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Desert island, only one game... per console!

by marurun Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:39 am

Guys, here it is: The Ultimate Deserted Island Hypothetical!

You are stranded on an island with electricity and a TV and all of the consoles you own. But only one game per console (no collections) made it with you. What one game do you pick for each console you own? It must be a game you have already played and thus have some experience with. No white whales.

I'm providing titles as well as reasons (including some narrative) as to why I chose which games I did.

NES: Super Mario Bros. 3
I spent most of my early years with the NES playing it at friends' houses, but the NES had long legs, so I still managed to play a ton of great games on the system, which means this was a tough pick. The library is huge and littered with great titles. I could easily have gone with Crystalis or Kirby's Adventure or Zelda I or II for replayability or Super C or Willow or Batman for the soundtracks, but SMB3 is one game I am regularly tempted to pick up again periodically and play, more so than any other title on the platform. It's just too perfectly crafted a platformer to overlook.

SNES: Actraiser
I'm sure not many others would pick this as their sole SNES title on a deserted island, but this was one of the first SNES games I played, and thanks to the incredible music, great graphics, and the genre-switching gameplay, this title has always stuck with me. I might go back and play Super Mario World or Super Castlevania IV more often, but those games never leave chills down my back and force me to have to just stop to admire the scenery while the music enthralls me. Although props to CV4 as it does come close.

Genesis: Gunstar Heroes
I came to the Genesis late and as such I don't have much nostalgia for it. My respect for this system comes purely from the large selection of great action titles. There are some solid standout titles. I could easily live with Phantasy Star IV (breaking from the action tradition) or Shinobi 3 or any of the Konami titles, but I think Gunstar Heroes is the game that best exemplifies what Sega intended the system to be about: fast action. For being "just" a run-n-gun, Gunstar has great replayability, and it has that quirky Treasure edge to the style and super-tight gameplay. It helps that it looks and sounds great, too.

PC Engine Duo: Dracula X Rondo of Blood
This was the first console platform I bought with my own, hard-earned cash, and thus it was also the first that wasn't a family console like the 2600 or the ColecoVision. I have strong nostalgia for a huge number of titles on this platform, but Dracula X takes the cake. When I did a school exchange program in high school and got to go to Japan I was on the lookout for Dracula X. I had heard about it in Electronics Gaming Monthly, but the buzz about the title hadn't taken off as this was pre-internet. That one magazine mention of the Castlevania that not only got away but was also a candidate for best in the series was enough to put me on high alert. PCE titles were getting a little sparse on store shelves at the time as the system was on the way out. I couldn't find the game in Tokyo or Kyoto at any of the places we visited on our few days of sight-seeing before settling in at Shiwa High School. It was when I took the train into Morioka with some classmates and our host siblings and, by chance, popped into a little place in a train station that I saw a copy on the wall. Last one, too. I paid up and actually got to play it a tiny bit in Shiwa because my host sister's younger sister had a white PCE briefcase setup. Years later when I traded all my Turbo stuff away to get a Saturn collection I didn't regret, not because I didn't miss all the Turbo stuff, but because I quickly came to love the Saturn just as much. And now that I'm an adult, I have room in my life for both systems, and my love for Dracula X still burns strong.

Saturn: Guardian Heroes
The Saturn is another one of those systems I got right at the end of its market relevance, and it's also one I feel strongly about. The nostalgia is potent. I played lots of RPGs and really time-consuming and complex games on this system, but those aren't the games I go back to now that I'm older. That means my choice has to be Guardian Heroes. It is so easy for me to pick up and get lost in this game. The deep combat system, the leveling, the varied character choices, the special moves and spells, the multi-path levels and stories, the Treasure quirkiness... Some people seem to not mesh well with this game for reasons I don't quite fully understand, but for me this work of artistry is all I need.

