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GB Staff Piece: Our Favorite Childhood Games

Nostalgia is a very powerful thing. Recently, I got into a debate with coworkers about video games and it led into what we played as kids. Actually, more specifically, it led into why the childhood games you played weren’t as cool as the ones I played and because of that, you’re stupid. There was a wide range of answers and heated debates because we all connected with such different games and even different consoles. We get so passionate about our childhood that it usually results in us defending or championing our obsessions or habits because its what shaped us as kids or even got us through those times. It got us thinking here at Grizzly Bomb; we have different demographics represented amongst our writers and it’d be interesting to see what worlds we were obsessed with as kids. There will always be debates on what video games were great as kids and the stories that accompany them were always entertaining to say the least. We all grew up within a ten year time period so it was fun to see some of the answers and their explanations, especially on games once forgotten or even games that came out only a few years ago. It is a wide ranging list that also includes some perennial favorites that inhabits a lot of lists. So let’s get to it: Our favorite childhood video games!

Being a gaming fanatic back in my heyday (admittedly, I wish I gamed more now but alas, real life gets in the way), it was hard to think about narrowing it down to just 5 games that reminded me of my childhood. I decided to go based off of nostalgia because picking 5 games in the hundreds (seriously) that I’ve played or owned is just too impossible. I have certain memories that stick with me so I’m gonna be working off of those. In case you wanted to know what else I played (and loved) during my formative years, I’ll give you a brief glimpse of what didn’t make my main list: River City Ransom (NES), Battletoads (NES), Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES), Double Dragon II (NES), Final Fantasy III (SNES), Metroid (NES), Startropics (NES), Marble Madness (NES), Bionic Commando (NES), Mario Kart 64 (N64), Warcraft II (PC), Command & Conquer: Red Alert (PC), Mechwarrior 2 (PC), Castlevania III (NES), Master Blaster (NES), Bomberman (NES), Super Mario 64 (N64), The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (N64), Killer Instinct (Arcade), X-Men (Arcade), SimCity (PC/SNES), Civilization II (PC), Forgotten Worlds (Genesis), Super Metroid (SNES), Final Fantasy Tactics (PS1), DDR (Arcade), Mortal Kombat (Arcade), Street Fighter II (Arcade), Earthworm Jim (SNES), Tecmo Bowl (NES), Blades of Steel (NES), Super Mario World (SNES), NBA Jam (Arcade), Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES), Top Gear (SNES), Star Fox (SNES), Quake II (PC), Mega Man X (SNES), Secret of Mana (SNES), Wing Commander (PC/SNES), Ninja Gaiden (NES), Alien vs Predator (Arcade), Die Hard Trilogy (PS1), Super Mario RPG (SNES), Half-Life (PC)…

Yeah, I played a lot and probably am responsible for staff bonuses at arcades. Admittedly, about 30% of those came through surfing through lists on the web but 70% of that? All memory. Yes, your assumption is correct, I had no social life with the opposite sex back in the day. Anyway, here are my five favorites in no particular order:

Super Mario Bros. 3 – NES

The reason I chose this was I remember going to the Roseville, Michigan Toys R Us (about 40 minutes away from where I lived) with my whole family and getting there at opening for the first day it came out. I talked about it nonstop when it was coming out because it was in Nintendo Power magazine constantly and it was also featured in the movie The Wizard (which was awesome as a 6 year old, as a 29 year old? Uhh…) so naturally, first day it came out, I made my whole family drive out so I could get one game. I remember begging my dad for him to drive home faster so I pop the game in. Finally got home, put it into the NES, and it was a blur of excellence and brilliance that was defined by the fact I could make Mario fly with just a raccoon tail and ears. But let’s not forget what a brilliant game it was and how at that time, every Mario game was a different experience. The games never felt like sequels to me. The first was far different from the second one (underrated in its own right) and those weren’t similar to the third game. The similarity was that it was Mario and that was more than enough for me. Bonus points because it had awesome suits.

