stage but I never managed to finish it. A fun great game with so many secrets and worlds…plus, you can skateboard in it! Pretty cool.

2.) Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 - Game Boy

Super Mario Land was my second Mario game (First one I owned. Was first introduced to Super Mario Bros on my uncle’s famicom) and it was a fantastic one at that too. It’s music was just so catchy! Never really tried Super Mario Land 2 but recalled loving the way it looked when trying it on my friend’s Game Boy. You can actually see Mario and not some tiny dot. The game was easier on the eyes. I needed this game! But when I asked to get “The new mario game” I was handed “Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3”. Wtf is this? Wario!? The box art sanked my heart but the gameplay made up for it. From start to finish, Wario Land was one of the most pleasant surprises I ever encountered on the Game Boy. One thing I am disappointed with is that I traded my cartridge into GameStation 10 years ago and I’ve yet to buy another copy to replace it :frowning: I really should.

3.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back from the Sewers - Game Boy

Alongside Tetris and Pac Man, TMNT II was the game I got given on my birthday when I recieved my Game Boy for the first time. Much like every other kid, TMNT was my shit 24/7. TMNT lunchbox, TMNT VHS tapes, TMNT figures, TMNT t-shirts, TMNT everything. And the Game Boy game successfully fulfilled all I ever wanted from a turtles video games. Play as all 4 turtles during 1 sitting (switching between them) is such a great idea to utilise all the characters, graphics were impressive for a Game Boy Title, The theme song and soundtrack sounded epic. You got all the bad guys in it. This game had it all! One funny thing I recall was trying to beat it one night during a weekend and randomly calling my old neighbour’s big brother (who proudly mentioned about completing the game) asking how did he get past a particular level. What was awkward about the call was the fact that we moved away more than 2 years ago and we never conncted since moving. “Hello? Uh hi! How did you get past that part in TMNT II? You said you completed the game 2 years ago. I’m stuck”

4.) Street Fighter II - Arcade
There were many arcade games that defined my childhood. My grandmother stayed 5 minutes away from one so I frequented it whenever I visited. That arcade eventually turned into a LAN Internet Cafe where I’d play numerous sessions of Counter Strike surrounded by smoking teenagers cussing whenever they died. But back to the arcades, there was Killer Instinct and Crazy Taxi, Mortal Kombat and Tekken, Hydro Thunder and TMNT. All great games that I fondly remembered but Street Fighter II was the one that resonated with me. This machine was EVERYWHERE. And kids were playing it. teens were playing it. There was a machine next to the front door of a large supermarket and I’d always hear the sound effects whenever I was with my mom grocery shopping. I decided to approach a machine huddled around by a bunch of kids. Following protocol, I placed the coin on the machine and waited my turn. “Pick E-Honda! He is strong!” the spectator kid told me. I had no idea who to pick so I decided to go for it. “Now Tap this button fast! Look! His hand is moving fast!”. He was right. I learned my first fight move in a fighting game. However, my swift defeat made me understand that I had a lot more to learn (not to mention a lot more money to lose in the process). Later on, Tekken would take over Street Fighter as the “Go-To” fighting game so I had the luxury of having the SF machines all to myself while everyone else crowded the Tekken machines.

5.) Captain Tsubasa Vol. II: Super Striker - NES
My first experience with a Sports RPG and I hated it. Couldn’t understand it. Couldn’t appreciate it. Couldn’t stand any forms of RPGs growing up. Wished it was a proper football game like FIFA. But I stuck with it as a kid and grew to appreciate it later on in life when I replayed it. This will always be the game where I wish I could tell my younger self to be patient and savour a game before immediately dismissing it. A truly unique sports game experience which can be extremely fun once you get your head around the mechanics.

6.) Super Mario Bros - NES
Not sure what to say about it given how popular it is but it was the first Mario game I was introduced to on a console. My cousins and I used to take turns playing it and we would try to have a race and see who would complete the game first. By learning all the secret shortcuts from word of mouth, I was able to complete the game much to the surprise of my cousins. My first ever completed game and with it a strong feeling of accomplishment. To this day, I always make an effort to complete SMB the same way I did back in the day just to see if I still got it. Last time I completed it in one sitting was at the Video Game Museum in Berlin last December. Paused it right before Mario lands on the Gate handle so the next person who approached the NES can have the chance to experience the end screen.

