While Disney kind of overhyped this game, most people cast it aside as garbage and an advergame. Truth be told, I sure did before I got it at a discount. But those of you who have experienced this game know that it's one of Kinect's best kept secrets.
While it's certainly not the first Disneyland game ever to be produced, it's certainly the most accurate. After creating a child avatar, you're set free to explore the park to it's fullest. If you want to go to New Orleans Square and ride Pirates of the Caribbean, you're welcome to. If you want to look around and see what the park is like, that's great too. You can even go around and meet several of your favorite Disney characters.
The thing that surprises most about this game is it's depth. Rather than exploring a simple park with virtual representations of the rides, you're given an almost exact replica of Disneyland, filled with other patrons who are discussing Disney and the park as well. You can go up to the shops and purchase Disney swag or autograph books to collect your favorite characters autographs (though it's to be expected from a game based upon a real life theme park). You can explore the park, looking for hidden mickey signs to collect, attractions to photograph or secrets to find. Rather than include simple recreations of the rides and attractions, the game transforms the world as if you were truly experiencing it first hand (such as the world being changed to the arctic and fighting off abominal snowmen in the Matterhorn rather than riding a virtual roller coaster). You can interact with the various Disney characters by waving to them, hugging them, high fiving them, dancing with them or even getting their autograph or picture (though you have to purchase photo albums and autograph books to be able to get all the characters autographs and pictures). The game even offers you quests so you can help the various characters out, such as getting Donald's autograph for Mickey or finding Donald's hat on the Matterhorn.
If you can get over the fact that they're trying to get you to buy Disney gear, this game is amazing. It's just too bad that most people are casting it aside as trashy when it's really a 'diamond in the rough'.
#9: ActRaiser (SNES)
Imagine if SimCity and Metroid were combined into a single game. Not only would you have to build your city, but you'd have to go on sidescrolling adventures and defeat bosses along the way to defend it and open up new areas for your city to expand.
Welcome to ActRaiser.
ActRaiser is a game for the SNES that combines the strategic element of building a city and expanding it with the sidescrolling action platformer that blends into a unique, amazing game. You play as the god of the world, who is called upon to rid the world of the plagues of monsters. In order to do so, you must possess the statue of a knight and battle your way through the villianous world, cutting down monsters until you defeat the boss and leave the statue behind to rule over your new kingdom.
In Kingdom mode, you play as your servant, a cupid like creature, who can shoot arrows at enemies to stop them from attacking your townsfolk as well as directing your city's inhabitants to expand their city into various tiles. You can also use your magic powers, which get upgraded as you expand your city and believers, to clear away obstructions such as rocks, trees and swamps. Things continue like this until you direct your city to destroy all the surrounding monster lairs (which spawn a set number of monsters, of which the remaining monsters are illustrated on the lair itself) and expand your city to a certain point. After which, you must save an inhabitant using a statue again and slay the boss. From here, you can continue to try and expand your city or you can move your UFO palace to a new land to try and clear it, unlocking new cities to expand (and new technologies which you can share with the other cities).
While it's not as strategic or brain crunching as SimCity, the game blends two genres together in a unique and fun way. It's a shame not many people have heard of this game, but check it out (it's on the Virtual Console!).
Back in the 90s, an official Pokemon Trading Card game came out (as if there wasn't enough Pokemon stuff for kids to collect). I'll admit, I too got caught up in the frenzy that was Pokemon card collecting. Kids all around me were trading Pokemon cards, whether for cash or other Pokemon cards. Security even came and searched nearly everyone in our class because my friend John thought someone stole his Pokemon card collection, only to find it buried in his backpack beneath his books. Naturally, when a card game based upon a video game does well, they think to expand it. So, on top of expanding the cards available to collect with the Jungle and Fossil expansions, Nintendo made a Game Boy game based upon the TCG which contained every card released to date as well as exclusive cards you could only get in the game.
And it did pretty well, but not up to Nintendo's standards. While the game was amazing and allowed you to collect all sorts of different cards, meshing them into personalized decks and fighting 8 gym leaders (like the Pokemon games themselves), each with a unique card to collect, the game didn't sell well enough for Nintendo's tastes, even though fan reception was high.
So, when Japan got a sequel, Nintendo of America decided it wasn't worth translating. Which is unfortunate for us because everything that was loved about the first game was expanded. Players could play as the original protagonist as well as a new female protagonist. Not only could you choose from all the original cards, you could get cards from the new expansion and japanese exclusive cards that were only found in vending machines. All of the original world was included and was expanded to include a new island called Great Rocket Island, after the new antagonists of the series. You could also collect new coins to flip rather than the standard Pikachu coin from the original.
