50-01: You’ll notice that we’ve combined a few previous pages for space reasons. We’re into the final stretch, the top 50 starts today. It finishes Friday this week, just in time for us to give away some PS3s and other awesome items. Stay tuned and keep guessing the Top 10. Some of you are (sorta) close.
100-50: We’re expecting some argument on this one (including from the guys who worked on the list) but you’ll have two weeks to finish the flame-war. We’re going to be counting down, this week and next, G3AR‘s top 100 games at a rate of ten titles a day. This feature will be updated at the same Bat-time (11:00) , same Bat-place (right here), Monday to Friday until 27 July. The list comes courtesy of myself (Brett), Dawid, David, Delano, Jarred and Garth but we’re not telling you who picked which title so you’re going to have to argue with all of us.
100. Counter Strike (PC)
What better way to kick off our list than with one of the most popular multiplayer games of all time. Counter-Strike changed the gaming world forever when it was released back on June 19, 1999. It is one of the very few games over ten years old still being played online today. What started off as mod for Half-Life now has a fan base of millions with a new version of the game – CS:Global Offensive – due out this year.
99. Secret of Monkey Island (PC, Mac, SEGA CD, PSN, XBLA, many others)
Point and click adventures provided us with some of the most pleasurable gaming experiences, and following the oddly named Guybrush Threepwood on his quest to become a pirate was adventure at its satirical best. With Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman at the helm, gamers were guaranteed an addictive journey through Monkey Island with great puzzles and an even better, more humorous story than one could have ever hoped for. Aaarrgghhh!
98. Mega Man (NES, PS1, PSN, PSP, Android, others)
The 8-bit days saw an influx in action side-scrollers being catapulted to new heights but nothing touched Capcom’s take on their original IP. Mega Man, a blue-armoured humanoid robot from the future, was out to battle the evil Dr.Wily. His suit was well catered towards shooting enemies to bits as well as jumping in some of the toughest platforming terrain known to man. Add the suit-upgrading abilities, attained by beating the six bosses, and it remains a classic.
97. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (PC, N64, Xbox, Dreamcast, GBC, GBA, PS1)
Considered by many to be the best title in the series of games bearing the Birdman’s stamp of approval, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 has given us some defining gaming moments. The level design of the classic School II level, The Hangar, competition runs, masses of gaps and that two minute time limit made for short burst of frenetic gaming that lent itself well to a pass-the-controller, you-suck-at-skating experience on the couch. The visuals may be dated but the fun hasn’t gone anywhere.
96. Galaga (Pretty much every system ever)
Galaga is the second game in the Galaxian series and a title with a serious cult following. Over time Galaga has been ported to every system from Nintendo’s N64 to Xbox Live Arcade in the form of Galaga Legions. Galaga even made two appearances in the movie WarGames and in the series Lost a submarine named Galaga can be seen, named in honour of this arcade classic. Who knows where Namco Bandai would be today without this futuristic arcade shooter?
95. Ninja Gaiden Black (Xbox)
If you look up ‘impossibly difficult’ in the dictionary you are sure to find Ninja Gaiden there somewhere. The game was brutal, but in a satisfying way. Combat was near perfect in the game and it all centred around an intriguing story. The technical requirements needed to progress, the strategy and the action resulted in one of the most gratifying gaming experiences of all time featuring the ultimate Ninja: Ryu Hayabusa.
94. Sim City (Way too many platforms to list)
Some of you will remember Sim City, others weren’t even born back in 1989 when this city-builder was first released. This was back in the days of DOS, EGA graphics and floppy discs but Sim City started the ball rolling with micro-management simulations and has endured long enough to qualify for a reboot, courtesy of EA, next year. Meticulously constructing a town only to have Godzilla’s little brother stomp on it was part of its charm. This is what some of Team G3AR did at school while teachers were explaining to lesser students what a DOS prompt was.
93.Final Fantasy (NES, PS1, GBA, PSP, PSN, iOS, various other mobile platforms)
Let’s go back in time to 1987. Hironobu Sakaguchi had just finished a title for Square called Final Fantasy, so named because he would have quit making games if it didn’t sell. It did sell, kicking off one of the largest franchises gaming has ever seen (and kept Sakaguchi making games). It has been instrumental in establishing the JRPG as a genre and has spawned many, many sequels and clones and at least one webcomic/Flash series.
92. Grand Theft Auto 3 (PC, PS2, Xbox, OS X, Android, iOS)
Before Nico Bellic and his cousin Roman were going bowling together gamers had Claude, a criminal in Liberty City with a talent for mowing down pedestrians with guns and/or vehicles. Given the series’ roots as a top-down title, GTA 3‘s success was (once upon a time) a little surprising but it did give the world the definition of a sandbox game. Side-missions, cop chases and being the bad guy never felt so good. The recent 10-year anniversary of the game has seen it ported to Android and iPhone, giving you some idea of how far we’ve some since 2001.
91.Contra (NES, Arcades, XBLA)
Contra brought side-scrolling action co-op games to the forefront of livings rooms the world over in the 80’s. Fitting in with the gung-ho Schwarzenegger and Stallone movies of the time Contra was a hit at home on the NES and in arcades. It was known as one of the toughest games of the time (insta-death), a fact which also made the Konami code famous. Without it there would have been very few people who ever saw the credits.
