I saw this floating around the last day or so and couldn't love this question more. Video games are hot in the streets again and I couldn't be happier. Seriously, tune in to twitch.tv/barstoolsports and follow Gametime. But this is important because we grew up playing video games yet everyone is different. For some it's all about the sports games or RPG games or whatever. So everyone is going to have a different list and that's before we get into the fact that everyone is of different age so our 'youth/teen years' are different. For me I'll focus on the early/mid 90s-early/mid 2000s. I graduated high school in 2005, so we won't go any further than that.
So with that said here's my list in no particular order, but sort of how I feel about them:
5. Madden 99 (N64)
It was tough trying to figure out what Madden to go with here. It's one game that I've played since really I remember Madden 95 as my first one. It lasted Sega, N64, PS1, PS2, PS3 and now PS4. 99 though had a bit of a special place in my heart because I was 12 at that time and that just felt like prime video game time.
4. American Gladiators (Nintendo)
Perhaps the 'hottest take' on this list, but this is my influential list so kiss my ass. I fucking loved American Gladiators - both the show and the game. I would play this game for hours trying to beat it. We talked about it on Barstool TGIF a few episodes back and how the graphics in 1991 were just hilariously awesome. I would play this game now - in fact I have. A couple years ago you could find it on the Internet and play. Something about the basic A/B button to beat a game and that was it.
3. Backyard Baseball (Computer/PS2)
The newest game out of the bunch here. I'll tell you what it still holds up. Plus, Pablo Sanchez is 100% on the Mt. Rushmore of best video game players. It's like him, Bo Jackson, Mike Vick and fill in a fourth. I don't think there's one person in this world over the age of 25ish that hasn't played Backyard Baseball. Everything from the draft to team names to different stadiums. Just perfection.
2. NBA Jam (Arcade/Sega Genesis)
I've already looked into buying the NBA Jam Arcade game that comes out here soon. It's really the only thing missing in my house. It's truly the one game I can't get enough of. I wish there was a way to play a true season or career somehow but obviously this is made to be a 2 person game. There was nothing better in college than when we found an old Sega and NBA Jam. It's just another game that's held the test of time.
1. Mario Kart 64 (N64)
Ah, the game that's still played regularly when my idiot friends get together. Hell, we even put it in a car as recently as last summer:
Nothing like it. Has to be on N64 too - also yeah that's my purple see thru controller otherwise known as the GOAT N64 controller. Give me that, give me Yoshi and let's ride.
So that's my list. Yes, there is no game like Goldeneye, Zelda or anything like that because I stink at those games. I'm a sports game guy through and through. Just missing the cut were things like Mortal Kombat, NBA Live 2003, WCW vs NWO on N64, and like World Cup 94 for Game Boy.
Remember this is the most influential games for you. So hit me with your list.