The Lost Vikings
Release Date: April 29, 1993
Platform Played On: SNES
2018 Placement: #92 (-8)
What It Is:
Before Norse mythology was cool and you could be an Assassin in Valhalla, there was the trio of lost Vikings. Erik is the agile one: he can jump and dash. Baleog is the muscle: he’s the only one that can attack with either his sword or bow. And Olaf is, well, he’s definitely not the brains. But he CAN hold a shield and block dangerous obstacles, along with hang-gliding for the fun of it.
Erik, Baleog, and Olaf are normal everyday Vikings who get kidnapped by a spaceship and end up rocking and rolling through time and space, from the prehistoric times to a weird fun house-esque world to ancient Egypt and more. It’s a game about solving puzzles while avoiding enemies and navigating death traps while you switch back and forth between each Viking and use each of their specific skills to progress. There’s humorous dialogue between the three Vikings as they progress through the stages which keeps the game light in tone despite some of the horrific deaths you can put them through.
Why It’s Important To Me:
In the early years of video gaming, there weren’t a lot of options for co-op. Either you played brawlers like Final Fight and Streets of Rage, you shot things together in games like Contra, or one player was a lackey like Tails while Sonic did all the work. The Lost Vikings was a game I really enjoyed playing with my friends because we got to navigate and solve platforming puzzles together. We also got to fuck with each other and completely mess up an entire level’s worth of hard work because one of us accidentally fell onto some spikes or messed up Olaf’s hang-gliding at the wrong moment or used a bomb for funsies and couldn’t progress anymore.
While it’s absolutely an enjoyable single player game I get distinct happy feelings when I think about this game because I can remember sitting in my basement playing it with my friends as we tried to navigate every single level. And then writing down the password of each level as we progressed because there weren’t save states back then, only motherfucking passwords. But when you lost the sheet of paper that had all the passwords and had to start over…anyway, that’s neither here nor there.
My Strongest Memory:
It’s weird, but the first thing that always pops to mind for me with this game is the aforementioned fun-house world. There’s a specific mechanic where the Vikings can inflate themselves like a balloon to traverse the area. And while it didn’t awaken anything in me, when I close my eyes I can still see the sprite of poor inflated Olaf. He looks so hilarious compared to the other two when they’re inflated because the other two keep their left-to-right look but he ends up looking straight at the camera with his arms wide like a little helpless ball of Norsitude.
Just don’t think about what happens when he hits the spikes. (Pop.)
Why it’s #100:
This game is mostly fond nostalgia for me. When I looked at the lower numbers on the list I made in 2018 that were in danger of being knocked out thanks to new games, I mentally told myself “Lost Vikings has to stay on the list no matter what.” And if I had that visceral a response to it’s inclusion, well, it deserves a spot on the list. But I also couldn’t put it above many other games I enjoyed that are new to the list. So that’s how we’re starting this epic adventure off – with a game I wanted to keep on this list through hell or high water.