90. Alien Versus Predator (2000 Original) – (PC, OS X)
Anyone that played the first Alien vs. Predator back in 2000 will remember defecating slightly when that damned motion sensor started beeping while walking down a gloomy corridor. That beep only meant one thing, that you were moments away from having a Xenomorph latch onto to your face with its six inch claws. The varied and balanced multiplayer always had us coming back for more even though it still freaks us out today.
89. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – (PS2, PC, Xbox, Gamecube)
When it comes to acrobatics and platforming, few games do it better than Prince of Persia. Sands of Time was the first in the new trilogy and took gamers to a new level of awesome with wall climbing, wall running, solving puzzles and also taking on the undead through the use of melee attacks and time manipulation. The story was also an unforgettable one as the Prince attempted to save Princess Farah and the entire kingdom from evil forces.
88. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis – (PC, PSN, PS1, Game Cube, Dreamcast)
Just when you thought is was safe to return to Raccoon City, Capcom throws something like the Nemesis at you. Resi 3 was a decent take on the series, marking the last of the ‘classic’ versions of the game as well as being the first to offer the Mercenaries minigame, which was a pleasant surprise once you’d completed the PS1 version of this one. Now if only that one flaming dog at that one save point would stop giving us a fright. You know the one we mean.
87. Dead Space 2 – (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
As scary games go this has got to be up there with the best. Dead Space 2 is so scary that some of us here at G3AR can’t even play it, we won’t mention names (*cough*Jarred*cough*). Play this with the lights off and the sound pumped up or, even better, a set of headphones on and you will secretly be our hero (provided you don’t scream like a girl). Just remember that in space no one can hear you scream but in your living room that rule doesn’t apply.
86. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 – (Arcade, later ported to various consoles)
Three-on-three tag, air combos and a huge roster containing 56 fighters from the Marvel and Capcom universes. Yes, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was a fighting game fan’s dream come true. It improved on everything from the original and provided flashy attacks, insane combos and very colourful super moves spanning all the different fighters. Assuming you didn’t have problems with epilepsy, you were probably one of the kids who hogged the machine at your local arcade.
85. Sin and Punishment – (N64, Virtual Console)
Originally never released outside of Japan this frantic shooter finally made it to the West when it officially launched on the Wii’s Virtual Console. Play it as a lone wolf or tackle the bizarre but perfectly balanced stages with a friend in co-op whereby one aims the reticule and shoots while the other deals with the Ninja-reflexes-required platforming. It’s as strange as it gets. It’s also as good as it gets.
84. Starfox – (SNES)
Who can forget the adventures of Fox Mcloud and his Arwing ship? The on rails space shooter saw Fox and the rest of the Star Fox team defend their home world against Andross and his army. Collecting power ups, attacking the enemies and making sure to watch your friends’ back were all important to maintain success. ‘Do a Barrel Roll’ is a well known gaming phrase, and was, of course, brought about by the sequel inspired by the Star Fox franchise.
83. Psychonauts – (PC, OS X, Linux, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2)
In the past few years, Psychonauts has become the poster child of the prototypical ‘brilliant game that falls victim to the corporate machine’. Although not a great seller, fans and critics alike praised this quirky little romp that just oozed style, clever ideas and genuinely challenging gameplay. The game casts you in the role of Raz, a young boy from a circus family who runs away to pursue his dream of becoming a Psychonaut and entering people’s minds. It’s every bit as crazy as it sounds.
82. Starcraft – (PC, Mac, N64)
Do you know how good a game has to be for it to become a national sport? South Korea manages to fill stadiums with people that come to watch two professional Starcraft players duke it out but the multiplayer fanaticism is justified. Well-balanced, hugely popular for its time (and it still is today), Starcraft isn’t just a game. It is a part of world culture. Pwned, Zerg rushes, we need more Vespene gas, do these terms ring any bells? Time to go infect a few Terran bases.
81. Resident Evil 2 – (PS1, N64)
Resident Evil 2 was the sequel everyone wanted. The move from the haunted mansion to Raccoon City went down well with gamers in 1998. Splitting the story between Leon and Claire and introducing more monsters, frights, guns, inventory management and bucketloads of atmosphere makes this a timeless classic that spanned over two discs… and who’ll ever forget Leon’s cop friend changing into a zombie right in front of his eyes? Oh yes, the good old brown trouser days.
80. Grand Theft Auto – (PS1, PC, GBC)
Deliberately going out its way to be offensive, Grand Theft Auto (which is now free) backs up its over-the-top themes with engaging, open-ended gameplay. You steal and sell cars, you run over innocent people and you generally cause destruction and mayhem on a large scale. It’s a winning formula that was the catalyst for the popular series and expansions that continue to this day.
79. Rainbow 6 (Original) – (PS1, PC, N64, Dreamcast, GBC, PSN, Mac)
The grandfather of tactical first person shooters had to be on this list. Carefully planning your team’s movements and watching it all come together was incredibly satisfying in this Tom Clancy classic. For its time there was nothing else like it, and even today it’s still just as satisfying. Go, go, go!
78. Diablo – (PC, PS1, Mac)
In the early 90’s, it seemed that Blizzard could do no wrong and Diablo is just another bullet-point in their stellar resume. This dark fantasy dungeon-crawling RPG had you choosing from one of three classes and entering a hellish world in order to stop the titular character’s evil influence. It had immense replay value, fantastic multiplayer and was the beginning of one of the most successful game trilogies of all time.
77. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D – (PC, N64)
Taking place between the original Star Wars film and The Empire Strikes Back, Rogue Squadron put players in Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing (and other craft, including the Millennium Falcon) and sent them on several missions against the Empire. Taking down Imperial Walkers with a tow-cable or dog-fighting in space were only small highlights compared to the unlockable Death Star Trench Run or the Battle of Hoth missions that are still a must for any Star Wars fan.
