The Cynics Most Influential Games

Pretty easy post, and I’ve been absent from blogging lately due to a renewed focus on coding my pet project for all of you fellow bloggers out there (more on this sooooooon!). I saw a few lists popping up and this is relatively easy for me. Relatively as it turns out, took me a few hours to go back in my mind.

Most Influential Games (in chronological order)

My first games were on Atari 2600, but I don’t really consider them due to my age at the time.

Shining Force I & II (Sega Genesis)


Sort of kickstarted my whole RPG fix at a young age. I remember bitterly looking at the SNES for all of the RPGs it had that I couldn’t play, and being extremely happy when a new RPG series launched on the Sega Genesis. I rented this title and its successor (Shining Force 2) about 500 times from Blockbuster. Replay value, despite being the same story every time, was immense for me.

Dungeons of Moria (PC)


This was a DOS based game where your character was represented by a @ symbol. Monsters ran the gamut of lower and upper cased letters. You could play most of the traditional classes (Thief, Warrior, Mage, etc). The most interesting part of the game was that it was fairly difficult game; if you died you had to start over! Me and my Dad use to take turns playing, working on the same character to progress them. I spent years enjoying this game, and it had very little to offer in terms of graphics.

Doom (PC)
Not much to say here, but the atmosphere of this game was intense back in the day. Very fun, hours spent attempting to beat it.

Duke Nukem 3D (PC)
This was the game I never let my dad watch me play. Strippers? Swear words? Yea back then I would of gotten beat for that ;>

Mechwarrior 1, 2, 3, & 4 (PC)


I can not explain my level of obsession towards these games back in the day. They got better every release. This was one of the best Simulators ever made and really felt like you were in the cockpit each time. I loved this series and it surprises me greatly that the Online version that was recently released holds no interest for me. The single-player campaigns were what made the game memorable for me. The best part about these titles? Redbook Audio; you could listen to the soundtrack in your CD player without the need for a PC.

Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (PC)


I know countless friends who never played this title or the successor (Warcraft 3 was a bastard we will never speak of). I remember going into a CompUSA and seeing this title on an endcap display. Every time I went in I spent 45 minutes playing it (my dad was stingy on what games he bought for me back then). I loved the demo so much (and apparently no one else did) that I owned this title almost on day one. This one was another Redbook Audio title for me.

Neverwinter Nights (AOL/PC)


Easily one of the forefathers of modern MMOs. This was the first graphical MMO ever and it was based on one of my newest discoveries, the Gold Box D&D PC games. The major upside to this was the ability to play with REAL people on the internet. Talk about ahead of its time.

NWN captured nearly 3 years of my life, even sucking me into Roleplaying. I met friends and guilds that I still see running around from time to time in the new modern MMOs. Being a part of this game still serves as a badge of honor for me amongst the mediocrity of today’s MMOs. This was also one of the first games to include PVP and continues to be a source of my love for that genre’s game.

After having NWN shut down on me, I wandered briefly into Diablo (which doesn’t really deserve a spot on my list due to me only playing all three titles for the single player experience). When EverQuest came out, however, it was everything I had been looking for in a successor to NWN. The graphics were amazing (for the time) and the community was bar-none the best part of the game.

I spent years in this game, from release, until around the time of the first expansion. At that time my addiction to the title was causing serious issues and my college career was just about to begin.

All of that drama aside, there isn’t a day that goes by that I wish titles were more like EQ. Less PVP, more immersive amazing worlds that build and support thriving communities of players.

Shadowbane (PC)


When you think back to the debacles of MMOs launches, Shadowbane is most certainly on someones list (if not in the first position). Shadowbane had a lot going for it; a large community of PVP veterans looking for the next big thing after NWN, EQ, and Ultima Online. It also had one of the first instances of players being in charge of where cities showed up. Thats right, beyond the starting players island, you could build your dream city just about anywhere you wanted.

It was an exciting premise, especially with the fact that open world PVP with no punishment system in place created a cut throat world. Despite its early success in succeeding at allowing players to build their own world, it suffered from numerous issues that eventually caused its closure. Some of the numerous bugs included an error message that could be moved to the side when too many players showed up (some players played for hours with this pop up error window pushed to the side).

The game failed for many reasons, but in retrospect its biggest failure was its inability to address the Zerg (an issue almost every MMO since has failed to address). Many servers became dominated by one large guild, and the remaining population basically quit the game.

World of Warcraft (PC)
I dabbled in EVE Online and Anarchy Online in the interim between Shadowbane and WoW, but they never really stuck with me. I respect greatly EVE Online, but if you can’t earn my monthly subscription for at least a year, you don’t get on this list!

World of Warcraft took up most of my collegiate career. I was working full-time at Best Buy, and going to school Full-Time at the peak of WoW’s success. Yet somehow, I managed to find a way to be in a progressive 40/25 man raiding guild for my entire time in the game. Despite all of its numerous flaws as of late, this game back in the day was challenging and interesting. As much as I resisted it for its first year, the next 7 kept me involved and paying a subscription. What more can you ask for than a game that keeps you entertained for that long?

I can’t begin to describe the memories surrounding some of these games, they each would be 15 pages long. I love that people have different games that led them to where they are right now. That chronological trip down memory lane is what makes gamers unique. We all have our bias based on those memories, so its easy to fathom why so many of us insist on writing about our opinions. Passion for gaming isn’t something you have one day, its something you get from having a history of enjoyment from the titles you play.

Part of me wonders why so many bloggers are hung up on people being negative about games. The most critical players are the ones who demand perfection in their titles. I don’t see a problem in that.

My look back at the titles that most influenced me, is evidence to me that I care deeply about gaming. If people want to bury their head in the sand and ignore criticisms about gaming, so be it. I won’t be one of those players. I want another 10 titles in the coming years that I look back on with the same fondness as this list. I just don’t know if it will happen without the passionate commentators that could influence a game developers path in a game.

Either way, thanks for taking a stroll down memory lane with me… Till next time.

Other Influential Games Posts From Fellow Bloggers:
The Ancient Gaming Noob
Hardcore Casual
Healing the Masses
High Latency Life
I Has PC
Kitty Kitty Boom Boom
lvling life
Mabricks’ Mumblings
Me vs. Myself and I

#mostinfluentialgames #nostalgia #

10 thoughts on “The Cynics Most Influential Games

  1. If you want a game that has a little of the mech warrior feel, Hawken is free to play and I’ve had some fun with it. Nice to see someone else mention Shining Force. I think it’s been enough years I need to play them through again.

  2. Damn. Missing the MechWarrior! I loved that game. I love these lists – always find one or two I neglected – but fond memories! Thanks for sharing =)

  3. @Murf: Yea, I once racked up a $400 AOL Bill and lied to my parents that our account had gotten hacked. This was back when people paid HOURLY for AOL Online. The “20 bucks unlimited” program exploded the amount of time I spent in NWN :> I heard a lot about LoK, but I was too obsessed with NWN to bother with it. And EQ happened almost immediately after.

    @riv: Thanks for the comment! I enjoyed those titles immensely. Always a great game to be played back in the day.

  4. I wanted to play NWN AOL, but I couldn’t convince anyone to give me money at the time for an internet game. By the time Ultima Online Renaissance came around, I was old enough to ‘promise to pay’ and other nonsense a 13 year old makes up to get his way.

    Funny enough, my home server there was AOL Legends, a shard named in honor of another online RPG you could play on AOL called Legends of Kesmai.

    The Internet is a big giant fucking circle.

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