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ultimate heated gaming moment simulators

animal crossing

come on, who doesn't love this game. i have a ton of nostalgia for spending hours selling stuff and talking to residents in wild world and new leaf, and i have a tendency to play the music a lot during idle hours. it's actually helped give me some inspiration somewhat at trying to manage my life!

art style: light trax

one of my favourite games of all time, really. i love the soundtrack, i love the neon vector art style it uses, and the gameplay isn't perfect but solid enough. it's been one of my go-tos for chilling and relaxing since i first managed to grab a copy of it. light trax is a puzzle racer that involves you drafting against other lines to gain speed and strategically positioning yourself to become first place. inbetween race cups you have the freeway, which involves you racing against the clock to get from point a to point b and contains some stunning vector visuals, especially considering it's from the nintendo wii. highly recommended by me.

beatmania gb

some relatively obscure game boy ports of beatmania, that one 5 key turntable rhythm game that got called a guitar hero ripoff. there are three gb games, and the gameplay is almost exactly the same as its arcade counterpart, only now you're using the dpad, b, a and start buttons instead of five keys and a turntable. the only problem i have is that the start button can be hard to hit on more complicated charts. the songs in the game hold up and the third gb game has some good renditions of anime theme songs like the neon genesis: evangelion one! overall, an odd curiosity you should check out.

bejeweled 3 / bejeweled twist

this is one of the two match-3 games i will happily play. i refuse to play any other! bejeweled was one of the originals and still holds up as one of the best. poker mode is my favourite out of all the modes available, though i'm pretty sure it's entirely rigged. twist is also pretty good - i own the dsi version and tend to play it a lot when i'm out and about since the mobile version of the original bejeweled turned horrible and actually won't load on my new phone -_-

bit.trip

a rhythm game series with tons of interesting concepts throughout, following the adventures of commander video as he travels through space. there's 6 games in the main series - beat, core, void, runner, fate and flux, with runner later receiving two sequels. i own the 3ds port of the main series, which ultimately isn't the best port with a bunch of sync issues, difficult controls and some hard to see graphics, but it's still fun to play. while core and fate are my favourites in the series, flux is the only one i've actually been able to complete.

bloons tower defense

a solid classic in any child's flash game arsenal, bloons tower defense has changed and evolved a lot to the point where it's become more well known than the game it was originally based off of, bloons. i played btd5 so much when i was in high school but these days you'll mainly see me repping the port of 4 for the dsi - not only is it a classic, it also really struggles with framerates when you get too many bloons and monkeys on screen and its just so goddamn funny tbh.

cave story

the first time i played through this game i didn't know you could save curly and i cried fuck you cave story for messing with my emotions [p.s. i kid, please play this game]

dance dance revolution / stepmania

one of my all time favourites. i formed a love for this game when i was incredibly young, after my mom bought a copy of dancing stage megamix for ps2. despite being terrible at it, i played it almost religiously, and soon discovered that, actually, dancing stage is a complete and total shambles compared to the japanese and american ddr releases. but eh, what can you do. it was my introduction into rhythm games and probably helped to start my obsession with music. i would later discover and have a chance to play stepmania, which opened my ears to a lot of new artists and genres. i still play the game semi regularly to this day, and don't intend to stop anytime soon. i should also probably write an article about the farce that is Dancing Stage someday...

dj hero 2

this one is a more recent acquisition, but i've wanted this game for as long as i can remember. yes, it was a commercial failure and ultimately helped to cause the downfall of rhythm games in the early 2010s, but the idea of mashups being an officially recognised thing in rhythm gaming at a time where copyright was making its way to the internet and changing everything about how and what we upload was just so amazing to me. i remember there being a dj hero flash game on miniclip when this came out, that i frequently got to the top of the scoreboards on. now that i own it, i can definitely say that the game lives up to my hype - so many ideas and genres are thrown together in ways i wasn't expecting, and holding the controller feels solid, though scratching can be a bit of a pain for me. i'm not that good at this game yet but i'm slowly improving!

