What games impacted you the most in your twenties?

Playing through Shenmue again with the re-release has made me think of gaming back in my twenties. We often see threads for games that impacted us in childhood, so here’s one for early adulthood.

What games impacted you most in your twenties?

Here are some of mine in approximate order of when I played them, starting at age 20:

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (SNES)
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I turned 20 in November of 1995 and this was my birthday present. Everything about the game was pure joy (except baby Mario’s crying). Nintendo finally got creative with the boss fights in a Mario game; that was an area I thought was previously lacking. I also won an invitation from Nintendo to a Yoshi’s Island unveiling event around this time. It was cool but it felt like I was the oldest non-parent there.

Lunar: Eternal Blue (Sega CD)
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Even after recently playing through RPGs like Phantasy Star IV and Chrono Trigger, Lunar 2 impressed me with its use of CD technology. Unfortunately my Sega CD broke while in the middle of playing it in early 1996. At least I had already experienced games like Sonic CD and Snatcher.

Resident Evil (Playstation)
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I loved my new Playstation system and the launch era titles but Resident Evil was the first game on it to really blow me away. It took the Alone in the Dark style to another level. Trying to play it without a memory card took the survival part of survival horror to an extreme, though.

Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)
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I had wanted a 3d Mario since the sprite scaling days of Galaxy Force in the late '80s. The day had finally come and I wasn’t disappointed. A friend of mine rented the console right after the Japanese N64 launch.

Quake (PC)
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As a huge fan of Doom, I was impressed to see the concept expanded with full 3d and mouse look.

Tomb Raider (Playstation, PC)
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Having played games like Prince of Persia, Out of this World, and Flashback in my teens, I was excietd to have a quality one in 3d. I totally disagree with people saying this hasn’t aged well or that the remake makes it obsolete. The lack of handholding and feeling of getting lost in the caves still does it for me in a way few exploration based games do.

Twisted Metal 2 (Playstation)
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This was the “get drunk and play with casual gamer friends in my university days” game. Good times.

Waverace 64 (Nintendo 64)
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While nervously trying to kill time before the first date with my future wife in late '96, I played this on display at EB. I was fascinated with the water physics and dream-like atmosphere.

NiGHTS into Dreams (Saturn)
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It was pretty awesome playing Christmas NiGHTS on Christmas Day 1996 when I got my Saturn, not to mention the bundled games of Sega Rally, Virtua Fighter 2, Daytona USA, and Virtua Cop. I was glad to see Sonic Team take a break from Sonic to try something new and unique.

Shinobi Legions (Saturn)
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The live action stuff was cheesy as hell, and the controls lacked the refinement of the Genesis games. But as a huge Shinobi fan, I still felt that this was a great game in the series. I liked how it had a greater focus on defense than previous Shinobi games.

Red Alarm (Virtual Boy)
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I bought my VB on clearance in early 1997 for $30 CAD and bought most of the system’s games cheap soon afterwards. For some reason, EB had a bunch of Japanese copies of games, even ones that had North American releases. Headaches aside, I loved being absorbed in the VB’s red 3d world. Red Alarm was the greatest on it but it brought me back to the vector arcade era.

Arcade’s Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 1 (Playstation)
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I spent a lot of time in the late '90s expanding my classic gaming exposure with emulation and compilations. This collection stood out not just to relive Atari games of my childhood but more importantly to finally play the arcade version of Battlezone I missed out on. I was amazed it originally came out in 1980.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Playstation)
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There was some fear at the time that 2d games would die out but we ended up getting one of the best ones ever in 1997. I also finally acquired Rondo of Blood on PC Engine CD in that era and it was the best traditional Castlevania I had played.

Elemental Gearbolt (Playstation)
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I thought its predecessor, Project: Horned Owl, was underrated, and Gearbolt was an overall improvement. The handdrawn sprites, orchestral soundtrack, and fantasy theme made this stand out in the light gun genre.

Vandal Hearts (Playstation)
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I wasn’t big on SRPGs but this one really clicked with me.

Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn)
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I was a fan of the Panzer Dragoon shooters but Saga took the franchise to new heights. This still stands out for its art style, battle system, and replayability. It’s just a shame so few people got to play it.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64)
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While I find its fanboys obnoxious, I don’t let them diminish the game for me. I loved the series since the first NES game and this was an excellent evolution in 3d action-adventures.

