As gamers, we all have that one game that got us started. For me it was Duke Nukem 3D, which, in retrospect, might not have been a good thing for a 2-year-old…

This article will serve to convert the heretics. Show any of these to your non-gamer friends: your girlfriend, or your boyfriend, and it is damn near guaranteed to turn them into one of us.

Here’s a short list of the games you can use, based on what I personally enjoyed playing as a young, impressionable lad:

1. Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998)

This is where my love of racing games began. Whenever I was feeling the need (For Speed) as a toddler, I’d walk up to my dad, ask if I can “play a computer game,” he’d boot up his PC and away we went.

I rarely played the game myself (normally I’d watch my dad or uncles play it), but I thoroughly enjoyed it when I did. I still do.  There wasn’t as much to do as there would be in a modern racing game, but whoever you’re trying to convert won’t know that. Much like 3-year-old me, they see Lamborghini they drive.

Definitely a good starting point for racing gamers.

2. King of Fighters ‘97-’99 (1997-1999)

If ever there was a game that literally every gamer worth their salt has played, it’s these.

The King of Fighters series is easily my favourite 2D beat-em-up games. It’s got everything; people with fire powers, masters of karate, a drunken master rip-off, Freddy Krueger’s Japanese dwarf cousin, you name it.

Not to mention the most intense (borderline annoying) boss fights in fighting game history.

The ‘97, ‘98, and ‘99 iterations of the game are my favourite, mainly because I got my start on the series during this era.

3. Tekken 3 (1996)

This guy should’ve been a cheat code character.

Tekken 3 is where the 3D fighting genre truly began. The majority of my childhood was spent playing against (and losing to) friends and family on this game.

The game was far ahead of its time, giving full 3 dimensional gameplay, a gripping storyline, and zany characters. You can play as a cyborg ninja, a boxing kangaroo, a velociraptor, and a mad scientist who fights using gas. Yes that gas.

If you’re familiar with the series’ lore and storyline up to this point, it might be best to give the non-believer some background before letting them play the story mode. Being from Japan, it can cause some bamboozling.

4. Spyro The Dragon (1998)

If your heretic is not into racing or beating people into a squishy puddle, perhaps something a bit more adventurous will suffice.

Spyro is, as the name says, a dragon with purple scales. The game follows him and his best friend, Sparx the dragonfly, as they fly across dimensions obsessively collecting gems, destroying everything in sight, and burning enemies alive and impaling them. All in a family friendly manner.

It’s cute, adventurous, scenic and it has a dragon. The heathens will love it.

5. Resident Evil (1996)

If your non-believer is into some of the more dark and gritty stuff, break out this one.

The original Resident Evil remains to this day, one of the scariest games I’ve ever played. And this is coming from someone who didn’t even flinch while watching The Conjuring 2.

Fear factor aside, it’s really good in terms of action, survival tactics and resource management. The Resident Evil series is what taught my generation of gamers how to be organised. I’m gonna need to play this one again…

6. Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Easily the most complex game on this list, in terms of both story and gameplay.

Final Fantasy VII is a turn-based RPG and was chosen out of all 9 PS1 titles because, to this day, it is easily the greatest game in the franchise.

Like most games in the series, it’s got outrageous hairdos, swords that are clearly compensating for something, and a storyline so deep it’d bring a tear to J.R.R. Tolkien’s eye. Not for beginners, but a must play for all heretics.

7. Tomb Raider II (1996)

I hated that butler.

This is probably the scariest non-horror game I’ve ever played, hands down. It may not instill fear in us veterans now, but it will scare the pants off the heathens, especially the Indiana Jones moment in the first level.

The definition of the word “explorer” in gaming, Lara Croft did not begin as a super hot survivalist, as this era would have you believe. She used to be polygonal, difficult to control, super inaccurate, and we loved it.

Be sure to introduce this as a “fun adventure game,” and then just wait for the screams of panic and terror…

Honourable mentions: Metal Gear Solid; Street Fighter II; Gran Turismo; Silent Hill.

There you go, brothers and sisters. If you’re looking to convert your friends or significant others, introduce them to the generation of gaming that made your childhood and simply go from there.

Do not permit your partner to remain a heretic.

-Tyler Roodt

Categories: Education