Top 100 Games of All-Time: #28

Disco Elysium

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Platform Played On: PC

2018 Placement: Unranked

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What It Is:

Imagine a role-playing game where your main party members were the emotions inside your head. Instead of a full party of adventuring heroes, you’ve got a full party in your brain. And boy is it a rager. In Disco Elysium, you’re a detective who partied so hard he gave himself complete amnesia in the middle of solving a case. The decisions you make in this RPG influence what this cop becomes – you can be a hobo cop or a communist or a complete asshole, it’s all up to how you respond to conversations.

The game plays out a lot like a tabletop RPG where there is constant background dice rolls based on the stats/emotions you’ve invested in. If you pass a check, you’ll hear a voice or get some sort of success. If you fail a check, 80% of the time the game won’t even tell you there was a check to pass. There’s also barely any combat in the game, and combat scenarios don’t play out as actual action mechanics – they go by the same rolls as everything else. It’s very much a reading and thinking game that has amazing story and lore that grips you from the beginning.

Why It’s Important To Me:

I wrote an entire review on why I enjoyed Disco Elysium so much, and I still think it’s one of my best pieces of game writing so you should probably just read that instead of me trying to repeat myself. It’s very good, I love it very much.

My Strongest Memory:

I talk about my favorite memory in my review – a very non-descript side case where you talk a spouse through their partner’s accidental death. It was poignant and emotional in all the right ways.

But the other highlight for me was towards the conclusion of the main case. There is a climax at the end of one of the days where you end up in a standoff between several people that are all armed. And it’s a climax in the true sense of the word – everything you’ve accomplished since the beginning of the game weighs in on how the interaction goes. It can go well or it can go poorly. And because it’s a culmination of decisions and actions (or inaction) you’ve taken throughout the game, it’s not a “save scum and restart” kind of moment if things go sideways. Yes you might be able to redo and get a lucky roll, but some of the rolls will fail no matter what if your stats/emotions haven’t been lifted high enough. It adds tension and meaning to a climactic confrontation that is a lot of times missing in other video games and plays out so well.

Why It’s #28:

Another game that I worried had recency bias, and yet I still think about it nearly two years later. I’m excited to play it again and feel confident I will actually complete it a second time (something that doesn’t happen as often with more recent games due to them getting longer and longer) because it’s just that good and unique. If you’re a fan of RPGs in any way and like reading novels, Disco Elysium is a game for you.

Top 100 Games of All-Time: #30

F-Zero GX

Release Date: July 25, 2003

Platform Played On: Gamecube/Wii

2018 Placement: #42 (+12)

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What It Is:

The Gamecube iteration of Nintendo’s high-speed racing series (and the last one they made, R.I.P.), F-Zero GX is high-octane futuristic racing on insane tracks that loop, twist, turn, and go upside-down – and those are just the easy tracks. Boost zones refill your meter that allow you to nitro your way through the tracks, and you’re up against 29 computer-controlled characters ranging from Samurai Goroh to Black Shadow to The Skull. There are different cups with progressively harder difficulties like most racers and the good old time trial modes. There is also a story mode where you play as Captain Falcon, the racer’s most famous driver, in many different scenarios that include, but are not limited to, regular races.

Because of how fast the game moves, a lot of the skill involved in winning races in F-Zero GX is simply learning the tracks and knowing the best maneuvers on them. Replayability is high due to the number of cups and the number of difficulties available for each cup, along with a Vs. Mode that allows you to race against your friends. It’s a fantastic racer that really lives up to the golden age of arcade-style racing games.

Why It’s Important To Me:

F-Zero GX hits a specific niche of racing game for me. It’s an absolute blast to play, the cars feel fast and are unique and futuristic, but there isn’t the bombastic randomness of games like Mario Kart. There aren’t “weapons” in the game but you can eliminate opponents through spin attacks and better driving. Aside from Wipeout, there aren’t many other games that successfully blend this sort of sleek style with high speed racing.

