Board 8 > Board 8 #sports Discord Ranks Their Top 100 Video Games Finale: THE TOP 10

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12/31/21 12:39:37 AM

3. Snowboard Kids 2 (N64, 1999)

Though many of the games I got for Christmas in 98 along with my N64 have appeared on this list, Snowboard Kids was the one I coveted the most and the main reason I asked for an N64 for Christmas in the first place. Racing had already been established as my favorite genre by that point with the likes of Al Unsers Race to the Top, Biker Mice From Mars, and Super Mario Kart being among my favorite games at that point in my life. Other than Uniracers though, pretty much every racing game that I played up to that point used one of your typical motorized vehicles. I didnt know much about snowboarding at this point in my life, so I just thought of it as something people did tricks with or leisurely go down a mountain slope with. It never crossed my mind that you could make a bona fide racing game out of it.

From scouring over the box art, to reading the manual with some silly comic panel explanations, to hitting the title screen with the goofy ass characters with the huge noses on display, I was raring to go before finally hitting the slopes on Rookie Mountain. I cant even imagine what a first time gamer would feel upon playing a superb racing game now like a Forza Horizon title, but man I felt like I was playing one of the greatest things ever. It is a little stiff and try as you might, you will almost never be able to do a flip from the ground without some incoming elevation assistance, but it was still a blast going down slopes from mountains, plains, deserts, and even an amusement park. They incorporated a tool system with weapons (called shots and received from red boxes) and items (blue boxes) that cost money to receive from successfully landing tricks or finding coins lying around. If you dont have enough money, then hitting a box will be like hitting a brick wall. Honestly, I would prefer that items cost nothing or they hiked the prices up a bit because you will be swimming in cash most of the time, or at least I never had issues with money.

One of the things that I loved and found out by accident was basically forcing a high-stakes duel. Normally, every race has four people. Now, I dont remember exactly how I came to discover this, but what you do is you select the speed board in the pre-race menu. Not all courses are created equal in this scenario, but I always loved doing it in Grass Valley. At the start of the race, basically twist your character around, and because of the shape of the speed board, the game thinks you are going in reverse even while moving forward. Two of the three opponents will race normally, but the rubber banding in this game will cause the last place opponent to slow down considerably. You might not have the patience for this, but you race with the board in reverse until the first two opponents finish all laps. The game conveniently has a progress bar with character heads on it. If it doesnt move for many seconds and doesnt appear at the top of the progress bar (indicating it started a new lap), then you know they are finished.

When they finish, you twist your board into the proper stance, and then race for 3rd place. Upon meeting up with that final opponent who lagged behind, then the rubber banding kicks in again, and they will be hot on your trail for a pretty intense duel for effectively one lap. Its not for everyone of course, but I like doing that almost as much as standard racing. And all this talk is for a game that ultimately I did not include on my list. Had the sequel never existed, Im certain it would have, but 2 is simply an improvement upon the first in nearly every meaningful way.

I know that I brought this up in other writeups, but I didnt have the internet until like 2001, and the only magazine that I remember subscribing to was Ranger Rick. Some of my friends played video games, but not like I did, so word of mouth wasnt a big presence in my life. Discovering games basically came down to me browsing behind the glass at a place like Meijer or Target or seeing what Blockbuster had in. Some time in 1999, I just happened to be in a store, I want to say it might have been Walmart, when I went down the video game aisle and had my mind blown. Staring me right in the face was this blue box art full of familiar characters with the title Snowboard Kids 2 sprawled across the top. That might be my favorite video game memory at a store, the pure astonishment and jubilation. I dont know what the MSRP of the game was, but Walmart had it for $30, and there was absolutely no way I wasnt going to get it on the spot.

Because I liked to torture myself, I read the manual first, showing additional characters and more humorous comic panels. My main in the original was Jam, so I grabbed him again and headed to Sunny Mountain, and wow. The game apparently came out barely a year after the first one, and you would think it would have been closer to five. You will immediately notice just how smooth riding is, and you can do tricks basically whenever you want and string together multiple tricks on a jump. They have a lot more tools (useful ones at that) from boxes. I liked the originals music, but 2s has routinely been in my Top 10 VGM OSTs for two decades now. While your preference regarding course design may vary (I do think that the original has the better top to bottom set), they are wackier (haunted house, outer space, and a jungle the most out there choices) and more detailed with elevation, obstacles, split paths, and shortcuts. They must have really pushed the N64 to the limit (or lacked experience) apparently because multiplayer is a bit disappointing because like many other games, they had to make sacrifices, such as reducing the framerate.

