Welcome to the Video Games wing of the Shacknews 2022 Hall of Fame class.This category celebrates the games that have shaped the industry and the lives of millions of players.
When you're finished, use the Table of Contents at the bottom of the page to visit other areas of the Shacknews Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
Developed and published by HAL Laboratory, Adventures of Lolo is a classic puzzle game that was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Lolo and the gang of Eggerland baddies were snubbed last year, missing the cut for induction in our inaugural Shacknews Hall of Fame class of 2021.
Lolo is a rolly polly blue ball of a protagonist that players navigated through a series of challenging top-down puzzles. The game even featured a beginning cutscene showing Lala being kidnapped. Many players found the puzzles to be quite challenging when the game was released back in 1989. Even developer HAL Laboratory was surprised by the success of the first Adventures of Lolo, leading to several sequels being released. Players that missed out on this 80s classic puzzle game franchise can still find it on Nintendo Switch Online and even the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console stores.
Fun fact, fellow Shacknews Hall of Fame Class of 2022 inductee Lola was actually named after protagonists Lolo and Lala. It’s only fitting that Adventures of Lolo and Lola are being inducted in the same year.
Ensemble Studios’ Age of Empires was the answer to a deceptively complex question. Civilization co-designer Bruce Shelley asked, “What would Civ play like as a real-time strategy game?” Whereas competitors such as Blizzard Entertainment and Westwood Studios built fantastic and futuristic worlds, respectively, Age of Empires combined Civilization’s historical periods and factions with core RTS systems such as resource gathering and tactical combat. Ensemble and Microsoft released the game in 1997. Its publication gave Microsoft a feather in its cap as a games publisher, and gave Ensemble a well-earned reputation as a premier RTS developer.
Before FromSoftware put themselves on the map with their take on hardcore fantasy action/adventure games, they were busy making the Dark Souls of mech games. Armored Core launched in the US in 1997 and made its mark thanks to its highly customizable giant robots. Players could take their mechs out on missions then spend the currency they made on new weapons, parts and limbs to make the ultimate machine. The game’s third-person action is noteworthy as these mechs could be as lumbering as a real-world counterpart might be, which meant you had to be particular about how you controlled things. It shows that even back then FromSoftware had a knack for rewarding meticulous players.
Despite strong competition from id Software, 1997 was the year of the Build engine. Blood and Shadow Warrior followed the release of 1996’s Duke Nukem 3D, and while neither made as big of a splash, Blood remains the most experimental of the Build trilogy of the ‘90s. Pitting you against cultists, zombies, and other horror-inspired monsters, Blood gave you access to a few conventional firearms, but the star attraction was its more creative and experimental weapons such as stabbing voodoo dolls to damage enemies and lobby clusters of dynamite to blow up weak walls—and, of course, monsters.
Bomberman 64 was the first 3D entry in the game franchise's history. Developed by Hudson Soft, the game was released exclusively on Nintendo 64 and added many new experiences for fans of the series. Bomberman 64 even featured a single-player campaign that combined action-adventure and platforming.
The franchise was known for its multiplayer battle mode, and some critics were not fans of the Bomberman 64 multiplayer experience. The game introduced a whole new generation to the fun of blowing up friends in the Bomberman universe. As with many Nintendo 64 titles, couch multiplayer was a focus of the title, and many players had a blast with the new take on the tried and true Bomberman formula.
Bushido Blade is unique among the pantheon of 3D fighters for a few good reasons. For beginners, much like in the samurai duels it looked to emulate, death could come at any moment in Bushido Blade and many matches ended up being decided by the first cut. There were no health bars, special meters or timers, just two opponents living in the moment, trying to kill each other.
Bushido blade was also fairly unique for letting players choose a weapon before combat. Various swords such as a katana or rapier, and even a sledgehammer, each with its own fighting stances and attack moves could be selected. If an attack didn’t kill, it could wound and cause a character to lose use of an arm or a leg. Gameplay mechanics like these have never really been common in a fighting game today and the devs at Lightweight who made Bushido Blade certainly deserve credit for making it a one of a kind experience.
A hallmark of early personal computers, California Games was one of the earliest bestselling sports titles without a lucrative name or license attached. You compete in events from roller skating and surfing to half-pipe skateboarding and juggling a footbag—the sorts of games you’d do in California’s sunny weather. California Games is a looker no matter what platform you play it on, but it works because of the uniqueness of the assorted events and the precise skill the designers at Epyx grant you over every movement. If any sports title could break the monotony of annual licensed games bogged down by realistic graphics and physics, a remake of California Games is it.
