It’s that time again, when I start a new Internet project born of boredom that I’ll never finish or even get halfway done with. (See also that A Song of Ice and Fire / Heavy Metal thing that is probably dead for good, now that the TV show sucks and GRRM is going to die of old age before the next book is done) Over in real life lately, a lot of stuff has happened, where I’ve pulled the Nintendo 64 out of the garage, I remembered that I have a Playstation 2, and <Borat Voice> MY WIFE </Borat Voice> got me those little Colecovision and Intellivision emulator consoles for my birthday, so I’m having Video Game Feelings, and I’d like to share them with you. And since the only languages the internet understands are numbered lists and shithead nobodies speaking authoritatively, I’mma make y’all a list of the Top Vidya Games of now and forever.
There’s a scientific method I’m going to use here, where I’m not actually going to put together a list ahead of time, and I’m not even going to set any sort of parameters for how big or small the list will end up being someday. Basically, I’ll think of a game, write a paragraph, and then throw it on the list, one at a time, and just slot it relative to what’s already on there. This keeps me from burning out and potentially keeps this going forever. I’m super smart, you guys. Furthermore, some entries will be for more than one game, because some games are pretty much the same. So while ESPN NFL 2K5, Joe Montana Sports Talk Football, and NFL Prime Time 96 Featuring Deion Sanders are technically part of the same series, they’re different enough for separate entries, but Prime Time 96 and NFL 95 would share one, since they’re just the same game with a different roster. Trust me, it’ll almost make sense eventually. There will be lots of weird little rules I’ll be making up on the fly, the games I do for this will be mostly in an order coming right off the top of my head, and in general, this is going to be dumb as hell.
And I’m sure that if I was a dude whose opinions held any real importance to the outside world, there’d be some controversy here, (SPOILER ALERT: E.T. for the Atari 2600 is definitely going on here someday) but if you don’t like whatever list eventually poops out of this, go make your own. And no, I don’t mean that in a shitty keyboard warrior/SAY IT TO MY FACE BRO sort of way; I sincerely want you to go start a blog, get on Tumblr, go see if Tripod still exists or do whatever you have to do, and make your own damn list of things. To hell with it, make a list of any damn thing, and how those things affected your little personal journeys here on Earth. The internet is too big for maybe five big-ass conglomerative portal sites to dominate every conversation with click-bait think-pieces, and working for a website with the highest-paying advertisers shouldn’t give you a more valid opinion than any other dickhead. Let’s Personal Web Page it all up in this bitch, and take the internet back to 1999, when it was still a fun place with more than like twenty voices lording over everybody, and we all wore an onion in our belt, because that was the style. Be the change, and get off my lawn. I’m so old, so very, very old. But anyway, here’s your de facto Number One for now, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out:
MIKE TYSON’S PUNCH OUT!!
The Case for This Game Being Awesome: This game came out in 1987, damn near thirty years ago, and not only is it still the best boxing game ever made, but it’s damn near the only one the world ever gave a drizzling shit about. (I spent like three dollars renting George Foreman’s K.O. Boxing, and it still hurts a little) It’s set in a completely nutso-bonkers, bananas-ass world where boxing is pretty much the most stereotypical professional wrestling possible, stuffed to the gills with whacky characters, ethnic stereotypes, a few guys actually wearing briefs in the ring, one dude with literal magical powers, and black people never actually holding any championships. And you get to play as Little Mac, the scrappiest of underdogs, trying to make name for himself as a four foot tall weakling in a world of gigantic muscle-beasts. It’s hard without making you want to hurl your controller at your grandmother, and the first time you beat Super Macho Man and make it to the Dream Bout with Mike Tyson, you feel like a literal goddamn champion of life. And that first time when you finally do take down Tyson, you feel like a literal invincible God-King. And from there? You start over and do it again, because the entire experience is amazing.
The Case Against: It’s technically the exact same game as regular old Punch Out!!, the game they re-released when their contract with Tyson ran out. And while the guy the replaced him with, Mr. Dream, does all the exact same things, it’s just not the same, and completely ruins the experience. If you were too young to remember the time period, Mike Tyson was maybe the most absolutely insane, unkillable monster that boxing had ever seen, at a time when most of the general population still cared about boxing. The Fresh Prince did a song about thinking he could beat Mike Tyson as a joke, because in the world before Sam Kinison-level partying, spousal abuse, Buster Douglas’s fists, and freaking rape convictions caught up with him, the thought that anyone could beat Tyson was complete nonsense. Anybody could beat up Mister Dream. Fuck him, he looks like a cop. I ain’t care, I’ll whoop his ass right now, I’m crazy, send him to me.
Also, the timing is all weird on both illegal emulated copies of the game as well as the legally-purchased Nintendo Wii version, so if your NES is broken or your old cartridge is all screwed up, you’re kinda shit outta luck when it comes to this one.
Personal Memory Involving This Game: Back in the day, my elementary school did this thing where toward the end of the year, they would load the whole sixth grade (aside from whoever didn’t get their mom to sign their permission slip) into some buses and take everybody to Roller World, because I guess people still skated in 1991. As for me, I had no coordination or balance of any kind, so any attempt to roller skate was suicide. I took all twenty of the dollars I had to my name, got them changed into quarters, and spent the day on the arcade machines. And since there’s something wrong with my priorities, rather than getting in line for Street Fighter 2 or hell, going for any other cabinet I couldn’t access for free at home, I went to the PlayChoice-10 machine. That was this thing Nintendo put out where you put in a quarter and you got to play your choice of ten regular-ass Nintendo games, and this one has Mike Tyson’s Punch Out on it, and it was the real version instead of the shitty Mr. Dream version that came out a year earlier. And friends, I whooped its ass. I don’t know how many quarters it took, (I think one coin got you five minutes of play, but I might be wrong) but I got all the way from Glass Joe to Mike Tyson himself. And you have to understand, this was back before games held your hand and let you win them – There are still people walking our streets today who still own a copy of this game, and still have never taken down Iron Mike OR Mr. Dream. And here and now in the year 2015, thanks to the ravages of age, a lifetime of severe personal physical neglect, and a complete lack of any discernible athletic ability, I can pretty safely say that I will never compete in the main event of Wrestlemania to become a conquering hero and World’s Champion. But I tell you this: In front of a crowd of stunned sixth-graders, (okay, maybe like five other dudes) toward the end of the third round, as I threw down my enemy and smote his ruin upon the canvas to score the TKO, I found out EXACTLY what it must feel like. It was truly my finest hour.
Then maybe 45 minutes later, some other kid who was not as impressed with my accomplishments swiped my wallet and took something like three bucks from me.