Every year, I dedicate one day between Christmas and New Years Day to spend 4-6 hours playing a marathon of N64 racing games. There are four permanent members and one rotational member, but I always begin with Snowboard Kids on Sunset Rock and end with Snowboard Kids 2 on Lindas Castle. I always said that if I ever won the lottery, the first luxury purchase I would make is buy the Snowboard Kids IP and find a way to get some remakes of them and make sequels. I never play the lottery, but wish me luck every day anyway!

KCF can't actually be a real person but he is - greengravy
If you smell what the rock is cooking he's cooking crap - ertyu
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12/31/21 3:00:00 AM

1. The Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask (Nintendo 64, 2000)

Majoras Mask is a fascinating game. Even those of you who detest it I think will acknowledge that it is, by some significant margin, the most interesting and unique of the 3D Zeldas, if not the entire series. Certainly, some of you decry this as a flaw, and while I understand how you could reach that position, youre also totally wrong.


Sort of.

Majoras Mask does some things intrinsically that most other games in its genre, and of its time period, dont do well, if at all. I alluded to this when I talked about Pikmin, but its even truer here: Majoras Mask is a game that has stakes. Your initial response, if you are wishy washy about the game, might be How can it have stakes! You just reset the timeline! While it is true that you can reset the timeline, I think its that ability that actually heightens the stakes. Over the course of playing the game, learning the intricacies of Clock Town and Termina and its residents, you cannot help but grow attached to them. You see and affect the rhythms of their lives. You save an old woman. You help a young couple in dire straits get married. You dont know that this will happen, at least not the first time you play the game, and it takes you several cycles to aid these strange, but by-and-large good, townsfolk, and to heal the environment around them. When you have to reset the timeline, youre truly pulled in two directions: the things youve improved are undone, but youre closer to fixing it for good. As long as you play the Song of Time in time. And if you dont, god, do you feel terrible.

Majoras Mask has a lot of qualities that I think have aged gracefully, whether or not they were intentional in the first place. It is an unabashedly humanist game, in a way that video games seldom are, even now. Ironically, the most humanist game I can think of since, Hades, features precisely one living human. Perhaps thats not a coincidence, though, because Majoras Mask embraced some of the qualities of roguelites before they were properly a genre. Each time through the timeline, you gain items, knowledge, and experience that help not only your progress, but the people (and Dekus, Gorons, and Zoras) around you in the game. I dont know much about the history of environmentalism in Japan, but its hard not to look at the game now and see poisoned swamps and eternal winter and polluted oceans and increasingly frequent natural disasters as omen-like, if not an outright political-artistic statement following the climate change conference in Kyoto in the late 90s. I also think Majoras Mask is a more emotionally engaging game than most anything else in the Nintendo Pantheon. I mentioned the emotional attachment one feels toward Terminas residents, but theres a breadth and depth of emotion present that you dont expect from a flagship Nintendo title. Its a sorrowful, weird, unsettling game at times; its charming, joyous, and romantic at others. It feels akin to a horror game much of the time, not just in the sense of impending doom, but in some of the settings you find yourself in - like the dark recessed corners of Woodfall and Snowhead temples - and in the enemies, like the eerily human-faced Goht or the first-person cutscene that introduces Gyorg. Not to mention the Happy Mask Salesman.

Perhaps its fitting, then, that this game came out the week of Halloween - October 26, 2000. We were still in the house I grew up in then; we would be for four more years. It was an old house in an old city, creaky from years of strong winds due to its location on a sort-of peninsula. It was in that house, in the waning days of fall, in the dark (remember, the clocks changed in October then), that I played Majoras Mask for the first time. My parents were pretty strict, and my time playing video games was generally limited to weekends. But that summer, as a means to gain leverage at his job, my dad changed from second shift to third shift. My mom, a career healthcare worker, always worked first shift. They were both home in the evenings for us, until the three of us went to bed and my dad went to work. I was never good at sleeping. As a kid, I often laid in the dark in my room, listening to whatever baseball games I could find on the radio - in the summer, at night, you could get signals from as far as Detroit, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.

