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Weekend Roundtable: Best Videogames of Previous Console Generations

While the PS4 and Xbox One hog the gaming spotlight this month, we thought that today’s Roundtable might be a good time to look back at some of the best videogames we played on prior platforms. Tell us your favorites too!

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

  • Intellivision – ‘Burger Time’. I’m kind of old, so I grew up with the original wood-paneled Intellivison in our living room. (We also had an Aquarius, but I remember very little about that sucker.) Anyway, my favorite arcade game back then was ‘Burger Time’, and I loved playing it on the Intellivision too.
  • NES – ‘Mega Man 2′. Still my all-time favorite action/platformer, and the game I’ve played from start to finish more than any other. Too bad Capcom’s basically abandoned ‘Mega Man’ as a franchise.
  • Lynx – I was on a game show on Nickelodeon a lifetime ago, and my winnings went towards Atari’s late, great handheld. My favorite game for it was ‘Scrapyard Dog‘, another in a long line of platformers.
  • Genesis – ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2‘. Everything I loved so much about the original ‘Sonic’, only a heckuva lot more refined. More inventive level design, the addition of Tails to liven up the gameplay, and Sonic’s Spin Dash move all made it really tough to go back to the first game again.
  • PC – ‘Duke Nukem 3D‘. My obsession near the end of high school and the beginning of college. While everyone else immersed themselves in the brown and gray tedium of ‘Quake’, my friends and I would blast shrink rays and ice cannons at each other in this colorful, demented First-Person Shooter.
  • Xbox – ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘. I didn’t pick up another console for the better part of a decade, but I made up for lost time with the Xbox. It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite, but I’ll go with ‘Buffy’, one of a tiny handful of TV licenses that actually translates into a worthwhile game.
  • GameCube – ‘Mario Kart Double Dash‘. I bought the GameCube basically just for ‘Double Dash’, and it was worth every cent. Far and away my favorite entry in the series, although we’ll see if I say that when ‘Mario Kart 7′ comes out for the Wii U next year.
  • Xbox 360 – ‘Bayonetta‘. One of the most gloriously insane action games I’ve ever played, swirling around a busty, gun-toting witch who whips angels with her hair.
  • Wii – ‘Super Mario Galaxy 2‘. My Wii was caked under inches of dust for a while there, but the wildly inventive ‘Super Mario Galaxy 2′ was a welcome reminder that Nintendo’s still got it.
  • PlayStation 3 – ‘Rock Band‘ franchise. I bought my PS3 as a Blu-ray player and never expected to game much on it, but it wound up being my console of choice this past generation. I shudder to think how much time and money I sank into the ‘Rock Band’ franchise, and I still pull out all my instruments just about anytime someone comes over to visit.
  • 3DS – ‘Animal Crossing: New Leaf‘. I’ve probably invested more time into this game than anything I’ve ever played. Just a breezy, relaxing escape that pretty much always leaves a smile on my face. Games are for more than killing people in HD!
  • Wii U – Rayman: Legends‘. I’ve been a fan of the ‘Rayman’ series for a while, but ‘Legends’ is something else altogether. One of the most masterful platformers ever, and it’s one that takes unique advantage of the Wii U gamepad too.

It’s obviously too early to tell about the PS4 and Xbox One! So far, I’ve picked up ‘Lego Marvel Super Heroes’ and ‘Killzone: Shadow Fall’ for the PS4, though I haven’t even gotten around to touching the latter yet. I have ‘Forza Motorsport 5′ and ‘Dead Rising 3′ preordered for the Xbox One.

Brian Hoss

Josh asked me to pick something for the PC platform, and much to everyone’s chagrin, I have to pass over multiple RTSs, adventure games, modern graphics powerhouses, and forty years of inventive classics. My choice is LucasArts’ 1997 Western shooter ‘Outlaws‘, which mixed the best shooter mechanics of the time (fast-paced, finite health, multiple weapons) with incredible level designs (split over the campaign, multiplayer, and bounty hunter modes) and the complete package of a theme, soundtrack, and art style that perfectly flavored the game. Add in the mod tools and expansion, and the nostalgia is tough to beat. Plus, it still runs in Windows XP for whenever I feel like booting it up, which I doubt will be true of modern games in 16 years time.

Mike Attebery

It feels like I’ve said this before [Ed.: You have, but it's been three years, so I'll allow it. –JZ], but there’s only one game that I’ve ever loved: ‘Crazy Taxi‘ on the Sega Dreamcast. So, that’s my favorite game, and I guess that makes the Dreamcast my favorite console by default. Now I’m wondering where I have my Dreamcast stashed away. I need to play that game right now!