If you never played the original, the game is based upon the official rules of the Pokemon Trading Card game. Using cards you collect by beating opponents with your starter deck (of which there are three based upon the starters of Red/Blue), you challenge various members around the world as well as eight club leaders (similar to gym leaders) in an attempt to become the greatest TCG player in the land and collect the legendary cards. The second game expands upon this with new cards as well as a deck rater that tells you how good of a deck you've built. Plus you can fight the villainous Team Great Rocket, who is attempting to steal the legendary cards.
All in all, any fan of the Pokemon TCG will love this game, especially if you liked the first game based upon it. It's a shame North America never saw this game, as it's a great game for those of us who loved the first. Plus, you don't even have to get your cards all bent up to play.
Back in the NES days, my neighbor let me borrow a few of the games he had purchased. Among them was Anticipation, a game I had never even heard of before and not many people of today have. Besides the corny picture of the "rad 80s family enjoying the game", Anticipation is a simple party game that can be played by up to four people, a rarity in the 80s that is pretty common nowadays.
In the game, you're given a token and then you are shown a picture of dots, of which the computer connects to form a picture, and spaces for letters of a word, similar to Hangman. The object of the game is to correctly guess what the computer is drawing, similar to Pictionary. The first person to buzz in and correctly guess the picture moves forward. Depending on how fast the answer is guessed, the player is then moved anywhere from one (if guessed after the picture is complete) to six (if the picture is guessed as the computer starts drawing). Each space on the board is colored one of four colors. After a player has correctly guessed a clue from each of the four colored spaces, they move up a level. The game ends after successfully clearing level three (or four on the harder difficulties) and that player is crowned the winner.
While it's a simple concept, it's quite addicting and lots of fun. It's a great game to play with friends and family, especially due to it's support for up to four players. If you own an NES, this is certainly one game that's worth checking out, especially if you're a fan of board games. It's too bad not many people know about this game.
Plus there's two little known facts about this game as well:
1. The music was composed by none other than David Wise (of Donkey Kong Country fame)
2. The game itself was made by a company then owned by Tim & Chris Stamper...also known as Rare.
When most people think of Super Nintendo games, not many think of free roaming RPG games or games with lots of freedom and depth. But that's precisely what New Horizons is and it's an amazing game if you can get over the steep learning curve.
In New Horizons, you play as one of six different characters, each with a different story that will keep you playing. But truthfully, the fun of the game comes not from following the storyline but rather the gameplay. You see, after the game starts and you get the gist of your storyline, you are set free to explore a 2D repesentation of Earth in the 1500s. Sure, you can always return and continue your storyline, but you can also sail the seas looking for new towns and discoveries. You can purchase goods at towns and see if you can make a profit through trading. You can purchase new ships and make a living as an infamous pirate who takes down any ships that come near. You could hang out in towns, learning new information from the townsfolk and play some blackjack. You could even defect from your ruler and life a life of exile as your once loyal countrymen attempt to kill you.
This game also has tons of strategy and depth in it and no two playthroughs will ever be alike due to the randomness of the cities found and the discoveries you can take. Different towns have different trade rates and unless you look it up online, you'll have lots of fun exploring towns and seeing what the going rates are. You can invest time and money into shops and towns and watch as they grow before your very eyes. There's so much to do in this game you'll find it hard to believe it was released in the SNES era. In fact, the only real downside to the game is that is has a steep learning curve and unless you play around with it for a while or search the internet for info, you'll likely be stuck or wonder what to do.
If you like 16 bit RPGs but are tired of the stereotypical fantasy, linear games you won't regret picking up New Horizons. In fact, Wii owners can find this game on the Virtual Console. It's a shame no one really talks about this game as it's truly a gem of a game that offers tons of free roam, depth and fun, especially given the time period it was released.
As gaming evolved during the 90s, Pac-Man found it hard to produce sequels that kept up with the changing gaming market. While that didn't stop them from releasing more games, the Pac-Man name fell into obscurity with people only talking about the old revolutionary maze crawler from the 80s and largely ignoring Namco's attempts to push Pac-Man into the 8 and 16 bit generations. Namco had to find a way to revitalize the series while staying true to it's roots.
So they decided to make Pac-Man a 3D platformer in the form of Pac Man World. Rather than explore 2D mazes, Pac-Man explored 3D worlds filled with dots, ghosts and fruit. It was a great game, but it was unfortunately a sleeper hit and didn't quite revitalize the Pac-Man name.
Enter Pac-Man World 2, a sequel to the PS1 hit game. Pac-Man World 2 continues Pac-Man's new 3D adventures as he attempts to thwart the evil ghosts who stole the golden fruit from his hometown, awakening an ancient demon who has sworn to eradicate the Pac People. You start off on the world map and each world has three levels to complete before facing a boss. However, where it really shines is the gameplay. Namco did a great job meshing classic Pac-Man with 3D platforming in a way that's addicting and fun.