7.) Goldeneye & Perfect Dark - N64
The story modes were unforgettable and completing both titles felt rewarding. But what defined Goldeneye and Perfect Dark were the multiplayer. My friends and I would constantly play random deathmatches, put some cheats on to spice things up, then play more random deathmatches, and once we’re bored with that we used to create our own game-types like Terminator (put one character on Invincible and see which other player survives the longest) or The Wild West (meet at a corrider, approach each other back to back, literally put on the Good Bad Ugly theme song, walk a few steps ahead but still facing away from opponent, stop, wait until a specific moment in the theme song and then turn around and blast each other. Last one alive wins). There were other game modes we played but those two were the ones I vividly recall. You know, when you’re a kid you really have the time and imagination to try cool shit and I’m somewhat proud we were able to create our own game modes that entertained us both on Goldeneye and Perfect Dark.

8.) WWF WrestleMania 2000 - N64
My friend and I would stay up late at sleepovers playing this game over and over and over. Customising characters and creating PPVs. Multiplayer was where this game was at and I got my money’s worth with this title. When my friend bought a cheat cartridge, we spent all night trying out various cheats and glitches on WWF WrestleMania 2000 only to find out that we unlocked Blood in the game (Blood was removed in PAL versions of the game). You should’ve seen the reactions on our faces when we discovered that a - once removed - was reinstated accidentally thanks to a cheat cartridge. We were so happy.

No Mercy is the better game but WrestleMania 2000 is still special in its own way.

9.) Beetle Adventure Racing - N64
Got it alongside Star Wars Racer when I was given my N64 and Beetle Adventure Racing will be the reason why I hate Star Wars Racer on N64. Beetle was such a fun colourful racer. It was the game my sister and I played over and over. For a licensed title, it was really good! My underrated gem on the N64.

10.) Super Smash Bros. Melee - GameCube
My friends and I used to go to his house every lunchtime during school days to play SSBM. Because of the small time window, we’d turn sudden death mode on and have the winnder determined by how many kills a player can get. Fun, fast-paced and so annoying. We would always rip on the player that got “Whipping Boy” at the end of every session. So much hilarity and close calls.

Notable mentions: All the DOS Games I played. Karateka. Moraff’s Revenge. All that good stuff. Shout out to the Big Blue Disk Magazine and all their free games.


#7

Going to cap childhood at 15 for simplicity reasons. Mostly because at 16 I got a part time job and a whole whack of extra games and consoles.

  1. Super Mario Bros 3 – played it a ton on our NES, it was one of the few good games that we had, gave me a lifelong love of Mario
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – after the NES the Genesis was the only home console we had until 2001 so I got a lot of playtime into Sonic 2 for the same reasons as Mario 3
  3. Pokemon Blue – because I was a kid at the right age and saved up just enough to buy a Game Boy Pocket and this game. I ended up playing it over and over until eventually I got
  4. Dragon Warrior Monsters – Game Boy and eventually Game Boy Color became my life for a few years. Pokemon led me to this game, and this game led me into a ton of other Dragon Warrior games that I still have a huge attachment to today
  5. Pokemon Silver – Yeah so I really like GBC and this era of Pokemon was just unforgettable to me. Everything was back and better than ever, just like Pokemon Blue I couldn’t stop replaying it, transferring over Dragonites and Tyranitars to new saves
  6. Dragon Warrior 1+2 – there’s a bit of a theme here
  7. Dragon Warrior 3 – Yeah definitely a theme
  8. Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 – OK so I got this, Dragon Warrior 3, and the following game on the same day. What a Christmas that was.
  9. Dragon Warrior 7 – after getting excited about all the GBC Dragon Warrior games and finding that there was one only on PlayStation I was so sad that I would never play it until Christmas 2001 when I got a PS1 and DW7. Proceeded to play this extremely long RPG on repeat for several years. To this day it’s my favourite game.
  10. Metal Gear Solid 2 – This is right at the end of the timeframe I arbitrarily set for myself. I got this game and MGS3 the same day and played both over and over again for a year or two. I just couldn’t get enough of them. Ultimately I think MGS2 is the better game so it gets the spot here.