PlayStation: Castlevania Symphony of the Night
I almost picked the Saturn version for the extra content, but the Saturn is such a tough platform for me to choose for. The Playstation 1, however, is a system I never spent a ton of time with. I don't have a lot of nostalgia for the platform. The 3D didn't impress me a lot, and the system was hurt by the fact that 3D gameplay was still finding its way. I know it was a runaway success in the market, but not with me. The Saturn provided for my immediate needs just as well. But that doesn't mean there aren't games on the PS1 that I love. Even without the extra content, the run relic, and a finicky dive kick, this is still the definitive version of Castlevania Symphony of the Night. It was a game that combined 2D and 3D art assets with visual aplomb that also happened to have varied and interesting gameplay and a gorgeous soundtrack. By all rights it should have been better on the Saturn, but Konami half-assed that port and so the Playstation version reigns supreme. And you can bet I have played the crap out of this game and will do so again.

Dreamcast: Soul Calibur
I love my Dreamcast. Yet another underdog I purchased on the wane. I played a lot of Dreamcast games, and while there are some RPGs and other more time-intensive titles, the Dreamcast really won me over with fighters and driving games. And of the fighters, Soul Calibur, for all its flaws, is king. It looks great, sounds great, and has so many interesting single-player modes to keep you invested in the game, unlocking content and weapons and whatnot.

Gameboy Advance: Wario Land 4
One of the rare systems I picked up early in its life and which also turned out not to be an underdog. I spend most of my play time on the GBA in Castlevania games and RPGs, but this list is already Castlevania-heavy and I don't see myself coming back to replay any RPGs over and over again. That means the question came down to, what games and I likely to revisit that I can just pick up and enjoy. Wario Land 4 is quirky, challenging, accessible, and looks and sounds great. Turned out not to be so hard a pick after all.

PlayStation 2: Gran Tourismo 4
I own this system, but I also kind of resent it for killing the Dreamcast with FUD and for being a shitty DVD player. That said, the library is huge and varied, but because of the phase of my life I was in when it came out I never spent much time with it. I own the system, but when I sit down to play something its library just doesn't grab me over all the other stuff I've got around. Still, it has some great titles that are worth playing and that have tempted me from time to time. I was torn between Virtua Fighter IV (due to a lack of VF elsewhere on this list) and Gran Tourismo 4. Gran Tourismo 4 won, because I need some good driving action on this list, and Soul Calibur pushed out all those wonderful Dreamcast Driving games. Well, and it helps that Gran Tourismo 4 looks and plays great. I haven't really taken the time to delve as deeply into the game as I should, and I'll have more than enough time on my deserted island.

GameCube: Star Fox Adventures
I really like the GameCube, but I only have a few games for it and haven't spent enough time with anything outside my small collection. Due to already having a Soul Calibur title on the list, I decided to do with something that takes a little time to get through and has the potential to invite replays. It also gives Rare a place on the list.

Wii: Kirby’s Epic Yarn
Y'know, the Wii was tough for me. Got it during my adult years and wasn't spending much time on consoles at the time really digging into titles, so I most picked up easy to put down stuff and quirky and curious titles. I don't regret, but it also means that I'm not sure how well this system will do on my deserted island. One game my wife and I both spent some time with and enjoyed was Epic Yarn. The art style is great and it's a unique take on Kirby that I love. Accessible in the classic style but with a twist. So yeah, maybe it wasn't so hard to pick a Wii game for this list after all.

DS: Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow
I hate to put another Castlevania title on this list, but I've only played 4 Nintendo DS titles, and this is the only one I've beaten. I enjoyed it and wouldn't mind going back to it.

Switch: Breath of the Wild
The Switch is still a relatively new platform for me (as it is for most), but the library is ballooning wonderfully. I've only played a few games on it, but I've got a good feel for what's coming and what's out there now, and I don't regret this pick at all. I really really enjoyed my time with Breath of the Wild. It's a fantastic game with incredible depth, and once I've spent enough time away from it I know I'm going to get sucked back in. I won't go on too long about this because I, and others, have already talked this game to death. But I'm pretty sure you know exactly why this is on my list, regardless.
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Re: Desert island, only one game... per console!

