Posted by: maddrcliche | March 29, 2011

Not Favorite But Important

We often see lists of the “best games of all time” which usually flip flop back and forth between two things. The games which are, in the authors opinion, their favorite games of all time, or to be a little more sophisticated they will sometimes make a list of the most influential games of all time. For example 007 Goldeneye on the N64 because it completely changed the way FPS games were seen on consoles, changing them from being usually pretty bad PC ports into being considered respectable in their own rights. Games like Call of Duty owe a lot to Goldeneye.

But the other day it occured to me that there is another very interesting topic relating games that I haven’t really seen discussed. What game has been the most important in your life?

While thinking on this the other day I realized that I could basically trace who I am today back to a game released in 1995. After picking up Marathon 2: Durandal, I became obsessed with the Marathon series, keep in mind that I was very young at this time. It blew my mind for two key reasons. First of all, it actually featured friendly NPCs that would fight alongside you from time to time. Secondly, the Marathon games are quite possibly the first FPS games that ever featured an actual in game storyline. Not only that, it is an interesting storyline filled with twists and turns and philosophical ramblings.

Back in Middle School I spent a lot of my free time reading all about the games storyline and people debating hidden meanings and secrets on the Marathon’s Story page. In the final game in the Marathon Trilogy there is a creature which is central to the plot that is a bit Lovecraftian in its description. This is how I first discovered H.P. Lovecraft, by hearing him mentioned on a website relating to an FPS game I really liked. I decided to check out a compilation of some of his stories and my taste in literature was forever changed.

While I was really getting into H.P. Lovecraft I discovered that there was something called a Roleplaying Game based on his works, the infamous Call of Cthulhu. It sounded really cool to me so I scrapped together some allowance and purchased it. I learned how to GM it and taught my friend Ryan how to play and although those first games were horrible when I look back on them, we had a lot of fun and it would lead me to other games like World of Darkness. This is how I came to discover roleplaying, which is now one of my biggest hobbies and takes up a substantial portion of my life.

In High School I would eventually meet two classmates named Stephen and Brandon, who would introduce me to Jorge and Andrew, all four of whom are some of my best friends without whom my life would be a great deal duller. How did I become friends with them? Through my friend Ryan organising a game for all of us over at his place. Without roleplaying it is entirely possible I never would have been introduced to these great friends of mine.

Looking at this winding pathway through my life it is fair to say that the Marathon games made me the man I am today. Sure, I might have come to discover all these things independantly, but I would have found them in other ways and I could be an entirely different person. So I might change my mind from day to day on which games are my all time favorites or which ones are the most influential, but there is no doubt in my mind that Marathon 2: Durandal is the most important to me personally.

What about you, readers? Which game is the most important to you personally?

As a side note, the entire Marathon trilogy was made open source by Bungie and can be downloaded for free right here. All you have to do is download the files for one of the games, download the Aleph One engine, then unzip them both into the same folder and run the Aleph One executable. There are also a number of great custom scenarios for Aleph One which can be downloaded for free.

Speaking of which, any talented sprite artists out there want to team up and make a FPS using the Aleph One engine? (;



  1. Well, as king of nerds I’m not sure very many people are as influenced by them as you. +D

    I’m a bit irritated with people who believe games are “underground” or “only for outcasted geeks” though, they’ve been integrated into the lives of so many young people how can we deny that video games are RIDICULOUSLY HUGE? Hell not just young people, I can come up with a few old men into them too.

    But anyways, it is all too obvious what video game series obsession I’m into, don’t need to spout that again~

    • King of nerds? o: Thank you my dear!

      Yes, I agree, considering recent surveys have shown that over half the people in the United States play videogames I think its a bit silly the way the mainstream news and culture still treats videogames like they are some fringe phenomena.

      And yes, we all know about your obsession with the Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus game. *Sigh*


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