childhood games

Final Fantasy II – SNES

I have to give a shout to one of my best friends, Mike Coury, who resides now in China and is basically responsible for my love of RPGs. I met him in 2nd grade and we would always go to his parents’ house and he’d show off some random game I’d never heard of. From Marble Madness, to Golgo 13 (which, looking back now, was very inappropriate for 7 year olds), to Final Fantasy. This led into his showing me Final Fantasy II (technically FFIV but for actual title purposes, I’ll refer to the US release name) which we rented from the local video store and started our tradition of walking to the video store, renting the game (remember when buying RPGs were like, 70 bucks? Ridiculous…although I remember dropping 90 bucks to buy Super Street Fighter II for the SNES…but that’s another extortion story for another day), buying a 24 pack of Mountain Dew, and then non stop gaming until the next morning. We played the living crap out of that game. While the original Final Fantasy started the RPG love, this game sealed it with the story of Cecil trying to find redemption in the world of betrayal and deceit. This really introduced me to what games should be – total experiences that immerse the player into another world and getting sucked into the twists and turns as your navigate the storyline. No other game at that time had characters that you were emotionally involved with and were rooting for. This wasn’t a save the princess game. You got to see the motivations on why they needed to get from point A to point B. To get that sort of exposure to an excellent game at such an early age made me a bit of a gaming snob but it raised my expectations on what a game should be and how it needed to captivate the player. To this day, I’ll play through the game once a year on GBA. The moment they release it for iPad, I will probably be worthless for the next week. It’s probably also the reason that in any game I play, I MUST be a Paladin if it’s ever an option. True story.

childhood gamesYou have no clue how much that screenshot makes me want to squeal with glee…

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – SNES

I actually had a debate between this and The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time between which one to include and I decided that while I believe that Ocarina was the better game (I already got into an argument with my coworker about this), A Link to the Past had a bigger impact on my childhood. This game was always talked about at the lunch table about how you got past certain parts, how’d you find all the heart containers, how the hell did you beat Ganon, and it just reminds me of elementary school comparing notes with everyone. Even discussing how the parallel worlds work and how annoying it was to be a friggin’ bunny with no weapons. I also remember getting the Master Sword and it being the defining moment of my gaming life because I felt so proud that I passed through the trials and now had the weapon to defeat all evil. Also, the game was hard at times and not frustrating (damn you Water Temple in Ocarina) so it felt like a consistently awesome gaming experience.

childhood gamesCorrection, this image makes me want to squeal with glee…

Chrono Trigger – SNES

I get into debates about this game constantly because it’s between this and Final Fantasy Tactics being my favorite game of all time. I will say this, it is the game I played the most ever. I know for a fact that I have played through and beaten it probably about 30 times. Granted, some of those times were just the quick warp to the end boss with the magic that is New Game + but most of the time, I went through because this was the best game of its time. There were no other games that had multiple endings and that gave control to the player as to what to do with characters and their paths to follow. It was so non-linear that the freedom was a refreshing bit of genius. I wanted to get every single ending because it intrigued me that one simple decision could influence a whole branching of a story and change the course of history. With time travel, combo moves, the good Squaresoft name…this was simply THE game to play. Hell, I don’t even know where my copy is because it has been passed around friends for the last decade to where it’s a running joke at this point. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

childhood games

Goldeneye 007 – Nintendo 64

This was THE game to play in high school. I played this with Dr. Kronner and Busta Timbo amongst other friends almost every Friday or Saturday night at someone’s house and it was the definition of how multi-player game needed to be executed in the 90s. There had never been an FPS shooter on a gaming console that could deliver on the multiplayer (or single player for that matter) level until this game. The betrayals between friends, the facility with proximity mines, the bastard that always uses Oddjob while crouched (you know who you are), the golden gun, paintball mode…no joke, this was the defining game of my high school years. It was also the game that got us in trouble with everyone’s parents because we’d be playing at 3am and someone would come downstairs and yell at us for being too loud. We couldn’t help it. There was something about the joy of seeing friends backstab each other with fake alliances because they saw them as a threat.

childhood games

1. Legend of Zelda (NES)

This is the game that made me play video games, and the game that, to this day, I’ve beaten the most times. The music remains the best NES soundtrack ever, Link was a baller, and the cartridge was frickin’ gold. Boom. It occupied countless hours spent burning random bushes looking for secret shit, and eventually being rewarded for my efforts. Fighting to trade out my wooden sword and boomerang for magic and silver options, playing the dungeons out of order, and gambling away hard earned rubies like my degenerate uncle who lives at the dog track – it was excellent. Still my favorite Zelda game ever.

childhood games

2. Gunsmoke (NES)

Oh Gunsmoke. A classic Nintendo game where your ammo never runs out, so there is never a reason to stop shooting. While I historically didn’t like games where the screen scrolled itself and forces you to move at its pace rather than your own, for whatever reason, I couldn’t get enough of this one. That’s not to say I ever actually got good at it. Nope, just years of futility as I could only get to the 3rd stage before I ran out of horses to sacrifice hide behind tragically lose. Anyhow, if you’ve got a working NES or (more likely) an emulator, and you enjoy shooting dudes while wearing a cowboy hat, this is the game for you.

childhood games“High Resolution Graphics” Yeah bitch.