Carmageddon is a vehicular combat racing game that was released on MS-DOS and Windows in 1997. The game was developed by Stainless Games and was an interesting mash up of racing games with elements of first-person shooter gameplay. Players could complete levels by destroying all of the computer controlled cars and pedestrians or by actually finishing the race first.
The game was certainly inspired by the Death Race and Mad Max movie franchises, and really brought chaotic and hilariously fun gameplay to PCs. We are very honored to have Carmegeddon join our Shacknews Hall of Fame 2022 induction class in the game’s first year of eligibility.
Westwood popularized RTS games with Dune II, only to be out-strategized by Blizzard Entertainment’s WarCraft and WarCraft II. Not to be outdone for long, Westwood responded with the well-received Command & Conquer. Red Alert is C&C’s prequel, and many consider it the superior game. It broadens tactical options to air and sea, sharpens the graphics, and presents a fun alternative history to the events of World War II. Perhaps most importantly, it refines the original’s gameplay: Red Alert’s factions, the Allies and Soviets, aren’t copies of each other, as the Brotherhood of NOD and GDC were in the original. Each has unique units and strategic options for them, making Red Alert one of the deepest and most charming RTS games of the ‘90s.
When you think of the Nintendo 64, titles like GoldenEye, Mario Kart 64, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina are likely to come to mind. However, for many racing enthusiasts and Donkey Kong series fans, Diddy Kong Racing is also one that comes to mind. One reason for this is because it sits as the eighth best-selling game on the Nintendo 64 platform under the first 3D game in the series, Donkey Kong 64. While Donkey Kong gave N64 owners a fantastic 3D platforming experience, Diddy Kong Racing equally delivered a stellar racing game that could be played alone or with friends.
Racing around Timber Island in Diddy Kong Racing was truly a delight, and to this day Diddy Kong Racing stands out as a charming, delightful little racer that earned its place among the best games on the N64 platform.
Last year was jam-packed with classic arcade and console games, but some games missed the cut. We are righting this wrong for Namco's Dig Dug with our 2022 induction class of games. The maze-based game featured cute character sprites, charming sound effects, and an amazing gameplay loop that was perfect for arcades.
The game was programmed for the Namco Galaga board and was marketed as a "strategic digging game." Dig Dug went on to be Japan's second highest-grossing arcade game in 1982. Dig Dug has been ported to plenty of consoles, and has seen its share of sequels. The game franchise even inspired the Dreamcast classic Mr. Driller franchise which was also developed and published by Namco.
Some games get swept under the rug, but after doing some digging, we are extremely pleased to induct Dig Dug in the Shacknews Hall of Fame.
The original Doom became a phenomenon, bringing networks crashing down as players around the world binged on deathmatches. Id Software’s designers wisely opted not to muck with a winning formula. Instead, they enhanced it. New monsters such as the Revenant, Arch-Vile, and Mancubus force you to think more strategically during encounters. The double-barreled shotgun rounds out the first half of your arsenal perfectly, and the single-player levels balance claustrophobic corridors with expansive city-themed environments. Those monsters, plus new items such as the super shotty and megasphere, have kept Doom 2’s community making maps for decades. As for multiplayer—it’s more Doom. In 1994, nothing was better.
Even in the late 1990s, Doom ran on everything. From Atari Jaguar and the 3DO to Super NES and Sega 32X, id Software’s masterpiece was being ported from MS-DOS to virtually every other gaming platform. Doom 64 was no mere port. While it carried over Doom 2’s weapons, bestiary, and power-ups, it featured redesigned enemies, atmospheric lighting, and a spine-tingling score inherited from developer Williams Entertainment’s PS1 port of Doom and Doom 2. Focusing on puzzles and exploration as much as frenetic combat, Doom 64 felt familiar yet distinguished itself as a unique entry in the venerable franchise.
Duke Nukem was no stranger to ports. Considered the successor to id Software’s “Doom-ed space marine,” Duke made the jump to PS1 and N64. The N64 incarnation, predictably named Duke Nukem 64, added wrinkles to the PC original. While risqué elements such as strippers were removed thanks to Nintendo’s family-friendly requirements, the good changes outweighed the bad in Duke Nukem 64. Eurocom Entertainment augmented the arsenal, giving you a new shotgun, a grenade launcher, and dual SMGs. One of the best addition was bot-controlled opponents in Dukematch, giving you worthy challengers to practice your deathmatch skills against when your friends weren’t around to frag and be fragged.