by ESauced Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:32 am

Atari 2600 - Bezerk
Master System - Shinobi
NES - Super Mario 3
Genesis - Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Super Nintendo - TMNT IV: Turtles in Time
Game Boy - Super Mario Land 2
Game Geat - Sonic Triple Trouble
Saturn - Nights into Dreams
N64 - Zelda Ocarina of Time
PlayStation - Metal Gear Solid
Game Boy Color - Link’s Awakening Dx
Dreamcast - Soul Calibur
PlayStation 2 - God of War 2
GameCube - Smash Bros Melee
Game Boy Advance - Metroid Zero Mission
Xbox - Halo
Xbox 360 - Mass Effect 2
DS - Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow
Wii - Mario Galaxy
PSP - Patapon 2
PS3 - The Last of Us
Vita - Shovel Knight
3ds - Animal Crossing New Leaf
Wii U - Super Mario Maker
PS4 - Uncharted 4
Switch - Zelda BOTW
Xbox One - Overwatch (unless I don’t get internet on this island, in which case, Cuphead)
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Re: Desert island, only one game... per console!

by marurun Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:54 am

Wow, those are some great picks. Very different from my own, but also very well-considered. Do you think your deserted island library will serve you well?

Edit: Ah! How did I not get a Metroid pick on my list? Ouch! Not sure where I'd put it, though. I'd have to bump Wario Land 4, and I'm not sure I want to do that, yet. You have made me think, esauced....
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Re: Desert island, only one game... per console!

by Sarge Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:06 pm

Pretty interesting question. I can't answer them all now, but I'll see if I can knock down a few and add more as I go.

Also, can we cheat if we have multiples of a system? ;) (I mean, I've got four DS systems, for example. Phat, Lite, DSi, DSi XL.)

PSX: You'd think I'd go Castlevania: Symphony of the Night here. But nope! I'm going to cheat a little bit later. I think I'll roll with Valkyrie Profile in this spot. Symphony of the Night.
PSP: And the cheat is in! Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles gets me the remade DX, the original DX with some emulation quirks, and Symphony of the Night, all in one package. Works for me. Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time.
SNES: Much like the above, I feel like I can cheat a bit here. Normally I'd go Chrono Trigger, but I'll take Yoshi's Island instead. Perhaps the greatest platformer on the system.
DS: Of course, this is where I go and grab Chrono Trigger. Doesn't matter where I play it, as long as I can play it. Favorite RPG of all time.
GBA: Really tough choice here, but I think I'll go with Metroid: Zero Mission. Fantastic remake, probably my favorite of the series.
NES: I honestly don't know which way to roll here. Too many great options. I think I'm going to go the massive replayability route, and choose Tecmo Super Bowl. It's not my absolute favorite on the system (Dragon Warrior III/IV and Kirby vie for that honor), but the sheer number of hours I've put into this game make it a worthy choice.
Genesis: Has to be... ah, geez. I'm really torn here, but I think I'll give a slim edge to Phantasy Star IV.
Game Boy: Link's Awakening. Not even a choice. Favorite Zelda game.
Wii: Actually, I've got a lot of Mario already, so instead of picking Galaxy here, I'll take Metroid Prime Trilogy. Tempted to go with Twilight Princess... Twilight Princess.
Gamecube: ...but nope, I'll take Twilight Princess here instead. Metroid Prime.
Switch: Tough choice here. I think I'll go for the more exuberant experience in Super Mario Odyssey.
Wii U: I'll roll with Super Mario 3D World in this spot.
Vita: I'm struggling to think of a clear winner here. I assume it needs to be an actual Vita game, and not emulation of a prior system. I wasn't super wild about it, but Ys: Memories of Celceta is the closest thing outside of Tales of Hearts R. Not sure which I'd prefer, honestly, but I'll err towards Ys I suppose.
N64: This might be my least nostalgic console. I think I'll roll up with Paper Mario.
Sega Master System: Gonna have to be Phantasy Star by default.
Sega Saturn: My actual owned library for this system is smaller than I'd like. My options are pretty limited, honestly. I think that leaves either Legend of Oasis or Shining the Holy Ark. Given that I've actually beaten the latter, I'll go that way.
Sega Dreamcast: Has to be Marvel vs. Capcom 2. I need a versus fighter, and I've got more time in on it than pretty much anything outside of Capcom vs. SNK 2. I don't own the latter on DC, so the former it is.
Game Gear: I think it has to be Defenders of Oasis by default. Solid JRPG.
Turbo Duo: I... can't actually pick anything for this system. I don't own any legit games. :(Rondo of Blood, since ownership wasn't a stipulation.
XBOX: Knights of the Old Republic. My first time finishing a WRPG.
XBOX 360: Geez, I'm having a hard time with this one. I think I'll go with Bionic Commando: ReArmed.
PS2: Gonna take Dragon Quest VIII here. I need one, and this is a fine choice.
PS3: I really don't know what to pick here. I think this is where I played through Tomb Raider 2013, which is tempting. I'll go with Uncharted 2, though. That's the best of that series, and I need a cinematic platformer/shooter.
PS4: Not sure what the right answer is here. Rise of the Tomb Raider was fun, but honestly, I think I had slightly more fun with Ys VIII.
3DO: Yes, I have one. I own two legit games for it. Star Control 2, baby!
3DS: Tough call here. It's going to be a Zelda game, and I think I'll make it Ocarina.
NGPC: Give me Faselei! here. I need an SRPG, and this is a good one.
2600: Pitfall 2.
Colecovision: Don't even know if my system works, I don't have the power supply. But I have a game! Donkey Kong.
Commodore 64: I don't actually have any legit games for this anymore. Drats. Phantasie.
32X: Knuckles Chaotix?
Sega CD: Lunar: Eternal Blue. Better than the PSX version, in my mind. Easily up there with the best of the 16-bit era.
Virtual Boy: Wario Land. Best Virtual Boy game, and one of only three I own.
GBC: Metal Gear Solid per the later post.
TG-16: Dragon's Curse.

