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Ultimate dexterity is one of the facets of old-style hardcore arcade gaming, and so this game, which requires you to draw lines through mazes against the clock, is almost the epitome of this ideal. Traps, blockers and energy pick-ups add a little spice and variety, and at the end of each set of levels the device barks your skill level back at you, branding you anything from ‘awesome’ to ‘weak’.
As with many of the other games here, only a steady hand and quick reactions will see you through, placing MazeFinger front and centre when it comes to proving the skills of a real hardcore gamer, more than plodding around some brown forest or other.
Tetris is a game that straddles the awkward gap between so-called ‘casual’ and ‘hardcore’ gaming. Its accessibility is such that anyone can play the game, but it was largely responsible for the success of the Game Boy, and only a total idiot would discount crazed Tetris geniuses (like this guy) as anything but hardcore gamers.
Similarly, Drop7 takes the drop mechanism, chucks in a bit of maths and comes up with a game anyone can play. Drop numbered discs into the well, and if the number matches the number of discs in its row or column, it vanishes, also smashing adjacent grey discs. The hardcore component is that you can only master Drop7 by perfecting strategies, by knowing when to drop certain discs in specific positions to maximise chains. And for the truly hardcore, there’s a sequence mode, where the discs are the same in every single game. Grab the worldwide high-score for that mode and you’re not only a hardcore gamer, but will probably be ‘recruited’ by a black-ops agency for having a suspiciously unlikely amazing memory and the ability to think 50 moves ahead at all times.
Yes, we’re serious. Namco’s ageing dot-muncher grabs the final slot on this list. While on the surface one of the most accessible games of all-time (eat dots, avoid ghosts/eat big dots, eat ghosts), going any distance with Pac-Man requires excellent reactions, an understanding of ghost AI and movement patterns, plenty of staying power and a certain amount of sheer bloodymindedness - all the qualities of a true hardcore gamer.
September 3, 2009
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