Siliconera Speaks Up: Memorable Media

By Louise Yang . August 30, 2009 . 8:00am


Out of the all the games you played what game made the biggest impression on your life?


Louise: I know a lot of people are going to mention older games like Super Mario Bros., but when I think of the game that’s made the biggest impression, it has to be Team Fortress Classic. It wasn’t that the game was amazing, but it opened my eyes to the entire concept of community. I had started playing on random public servers when Team Fortress Classic came out and prior to that, never really played any games too competitively. I happened on a fairly unique server with mature (not your typical 12 year old) players and had a great couple of games. I kept returning to the server because eventually, it became a place where everyone knew my name. Most of the regulars on the server were welcoming and civil, unlike a lot of people you’d meet on XBLA.


Growing up without siblings, I’ve always played video games by myself, so having people who liked the same games I did was completely new to me. This was also a bit before I started practically living on the internet. Through TFC, I made a few good friends, learned a lot about gaming online, and I hadn’t started that first game, my life would have taken a different path, as corny as that may sound.


Jenni: I’d say it’s a toss up between Phantasy Star 3 and Phantasy Star 4. I never really played RPGs before either of those games. It was those two that really got me into the genre and hooked on playing. I remember replaying Phantasy Star 3 multiple times, trying see what would happen to each generation depending on which heroine I’d have the previous generation’s hero marry. As for Phantasy Star 4, I just remember loving the artwork, characters and storyline, though I didn’t actually beat the game until I was in 8th grade.


Laura: For me, it’s probably way back to Suikoden II and Final Fantasy 7, for different reasons. FF7 got me into gaming in general, as well as introduced me to RPGs. It was a big “first” for me, so I guess it’s influential in that way?


Suikoden II, though … I mean, it has an amazing story, great graphics (imo, lol. Go 2D sprites!) and amazing characters. But the reason it really influenced me was that it actually sparked my first idea for a story, which I had written in eighth grade. And ever since then, that story has gained a life of its own, growing and changing even now. In fact, this story has brought me into way too many different fields for my own good, in the name of “references for the story” or “idea fodder”: various areas of sociology and anthropology, old classics, history, architecture … and those are only for writing. I don’t even want to think about what I’ve gotten for art references.


Spencer: I don’t know if I can cite a single game, but Mega Man left a lasting impression. The first game was challenging and if anything I learned the art of persistence to beat it. When I finally got through it I felt a sense of achievement, maybe even a little pride for memorizing all of the block patterns and defeating Dr. Wily. I think that feeling is what got me initially interested in playing video games and eventually (way down the line) to the creation of Siliconera.


Ishaan:Wow, this is a tough question. It took me a while to actually decide which games were most influential to me, just because every game I’ve really enjoyed has influenced me in some way, whether it’s shaped the way I write about games or my outlook on life or even opened me up to new genres.


I’m going to have to go with this 1998 PC game called Outwars, published by Microsoft and developed by Singletrac. Outwars is a game that, in my opinion, helped shape shooters today. It was a third-person squad-based shooter where you fought off aliens using high-tech suits that you could customize with different kinds of rifles and grenades and missiles. The suits themselves could emphasize agility, armour or firepower. Each suit also had a built in jetpack that would allow you a few seconds of flight before requiring to cool down and recharge. You could give a limited set of commands to your teammates, and every mission allowed you to approach it in multiple ways.


I picked Outwars because it was the first game that made me really think about how to approach ingame objectives and try out different strategies. I must have played it over and over again for well over a year.

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  • Hands down, Mega Man 2. To this day it’s still my favorite game pretty much ever made.

  • BlueBlazer

    Mine would be Demon Crest :3 That game changed my world! The cool powers, transformations, bosses, graphics(2D sprites FTW:P) and dark theme for every stage was what made me love videogames. Growing with videogames was cool, played a lot of oldies and new games but Demon Crest was like, fallen from heaven *-* That and Castlevania:SotN:P

    • I agree!
      It pretty much is the perfect game >:3
      Too bad it was in the bargain bin sooner than it should have… I wish to see it on the Virtual Console someday.

  • Chrono Trigger, for sure. I think it was the first RPG I really “got.” (I’d played some for the NES, and FF Legend/SaGa 1 for GameBoy, but they were a little too obtuse for me at that age.) But the story and characters were just so rich and imaginative – pretty awesome, I think, for a 6-year-old to presented with things like time paradox and character death; the patterns of history and the sympathetic reasoning behind monsters and bad guys. And the music is what really ties it all together, thematically and emotionally. It is, in short, a totally unique experience that I’m glad I got to experience as a kid. Even now I get the urge to play it every few years.

