The Top-Ten Konami Games of All Time

6:17 PM, Aug 2, 2009   |    comments
  • 7. Dance Dance Revolution
  • 4. Silent Hill
  • 5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game
  • 3. Contra
  • 2. Metal Gear (including Metal Gear Solid)
  • 10. Beatmania
  • 9. Frogger
  • 6. Pro Evolution Soccer
  • 8. Gradius
  • 1. Castlevania
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In 1969 Konami was founded as a jukebox rental and repair business out of Osaka, Japan.  Four years later, the company changed its business model towards manufacturing arcade "amusement machines", though its first actual product wouldn't see an arcade until 1978.  Fast-forward three years and 1981 finds Konami's first major arcade success with Frogger.  The rest (as the clich√©) goes is history.

Here is The Game Guys' list of the ten top Konami titles of all time:

10. Beatmania series (Coin-Op/1997-2002)

Inspired by nightclub DJ equipment, players of this rhythm game must keep on the beat with five (and later seven) keys and a turntable.  In order to progress in the game, players must perform well enough to earn a favorable response from the digital crowd at the virtual venue.  The initial success of Beatmania (which became much more popular in Japan than it did in the States) inspired Konami to come out with a different sort of rhythm game shortly afterwards known today as Dance Dance Revolution.

9. Frogger (Coin-Op/1981)

Konami's original arcade success is still a well-loved game 28 years after its release.  It's popularity has spawned a number of clones of the game and Frogger enjoys a resurgence in popularity in 1997 when Hasbro (who had the rights to the game at the time) remade the game with updated graphics and sound.  To date, there have been approximately seventeen sequels to the home console version of the game.

8. Gradius (Coin-Op/1985)

In Gradius, one of the most popular side-scrolling sci-fi shooters of all time, gamers control the trans-dimensional spaceship" Vic Viper", battling wave-after-wave of enemies through an assortment of different levels.

7. Dance Dance Revolution (Coin-Op and home consoles/1998-current)

Finally, a video game that doctors and personal trainers actually WANT people to play.  Forget about how silly some folks look while playing it in the arcades or on those less-than-stellar soft mats at home, DDR is a fun game that keeps its players active.  DDR has been able to cater to audiences of all skill levels with each song having a variety of difficulties, including the stupidly difficult "Max300".  DDR also inspired a popular (but short-lived) clone called In The Groove.  And so what if it's easy to work up a sweat after playing a couple songs worth of gameplay -- it's all part of the experience.

6. Pro Evolution Soccer (Home consoles/2001-current)

Originally known as Winning Eleven, Pro Evolution Soccer is one of the best-selling soccer video game franchises in the world.  And although the game has historically lacked a number of the licences (thanks to rival Electronic Arts), Konami has chosen to concentrate its efforts on providing great gameplay and to grasp the feel of simulated soccer.

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES/1991)

While not a true sequel to the fairly popular 1988 NES game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the NES port of the TMNT arcade game proved to be one of the most popular and best selling third-party NES games of the early 1990's.  The game's side-scrolling beat-em-up gameplay and familiar characters.  There were a couple changes when Konami ported the game to the NES; most notorious of which are the occasional advertisements for Pizza Hut.  The snow level is also unique to the NES version compared to its coin-op brethren.

4. Silent Hill (Home consoles/1999-current)

I remember renting the original Silent Hill for my Sony Playstation back in 1999 only to find myself getting so scared while playing it that I had to call my best friend Dan over to play it for me because even though I couldn't handle playing it myself, I couldn't look away.  That's pretty much the way this survival-horror franchise works.  It scares you half-to-death and runs the suspense to high at times you swear your TV is about to frighten you at any time.  Since 1999, a number of sequels and even a major motion picture have been released -- not to mention one of the most notorious NPCs in the survivor-horror genre: Pyramid Head.

3. Contra series (Home consoles/1987-current)

Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A-Start.  Need we say more?  Since the original two-player NES game was released in 1987, Contra has had a following stronger than most video games on the market.  The combination of platforming, run-and-gun gameplay, and alien hordes proved to be a winning one from the get-go as a number of sequels have been released in the years since.  A side note, Contra's infamous "Konami Code" can be found on in a number of non-Contra games, including Gradius, Castlevania Chronicles, and Silent Hill 3 (among others).

2. Metal Gear series (Home consoles/1987-current)

While Hideo Kojima, maker of the original Metal Gear video game, had little to do with the heavily-modified NES port, his name is synonymous with the series.  In the 22 years since the original's release, the Metal Gear series has seen nine editions (including Snake's Revenge).  1999's release of Metal Gear Solid for the original Playstation remains one of the best selling games on the platform with more than six million copies sold and is regarded by some as the best PSX game ever released.  The Game Guys would agree, if it weren't for one specific Konami release from a series that really "whips" its competition.

1. Castlevania series (Home consoles/1987-current)

To many gamers, Castlevania games are the end-all be-all of platformers.  Say all you want about the Mario and original Sonic games, Konami made something special when the original Castlevania game was released more than twenty years ago on the NES.  Since that time, we've seen many sequels and offshoots.  And at E3 this past June, Konami debuted an impressive trailer for the next installment in the series: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, due out in 2010.  As for the best game ever on the PSX, Konami's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night earns that honors.

- This article by Game Guy Barry White


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