It also has great music (as to be expected for games on my list). Osc-Sync Carnival, the theme for the Lightning courses, is probably an all-time favorite racing track for me in the energy it brings to a race. There’s also Planet Colors and Feel Our Pain, the latter of which is right up there with Osc-Sync Carnival as a beast of a white-knuckle song to listen to when you’re fighting for first place. And it’s not an F-Zero game if you don’t bring up the fantastic Mute City rendition. Just an all-around fabulous soundtrack that elevates the frenetic competition you are in while playing this game.

My Strongest Memory:

So it took me a two week break to build up enough strength to write about this game – it was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I knew coming into it this would be a weirdly emotional game for me (especially for a GameCube era arcade racer) but it is still hard to talk about why specifically this game continues to resonate in my mind decades later.

In 2008, while I was visiting my long-distance girlfriend and many miles away from home, I discovered she had been cheating on me. She was out for the day (at college classes) and I was at her place, by myself, with no idea how to process or deal with the information that had suddenly landed in my lap. So I sat down, channeled my anger, my frustration, and basically every emotion I was feeling into F-Zero GX. I reached some sort of zen-like ultra state as I beat two cups on harder difficulties that I hadn’t even gotten close to finishing before. I also went into time trial and played a course I was having a bunch of trouble with (one of the Sand Ocean tracks, I remember that very clearly) over and over and over again. I absolutely hated that track whenever I played it and I focused all my hate into the time trial and made it my bitch. I honestly don’t remember how long I kept looping that time trial but it was at least thirty minutes and could have reached an hour. Again, zen-like out-of-body experience.

It surprisingly calmed me down as I raced all the rage out of me. I also haven’t been able to touch the game ever since because it’s like some sort of emotional talisman now. I deposited all my fury into this game over that one instance and for that I’ll always remember it and also always rank it highly in my mind, simply because it helped get me through a very specifically difficult time of my life.

Why It’s #30:

When a game has such a strong emotional resonance, even associated with a “negative” event, it can’t rank low on my list. It’s also a really strong game on its own merits – a worthwhile racing game to own and play. And maybe someday Nintendo will make a new F-Zero that is not associated with a random traumatic event of my life and I can freely play that one.

Episode 95 – Oddly Sexy Kano

We’re back with a new episode! Despite what you might think by the title, this episode is NOT about the most recent Mortal Kombat movie. Instead, it’s about round 2 of HarveyZ’s Make Me A Gamer Madness bracket! This round is dedicated to 16 video game movies as Harvey decides which one moves on to the final 4. We also talk briefly about Sony’s decision to reverse shutting down the PS3 and Vita stores and a little bit about the Overwatch League opening weekend. Enjoy!

(This episode was recorded on April 21, 2021.)

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As always, thank you so much for listening and please leave us ratings and feedback however you’re listening to our podcast! Please stay safe out there and stay out of groups if you can!

Episode 92 – That Was Awesome!

This week on Make Me A Gamer, HarveyZ gets to talk about his accomplishment over the last year: watching 12 seasons of Criminal Minds. Then Atma and Harvey get down to gaming business where they first talk about Scott Pilgim vs. the World before moving on to beat ’em ups in general, after which Atma educates HarveyZ on the awful character designs of Dragon’s Crown. Finally Atma gives their first impressions on the PS5, DualSense, and Astro’s Playroom. Enjoy!

(This episode was recorded on March 17, 2021.)

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As always, thank you so much for listening and please leave us ratings and feedback however you’re listening to our podcast! Please stay safe out there and stay out of groups if you can!

Episode 91 – The Dog With the Car Moment

It’s a new episode of Make Me A Gamer and we’ve got some really up-to-date news that is totally breaking and timely! First Atma and HarveyZ have a discussion about monster girls, before Atma celebrates Mario Day by quizzing Harvey on Mario enemies and what games they come from! Then there’s some discussion about the “new” Pokemon announcements and Atma talks about their experience acquiring a PS5. Enjoy!