    I actually thought about what my favorite childhood video games were not too long ago, and the one thing they all have in common is incredibly memorable music. Mega Man 2, Super Mario RPG, Yoshi’s Island, & Zelda: A Link to the Past are all influential games that also sport really strong soundtracks.

    I wonder what kids who are just turning 6 or 10 or 13 today will think of as their most memorable games?

    • Aoshi00

      Ditto on Chrono Trigger, I still remember my excitement when I was flipping thru magazines trying to find all the screenshots available (the blowing grass, the shimmering river, blizzard stom, etc), anticipating the “revolution” of RPGs from the dream team. What’s even funnier is pocket money was not abundant back back in high school and I actually read gaming mags in “Barnes & Noble”. Yep, no information highway known as the internet yet.

      CT had exceeded expectation and blown me away, truly a testament to what a masterpiece should be, it was an timeless classic RPG to the SNES, like FF7 to PS1 and FFX to PS2.

    • thaKingRocka

      i’m playing chrono trigger for the first time now on the ds. i’m seriously blown away by this game. i absolutely love it. had i gotten the game back in 95, it probably would have been monumental. i didn’t have much money for games back then though, and i was already too old to receive $70 games as christmas presents (in my family, at least).

  • Greatest impression sounds a bit vague. Impact, that’s a different story (though likely the point of this).

    I’d probably have to say that goes back to the SNES days because there are still some I play to this day, and Killer Instinct, regardless of how broken I’ve found it to be, is probably right on top for that. Considering what it was for pre-render on a console like it was on that got me started on all kinds of things in that genre and it’s a game I still play to this day, even so much to say as a few times a week for a little bit. It also opened the door to playing it with others online back when I was in high school with the advent of emulation.

    And then, I got to truly see how pathetic I really was when you got someone in Japan destroying you like you were nothing for the five or six years you had been playing it and owning everyone that you knew beforehand. The experience of that was truly awesome. Same went down for me in Tetris Attack when I tried, and Puyo Puyo, and Gundam Wing: Endless Duel…I quickly learned that you could get a large sum better at games but at the same time there were likely people out there far better in them (especially the asians, I noticed). It also spurred me to get insanely better at those even though I’m still not the best anymore.

    Heck, I’ve grown up, I’m a quarter century of age and I’ve got business to take care of and bills to pay but it’s not like I don’t mind putting in some time to mop the floor with someone (or vice versa) but probably all things competitive for me start all the way back there. I played plenty from the Atari/NES/80286 PC on but I started getting my greater influences once games on the SNES showed up.

  • memoryofwater

    Silent Hill 2, for daring games to be art and have budgets, too; to tell stories but be engaging as play, as well–even if only a handful of designers have listened.

    Shadow of the Colossus for almost completely stripping away “gameplay” entirely, and revealing how tedious and unnecessary* most of it is.

    Also like a million adventure/indie games for the same reasons, but something about fog and spooky music just does it for me, so Silent Hill gets the primary namedrop.

    * And fun. But it’s good for games to move up, as a medium, and outgrow some of its older trappings. Collectathons, platformers, SHMUPs and action games will always be around as long as there’s interest and even if they all die off, the history isn’t going anywhere. I’d like to see more games experiment with play and narrative, doing really huge, weird, unheard of things like giving you a great big beautiful open environment with nothing to “do,” in a gameplay sense.

  • Sonic The Hedgehog and Megaman made me the gamer i am today

  • Hmm.. there’s a lot of games that had various impacts:

    Final Fantasy III/VI – Rental from Blockbuster, but I’ll never forget the feeling of the Opera scene. I was something like six or seven at the time and never felt as into a game as I did then with the characters and the story being so huge. It helped start my love for RPGs.

    Dragon Force – I’m a weeper. I cried for Ramza. I don’t know, I’m just geeky that way. Still addicted to its story, the cutesy sprite art, and is one of the few tactics type games I don’t avoid.

    Suikoden II – One of the earliest games I can recall playing through to its entirety, borrowing it for two weeks straight. I was addicted to all the characters and building up the castle. The chef game would later bring on my love for Iron Chef episodes. …should’ve just kept that Blockbuster copy….

    Pandemonium – First action/platformer type game I beat completely. I sucked at games. This gave me hope.

    Legend of the Mystical Ninja Goemon – My mom isn’t a gamer. She likes some games, but she’ll play mashing buttons and not really paying much attention to how well or poorly she’s doing. But she had a soft spot for Goemon… and the gambling village. Ah.. good times. Never thought me and my mom would have fun playing two player games.

    Fatal Frame / Silent Hill Series – The stories from these series two series are just massively addicting. Reading peoples theories and thoughts behind the rituals and characters. Not to mention the art and the scares are some of my favorites. It’s the two I aim on collecting someday.