When Majoras Mask came out, it was all I could think about. I would lie in bed, listening to WFNX or WBCN (may they never be forgotten), listening to alt rock and replaying the game in my head, trying to puzzle it all out. I needed to play more, to see what happened, and how. At some point, probably in early November, it hit me: I could just go play the game once my dad left for work. My parents bedroom and the playroom with the N64 were on opposite sides of the house on different floors. Sure, it wasnt a big house, and it wasnt soundproof, but those were details I did not care about because I was twelve and a half. I kept the volume loud enough so that only I could hear it, and I sat too close, Poltergeist style. I vividly remember playing through and beating Snowhead Temple for the first time in the dead of night as howling gusts of wind crashed into our house, as if the eternal winter Id just banished from Terminas north had come for me. I dont think I was ever truly frightened, at least not like I had been with Resident Evil 2 two years earlier, but it was an extra degree of unsettling immersion in a game that was already more immersive than anything Id played before (and most things Ive played since). No game is seared into my memory as strongly and across as many senses as Majoras Mask. Like the residents of Clock Town, it left a lasting imprint on me well after the adventure was over.

The Thighmaster
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12/31/21 9:48:00 AM

That's a good Zelda game

Round 2 vs Nichols
Go Dennison!
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01/06/22 2:43:07 PM

Just down to Naye and myself

KCF can't actually be a real person but he is - greengravy
If you smell what the rock is cooking he's cooking crap - ertyu
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01/06/22 3:42:44 PM


Who will win the Top 100 Rumble!?

I am Nick. Go Sens, Bills, Blue Jays, RedBlacks!
UotY 2015, You should listen to The Show w/ Ngamer and Yoblazer
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01/11/22 8:31:03 PM

They're really taking their time, eyeing each other up, JR.

Xbox GT/PSN name/Nintendo ID: TatteredUniform
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01/14/22 8:11:35 AM

2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES, 1991)

I know that I mentioned this in at least the Boxing writeup, if not more, but my parents were already casual gamers by the first time that I played a video game. My mom owned an Atari 2600, with it more than a dozen games, including Space Invaders that she paid $90 for in the early 80s. The first video games that I ever received were from my uncle when he gave me a SNES in 1993. It was bundled with Super Mario All-Stars and he also gave me ALttP. Thats four of my Top 50 games there, so that basically will never be topped. Unlike the Super Mario games, my parents got involved with Link to the Past.

There were three save files, so I occupied one, my sister another, and then my parents shared one. Now I will preface this by saying my sister and parents never beat it, and I didnt until the late 90s or early 00s, but playing ALttP was basically a family affair. We would sit and watch someone play and pay close attention as to glean any useful info/tips. My dad is a talented artist, and he made this beautiful map of Hyrule and the Dark World, color and all, that doubled as a bit of a legend as he included info on where to find major items and such. I still have it, but I dont feel like going through the tub of SNES stuff, so you have to take my word for it. I distinctly remember that there was one item that was never included in the map because none of us found it (until I did around the time I actually beat it), and that was the Cane of Byrna.

Part of the reason why we never beat it/spent so much time together on it was actually because our cartridge was slightly defective, for lack of a better word. Unlike my other SNES games, it had a tendency to lose all save files. It was obviously a bummer when that would happen, but with it being so high here, I was obviously glad to do it all over again. There is probably no game that I have started more files for than this. Were talking dozens upon dozens of times (which also includes the less problematic ports that I have bought/played over time). One thing about the save files though is that the vast majority of games that I played dont have a save file name feature, the LoZ series is the only one that I stick to the same formula. It was my dads idea that I name my character after me as well as the age I was when I started. I have done this each and every time, and with me still not getting around to playing Breath of the Wild despite owning it for nearly four years, I will make sure to continue the tradition.

I should probably talk about the game at least a smidge? Of the many Atari games of my parents that I played was Adventure. It was probably the most unique experience of all their Atari games, and having not played an NES to realize the origins of LoZ were clearly inspired by it, I was blown away by virtually everything ALttP offered. Two large explorable worlds chock-full of secrets, a bevy of cool items and weapons, and amazing dungeons full of engaging, sometimes layered puzzles and excellent boss fights. The whole package was so astounding and became the basis (dungeons, bosses, world) that I judged all Zelda games on.

In that regard, it might be a shame that I began with ALttP, because it completely blows the rest of the series out of the water. While I considered Four Swords Adventures and Links Awakening, this is the only game from the series on my list. In a forgettable ranking topic of Nintendo series that I did many years ago, The Legend of Zelda I want to say placed around 15th, so even with my #2 game of all-time, that goes to show you how I have largely felt about the rest of the series (3D games bring it down).

If theres a single video game that Ive played that is close to flawless, it might be this. This was just a masterpiece, and I wont hear anything to the contrary.