fusionfall universe [retro / legacy]

fusionfall is a cartoon network mmorpg that was active from 2009 to 2013 (2008 to 2013 if you count beta trials). all your favourite characters, heroes and villains, band together to fight against Planet Fusion, a planet that absorbs other planets around the universe. i never got the chance to try it out since a) it was america only as far as i could tell, and b) when i did find out about its existence it had closed down, but this project seeks to bring it back to life much like toontown rewritten and club penguin rewritten brought back their respective games. retro is the classic fusionfall from 2009 with nothing changed, and it's currently in beta if you wanna play it right now! legacy plans to keep updating the game with new content and better visuals, which is still being worked on. it even has a prologue manga like the original game had... definitely keep an eye on this one.

heaven will be mine

an interesting queer visual novel focused on three girls [read: three different campaigns] on three different sides of a war between earth and space factions. the plot is a little complicated to follow but there are so many passionate moments between characters and attention to detail that i was practically grinning the whole way through. heaven will be mine is a brilliant vn and i want more games like it.

lilt line

fun fact, i saw this game in a magazine way before i knew what light trax was, and when i finally found out about light trax i thought it was this game. turns out they're two different games. lilt line is more involved with rhythm as you twist your wii remote / your phone to control a line and go through a course of obstacles, avoiding them to the beat. the game was made in 2010 and has some classic dubstep as its soundtrack, which gives me a lot of internet nostalgia feelings. difficult, but enjoyable.

mini metro

ah, trains! ever wanted to control your own train lines? don't, it's hell... usually. mini metro is a somewhat relaxing game where you build and manage your own network of train lines, expanding as and when you need to, with the goal of not letting your stations overpopulate. it can start off relaxing at first but soon becomes a dash to get to customers on time before they leave and end your game. oh, you also have a limited amount of carriages to work with. aside from gameplay, the overall aesthetic and sound design is minimalist and incredibly pretty, to the point where i will often turn the game on just to listen to the music [which is created live based on how you play the game!].

n / n+ / n++

platformers at their rawest. no powerups, no special moves, all you have is yourself and the power of momentum to haul through thousands of single screen stages. hard as nails but extremely rewarding once you get into the zone. every stage is unique and filled with tons of replay value, and this is one of the biggest recommends i can give on this list.

need for speed: most wanted [2005]

waaa i lost my save file on this one and haven't picked it up since. ;; most wanted doesn't have its good reputation for nothing - it's an incredibly fun racer with lots of chase elements and urban landscapes that just scream "hey i was made in 2005!". for a racer on the ps2 it's also surprisingly detailed. the storyline sees you taking on the Blacklist, a list of the most notorious street racers, to win back your car that got stolen by the guy in #1. you can also crush cops underneath the rubble of destroyed fast food stores! what more could you want!

notitg

itg = in the groove, a ddr clone. openitg = a recreation of itg that has added support for "modded" charts which challenge how good you are at reading notes. notitg = openitg if it was dragged to hell and back. an in development mod for openitg, notitg's main focus is taking modded charts to their absolute logical extremes. if you're a beginner at playing rhythm games / ddr, i would absolutely not recommend playing this. if you're looking for a rhythm game challenge, you won't find anything finer.

pokemon black and white / black 2 and white 2

the first pokemon game i owned was diamond, but i never actually completed it. black / white was the first one i was able to complete and fully explore, and unova remains one of my favourite regions to date. all the pokemon fit so well, and there were some genuinely interesting conflicts as to whether pokemon and humans were meant to be together [which peta later went and ruined,]. also, audino!!!!! i love that pokemon!!!! it's such a good pokemon!!!!

ridge racer (3d / type 4)

been playing through these two a lot. it took a while to get used to the control scheme because it's different from every other racer i've played, and some things just dont make sense [why is the guy in first place starting like halfway across the race track?] but these are too enjoyable for me to care. the game is fast, the race to first place is challenging, and the environments are lush despite the outdated consoles. i love these games!

shellshock live 2

i recently bought this one after discovering it on steam, but me and this game go back a long way, back when it started as a flash game on the internet. the game is a worms clone with a simplistic tank style and a massive abundance of weapons. me and friends would play this in school for a long time [that is, until we later moved on to whatever next flash game / unblocked website fad was happening at the time] and it's one of the few high school memories i'm actually fond of! a fairly good recommend.