3. NHL ’97 (SNES)

While I never really got great at Gunsmoke, my ability at Super Nintendo’s NHL ’97 is as close to complete and utter dominance as any 14 year-old kid can possibly possess. Playing seasons on the hardest setting, finishing 82-0 every time, and with Steve Yzerman often averaging 400-500 goals per campaign. Don’t respect beating up on the computer? That’s fine – I would also play ‘dollar a game’ with friends and family, spotting them their choice; Either I win by more than 10 goals, or I play the whole game with no goalie. The fools, they always chose that I go goalie-less, which meant I got Sergei Fedorov as a 6th skater instead. In 1998, I have no doubt that I could’ve played the game’s designers at EA Sports and won. Extra Points for crushing the Colorado Avalanche back then…

childhood games

4. Goldeneye (N64)

The first truly great 4 player game for the home console. For the kids reading this, in love with Call or Duty or Halo – this is where it really started. One of the rare times where a movie was made into a video game and it didn’t blow. I’d like to think I was pretty sweet at this game, but truth is we played it so much that we were all great at it. A few years ago I bought a used N64, four controllers, and this game. No others. Be it the illegal Oddjob or the useless Jaws, this

5. WCW/NWO: Revenge (N64)

‘Dr. Kronner’ – This is where it came from. When I was about 16 or so and we realized that we could change names and alter Jim Neidhart in WCW/NWO: Revenge to look just like our Biology teacher Mr. Eberhard – we became obsessed with the game. We altered near all of the 63 wrestlers in the game, and each of us had our own character as well. Below was mine – Dr. Kronner (Dr. Frank) putting C Tan’s jobber (AKI Man) in a world of hurt. Disco Inferno also became ‘Busta Timbo’, so 3 of the current staff were in on this…and now I really want to play it again. Our main choice of gameplay was the 40-Man Royal Rumble, just so we could see who’s shitty character could last the longest.

childhood games

childhood games5A. Monster Party (NES)

Holy shit, this game was my boy. It’s about an alien, who looks like a gargoyle, named ‘Bert’, that comes to Earth because his planet is overrun with monsters in need of vanquishing. So instead of getting a cop, or the Army, or Arnold Schwarzenegger – he recruits a 10 year old kid with a baseball bat. So…that’s good decision making there. You are the kid, obviously, and you fly with Bert to his planet and rather than the two of you working together to defeat an entire effing planet of monsters, you instead are on your own, unless you find a pill (drugs) that temporarily transforms you into Bert, who can fly and shoot death from his mouth…you know as opposed to being a kid with a bat…the music was pretty sweet though.

This guy is annoying, but he brings up some valid points…

Honorable Mentions:
NES: Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Batman, Contra, Dragon Warrior, Jaws
– SNES: NBA Jam: TE, Indiana Jones, Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball
– PlayStation: NFL Gameday 2000, Final Fantasy VII, Twisted Metal II

1. Sonic the Hedgehog – Sega Genesis

The very first game I ever beat! As a young lass with a Sega Genesis, my dad and cousin showed me all of the sweet hidden free lives and hidden coins in this game. I can still beat this game in a handful of hours. The only thing I hate: the drowning music in the Labrynth Zone.

childhood games

2. Super Mario 64 – Nintendo 64

The amount which I played this game…. I am shocked that I did so well in school. Jumping (or in most cases, doing back-flips) into pictures was the coolest shit I’d ever done at that age. I was addicted to this game.

childhood games

3. Diablo – PC

I got into this game because it was summer and I had bought some summer workbooks to keep my mind fresh (shut up), and finished them the first week. My mom told me to find something relaxing to do. My dad played Diablo, so I thought I would try it. I believe I was 10 or 11 when I began my love for this horror, action-RPG series. I was a money-hungry Rogue for the remainder of that summer.

childhood gamesI miss the giant clusterf*** that dominated the screen at times…

4. Golden Axe – Sega Genesis

I mostly started playing this because I got to be Tyris Flare… a sexy redhead. In Golden Axe, I got my first taste of riding dragons, kicking little guys for bags full of mana/food, and kicking ass while doing back-flips. The worst part: Continuously falling off of the cliff and losing lives.

childhood gamesSlight overkill on the potions for one guy but the bastard deserved it…

5. Starcraft – PC

My cousin taught me how to play Starcraft when I was 11. I got addicted very quickly! Starcraft was my first RTS that I was truly super into. Although time consuming, I let my nerd flag fly.

childhood games

Honorable Mention:
Sega Genesis: Shining in the Darkness 

childhood games

Pokémon Red – Gameboy Color

Pokémon Red for Gameboy Color is easily my favorite childhood video game with being handheld AND in color…get out! I took this everywhere and completed it at least 5 times, and still play it sometimes for “sentimental reasons”. Funny story that goes with this (actually laughing as I write this), when I first got the Pokémon game, I didn’t know how to save the game and so I just kept restarting the game after I turned the game on…