    • The depth of stories and theories behind the Silent Hill games are amazing, and being a fictional game I would say it is downright brilliant. The first two games alone had people find interesting bits YEARS after the games were released. There are even extensive essays on story and puzzle elements – that’s impressive because they’re not just B.S., either.
      The amount of depth behind the story of the characters and the history of the town itself is something I really miss in the recent chapters.

      • Agreed. I was fascinated by the psychological papers folks would write on the characters of the second silent hill. That’s when I had really gotten into the series and then went back to revisit what I had missed in the first one. I am a bit disappointed in some of the later entries in the series.

  • The game that got me started with many of the thoughts I have today and influenced me the most must be Xenogears. The story took me in and gave me some really nice ideas.

    It also gave me a view of religion that I had the same thoughts about now as I do now.

    So overall it was a great experience playing Xenogears, the characters, music, story and just all about it was great to play.

    • Genuine curiousity: can you still go back and play Xenogears now after all this time? I hadn’t played it, so I tried around 4 years back…just couldn’t do it. I’m not one to let graphics influence my decisions, but Xenogears looked terrible even by PS1 standards. It’s too bad because I’ve heard so many good things about it. :/

      • I never finished it the last time and lost my saves so… I have a reason to go back. But with games coming out all the time I tend to have less time to go back to titles.

        So I cannot answer your question at this point. I´ll have to come back to you on this.

        I don´t have anything against graphics since I love FFIV more than most other FF titles and that wasn´t good looking :p

        Xenogears has it´s anime vision. I don´t know if it is me but I somehow see the anime style for what it´s worth and since Fei is anime based when he runs around the place I have no trouble with it.

        Last time I tried to get a game going on my 32″ I didn´t have any problems. But I´ll have to try it out again soon. When I do I´ll come back to you. If I remember I´ll take a stroll in Xenogears tomorrow after I´ve sleept some. Then I´ll get back to you on if I can go back and play Xenogears.

        • I’d love to address my backlog, too, but yea, there’s way too many games coming out to do that. Just on PS2 alone, there’s a bunch of games I started that I need to complete: Shinobi, SotC, Nightshade, FFXII, Extreme G-3, Dark Cloud, Valkyrie Profile 2…

          • I could retire from doing ANYTHING else but gaming for the rest of my life and I don’t think I could even finish my backlog. I feel your pain, Ishaan.

          • Took some time to play Xenogears just now and I enjoyed it. Just jumping in where I last stoped playing was a bad choice but I know what has happend so far so I´m all good with that.

            The graphics didn´t turn me away one bit. Even though I played it on my 40″ FullHD TV and used my PS3 as the medium I didn´t think it looked strange. So I´m just happy now :)

            My backlog is pretty big now. And it just keeps getting bigger. Mana Khemia 2 arrived today and boy, it´s a fun game. But I´m switching between that and BlazBlue it seems for the moment.

          • Haha, lucky guy. To date, Xenogears is probably one of the only games that made me turn away because they weren’t aesthetically pleasing. So sad. :(

      • fallen

        Xenogears isn’t all ugly. The overworld is some of Yasuyuki Honne’s best work, imo, and set the bar for 3D RPG overworlds… but that’s just my opinion.

  • MadMirko

    Ultima IV, for its lesson that everything is connected and that you don’t exist in a void. Everything you do falls back on you, and often the only way to gain something is to sacrifice something else.

    You can read stuff like that on calendars, but it sure blew my 7 year old mind.

  • thaKingRocka

    Street Fighter
    The crappy original game with lousy, unresponsive controls kept me coming back for more appeasing my sadistic side with the chance to beat down opponents and establishing a masochistic side with the aforementioned controls. I remember being a little guy reaching up to try and pound down the pressure sensitive pads to beat Retsu. Street Fighter will forever be my one true love in video gaming even if it seems everybody and their mother can beat me nowadays. I can’t tell you what an incredible feeling it was to go from Street Fighter to Street Fighter II. It just felt so right. <3

    Over the years, gaming changed quite a bit, though.
    The games that really affected me were outside of the arcade were Super Metroid, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Silent Hill. Silent Hill remains the only game for which I actually purchased the soundtrack. Following those, the next heavy hitters were Jet Grind Radio and the game series that continues to break my heart, Shenmue. There have been some greats since, but these were the ones that truly earned special places in my heart.

  • fallen

    Secret of Mana. The opening music alone made me a life-long fan of video game music and the balance of action and RPG stats was the segue I needed to get into other RPGs of the time. When the second game wasn’t localized, I decided I needed to learn Japanese to play it. I’m still working on that, but it sure did change the course of my life. I’d have not been such a weeaboo or RPG fan had it not been for that game.