#8

Yes, particularly given this forum auto jumps to where you already read up to :sweat_smile:


#9

My brothers friend had a copy of SF2 on Megadrive and he banned everyone from picking E.Honda, apparently his 100 hand slap was too powerful! he would turn the console off if you picked him, I remember picking E.Honda non stop for about 30 minutes while he kept reseting the game (I’m not one for giving in) until he was so angry he went home taking his game with him :joy:


#10

We banned Dhalsim because stretchy limbs were obviously unfair.


#11

Hahaha wow. That person must’ve hated E Honda from then on out.


#12

I’ve been trying to figure out the name of this game for a long time now and here it is!
Remember playing this at school and then bringing back home a 5.25" disc copy of it among some other software to use on the BBC micro I had access to.

In secondary school used to use the school library (and later computer room) to get on the computers during breaks. Was funny that the computers they had were running windows 3.1 and were “locked down” to a few select programs which included BBC Basic. I quickly learned that loading BBC Basic then entering the command *BYE exited BBC Basic to the DOS prompt and was then able to play games on them!

@Collz69: I don’t suppose you recall a edutainment math taxi game that was 2 players and you competed by calculating fares between destinations. I believe that and a few other edutainment games were the reason BBC Basic was installed in the first place on the newer Windows 3.1 machines.

Really good thread and finding it hard to compile the exact games that defined my childhood as it feels like some of the games that defined me as a “gamer” weren’t until after I had gained full time employment at 16.


#13

Typing “Call & BBC1” would perform a sound test, when we reached high school they still had BBC micro’s in the computer room (89/90) which we learned typing and word processing on, I remember inputting the sound test onto an entire room of them at least 20 machines and then ran around the room pressing enter to trigger them all at the same time, before making my escape :laughing:

Unfortunately I don’t remember the math game, my 2 goes of Granny’s garden were about the sum total of my computer education at primary school!


#14

I’m old, so childhood for me goes way back. Arcade games would define much of it, but I think it makes sense to limit my participation to home machines and the arcade conversions if applicable. In no particular order…

Turmoil - Atari 2600
I just loved the way this played. Fast, furious, unrelenting. It was a blast.

Asteroids - 2600
It was the first game I bought alongside the system and I played it for hours and hours.

Missile Command - 2600
That picture on the box? Yeah, always felt like that while playing it. My older brother and I got pretty damn good at it and could roll the score over.

Indy 500 - 2600
Ice racing mode. It was like racing sprint cars on dirt, which we still love to go see today.

Pole Position - Atari 800XL Computer
I adored the arcade game so getting to play this at home was fantastic. Cart version. Still own it (and all of these games save one…)

Robotron - Atari Computer
This came with a plastic mold that allowed you to put two atari joysticks in it and play the proper arcade way. IT. WAS. PHENOMENAL.

Ultima IV - Atari Computer
Cloth map. Metal ankh. Incredible books. It’s own language. Meditation. It was my entry into the real world of computer role-playing. Still own it.

Wizardry - Apple IIe
Played at a friend’s house since I never owned an Apple computer. I loved all the spells, the mapping, and the stats. I remember this game like I played it yesterday.

River Raid - 2600
Is there a better shooter from the era? That juxtaposition of the need for scoring and the need for fuel is the perfect tug of war between action and strategy. It’s one of the best games ever made IMO.

Combat - 2600
Multiplayer at its finest. We played this for hours and hours. A pack-in game that sold the console.


#15

This is mainly a list of defining firsts. There’s nothing here that’s obscure or unusual, since I mainly grew up with NES, N64, Game Boy, etc. I’m also going to cheat a little with the number of games listed.

1. Super Mario Bros.
My first game on my first console. I still remember dying repeatedly to the angry purse (Goomba) while trying to figure out hand-eye coordination and simultaneously(?!?) moving forward and jumping. Still holds up to this day despite what some may say! I’m grateful this was my first video game and not some wonky crap.