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider II – PlayStation

That was one of the first games I played on a console and it was great. Adventure, action and endless fun (giant boobs didn’t hurt either). I drowned constantly in this game partly because I sucked but also partly because it was funny.

childhood gamesLara Croft in a bathrobe with a gun? Sure, why not…

Rome: Total War – PC

Not exactly something most kids would have played but I did and I still consider it to be my favorite PC game to date (can’t wait for the Rome 2 which totally has been announced). I was only 11 when it came out so it still counts as a childhood video game. Brilliant graphics, and so massively immersed into the Roman world that you felt like a general crushing your enemies (I was a weird child).

childhood games

childhood games

Pokémon Stadium – Nintendo 64

I didn’t know anyone who didn’t get this game and console (didn’t keep it for a great deal of time). Still, this game was really fun and I remember the sheer amount of different styles of games you could play on it, like a Pokémon Olympics. It was the first of its type I had ever played and probably would still find it fun.

1. Mario Kart – Super Nintendo

I played this first on the SNES as Super Mario Kart at a friend’s house on vacation and was immediately sure I’d have to own it for the rest of my life.  When N64 was released, I bought the system and of course Mario Kart 64.  I was able to get my sisters to play video games with me because of this game and to this day, when we get together and we have access to a CRT TV (what’s that?) and N64, we’ll dig out our old copy of Mario Kart and race away.  Ah, nostalgia.  I think the appeal of the game is its ability to draw in players of all ages, preferences, and skills.  Its replay value is almost never-ending, as well.

childhood gamesRainbow Road!!! Although getting a mushroom speed burst on this stage is insta-death most of the time…

2. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron – Nintendo 64

As if I couldn’t be addicted enough to the movies, I had to get involved in Star Wars video games as well.  There were several that came out for the N64, but none held my interest so much as this one.  This could have been from the fact that I bought a used copy of the game, and since the information for N64 games was stored on the game card/chip instead of the console, the previous owner of the game had entered a bunch of cheat codes.  I was able to fly the Naboo Starfighter anytime I wanted, which was my favorite ship above all due to its maneuverability and quick reaction time.  I also just loved the game because you were able to fly — this was my first flying game ever, and it was thrilling to zoom over the cities that I had only previously seen from ground level in the Star Wars films.
childhood games

3. Halo -Xbox

I’m not sure this counts as a “childhood” game since it came out when I was 15, but I don’t really care.  Halo is near and dear to me as it was my very first FPS and the only reason I decided to save up my meager paycheck money to buy my very own Xbox.  I had always loved science fiction, but the concept of running around as a super soldier trying to save the universe somehow seemed new and realistic to me.  Every time I sniped a grunt or popped a Flood spore, I knew I was participating in one of the best stories and universes I’d ever run across, and most likely one of the best franchises yet to come (and I was right).  Also, it did help me adore this game even more when it got me geek points with my guy friends.  Although, Cortana’s line of “this cave is not a natural formation – someone built it, so it must lead somewhere” still pisses me off (thank you so much for the information; I had no frakkin’ clue that’s where I needed to go even though I obviously can’t drive this Warthog anywhere else on the damn map).
childhood games

4. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Learning can be educational AND fun?!  My mind was blown by this concept when I was a kid, and I still wonder why we don’t have more games like this today.  I spent hours on this, and sometimes I try to run it on my laptop again just for old times’ sake. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I inserted both the cartoon theme song and the Rockapella song from the game show. I hope you choose wisely. -C Tan)

5. Oregon Trail

It’s a classic.  Enough said.

1. Sonic The Hedgehog – Sega Genesis

I spent HOURS on those damn water levels trying to find the goddamn air bubbles. That shit was maddeningly hard. I was obsessed with beating it faster and faster, and learning the patterns of each level until I mastered them. Great game.

2. Golden Axe – Sega Genesis/Arcade

This game was one I loved playing with friends. I’ve bought it on XBL recently and realized it was WAY shorter than I remember it being, but somehow in my head as a child, it was epically long, and the implied story to me was really awesome. Riding on giant eagles, swimming across oceans on turtles…to only find out that THE GAME ENDED WITH THE CHARACTERS ESCAPING INTO REAL LIFE, HOLY SHIT. Loved it.

I hated when these little bastards took my potions…friggin’ kleptos…

3. Altered Beast -Arcade

This is a game I only played at the arcade. Back when there were arcades. I must have put hundreds of dollars into it because the idea of transforming into a bear was one that never got old for me. I also became enraptured by the story, and to this day, I swear it ended with all of the main characters taking off their costumes, and revealing the whole thing was a play, but when I searched for that ending I could not find it online. Regardless, I remember that ending being a shock, even if I hallucinated it.