The brainchild of co-designers Peter Molyneux and Mark Healey, Dungeon Keeper casts you as an overseer tasked with building dungeons. As the story plays out, you recruit minions to assist with construction and trick out your dungeons with traps to foil the heroes who invade. Dungeon Keeper’s strategy is deep enough to satisfy fans of the genre, but its dark sense of humor, such as using your hand to slap and carry around your minions as they work, imbue it with a sense of personality that fans still remember fondly 25 years later.
War. War never changes, nor have Fallout’s core tenets since the seminal game’s launch in 1997, even factoring in shifts such as moving to a first-person game with shooter mechanics since 2008’s Fallout 3. Developed and published by Interplay Productions, Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game dropped you into a world ravaged by nuclear war and let you choose your own path to the end. Variables such as how you interacted with players, your character’s strengths and weaknesses, and your approach to battle were yours to customize, and cemented Fallout as a classic.
Final Fantasy 7’s development journey began on the Super NES/Super Famicom platform in 1994, but the game’s ambitions really highlighted constraints of cartridge-based games that were popular at the time. When the CD-ROM expansion for SNES didn’t materialize, Square took development over to Sony PlayStation,
FF7 introduced a lot of innovations to the Final Fantasy franchise including full motion video cutscenes, pre-rendered CGI backgrounds, and 3D graphics. Characters had never looked so real when the game was released in 1997.
While many players have pointed out that the game hasn’t held up 25 years after its initial release, many of the best practices of the Final Fantasy franchise were created in the FF7 universe. The game has had an undeniable impact on video game history, and Square Enix has begun the process of remaking the game, with the first FF7 Remake receiving tons of praise from video game critics.
Before multiplayer shooters like Call of Duty captured the attention of action-seeking gamers, there was GoldenEye 007 based off the 1995 James Bond flick of the same name. The game was developed by the team at Rare and published by Nintendo to the Nintendo 64 and featured a phenomenal single-player campaign in addition to an addictive split-screen multiplayer element centered around 4-player deathmatch.
Furthermore, the soundtrack for GoldenEye 007, particularly its theme, remains as iconic as the game itself. GoldenEye 007 is one of those shining examples of a game that, perhaps isn’t perfect, but nevertheless managed to do everything it set out to do and then some. With that effort, GoldenEye was able to leave behind a lasting influence on the shooter genre in the years following its 1997 release. That influence can be seen in games like Rare’s follow-up title, Perfect Dark, and in TimeSplitters when members of the GoldenEye team left the studio to form Free Radical Design.
When Gran Turismo was released in 1997 it set a tone for racing games on PlayStation hardware that’s still being felt today. Featuring 140 cars and 11 tracks (22 if you count their reversed versions), the original Gran Turismo was unlike anything we’d seen before it. Countless hours were spent trying to earn a driver’s license to qualify for events, which in turn let you earn money by racing so you could buy more cars. The game is classified as having universal acclaim on Metacritic, and rightfully so. Gran Turismo’s influence is still being felt today in modern racing games.
The Grand Theft Auto franchise is one of the most popular in the history of video games, and it all started with the original Grand Theft Auto released in 1997 for the PlayStation, PC, and Game Boy Color. While even younger gamers are familiar with the GTA series from the still-popular GTAV and GTA Online, the original Grand Theft Auto featured a top-down view of the action. Players were tasked with earning points by completing jobs and causing mayhem and were free to approach things in any way they desired. While that level of freedom isn’t uncommon in games today, they partly have the original Grand Theft Auto’s influence to thank.
It's tough to imagine what video game hockey would look like today without Ice Hockey. While the 1988 NES game isn’t the most influential hockey game ever made, others like Blades of Steel and NHL 94 simply wouldn’t exist without it. Ice Hockey included only five players (there are six in an actual hockey game if you include the goaltender) of various sizes. You could load up your team with skinny players that were fast, medium-sized players that were good all around, or heavy-set players that could dominate physically. When a fight broke out, every player on the ice dove into a pile of chaos, with someone being ejected from the pile every now and then only to dive right back in. Ice Hockey set the stage for subsequent hockey games to take the puck and run with it.
Co-created by Cliff Bleszinski and Arjan Brusse, Jazz Jackrabbit is a 2D platform game that marked Epic Games’—then known as Epic MegaGames—first breakout hit. Jazz Jackrabbit is known for its speed and its level design, whereby most stages split into a main path and one that leads to valuable treasures and power-ups. Like Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog on consoles, it’s a colorful and cheerful game that handles well, and it launched the career of Bleszinski, who went on to co-create the Unreal franchise and direct Gears of War.
