March 27, 2011

Our Favorite Games

No mat­ter how long you have been in the indus­try, whether it be 5 years of 25 years there is always that one game that holds a spe­cial place in your heart.  It could be the lat­est release of Halo: Reach or back to an old Atari game that nobody has played in two decades.  I got to think­ing about this the oth­er day real­iz­ing that most games bare­ly hold my inter­est for more then a few months before I shelve them to most like­ly nev­er play them again and to most like­ly to for­get after some time.  I prob­a­bly own of 400 games across mul­ti­ple plat­forms includ­ing the PC, Wii, PS3, PS2, Xbox360, N64 and so forth.  How­ev­er there is always that one game that stuck in the back of my head years after I had  played it and I still find myself engrossed by the title more then a decade after its release.  I still find myself play­ing this game even though its graph­i­cal splen­dor of the time has long been sur­passed by leaps and bounds how­ev­er that does­n’t stop me from going back to it.
Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II is that one game that still holds that spe­cial place in my heart.  I’m not quite sure why that was… per­haps it was the fact that is one of the first few games I ever owned.  I remem­ber clear­ly that my par­ents bought a com­put­er back in 95/96 that could actu­al­ly play games and as a present they bought me 3 games. Those games were Inter­plays Starfleet Acad­e­my, Lucasarts Xwing vs Tie Fight­er and Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II.  I should men­tion that this was a hard choice for me between Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II and Xwing vs Tie Fight­er as I played both titles to great extent for sev­er­al years and I even got involved mod­ding com­mu­ni­ty back when they were released because of how much sup­port there was for the games. 
Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II is arguably the best star wars title to date when it comes to the FPS genre and per­haps the entire Star Wars video game fran­chise.  It could be argued that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Repub­lic is a bet­ter game but I guess that’s a  mat­ter of opin­ion and for me at least the pin­na­cle Star Wars title to date has been Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. 
JK:DF2 is actu­al­ly still being played today and still has a very strong com­mu­ni­ty sup­port­ing it.  The game embod­ies every­thing that has ever been good about PC gam­ing and the Star Wars fran­chise.  The sto­ry devel­oped for it was top notch and it fea­tured the first live action Star Wars scenes filmed since the orig­i­nal tril­o­gy and while one could say they were cheesy to my 12 year old mind they were just as cap­ti­vat­ing as the orig­i­nal tril­o­gy. JK:DFII was the first game to real­ly push the lim­its of the FPS genre since doom and it could be argued that it’s one of the FPS titles of all time in the way it changed the indus­try and it pushed the graph­i­cal bound­aries of the time by uti­liz­ing both Open GL and Direct3D. 
I men­tioned ear­li­er that JK:DF2 embod­ied every­thing that is good about clas­sic PC gam­ing.  I say this because out­side of Half Life JK:DF2 has or had one of the largest mod­ding com­mu­ni­ties.  In fact there is still mod­ding work being doing for JK:DFII and it’s worth men­tion­ing that one of Counter Strikes orig­i­nal devel­op­ers was part of that mod­ding com­mu­ni­ty.  The game is over 14 years old now and there are still peo­ple work­ing to cre­ate new con­tent for it.  There has been a com­plete graph­ics re haul patch in the form of JK Enhanced Mod which changes the tex­tures and helps boost the over­all graph­i­cal per­for­mance of the game.   The won­der­ful thing about the mod­ding com­mu­ni­ty is that it boosts the over­all longevi­ty of the game.  After I beat the game I made count­less enhance­ments to the game includ­ing new weapons, lightsabers and force pow­ers and in addi­tion to these many mod­ders made new sin­gle and mul­ti­play­er lev­els.  JK:DFII was com­plete­ly modd­a­ble and because of this peo­ple are still play­ing and buy­ing it to this day.  I myself have per­son­al­ly pur­chased the game four times.  There still sev­er­al mod­ding com­mu­ni­ties going strong for JK:DFII such as Mas­sas­si Tem­ple and JKhub and if you are still into the game I high­ly sug­gest check­ing out these com­mu­ni­ties. 
In clos­ing I guess it could be my favorite game of all time because its the first game I real­ly ever played hard­core on the PC or per­haps its just a game from a bygone era where games had more atten­tion paid to their sto­ry and com­mu­ni­ty sup­port then they did mak­ing mon­ey.  It’s most like­ly a com­bi­na­tion all of these but regard­less I find myself still think­ing about this game today even though its day in the sun has long passed.  I’ve always said that gam­ing devel­op­ment indus­try is not longer about mak­ing a good game instead its about max­i­miz­ing a prof­it.  JK:DFII is a game from an age where video game devel­op­ment and cre­ation was still an art form and less about mak­ing hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars from con­stant repet­i­tive releas­es.  Devel­op­ers focused on mak­ing a QUALITY game with good con­tent at release and if the game was a suc­cess they would release a con­tent filled expan­sion pack.  JK is and always will be a clas­sic exam­ple about what is good about the PC gam­ing indus­try and the gam­ing indus­try in gen­er­al. 
If you haven’t played it I rec­om­mend you do.  You can pick up JK:DFII, it’s expan­sion and it’s sequels from steam for $20.  There is a great deal of game­play con­tent across all of the titles and if you are look­ing for a qual­i­ty game you won’t be dis­ap­point­ed.  If you would like to check it out you can pur­chase it from steam here

What is your favorite game?  What is that one title that you can always go back to and still feel the same sense and won­der­ment that you did when you first played it and why?


