Welcome to Grand Thrash Auto, the series where we give some of our favourite musicians the space to rave about their favourite games. This week we’re giving the floor to Boss Keloid bassist Liam, whose band’s proggy new album is out now!
Gaming has always been a very big part of my life and it’s good to see that it’s starting to become more widely accepted within society as a form of socialising, as opposed to seeing it as people locked away in their bedrooms never talking to anyone. Growing up, my brothers had a Commodore Amiga 500 so from a very early age I spent countless hours playing platform games like Manic Miner, Flood and James Pond with them. After that I moved into the world of Nintendo consoles, firstly with the SNES and then with the iconic Nintendo 64. From this point on, I pretty much stuck with consoles working my way through Sony’s collection of PlayStation systems (from PS1 to PS4) as well as the various consoles that Nintendo have released over the years. Then, in September 2020, I finally made the switch over to PC gaming and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever look back.
Like pretty much everyone else faced with this choice, it’s almost impossible to pick just five games as my favourites, but I’ll certainly give it a go!
Never owning an Xbox console meant that I didn’t really play much Halo, so Destiny was my first real experience of Bungie’s gunplay and storytelling. It’s safe to say that I was hooked immediately after playing the first story mission, and in its three-year lifespan I had over 1000 hours of playtime. The game looks beautiful, the soundtrack was incredible and really helped to immerse you into the world that Bungie had created. The social aspect was also a big part of what makes this game great for me, as I mainly played the PvE activities, and I formed some very strong friendships playing this game. Having three-player Strikes and six-player Raids as well as solo activities meant that there was something in there for everyone. The Vault of Glass will forever be one of the greatest raids I have ever taken part in.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
It was hard enough picking five games, but trying to pick a favourite Zelda title was even harder! The elements of story-driven adventuring paired with puzzle solving are the perfect combination of any game for me. Many people would argue that Ocarina Of Time is the greatest Zelda game, but Twilight Princess takes the crown for me and I’ve had the game in its GameCube, Wii and Wii U variants. I love the realistic art style rather than the cell-shaded style chosen for many of the games and it sticks with the traditional structure of overworld and dungeon exploration used primarily in the franchise. Zelda games often explore darker themes and contrast the light and dark themes by having separate worlds existing at the same time, but Twilight Princess does the best job of achieving this in my opinion by introducing the ‘Twilight Realm’. The variation in the controls and abilities used by Link in his human form and his wolf form really make this fun to play.
Battle Royale style games seem to be dominating the online gaming world as of late, all with their own take on the genre. For me, the feel of the gunplay coupled with the team-based tactics and decision making makes Apex Legends the standout Battle Royale game. Picking the right Legends and building a strong team based on their abilities can make all the difference! Communication is also key and Respawn Entertainment have made this super easy with the very useful in-game “ping” functionality. What makes Apex Legends even more unique is that it launched with no real marketing at all and relied purely on streamers and word of mouth to gain popularity. Watching and listening to some of the top players whilst they’re streaming, such as Lulu Luvely, really helps to highlight how positioning and decision making can determine how likely you are to win a fight.
Donkey Kong Country
As far as side-scrolling platform games go, this is hands down my favourite. You had to master all kinds of game mechanics to be able to complete the levels… swinging from rope to rope, timing it just right when jumping out of barrels, even riding in mine carts! As well as collecting as many bananas as you could on every level, there was also the additional challenge of collecting the ‘KONG’ letters on every level. Which can be very challenging if you’re a completionist like me! It was also my introduction to co-op gaming as there is a mode where one player controls Donkey Kong and upon dying, the second player takes over controlling Diddy Kong. I spent so many hours playing this game with my brothers and their friends, and as soon as I hear any of the music from this game, nostalgia immediately kicks in!
This game essentially paved the way for first-person shooters and multiplayer deathmatch games. Thinking about online gaming now, it’s funny how being able to have four people playing on the same console, in the same room, at the same time – without buying additional hardware – was the best thing ever! As amazing as the single player campaign was (I never did manage to complete every mission on ’00 Agent’ difficulty to unlock ‘007’ mode) the multiplayer game mode is where this game really shines. Being able to pick multiplayer scenarios such as ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ or choose weapon variants such as ‘Slappers Only!’ made for some of the funniest moments on this game for me, and to this day, my friends and I will still dig out the N64 to have a few rounds on GoldenEye!
Boss Keloid’s Family The Smiling Thrush is out now on Ripple Music. Order here.
Words: Liam Pendlebury-Green