Top 5 Nostalgic Video Games From My Childhood
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Top 5 Nostalgic Video Games From My Childhood

The games which introduced me to gaming.

Top 5 Nostalgic Video Games From My Childhood
Alden Chatfield

Hello Odyssey!

As a college student, I don’t have as much time as I used to for playing video games – and I used to play a lot. When I was home for Thanksgiving, I was reminded of the busy gaming habit I once had. I know I’m not alone in this either – many people in our generation grew up on interactive media, and the games we experienced in our youth have influenced our current tastes, our subject interests, and even our personalities. I decided it might be a little fun to list out five classic video games I played as a kid – these are the titles that fill me with nostalgia. This list has two simple rules to narrow down the selections: One, only games I played before the age of 10, and two, only one game per franchise. With no further ado, let’s get into my top five nostalgic video games!

5. Age of Mythology

This 2002 PC strategy game is a spin-off of the acclaimed historical-based series “Age of Empires”, changing up the formula by putting the player in control of a civilization’s mythological pantheon as opposed to their real-world leadership. This was one of the first computer games I remember playing – as a kid, I was obsessed with Greek Mythology and read book after book detailing the gods and heroes who comprised it. Being able to play out these stories on my computer was really a wonderful introduction to video games for me, and with a graphically-updated remake of this game having recently been released, I’ve been able to return to make new memories with Age of Mythology.

4. Luigi’s Mansion

This 2001 Nintendo GameCube game was the next generation of 3D Mario games – only without Mario. You play as Luigi as he explores a haunted mansion, equipped with a Ghostbusters-like ghost-sucking vacuum cleaner and a mad scientist sidekick. I’ll admit I’ve never liked horror games, and this is of course more tongue-in-cheek than scary, but as a kid this game sparked my ongoing love of games with dark and spooky atmospheres.

3. SimCity 4

This 2003 city-building PC simulator is certainly the oddball on this list. As a mayor of a virtual city, you zone for development, plan transit, adjust taxes, fight your environmental impact, and reap in the positive ratings. I still don’t remember how exactly I got my hands on this one as a kid, but the nuanced gameplay loop and simple interface just really worked for me. Of all the games on this list, SimCity 4 is the one I’ve played the most since reaching adulthood -while I probably made some pretty badly laid out cities as a kid, I’m proud to say my more recent creations have been more efficient.

2. Zoo Tycoon

This 2001 zoo management simulator continues to elude me in the modern day – while many of my favorite games have either been remastered or are at least available on PC game platforms like Steam or GOG, Zoo Tycoon has seemingly neither. Given that, all I have to go off of for this one are memories – and I have some pretty incredible memories. Like, for example, hatching a T-Rex and ‘accidentally’ deleting a segment of his fence before watching him rampage through my prehistoric zoo. Or successfully breeding Yetis. All in all, the joy of this game was it’s sometimes off-the-wall quirkiness, which is something many modern games just can’t capture.

Honorable Mentions

- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter

- Pac-Man World 2

- Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town

1. Pokémon: Sapphire

To sum up my number one pick - I LOVE Pokémon: Sapphire. This 2003 iteration of the legendary Pokémon series of handheld monster-hunting/gathering role-playing games was one of my first introductions to the world of RPGs – a world which has also delivered some of my favorite games of all time. I can’t even begin to understate how deeply I fell in love with this game, its characters and creatures, and the surprisingly rich world it took place in. When a remake of this game was released a few years ago, the opening notes of the game’s iconic soundtrack actually brought tears to my eyes. I wasn’t just playing another game – I was home. And this, really, is the wonderful thing about nostalgic games – they are greater than the sum of their parts, for reasons that are completely, amazingly irrational. This also speaks to why I love gaming in general – video games are often overlooked as frivolous, unimportant pieces of media. Much like novels in the 1800s or movies in the 1900s were sneered at by the established art world, video games are an art form which is still growing into maturity – and these have been the five games which were a part of my life before I grew into maturity.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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