Karate Champ was one of the earliest fighting video games to reach large commercial success. The game launched in arcades in 1984, and went on to be one of the highest grossing cabinets in 1985. The game's success lead to Apple II and Commodore 64 releases in 1985, and am NES Karate Champ released in 1986. Developed by Technos Japan and published by Data East, Karate Champ featured single player and 1v1 gameplay experiences.
Many modern-day best practices of fighting games presentation draw inspiration from Karate Champ, but the controls were certainly different than what players have become used to in the present day. Players could execute up to 24 moves using two joystick inputs on the arcade cabinets. The game did get ported to the NES, and featured different controls. Karate Champ was also one of the first fighting games to feature some digitized voices declaring a winner and also letting players know when it was time to fight.
While there have been some better quality modern fighting games to be inducted in the Shacknews Hall of Fame, Karate Champ has made it into the Class of 2022. The game has left an undeniable mark on the fighting game genre, and we are happy to immortalize its legacy in Canton, Ohio.
The King of Fighters '97 from SNK was the fourth entry in the KOF series, but proved memorable for several reasons. For one thing, it was the end of the long-running Orochi Saga storyline that began all the way back in The King of Fighters '94. With the fighters having survived the assault by the Orochi-powered Rugal Bernstein, KOF '97 saw the Hero Team of Kyo, Benimaru, and Daimon confront the remaining Heavenly Kings of Orochi before ultimately facing the all-powerful Orochi himself.
In terms of gameplay, KOF '97 offered some newfound flexibility by allowing players to choose between the charge-based Extra Mode style used in KOF '94 and '95 and the stock-based Advance Mode that was used for KOF '96. This added even greater depth to go along with one of the biggest rosters in a fighting game to that point.
KOF '97 remains a popular installment of the series to this day with SNK even releasing a Steam version back in 2018, one that includes online matchmaking with rollback netcode.
Live A Live was a rarity among Super Nintendo titles. It was one that never made its way to North America or Europe, meaning more than half the world couldn't experience this Square RPG when it first released in 1994. A remake since surfaced in 2022 and it makes clear why the original game was such a gem. Director Takashi Tokita of Chrono Trigger fame put out some bold ideas that had not been seen before in an RPG. The main premise is that it tells the standalone tales of seven different heroes from across the ages before the adventure truly begins by bringing all of those characters together to combat an ultimate evil.
A grid-based strategy RPG on the surface, Live A Live's appeal largely came from those characters and their stories. Those characters also opened the door to utilize elements from other gaming genres. There were elements of stealth adventures, fighting games, and even pre-Resident Evil survival horror. The way Tokita and his team were able to tell all of these stories and later weave all of their main characters together for a grander epic was nothing short of inspiring.
Of course, we'd also be remiss if we didn't mention the game's music and its influence on gaming's future. Specifically, Megalomania has often been cited as one of the greatest boss themes of all time. It inspired Undertale creator Toby Fox, in particular, who expressed his love for the track on the day that Live A Live's remake was announced for the Nintendo Switch.
Before Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango, there was the classic point-and-click adventure game Maniac Mansion. Another snub from last year’s Shacknews Hall of Fame induction class, Maniac Mansion has made the cut in its second year of eligibility. The game was designed and published by Lucasfilm Games, and introduced players to some of the goofiest video game characters of all-time.
The game was released on multiple platforms in 1987, and featured a lot of funny moments inspired by horror and B-movies. The NES port needed to be reworked because Nintendo was concerned some of the humor was inappropriate for children. Maniac Mansion sent the point-and-click adventure games on a tremendous path for the next few decades, and we are honored to welcome the legendary game to the Shacknews Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The Mario Kart franchise has been going strong for a long time, but it wasn't always considered a Nintendo staple. While Super Mario Kart was a success for the company, it remained to be seen whether lightning could strike twice. All eyes were on the game's sequel, Mario Kart 64, and it was not only better than its predecessor, it became the model for what was now an established franchise.
With striking 3D models and environments and support for four players, Mario Kart 64's races felt more intense and a lot more fun. After basic tracks like Luigi Raceway helped get everyone used to the game's feel, players were treated to larger, more wide-open tracks. Some had gimmicks, like the traffic in Toad's Turnpike or the falling rocks of Choco Mountain. Others allowed for imaginative shortcuts, like the risky train tunnel in Kalimari Desert. Plus, there were plenty of challenges, like the tight turns in Banshee Boardwalk and Bowser's Castle or the multiple paths in Yoshi Valley.