76. Wipeout 2097 – (PS1, N64)
A futuristic hovercraft racer that focused on weaponry action as well as making games socially acceptable to the masses – that’s what Wipeout 2097 achieved. Psygnosis (now known as Studio Liverpool) were one of the few developers that squeezed fantastic graphics combined with speed at a constant 60 frames per second on the PS1. It had a riveting soundtrack that set the bar for production levels of any racer from that day onwards. The future never looked better.
75. King’s Quest – (N64, Virtual Console)
King’s Quest is a classic in the adventure genre and the magnum opus that put Sierra on the map. Drawing from assorted fantasy clichés, the original game was revolutionary in its use of colours and animation to create a far more interactive environment in a time where most games of the type were rather static. It was the beginning of a successful, long-running franchise and over time it developed a complex mythology which has won the endearment of countless fans.
74. Grim Fandango – (PC)
Grim Fandango is a classic LucasArts adventure title from the brow of Tim Schafer, starring the skeletal Manny Calavera in a noir-ish tale that spans four years and a lot of criminal activity. The styling, concept and gameplay are all unique in their own way, following the traditions of the Mexican Day of the Dead. Despite being one of the best adventure titles ever made, Grim Fandango remains sadly under-appreciated.
73. Mortal Kombat (Original) – (Arcade, many other platforms)
The first game to truly challenge Street Fighter’s dominance, the original Mortal Kombat was a phenomenon quite unlike anything before it. The use of digitized actors was revolutionary for the time, but the real attraction was the liberal use of blood and the infamous fatalities. It was so shocking that it was partly responsible for the formation of the ESRB. It spawned a long-running series that is still relevant today.
72. Mass Effect 2 – (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Yes, Mass Effect 2 is this high up on the list. Following the successful Mass Effect, the sequel managed to improve in almost every department on its predecessor. Gone were the ‘drive around and excavate minerals’ sections, replaced with more of BioWare’s storytelling, improved controls and the basis for the third title in the series. Though ME3 closed things off, Mass Effect 2 was good enough to keep the momentum going.
71. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory – (PS2, PC, Gamecube, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS3, mobile platforms)
Hailed by most as the best Splinter Cell ever made, Chaos Theory hit the sweet spot between stealth, action and tactics. The story was also right up there as one of the best in the series with a brilliant twist ending. They recently re-released this gem in HD so if you have never played it get it right this minute.
70. Tekken 3 – (PS1)
Three-dimensional fighters were all the rage in the late 90’s and the Tekken franchise was the one that came out victorious in that battle – Tekken 3 specifically. Someone at Namco managed to push the PS1 to its limits by creating an upgraded animation system and speeding up the fighting mechanics. Include a roster of 24 fighters and some of the best end movie CG sequences of the time and you have the best Tekken game to date.
69. Mario Kart DS – (DS)
The balance that Nintendo achieved when it comes to controls, weapons, accessibility and options for Mario Kart DS far surpassed Mario Kart on the SNES. Wireless multiplayer with up to eight other players, requiring only one game card, while incorporating all the features of the DS made this a very easy selection. It was the first handheld Mario Kart game that could be played online and with 16 new tracks and 16 retro tracks at hand Nintendo was doing no wrong. Addiction R US.
68. Call of Duty 2 – (PC, Mac, Xbox 360)
Who can forget storming Stalingrad as a Russian soldier, taking on the Afrika Korps and Rommel’s tanks in North Africa or attempting to take Pointe du Hoc on D-Day as an American Ranger? Call of Duty 2 remains one of the best World War 2 FPS titles to date, sealing its victory by being a PC hit and also securing a spot as an Xbox 360 launch title. And, of course, it led to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Infinity Ward didn’t even have to throw in any zombies for us to shoot at to make it awesome.
67. Chrono Trigger – (SNES, PS1, DS, PSN, Virtual Console, iOS, Android)
No random encounters, time-travelling and a credits list that include some of the most influential Japanese developers, illustrators and composers, Chrono Trigger is by many considered as the best JRPG of all time, and with good reason. Innovative for its time, with a story that is carved out by your choices, it is easy to see why this remains one of the most beloved titles of its type out there. Screw you Lavos.
66. Super Smash Bros. Melee – (Gamecube)
Nintendo are known for taking a ridiculous idea and making it work. Who have thought that a fighter consisting of Nintendo’s most popular characters would have taken off the way it has. Melee leaped this unique fighting genre into mainstream popularity and has influenced many fighters with its unorthodox mechanics. Super Smash Bros. Melee was also the top selling title for Nintendo’s Gamecube. With the opportunity to Falcon Punch Pikachu in the face, how could it not be?
65. Silent Hill 2 – (PC, PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360)
Crap combat and controls are something that we’ve come to expect from Silent Hill but the best title in this series will always be Silent Hill 2, even with the negatives accounted for. Taking on the role of James Sunderland as he deals with his personal demons and a large pile of the ones that are lying around the iconic town is a ride and a half, with the Akira Yamaoka soundtrack doing its part to suck you deeper into the horror.
64. Ōkami – (PS2, Wii, PSN)
Ōkami is seen by many as “the best ‘Zelda’ title ever”. Ōkami became renowned for its outstanding visual design and unique experience based on Japanese folklore. Even Capcom’s acclaimed Street Fighter IV is said to be influenced by Ōkami’s hand-drawn images and brushstroke-like effects. The HD version will be released on the Playstation Network later this year so if you haven’t yet experienced the wonder of Ōkami, be sure to get it as soon as it launches.