    • fallen

      And by second game, I mean SD3, obviously.

  • A bit cliche, but Final Fantasy VII. I don’t know where I was then, but I had finally got a chance to play it when FFX was fast approaching. At the time it really showed me what games could really accomplish besides being bleeps and bloops (I know, I was real snot-nosed kid then!), and this was during a time when I was starting to fall out of the scene, so this was the slap across the face that I needed to move on to look for games of any kind to see what else is out there.
    It funny because since then I never cared or bothered to play any other FF title since then, practically indifferent by any upcoming FF game as the years go on, but this was a title I would mentally replay in my head like a old book.

    Honorable mentions: Don’t Look Back and The Path, both for the PC. Very interesting ideas behind these games that I like to see, and they’re both very recent.

    • FFVII is a great choice I think. It set so many trends after its release. I still remember being pretty blown away by everything that happens in Nibelheim because no other game I’d played had even attempted something of the sort. Some of Uematsu’s best work on that OST, too, imo. :)

  • vrakanox

    FF6, the original Resident Evil and probably Contra 3 the alien wars.

  • Aoshi00

    Contra on the NES would have to be the most memorable for me, going gunblazing w/ neighbors as “Stallone” and “Arnold”, shooting all those intestines and hearts inside the alien, that was pretty big when I was in 4th grade, can still hum the music. The DS version now just feel sadistic or I’m old now..

    I started playing old JRPGs on the Famicom like Dragonball (s) & Romance of the 3 Kingsdoms (think the earlier FFs), so those left quite an impression but memory has become blurred to me.

    Castlevania were responsible in getting me back into gaming after a ~2-yr hiatus. I didn’t really catch up on the PSX and Saturn until my friend showed me Alucard fighting a Skeleton head and ball of zombies w/ the awesome rock background music, and Megaman 8 (first PSX Megaman).

    Mario Kart (SNES) Puzzle Fighter (PSX) provided years of co-op fun too.

  • daizyujin

    It is nearly impossible to pick one but I would have to go with the original Shenmue. At that point I had never seen something so interactive. It has been trumped in some ways by other games since, but it still holds a place in my heart.

  • Jenni, are you me? I didn’t play THAT many RPGs before I played Phantasy Star 3 and 4… then I went back and collected almost everything I had missed out on (I had mostly played staples like FF4/6/Dragon Warrior before my addiction began). Those games just blew my expectations away. Dunno how else to describe it, but they were the catalyst to my RPG fanaticism.

  • Wild Arms 1. That game influenced so much of my creative output and tastes in JRPGs that it’s not even funny.

  • Well, as many of you mentioned: Final Fantasy VII. It got me into rpg games although I didn’t know even a word in english (I have to mention that english for me was a barrier at that time). On the other side, the contemporary videogame that changed all my perspectives about how a storyline has to be made is still… Metal Gear Solid 3. I played that game the whole night since I got it. MGS3 is an awesome experience.

    • cocytusx

      Can’t believe nobody mentioned Earthbound. THE most original RPG ever made, period. Man I should replay it.

      • cocytusx

        Why is my post a reply, damn.

  • I could write an entire _website_ on how hundreds of games have had an equal impression on my life. I won’t even go into detail but just the initial push from Atari (I had older brothers so an Atari paddle in my hand at 2 was not out of the ordinary) to the Sega Master System and NES was unbelievable. It was similar to watching a recorded-off-TV VHS movie on a 10″ Tube TV and then getting a 60″ HDTV w/ Bluray version. Amazing stuff. I think the most torturous game of my childhood was Kings Quest on the Apple. I must have cried tears when I got stuck in the game with no where to go after crossing the bridge enough times. I mean, seriously, who puts that in games?

    Other notable childhood memories: Dying/Salivating for Dragon Warrior (Before we had the original name here:[ ) and Final Fantasy after having seen them in flyers at Toys R’ Us. Also, the elusive Super Mario Bros. 3; I’m so grateful my mom was nice enough to drive this little snot-nosed kid from store to sold-out store until we found one last copy at some random place that no longer exists. That’s how you make an 8 year old’s dreams come true. Hahaha.

  • ReturnOfSomeDude

    There is pretty much only one answer to this. Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri.

    Here’s flavor text from a game that you would have been playing for countless hours:

    “I sit in my cubicle, here on the motherworld.
    When I die, they will put my body in a box and
    dispose of it in the cold ground.
    And in all the million ages to come, I will never
    breathe or laugh or twitch again.
    So won’t you run and play with me here among the
    teeming mass of humanity?
    The universe has spared us this moment.

    — Anonymous
    Habitation Dome,
    Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri”

    Live your life to the fullest.

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