While the game is merely getting from point A to point B, each level is filled with collectable Pac Dots, fruit and tokens. Chomping them still makes the waka waka sound we've all come to know and the ghosts that fill the level can only be beaten with Power Pellets. There are even hidden "mazes" that are 2.5D versions of classic Pac-Man levels. Though the dots and fruit are simply collectables that help you get to 100%, tokens can be used to unlock four different Pac-Man games: Pac-Man, Pac-Attack, Pac-Mania and Ms. Pac-Man. So if you're stuck or just want to experience the classic Pac-Man (or introduce it to someone who has yet to play it), you can return to Pac Village and kick back, playing some old school Pac-Man games. Plus, if you get the Player's Choice edition, you can get Pac-Man Vs, a game that puts you (as Pac-Man) against your friends (who become ghosts) with none other than Charles Martinet (as Mario) commentating on the classic Pac-Man action.
While this game is mainly a throwback for the older crowd who loved Pac-Man, the gameplay is interesting and unique and it's a shame no one really talks about this one. You can get this game as well as it's seuqel and a kart racer for a mere $20 on PS2, so there's really no reason to pass this one up.
Natsume is best known for their localization of the Harvest Moon series, which is a life simulator that puts you in a virtual town and asks you to make your name by farming. So when I found MetropolisMania 2, a city builder mixed with a life simulator, I wondered how it could have slipped by so many people.
You see, this game combines the villager interaction aspect of Harvest Moon with the city building aspect of SimCity with fun and unique results. As you start, your boss tells you that it will be your job to build cities in various locations. After creating yourself, he sets you free to build a city within a rural area.
As you build your city, people will start to request houses to move into and buildings to place in the city. Once you do so, you'll see them wander around your city, heading to work, off to play and the like. You can talk to them and build friendships with them and their family. You can also buy gifts for them to make them befriend you faster and oftentimes, they will give you advice on how to make the city better or even recommend friends to call and move into the city. You yourself can also explore the streets and buildings, visiting people at their homes or visit shops and spend some of your contractor money on items.
As you add onto that, you will also notice the mayoral aspect come into place. People will request buildings that you can place in the city and visit yourself, making them happy and keeping citizen morale up. You can also build roads to connect your buildings together or expand to a new part of the map. You also have to manage citizens complaints, such as necessary buildings being too far away (like hospitals or schools), noise or various aspects or you risk losing citizens (and possibly friends).
While all this is going on, you're given an overall goal to meet within the city by your boss. Sometimes it will be as simple as "grow the population to ____" or "build ___ of a certain building", but later on in the game the numbers grow colossally (though you can always call your friends in other cities and convince them to move to the new city).
While the game isn't perfect and certainly has a few flaws, it's a unique, intriguing game that not many people have ever heard about (even Natsume fans), which is unfortunate because this game truly is a unique city building game that puts less emphasis on numbers and more emphasis on citizens.
Back in the 90s, General Mills wanted to try a bold, risky new marketing technique: they wanted to package full fledged games in their cereal boxes to get the PC gamers to buy them. Not satisfied with putting in various shareware games that required people to pay for the full version, they opted to develop their OWN game with (based on Chex of course) so they could hopefully sell even more boxes of Chex cereal. Looking around for a quick, easy and cost-approved way to do so, they managed to contact ID and licensed the Doom engine, using start-up company Digital Cafe to create the game. With just weeks to make the game, they quickly set to work and made a simple 5 level total conversion of Doom entitled Chex Quest.
Rather than the violent Doom monsters and weapons, you play as a human (encased in protective Chex armor), attempting to stop the invasion of Flemoids on the distant planet of Bazoink, who have captured humans and are sliming them. Using your trusty Zorcher (which teleports enemies to far off lands rather than kill them), you set off to save the captured humans and save the day, eating Vegetables and Fruit to recover health and hoping they don't slime you to the point where you can't move (rather than die).
Even though it was a short, 5 level game, it sold a record number of Chex boxes and fan reaction was very positive. Shortly thereafter, a second Chex Quest game became available for download from the Chex Quest website. With a plot that mirror's Doom 2, you land at home after successfully saving the day only to find that the Flemoids have followed you home! Grabbing your trusty Zorcher, you set off to rescue Chex City and the rest of your planet from the evil Flemoid invasion through five additional levels once more.
Of course, fans went nuts again and soon after a third Chex Quest was announced. Unfortunately, it never materialized and most gamers cast it off as canceled, with fans making their own interpretations of Chex Quest 3.
That is...until 2008. Charles Jacobi, along with other members of the dissolved Digital Cafe, announced that they would make one more level for Chex Quest as a personal side project. As the project grew, they realized that they should create a full fledged sequel: Chex Quest 3.
While Chex Quest 3 still uses the old DOS scheme and graphic layout, it has been upgraded with ZDoom support, allowing jumping, full mouse control and higher resolution support. It offers five additional levels with no real story, but for the fans who had been waiting for more Chex Quest, it was a thrill. It also included the original two Chex Quest games as previous episodes.
