Whether you were playing Oregon Trail on an old school Apple computer or blowing dust out of your Nintendo/Sega game cartridges, there's one game (or a few) that is synonymous with your childhood. For me, my favorite game was Super Mario Brothers 3 on Nintendo and then later NBA Jam on Super Nintendo. Donkey Kong Kountry deserves honorable mention as well as Duck Hunt.
Actually, I think that was Capcom's Warriors of Fate in the US, but it is also based on characters from 三国. It was a side-scrolling beatemup like
Final Fight, but if you used the command-based special moves to finish an enemy, you dismember your enemies. The bosses had unique death animations.
I've played the shit out of the modern Dynasty Warriors crowd-fighting series. The spin-off based on
Fist of the North Star （北斗无双） is fucking amazing. Everyone you punch explodes like a balloon full of meat.
The first Unreal had a decent single player experience and great AI, but what was really great about it is its engine developed a nascent modding community and by the time
Unreal Tournament came out there were a lot of different user-developed modifications, from maps to weapon packs to alternative modes of play.
For me, that time just before Halo was the golden age of first-person shooters. The dominant control paradigm was still keyboard & mouse, and your top row of numerical keys represented a magical hammerspace arsenal that never encumbered your avatar even
toward the end of the game when you got that final ammo-hungry BFG for the 0 slot. Console versions of shooters were released later and were generally inferior due to limited control options. It was a lot like the last days of arcade gaming during the 16-bit
era, when developers struggled to make games like Samurai Shodown and
Mortal Kombat function with the limited hardware of the home systems.
Halo ruined the FPS genre. Companies aren't so warm to the idea of 3rd party mods, and you're expected to pay for DLC that isn't significantly better than what bored nerds once made available for free. Soon enough consoles too will go extinct the same
way as PC and arcade gaming. Game companies are realizing it's a lot easier to churn out small mobile games because banner advertisements are less intrusive in a game like
Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies.
And there will always be HARDCORExGAMERZ who will shell out shitloads of money for what the think of as a premium gaming experience. Yeah, they'll support that empty shell of a console market, just like there is a healthy (if pale) contingent of
otaku in Japan who ensure that Capcom and companies that suck less balls than Capcom will continue to produce 2D fighting games for the arcades before porting them to the consoles. Gaming--or rather the craft of interactive virtual spaces, for the competitive
aspects are just forces for incentivizing interaction--is a most sophisticated artform. Actually, it has been for quite a time already. Don't believe me? Play the
Metal Gear Solid series. Hideo Kojima is a motherfucking auteur. So of course, even when mobile gaming sucks the life out of the industry, the craft will survive.
Speaking of HL, CS, and open source, are you aware that the Source engine is coming to Ubuntu Linux? Somewhere, I saw a screenshot of a 4chan /v/ What If? thread, and an enterprising troll and devil's advocate cheerfully reversed the apparent fortunes of the
hypothetical "worst-case" scenario: "What if HL3 went Linux only?"
According to 4channers, Gabe Newell is Jesus Fucking Christ. Of course such a move would get him crucified in the gaming press, but such a move would lay the foundations for a new Kingdom of Gaming Heaven. Steam on Linux means video card manufacturers will
have to start publishing drivers for platforms besides just Windows.