In terms of its influence on gaming as a whole, Mario Kart 64 also marks the first appearance of the blue Spiny Shell. This infamous item chases the leader and blows them right up, often just as they're hitting the finish line. One of the first items of its kind, it's loved and hated by the Mario Kart community and has also been referenced many times across pop culture in the years since its inception.
The Apple II was a proving ground for games that walked a line between education and entertainment. The trick was creating a gameplay loop so appealing that players, especially younger players, forgot they were learning while they played. Math Blaster, published by future Blizzard Entertainment parent company Davidson & Associates, was one of the best. Game modes range from simple arithmetic equations by typing in numbers or playing the addictive blast-based mode where you must quickly fire your avatar out of a cannon aligned with the correct answer. Math Blaster put Davidson & Associates on the map, and the time crunch of having to solve problems quickly and launching your character into the sky hooked kids in schools.
Coming hot off the heels of their success with the Earthworm Jim series, Shiny Entertainment was ready to jump into the next generation of gaming and shed the family-friendly image of their past titles and that’s just what they did with MDK. Players took on the role of Karl, a janitor who had been reluctantly cast into the role of Earth’s savior when aliens showed up to stripmine the planet of all its natural resources. MDK was unique among third-person shooters of its time for offering up more variety in its gameplay. There was plenty of shooting aliens and blowing up tanks, but you also got to play a few mini-game like skydiving from space onto alien mining ships or dropping bombs from a ship of your own. The game’s sniper rifle was also nothing to scoff at and added some flavor and challenge into the mix. Shiny’s trademark humor was on full display as well in both the character design and context of the plot making for an unmissable gaming experience. There’s no denying that MDK is a classic that deserves its place in our Hall of Fame.
MechWarrior 2 hit the PC gaming scene in 1995 when 3D graphics were starting to become all the rage and it made quite an impact. The game was more than just an FPS where you’re in a mech suit, it was a full-on mech sim. Players could balance and customize loadouts for whatever mission laid ahead. Controls could be tweaked so that the mech’s legs, arm and torso could all be controlled as individual entities or the game could be played in a more traditional FPS-style as well. Throw some impressive CGI cutscenes in and you’ve got a winning formula for a classic mech sim.
Decades later, Mega Man fans remain divided over whether Mega Man 2 or Mega Man 3 is the greater game. Both are excellent additions to the Shacknews Hall of Fame, but fans of the third installment believe its gameplay refinements give it an edge in the never-ending debate. The weapons you wrest from the smoldering circuits of its Robot Masters are more varied and balanced, the soundtrack is as catchy as its predecessor’s, and the surprise return of Mega Man 2’s bosses in the midgame put a twist on the already predictable formula of battling eight Robot Masters before blasting your way through Dr. Wily’s castle. No matter which side of the debate you fall on, there’s no doubt that Mega Man 3 is one of the best entries in the series, and one of the best games on the NES.
While his legacy is marred with controversy now, back in the 1980s and 90s Michael Jackson was the king of pop and international celebrity. That’s why it’s a bit surprising to learn that he was the one who approached Sega about making a video game based on his Moonwalker film. There’s actually two versions of the game, a 3-player arcade beat 'em up with an isometric view, and a side scrolling brawler for Sega’s 16-Bit home consoles. The basic concept was similar for both Michael in his Smooth Criminal attire must use the power of dance fighting to save the orphans and stop the bad guys. Bubbles the chimp even makes cameos in both and will turn Michael into a laser-blasting robot in the arcade version. Very few games let you destroy your enemies using choreographed dances and we’re fairly certain this is the only game you can moonwalk in.
Although Michael Jackson has a tarnished legacy it’s undeniable that Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker is a representation of the cultural zeitgeist back then.
Unleashed at the height of arcade mania in the ‘90s, Mortal Kombat II is, like Capcom’s Street Fighter II, proof that sequels can surpass their forebearers. Movement is more fluid, juggle combos are even more lethal, cross-up attacks give you more tools to confuse and outwit opponents, the visuals and soundtrack are perhaps the most impressive in the franchise’s arcade era, and additions to the roster such as Jax, Kitana, Kung Lao, and Mileena made their debut and went on to become franchise favorites.
The idea of arcade-style sports games was nothing new by the time Mutant League Football came around, but it definitely brought a new attitude to the table. While the basic rules of football were in play, it was ogres and skeletons out on the field and your roster could literally be torn to shreds. Hazards like pits and landmines were scattered about the field and plays that involved bribing refs to call penalties on the opposing team or throwing exploding balls were on the menu. Player names like Scary Rice and Bones Jackson parodied those of NFL all-stars of the time and they would play for teams like the Slaycity Slayers or Sixty Whiners. Underneath all the insanity and vulgar humor that was the style of the times, there was still a solid football game that required skill to claim victory. Yet another reason that Mutant League Football belongs in the Shacknews Hall of Fame.