the sniper 2

here's a game on this list that's actually completely fucking awful in the best of ways, and it's the only kusoge game i own at this point in time [i also have a couple of phoenix games titles, but do those really count as games?]. the sniper 2 is a port of a japanese budget game from the simply series. for the record, there is no the sniper 1 - well, there technically is, but it's another simply game exclusive to japan for the original playstation. the gameplay is awful, the graphics are nintendo 64 quality, the plot is the most convoluted and nonsense thing you couldn't think of and it's a blast to play. i won't spoil anything else. please play this game if you can, or at least watch a playthrough of it.

spout

another one i play on mobile, but it's based on a game released for windows. spout is a simple low-res cave flying game where you destroy the environment around you based on a trail you leave behind when moving, and you have to use this to your advantage when moving forward. the mobile version lets me zone out a lot - the music is gorgeous and the simplistic look of the game means there's little to be distracted by. i like to imagine the adventures the "protagonist" [a black pixel] goes on when flying through the white space this game takes place in.

ssx 3

got mad skills i will get wild! while i love exploring the peaks, locations and skills in this game, it's actually quite hard for me to properly get a grasp of the controls, especially turning. i still haven't got past peak 2 ;v; despite this, the game is incredibly fun to play around in and has some amazing design / ui quirks that just scream post-y2k, which will always draw me in.

super smash bros [nintendo 3ds / ultimate]

this game doesn't really need an introduction, i think. nintendo characters, they fight, everyone shouts at bayonetta. i kinda suck at this game but i don't play any multiplayer at all so i guess that's fine. i main villager!

tetris

tetris is... well, it's tetris. what else do i need to say. my favourite version is Tetris Axis which is essentially an expanded and feature filled version of Tetris Party Deluxe. i'd reccommend you play it but it's not available and was replaced by ubisoft's Tetris Ultimate, which is incredibly watered down and overpriced in comparison. i've played mobile java versions of tetris that are better than Ultimate. aside, i can also reccommend nullpomino 7, a free version of tetris and its related games for the pc that is ultimately the best experience you'll get there, due to official pc versions of tetris being few and far between.

tony hawk

fdgjfdhkhfjl. yeah this series is another all time favourite. it's incredibly easy for me to get into a flow with and most of the ps2 games still hold up to this day. my favourite in the series is thps4, as it was the one i first owned, and therefore the one i played the most when i was younger. that probably affected the way i played the game, because i was never quite that good at the earlier entries when i managed to pick those up ^^; i'm no pro at this game, at least compared to some people, but i guess i'm alright. i still like to play the original games a lot and i also sometimes hang around on thug pro, though you'll barely see me since i don't mesh well with the community there.

warioware

a game series for those with the shortest attention spans - so, perfect for the modern world. warioware involves the concept of microgames - short tasks you have to complete in just four seconds. i think the only game i havent managed to play in this series yet is mega party games [though it's just mega microgames with a multiplayer mode], and every single other game i've managed to complete. smooth moves was the first i owned, but d.i.y is my personal favourite for all the creativity it allowed. i created so many microgames on that thing!! aaaand then later lost them all when i lost the cartridge.

wipeout [3]

well, fuck. while i adore the design and world of this series to shreds, i simply cannot fucking play any game in this series at all. it's one of those games where you really have to know how to control your ship, and it is not fucking easy. i have never managed to get first place on any race! despite this, the game introduced me to the designer's republic, which has been a major influence in my design traits ever since, so i have this game to thank for it.

zoo keeper / zooo / zoo puzzle

this is the other match 3 game i play. i vastly prefer the design and aesthetics of this one - i've always loved the cute blocky animals it uses as its characters! it also doesn't throw anything complicated in your way like most match 3 games do these days. most of the time, your goal is simply to match a certain amount of specific blocks before time runs out. it's somewhat calming [at least, at the beginning >.>] and it's what i play on my phone since bejeweled doesn't work.

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