If you're looking for a fun Doom clone that's fun for the entire family, look no further. Unfortunately, being released as an online only game doesn't help it's popularity and it's a shame that not many people even know this was released (let alone what Chex Quest even is!). It's certainly a fun game and being free only gives you no real reason not to download it. Go check it out.
Back when the Xbox 360 was in it's first year of retail (and sporting the classic 'blades' look), there were very few downloadable games available on the market (though Microsoft was pushing this feature). Most of the games available were classic arcade games (Smash TV, Pac-Man, Joust) or simple versions of solid games (Worms) and while they were fun to play, there really wasn't many original games that were must haves.
However, Ninjabee, after their successful release of Outpost Kaloki X (a space shop simulator similar to Lemonade Tycoon), decided to release Cloning Clyde. While it seemed pretty popular at first, it seems everyone has forgotten about this gem.
You play as Clyde, who has been hired to do scientific tests but has been imprisoned in the lab after things go horribly wrong. Clyde quickly realizes he needs to escape with a catch: he'll need some help from none other than himself! Along the way, you'll have to bash the security robots, collect Killer Ken action figures and solve puzzles to escape the lab with your clones and resume your normal life.
At it's heart, Cloning Clyde is a simple platformer mixed with puzzle elements. You have to navigate the level, running around and jumping up to plaforms, collecting Killer Ken action figures and busting robots to open the level exit. Of course, you can't do this alone and switching between clones is integral to beating each level. But not only can you make perfect clones of yourself but you can also mix in various animals and objects to make mutant Clydes. Can't get up high enough to destroy that robot? Clone yourself with a chicken and watch as Chicken Clyde flys up to the robot no problem. Laugh as you splice Clyde with an explosive barrel and destroy pesky obstacles barring your way. There's so many combinations that it's fun (and hilarious) just to try and find/test them all.
The gameplay is not unique, but it is great and the wacky, hilarious scenarios make this a gem. Plus there's tons of replayability as you attempt to save all of your clones and beat your times for each level, unlocking the achievements along the way. Plus, if you're starting to tire of single player, bring along a buddy and play some co-op or some versus.
It's truly a shame that this game's popularity only lasted for a short while and it seems not very many people know of this game anymore. Fortunately, it's still up on Xbox Live so check out the demo and see if you like it. This game is truly a great sleeper hit.
And for our #1 game...what? An EDUTAINMENT GAME? That can't be right.
But it is.
Cross Country USA at it's core is an edutainment game that's meant to teach kids about the life of a cross country big rig driver as well as help them learn US geography. At the start, you name your driver and pick betwen a short, medium and long game (number of commodities to pick up). You are then given your first commodity assignment as well as a destination to deliver them to. From there, you are free to roam the world, searching for your chosen commodity.
The game plays like an old interactive fiction, but has animations and sounds to further pull you in. Though the core gameplay is fun, the thing that makes this game truly fun is it's details and replayability. As you drive through the country looking for your commodity, your gas meter depletes, your odometer rakes up and the scenery and weather change around you. Careful when night falls because if you don't turn on your lights, you won't go very far. Careful going to sleep in your truck cause when you wake up, your gas meter will have depleted since you didn't turn it off (and if you did, you may wake up to a dead battery if you left the lights/wipers on). You'll find your character growing hungry as time passes and you'll find food at cafe's named after yourself and previous characters. You'll find yourself growing tired if you don't sleep often and if you grow too tired, you may wind up in a huge wreck, needing to call for help on your CB radio. If you're daring, you can speed to get to your destination at the cost of gas and the risk of attracting police, who will pull you over. Then, when all is said and done, you can restart the game and get a new assignment. Or you can bring your friend over to play it as you both race around the country, looking to deliver your goods and rake in the lowest bill, winning a variety of prizes (such as dinner for two, a trip to hawaii, etc).
The Apple 2 version is the version many people grew up with in classrooms and, for me, is much more interactive and fun than the PC version (as it is graphic based and you can no longer type your commands). Unfortunately, almost no one has heard of this game (only those who once played it many years ago and even they are hazy about it sometimes). Heck, it took till 2006 (31 years later) for someone to even get into the internals and write up a commodity list for people to play the game (as it was required and only came with the packaged retail game). It's unfortunate, as this game is truly something special and extremely well built for a small company in 1985. If you have a chance, go check this game out (or even the game this spun off of: Crosscountry Canada) and you'll wonder why no one talks about this game too.
Hopefully, after reading this top ten, you'll have found a new fun game to try. All ten are unique gems that, unfortunately, aren't talked about quite enough and deserve much more attention than they get. Hopefully this list will bring more attention to ten practically hidden fun games.
List by Jerrynsteph4eva (07/05/2012)
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