25 essential video games every gamer should know

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9. Super Smash Bros. Melee

This all-out Nintendo brawler originally released back in 2001 for the GameCube is still a popular competitive game today, though it’s becoming increasingly difficult to compete as original hardware is becoming more and more scarce. Featuring 25 different playable characters from popular Nintendo franchises and a variety of items, the goal is to force other player-characters off the map which becomes increasingly easier as characters take damage.

The GameCube sequel expands on the original N64 Smash Bros. by expanding the number of playable characters, levels, and items available. Players can choose to play as characters from the various Nintendo franchises including Mario, Pikachu, Kirby, Donkey Kong, and Link. While controls are similar across all the characters, each character has unique abilities and attacks. Randomly, items will appear that players can use against each other. Some items are health-related and will lower a player’s damage taken, while others are weapons that can be used or thrown such as a paper fan or Pokeball. The types of items and frequency of drops can be customized in the game menu, giving players control to remove items that are overpowered or that they might not like.

Each player has a limited number of lives before they’re eliminated which can lead to impromptu truces among players to take down the winning player or eliminate the losing player.