I finally brought my six year collection of GameFan magazines out of my parents’ basement and re-read them all in 2014. This sent me down numerous rabbit holes, rekindled my interest in tons of games and reminded me about things I’d long forgotten. This also helped keep my YouTube channel active as I bought and played several old games. Many others I just watched longplays of and created gif sets on tumblr.
The best of the bunch was Virtual Hydlide. It’s a game I immediately ignored when I was a teenager because it looks horrendous. Nineteen years later, though, its mysteries and roguelike gameplay had me smitten and I recorded — ahem — 13 videos of it.
Big Ol’ Bass 2 is a game I discovered thanks to virtual pal, Peter Skerritt. After much confusion over the series’ naming conventions I finally got to dig into the most bizarre fishing game ever. Jennifer Clam, Editor-in-Chief of World Monster Graphics, sends you on quests to catch the world’s most exotic fish… so she can eat them? It seems like she wants to eat them all. It is fantastically weird and I still aim to do a serious longplay recording some day.
I never owned a Game Gear and assumed a piddly 2D cart called Virtua Fighter Animation could never live up to the 3D power of the series. I was surprised to find it playable and even more surprised to find it fun and full of Engrish-y cutscenes that follow the Virtua Fighter anime. It was immensely gif-able.
I don’t enjoy playing traditional adventure games but I sure do like watching them! Alien Virus and Heart of Darkness are two games I’m sure I glanced right over as a kid but in 2014 they were interesting, beautiful and weird for all the right reasons. Alien Virus was 2014’s BioForge, an adventure game of typical sci-fi tropes that somehow wrapped itself around my heart. Broken English that’s sometimes surprisingly poetic accompanies low rent voice acting and art. How did it win me over? I have no idea.
Heart of Darkness is a game I remember ignoring as a kid, never realizing it was Eric Chahi’s follow up to Out of this World. As such the animation remains fluid and impressive to this day where the story and pacing have suffered a lot. Its artistry impressed me enough sixteen years later to gif the hell out of it and make it into this very short list.