63. God of War 2 – (PS2, PS3)
God of War 3 was a great title but God of War 2 showed gamers what the PS2 was capable of, right before they stopped releasing decent games for the platform. Not only did GoW 2 push the hardware but it also expanded considerably on the mythos surrounding Kratos. It doesn’t hurt that we were able to get wings from a crack-addict lookalike Icarus and fly around stomping on large sections of Greek mythology.
62. Sonic the Hedgehog –(Pretty much everywhere after the Genesis/Megadrive)
SEGA’s answer to Mario was something truly special. Although the gameplay is relatively simple, it dazzled the gaming world with its highly imaginative levels, fantastic and memorable music and, of course, the high-speed gameplay. The original is still one of those ‘must be experienced’ titles. Even though the series has declined in quality in the last few years, there’s no denying the impact of the original title that launched Sonic’s career.
61. Pokémon Heart Gold / Soul Silver – (DS)
Yes, Heart Gold and Soul Silver were essentially re-releases of the 1999 Gold and Silver, but these are undoubtedly the definitive versions of the games. Addictive and challenging, with a competitive meta-game that has the potential to make you fall into its rabbit hole – should you be prepared to follow it. These linked Pokémon titles featured both Johto and Kanto regions and included a fan-favourite battle in the endgame. These titles will want you to become a Pokémon master all over again.
60. Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker – (Gamecube)
There has never been as much controversy for a Legend of Zelda game as was seen with the release of Wind Waker. In a stroke of brilliance creator Shigeru Miyamoto opted for a more cartoony style instead of the realistic look of previous Zelda games. This was all overshadowed by one of Link’s most memorable quests where he had to sail the oceans to rescue his princess. New weapons, dungeons and puzzles made this a Gamecube classic you should not have missed.
59. Gran Turismo 3: A Spec – (PS2)
Gran Turismo 1, 2, 4 and 5 were all fantastic in their own right, but it’s Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec that set the bar for the franchise and for any other car simulation. For 2002 the graphical detail was just mind-blowing. There were over 600 cars that could be tuned from top to bottom and the cars handled superbly. Overnight this game alone made the PS2 a must-have console as you could just about taste the oil in your mouth.
58. Rayman Origins – (Xbox 360, PS2, Wii, PC, 3DS, Vita)
It’s not often that a platformer outclasses Mario at his own game, but Rayman Origins managed just that. Michel Ancel returned to his roots when he designed some of the most unbelievable abstract worlds in gaming. Playing this 2D sidescroller with up to three other friends brings a new meaning to fun, laughter, quick reflexes and sadistic humour. More importantly – it launched on every current platform known to mankind. You have no excuse.
57. Halo – (Xbox, Xbox 360)
The Halo franchise kicked off over ten years ago now and until today it remains a hallmark of the FPS genre. Halo: Combat Evolved introduced to the now iconic Master Chief and his AI partner Cortana as they were brought in to save the universe. Halo not only gave us some epic scenes, gun battles and vehicle sections, it also brought some of the best online multiplayer of all time along for the ride.
56. Pong – (Arcade)
First appearing in arcades in 1972, Pong heralded the start of the video game business. It has since appeared on multiple different platforms. Taking its inspirations from tennis it is a simplest concept that somehow manages to remain addictive and fun to this day, reminding us of the hey-day of Atari games. It also reminds (some of) us that we’re quite old.
55. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne – (PS2)
Released for the Playstation 2 in 2003, this is the Megami Tensei game that catapulted the series from its relative obscurity in the West, serving for many JRPG fans as an introduction to fresh and challenging new ideas. Completely deserving of its cult status, SMTIII is as unnerving as it is hard. Intricate gameplay mechanics featuring perhaps the best SMT narrative in the franchise, this is a darkly mature tale that will constantly surprise and challenge you.
54. Batman: Arkham City – (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Rocksteady had a tough task in following after the success of Batman: Arkham Asylum but they unquestionably delivered. Arkham City allowed us to play once more as The Dark Knight in an ‘open world’ city/prison where all the villains were holed up at the same time. Great side missions, amazing rhythmic combat, gadgets, Riddler challenges and an excellent story made this one of the best comic book games, and one of the best games of all time.
53. The Sims – (PC, Mac)
It’s debatable as to how much The Sims qualifies as a proper ‘game’, but the title’s runaway success is certainly not up for debate. Described as a ‘digital dollhouse’, this life simulation with strategic elements became the best-selling PC game in history. It also developed an absolutely insane amount of expansions, as well as two sequels each with their own impressive expansion sets. The open-ended nature of controlling people’s lives has made it a legend.
52. The Curse of Monkey Island – (PC)
The third game starring Guybrush Threepwood, The Curse of Monkey Island sees players return to the setting of the previous titles, battling the zombie pirate LeChuck, attempting to lift the curse in question and trying to puzzle out the weirdness that is the hallmark of the original series. This was the last title to use the brilliant LucasArts SCUMM engine and it actually had a happy (and comprehensible) ending.
51. Halo 3 – (Xbox 360)
We’re talking about the franchise that made FPS gaming popular on console and this specific title is the one that broke ALL the records when it came to online multiplayer gaming. The balance Bungie pulled off with this installation made it a fan favourite, especially since it cleared up the cliffhanger in Halo 2. It delivered on a promise from Microsoft that the Xbox 360 would be the leading online multiplayer platform. The records still prove that to this day.
