19–23 min read

Video Games Day.  Yes, such a day exists and it just so happens to be today:  Monday, September 12, 2016.  Apparently this has been a thing that has been happening for quite a while. 

The history of Video Games Day is really the history of the video game, and that history goes back much farther than most people imagine. The first game ever created is often thought to be Bertie the Brain, an artificial intelligence designed to play Tic-Tac-Toe. Considering that Bertie was a 4 meter high machine built on vacuum tube technology, you can imagine it didn’t get out much. In fact, it was disassembled after the Canadian National Exhibition it was revealed at, and never rebuilt. A year later a computer was built called Nimrod, which was a computer built and displayed at the Festival of Britain in 1951 and designed to play a game called Nim.

From these humble beginnings things continued to build, first with Cabinet style games (those are the ones you put quarters in, kids) which became hugely popular, and then into the first consoles, home based platforms you could play the games on. In the years that followed development of computers and video games just kept growing exponentially, and they now absolutely permeate our culture. What used to be a luxury item for the rich and elite has now become a standard part of most people’s homes, and a diversion that involves all ages.

There was, at one time, a United States National Video Game Team, founded on July 25, 1983, in Ottumwa, Iowa, by Walter Day and the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard. The early games used interactive electronic devices with various display formats. Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann filed the first patent for an interactive electronic device in 1947.  It was called the “Cathode ray tube amusement Device”.  

Some other early examples include:

  • 0X0 – a tic-tac-toe computer game by Alexander S. Douglas for the EDSAC in 1952.
  • Tennis For Two – 1958 – An electronic interactive game engineered by William Higinbotham.
  • 1961 – Spacewar

A different means of display was used for each game from a panel of lights to a graphical display to an oscilloscope or the DEC PDP-1′s vector display.

  • Computer Space, created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, in 1971, was the first commercially sold, coin-operated video game.
  • Magnavox Odyssey was the first home console in 1972.
  • Atari’s Pong followed with an arcade version in 1972 and a home version in  1975.
    “The commercial success of Pong led numerous other companies to develop Pong clones and their own systems, spawning the video game industry.”

So in order to celebrate Video Games Day, The Outerhaven staff came together to talk about our favorite games of all-time and why they are our favorite games!  


Gary Marston
the_legend_of_zelda_-_ocarina_of_time_logo

“It’s almost impossible to pick just one game that stands head and shoulders above the rest. 
 
Every year there seems to be a new title that proves pivotal in the landscape of gaming history. However if I was forced to decide on one ultimate title – there’s a split decision of two games that, for me, will forever stand the test of time.
 
The first came early in my life – The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. To this day it’s an unrivaled gem in the fantasy open world action-adventure genre. Unrestricted by quick-time events and microtransactions, Ocarina of Time was a phenomenally large game with huge ambition and a story that would reduce you to tears. It’s on the strength of Link’s iconic adventure that I still play games to this day. 
 
The second is the original BioShock. It was a game that came out of nowhere for me, released on my birthday many summers ago.  I picked it up with no prior knowledge of SystemShock or 2K Marin. Again the scope of BioShock was impressive; the story unparalleled to this day and the haunting nature of Rapture truly spine tingling. I’ll never get over the lady with the revolver in the pram…”
 

Elizabeth Lotto
parasite_eve_custom_logo_by_rockspam-d3ldo1b

 
Parasite Eve has to be my favorite. I played this game for hours and hours. Sometimes I would grind just to enjoy the levels. I was particularly fascinated by the Museum of Natural History and the hospital levels. The graphics have not aged well but this is still a game I can play because the characters and story draw you in. The concept of Mitochondria Eve isn’t unique to this game but the way it is presented though the research of a scientist with little command of English keeps you going as small bits of information are fed to you. Additionally, the scattered journal entries of Melissa, who becomes Eve, help the player piece together a story of medical advancement gone wrong. Each of the characters you meet has a backstory that really helps you relate to them. Ultimately this game remains my favorite because of its core sci-fi story. I can’t think of another science fiction based game with strong characters that also has the game mechanics of an RPG. I would love to see a remake of this game for the current generation systems.
 

Keith Mitchell
a_dead_space_logo

 
Many around the Outerhaven staff know me as the Dark Souls nut. I’ve basically beaten every game in the series, multiple times and I always turn to them whenever I’m bored or want to jump into a game. However, there’s another game or series I should say is higher up on my favorite video game list. That game is Dead Space! A sci-fi setting, where you play as a lowly engineer, who turns into this ultimate bad-ass as the game progresses, is easily my favorite game. With tons of yummy aliens to exterminate, plenty of jump scares a progressive upgrade system, multiple weapons , an interesting story line and vast areas to explore, Dead Space, to me is the ultimate survival horror game. A game that many games have integrated their game design and mechanics from.

Sadly, EA and Visceral had to go mess up a good thing with Dead Space 3, but no matter as Dead Space 1 and 2 will always be the GOAT.

Sorry, Dark Souls… you know I still love you though. Right?

 

Shelby Royal


crashbandicootlogo

 
Crash Bandicoot (Warped, especially) has to take my top spot. Any game where you can ride tigers, dinosaurs, boats, and motorcycles is an A+ in my book. I remember playing it over and over as a kid, and I still get as much enjoyment out of it now as I did then. The news of the remastered Crash Bandicoot at the latest E3 was definitely one of my personal highlights! 
 