This image is apparently designed to give me nightmares…

4. Metal Gear Solid – PlayStation

This was the first game to truly make me think and question everything around me. I remember playing it and be gobsmacked by its ending revelations, and the last line spoken hit me like a punch to the gut. I played it so much, I used to be able to speed run the game in 3 hours flat. Cutscenes skipped of course.

childhood games

5. Goldeneye 64 – Nintendo 64

This game was the staple of my weekend sleepovers at mine and other friends’ houses. Lots of rules were made, “no picking Oddjob and crouching”, because he was so small that he was hard to hit, and thus “cheap”. Or a ban on certain types of weapons since they were unfair. I just remember playing the multi-player over and over, and being transfixed by the single player game. I also remember being stuck on that train level and having NO CLUE how to get into the train, until my friend suggested I try pressing the “open door” button to open the door to the train. I was stupid sometimes back then.  Either way though, I loved that game. Still do.

I want this T-shirt.

I grew up playing video games, primarily on the PS1. The days when my dad and I would spend Sunday afternoons playing video games were just awesome, and these memories bring up a whole lot of nostalgia. I guess what they say is true. When you’re a kid, you want to be an adult; when you’re all grown up, you want to return to being a child. Childhood is just so much simpler – grades and video games.

Enough with the reminiscing. On to the honorable mentions. (Note that I didn’t start playing Metal Gear Solid until my teenage years. Therefore, the series is not included.)

Honorable Mentions

Twisted Metal 2 – The pioneer in vehicular combat games. The story is absolutely insane. I still remember picking the monster truck every time.

Vigilante 8 – Picture a Twisted Metal game set in the 70s with less crazy. They have some of the most insane car battles ever. A remake was released for Xbox 360.

Syphon Filter 2 – If memory serves me right, this is the first game I have ever beaten. It will forever hold a place in my heart.

Superman 64 – Gotcha!! I never owned an N64. (Editor’s Note: I personally would’ve reprimanded him for this. Like make him draft Alex Smith as his 1st round pick in Fantasy Football.)

Roller Coaster Tycoon – When I was a kid, I used to love going to theme parks. Hell, I still get excited nowadays about going to theme parks. However, with my parents working all the time, it was simply impossible for them to take me out often. This is when RCT comes in. It gave me a chance to build my own theme park. It’s about as good as a substitution can get.

5. Grand Theft Auto 2 – PS1

In case some of you out there don’t know, Grand Theft Auto started off with a top down view. The game isn’t particularly amazing. The missions are pretty hard. Driving isn’t much fun. It’s open-world, and navigation is a pain in the ass. The story? Who cares about the story?

What makes it so memorable then? The soundtrack.

Believe it or not, GTA2 features quite a number of songs in the 800MB-CD era. Some of those tracks are downright awesomeness. Take a look at the lyrics to one of its songs:

Jesus my savior
My favorite flavor
I prefer God to my kids
God bless all the universe
Krishna bells are in
Stop, look down on stolen cars
This is just a sin

That’s as catchy as it can be. As for my favorite track:


In case you haven’t heard, Rockstar Games released GTA2 on PC as a free download a few years back.

4. Driver 2 – PS1

Driver 2 is far from the greatest game ever. It was, however, very ambitious for its time. It pushed the PS1 hardware to its limits. Unlike Driver 1, you can actually get off your car this time round. Well, you can’t do much when you’re on foot, but you still can hijack cars. I used to spend hours upon hours on just exploring the 4 cities (Chicago, Las Vegas, Havana, Rio) in the game. They all felt distinct and colorful. The car damage looks good for its time as well.

Unfortunately, the game suffers from a horrible frame rate and frequent lags. And as you may notice, the draw distance is pathetic. Given that the game was indeed pushing the PS1 to its limits, these drawbacks were inevitable.

3. Crash Bandicoot 3 – PS1

Say what you want but Sony does have great IP’s. Crash Bandicoot, before it became mediocre under Activision, was a whole lot of fun. Crash Bandicoot 3’s light-toned storyline and fantastic level designs are what set this game apart from other platformers. And check out the death animations.

Tell me that is not funny.

In addition, the boss fights felt very distinct and were a whole lot of fun to play. They were also very challenging. As a matter of fact, I didn’t beat the game until sometime last year.

By the way, the guys behind the Crash Bandicoot series in PS1 are now the guys behind the great Uncharted series.

2. Need for Speed: High Stakes – PS1

The decision between 2nd place and 1st place was incredibly tough. NFS fell to the 2nd place by a very small margin.

If you’ve read my piece on Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2012, you will know that High Stakes is my favorite NFS of all time. There are so many reasons to that. The graphics are incredibly well-done. You can actually see the interior if you pay enough attention. There is no racing game out there that managed to find a better balance between arcade and simulation than High Stakes. The environments are simply gorgeous. Ever dreamed of driving a purple Lamborghini Diablo in the German country side at dawn? The game can make this dream come true.