50. Ultima 9: Ascension – (PC)
Rise Avatar! The Ultima series is credited as being one of the best RPG series’ of all time. It is not easy to pick which one is the best because they are all good in their own right. But since Ultima 9: Ascension blew our minds visually at the time it has to grab this spot. The recent announcement of a free-to-play Ultima Online goes to show that the series is still alive and well.
49. Persona 4 – (PS2)
Breathing fresh air into a decidedly stale JRPG genre, Persona 4 is the culmination of everything that worked and worked well in the previous titles in the series. With social links, controllable party members and the time-stealing demon-fusion mechanic, Persona 4 features mechanics that demands to be learned. The result is a game that can be tough as nails, offset by rewards equally satisfying, while those who missed out on the experience will have the chance to see what all the fuss is about later this year when Persona 4: The Golden will be released for the Vita.
48. Command & Conquer – (Xbox 360, PS1, N64, PC, PSP, PS3, Mac, SEGA Saturn)
Although by no means the first real-time strategy game, Command & Conquer is credited with popularizing the genre like no title before it. The story was pure pulp told through extremely cheesy cutscenes which were nonetheless great fun. The multiplayer aspect set a new standard in competitive gaming and it was the beginning of a series that would ultimately be Westwood Studios’ crowning achievement.
47. Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle – (PC, Mac)
Day of the Tentacle (or DoTT, as it is affectionately known) pits players against the diabolical Purple Tentacle, who has designs on world domination after drinking some tainted water. This point-n-click adventure from LucasArts features some of the best storytelling, puzzle-solving and time-travelling seen to date, never managing to get frustrating even when it’s making your brain feel like it just woke up from a month-long sleep.
46. Max Payne – (PC, Xbox, PS2, Mac, GBA, mobile versions)
There are few gaming moments that have been truly etched into the minds of gamers, to remain there for the rest of their lives. A concord moment in video games if you will, but one good example of this is the first time you hit bullet time and flew through the air in slow motion, squeezing off rounds from your 9mm Beretta as Max Payne. It was simply brilliant, kicking off the bullet-time trend that lives on today.
45. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – (PS3)
Guns of the Patriots is the MGS game that tied all the confusing and hidden plotlines and messages that Kojima majestically told over the previous three games into one big finale. Snake, though fragile and wrinkled, was at his sneakiest and most likely left all those who played it with a tear in their eyes when it ended. After five years it’s only PS3 owners who have been awarded the opportunity to experience this opus.
44. GoldenEye 007 – (N64)
GoldenEye 007 is yet another masterpiece to be developed by Rare Studios. GoldenEye 007 can be seen as arguably one of the most important games in console first-person shooter history. GoldenEye single-handedly showed the capability of consoles as platforms for the FPS genre in a time where PCs dominated with many DOOM-like clones. It pioneered features which have since become standard issue in FPS’s such as zoomable sniper rifles and stealth elements. All this with the assistance of the ever-smooth James Bond himself.
43. Planescape Torment – (PC)
Another Black Isle Studios classic, this CRPG defied regular RPG conventions and tropes – from its unique protagonist, The Nameless One, to its dark (and often comic) setting – it is perhaps the very best example of how to do narrative well within the video games medium. With the freedom to talk your way out of battles instead of always rushing in with the pointy end of the sword first, it caters to different playvstyles while thorough investigation will reward players with the fantastical lore and history of the world.
42. Civilization – (PC, Mac, SEGA Saturn, SNES, PS1, others)
Civilization is one of those games that has a charmingly obsessive ‘just one more try’ quality. Turning Sid Meier into a celebrity, it had an uncommon degree of depth for a title of the time. A turn-based strategy romp, the game sees players taking on the role of warlord, economist, emperor and discoverer. It was the genesis of a long-running series, plenty of spin-offs and clones and it remains popular to this day.
41. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – (PS3)
The best in the series in our opinion, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was a massive improvement over the first Uncharted and most people agree it was better than Drakes Deception. It features set-pieces and visuals so breath-taking and memorable they will have you booting up past levels months after completing the game (especially a certain train level). And we say months because it will take you that long to get bored of its highly addictive multiplayer.
40. Mega Man 2 – (NES)
Mega Man 1 got things started, but Mega Man 2 was where the series really took off. The game is renowned for its brutal platforming, insane boss battles and the ability to take on new powers as you go, with the goal being to defeat Dr Wily. Mega Man 2 is often considered the best game in the series and it is not surprising how well the game stands up even today. A tip though, it doesn’t get easier with age.
39. Mortal Kombat (reboot edition) – (PS3, Xbox 360)
After moving into obscurity thanks to the third dimension, 2011 finally saw Mortal Kombat returning to its 2D roots. Players could once again sweep followed by the traditional uppercut and there was a classic best-of roster of fighters available at your disposal. Ed Boon and his team dropped their Teen rating and provided the mature Fatality-fest fans had been craving for years and somehow it topped the original. If there is a fighter you should own this is it.
38. Half Life 2 – (Xbox 360, PC, Xbox, PS3, Mac)
Gordon Freeman’s return in Half Life 2 is a shining moment in gaming. The first time players glimpse the locked-down City 17, get a crowbar, travel through Ravenholm… those things scuttling up the drainpipes still give us the creeps. Throw in some Antlions, a horde of Combine enemies and the finale at the Citadel and you have the makings of a true classic. Having Alyx Vance around to help out was always fun and Episodes 1 and 2 just added to the enjoyment. Now we just need the next chapter in the story (Valve, are you listening?).
