When we talk about video game reviews, we talk about quantification of ‘quality’ of a game. This is done through ‘numbers’ attempting to quantify the ‘graphics’ or ‘music’ or ‘gameplay’ or something else. Love is an irrational element; love cannot be quantified. The only way you know you love a game is that you cannot stop playing it. For whatever reason, you keep coming back to it.
This is how I do game ‘reviews’. I already contain a healthy amount of ‘I don’t feel like playing games’ and ‘I would rather do something else than play video games’. It takes a great game to pierce that shield and make me want to keep coming back to it. In this review structure, there are only three possibilities:
I played through it, and I have no interest in ever touching this game again (and found myself never playing it again).
There is something in this game that makes it very interesting. It keeps me coming back. But, there is something else stronger that is keeping me away.
This game is addictive as hell, and you will keep coming back to it years and decades later. It defies aging.
It takes me months to figure these games out.
What are the numbers for?
Within each of those three (aside from the Malstrom Award), they are quantified with lower number being the worst. People like numbers, and it is useful to put games in tier lists. It helps separate games on the extreme ends of the scale within each section.
The Turbografx 16 is not a rare system yet, but it is hard to find currently. Due to the high amount of shmups on the system, PC-Engine fans are almost always shmup fans, and shmup fans are elitists. For years, I have heard them keep giving praise to the PC-Engine, how wonderful its library is, how amazing its games are, so I picked up a Turbografx 16, and I am going to go through the games.
I have no nostalgia over the system.
I am not reviewing my ‘game collection’ which is what 99% of all these reviewers do. “Let me compare which games in my collection are the best!”
I am comparing the PC-Engine library to all game libraries, past and future, and on PC. If the games are good, they will still be good. If not, then we know the PC-Engine fanboys are full of shit and are just smug elitist shmup fans who think spending hundreds of dollars on a space ship shooter game is ‘great financial investment’. So we’re going to go through these games and see if they are any good (by good, meaning it makes you keep coming back to play them. What other definition of ‘good game’ can there be??).
An example would be a game like Neutopia. For years, I keep hearing about Neutopia, about how it is a great Zelda 1 clone. I play it, and I discover that the game is very boring and not inspired at all. It’s just not a good game. The point is that all these ‘great game lists’ and ‘review lists’ seem to copy each other. Everyone puts the same games on top, and everyone puts the same games on the bottom. There is some wisdom in the masses, but the vast majority of these reviewers are just playing their own collection and then copy someone else because no one knows how to think for themselves.
Here, you will find games getting Malstrom Awards that no one thought possible. And you will find the ‘usual suspects’ of top TG16 games get put at the middle or bottom. I don’t think there has really been much thought applied to the TG 16 games (aside from collectors playing with themselves).
Currently, the list below is echoing the ‘usual suspects’ with the exception of Neutopia. The list will be updated with each new review (but not on this page).
I have hyperlinked the reviews below to the pages I ‘reviewed’ them for convenience to the incredible reader (all my readers are incredible!).
Disclaimer: The ‘quality’ is gauged only by how often I return to the game. TG16 games are not isolated; they are compared to every other game out there. A game can be ‘bad’ and keep me coming back. A game can be ‘good’ that I never want to touch again. Irrational addictive-ness, which defies quantification, is the only element examined here.
-TG 16 Games Reviewed So Far-
Malstrom Awards: (Addictive and Awesome even today, they refuse to age. Score of 10)
Devil’s Crush (Imaginative sound and gothic theme. You’ll keep coming back to this one.)
Galaga ’90 (Purest shmup I have ever seen. This will still be played 50 years from now.)
Gradius (Four options can cause slowdown, but this arcade port remains difficult and legendary.)
R-type (Never gets old because it can never be beaten. Fun to try here and there.)
Honorable Mentions: (Good games that are flawed or gameplay has suffered aging. Score of 6-9)
(7) Alien Crush (Interesting, addictive, but flawed. Good to play as a break to Devil’s Crush)
(6) Bonk’s Adventure (Meh platformer oozes incredible charm)
Don’t bother: (Not fun to play today. Score of 5 and below.)
(5) Neutopia (boring, bad game design, can’t hold a candle to Zelda, fire wand is only thing going for this game)
(4) Ninja Gaiden (Compared to NES: worse sound and controls, terrible parallax scrolling. Nothing to see here.)
(3) Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition (2 button controller is terrible for 6 button game. Good luck getting a 6 button controller.)