Luke Hickman

As a kid, my brothers and I had a Commodore 64, an Atari 2600 and a Nintendo Entertainment System. After that, I relied entirely on my friends for videogame entertainment. ‘Halo’ was huge with me and my college roommates, but it wasn’t until I bought a PS3 (mainly for the Blu-ray player) that I got into my own games. To this day, after various follow-up editions, my game of choice is still ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare‘. That’s right, I still play the original ‘Modern Warfare’ – and I’m definitely not the only one who does. I can hop onto the ol’ Playstation Network at any time and play against countless other online gamers. I’ve tried ‘Black Ops’ and other variations of the franchise, but they’re all overly complicated. I prefer the original ‘Modern Warfare’ because it reminds me of ‘GoldenEye’. It’s a simple shoot-’em-up, chuck grenades, call in an air strike kind of game and I love it.

Gordon Miller

The caveat that our choices should be selected from previous videogame consoles we’ve owned is rather limiting for myself, as I only ever owned a Super Pong, which contained four variations of ‘Pong’, and an Atari 2600. From the latter, my first favorite game was the fantasy-themed ‘Adventure‘, where the player, who appeared on screen as a square, had to find a chalice and return it to the gold castle. Impeding progress were a bat that brings objects to switch out, and dragons that could be killed with a sword or, for the more daring, stunned if hit just right in the back of the head. ‘Adventure’ was also the first time I learned of an easter egg, although it was inconsequential to gameplay.

Josh Zyber

This is a tough topic for me, because I’ve owned very few game consoles, and on them, few games apiece. However, of those titles I’ve played all the way through, I suppose these are my picks:

  • NES – This is still the only game console I’ve loved, and also the one I’ve ever owned the most games for. In fact, my original unit purchased circa 1987 is sitting in my home theater right now. The franchise I adored most on the NES was ‘Mega Man’, especially the first game, which is a perfect time-waster I used to be able to play to completion without losing a life. Since Adam already stole my thunder with that, I’ll also give a shout-out to the spy adventure ‘Golgo 13‘, which had an intriguing story and a varied array of gameplay levels that were quite sophisticated for the day, even if the graphics were kind of crude. It’s also, to my knowledge, the only NES title with a cut-scene that suggests the hero is having sex. Let me tell you, that part blew my 7th Grade mind.
  • PlayStation – Nothing else on the PSOne beats the first ‘Resident Evil‘ for me. It’s the only game that has ever legitimately scared me, in that early level where the zombie dogs smash through the glass windows. Yeah, if you played this game when it first came out, you know exactly the part I’m talking about.
  • Xbox – The more advanced that gaming consoles became, the less interest I had in them, which resulted in fewer games I purchased. If I’m hard-pressed to pick a title for the Xbox, it would probably be the original ‘Burnout‘. Its stunning graphics, exciting racing levels and super-cool crash re-enactments were a ton of fun.
  • PS3 – Sometimes, it feels like modern gaming consoles are all about First-Person Shooters. To that end, I guess that ‘Killzone 3‘ would be my favorite PS3 game… of the six I own. It has a good story and ambitious level design, though I recall being disappointed at how abruptly it ends.

Give us some of your picks for best videogames on older consoles in the Comments below.

25 comments

  1. JM

    Atari – Mrs. Pac-Man.

    NES – Dragon Warrior.

    C64 – Wasteland.

    Lynx – California Games.

    Genesis – Shining Force II.

    SNES – Final Fantasy VI.

    3DO – Road Rash.

    PS1 – Metal Gear Solid.

    N64 – Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.

    Dreamcast – Shenmue.

    Gamecube – Beyond Good & Evil.

    PS2 – God Of War II.

    Xbox – Knights Of The Old Republic.

    GBA – Advance Wars.

    NDS – The World Ends With You.

    360 – Halo 4.

    PS3 – Deus Ex / Dishonored / Borderlands / Skyrim.

    Vita – Persona 4 Golden.

    PS4 – Black Flag.

  2. Jon

    NES – Super Mario Bros 3
    SNES – Super Metroid
    N64 – GoldenEye (though Perfect Dark’s expansion on this was amazing as well)
    PC – Half-Life / TIE Fighter / Deus Ex
    PS2 – Shadow of the Colossus
    GameCube – Resident Evil 4 / Metroid Prime
    Xbox – Halo 2
    Xbox 360 – Gears of War
    PS3 – Journey / The Last of Us
    Wii – Super Mario Galaxy 2

  3. Atari 2600 – Combat
    Intellivision – Demon Attack
    ColecoVision – Venture
    NES – The Legend of Zelda
    SNES – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
    Turbografx 16 – World Court Tennis (How could you not love a tennis RPG?)
    Sega Genesis – Altered Beast
    PS1 – Final Fantasy VII
    PS2 – Final Fantasy X
    PS3 – Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

  4. Barsoom Bob

    Atari Pong Console – Mine had a version of Breakout. Many hours.

