There’s not a lot of room for nostalgia in gaming, I’ve found. Just kidding! Everybody who plays games anywhere wants more Zelda, Mario, Tetris, Doom, and Half-Life than ever before. Most of the time, however, you don’t see a lot of the unsung heroes given their place in the sun anymore. And even classic video games are mostly just being updated into new and better formats so we can play them with our advanced 21st Century brains.
In today’s article, I wanted to be a little self indulgent. So I’m going to put three giant video games that blew up the scene when they came out, but that nobody talks about anymore.
What? You sound old.
Let’s get started.
In 1997, Shiny Entertainment release MDK. A third-person shooter about a space janitor, his six-legged dog, and their fight against alien miners for the fate of the world. It was crazier than a bag full of clown poops and twice as grizzly.
And the game itself was pretty top stuff, too! Featuring vibrant 3D environments, weird monsters, a killer soundtrack, and some of the most balls-out-crazy storytelling in a game since Earthworm Jim (another Shiny title), MDK stood out in a crowd. The main character dropped into chaotic 3D planets and dished out shooty justice with a huge variety of bizarre weapons.
This was a game that cemented Shiny as one of the foremost game dev companies in the world at one point. And nobody talks about it anymore. This was a fast-paced, out of its mind shooter that left its imprint on thousands of games after it, and if you were born after 1992 there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of it.
You kids, with your Fortsnights and your Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezes…
Check it out on Good Old Games, here.
Legend of Kain: Soul Reaver
I guess since the first two items on my list of video games are from the late ‘90s, you could call me a cane shaking old man yelling at kids to get off my lawn. Then again, Crystal Dynamics’ 1999 Soul Reaver was completely metal and you kids are ruining my lawn!
Let me set the stage: the spooky vampire world of Nosgoth is falling into decay because of reasons. The Big Bad, a vampire guy named Kain (you know, like in the title) betrays his lieutenant, Raziel, thinking that he’s killed him. He hasn’t, and Raziel has to fight vampires hand-to-hand all the way up through Nosgoth to take on his former king.
This game is awesome, and a precursor to all the things you love best in over-the-shoulder action adventure games. Weird level mechanics where you can shift between realities to get around puzzles are complemented by gleeful stabby-stab, flippy flip vampire slaying for maximum angsty monster fun.
There were a few sequels and a failed MMO, but where’s the love for my Kainey boys these days? Nowhere. My Kainey boys get no love.
Check it out on Good Old Games, here.
Grand Theft Auto
Now, I know what you’re thinking: you played GTA 5 literally yesterday. You and six dudes from Vietnam pulled off a heist using a helicopter and a rocket launcher. How is Grand Theft Auto on any list of forgotten video games?
I already told you: I’m old. And Grand Theft Auto used to be really different! GTA 1, 2, and London 1969 were top-down adventure games that were almost the same game you’re playing today, but you were looking down at the top of the guy’s head! And nobody remembers! Grand Theft Auto 3-through-5 are great games, but people act like the series started in San Andreas!
Check it out on Rockstar, here.
Classic Video Games The World Forgot
Look: either way, I’m happy these games existed, but they’re important and I just feel like they should be kept behind glass somewhere where gamers can visit them like Mecca every year. Without classic video games, I don’t know where we’d be.
So the next time you and Binh from Vietnam are Apex Legendsing with your Skrillexes and your Mountain Dews, give a little thought to the 8 Bit Gods who came before you. Otherwise, it’ll just be me out here, and I already sound like the angry grandpa of video games.
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