As video games have evolved, so too have the moments that define the medium. Primitive 8-bit explosions have made way for intense and elaborate action set-pieces; narratives are no longer driven by simple blocks of poorly translated text, but rather crafted by teams of writers and portrayed using expensive special effects – the landscape of gaming has changed, but CraveOnline is here to walk you through the memorable moments that have helped define it, both past and present.
Here are the 50 most memorable moments in video game history. Be warned: some spoilers follow. And if you disagree with our choices, sound off in the comments below with your favorite moments.
Pause Music – Battletoads
Brought to the attention of many by the Angry Video Game Nerd, the pause screen music of NES side-scrolling beat ‘em up Battletoads is catchy enough to warrant a place on this list, and enough to warrant you pressing that Start button over and over again in the early 90s.
The Sinner’s Sandwich – Deadly Premonition
Depending upon who’s speaking, Deadly Premonition is either awfully amazing or amazingly awful. While it’s difficult to explain it in a mere paragraph, the “Sinner’s Sandwich” cutscene goes some way to summarising the extent of its oddness.
Sitting in a café, protagonist Francis York Morgan is greeted by Harry Stewart, a 73-year-old, gasmask-wearing mute who is confined to a wheelchair, and Mr. Stewart’s assistant, Michael Tillotson, who speaks only in rhymes (it is never explained why he does this). Tillotson orders a turkey, strawberry jam and cereal sandwich for Mr. Stewart. “Sound like the ‘sinner’s sandwich’,” says Francis York Morgan. “Self-inflicted punishment to atone for past sins. He’s setting an example.”
Much like the rest of Deadly Premonition’s dialogue, this admission is as confusing as it is nonsensical, and what follows – a scene that depicts Francis York Morgan tasting the sandwich for himself – is hilariously awkward.
Someone Picking Oddjob – GoldenEye 64
Back in the late ‘90s, you could truly judge the character of a man by whether or not they picked Oddjob in Goldeneye 64’s multiplayer. Oddjob’s short stature and Goldeneye’s awkward aiming system meant that besting him in a gunfight was nigh-on impossible, which also made him the character of choice for anyone who was more interested in being victorious than they were engaging in a fair fight. Many groups of friends banned Oddjob from being used in multiplayer sessions, but there was still always that one guy who rebelled and did so anyway. We hated that guy.
Seismo-Ball – OddBallz
Back in the ‘90s every PC gamer owned at least one virtual pet simulator, but while the majority of them saw the player doing nothing more than feeding, petting or watching their virtual pet sleep, PF Magic’s OddBallz allowed you to deal out some punishment with the ‘Seismo-Ball’. The Seismo-Ball could be thrown at one of your disobedient OddBallz, forcing them to explode in a cartoonish array of limbs. Sadists could then pick up one of these dismembered limbs, dangling them in front of their terrified OddBall in order to warn them to never disobey them again. Devilishly fun.
The Twist Ending – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Although fans of the series had varying opinions on this reboot of the beloved Castlevania series, there were very few who denied just how mind-blowing the ending was. Although Lords of Shadow has yet to receive a sequel, meaning that we can’t make a judgement call on whether or not the series’ transition into the 21st century will be a good thing, witnessing Gabriel/Dracula being thrown through a stained glass window by Zobek and landing in the middle of a bustling modern day city ranks as one of the very best cliffhanger endings in gaming history.
“What Am I Doing?!” – Duke Nukem Forever
This list doesn’t just contain good memories, y’know…
After a long and infamously troubled development history, Duke Nukem Forever finally saw the light of day in 2011. Unfortunately, time had not been kind to Duke. Although he’d still retained his trademark puerile sense of humour, we were forced to come to terms with the fact that maybe we no longer found fart and penis jokes as funny as we did back in the ‘90s. This was no more evident than in the game’s opening scenes, where we found ourselves in a military base, throwing faeces at soldiers. Our teenage selves would’ve probably loved it, but then again, our teenage selves were idiots.
Getting Out of Prison – Mafia II
Sentenced to 10 years imprisonment at the tail-end of World War II, Mafia II protagonist Vito Scaletta is released in 1951 into a brighter, optimistic new world. The transition from the dreary hopelessness of the open-world environment you experience throughout the first portion of the game, to the beaming young faces and rock ‘n’ roll radio stations that greet you when you exit jail, served as an interesting curveball thrown by developers 2K Czech.
Cantina – Super Star Wars
While the Cantina in Star Wars: A New Hope wasn’t the most welcoming bar in the galaxy, it was nothing compared to the one depicted in Super Star Wars. With hordes of enemies jumping out at you from all angles, you’ll be lucky to survive – and that’s before you go head-to-head against the level’s nigh-on impossible boss. But the brilliance of the level doesn’t lie in its relentless action, but rather its perfect replication of the atmosphere of the Cantina. With both the foreground and background populated by the odd alien faces that made the setting so memorable in the movie, and the infamous music of the Cantina band receiving a 16-bit makeover, you won’t find a more charming level throughout the sci-fi series’ long history with video games.
Asylum Demon – Dark Souls
Saying that Dark Souls is difficult is something of an understatement, and players learnt this the hard way after their first encounter with the Asylum Demon. The Asylum Demon was essentially developer From Software’s way of letting us know that we were in for a brutal arse-kicking from there on out, as no sooner had we been handed our first primitive weaponry and a brief set of instructions, were we thrown into an arena with a huge, ugly beast that very swiftly transported us to our first ‘You Died’ screen. But the Asylum Demon served a greater purpose than to simply hand our backsides to us – it prepared us for the long, exceedingly challenging journey that we had in store.
Using the Lawnmower – Dead Rising
Venturing outside of the mall in the first Dead Rising was a difficult task. Filled with both zombies and villainous humans alike, braving the great outdoors without a weapon would often lead to frustration and, if you didn’t traverse the terrain quickly enough, death. However, waiting for you across the grassy terrain was the most fun weapon in the entire game – the lawnmower. Revving this baby up and rolling it over the bodies of unfortunate zombies remains the most fun way to deal with the undead in gaming and, considering the wealth of zombie video games, that’s pretty high praise.