    Atari 2600 – Activision Star Raiders

    Completely Missed NES

    Atari 400 – Star Wars (the vector graphics trench run)

    Sega Genesis – Phantasy Star II (?) and Mickey’s Castle of Illusion

    Sega Genesis 32 (ugh) – did have a disc based Terminator Game

    Playstation – Ridge Racer made me buy it. (Such kenetic speed for the time) but Tomb Raider was a revelation and started a life long romance.

    Dreamcast – Skies of Arcadia. Loved that game. Part role playing part navel combat but in flying ships.

    Playstation 2 – Eco and Final Fantasy 7

    X-box – Halo, Old Republic and Indy Jones and the Jade Emperor(ess)(?)

    X-box 360 – Oblivion, Bioshock, Bioshock Infinity, a James Bond shooter/drive game and Skyrim

    Playstation 3 – Uncharted 1,2,3

  5. Frankie

    Atari 2600 – River Raid
    NES – Bionic Commando
    SNES – Mario Kart
    N64 – Mario Kart
    Cube – Mario Kart
    Wii – Mario Kart
    PC – DTRSC & Insane

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      When I was a kid, I had a friend with an Intellivision. We spent many hours playing River Raid on that console, killing our thumbs on those awful controllers with tiny buttons on the sides.

  6. Joe

    NES: Bionic Commando, Ghost n’ Goblins, Dejavu
    SNES: Mario Kart, Actraiser
    Sega Master System: Phantasy Star
    Sega CD: Heart of the Alien
    3DO: Road Rash
    Turbo Grafx: Bomberman
    Turbo Duo: Y’s
    Neo Geo: Metal Slug
    CDi: Dragon’s Lair II
    Sega Saturn: Duke Nukem 3D online Netlink
    Jaguar: Power Drive Rally
    Virtual Boy: Warioland
    Jaguar CD: Baldies
    Neo Geo Pocket: Neo Turf Masters
    N64: Mario 64

  7. Atari – Lode Runner
    NES – Bubble Bobble, Super Mario Bros. 3, Mega Man 2, Dr. Mario
    SNES – Mariokart, Super Mario RPG, Tiny Toons: Buster Busts Loose
    Genesis – Lion King
    N64 – Pokemon Stadium
    Gamecube – Double Dash
    PS1 – Bust A Groove
    PS2 – Buffy, Marvel Ultimate Alliance
    Wii – Super Smash Bros. Brawl
    PS3 – Mortal Kombat, Mass Effect Trilogy

  8. JR

    Love too many games to choose just one on so many consoles.

    NES – Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

    Genesis – Sonic the Hedgehog 2

    SNES – (Arguably the greatest game machine ever and my personal favorite) Super Mario World, Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario Kart.

    PS1 – Final Fantasy VIII, Silent Hill, Resident Evil 2

    N64 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, GoldenEye

    Dreamcast – Soul Calibur, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Skies of Arcadia

    PS2 – Grand Theft Auto 3/Vice City/San Andreas, Silent Hill 2

    Gamecube – Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, Resident Evil

    XBox – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

    Wii – Punch-Out!!, New Super Mario Bros. Wii

    PS3 – (Now realizing I only own 3 games on this system despite owning it launch) Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

    360 – (My second favorite system – mostly available on PS3 too – shows my preference) Mass Effect [the original - not the sequels], Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Grand Theft Auto V, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

  9. NES – Metroid
    SNES – The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past
    N64 – The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
    Gamecube – Tales of Symphonia

    Sega Master System – Golvellius
    Genesis – Castlevania: Bloodlines
    SegaCD – Lunar (both of them)
    Sega32X – Knuckles Chaotix
    Saturn – Megaman X4
    Dreamcast – Sword of The Beserk

    PS1 – Final Fantasy VII

  10. William Henley

    Atari 2600 – Pitfall, Superman, Empire Strikes Back

    Atari 5600 – Pole Position

    Commodore 64 – Kongo Bongo, Impossible Mission, Ghostbusters (Am I the only person who likes this game?), Outrun

    Sega Master System – Space Harrier, Outrun

    NES – Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2, River City Ransom, Ultima, Dragon Warrior, Mike Tyson’s Punchout, Zelda 1 & 2, Super Mario Bros 2

    Super Nintendo – Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 2, Super Mario World, Zelda 3, Actraiser, Populous, SimCity, Mario Kart, F-Zero, Super Castlevania 4 (the ONLY Castlevania game I liked, and this was one of my favorite games on the console)