Speaking of which, I would kill for a Lamborghini Diablo.

Anyway, the police chases in High Stakes are much more challenging than the current generation of Need for Speed. In order to arrest a criminal, you have to actually stop him/her, rather than ramming the driver into submission. It is, to my knowledge, one of the first games which implemented tactical options, such as road blocks or spike strips, in police chases.

1. Syphon Filter 3 – PS1

Say what you will but I am a sucker for corny storylines and Syphon Filter 3 takes the cake when it comes to that. Honestly, I don’t remember the storyline. All I remember about the plot is that my favorite character of the entire series faked her death in the second game and returned in this game. In a nutshell, Syphon Filter 3 is a very generic third person shooter. It was nothing transcendental like Goldeneye. Hell, the game play is exactly identical to the first two entries of the franchise, but to a 10-year-old kid, it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s fun. I have no idea why I awarded this game the first place. I guess it’s just nostalgia.

Anyway, the franchise would go on to enjoy success on PSP. Its most recent game was released a few years ago, with rumors of a potential sequel arising every single year.

1. Twisted Metal 2 – PS1

This ultimate battle royale of automotive destruction was the main reason I picked up a PlayStation controller as a kid. I remember sitting in the basement for hours with Doc Kronner (I believe he preferred ‘Shadow’, the very purple hearse) using cheat after cheat to run through the campaigns and defeat the nefarious Calypso. This is certainly a case where it wasn’t the destination—rather the journey—that made the game, as the congratulatory winning clips were simply ignored after one viewing. We knew all the cheats, specials, and Easter Eggs that could be found. I’m pretty sure I could put in the code for Minion right now. My preferred vehicle: Spectre (found only in the second of the TM series)

 I might have to get my PS1 out now and try playing…

2. Super Mario Bros. 3 – NES

This is the quintessential video game of the nineties. Sure it was the third (and the other two were great FYI), but it was the game that set the standard for re-playability. Though I still don’t know why a raccoon tail can give you the gift of flight. Crazy Japanese…

3. Golden Eye 007 – N64

This was the party game of my early high school years. In between bad horror movies and all-out brawls hopped up on Jolt Cola, an understanding of alliances and revenge was born.

While maintaining the ban on using Oddjob, 007 was the path upon which I learned my friends’ strengths and weaknesses – for example, levels and depths of trust and rage.

4. Command and Conquer (PC)

This is a game that I kept going back to, even though I admittedly was not adept at the strategy involved. I enjoyed the freedom that came with building bases in my own way and completing missions in the style that worked with my brain, as opposed to many games that have a path that you must follow in order to accomplish the end-game. Also, when I wanted an ego boost I could turn the difficulty on easy and start with a million dollars to completely annihilate my opposition. I really did suck at this game.

5. Dragon Warrior (Nintendo)

I doubt many with put this on their list of top five, and really, I’m not sure why I enjoyed it so much as a child. A classic premise (warrior charged with saving the kingdom and rescuing a princess) starts you on the journey to gain experience and money with which to buy more sophisticated and powerful abilities and gear.

Skyfall Explosion – New James Bond Trailer and Info

James Bond is back with a bang if the new trailers are anything to go by. There’s tons of new stuff about Daniel Craig’s return as Bond as well as his unexpected arrival at a certain event going on in London right now.

Continue reading Skyfall Explosion – New James Bond Trailer and Info

‘Skyfall’ Teaser: Bond is Back for the 23rd Time…Officially

Skyfall is the title of the latest installment to the 007 legacy. While that name lacks the panache of a The Spy Who Loved Me, it does deliver us James Bond, played here for the third time by Daniel Craig.

The studio has just released a new teaser trailer for the movie, which should be out sometime around Christmas…

Continue reading ‘Skyfall’ Teaser: Bond is Back for the 23rd Time…Officially

Grizzly Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The world of espionage, spies, secrets, and traitors isn’t necessarily what the James Bond movies make it out to be, quite the contrary actually. The car chases, gunfights, sexy sidekicks, and dry martinis aren’t the job. Instead, the world of a spy consists of endless amounts of research, chain smoking, and a lot of talking. The conversations, though, can be as heated, if not even more so, than your run-in-the-mill gun battle.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which is based on the novel of the same name by John Le Carre, follows retired agent George Smiley (Gary Oldman), who must come back to work to find a Soviet spy that is hidden in MI6, nicknamed the Circus. The man in charge, Control (John Hurt), is convinced that a mole is hidden within the Circus after he does some intensive research and studying with information that he’s been given from a reliable source.

