Mario Paint (SNES)

Mario paintDeveloper/Publisher: Intelligent Systems/Nintendo

Platforms: SNES (1992)

Gamerankings.com Score: 71.5%

Amazon.com               Ebay

Genres: Creation, Music

Although it does include quite an addictive whack-a-mole style mini game, Mario Paint is not so much a game as a creative tool. While archaic by today’s standards, it offered hours of Nintendo themed drawing, coloring, and stamping fun back in the day. But  most of my time was spent with the music creator. Whether I was trying to recreate Mario tunes, or make my own original disasters, it offered the most simple and intuitive interface I’d encountered until the rise of tablets. Check out Youtube to see/hear some amazingly complex compositions arranged by some incredibly determined people. This game makes great use of the mouse, but is not required.

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Secret Files: Tunguska (DS)

Secret files tunguskaDeveloper/Publisher: Fusionsphere Systems/Deep Silver

Platforms: DS (2010)

Gamerankings.com Score: 75.6%

Gamestop: $4.99               Ebay

Genres: Adventure, Puzzle, Point and Click

For fans of Broken Sword style point and click adventure games, here’s another game to add to your DS library. Tunguska involves another globetrotting girl and boy duo, Nina and Max, as they try to rescue her father from a mysterious cult while discovering the truth about an unexplained natural disaster. The game features typical Pn’C fare like deciphering codes, solving riddles, and inventory puzzles, some of which may rely on more moon logic. The game features some really beautifully rendered backgrounds and impressively compressed video. Due to the nature of hunting for sometimes minuscule items, I recommend playing these types of games on an XL.

Metro: Last Light (PS3, Xbox 360)

Metro last lightDeveloper/Publisher: 4A Games/Deep Silver

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360 (2013)

Gamerankings.com Score: ~81%

Gamestop: $4.99              Ebay

Genres: Action, Shooter, First Person

As a sequel to 2010’s Metro 2033, Last Light continues the story of a post apocalyptic Russia where militarized civilization lives underground while irradiated beasts rule much of the bombed out surface. The graphics and presentation of the game are top notch and all the little details 4A added serve to immerse you into the extensive Russian lore. Besides standard run and gun gameplay, you are also given the option to employ stealth while working through the human ranks. This can be especially helpful since ammo can be scarce and best held on to for use against some creepy fierce creatures. PS3 is said to have some technical issues so I recommend sticking with 360.

Assassin’s Creed II (PS3, Xbox 360)

Assassin's Creed IIDeveloper/Publisher: Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Platforms: PS3/Xbox 360 (2009)

Gamerankings.com Score: ~90.4%

Gamestop: $4.99          Ebay

Genres: Action, Adventure, Stealth

I really liked the first AC and the sequel was even better. This outing finds you in Florence, Italy as a new assassin name Ezio. The core stealth and parkour gameplay stays the same but the graphics and climbing mechanics have been tightened up to offer a more responsive experience. You also have more weapons and tools at your disposal this time around, with the ability to upgrade them. While dealing with very serious murdery business, the story is entertaining and funny while you play through some beautifully crafted set pieces. The game will last you over 20 hours with plenty of side quests and collectibles that offer to expand the fascinating lore, you know, before it got bloated and confusing.

 

Super Scribblenauts (DS)

Super ScribblenautsDeveloper/Publisher: 5th Cell/Warner Bros. Interactive

Platforms: DS (2010)

Gamerankings.com Score: 82.6%

Amazon               Ebay

Genres: Puzzle, Action

Scibblenauts is to puzzle games, as what GTA is to action games. The main drive isn’t necessarily to progress, but to just create things and have fun. In it, you guide Maxwell from one side of a room to the other while avoiding obstacles or helping other NPC’s . The draw is you can summon practically anything you want to help you complete your task. The game knows thousands of nouns, so if you need to cover a chasm, summon a bridge, plane, kangaroo, whatever you want to cross. What this version brings to the table is adjectives, so that mouse you summoned to eat some cheese can now be a giant mouse for some reason. Who cares, solve some puzzles and have fun. Look out for this one on eBay where the cart can easily be found for less than $5, but with patience, you can nab a CIB version.

 

Tekken 3 (PS1)

Tekken 3Developer/Publisher: Namco/Namco

Platforms: PS1 (1998)

Gamerankings.com Score: 95.8%

Gamestop: $4.99               Ebay

Genres: Fighting,  3D

As if you couldn’t tell by the score, Tekken 3 is considered by many (me included) to be the pinnacle of fighting games for the 32 bit era. The home console version features a near perfect port of the arcade game with the music, controls, and most of the graphics intact. Namco also delivered a few extra gameplay options to extend the replayability. Force mode is a side scrolling beat em’ up (like Final Fight) with other characters serving as the bosses at the end of each level. And ball mode has you fighting against one other person while keeping a big beach ball in the air. You only take damage while the ball is on your side, or if it hits the ground. It’s hard to explain but great practice to keep you on the offensive.

Fantasia: Music Evolved (Xbox One, Xbox 360)

FantasiaDeveloper/Publisher: Harmonix/Disney Interactive

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360 (2014)

Gamerankings.com Score: 79%

Gamestop: $4.99               Ebay

Genres: Rhythm, Music

I have not personable played this game, but whenever I hear people asking about what game to get with their Kinect, this is always the first one to come up. Developed by the makers of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, these goes know how to make a music game. And the nice thing about Fantasia is you don’t need to stuff your closet with a bunch of plastic instruments when not in use. Fantasia tracks your hand movements as you “conduct” to the beat. The game features the same kind of music list you would expect from rock band (70’s-00’s rock/pop) but also includes some classical tunes from the original Fantasia film. They also included a story mode lightly tied into the Magician’s Apprentice, co-op mode, and the ability to remix the included songs.