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Team Picks: What’s Your Favourite Video Game?

Video games are everywhere- whether you like it or not. Whether it’s spending a six hour session on World of Warcraft or toppling some annoying pigs on your phone, video games have become an undeniable part of modern society. Despite this though, they are still regarded as childish and are forced to live in the shadow of other forms of entertainment like film and tv, instead of being appreciated for what they truly are- art. So, to celebrate the wonder that is video games we posed this simple question to the Screen Invasion team- what is your favourite video game?

[box_dark]Jasper Watkins @JC_WaitWat[/box_dark]

Of all the publishers and of all the games released, very few leave a deep impression. While many are enjoyable there are those select few that have that little something, whether it’s stunning visuals, a memorable story or game mechanic or even beautiful music. For some perhaps the 8 bit charm of The Legend of Zelda on NES would sit at the top of their list but I’m going chose something slightly more contemporary.

The award goes to Ubisoft for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood , the third in what is soon to be five console Assassin’s Creed games. Continuing the story of Ezio Auditore’s plight against the Templars, now relocated to Rome, it built successfully upon everything that was championed in its predecessor. The music, visuals and especially the combat were vastly improved while maintaining the winning formula that made Assassin’s Creed II so successfully, namely an intriguing story, exciting gameplay and beautiful score.  While it did contain moments of severe teeth gritting and fist waving (“For 100% synchronization do not be spotted”) the Renaissance charm of the setting and characters, Leonardo Da Vinci continues to be my favourite companion of any game to date, means that Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood will be seated at the top for the foreseeable future.

[box_dark]Brian Rudloff @RealBrianRudolff[/box_dark]

The once unrivaled developer, Rare, was responsible for many beloved titles including Donkey Kong CountryPerfect Dark, and GoldenEye 007.  The greatest of these titles, however, is the unlikely tale of a bear and bird known as Banjo-Kazooie.  Banjo, a kindly and courageous bear, and Kazooie, the smarmy bird that lives in his backpack, embark on a perilous journey to save Tootie from the evil witch Gruntilda.  The comedic duo encounters many unforgettable friends and foes throughout nine expansive levels in this single-player, action-adventure platformer released in 1998 for Nintendo 64.  Similar in ways to Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie focuses much more on exploration and puzzle solving then simple platforming.  The main goal is to uncover 10 hidden jigsaw pieces (“jiggies”) located in each open world.  Gameplay is nonlinear, which allows the player incredible freedom to experience this award-winning game however he/she desires.

New abilities are unlocked as you meet colorful characters along the journey and collect a plethora of different items to help you reach old Grunty for the ultimate big boss showdown.  Perhaps the most outrageous moments in the game are when Banjo & Kazooie encounter the shaman Mumbo who transforms them in to various things to help them solve puzzles including a termite, a walrus, and a pumpkin.  The detailed graphics and interactive soundtrack were cutting-edge at the time of its release.  Although several sequels have been released in the series, none can compare to the magic of the first.  It still holds up as an incredibly fun, inventive, funny, and challenging game that should be enjoyed for decades to come.  It is currently available for download on the Xbox Live Arcade.

[box_dark]Daniel Johnson  @danfish42[/box_dark]

A couple years ago, when I still thought most games were generally a waste of time and money, my roommate convinced me to give Portal a try.  I was shocked how good this game, and its sequel, turned out to be.  They say in a film the best thing to do is “show, don’t tell.”  Well in a game, where the player wants to actively play the story, the rule ought to be “do, don’t show.”  Portal did just that.  Its story would never work as a film or book, but it is nevertheless one of the most enjoyable narratives I have ever experienced.
Portal also deserves praise for being one of the few games with both a compelling female protagonist and antagonist.  Women in gaming are usually confined to being locked in Bowser’s castle or portrayed as unrealistic buxom sex fantasies.  Portal’s Chell is a bit of an empty vessel since she never speaks, but through your actions she becomes as tenacious hero as any.  And GLaDOS, who seems to both equally care for and hate you, is probably the best female video game villain ever (with the possible exception of StarCraft’s Sarah Kerrigan).  I have heard the Freudian argument that most games–with their constant shooting of guns—are male-centered, in that you are creating projectiles to penetrate stuff.  In Portal, you’re using a gun that creates holes for things to pass through.  Could this be a brilliant feminist subversion of the FPS genre?
From its deliciously clever brain-teasers, sardonic wit, and fun story, Portal is without question is my favorite video game, and as long as creative works of art like it get made, the video game world will definitely be “still alive.”

[box_dark]Kristal Bailey @kristal_bailey[/box_dark]

I was never much of a gamer growing up. My brother had N64, Game Boy, PSP and even more but I stuck more to watching TV shows and movies. However, that changed with the Wii. The Wii coupled with college dorms made for the most fun video game competitions! I was exposed to the awesome games like Mario Kart, Smash Bros Brawl, and Wario Ware Smooth Moves. The one I still play constantly with friends is Smash Bros. It never gets boring because every match up is different. We’ve done brackets and tournaments that extended in to multiple days and hang outs. It features all of your favorite Nintendo characters and they’re all beating the crap out of each other. It’s great! You can fiddle with the settings and making matchups completely customizable. You can even build your own levels to keep the game interesting well beyond the first few hundred matchups. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve played this game since its release, which is why this gets my pick.

[box_dark]Kevin Taylor @takye2[/box_dark]

Super Mario 64 is the greatest game of all time. Everything we thought we knew about video games changed when it was released. The graphics are so amazing that they even hold their own today, and it was released in 1996! The scale of the game was unheard of, as Mariohad to search for 120 stars spread out in 15 Worlds to save his princess. As soon as I turned the game on, I was hooked. I had to play it every day, and when I beat it, I just wanted to do it all over again. That’s the sign of a great video game. Most games these days I beat once and never go back to. Sure it’s mostly because I have more important things to do now as compared to when I was 10, but the connection with the game isn’t there for me like it was for this game.

Simply put, Super Mario 64 was a game changer, and I will end by saying this. The jump in video game technology from Super Nintendo to this masterpiece has never, and will never, be matched again. Even when we have Xbox 1080’s, the technology jump won’t be as big, at least until we have interactive virtual reality like in the movies.

[box_dark]Eric Ambler @AmblerAmblog[/box_dark]

I’ve always been an impatient gamer. So when I think of my favorite video game, I don’t necessarily think of the ones I spent the most time playing – those tend to emphasize rote, repetitive tasks that act like a dopamine drip (Tetris, Super Smash Bros., Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater). That impatience extends to more immersive titles as well. I would rarely try to work my way through a complex game without a strategy guide or online walkthrough close by.

With that in mind, I have to claim the swashbuckling Sega Dreamcast action-RPG Skies of Arcadia as my all-time favorite. Not only is it rip-roaring fun to battle monsters and other sky pirates aboard a tricked-out airship, but it’s also an enthralling emotional experience, ripe with the potential for discovery. In fact, it’s encouraged via a long list of unlockable “Discoveries” that boost your sky pirate ranking. I’ve never enjoyed simply walking (or flying) about in any game more than Skies, and it was even better doing it all without any predetermined plan. It’s one of the few games to get me to cast off my fear of respawn and just get completely lost in its world. (And ok, I did look at GameFAQs once or twice, but only when I got really stuck.)

What’s your favorite video game? Sound off in the comments!

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The Author

Jasper Watkins

Jasper Watkins

One of the several editors for Screen invasion, his articles range from video games to music and occasionally to television. twitter @jaspcw