(This episode was recorded on March 10, 2021.)

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As always, thank you so much for listening and please leave us ratings and feedback however you’re listening to our podcast! Please stay safe out there and stay out of groups if you can!

Episode 88 – Chillus Killus

This episode is coming to you a week late because…well, there’s been a lot of life happening this last week! But don’t you worry, this episode of Make Me A Gamer is fantastic anyway! Our hosts get down to business as they talk about the giant Resident Evil lady, whether to watch shows on a television or a computer screen, and they break down the hair style and fashion choices of Seymour from Final Fantasy X. And that’s not all, there’s even more in this jampacked episode. Enjoy!

(This episode was recorded February 3, 2021.)

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As always, thank you so much for listening and please leave us ratings and feedback however you’re listening to our podcast! Please stay safe out there and stay out of groups if you can!

Episode 87 – Big Money Z

Are you ready for a full episode of amateur quarterbacks waxing and waning about the stock market? Well that’s what Make Me A Gamer is giving you this week! Bookended by a quick gaming stock market quiz for HarveyZ and a Fantasy Games Critic league update, this entire episode is a no-holds-barred discussion on the recent developments with Gamestop’s stock. You thought this podcast was about games? Well sometimes we throw you a curve! Enjoy!

(This episode was recorded January 27, 2021.)

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As always, thank you so much for listening and please leave us ratings and feedback however you’re listening to our podcast! Please stay safe out there and stay out of groups if you can!

Episode 86 – Bagels In Milk

It’s a new week and TMan and HarveyZ have new opinions to share and argue about. Join them on their journey as they debate the best types of cookies and what is allowed to be dunked in milk. They do eventually talk about games, going over a semi-eventful first week in their fantasy draft before talking about the Indiana Jones and Star Wars game news. Finally, HarveyZ’s BS-o-meter is put to the test as TMan throws Pokemon names at him to see if he can pick out what’s real and what’s not. We hope you enjoy!

(This episode was recorded January 20, 2021.)

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As always, thank you so much for listening and please leave us ratings and feedback however you’re listening to our podcast! Please stay safe out there and stay out of groups if you can!

Episode 85 – Zombie Animal Crossing (Inaugural Fantasy Draft)

Hello it’s a Monday and we’re here with your weekly Make Me A Gamer episode! Are you ready for the rough and tumble world of fantasy drafting? Because this episode TMan and HarveyZ throw hands as they participate in a head-to-head fantasy gaming league and pick their contenders for best 2021 releases, complete with a real reward for the winner at the end! Strap yourselves in and see what they pick as they go over some of the games possibly coming out this year! Enjoy!

(This episode was recorded January 13, 2021.)

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As always, thank you so much for listening and please leave us ratings and feedback however you’re listening to our podcast! Please stay safe out there and stay out of groups if you can!

Episode 83 – A HarveyZ Snaps Retrospective

Oh hey, didn’t see you there! Surprise! It’s another episode of Make Me A Gamer! That’s right, we’re sending off 2020 with two episodes in the same week! This one is a special, New Year’s Eve wrap-up episode as we’re ending the year looking back on the podcast. Our longest-lasting bit was HarveyZ Snaps, and this episode we’re taking a look back at all the weird either/or scenarios that TMan came up with for his co-host and seeing whether Harvey has changed his mind on what he’d rather keep. We hope you enjoy this final episode of the year and we’ll see you all in 2021! Have a safe and happy new year!

(This episode was recorded December 23, 2020.)

TMan on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tmanplaysgames

HarveyZ on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ThaZIsSilent

Make Me A Gamer on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MakeMeAPodcast

E-Mail Us at: makemeagamerpodcast@gmail.com

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As always, thank you so much for listening and please leave us ratings and feedback however you’re listening to our podcast! Please stay safe out there and stay out of groups if you can!