Josh Piedra
the_legend_of_zelda_-_a_link_to_the_past_logo

 
Those who know me know that I am one of the biggest Mega Man fans on the planet, so people are actually shocked when I tell them that my favorite game of all-time is The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.  Not only does the game have an awesome soundtrack, but it did everything it could to top the original from open world exploration to the weapons you could acquire. The boss fights were memorable and challenging and the game just pulled you in. Just when you thought you were done, you get pulled into the Dark World and get to go do more dungeon exploring!  You can solve puzzles by jumping between Light and Dark Worlds as well and it was just one of the most amazing experiences I had playing a video game growing up so much that it outshines any Mega Man game I have ever played.  If someone told me to pick between Mega Man III for the NES (My favorite Mega Man game) or Link to the Past, the Blue Bomber will have to take a hike because Zelda is coming with me.
 

Delaila Lugo
the_last_of_us_logo

I don’t care if this seems like an obvious answer, but The Last of Us is my favorite game of all time. Besides having a hard on for Naughty Dog (cough cough…Uncharted…), The Last of Us is the only source of media that made me tear over 5 times, for all 3 playthroughs and within the first 15 minutes of the game. The Last of Us is truly a masterpiece holding one of the best stories told in gaming, with the most fleshed out characters, superb voice-acting, a flawless single-player and multi-player experience. In a time when survivor-horror was getting played out, this game gave a whole new spin to the genre. Trust me when I say, The Last of Us was meant to be played on survivor mode. If you haven’t played that mode, you really need to revisit the game and  play it the way it was intended to be played. The Last of Us released during the end of the PlayStation 3’s lifespan, and dropped gamers with some visuals that could have been new generation. The ending of the game was so perfect, that it kept Naughty Dog in a position to continue it as a series, or leave it alone. As a platinum hunter, the roadmap for games can sometimes impact my perception, and this games trophy list was perfect. The collectibles were mostly really fun conversations, pun books that Ellie recited throughout the journey, comic books, upgrades. artifacts and pendants. The Last of Us still has fans discussing the ending. Games seldom hit all bases, and Naughty Dog did it better than anyone else ever could. 

Delaila’s top 10 favorite games of all time (in no order): The Last of Us, Uncharted 4, MegaMan X, Bloodborne, Super Mario 64, Overwatch, Dark Souls, Golden Eye, GTA: San Andreas, Skyrim.

 

William Kok
persona_3_logo

 
Not surprisingly, my favorite has got to be Persona 3. It captures the core aspects of a JRPG, but at the time keeps it fresh by teaching you Japanese culture. The story is one of the great strengths discussing the dark side of humanity and about the human pysche. Plus the last boss is just one of the great endings that needs to be seen. From going through a japanese school year, making friends, summoning demons, it shaped a lot of who I am today. You absolutely have to play this game at least once, which then preps you for Persona 5
 

Clinton Bowman

sonic_the_hedgehog_2_logo

When I think of my favorite video game, it’s always one of the hardest decisions. I have so many favorites, that when I have to pick one, it’s sort of agonizing. However, if I was forced to pick one it would be Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2, in my opinion, might be the perfect platformer. Speed traps, innovative level design, mentally intense boss battles. Nothing feels repetitive. If you haven’t played this game, you better get on that.

Patrick Murphy

the_legend_of_zelda_-_a_link_to_the_past_logo

Everyone remembers their first time, and despite playing since the days of the Atari 2600, the moment I realized just how much I loved and would continue to love video games was the moment Link disobeyed his uncle’s orders and stepped out into the atmospheric 16-bit rain in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. With perfectly restrained and concise storytelling that creates a magical blend of the mythical and personal, Nintendo both conveyed their vision of Hyrule legend and sparked me to fill in the blanks to create my own. This was an adventure I connected with unlike any I had known, with drama and humor and imagery that made me feel I was a part of the fairy tales I had devoured since learning to read. Never before had I felt so compelled to search every nook and cranny, and never before had I felt so rewarded for that exploration. The colorful 16-bit world was alive from that very wet beginning, and I become instantly immersed upon every new save file to this very day. Perfectly paced with freedom in its linearity, packed full of clever puzzles and engaging swordplay, and teeming with the quirky melancholy the series does so well, I once a year return to my favorite game of all time, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, to remind myself what this medium is capable of: inspiration.

Mark Sullivan

 games

Few games allow you to fight monsters alongside a talking wolf-like creature, travel the seas in a damaged airplane, and crossdress all in the confines of a single disc (or three!). Final Fantasy VII strangely managed to fit all of this into a (mostly) coherent story, and then some. The game widely considered to have ushered in mainstream success for the JRPG genre in the West, Final Fantasy VII was the first I’d played in what has become my favorite video game franchise. The complex story, genius Materia system, and overall universe created are things I still think about today. While exciting that a remake of the game is on the way, the original Final Fantasy VII will always hold a special place in my heart.

Todd Black

thousandyeardoor

I don’t know if I have an all-time favorite, because I love a lot of games. But I will tell you one of my all-time favorites.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door should’ve just been a sequel to a popular N64 game. Instead, Nintendo and Intelligent Systems decided to crank the dial up to 11 and make an amazing experience in every way possible. From story, to characters, to gameplay shines about many titles. Gone is the “typical” Mario experience, and in its place is a deep story featuring new characters, a new land, but familiar Mario charm. I play this game at least once or two a year, and it’s still fun every single time.


 

 

Let us know how we're doing by taking this short survey!

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years!