We all have them: those moments in gaming where we thought ‘wow’. Those precious moments when games can surprise, delight and even shock in one stroke of design genius. This article will look at some of my personal faves from the gaming archives; this isn’t analysis and this isn’t critique, this is just a life long joypad jockey sharing some of those things that made us all go “This is why I play”.
5.Leaving the hero to fall asleep in Mario 64
It’s true, if you leave that three pronged N64 controller on the ground and leave Mario to his own devices, it wont be long until he flops down and nods off to sleep. It is not just a cute little easter egg but a moment where our portly hero shows even icons need to catch 40 winks. In a time where games were only just venturing into the third dimension Nintendo not only crafted a masterpiece of platforming but one of the most charming worlds ever put to cartridge.
4.Pulling your first fatality in Mortal Kombat
These gory little beauties were all the talk of the playground back in the day and when my friend scribbled down some on a piece of maths paper for me to try; I couldn’t wait to get home and give them a whirl. Some time later and with a bit of practice I had it nailed; arms flew, heads rolled and eyes widened. Gore in games was not just a splash anymore but a red tsunami pushing through the gaming masses. Impact like this is hard to create these days and we may never see it again.
3.Feeling like an invisible bad ass in Metal Gear Solid
These days sneaking past guards and hiding in the shadows is nothing new. Lord knows that every AA action seems to have to sneak a forced stealth section into their 4 hour campaigns. BUT back in the nineties MGS gave us an experience like no other; Shadow Moses was the perfect backdrop and the thrilling hide and seek gameplay kept us all hooked until the very end. If you can, go stick this on and play for a while; it doesn’t take long for those feelings to come creeping back.
2. Being James Bond in Goldeneye 64
When the camera first panned around the corner at the start of the very first level I knew this was something special. Soon, after following the truck through the base, shooting out the alarms and raiding the sniper tower you find yourself taking the iconic, bungie chord leap from the dam leading brilliantly into the next mission. Movie tie ins don’t get any better than this; the cutscene at the end of that first level will be forever etched into my mind as the first time a game had truly blown me away. Oh Rare, if this was your peak then most will never climb this high ever again.
1.Seeing Hyrule Field for the first time in Ocarina Of Time
The forest seemed like things could not get much more epic; a 50ft tree told you of a prophecy long forgotten and our hero had to slay a demon spider stalking around the roots of the woods itself. All this after having battled through room after room of puzzles and monsters. But when you are set free to roam and your feet take those first steps onto the huge expanse of Hyrule Field your eyes don’t know where to look first. Whether it is the towering castle in the distance or the ominous clouds circling the mountains this is a place where your imagination can take you further than your controller ever can. From sunrise to sunset and all the way to the top of Death Mountain, Ocarina is the stuff of legend. At the end of the adventure, the ‘hero of time’ travels back to the past where can finally rest and sometimes, if I’m honest, I think I am still back there with him.