After NBA Jam and its Tournament Edition follow-up proved smash hits, Midway took arcade-style sports games into the third dimension and onto the field with NFL Blitz. Channeling the spirit of burning basketballs and backboard-shattering, gravity-defying dunks, NFL Blitz features hard hits straight out of a pro wrestling match. It was another winning formula for Midway, and the home versions were even better.
While the Sega Saturn may have ended up being more of a placeholder for the Dreamcast, there were several iconic games that launched on the system. Case in point, Panzer Dragoon. This has to be one of the greatest on-rail shooters ever made. The graphics were visually stunning for the time and it’s hard to deny how awesome it was to fly around on a giant dragon shooting down enemies with lasers and rockets. It was like they took the gameplay from Space Harrier and cranked things up to 11. The Panzer Dragoon series has remained popular over the years and the original has been ported several times and recently received a remake back in 2020.
A rhythm game that didn’t require you to clutter up your home with plastic instruments, PaRappa mixed stylish cartoon characters with sick rhymes and timing. Kicking and punching your way to success as rhymes and rhythms grow more challenging is fun, but the music and lyrics on which those challenges center are so laugh-out-loud good that you’ll keep playing just to hear what your opponents say next.
Not content after revolutionizing digital pinball games with Raster Blaster on Apple II, creator Bill Budge revolutionized computer games again by taking a step back and handing over his tools to the world’s greatest pinball table creator—you. Pinball Construction Set is the antecedent to “maker” games such as LittleBigPlanet and Nintendo’s enduring Super Mario Maker series. You could even share your tables by copying them onto floppy disks and trading them with friends.
Long considered the black sheep of the franchise, Quake 2 confused players upon release by looking nothing like its predecessor. Look beyond the misleading branding, however, and you’ll find a cohesive world with contiguous environments, coherent mission objectives, and unique enemy design predicated on body horror. It also boasts the best looking, sounding, and feeling super shotgun in id’s catalog of FPS titles, and arguably the best railgun.
Back when games came exclusively in cartridge form, before the internet made regular patch updates commonplace, the game you got at purchase was what you got. There was no such thing as DLC or updates. That’s just how it was. However, Sonic & Knuckles dared to dream of what a cartridge expansion might look like. While Sonic & Knuckles was a stand-alone game, the cart opened up on top and gamers could attach copies of Sonic 2 & 3 to unlock new content and make Knuckles a playable character in the earlier titles.
While it was truly a technological achievement at the time, Sonic & Knuckles was another solid entry in Sega’s flagship series too. And it helped cement Knuckles the Echidna as one of Sonic’s most familiar cohorts.
Star Fox 64 is widely viewed as the best game in the history of the on-rails 3D space shooter franchise. The game was the first Nintendo 64 game to support the Rumble Pak accessory that brought force feedback to N64 controllers.
While Star Fox 64 certainly pushed the N64 forward with its cutting edge support for new accessories, the game wowed critics with its tight controls, multiplayer battle modes, classic voice acting, and branching paths that created tons of replayability. Players could “complete” missions or they could be “accomplished,” with different paths appearing depending on the outcome. Star Fox 64 also introduced All-Range Mode gameplay mechanics in certain levels that gave players the ability to fly around a stage with new maneuvers. It should come as no surprise that Star Fox 64 is being inducted into the Shacknews Hall of Fame in its first year of eligibility.
While there have been some very good space shooters to ship in the past 25 years, many of them have been undeniably influenced by Star Fox 64. “Never give up, trust your instincts,” and countless other iconic quotes from the game are still part of the gamer lexicon to this day. Shackers should “do a barrel roll” to celebrate this induction. Welcome to Canton, Fox.
LucasArts and Totally Games started their space combat sims with X-WING and followed that with TIE Fighter. The third installment came naturally. X-WING vs. TIE Fighter lets you live out your dogfighting dreams flying for the rebels or the Empire. You choose your squad and the role you play in combat, giving you several ways to play the campaign. While the campaign is thin—it’s the first in the series to focus more on multiplayer—the diversity in play kept players satisfied until the single-player-oriented Balance of Power expansion released later.