37. Super Mario 64 – (N64)
The Mario title that changed it all. Super Mario 64 was Mario’s first venture into the 3D realm and set the premise (if not the yardstick) for all Mario titles thereafter. Mario 64 truly took the franchise to the next level of gaming. With an open world feel, new abilities, outstanding soundtrack and innovative boss fights there was very little that could be criticised about the N64’s top selling title.
36. Resident Evil 4 – (PC, PS2, Gamecube, Wii)
What are you buying stranger? Shinji Mikami redeveloped the game from scratch several times before we saw this masterpiece crawl out of the grave. Though Capcom somehow maintained the horror theme there was more emphasis on action set pieces, weapon upgrades and an improved control system. The over-the-shoulder camera view became an industry standard and at the time the graphics pushed the boundaries of the hardware like never before. Mikami’s departure from the series has left this as THE ONE to own.
35. Street Fighter 2 – (Arcade, numerous other systems from Megadrive to Virtual Console)
Released for arcades in 1991, only the more grizzled veterans will be able to reminisce about spending multiple afternoons after school in the local arcade, trying to perfect Hadoukens and Shoryukens. Eventually also ported to multiple platforms, it’s widely regarded as the most influential fighting game of all time, and continues its legacy as Capcom’s most successful franchise.
34. Red Dead Redemption – (PS3, Xbox 360)
Rockstar has earned well-deserved praise for their free-roaming Western title. Not surprising since Red Dead Redemption was another notch on their belt of award-winning brilliant games. The wild West was brought to life in this highly detailed and immersive open world adventure. RDR is an absolute masterpiece that every gamer should play, and the Undead Nightmare DLC is the cherry on the top of this massive cake of gaming goodness.
33. Shadow of the Colossus – (PS2, PS3)
Shadow of the Colossus defies the arguments surrounding the discussion that games can be art. Coming straight out of Japan this is a journey in a fantasy dream-like world where your protagonist must slay and defeat all the ancient Colossi and bring his love back from the dead. Riding your horse Agro or holding on for dear life to hair strands on one of these giants has never before brought such a sense of freedom and accomplishment. And then there is that ending…
32. The Legend of Zelda – (Pretty much every Nintendo system ever)
The classic that started it all, The Legend of Zelda was famously inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto’s own adventures in his local countryside as a boy, and introduced us to the timeless characters of Link, Zelda and Ganon/Ganondorf. Putting a much more intricate spin on the “save the princess” premise with extensive lore and back stories to boot, it captured the imaginations of many a young gamer, even as they cursed its rather grueling difficulty.
31. Unreal Tournament – (PC, Mac, PS2, Dreamcast)
This fast-paced high-intensity shooter took the FPS genre to a new level. You needed the reflexes of an F1 driver just to keep your head on your shoulders for longer than a minute. Taking headshots in space with earth as a backdrop was the perfect mixture of beauty and chaos. Unreal Tournament remains a memorable twitch-fest that helped define the competitive multiplayer of today.
30. Castlevania – (NES, PC, GBA, Virtual Console, others)
Konami’s first title in what would become a long-running series, the original Castlevania was one of the earliest horror-themed games. It set the stage for the never-ending struggle between Dracula and the Belmont family and included liberal doses of clichés from B-movies, particularly from the ‘30s and ‘40s. The intense action-orientated gameplay, creepy music and high levels of difficultly have made it a fond memory from many people’s childhoods.
29. Tetris – (Just about any platform you can think of)
Think ‘puzzle game’ and the first game that should come to your mind is Tetris. Since its inception way back in 1984 (created by Russian Alexey Pajitnov) there has never been anything quite as addictive as this block builder. Recent Tetris titles have added online multiplayer modes and various other mini-games to spice up the old formula. If ever there was a game that deserves to remain in the Hall of Fame for generations to come this would be it.
28. Super Metroid – (SNES)
Super Metroid was the third game in the Metroid series and once more featured Samus in a 2D sidescrolling action adventure. Super Metroid takes place on planet Zebes and featured one large world to traverse while collecting power ups and taking out the enemy with a variety of weaponry. The game added some remarkable mechanics to the genre including a new inventory system and who can forget the awesome Moon Walk ability.
27. Metal Gear Solid –(PC, PS1, PSN, Gamecube)
There are times in any industry where Ying meets Yang. In 1998 Hideo Kojima did just that when he introduced the West to the best of the East. Like a good wine this classic has only matured over time. The boss battles, the then-new stealth element and storytelling was a breath of fresh pixelated air. Hideo had you literally switching controller sockets and went as far as including the casing your game came in to be a part of one of the best games of our time.
26. Heavy Rain – (PS3)
In terms of engrossing games few do it better than Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain. The game plays out like an interactive movie where players must act fast and make decisions or face consequences. The game’s storytelling and ability to draw players in is nothing short of amazing. The story follows a desperate father trying to save his kidnapped son with multiple endings and story paths. Fewer games manage to draw more emotion than Heavy Rain.
25. Deux Ex: Human Revolution – (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Deus Ex set a pretty high bar and Human Revolution was the modern day sequel to live up to that legacy. Taking players back into the futuristic world of moral dilemmas and optional combat/stealth/charm approaches while updating the graphics and combat mechanics, Human Revolution asked us what it means to be human. Sure, the boss battles sucked compared to the rest of it but that was a small price to pay for the huge amount of win contained in this title.
24. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – (PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PS3)
When the Ghillie suit level was shown at E3 back in 2007, it left peoples jaws in their laps. This is where the Call of Duty series took a step forward from being a great FPS to the Juggernaut market leader it is today. And for good reason, Modern Warfare did so many groundbreaking and genre defining things in its single player and its multiplayer that it deserves a place in the video game Museum of Awesome.
23. Bayonetta – (PS3, Xbox 360)
Developed by Platinum Games and in many ways the spiritual successor to classics like Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden, Bayonetta is the pinnacle of the genre and undoubtedly Hideki Kamiya’s masterpiece. Blistering gameplay with nigh-endless combinations of combos, real-time weapon switching for both hands AND feet, Witchtime and animation cancelling for 99% of attacks made Bayonetta an instant classic and an absolute marvel to play.
22. Batman: Arkham Asylum – (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
It was a long time before we were blessed with a really good superhero based game. Then Rocksteady came along and gave us Batman: Arkham Asylum. Being the Dark Knight has never felt more realistic and rewarding. The combat is fresh, the story interesting and the combination of gadgetry and investigating allows us to truly feel like we are “the real Batman”. It also helped that there were great side missions and of course the mind-bending Riddler Challenges.
21. Super Mario World – (SNES, GBA, Virtual Console)
In the very early nineties Nintendo continued the highly popular Mario series with Super Mario World. Giving Mario a range of new abilities and a loyal sidekick with various powers the plumber was once again tasked to save Princess Peach from Bowser. Producer Shigeru Miyamoto said that he felt that the game was not as good as it could have been, blaming a rushed production schedule. Despite this Super Mario World ended up being the SNES’s top selling game and still has a massive cult following today.
20. Pac-Man – (Arcade, pretty much every platform ever)
If the names Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde mean anything in your life then you are probably old enough to remember Pac-Man. Pac-Man is the world’s most successful coin-operated game and probably has more modern cultural references than any other game. While there have been various incarnations and sequels the original stand-up coin operated version of Pac-Man still remains the most popular and influential.
19. Company of Heroes – (PC)
This games still gets played once a week without fail, which is amazing since it was released six years ago. Hands down the best RTS of all time, and if you don’t agree you haven’t played it. And if you have and you still don’t agree you are a dirty camper/defender that hides behind his towers and turrets. This game opened our eyes to the true meaning of strategy with visuals that look just as good today as they did on launch day.
18. God of War – (PS2, PS3)
Besides pushing the boundaries of the PS2’s hardware, the original God of War was also an insanely fun hack-n-slash affair. Wrapped up in a stylish package of Greek mythology, it’s a prime example of execution done right; great story, tight gameplay, wonderful graphics, amazing moves and overall fantastic presentation. It’s won the heart of many gamers and the franchise is still kicking.
17. Final Fantasy 7 – (PC, PS1)
When a game single-handedly popularises a genre in parts of the world that once would not raise an eyebrow at it you have to stand back and take notice. Final Fantasy VII was the first RPG to move to three-dimensional JRPG worlds in 1997. It just happens to be the title that came with unforgettable heroes and villains, twisting plot lines (we cried), a perfect battle system and a game so big that it came on three discs. Square, make our life and release the HD remake already!
16. Super Mario Bros. – (NES, anywhere else Nintendo has released games)
For many it all started here with the introduction of the two plumbers off to save Princess Peach from the terrible Bowser. Mario and Luigi were brought to us and gaming would never be the same. Great platforming, secret beanstalks, mushroom and flower power ups, it was the start of something magical. Quite simply, if you have not read the words “Thank you Mario, but the Princess is in another castle” you are only half a gamer.
15. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
This is the most recently-released title to appear this high up on the list and it does so for one reason. Scale. Bugs aside (sorry PS3 owners) Skyrim is perhaps the most ambitious non-linear open-world single player game attempted in recent history. The really stunning thing is how much of it worked. Bethesda’s ongoing support of the title, adding Kinect support for the Xbox, mod support for the PC and fixing whatever happened to the PS3 version continues to make this title one to play if you’re any kind of RPG fan.
14. Metroid Prime – (Gamecube)
Metroid Prime took the Metroid series to the next level. Up until its release the Metroid series was known for a side-scrolling 2D platforming style gameplay. Prime introduced gamers to the 3D first-person world of Samus Aran and spawned 2 sequels as well as trilogy collection. Metroid Prime became one of the best-selling games on the GameCube, selling 250,000 units in just one week.
13. Doom – (PC, Mac, XBLA, SNES, GBA, others)
‘Phenomenon’ is probably the best word to describe the original Doom. It was a runaway success in ways that very few games have managed and it transformed the industry forever. It was the subject of heated controversy regarding its Satanic themes and violence and it was the bane of countless offices where it stopped productivity dead in its tracks. It popularized FPSes, network play and fan-made mods and catapulted iD Software to rockstar status. It’s the stuff of legend.
12. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – (SNES, GBA, Virtual Console)
The Legend of Zelda series took a knock after Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link failed to live up to the standards of the original Legend of Zelda. How did Nintendo counter this bad reception? They simply made a game that holds true to the original and surpass it in nearly every possible way. Link to the Past used unique concepts to maximise the performance of the SNES, notably the transition between ‘Light’ and ‘Dark’ worlds which also added to the storyline. Not bad for a title with a then-impressive 1 MB of storage space.