I think maybe that's it? Yeesh. I guess that works, but I reserve the right to change my answers. ;)
Last edited by Sarge on Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:44 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Desert island, only one game... per console!

by marurun Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:35 pm

But what if you couldn't have those collections with multiple games?
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Re: Desert island, only one game... per console!

by Sarge Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:50 pm

Let's see, the only two I did that with was the PSP and Wii. Without the collection aspect, I'd probably go with Growlanser IV on PSP (I like Ys Seven more, but already have enough representation on that front), and Valkyrie Profile would get knocked off by SotN. The other category would just flat-out replace Trilogy on Wii with Super Mario Galaxy.
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Re: Desert island, only one game... per console!

by marurun Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:04 pm

Gets harder without collections. And then you also may have a game on a system you like more, but if your favorite games on half your systems are fighters or driving games, you're going to have a real glut of those genres. Balancing is hard.
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Re: Desert island, only one game... per console!

by Sarge Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:40 pm

Not that much harder, but you're right about genre balance. I attempted to get a solid mix in there. I think I've got all my major favorites represented.

I think I missed your statement about "no collections" the first time around, unless you added it in. :|

Do we have to own the game in question, or just have played it quite a bit? I've got two entries where I couldn't list anything because I don't actually have any legit games for the systems.
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Re: Desert island, only one game... per console!

by marurun Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:01 pm

Not owned. Just played. Because we have all played things we no longer or can’t afford to own.
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Re: Desert island, only one game... per console!

by ESauced Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:28 pm

I feel like my picks will serve me well. I tried to pick a variety of genres and pick games that I like to replay or have the potential to be good for multiple playthroughs. For instance, I don’t think Turtles IV is the best SNES game, but I already have Mario 3 so World would feel like a worse 2d Mario, I already have Ocarina off Time which i prefer of A link to the Past, and I already have Metroid Zero Mission so i don’t need Super Metroid. And I love playing through Turtles IV over and over. Similarly Metal Gear Solid made the cut for PlayStation instead of Symphony of the Night because I have Dawn of Sorrow on DS.
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