At a time when Tetris still reigned as the ruler of puzzle games, Super Bomberman gave players another style of brainteaser. It’s a sequel to the long-running series that began with 1983’s Bomberman, but proved so popular that it spawned sequel of its own. Its popularity lies in how its game systems—navigating mazes, placing your bombs with timing in mind, predicting your opponents’ behavior—build on one another. Super Bomberman is a joy to play solo, but it’s best played with up to three friends, one of relatively few SNES games to accommodate so many players.
Super Mario is a series with a plethora of iconic characters including everyone’s favorite green dinosaur, Yoshi. The game was first released on the SNES in 1995 before later being ported to Game Boy Advance in 2002. Similar to other Mario titles, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island is at its core a platformer, and a fun one at that. The defining difference between it and other entries in the Mario catalogue is noteworthy in that Super Mario World 2 featured Yoshi as its main character for the first time in series history. The introduction of Yoshi also brought other new mechanics to the table such as Yoshi’s adorable flutter jump.
Following its release, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's ISland garnered a wealth of praise from gamers and critics alike, selling well over 4 million copies and inspiring other Yoshi–related games, sequels, and spin-offs.
The original arcade version of Super Off Road not only had Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s name on it, but three massive steering wheels with matching accelerator pedals. While the home ports of Super Off Road featured the same isometric off road racing action and impressive level design, the experience of playing with those steering wheels was next level and multiplayer racing games were a rare gem at the time since connected cockpit cabs had not hit the scene yet. It’s also one of the first instances of pay-to-win in a video game as players could plunk in extra quarters for in-game currency they could use to upgrade their truck and snag some extra nitrous. While these kinds of isometric racers have gone out of vogue over the years, Super Off Road and arcade titles like it still hold their playability after all this time.
The third installment in LucasArts’ franchise, The Curse of Monkey Island retired its familiar verb icon-based interface with a pop-up menu modeled after the one that debuted in 1995’s Full Throttle by Tim Schafer. The cartoonish style is as charming as the pixel art found in the first two games, and the puzzles hit a good balance of challenging without being too abstract, a problem from which later adventure titles suffered. Although Curse of Monkey Island isn’t the strongest of the original series, its puzzles, art style, and story make it a worthy follow-up.
The original Tomb Raider was part of the first wave of 3D platform and action games, sharing time and shelf space with the likes of Quake and Super Mario 64. Tomb Raider II transformed what could have been a one-hit wonder into a franchise, and its subtitle “Starring Lara Croft” established its heroine as one of gaming’s biggest stars. With better levels, a deeper story, and refined puzzles, Tomb Raider II was the height of popularity for the original series, and is still one of the best games on Sony’s first PlayStation.
Released as the RTS genre was nearing the peak of its ‘90s boom, Total Annihilation managed to innovate and refine in an increasingly crowded genre. Resources stream in so you accumulate them endlessly during a match. Units and structures come at a fixed cost, but their build time depends on the unit you assigned to build them. This means you have to refrain from spending your limitless resources all at once, because you’ll run low if you spend them faster than you can stream them in. Those variables, and the wide variety of units at your command, made Total Annihilation stand out from its competitors.
Developed by Iguana Entertainment and published by Acclaim Entertainment, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter brought some very high quality graphics to the Nintendo 64 platform. In fact, the game really did push the console to its technical limits. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was a brand new IP and introduced players to an interesting world of ancient mystery alongside some very unique weapons. The Turok native american character was born out of a comic book series by Valiant Comics. Each time characters would respawn in the game, the character would say “I am Turok!”
The game combined a lot of interesting themes of time travel, native american culture, and sci-fi elements into a very unique experience. While many first-person shooter games may be held in higher regard than Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, the game certainly stuck out in the N64 era. This is the game’s first year of eligibility and we are so very honored to induct Turok: Dinosaur Hunter into the Shacknews Hall of Fame in the class of 2022.
The first Twisted Metal had been a success when it launched on PS1, but everything got cranked up to 11 when Twisted Metal 2 hit the scene. It took all the vehicular arena combat of the original and gave it a fresh coat of paint. And there were a ton of new levels to explore that took players around the world, destroying famous landmarks and opponents alike. From a lore perspective, the game’s comic book panel style cut scenes told the lore of each character and their fates, should the player win the game, splendidly. All with the twisted ringmaster himself Calypso narrating each twisted tale. If all that wasn’t enough, there was a playable character who was just a guy with his arms and legs strapped to two giant monster truck wheels.
Ultima Online’s servers went online two years before Sony’s EverQuest. That gave UO two advantages: It was the next natural step in the popular Ultima computer RPG series helmed by Richard “Lord British” Garriott, and it had a two-year lead on the next big MMORPG. Ultima Online retains the isometric view of earlier titles but places you in a persistent world. UO has an economy affected by your actions, and many ways for you to play, such as completing quests solo or with other players, or going rogue and becoming a player-killer, or PK-er. It was the first such world many players had ever explored; earlier MMORPG-likes were few and far between, and were mostly text based.