11. Knights of the Old Republic – (PC)
Oh…dear…gosh…this game absolutely DESTROYED our minds back in the day. There are two types of people that have played KOTOR, people that where completely surprised by the ending and people that saw it coming. Guess which ones we were? This is what the prequel movies to the original Star Wars trilogy should have been. BioWare launched to instant greatness after they released this gem.
10. Fallout 3 – (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
The turn-based Fallouts are still magnificent but Fallout 3‘s Capital Wasteland was a character all on its own. Littered with stories of the nuclear war, some told by people and others simply by what was left behind, players can get lost for days just picking through the remnants of a society long dead. The enclaves of civilisation and brutality that remained behind each told their own compelling tales in some of the best-written experiences ever to be captured in video game form. Having the majority of the DLC for this first-person RPG being of decent quality was a massive bonus as well.
09. Deus Ex – (PC, Mac, PS2, PSN)
There was no doubt that Deus Ex would be in the Top 10 (at the very least). This was one of the first first-person perspective titles that let players approach a game in the way that they wanted to rather than what the developers thought should be done. Simultaneously an FPS, stealth game, or RPG, the experience you got depended on how you approached obstacles. Sneak inside the air ducts or kick in the front door and slaughter everyone? Hack computers, disable security or take your chances? Deus Ex is still the gold standard for RPG hybrid titles.
08. Metal Gear Solid 3 – (PS2, 360, PS3, 3DS)
After the somewhat shocking reveal of Raiden in MGS2 (at the time) Hideo Kojima and his team returned with one of gaming’s finest moments. Playing as Solid and Liquid Snake’s father, Big Boss (also codenamed Snake), players were taken on a trip back in time to the 60’s. The jungle setting lent itself to new survival features and hosted one of the best boss fights of our time. It touched on certain historic political events and soothed us with a memorable ‘longest-ladder-in-the-world’ scene. This piece of art should be in every gamer’s collection.
07. Half Life – (PC, PS2)
Doom may have popularized FPSes, but Half-Life is credited with refining the genre and setting up the template for many modern shooters. Although ‘shooting aliens in corridors’ had been done countless times before, Half-Life showed us that it was special with the story-driven, unbroken narrative, realistic scenarios and crisp gameplay. The multiplayer side was a blast too, and was the basis for several mods which became successes in their own right. Moreover, it set up Valve as the juggernaut it is today.
06. Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness – (PC)
Blizzard broke the mould with Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness. The original was popular, but the massive success of its sequel lead to Blizzard turning the franchise in to this little MMO you might of heard of called World Of Warcraft. Blizzard’s Warcraft games are so popular that they don’t have to come up with a new IP for the next hundred years and they will still be one of the biggest game companies in the world. SWABOO.
05. Baldur’s Gate II – (PC, Mac)
Remember when BioWare still made good games? We sure do and to this day there’s not a single CRPG that comes close to the greatness of Baldur’s Gate II and its expansions. An epic story where it always felt you were the catalyst for changes in the world, characters both fleshed out and memorable , fantastic party banter and classic Dungeons ‘n Dragons gameplay, all combined in a monumental, peerless package.
04. Super Mario Galaxy 2 – (Wii)
Super Mario Galaxy 2 was comprised of the same gravity-defying, physics-based exploration from the first Super Mario Galaxy, only it also included brand new galaxies and features to challenge both novice and experienced gamers. Throw in Mario’s trustworthy sidekick Yoshi and some of the best boss fights seen in modern gaming and you have one of the best platformers of all time. It also appears to be the only Wii-only game to make this list.
03. Portal – (PC, Mac, PS3, Xbox 360)
Portal did something unique with the first-person view in games, swapping out shooting endless hordes of whatever-we-are-killing-this-time for some physics-based puzzle action. Players found themselves in an experimental testing facility, with only GLaDOS (and a Cube) for company, using their head more than their reflexes to get through to that delicious cake. As short as it was, the whole experience was a triumph. We’re making a note here, huge success…
02. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – (N64, 3DS)
What makes a game number 2 in the list? How about near perfect level design, a magical adventure, charming story and some of the most loveable characters ever. Ocarina of Time is notorious for the innovation it brought at the time and has inspired many great developments in games ever since. The game followed Link through the years on one epic journey to so much more than just your typical rescue mission. The word “Legend” could not be more fitting.
01. Super Mario Bros. 3 – (NES, GBA, Virtual Console)
Look past the sprite-based graphics from 1988 and instead look at the faultless achievements it reached in each and every other aspect of gaming. Before this the only benchmark was its own predecessor. Mario could now walk to the left or right of the screen, he could grow by eating one of his mushrooms, shoot fireballs, jump on enemy heads to dislodge them, use a Frog suit to improve his swimming abilities and should you wish you could fly with the infamous Tanooki suit. Every stage brought with it a gradual increase in difficulty, there were never any sudden spikes and behind every brick there was something for you to explore. The soundtrack was so memorable that Nintendo brought it back in Super Mario Galaxy 2 on the Wii.
It’s the game that made gaming what it is today. Years and years of development time by Shigeru Miyamoto and his team perfected their trade several years after the original…. and say what you want – those graphics are still charming to this day. Nintendo does not manufacturer HiFi’s, TV’s or computer software – they’ve always made games for gamers and nothing else (and playing cards once upon a time). Super Mario Bros. 3 is a prime example of what comes from the Nintendo camp when they get it together. This is the sort of gaming perfection we’re not likely to witness for many, many years and if you never had the opportunity to play this then you’re missing out on a big part of gaming history.