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (Playstation)
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Metal Gear Solid hogged most of the stealth game hype in 1998 but I felt Tenchu and Thief were superior games from a gameplay standpoint making a more full use of 3d space and having more freedom to tackle situations.

Thief: The Dark Project (PC)
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System Shock (PC)
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I had been meaning to play System Shock 1 for years and finally got to it like a week before the sequel came out. Despite the fact that it already looked ancient in the 3d accelerated world of 1999 and major advancements in FPS like Half-Life, it quickly became my favourite first-person game. I loved the mix of genres and SHODAN was the perfect villain. System Shock 2 was also incredible and felt different enough with the added RPG class elements and survival horror gameplay.

The Last Express (PC)
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This felt so ambitious, a rotoscoped point and click adventure with a real time clock affecting events. It was like Shenmue before Shenmue in some ways.

Xenogears (Playstation)
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Like with many people, that story drew me in.

Unreal Tournament (PC)
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My most played online multiplayer game by a good margin. The map designs were amazing. Prior to release, I was way more anticipating Quake III but I didn’t end up as addicted to that.

D/Generation (Amiga CD32)
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I had been intrigued by this cyberpunk action-adventure since its original 1991 release. When I finally did play it, it lived up to what I hoped with its mix of action, stealth, and puzzles.

Deus Ex (PC)
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Still my favourite game of all time. Never had moment to moment choices in a game felt so important.

Lords of Thunder (TurboGrafx CD)
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This was notable for me because it was a game I really wanted in the 16-bit era (I loved Gate of Thunder) but it disappeared from stores fairly quickly. It was the first game I bought off ebay, and that opened a door for buying classics online that were hard to find locally.

Jet Grind Radio (Dreamcast)

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This was just so stylish, intense, and challenging. Newcomers seem to hate it because it has a learning curve and requires you to actually make jumps instead of the game automatically landing you safe.

A Mind Forever Voyaging (PC)
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It had been ages since I played a pure text adventure so I decided to delve into one of the acclaimed Infocom classics I hadn’t played before. This one stood out in the genre with its atypical design of “recording” events instead of more traditional puzzles.

Shenmue (Dreamcast)
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Shenmue came out in English the day before I turned 25. I will just stop there before the list gets even bigger. There were some games that came out in the time period above that I wasn’t really into but became a huge fan later (Planescape: Torment, Fallout 1 and 2).

3 Likes

Civ V, Skyrim, Mario 3D World…

(you are way, way older than me)

I love this thread idea and I want to come back to this.

I was still in my late teens when the PS1 & N64 came out. I need to look up the games and the years they came out to see if the match when I think they did.

20s is a long time. Pretty much the whole Gamecube/PS2 to mid Wii/PS3 eras for me. In that time my favourite games were probably:

Wind Waker
The original open world adventure. Magic.

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
(arcade version was technically a bit early but I didn’t play it until the Dreamcast version)
To this day the best fighting game ever made. Hand-crafted to perfection.

Metroid Prime
I remember a contemporary review which said “it’s like they took the best game from five years from now and released it today”

It was like an impossible combination of quality old-school game design that wasn’t afraid to ‘be a game’, with modern tech and design to create something new. Atmospheric, clever, sublime.

Due to Nintendo stopping having top tech after the Gamecube, this is also one of the last times (along with F-Zero GX) that they had a game with the actual top tech in the business. It holds up vastly better than contemporaries like Halo today.

Zero Mission
Another design masterpiece, the best of the 16-bit design paradigm lives on in streamlined form. One of the most stylish 2D games ever made and equal best remake with the Gamecube Resident Evil remake. And I loved the way it cleverly retro-refeneced Metroid 3, doubling back on how Metroid 3 originally referenced Metroid. And not just in overt ways, in very subtle level design ways too, it was inter-textual genius. The ONLY shame is the superb soundtrack being suck on GBA audio hardware.

Osu Tatake Ouendan 1/2
Brilliantly designed, catchy music, stylish as hell and hilarious animu stories. The best ryhthm games ever.

Wii Sports
Brought the old-school arcade fun back to mainstream games. Hours and hours of fun with Tennis and Bowling, with noobs and veterans alike. Hidden depth in the controls means it wasn’t a kids game, you could get genuinely really good at it and have truly competitive play too.

Super Mario Galaxy
Brought the magic and scale back to Mario possibly missing since Mario 3. And that music…

New Super Mario Bros Wii
The most insane multiplayer sessions of all time. Seriously, of all games I’ve ever played, this is the game most likely to lead to murder.