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
My second video game was a mistake purchase because my folks thought they were buying TMNT II: The Arcade Game which we had then recently played at a neighbor’s and were raiving about. Oh well! The first very difficult game I played. Like the OP, feels like I played this forever and it took an eternity to get to the ending, but it was probably no more than a year or two. Didn’t realize the game had a notorious reputation until 2000s Internet and the chatter on online forums.

3. The Legend of Zelda
This is still as infinitely replayable to me now as ever. My first tastes of LoZ was shortly after SMB and I could not make any sense of it. Rediscovering it years later, after browsing the library’s Internet, I tried to buy a copy at Funcoland but they denied me. They had a strict rule not to sell to kids… so I waited and went up to the register in step with a complete stranger and acted as if we were relatives. It worked. Having had no exposure to AlttP, it was this game (and Link’s Awakening) that had me beyond hyped for Ocarina of Time.

4. Super Mario Bros. 3
The pinnacle of the NES era. A massive adventure and well executed. I think it’s just about perfect and still sits very high on my best games ever list. We rented and borrowed this game so much before I bought my own copy around '96-'97.

5. Sonic 2 and Sonic 3/Knuckles
I played these sort of back to back and they served as my fondest memories of the fairly brief exposure I got of the 16-bit era during my childhood; sadly I only borrowed, never owned, 16-bit consoles while growing up.

6. Phantasy Star IV
My first proper traditional RPG. I was hooked and played and replayed the game so much. Also had not had much exposure to anime before this, so the anime-style cutscenes were a treat. PSIV is still my favorite video game soundtrack ever.

7. Super Mario 64
The best introduction to 3D gaming a 90s kid could ask for. Okay, I played Tomb Raider and Doom before I ever touched an N64, but you get the point. This game almost stands alone in evoking a unique feeling of joy, discovery and wonder (as cheesy as that sounds) that has rarely been recaptured in many years of gaming afterward.

8. Pokemon Red
I was immersed in the initial wave of Pokemon popularity: the TV show, the trading card game and of course the RPG. I was hooked like many other kids and obsessed over every detail and secret (real or made up). I myself was stunned that such a huge RPG with dozens of hours of content was available for a handheld. When I wasn’t playing, I was thinking about playing it.

9. Ocarina of Time
I waited years for this game, reading up everything I could in any gaming magazine I could get my hands on, and it lived up to and exceeded every single expectation. I’m not sure I ever again had that feeling of when I first played this game. I was still just young enough and a lot of what I was getting to experience in the gameplay was brand new to me, much like Super Mario 64. I think it’s aged a lot worse than Mario 64 (and especially after spending so much time with BOTW), but I still hold it in extremely high regard.

10. Age of Empires and Starcraft
Have to cheat again, because I played these back to back on our first home PC in 1999/2000 and the memories are closely tied together. AoE was a sublime offline experience, I could sit there and play for hours with that music and sound FX in my ears. God, that awesome MIDI music. Starcraft was when I went online for the first time and played my first nerve-wracking matches against other real players. And when I couldn’t hog up our dial-up I was constantly replaying the campaign, playing against the computer or messing around in downloaded maps and mini game mods… nonstop without a missed day for months.

Honorary mentions:
Super Smash Bros. Melee
I got this just past 17 which is my childhood cutoff. It was the final game I spent an enormous amount of time playing before officially reaching adulthood and starting college. So much fun and like some of the other entries, I couldn’t believe how jam-packed it was for the time. I only played with a few friends and never got into it competitively.

Zanac
My first shooter and a game I spent so much time playing I could no death clear with a massive number of lives at the end. I revisited this a couple years ago and I was happy to still get a kick out of it and do a decent job of finishing it.

Link’s Awakening, Super Mario Land 2 and Kirby’s Dreamland 2
I can’t end this list without mentioning these three, because I feel they were nearly as integral to my childhood portable gaming as Pokemon Red.

FFVI and Chrono Trigger
In my mind, these are my SNES counterparts to the fun I had with PSIV on Genesis. These are actually my favorite RPGs of the era but they aren’t on the main list since I played these well after Phantasy Star.


