Monday, August 25, 2014

Top 10 PC Games I Had Played in My Pre-Teens and Teens

In a past list, I already covered the vintage PC games (which run in Windows ’95) that I played during my childhood.  This time around, I’ll be tackling the favorite games of mine during another period of my life – when I was 11 to 16 years old, late elementary to high school.
“Top 10 PC Games I Had Played Which I Even Cut Classes For” could be an alternate title for this list.  I was so into them, that I could cut classes so I can play them.  Ah, those were the days.  It was in Grade 5 when I learned to cut classes so I can instead go play PC games in Internet cafes.  And when I was in high school, I was habitually cutting classes to hang out with my high school gang in the Internet Cafes near my school (and when I mean “near”, I mean hundreds of meters away).  Heck, the name of my high school posse was “Cutting Classes Club.”  Boys will always be full of mischief.  LOL.  Thank God, it never really got too serious enough that put our academics in peril (though we got into some minor troubles with our school nonetheless).

Anyway, these are the games that I was so into that I opt to play them during most of my free time, and often even compelled me to skip classes so I can play them.    

DISCLAIMER: Screenshots are not mine.  I just Googled them.     


What makes Team Fortress unique from other first-person shooter PC games from Valve Corporation is that there are different playable classes to choose from.  Each class has a different set of unique skills and weaponry, with each class having different strengths and weaknesses; thus, there is a “rock-paper-scissors” philosophy that players had to consider in choosing what classes to play.   There is a need for a team to find the proper mix of classes, to be as diverse and balanced as best as they can be.  This makes the game’s teamwork aspect more cerebral than Counter-Strike.  Nonetheless, despite having a more sophisticated gameplay, Team Fortress wasn’t nearly as popular in my gaming circles as other first-person shooter games like Half-Life or Counter-Strike


NBA 2K, in the present, has emerged as the premier NBA video game series, but back in my time, the NBA Live series was more popular.  If I remember it correctly, I started with NBA Live 2003, and the last version of the game that I got to play was NBA Live 2007.  I got to play the NBA Live games in both PC and Playstation but I was more comfortable playing it with the former. 


Half-Life is considered by many gamers as one of the greatest games of all time due to its mentally stimulating gameplay and brilliant story.  However, my affection for Half-Life wasn’t due to playing through its mission-narrative, where most of the praise is, but in its free-for-all multiplayer option wherein players battle each other, every man for himself, competing who will get the highest kills and least deaths.  I remembered that we really loved the part wherein a red button can be pushed after a period of time, which will start a countdown for an explosion covering the map, and everybody had to race to the bunker since anybody outside the bunker is automatically killed by the blast.   


Despite the bugs, especially the capability to immediately destroy any structure by just selecting it and pressing “Ctrl+D”, Battle Realms was one of my most favorite strategy game to play back then.  Its Asian theme, the colorful variety of units from the four playable factions/clans (Dragon, Serpent, Wolf, and Lotus), the gorgeous graphics, and the multi-linear story of the mission mightily appealed to me.  It was also the first strategy game I played that I had encountered the concept of “hero”-type units, which is a major reason why this game is so memorable to me. 

This is the first and only MMORPG (massively multi-player online role-playing game) that I got so engrossed with.  I don’t know what is its status now, but when this game first entered the country, prepaid cards are required to play it.  Hence, this is probably the game that has made me spend the most amount of money, for buying the prepaid cards and for paying for the Internet café sessions to play it.  Still, I really had fun with this game.  It was my first experience with MMORPG that I was greatly fascinated with the concept of maintaining a character in a virtual world.  Also another selling point was its animation style: cute, anime-style characters existing in a stunning 3D environment, which I found very appealing and delightful.  Eventually, after some time, I grew tired of the non-linear, repetitive gameplay, plus the expensive cost of playing it, that I quit Ragnarok! completely.         

I had never played the Warcraft games prior this; Warcraft III was my first encounter with the Warcraft franchise.  From the first time I got to play this game, I loved it right away (beating my two opponents during that first game helped much in making me immediately love the game).  It’s definitely one of the smartest strategy game ever created.  Heck, it’s probably even more complicated than StarCraft.  I adored greatly the fantasy world and mythology that Warcraft III established (which World of Warcraft is enjoying now), and its story (from the campaigns) blew me away due to its depth, awesome characterizations, and superior narrative. 

Most importantly, Warcraft III also served as the platform for the revolutionary game Defense of the Ancients, popularly known as DOTA, which probably has become more popular than the Warcraft franchise itself. 


Counter-Strike was arguably the king of all first-person shooter PC games.  In Counter-Strike, players get to choose whether to play for the “Terrorist” team or “Counter-Terrorist” team.  Each round starts with all players spawning at the same time and having the opportunity to buy weapons and equipment (if they survive the round, these are carried over to the next round).  Each team should accomplish its respective objective (depending on the map) or wipe out all of the opposing team’s members to win a round.


StarCraft is probably the most successful and most famous real-time strategy game ever created.  Along with Counter-Strike, this game was one of the earliest PC games that became popular.  Its sci-fi concept of three races – Terran, Protoss, and Zerg – competing for dominance in that particular sector of the galaxy was very interesting.  It’s as challenging and stimulating as Warcraft III, but StarCraft is higher in this list since it was my first encounter with the real-time strategy game genre of such scope and versatility.  Prior StarCraft, the only strategy games I was most familiar with were turn-based strategy games and simulation games; Metal Marines was my only real-time strategy game experience, and its gameplay is not even close to the complexity of StarCraft’s gameplay.  Hence, my great fondness for StarCraft.    


The economic aspect of real-time strategy games, i.e. the gathering and management of resources, are often merely secondary to its army-building aspect – the former being simply a means to accomplish the latter.  It was in Stronghold that I first encountered a real-time strategy game in which both aspects are equally exciting and important to the gameplay.  Its “mission” feature even had an economic campaign as well as a military campaign. 

Stronghold is set in during the Medieval period in England, in which as a lord, you have to develop a flourishing economy in your land and at the same time build and maintain a strong military.

The game completely charmed me that even when my peers didn’t get into it, I was satisfied of playing it alone.      


It’s not the most sophisticated real-time strategy game around, it’s actually quite simple compared to StarCraft and WarCraft III, but it’s my most favorite for I tremendously enjoyed its simultaneously down-to-earth and wacky premise.  It also had Tanya, who was so hot and badass that she became one of my most favorite fictional female characters ever.  Moreover, most importantly, it was probably the PC game in which I was most good at.  So there. 

I have already written years ago an article solely about RA2, so if you want my more thorough insights about it, just go read that.  

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