Now I know this is going to be tailored a bit toward my age group (I’m almost 25) and some of these games are going to probably just be games I remembered. With that said, I have been testing a list I made up of about 20 games and I’ve narrowed it down to the games that have gotten the most “Oh yeah, I forgot about that game!” reactions.
#10. ATV: Off Road Fury (2001)
So if you haven’t played this game, it was some of the most fun split screen you could have. It had basic modes like trying to get the most points by doing tricks and your basic racing, but the best mode was one my brother and I had just made up called tag. You would just do the free roam mode on any of the few maps and someone would be “it”. The goal was to simply run into the other player, making them “it” and so on. The best part about this though, was the fact that the boundary walls to the maps were invisible and if you ran into one you would be sent flying off in team rocket fashion, and it was so very hilarious to us back then.
#9. Sim Theme Park (1999)
Less popular in the states compared to the similar “Tycoon” series of park builders, this was a game I fondly remember even though I could never understand why I went bankrupt, due to the fact I had absolutely no understanding how loans worked. One thing I did understand that in the dinosaur style themed park, I made the most intricate and expensive dino kart racer imaginable. Even my young mind felt an absolute amazing sense of accomplishment when I connected that final piece of track after what felt like hours of trying to make it all work.
#8. Champions of Norrath: Realms of Everquest (2004)
Most definitely the least popular game on this list, but one I just couldn’t bring myself to cut from the list. My brother and our friends scrounged up all the loose change we could find one summer to get our hands on a multi-tap so we could all play this game together one summer. It’s a Diablo style dungeon crawler RPG built in an old Baldur’s Gate engine, and man was it fun. I have tried to recapture the magic and nostalgia of this game many times, but I just think it’s a style of game I just don’t really connect with anymore. It will still always be a game I remember fondly though.
#7. Vigilante 8 (1998)
Another one of those sleeper games on this list, as most people played the much more popular “Twisted Metal” games. This was a car combat game that is basically the aforementioned game, but with a bit of a lighter tone when it came to the characters. You would be dropped into a map with a car loaded to the brim with weapons and be tasked with destroying the other cars using your characters unique abilities. It really is a shame there aren’t more car combat games like these anymore. Although, with that said the 2012 reboot of Twisted Metal wasn’t very popular, so maybe the industry has just outgrown this style of game.
#6. Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (2005)
This game was such a fantastic arena fighter, another style of game you don’t see as much of anymore. As someone who has always been a huge Spider-man fan, grabbing this game was a no brainer for me. The roster on this game was amazing with 10 popular Marvel heroes and villains such as Daredevil and Venom, but with 8 all new villains that formed a group called the “Imperfects” who were just as, if not more interesting. This game also had a story mode that has only been replicated in a few of the newer fighting games such as the Injustice games. The only thing this game really struggled from was the fact that post-launch balancing wasn’t quite a thing yet, and some of the characters ended up suffering from “Oddjob syndrome”. If someone you were playing with chose Paragon, they were no longer your friend.
#5. Road Rash (1991)
The only game on this list that actually was released before I was born, and easily the most violent game I played at such a young age. Road Rash was a motorcycle racer where you would chose your weapon before a race and try your hardest to just beat the crap out of the other riders to secure a spot at the head of the pack. It was one of those games that was simple, yet different enough to always have you doing “just one more” race before your parents had to come yell at you to turn it off and go to bed.
#4. Rise of Honor (2003)
A game where you play as Jet Li and beat the hell out of people with whatever you can find lying around, yes please! Man I probably played the opening mission of this game so many times just so I could go from burning a guys face off on an oven burner, just to turn around and smack his friend across the face with a frozen fish. Rise to Honor had an intuitive combat system that had you flicking the analogs toward the enemies you wanted to attack as they circled around you. It was a system that truly made you feel like a kung fu master. Honestly I’m surprised it hasn’t been implemented in more third person action games. I guess the best games to relate it to is a mix between the combat of Assassin’s Creed II and Sleeping Dogs.
#3. Simpson’s Road Rage (2001)
Basically a Crazy Taxi clone, Simpsons Road Rage, in my opinion, was the better version. It had a slew of the shows amazing cast, all with their own very unique styles and vehicles. The real winner in this game lies once again in it’s split screen competitive mode, where you and another player competed against each other to pick up the same passenger and take them to their destination all while trying to sabotage whoever was lucky enough to get there first. If this is one you missed growing up, that is a real bummer because they just don’t make them like this anymore.
#2. Backyard Baseball (1997)
I mean any of the “Backyard” sports games could have ended up on this list, but the baseball ones were always my favorite. getting to throw the infamous “under grounder” pitch was always hilarious, even though you knew it was unfair. A game with solid gameplay that was easy to understand back then compared to the more official sports games, and a cast of hilarious and relatable characters made this the perfect sports game for children. The gameplay wasn’t as realistic as playing in the backyard was growing up, but it was more how your imagination remembered it.
#1. Dave Mira Freestyle BMX (2000)
Oh man, what a soundtrack! Sort of the BMX equivalent to the very popular Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games, it’s the reason that most of us know all the words to Sublime’s “What I Got” song. What else can I say that the reason I threw this one in the number one spot is due to the fact that everyone remembers the skateboarding games, but everyone I talked to remembered this game the second I brought is up. It had all of the silly tropes like bouncing up off of trains to landing impossibly complicated tricks that hadn’t even been imagined yet. On top of all that it also had, you guessed it, an incredibly fun flurry of multiplayer modes that always kept me and my friends coming back and playing rounds of “I play winner” for entire days.