With that background out of the way, I decided to think about it some. Video games have been a large part of my life, so which four could be the ones that most “defined” me, whatever that meant? There were a lot of contenders. Super Mario World, as the first video game I played, was a starting point. I’ve probably put more hours into the Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart series than any other games. I’ve written about my love for series like Mario, Pokémon, and Backyard Baseball in the past, all of which had major impacts on my formative years. There are more modern titles that remind me of why I love the medium, like Super Mario Odyssey, A Hat in Time, and Undertale (which I’ve wanted to write about for years, but still have no idea where to even start). Or, I could pick games that are highly representative of genres I like, or which line up with my aesthetic tastes.
There were some interesting titles there, some of which included games that I hadn’t thought about for years. Golden Sun was a big one, an old Game Boy Advanced RPG with a sprawling fantasy epic at its core centered on a group of magic users traveling the world. I spent a lot of time on that one, but of course, I already had a potential RPG representative in Pokémon. Then, there’s games like Tetris and Tetris Attack; I love puzzle games, but especially ones like that.* But what about something that could combine those aspects?
*I have no idea what the official subgenre name is. “Match Three Games” seems like the style, but name that doesn’t really apply to Tetris. Wikipedia suggests “Tile Matching”, which seems the most accurate even if I’ve never heard it used before. Of course, I’m also fond of my mostly-buzzword-yet-technically-not-wrong descriptor, “rougelike puzzle games with permadeath”.
And that’s when I remembered Meteos.
For those who weren’t fortunate enough to try it, Meteos was a 2005 Nintendo DS puzzle game created by Q Entertainment (and under the design lead of the brilliant Masahiro Sakurai, of Super Smash Bros and Kirby fame) in the same genre as Tetris. But whereas Tetris felt (to young me, at least) like something basic and ancient, even primal, that had always existed in some form or another*, Meteos felt distinctly new.
*And to be fair to young me, Tetris predated me by nearly a decade, so it was pretty close.