  1. CharcoalCoyote - March 27, 2011 4:57 pm

    Local Mul­ti­play­er: Super Smash Bros. Brawl. There is NOTHING more fun than an all nighter with this game, espe­cial­ly when you grew up with it. You can play an infi­nite num­ber of rounds, and it nev­er gets old. Also, it’s proven to make piz­za taste bet­ter.
    Local Sin­gle Play­er: Pret­ty much every Leg­end of Zel­da game. They’re all cap­ti­vat­ing, and rarely are there too many breaks in the action. Quite a few sid­e­quests, some pret­ty hard bat­tles, excel­lent end­ings. The only rea­son this beat out the Final Fan­ta­sy series is because ran­dom encoun­ters get old fast.
    Online Mul­ti­play­er: The Halo series. Man, I am going to catch some flak for this one. T8, don’t even respond to this com­ment. Although these games are fair­ly new, I plugged so many hours into this series it isn’t even fun­ny. I’ve gone through all the cam­paigns both sin­gle play­er and max play­er co-op on Leg­endary. I made machin­i­ma up until Halo 3 (some­thing changed that ren­dered our “cameara­man“ ‘s cap­ture card use­less.). I have Recon armor in Halo 3 (those who stuck with the series know what a bitch it is to get recon, even after it went pub­lic). I’ve made maps, I’ve played scrims, I’ve trolled kids in match­mak­ing hard­er than most DotA play­ers have trolled noobs. This series might be “easy mode”, but they’re a freak­ing leg­end in my past.
    Hand­held: Poke­mon. Read my arti­cle. I need not explain more.
    Text based: Lus­ter­n­ia. It’s an Iron Realms “Mul­ti-User Dun­geon” style game, and it replaced my social life for most of high school. I love me some good RP.
    Arcade (newish): This one’s a toss-up between the orig­i­nal Crazy Taxi and Time Cri­sis 3. Both have eat­en prob­a­bly $100 worth of quar­ters from me over the years.
    Arcade (retro): Gala­ga. You do not screw with me on Gala­ga. I can go for like 45 min­utes on one cred­it. I used to could last hours. My dad owned a laun­dro­mat, which basi­cal­ly meant infi­nite quar­ters for me. I’m a sea­soned Gala­ga-er.

  2. thsoundman - March 27, 2011 5:21 pm

    I must apol­o­gize my updat­ed ver­sion did­n’t go up so there are sev­er­al spelling and gra­mat­i­cal errors across the arti­cle. I must apol­o­gize for that. I’m get­ting them cor­rect­ed as we speak. Sigh… update fail 😛

  3. zero_19 - March 27, 2011 5:50 pm

    I loved Jedi Knight, how­ev­er the first games I ever owned were War­craft and War­craft II, fol­lowed by Dia­blo. I have very fond mem­o­ries of stay­ing up way to late play­ing these games.

  4. Anonymous - March 27, 2011 6:34 pm

    I’d have to say World of War­craft.

  5. T8 - March 28, 2011 7:28 am

    Mul­ti­play­er: will always and for­ev­er be Counter Strike 1.6‑Source.
    Sin­gle Play­er and Mul­ti­play­er: the Dia­blo series
    Sin­gle Play­er: Super Mario world and Xcom
    All those games are instant clas­sics and have a place in most com­put­er gamers hearts. Although i nev­er got into the star­wars games (most­ly because i nev­er got into star­wars) it was a great arti­cle and brought back alot of good times for me.

  6. thsoundman - March 28, 2011 8:14 am

    Man i haven’t played Super Mario World in years. I played alot of that when I was a kid. SNES was the first game sys­tem I ever owned. I think the only game I ever played on my PC dur­ing my SNES years was Mech War­rior 2. Lot of good mem­o­ries with that game. Sad­ly all those years are fad­ing on me. I remem­ber less and less about them as the years go on.

  7. AceOfNades69 - March 29, 2011 12:38 am

    I got­ta say thats a tough one to answer. I have played a lot of stuff equal­ly. I loved Teenage Muntant Nin­ja Tur­tles the Arcade game and Con­tra on NES. Then it was a lot of Son­ic the Hedge­hog, Street Fight­er, and NBA Jam. Then I moved on too NWO vs. WCW world tour and Wrestle­ma­nia 2000. I loved me some Team Fortress Clas­sic and Counter-Strike back when they were Half-Life Mods. Nowa­days I pret­ty much play every­thing because it all looks fun.

  8. ScrotusKilmystr - March 30, 2011 5:33 pm

    I may have to hit up steam because I nev­er played any of the expan­sions for jk:df2!
    But I’m a fel­low XCOM­er!!! it was the most frust­ing­ly awsome game ever I was nev­er able to beat it but played it almost every night!
    After that was my favorite RTS Dune and the remake dune 2000!!! noth­ing like killing some sand­worms and call­ing in mis­sile strikes on freemen war­riors!
    Mul­ti­play­er has got to be unre­al tour­na­ment and the count­less giant room mods the every­one made it nev­er got tired beca­sue of all the mods online.…
    as far as fo the big arcade machines I think Zenomor­phe! four play­er co-op killing some giant space bugs was a good time!!!
    great arti­cle!!


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