The possibilities, according to Control, are “Tinker” who is Percy Alleline (Toby Jones), “Tailor” who is Bill Haydon (Colin Firth), “Soldier” who is Roy Bland (Ciaran Hinds), “Poor Man” who is Toby Esterhase (David Dencik), and “Beggar Man” who is Smiley himself. The beginning of the film reveals that there’s a Hungarian general who knows the identity of the mole. Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) is sent to retrieve the information, but the mission goes bad, alerting the Soviets of MI6’s suspicion.

This leads Smiley to be forced into retirement by Control, who soon after passes away. Smiley is then brought back and given some very valuable information by a man named Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy), a rogue agent who travels around the world searching for information that may benefit the MI6 during the Cold War. Smiley listens to his story, and considering the failed Hungarian mission, as well as a successful Soviet operation named Operation Witchcraft, he pursues it further, enlisting the help of fellow agent and apprentice, Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch).

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a beautiful, intense, and sometimes extremely confusing spy film that trades in the usual action for something much more effective; edge-of-your-seat dialogue. The constant interaction between the characters keep things more than exciting, and the sometimes puzzling narrative is both saved and clarified by the use of conversation that literally had my heart racing. Gary Oldman’s flawless performance as George Smiley is a cinematic revelation. His calm and collected manner is sometimes eerie considering the situation, and the one time that he does raise his voice, it’s almost enough to frighten the viewer, especially considering the context.

Tom Hardy and Colin Firth are also absolutely amazing as spies who know things that everyone else wants to, but Mark Strong is surprisingly strong in his rather short but extremely necessary role. Personally, I’m a huge fan of his. I think he’s able to adapt to his environment extremely well, with enough diversity to successfully play both a bad guy and a good guy, sometimes in the same movie. It’s Tom Hardy though, that has probably the most screen time in the entire film besides Oldman, which is surprising considering how little he is shown in the trailer, and how far down he is in the opening credits. I’m not here to complain though, after his performances in Inception, Warrior and RockNRolla, he’s most definitely solidified himself a spot in being one of the best young actors in Hollywood today.

The direction by Tomas Alfredson is gorgeously mundane, and I mean that in the absolute best way possible. He recreates the 70s film style so well here that I felt as if I was doing a double feature with Marathon Man. You might recognize his name as being the director of the equally as fantastic vampire love story, Let The Right One In. Alfredson seems to have a knack for creating films with little action that are almost as exciting as a Transformers movie.

The film also plays as a retrospective, taking snippets of certain scenes and placing them in other scenes, which then leads them to go back to that original scene, but instead it moves forward a little bit. This allows the film to literally be a puzzle, with pieces being filled in left and right until the finale where everything is in place and the universal “aha!” moment is reached. Instead of me trying to explain it, think of it as an episode of How I Met Your Mother, how they flip back and forth between the present and other important times that relate to the story being told. You all know what I’m talking about, let’s just move on.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is brutally violent when it needs to be, dryly funny at times, but it’s also a fantastically plotted film that requires quite a bit of attention from the viewer. I’ll be honest, this and Warrior were the only two films of the year where I didn’t look at my watch once to see how much time there was left. For a two hour film consisting mostly of dialogue, that’s pretty damn good if you ask me.

5/5 Grizzly’s

James Bond is Back for Round 23 – ‘Skyfall’ Casting News

Filming began on November the 7th for the 23rd Bond film entitled Skyfall – quite frankly, a ridiculous title in my opinion, but eminently better than Quantum of Solace (Which despite terrible reviews, wasn’t that bad). This is a little round up of the facts…

In case you missed our last casting update, here is an overview of what we know so far. Daniel Craig is returning as Bond – his 3rd time – as is Dame Judi Dench – her 7th time as M. They are joined by director Sam Mendes (American Beauty). All three of these things are good news as  they are all excellent.

Ben Whishaw will be playing master of gadgets Q. Skyfall will be Whishaws 4th film with Daniel Craig, appearing as he does in The Trench, Enduring Love and Layer Cake. This will be the first time the character has appeared since 2002’s Die Another Day – where he was played by John Cleese. It will also be the first time Q has been younger than Bond. Whishaw is an accomplished actor and I’m sure he’ll be great.

This will be French actress and model Berenice Marlohe‘s  first international film. She will play Severine, who will be – according to the actress – “glamorous” and “enigmatic”. How good an actor she is I don’t know, but she certainly looks ever inch the Bond girl. Naomie Harris (perhaps most famous for her role in the Pirates of The Caribbean movies, and has also appeared in 28 Days Later and A Cock & Bull story) is to play a character called Eve. Early reports speculated that the character would be Miss Moneypenny, though this is looking less likely now.

