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Top 10 Old Skool Video Games

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

I admit it. I was among the most hardened of skeptics when I first heard about “esports.” The very idea of geeky, computer-addicted Erkels getting scholarships for playing video games was entirely far-fetched to me. But I can no longer deny reality. I was wrong. Esports is real, and it’s here to stay.

I will also admit that, back in the day, I was a huge gamer myself. (“Exactly how far ‘back in the day,’” you ask? One word: Pong.) From Atari to Nintendo to Sega Genesis to PlayStation, I spent countless hours playing games when I should have been doing homework or, later, office work. (Anybody here remember Crystal Quest?) Somewhere along the line, video games simply passed me by. Today’s games are more complex, and my aging brain is no longer up to the task. My six-year-old nephew can play like a future pro. I just watch in amazement.

In the near future, expect our Promotions Manager, Keegan Ohta (a big-time gamer), to contribute his Top Ten List of the best video games of all time. I’m sure that list will include Call of Duty, Super Smash Brothers and other Top-selling games of today’s generation. But the list below is *MY* list, and it’s for all of us old fogies. So let’s stand, raise a glass of prune juice and salute my ten favorite video games of all time. In ascending order:

10. HOT SHOTS GOLF. I was never really into realistic sports simulations. Yes, Tiger Woods had a great golf game. But I preferred games that put the emphasis on fun. Hot Shots Golf was cute and playful, yet still challenging.

9. NBA JAM. I loved this game in the arcades, and I absolutely had to get it when it was produced for home consoles. Again, I liked the cartoony graphics and over-the-top gameplay. Most of all, I liked “He’s on Fire!” and “Boomshakalaka!”

8. MIKE TYSON’S PUNCH OUT. In this game, timing was everything. When you got the timing down, you were well on your way to challenging Mike Tyson for the championship of the world. If only there were a cheat code to bite off ears.

7. NBA STREET 2. This was like next-level NBA Jam, complete with outlandish street moves and slam dunks. The soundtrack had a good beat, too. The fact that the game featured old-school Dr. J made it a must-buy for me.

6. MADDEN. I loved Madden for several years, then simply stopped playing it. It was probably because I couldn’t keep up with the advancing gameplay. I do remember that my favorite play was getting the ball to Marcus Allen on the halfback sweep.

5. SUPER MARIO BROS. 2. This classic game should be on everybody‘s Top Ten list, right? I played this one to completion several times. Just a fun, fun game. By the way, did you hear comedian Anthony Jeselnik’s joke about the game’s creator?

4. MORTAL KOMBAT. This was another arcade game that I just *HAD* to get the home version. My favorite characters were Liu Kang and Sub-Zero. The game also had what were the two most glorious words in the history of gaming: “FINISH HIM!”

3. TEKKEN 2. To me, this is the greatest fighting game of all time – yes, better than Street Fighter. Ah, the memories. Heihachi. King. Marshall Law. Anna Williams. Yoshimitsu. My favorite to play was Jun Kazama because she had this really cool pivot move and a wicked German suplex. But I played every character to completion.

2. TOMB RAIDER II. Yes, a gamer can fall in love with a video game character. Not only was Lara a cool character, but the actual gameplay was unlike any adventure game I had played before. You had to run, jump, climb, swim, shoot and solve puzzles. It was a difficult game to complete, but I managed to do it even about a gazillion hours of trial and error.

1. RESIDENT EVIL 2. My favorite game of all. The original and still the best among the survival horror titles. The first Resident Evil was a revelation for me, but this sequel was even better. The game actually came with two discs – one for each of the main protagonists (Leon and Jill, if memory serves me well). I loved this game so much. The music was eerie and spooky. The weapons were awesome. There was nothing better than spending the wee hours of the morning killing zombies!

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