#16

Boy this is a tough one. Love the thread idea though!

I’m just going to post the list. I don’t think it needs to be explained much. They’re all games that easily speak for themselves and are fairly cliche choices.

  1. Super Mario Bros 3
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog 3
  3. Super Mario 64
  4. Legend of Mana
  5. Super Smash Bros. Melee
  6. Chrono Trigger
  7. Halo CE
  8. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  9. Pokemon Blue
  10. Marvel Vs. Capcom

#17

I’m not sure if I’ll make it to 10 but these are the games that mean the most to me and sticking with the theme of the thread I’ll keep it within my childhood.

In no particular order:

1.) DOOM

It’s hard for me to put to words how important DOOM is to me. I didn’t really have any consoles growing up and DOOM was my first real entry into gaming. Sure I had an NES years after the SNES was out and I eventually got a genesis (with fucking columns) but DOOM was where it was at for me. I may not have had any console games but I had DOOM and 2 networked computers and for that moment of time I was the coolest kid in school. Doom was also my entry into online gaming

Doom taught me how to use DOS commands , programming, modding and troubleshooting with computers. I owe alot of my interest in computers to DOOM.

2.) Quake

Quake was the first game I can remember playing competitively online. It’s the first time I can remember using IRC to find games and I’ll never forget all the losses I blamed on my ball mouse gunking up. At the tme I could never understand why everyone was so hyped up about Mario 64 and its “real 3d” graphics. I kept asking everyone if they had seen Quake!

3.) Diablo

The first Diablo game is very special to me because it was my entry into RPG’s and allowed me to create many great friendships at school. I remember playing it at a friends house and being hooked from the very first moment. I was able to borrow it and bring it home and my dad burned it for me with his cd burner ( a very rare device at the time). I sunk hundreds of hours into the game, maxed out every character and spent every weekend LANing it with friends.

4.) Diablo 2

Diablo 2 is hands down my favorite and most played game of all time. I’ve met several life long friends through D2 and I even met my wife through it. I sunk thousands of hours into this game, I could play it from dusk till dawn and never tire of it. I would wake up after my parents went to bed and sneak back before my dad got up for work. I’d sleep in class or skip and sleep in the library so that I’d be able to stay up agian the next night and play more D2. Even now I load it up once a year or so and I get completley lost in it’s world and gameplay loop.

5.) Warcraft 3

Wc3 is the first game that I took VERY seriously. All my friends in highschool were into it and we would LAN every weekend. It’s the first game that I travelled to Toronto and played in offline tournaments and tried to “go pro”

6.) Marvel VS Capcom 2

I had never played a VS game before but after a trip to the city and playing this at an arcade I had to have it. I bought a Dreamcast for dirt cheap off Ebay and burned myself a copy and my friends and I played it to death. I would drive into town for school with my dreamcast and convince a friend or two to skip with me and we would go to someones house to play mvc2. I would get suspended for skipping which in turn gave me more time to play mvc2. I still play the game regularily and 18 years later it’s still my go to game to play when I only have a short time to play.

I guess I don’t have 10 games that influenced me as a child.


#18

My video game childhood was defined by a ton of games. Arcade games were everywhere, I had hundreds of copied computer games, and my neighbourhood was a big network of borrowing and trading console games, too. It’s impossible for me to have just a definitive 10.

In order to help narrow the list down to something manageable, I will just include games that don’t show up much in threads like these. That means less arcade and Nintendo/Sega console stuff than a full list would have. And I will cut the time period off at when I started high school (Sep 1988).

Here are ten games plus ten runners up:

Hunt the Wumpus (TRS-80)

I thought it was cool that we got to use class time to play a game at school. Sure, it wasn’t as exciting as playing Combat on Atari on the couch with other kids but I still love the green glow of early monochrome monitors.

Yars’ Revenge (2600)

This strange bug shooter with its trippy cycling barrier drew me in.

Serpentine (VIC-20)

I had played several games before this but there’s something special about the first game you own. And it was a complete surprise as I didn’t expect a family friend to give me a VIC-20 for my birthday. It’s a neat maze chase game where you eat the tails of other snakes to grow. Q*bert on Vic gets a mention for being the first game I bought with my own money.