Javier Bardem the brilliant actor from No Country for Old Men (as well as Collateral and Jamon Jamon) is to be the films main villain, which is something we know he can pull off. Helen McCrory, is most famous for playing ‘Narcissa Malfoy’ in the Harry Potter movies. But she was also ‘Cherie Blair’ in The Queen, and appeared in the Doctor Who episode Vampires of Venice. She is now set to play a character called Claire Dowar. Playing so far unspecified roles are Swedish actor Ola Repace (Wallander), the legend that is Albert Finney and self-professed Bond fan – and all round fabulous actor – Lord Voldemort Ralph Fiennes (Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang, Wallace & Grommet: Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Schindler’s List).

There has already been filming in London. Other locations are apparently going to be Istanbul, China and Wales. Skyfall will be released next year as part of the year long celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the release of Doctor No, and the start of the Bond franchise. It’s due to premiere in London on the 26th of October. General US release dates are currently said to be between 23rd of October and the 7th of December – the UK on the 26th October and the US the 9th of November.

Grizzly Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

I feel like the entire film industry is beginning to revolve around pop culture. Now, this isn’t anything new, I know, but that doesn’t mean that it still isn’t frightening, with franchises that run for anywhere from five years (Twilight Saga) to 50 years (James Bond films). The surprising thing, though, is how much money these franchises make. Franchises like the Harry Potter films are in the multi-billions, as are franchises like Twilight and the James Bond movies.

Continue reading Grizzly Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

FX Announces Return Dates for ‘Archer’ and ‘Justified’

Alright gang, fire up your DVRs and get ready for FX’s best shows not about Bikers or bars in Philadelphia to return.

First is the animated brilliance that is Archer. The story of a self-indulgent, American James Bond-Type (a comparison he doesn’t welcome), and the barley functional agency by which he is employed, Sterling Archer is television’s most entertaining spy. And come Thursday, January 19th, he is back on FX.

That follows though, the premiere of the 3rd season of Justified, which will air 2 nights earlier on the 17th.  Justified is maybe my favorite show on all of television, and is the earlier casting announcements (here and here) are any indication, this newest season is primed to continue the 2 years worth of excellent programming we’ve come to expect.

FX continues to edge out Showtime, AMC, and HBO as my favorite network for original programming.

James Bond 23: Moneypenny Cast, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes Also to Star

Sick of not seeing little Miss Moneypenny in the Daniel Craig Bond movies? Well then shut your face because she’s finally been cast in the form of actress Naomie Harris, known mostly for her role as Tia Dalma in the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies. For those of you not familiar with Moneypenny in the Bond films, she is the assistant to James Bond’s boss M. In the role of assistant, she is bombarded with all sorts of sexual harassment from 007 to no avail on his part. She may be the only chick Bond hasn’t banged. Will he finally make his dream a reality in this next spy escapade? Or will she perhaps play a bigger role in the movie, because that would be nice instead of a brief appearance so all of the Bond fans can laugh at the latest Bond sexual quips.

Naomie Harris as Moneypenny isn’t the only casting news to come out for Bond 23. Two heavy hitters appear to joining the film as well. Check out a small blurb from IGN below:

In addition to reporting Harris’ casting, The Daily Mail also says acclaimed actors Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes are set to appear in Bond 23, which begins filming later this year.

And here is how the actors will be portrayed in Bond 23!

Unfortunately there is no mention of what roles they might be playing in the movie, though with Ralph Fiennes I would think he’d play one hell of a villain. I mean come on, he’s freakin’ Voldemort! Bardem I guess could go either way as a villain or ally to Bond. I’m just excited that filming starts this year and there is a strong cast. Anyone out there excited for more Bond? Or is 007 wearing thin on you?

Sean Bean is a Badass: Gets Stabbed in Bar Fight

Sean Bean, who was recently the star of HBO’s Game of Thrones has a long history of playing badass character. From Patriot Games to Lord of The Rings, Bean almost always plays an ass-kicker. Hell, he even held ‘Double 0’ status in GoldenEye as James Bond’s predecessor. Well it would now appear that those roles were perhaps well deserved.

Last night, 52 year old Bean, while out with 22 year old Playboy Bunny April Summers, got into a fight defending her honor. That’s Ned Stark Yo! Some loud mouth was walking by and recognized Summers, but didn’t see Sean Bean (aka 006: The Lord of Gondor). Bean got into his face and the would be tuff-guy (with 2 F’s) backed down. Like a bitch. And probably cried.

 Later (and I assume after several more drinks) the A-Hole returned and sucker punched Bean in the eye. Because he’s a bitch. Then, with a broken bottle, he stabbed Mr. Bean (the serious one, not the funny one) in the arm.  Despite his wounds, Bean refused any medical attention and opted not to go to a hospital. Instead, the actor accepted a first aid kit from the bar staff, then ordered another drink.

 Source: E! Online