10. Super Smash Bros. Melee
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Some things remind you of certain times. A particular song makes you think of a particular place or person. Say “Super Smash Bros. Melee” to me and I’m in my second year of university, in a manky flat off Aberystwyth’s high street, sat on a grey sofa, with flatmates Dan, Jonny and Leigh all clasping their particular controller of choice. (I got the best one. It was my GameCube.) It’s any time at all, maybe 11 am. Maybe 6 pm. Maybe 2 am. We’re playing 4-player Melee. And Dan’s chosen Dr. Mario like he always does and we’re all castigating him for it.
I’ve covered what Smash Bros. is all about when I wrote up sequel Brawl. So what makes this better? It’s that tiny bit more “hardcore”. It’s very slightly faster than Brawl. You can do a complicated jump-twice-then-dodge move to get a little extra height. The character roster is a little less interesting, but the arena choice is considerably better. The Target Test is actually useful, in that it’s different for every character so essentially works as a tutorial for each one’s particular movement style and hints at the fancy tricks everyone can pull off. It’s mainly stuff you won’t notice unless you play a lot of Smash Bros., but in that year we played a lot of Smash Bros. It’s simply one of the best multiplayer games ever made.
MAGIC MOMENT: My favourite character was Roy from Fire Emblem. When one character starts doing particularly well in a match, an offscreen crowd starts chanting his/her/its name. So hearing them bellow “ROY’S OUR BOY! ROY’S OUR BOY!” was always satisfying.