Lady Bug (ColecoVision)

Shortly after launch, my uncle bought a ColecoVision and I was mesmerized by this game. I remember not being allowed to play for very long. He was probably worried I would damage his expensive new machine. A few years later we would have epic football matches with 4th & Inches. He was the only adult I knew that had a large interest in video games.

TRON: Deadly Discs (InTV)

This made me appreciate what a keypad controller could accomplish when a game was designed around it. And being a big fan of the movie, it was nice to have a quality video game version.

Omega Race (VIC-20)

I learned this shooter inside and out. I consider it the best port by far as all the little glitchy things you can do (like tapping to stop or slide mid air) make it more strategic. I had other quality Vic shooters at the time like Defender and Astroblitz but those didn’t have the smoothness of Omega Race.

SubRoc 3D (Arc)

This seemed like a game from the future with its 3d imaging and scaling. It was the closest thing to VR in the early '80s.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin (InTV)

This and Gateway to Apshai kicked off an interest in RPGs.

Mario’s Cement Factory (tabletop)

I still remember coming inside after a cold day and having my numb hands break my high score by a huge margin. I wasn’t able to replicate that afterwards.

Archon: The Light and the Dark (C64)

Those two player battles against my cousin where it came down to just a goblin and a knight at the end are my favourite childhood gaming memories. A few years later we would play a lot of co-op/versus Fantasy Zone: The Maze.

Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory (C64)

This was the Super Mario Maker of its day, and I spent hours making levels for this platformer. The disk with the levels I made still works, too. I have no creativity left anymore but in retrospect the designs I did were actually pretty decent. They’re challenging but fair.

Aztec Challenge (C64)

This game made me really appreciate how music could enhance a game. The tracks would have increased tension as you ran to your goal. I also loved how the game had various perspectives (3d, overhead, side view). This was one of the games that really made me want a Commodore 64.

Pyramid (C64)

This was the first full fledged text adventure I delved into and I loved it. Soon afterwards I discovered Infocom did the genre much better with stuff like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. These were gateways towards graphic adventures (Maniac Mansion became my favourite one back then).

Lazy Jones (C64)

This was one of many C64 games I had that wasn’t officially released in my region (North America). The piracy scene allowed for European imports.

Super Arabian (FC)

Entering the world of Japanese imports - A friend of mine somehow managed to get this newfangled Famicom thing with Super Arabian and Ice Climber, platform games with lots of personality. It was an awesome experience. I had already been a huge Nintendo fan from arcade games like Donkey Kong, Punch Out, etc. and Game & Watch.

Space Crusher (handheld)

For a while, this was the only game I owned that would fit in my pocket. And it was pretty advanced for a portable shooter. I bought it on sale at Radio Shack and I still have it in working condition today.

World Karate Championship (C64)

Arcade Karate Champ introduced me to vs. fighting games but WKC was both a much improved game and I had it at home to spent lots of time with. I still want to visit that spot in Sydney, Australia.

Safari Hunt (SMS)

This pack in title was my first experience with a Sega console, and I was really impressed. I was a fan of light gun games and this was even more advanced and varied than the ones I loved in the arcade (Duck Hunt, Hogan’s Alley).

Trojan (Arc/NES)

This gets a double nod, one for being the most advanced arcade hack 'n slash game at the time, and then for the underrated NES port for introducing me to the new frontier of game rentals.

The Last Ninja (C64)

I was a huge ninja fan and loved games with them like them Datasoft’s Bruce Lee, Shinobi, Mastertronic’s Ninja, Fist: The Legend Continues etc… The Last Ninja beautifully brought the theme into action-adventure territory with incredible atmosphere, music, puzzles, etc… I was willing to overlook its time and error jumping sections.


#19

Oh man… I spent so much time with the VIC-20 version of Omega Race! Fantastic game…

Another one on the VIC-20 that’s the best port is Demon Attack.

You also mentioned the SMS and Safari Hunt… What a fantastic game. I still play it occasionally to this day!


#20

I prefer the Intellivision Demon Attack although it feels more like a sequel. It has the epic boss battle.