We tend to think of video games as global, international medium, perhaps more so than other form of media. While mainstream blockbuster films are overwhelmingly produced in a tiny area of the United States, and music is heavily segregated by language and culture barriers, games are, by comparison, free of these sorts of constraints. Of course, there are certain countries which dominate the landscape more than others(US, Japan, China, South Korea, etc.), but generally speaking, it’s not exactly a rarity for a game from a smaller country, or one without any tradition in the field, to reach an international audience. This can very easily create the perception that the culture that surrounds gaming is universal, that we all share the same landmarks and classics. However, that is not always the case. Growing up in Eastern Europe, I was exposed to a very different gaming culture, one where Heroes of Might and Magic was bigger than Zelda and no one cared about the console wars. Of course, some things were the same as in the west, Blizzard were the undisputed kings of PC gaming for a long time, we were all obsessed with Half Life and everything that spawned from it(Counter Strike, Team Fortress, etc.) and that one mission from GTA:San Andreas was giving everyone nightmares. But as I came into contact more and more with the international gaming scene, I was genuinely surprised that no one knew what the hell a Metin 2 was, or that Gothic wasn’t as big as Elder Scrolls.
Beyond cultural differences, there’s also the fact that my tastes have always been very specific, and somewhat niche. As a kid, I never cared much for shooters, or third person action games, or platformers. Instead, I spent all my free time obsessing over RPGs and strategy games, like some sort of super nerd all the other nerds made fun of. I’m not going to claim that my tastes are unique, but they are somewhat different from the norm.
I guess this is a really long winded way to say that there are a lot of games that people consider classics that I haven’t played, and many, many more that you’ve probably never heard of that I could easily recommend. This is actually one of the reasons that I started this blog in the first place, to provide some fresh perspectives on games that most people in the gaming community have already made up their minds on.