A few other greats of that era - Viewtiful Joe, God Hand, Resident Evil 4, Sands of Time, Devil May Cry.

That op was incredible.

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You were in your 20s during the most innovative period in gaming.

I’ll post my list soon

1 Like

pheww…yeah, no one’s topping that OP

i was playing Shenmue II, Way of the Samurai, Metroid Prime, Metal Gear Solid 3, Katamari Damacy, RE4, Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door and a few others, but those are the ones that stuck with me.

Way of the Samurai is so overlooked. Had I continued my list past the first half of my 20s, I would have included it. I loved the little details (like that train area) and how open-ended it was in actual ways that mattered. The sequels never had the same impact on me.

I really want to play this on the VB. Here’s a really great read about it: http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2015/12/feature_the_making_of_red_alarm_the_virtual_boys_answer_to_star_fox

This is kinda sad for me, my twenties were almost entirely spent studying, so it was pretty much a backlog accumulating decade for me.

Having said that, the games I did get to play stand out because I had to choose wisely. I’ll post again with a list once I can check my dates at either end to make sure they all were actually in my twenties and not when I was 18-19 or past 30.

Great thread, and great OP!

When I hit my 20s, the 360/PS3/Wii generation was just getting into full swing. I was in university, and working at Blockbuster after class, so I was able to rent and play a lot of games. The 360 really was my goto then, but I had completely abandoned multiplayer. In my teens I played a ton of Counter-Strike online, along with other Half Life mods (Day of Defeat and Firearms mostly), and was pretty burnt out on multiplayer action.

It was all about the cinematic storytelling for me in twenties. Games like Bioshock, the Mass Effect series and the Uncharted games blew my mind, and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Funny enough, now that I’m out of my twenties, I find myself playing more multiplayer games. I have a specific game night each week scheduled between me and my buddies from high school, and we play Halo, Pubg, etc…

I turned 20 at the end of 1997 and in the following decade I went from being single to being married to being married with children so it’s fair to say my gaming experiences changed a lot.

In 1996 I paid over £1000 for a custom built “gaming” PC, can’t remember the specs but it had a pentium MMX processor :relaxed: and was hearing aid brown.
It was an obscene amount of money but I bought it to play the first game on my list Quake 2
I still can’t believe I spent that kind of money to play a game but I enjoyed it at the time.

Being single in late 90’s (UK) there was something of a men behaving badly culture (it was a TV show at the time, google it if you’re not from the UK) and we would often return home from the pub or nightclub having failed to secure
the company of a lady (this happened a lot :laughing:) and would spend the early hours playing 4 player split screen Goldeneye on my friends N64, I have really good memories of playing this game in paintball mode drunkenly missing each other, it sums up the time perfectly, the time just before the internet changed gaming forever.

A little while later I met my girlfriend (now wife) and we spent many hours playing Mariokart 64 (she still thinks she’s better than me and when she loses, she still blames the controller) :wink:

The last console I bought in the 90’s was my Dreamcast and I too was absorbed by Shenmue I didn’t know but my girlfriend had bought it for me for Christmas 1999, she was pretty annoyed when I came home with a copy I bought for myself! I took my copy back and waited patiently for Christmas Day, I completed the game at about 7pm on the eve of the millennium, which left me a few minutes to get ready and go out to welcome in the 21st century.

A couple of years later we bought our first home and I had my first internet connection, 56k dial up provided by freeserve! I had moved back onto PC but still had my Dreamcast ChuChu Rocket was the first online game I ever played, I remember running the phone cord from my phone socket in the hallway and across the living room to my Dreamcast, much to my wife’s dismay. I also played a lot of C&C tiberian sun
Towards the end of my 20’s I had a Gamecube and an original Xbox, but with a new baby it seems a bit of a blur now, I remember playing many games but priorities change and I don’t think anything stood out for me from that time.
The last console of my 20’s was my Xbox 360 and my stand out game was Lost Planet It is my favourite online game of all time, not because it’s a particularly good game but because of the laughter with my friends, I have so many stories about this time but being screamed at by a very angry Irish man as we repeatedly killed him and danced on his grave is the stand out one.

TLDR: starts 20’s by paying £1000 for beige PC, gets drunk, meets wife, completes Shemmue has children, ends 20’s being shouted at my angry man on xbox live.