Required Reading

As opposed to starting with my ideas I think it’s best to start with the work of others. These are sites and games which I feel that all people should play, and will probably will be referenced but not actually explained, partially because so many people have dedicated enough to each game, book or site. Games don’t have to be finished though, just played enough to get the ‘gist’ of whats good about it. The games in this list are mostly one’s that you would know, I’ve tried to avoid anything obscure as they need all the articles they can get.

This list is not the final one, and is a work in progress, but the essentials should get through.


David sirlin

Mainly looking at Playing to win, multilayer balance and single player games. There is lots to find out from Sirlin, and I respect quite a lot of his ideas, although his ideas are skewed from a SF2 perspective I fear (and mine will be from a Plaformer/RPG background with a very healthy respect for fighters).

Trigger Happy

One of the best books about gaming I’ve read, a brief history, look at design, narrative, lots of cool stuff there, again some ideas I don’t agree with and Tomb Raider gets a little too much praise I think, but given the time thats fair enough.


NES/Master System Generation

Not a lot here that needs mentioning that wasn’t either out done or ported a lot of times later, but….

Ninja Gaiden, any, the Master system version is different to the nes ones btw.
Wonderboy 3, possibly the least known title on the list, but a great platform adventure that possibly paved the way for Castlevania Symphony of the night.
Megaman, any, I REALLY don’t care
Bubble Bobble

Snes/Megadrive (Genesis) Generation

The ‘golden age’ of gaming, it has most of the ‘classics’ people refer to, but overall it’s not golden for the reasons many claim it to be, but it does have a lot of important games.

Chrono Trigger, one of the best games it has to offer.
Final Fantasy 6, sure 4 and 5 were great, but I think 6 is a little more important.
Super Metroid, exploration, cool world, its really cool.
Secret of mana, cool RPG, everyone loves it, possibly more then it needs, but it is loved.
Megaman X (any), Megaman games fundamentally never did change, but somehow the games actually did evolve, so it is nice to look at the whole series.
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the past. The start of the modern zelda, and possibly the earliest now seriously playable one.
Super Mario World, great platformer, shaped to generation really.

Street Fighter 2, a classic fighter that shaped capcom forever.

Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Knuckles, a great paltformer of a different breed to Super Mario World.
Gunstar Heroes, great run ‘n’ gun game, Cartoon Contra and the start of Treasure.
Streets of Rage 2, quite possibly one of the best beat ’em ups ever, probably not, but possibly.

PSX/Saturn/N64 Generation

NiGHTs into Dream, hard to explain, easy to play.
Virtua Fighter 2, number doesn’t really matter,  just play one.

Final Fantasy 7, you do have to play it, just to know that it isn’t as good as everyone says, but it well paced.
Final Fantasy 9, my personal favourite FF
Chrono Cross, got rid of a lot of RPG mechanics that aren’t that great, unfortunately it sits in the shadow of it’s older brother Chrono Trigger.
Resident Evil 2, I suppose any would do, but 2 is quite good and as good as any to start with.
Megaman Legends, I just add the megaman games because they are ALWAYS there, and it’s one of the earlier games that used cell shading.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, yeah THPS 3 and 4 a gen later are better, but this was a pretty important title that anyone can play.
Metal Gear Solid, classic in more ways then a single line could ever try to say.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the first metrovania and fun ride that was well done, if a little easy.

Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time AND Maljora’s Mask. Yup I want you to have played both, both are classics and a good example that the game engine doesn’t define a game, its the content, as OoT and MM are wildly different to eachother, but use the game gameplay engine (well, not the EXACT engine, but very simmilar ones)
Super Smash Brothers, a great party fighter, simple.
A Rareware platformer, I don’t care what you pick, they all are of simmilar quality
Perfect Dark/Golden eye, either or, Perfect dark ranks higher for me.

Well, thats it for that list for now, handhelds come later, and the PS2 gen I need to play more of to comment fairly on


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