    Sega Genesis – Sonic 2, Mickey Mania (man, was this game hard!),

    Super Famicom – Tales of Phantasia

    Gameboy – Final Fantasy Adventures

    Game Gear – There were no good games on the Game Gear

    Playstation – Final Fantasy 7, 8 and 9, Parasite Eve, Spyro

    Playstation 2 – Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2, God of War, Katamari Damachi, We Love Katamari

    Playstation 3 – Flower, Super Rub a Dub, Guitar Hero, Rockband, Katamari Forever, Elder Scrolls Oblivion

    Sega Saturn – Jurassic Park, 3 Dirty Dwarfs

    Dreamcast – Skies of Arcadia

    N64 – I HATED this system (worst controller EVER), but suffered through it to play the Zelda games. Playing these games in the Wii Virtual Console is MUCH better

    Gamecube – Luigi’s Mansion, Super Smash Bros, Zelda: The Windwaker (In my opinion, possibly the greatest video game ever made), Tales of Symphonia

    Wii – Twilight Princess, Super Mario Bros Wii, Rampage, Mario Kart, Wii Sports

    XBox – Fable

    Xbox 360 – Fable 2 and 3, Beautiful Katamari, Viva Pinata, Tales of Vesperia, Eternal Sonotra

    PC – Kings Quest 5 & 6, Gabrial Knight (all of them), Space Quest (all of them), Leisure Suite Larry (all of them), Monkey Island (all of them), 7th Guest, Myst, SimCity series (all of them), SimEarth, SimAnt, The Sims, Duke Nukem 3D, Warcraft, Warcraft 2, Legend of the Red Dragon (online), Usurper (online), Unreal, Unreal Tournament, Ages of Empires, Bleem! (not really a game, and didn’t last long), Alice, Bioshock, Farcry, Lion King, Aladdin, Commander Keen 4, Jazz Jackrabbit, Giants, Doom

    • Alex

      All of those Sierra “Quest” Games, and no love for Quest for Glory? Those were among my favorites on older PCs.

      • William Henley

        I was in Middle School when the Sierra Games were popular. Limited budget. Me and my friends were big on Space Quest, King’s Quest, Police Quest, and Phantasmagoria and Gabriel Knight. Each of us would pick up one or two of the games, and lend to the others. No one picked up Quest for Glory for some reason.

        Picked up Leisure Suite Larry when I got to college when the anthology came out.

        • Alex

          Oh you really should. All of the fun adventuring of King’s Quest plus a combat system and some terrific Monty Python references. I think gog has it these days for pretty cheap. Graphics are a bit dated, but they’re still a lot of fun.

    • William Henley

      Came across one today that I had completely forgotten about. Possibly the greatest NES game ever made: Battle of Olympus!

  11. Atari 2600 – H.E.R.O
    NES – Ghost ‘N’ Goblins
    SNES – Donkey Kong Country
    Megadrive – Streets of Rage
    Saturn – Panzer dragoon
    Dreamcast – Shenmue
    PlayStation – Whipeout 2097
    X-Box – Halo 3
    PlayStation 2 – Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
    PlayStation 3 – GTA V
    Xbox 360 – Gears of War 3

  12. Adam: “I was on a game show on Nickelodeon a lifetime ago …”
    => please tell me you still have a Beta copy of that. Upload it now!

    Adam: “we’ll see if I say that when ‘Mario Kart 7′ comes out for the Wii U next year.”
    => Mario Kart 7 is already out for the 3DS. You’re thinking of “Mario Kart 8″.

    Brian: “Outlaws”
    => Jealous! Need that game!

    As for me:

    SNES: Donkey Kong Country
    GB: DuckTales
    N64: Ocarina of Time
    NGC: Resident Evil 4
    Wii: haven’t played the real must-haves, so I’ll go with Twilight Princess. No match for Ocarina, though.
    Wii U: Zombi U, for now. Wind Waker was fun.

    I own more consoles, but they were always bought after the fact, as retro bargains, and I have yet to buy real killer apps for those.

    • William Henley

      Outlaws was a fun game when it came out. I am not sure how well the game will have aged, though. While I have fond memories of it, I have no desire to really play it now.

      I know on my list, I listed not only games I loved at the time, but games that I still like and play. If I listed games I liked at the time, I know my list would be much longer.

  13. StarMenace

    Atari 2600 – Yar’s Revenge
    NES – Baseball Stars
    Genesis – NHL ’94
    TurboGrafx – Splatterhouse
    Neo Geo – Baseball Stars 2
    N64 – GoldenEye
    Dreamcast – Soul Caliber

    – The Dreamcast was so perfect I haven’t purchased another console since then.