Have The Gaming Classics Been Topped?

-by Dylan DiBona

To Kill a Mockingbird, The Godfather, The Wire– it’s happens with every form of entertainment; everybody cannot agree but sooner or later a mass amount of people cite one piece of work as the greatest in it’s medium. It’s an astounding feat when you consider how many millions of books, movies and TV shows there are.

An idea sparked inside my head when I writing my “Perfect SNES-Mini Games List”. I kept saying how many SNES games were considered the greatest of their genre or respective series. It’s been almost three decades since the SNES; have those games really never been beaten in pure quality of design?

In order to delve deeper into this topic; I scoured the internet for a list compiling every major websites “Top X Video Games of All Time” lists. I’ll be taking a look at three games on this compiled list that I’ve sunk a considerable amount of time into (if not beaten), and compare it to others in it’s genre or franchise.

Final Fantasy VII

Image result for final fantasy vii

My personal playtime- A little under 10 hours

Within the Final Fantasy fandom lies a sub-fandom to just Final Fantasy VII. It’s a game with credits that can simply never be taken away from it; it finally introduced JRPG’s to North Americas core video game playing audience. It didn’t achieve that with luck, it did it with pure quality.

I kept getting this vibe from Final Fantasy VII’s characters and writing; they felt real and meaningful. I find it hard to bond with JRPG characters especially when I know there’s a good chance I’ll be replacing them with somebody better in a few hours, but the characters and story in VII are legendary for a reason. Nobody will forget Sephiroths’ theme, it’s like how Beethoven’s music will be instilled in human culture until the end of time.

Characters and story aside, how is the actual game? While I’m not usually a fan of Final Fantasy’s Active Time Battle System, I liked it in VII. The spells and summons felt powerful and undeniably cool. The puzzles were fun and world is big and filled with things to do.

My largest problem with Final Fantasy VII is a lack of direction. I felt the world was too big for it’s own good. I don’t like it when my last resort is going online for a walkthrough, but I had to do that with Final Fantasy VII. I could also make the argument that the game just didn’t keep me invested all the way through, but that’s more personal than anything else.

I believe Final Fantasy VII has been topped by games like Persona 4&5. Those games provide us with detailed stories and writing, characters you can optionally spend time with to provide battle benefits and a constant sense of direction. Like I said before, FFVII deserves to be remembered for what it’s done, but I can’t possibly say it hasn’t been beat within it’s genre.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Image result for ocarina of time

My personal playtime: Beaten once, working on second playthrough

I was going to save this game for last because it is apparently the Internets collective “best game of all time”. This is the Citizen Kane of interactive media and because of that it’s a touchy subject.

The Legend of Zelda is my favorite franchise in all of fictional media, but I never really felt like Ocarina of Time was the greatest game in the series, nonetheless ever made. I can see why people say that though, I really can. The dungeons, puzzles, combat and overall gameplay are timeless. There’s nothing game breaking or outwardly annoying about how Ocarina of Time plays.

My minor personal issues are within it’s world and story; I don’t like how fast time flows and I feel the story is played a little too safe. But that’s all I have; I don’t think there are any objective flaws with Ocarina of Time. Any complains can now be credited to the games age.

I can’t really say that Ocarina has been beaten as an action-adventure game, or even as a Zelda game. Do I think it’s the best in either of those categories? No. But to say more would be purely subjective. Final Fantasy VII was a product of time, and so was Ocarina in a way- but it succeeds in feeling more timeless.

Tetris

Image result for Tetris

My personal playtime- my entire senior year of high-school and beyond

I wanted to save this game for last because it’s by far the hardest to talk about. Despite Hollywood’s efforts, there is no story to Tetris, it’s all gameplay- it’s a video game in it’s purest form. Still claiming the title of best selling video game ever, Tetris is a behemoth. It’s original gameplay is so simple and so addictive that all its future iterations feel useless.

Can a game that’s solely about gameplay and feature timeless graphics like Tetris or Pac-Man ever be topped? I’m willing to say no. Unless these games were bug-ridden- how could they fail? They’re simple enough for rookies to jump in but serious enough for there to be professionals who dedicate time for world records.

Tetris owes nothing to it’s genre or predecessors. It’s like something as simple and purposeful as a bottle of water; the love for it within people will never disappear. In my eyes, Tetris has not been topped.

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I hope this topic made sense to everybody! So what did you think? Should I have used different games? What about these games? What classics did you never love like everybody else? Let me know down below and I’ll try to reply! As always, thanks for reading.

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6 thoughts on “Have The Gaming Classics Been Topped?

  1. I tried playing Final Fantasy VII, and to be honest, it didn’t captivate me. Something about it didn’t make me want to see how it ended. Maybe I’ll revisit it someday, though, because I don’t think it was bad by any means.

    I’d say I liked Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess a tad more than Ocarina of Time, but it’s a classic – there’s no doubt about it.

    I think the thing about Tetris is that it’s one of the few games out there that has an incontestable universal appeal. Mathematics is a concept every single culture has and has had, so even those who have never played a video game in their lives could start playing it with little trouble.

    I’d say a classic game I didn’t really enjoy as much as its fans was System Shock 2, as it’s been surpassed by BioShock and BioShock: Infinite. The RPG elements are creative, but they end up holding the game back in practice because you could potentially make it unwinnable if you chose the wrong skills.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had an inexplicable liking of Final Fantasy VII, something about it’s blocky graphics and pre-rendered backgrounds made me feel nostalgic for a game that came out at a time where I couldn’t even hold a controller. I’d like to finish it but that’d mean restarting a 9 hour and 30 minute save file, and that’s not really appealing.

      I have both System Shocks and I gotta agree. Granted I didn’t play SS2 for long at all (like 35 minutes maybe) but that was more than enough time for Bioshock to grasp me.

      I wrote this mainly because I think with some games we’re afraid to compare them to newer ones. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Ocarina of Time, it’s one of my favorite games of all time, but I’d like to think that gaming has evolved to the point where a game that’s nearly 20 years old is no longer the best game ever. If games don’t ever improve, then what does that mean for the medium? At some point I think we’ll reach a place where nostalgia no longer makes up for the sheer difference in quality between modern games and the classics.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely agree that gaming is improving more than some people may let on, but I feel like we chalk it up to nostalgia too many times. Ocarina is still a great game from a design point of view. The people who do let nostalgia cloud their judgement can be annoying, but I don’t think there’s as many of those as others may think.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good point! I think for me personally it’s tricky to find the line between nostalgia and the game’s original quality. “Do I REALLY love this game, or is bias clouding my judgment?” I ask myself that sometimes. But I certainly agree that a game does not have to be new to execute a solid concept!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. For a very long time, Half Life 2 was considered the “best game of all time” amongst PC gamers, but it seems to have slipped out of people’s minds these day (probably due to the half life 3 hilarity). Considering how young gaming is as an entertainment medium compared to the likes of books and film, there won’t be all that many games considered to be amongst the best games of all time yet.

    Liked by 1 person

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