KCF can't actually be a real person but he is - greengravy
If you smell what the rock is cooking he's cooking crap - ertyu
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01/14/22 9:08:02 AM


Round 2 vs Nichols
Go Dennison!
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01/14/22 11:32:13 AM

1. F-Zero X (N64, 1998)

This being my #1 was the worst-kept secret on my list. While everyone probably figured that Snowboard Kids 2, Bully, and MVP Baseball 2005 would rank near the top of my list, everyone who has known me for a long time had to have expected this as my #1. Im actually going to talk about the game this time I swear, but oh geez, where do I even begin?

I guess talking about actual driving is a good place. With this being in the era where 3D gaming was a work-in-progress, there were plenty of growing pains in the development phase for virtually every game. Released roughly two years after the N64 hit the shelves, F-Zero X had already seemingly mastered the hardware. This game is smooth as silk. It ran at 60 FPS with 30 vehicles on the track, which had to have been unprecedented. It looks and feels gorgeous in motion. Something that I find underrated about the game is camera positioning. They always have it at the right angle so that you can tell where the track is heading to prevent cheap deaths while maintaining a high sense of speed.

I had played the original F-Zero prior to this, and what stood out to me with that game was the Mode 7 graphics. I had played many racing games that utilized it (F-Zero, Al Unser Jr.s Road to the Top, Street Racer, and Super Mario Kart) and it really made the tracks and backgrounds stand out. F-Zero X seemed to take inspiration from those games by having backgrounds be thematically congruent with the planet/track they were on but sparsely detailed in a way that really drives home the sense of scale and sheer height that these tracks reach.

The game has standard racing modes like cups and vs races, but they introduced a peculiar mode called Death Race. It is a short, basic course where your goal is to destroy the other 29 vehicles as quickly as possible. My best time was 59 seconds, and I didnt want to give this away in my Snowboard Kids 2 writeup, but I play this at least once a year as part of the annual N64 racing game marathon. I do Death Race as a warm up, and Im no longer the 10-ish year-old boy who was a stud at this game, but it feels great to still be able to get sub-90 second marks. Death Race is also a neat way to test out other vehicles and even mess with their top speed/acceleration slider. Vehicles are graded on three things (body, boost, and grip), and they all play wildly different. I personally believe the game to be very unbalanced with grip being king (just try using Night Thunder), so this is a cool way to test out your and each vehicle's strengths and weaknesses.

The first four cups contain a total of 24 designed tracks. They have a fifth cup called X-Cup though that was interesting now and definitely for its time for being entirely composed of procedurally generated tracks. The procedural generation draws from a more basic set of components, so the vast majority of the time you will be racing on relatively basic tracks. Its still very neat to always be on your toes as you go through a first lap not knowing what to expect. However, and this is very rare, you will come across a track that has some ridiculous segment that wipes out most or all of the other racers (and to be honest probably you too at first). I dubbed these death tracks, and I cherished each time I was lucky to come across one. The game has a life system, and if you fall off the track or explode because your vehicle's body took too much damage, you would get as many retries as lives remaining. Normally the first time I would come across such a course, I would die from obviously not knowing the death trap that awaits me, and I would use a retry. I would often risk it and die on purpose just to experience that track because in addition to these death tracks being so rare, I would probably never get to race on this particular track ever again. The way the on-screen display is set up shows the top six racers and their headshots on the left. Theres something very cool about there not being enough racers to fill all the spots, and even better when there is no other headshot than your own. I wish there was a way to save a track or have some agency on what kind of tracks show up, but I will accept these existing at all.

This is a very bizarre reason for why a game is my favorite of all-time, but I love the way the AI is set up. I have always been fascinated by AI in racing games. I have mentioned this several times over my time here but not in this topic series since the game wasnt ranked, but Super Mario Kart had a fixed AI system based on the character you chose, and I often took it upon myself to disrupt it the best I could. F-Zero X has a deeper system that I had to discover on my own.

At the beginning of each cup, you will see two characters in front of yours (you begin in the rear, 30th place). Those will be your rivals. While they have some peculiar variance that I wont get into, they should largely follow your lead. If you bring up the rear, they will stay back with you. If you always go for the win (which describes everyone who isnt me), then they will be breathing down your neck. If you awkwardly sit in the middle, well, they usually stick near you. So independent of the three wild cards of you and your rivals, you have numerous tiers of other characters that are randomly generated each cup. The characters will almost always stick to placements within those tiers. Now within each of the four cups with fixed tracks are two certain tracks where they mostly flip those tiers. The highest two tiers are actually impervious to the change, but all the others perform the opposite as normal. Sometimes there were unpredictable wrinkles like when a character crashed the previous race. Would they fall into their tier for the next race, or would they disregard the tier system and place among the second tier before reverting back to their normal tier the following race? Im going to stop going into details there because Im sure that this is something that is hard to follow, but let me assure you I found this totally riveting.

