Of 2015: The Best Old Games

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I spent a lot of time in 2014 digging up old games thanks to my collection of GameFan magazine. I spent months re-reading old issues and it turned me on to games I would never have given a chance in my youth. In 2015 I didn’t have many issues left to read and far less time to devote to research so the list is pretty thin this time around. It’s also surprisingly heavy with Dreamcast titles.

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I finally played more of Super Magnetic Neo, Genki’s bewildering and vivid action game that plays like the Ikaruga of platformers. Jumping from platforms isn’t enough, you have to manage red and blue magnetic polarities to keep up your momentum or die… a lot. I also returned to my beloved Sega Swirl to record its soundtrack and finally — finally — completed Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition. It’s not my favorite Runabout game but it was full of vehicular hijinks, funky jank, and the requisite surf rock.

Though I started it late in 2014 I played the majority of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker in 2015. About 95 hours later I emerged with a new favorite Metal Gear game thanks to the HD treatment on PlayStation 3. It was a perfect primer for The Phantom Pain which tweaks what Peace Walker established into a broader, but not nearly as memorable, experience. Peace Walker has all the base building and tactical diversity of Phantom Pain but it also has that traditional Metal Gear weirdness in tow, and lots of it.

I wouldn’t have guessed it but the 1995 polygonal fighting game, Zero Divide, is the thing that finally overheated my PlayStation 3. I played through it as Zero — the “Ryu” of the game — because it had come up in a few YouTube or Instagram comments in the Spring. I didn’t spend long with it but it was great rekindling my love for its soundtrack and the awesomely goofy interpretation of the Internet from the mid-90’s.

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With the PlayStation 3 out of commission in July I had to revert back to the PlayStation 2 for my Unironic 4th of July Fantavision Appreciation Stream. Nobody watched it but I really love that mediocre old puzzle game and am always ready to run through its FMV story of an interstellar playdate. Just recently I was surprised to find the game got brought over to the PlayStation 4 where I bought it again and ran through it once more for a silly weekend stream.

And then there’s Putty Squad. From development to gameplay, that’s one weird game. It was developed for the Amiga 1200 and SNES but only released for the PAL territory Super Nintendo in 1994. The Amgia 1200 version wouldn’t be released until late 2013 at which point System 3 had also updated the game’s graphics, music and sound and brought it to just about every console out there.

The gameplay is just as mind boggling as the story behind its development. It’s a fairly straightforward platformer of the 90’s Euro PC variety but every element — the sounds, the backgrounds, the enemies, projectiles and pickups — create a cacophonous explosion of stimulation. I can’t tell if I’m dying or invincible or completing objectives but I kinda love it. I’ve played it off and on since picking it up for $5 on PS4 and there are many, many more levels left to go.

P.S. The PlayStation 3 got repaired at a local cellphone shop and it works great! I’m a little worried it’s going to overheat again so I keep the top cover off and I got a cheap Chinese USB fan to help pull more heat out of it.

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