MK co-creators Ed Boon and John Tobias took a calculated risk by holding fan-favorite characters such as Kitana and Scorpion in reserve. Ultimate MK3, released just months after “vanilla” MK3, brought them back, and added more secret characters and gameplay systems. Linkers are jumping attacks you can use to flow from a midair attack into a chain combo on the ground. That combination shook up MK3’s tier list and gave you freedom to express your creativity through combos. Even though Mortal Kombat II is one of the franchise’s most beloved entries, UMK3’s robust gameplay systems have kept its competitive scene stronger.
Video games based on professional wrestling were slower to evolve in the 80s and 90s. There were arcade fighters and there were the button mashers put together by LJN, but Asmik Ace Entertainment and AKI Corporation wanted to go in a different direction in 1997. The WWF ruled over the video game wrestling world up to that point, but World Championship Wrestling was about to grab the rasslin' genre in a headlock with WCW vs. nWo: World Tour on the Nintendo 64.
WCW vs. nWo: World Tour totally reinvented the genre with a new and easy-to-use grappling system, one that utilized each of the four directions on the N64's Control Stick. Players had a whole new arsenal of moves, including many of the signature moves of the WCW and nWo rosters. Yes, this game was released shortly after WCW's golden era, where Hulk Hogan began his historic run as a bad guy alongside the rest of the New World Order. Players could select from WCW's roster of heroes like Sting, Lex Luger, and Diamond Dallas Page, as well as from the nWo's rogues gallery of Hollywood Hulk Hogan, The Outsiders, and The Giant. On top of the array of moves that each wrestler could execute, players could gain momentum by taunting for the crowd, which would eventually grant them each wrestler's finishing move.
While WCW vs. nWo: World Tour isn't as fondly remembered as the sequels that would follow, this is the game that set the foundation for those titles. The grappling system was an instant hit and it gave the developers something to build on going forward. Build on it they would, but those are entries for future Hall of Fame classes.
If shuffling decks of cards wasn’t to your liking, Windows Minesweeper had a classic “video game” feel along with surprisingly deep strategy. The object, of course, is to clear mines from a grid of squares. It’s as engaging as Windows Solitaire, but with the video game-y task of disabling mines rather than arranging cards. Minesweeper’s inclusion with Windows made it a staple in every user’s Games folder, and while newer versions have flashier interfaces, the core gameplay remains unchanged—and as addictive as ever.
Before Candy Crush, Windows Solitaire was the game that made everyone a gamer. Solitaire was a staple in several iterations of Windows, and one of the best games on the OS before Microsoft got serious about making plays in the gaming industry. Accessible and stylish yet unadorned, Windows Solitaire appeals to everyone.
RTS games like WarCraft II and Command & Conquer were all the rage in the mid-‘90s, but turn-based games such as Civilization II were still popular. Worms is a turn-based game that exchanges Civ’s comparatively stolid UI and overhead view with side-scrolling, cartoonish tactics. Two teams of worms square off, each with artillery at its disposal. How you use that artillery, and when, couples with knowledge of terrain to provide strategy gameplay that requires a surprising amount of planning and skill whether you’re playing against AI or human opponents.
Back in the mid-1980s Domino’s Pizza had a mascot called The Noid. This Noid was a claymation creature in a red jumpsuit with a “N” plastered on his chest and what appeared to be rabbit ears on his head. His Wile E. Coyote-like attempts to stop delivery people from getting folks their pizza orders in 30 minutes or less would always end in tragedy. So, it was a bit odd to see him as the playable hero in his own video game. Well, not his own really, Yo! Noid was actually just a reskin of the Japanese game Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru with some pizza eating contest mini-games thrown in for good measure. It may not have been the first or the last time a food company put their mascot into a game but Yo! Noid is certainly a unique one that stands out not only as an example of out of the box 80s marketing but also for being an actually enjoyable game overall, even if those pizza eating contests could be kind of cheap at times.
Before the Jackbox crew were making their beloved party pack games they were known as Jellyvision and made a little game called you Don’t Know Jack. This is the game that started it all with its clever pop-quiz trivia show vibes, biting sense of humor and unique challenges like the Gibberish Question. Being able to literally screw over your friend if you thought they didn’t know the answer was always a blast too. And those last rounds could be brutal if you banged on the buzzer too much.
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