I basically discovered this through intensively looking over the post-race point distribution and standing updates. Once I had a great grasp of the situation, my imagination ran wild. I would come up with narratives for each character during cups based on the tiers they were assigned. Sometimes, I would even create teams prior to starting the cup by literally using a hat and pieces of paper. I would even create stories for these made up teams. What would normally be a 20 minute cup I could extend to more than an hour as I could be so enveloped with my imagination.

In addition to its merits as a top-tier racing game, the games distinctive AI system had such an unparalleled impact on me that nothing may ever top F-Zero X for me in spite of the explosion of creativity and overall quality gaming has seen since then.

KCF can't actually be a real person but he is - greengravy
If you smell what the rock is cooking he's cooking crap - ertyu
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01/14/22 11:37:32 AM

My Final Rankings
100. Unholy Heights
99. Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure
98. Backyard Baseball 2001
97. Boxing (Atari)
96. Mu Cartographer
95. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
94. Lego Island
93. Mercury Hg
92. Persona 4 Golden
91. The Gardens Between
90. Pure
89. Batman: Arkham Knight
88. Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004)
87. Aliens Go Home Run
86. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+
85. Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors
84. Monster Rancher Advance 2
83. SimTown
82. Diddy Kong Racing
81. Super Mario Odyssey
80. Red Dead Redemption
79. Mario Party
78. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
77. Super Mario 3D World
76. God of War II
75. Outland
74. Advance Wars: Dual Strike
73. 007 Nightfire
72. Super Solvers Mission T.H.I.N.K.
71. Grand Theft Auto III
70. WarioWare Touched
69. Monster Rancher Battle Card GB
68. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2
67. Shining Force
66. Plok
65. Monument Valley
64. The Darkness
63. The Darkness II
62. Super Mario Galaxy + Super Mario Galaxy 2
61. WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$!
60. NFL Street 2
59. Pikmin 2
58. Paper Mario
57. Oregon Trail II
56. Stardew Valley
55. Crash Team Racing
54. Mario Golf (N64)
53. Counter-Strike
52. Mass Effect + Mass Effect 2 + Mass Effect 3
51. Super Mario 64
50. Forza Horizon
49. WarioWare Gold
48. Max Payne 3
47. Mario Party 3
46. Far Cry 3
45. Grand Theft Auto Vice City
44. Last Window The Secret of Cape West
43. Super Mario Bros.
42. Linelight
41. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
40. Portal 2
39. Portal
38. Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
37. Hotel Dusk Room 215
36. God of War III
35. Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild
34. Biker Mice From Mars
33. Killer7
32. Super Mario Bros. Lost Levels
31. Donkey Kong Country 2
30. Donkey Kong Country
29. Beyond Good & Evil
28. PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate
27. The Talos Principle
26. Rayman Origins + Legends
25. DiRT 2
24. Hitman: Blood Money
23. Apex Legends
22. Rocket League
21. Beavis & Butt-head (SNES)
20. AER: Memories of Old
19. Project Gotham Racing 2
18. Banjo-Kazooie
17. The Saboteur
16. Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
15. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
14. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
13. Halo 2
12. Halo 4
11. Far Cry 2
10. Peggle
9. Super Mario Bros. 3
8. Super Mario World
7. Forza Horizon 2
6. Sly 2: Band of Thieves
5. MVP Baseball 2005
4. Bully
3. Snowboard Kids 2
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
1. F-Zero X

KCF can't actually be a real person but he is - greengravy
If you smell what the rock is cooking he's cooking crap - ertyu
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01/14/22 11:44:26 AM

That's not Chrono Trigger

Whiskey Nick on his cell phone
Send Hook
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01/14/22 5:31:22 PM

If I had played F-Zero X when it was new, that tier system wouldve been really interesting to me too. I enjoyed exploring stuff like that in games.

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01/14/22 7:57:50 PM

Now that I'm finished, there were at least two games that I played since this started that I would have included on my list:
Hitman (2016)

KCF can't actually be a real person but he is - greengravy
If you smell what the rock is cooking he's cooking crap - ertyu
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01/14/22 9:00:16 PM

I feel like Hades and Bug Fables would have made my list since we started this.

I am Nick. Go Sens, Bills, Blue Jays, RedBlacks!
UotY 2015, You should listen to The Show w/ Ngamer and Yoblazer
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