Sometimes a special game will go above and beyond being mere digital entertainment and give us a skin-tingling moment of awe; a moment where everything in the real world drops away for a bit and leaves us completely entranced with the game. The crew at NeoGAF are discussing some of these moments, and not surprisingly there are several moments that show up in many lists.
The integration of cinema and gaming has also brought us a large number of these “moments,” and Super Metroid was one of gaming’s cinematic forerunners. No matter how well directed, choreographed, or voice-acted cinema in games becomes, for me it’s always most effective when you’re living it, something that only video games can provide. You lived the opening sequence of this game as you watched it happen--cinema and atmosphere collided and exploded like an atom bomb.
As for me, a number of the cited moments belong on my list too, such as running around the courtyard in Super Mario 64 for the first time and the final battle with Ganon in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. There are a few spectacular moments that the forum posters have missed. Running through the Green Hill Zone for the first time in Sonic the Hedgehog is an amazing experience, as up until that point platformer heroes had been more about perfectly timed jumps than raw speed. Then there's the instance near the end of Mega Man 2 when it becomes apparent that in order to proceed I'd have to defeat all eight Robot Masters again in quick succession without a chance to recharge Mega Man's energy in between fights. And who can forget the numerous cinematic moments in Star Fox 64, particularly the revelation of Andross's true form ("Only I have the brains to rule Lylat!").
Topping most everything else has to be the end of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island when Kamek works his magic on a supposedly defeated Baby Bowser, causing the turtle king to grow to a massive size... and then my realization that I'd have to fight him. As the giant Bowser stormed the remains of the castle, he lets out a mighty roar. His approach becomes faster, and his glowing eyes shining from the darkness grow larger has he nears Yoshi. Aiming that final egg at Bowser's fiery maw is one of the great triumphs of the 16-bit generation.