Your Top 10 Video Games, all time!


I just listened to this episode of Waypoint Radio where Austin, Rob, and Danielle talk about their personal top 10 games, the outliers (both games that don't fit on their list and games that are unique to them that wouldn't appear on other lists) and the value of older games and newer games on such lists. And it was so fun, I thought we should do it here.

So topic options:

-Your Top 10 all time
-What are your outliers
-Comments on other lists (#bebest)
-Do you lean older games or newer games

As for me... (I'll add text later)

1) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

2) Kingdom Hearts

3) Chrono Trigger

4) Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic

5) Dragon Age II

6) Final Fantasy VI (III)

7) The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

8) Mutant League Hockey

9) Mass Effect 2

10) Metal Gear Solid III: Subsistence

In no particular order:

Fallout 3
Mass Effect 2
Deus Ex
TIE Fighter
Dark Forces
Half Life
King's Quest VI
Thief 2

I skew older and toward pc games even though I've played a ton of console games over the years. I also find first-person the most immersive and I really dig story and setting.

I guess the biggest outlier in general is KQ6 because it represents the pinnacle of the point-and-click adventure game genre, but it's still considered to be one the best so it's still a relatively safe choice.

For games like Dark Forces, Fallout 3 and Oblivion, I recognize that there are better games in their respective series, but these were my first and are therefore special. These blew my mind when I played them the first time.

With almost 40 years of playing video games under my belt, this is a difficult list to compile. I'll combine games that made the biggest impact on me when I encountered them.

Pac Man (Space Invaders, and the Atari Combat cartridge were just a bit too early for me).
Hard Drivin'
Madden 96
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Uncharted 2
Demons Souls

detroit20 wrote:

With almost 40 years of playing video games under my belt, this is a difficult list to compile.

This. I have no idea how to compile this list. How do I even compare Elite on the Speccy with Skyrim VR? I can barely remember being 11, let alone tell you how it felt to play a specific videogame at that point.

I only have 30 years or so but I can't figure out how to do it either.

For example, I remember loving Myst when it first game out but was that just a product of the time (i.e. it looked significantly better than anything I had seen) or is it really worthy of being on the list?

I will have to think.

10 is not enough for any meaningful list I think. How do you even begin to decide which one should be 10th, and which should be left out.

Anyway, one list captured from my brain at May 14 around 6 PM could be
Dark Souls 1 (actually, every single Soulsborne game deserves a top 10 spot)
Diablo 2
World of Warcraft
Mass Effect 1
Civilization 2
Pillars of Eternity 1
Witcher 3
Baldurs Gate 2
Warcraft 3
Life is Strange

Guess I skew slightly to the newer side of games. While some older games might have had a great impact on me, I just cant put something like Tetris on a list today. Not because it is bad, it might be some of the most pure gameplay joy ever created, and I played a ton of it, but it is just not what gaming is to me anymore.
And then it is just much easier to get an idea about how I felt about a game even 15 years ago vs. 25 years ago. Like Dune 2 or Settlers 1, which might probably had some the greatest impact for getting me into games, but I can't convince myself that they should replace a 'better' game like Warcraft 3.

Outliers on my list is probably PoE1 and Life is Strange.
PoE1 is carried a long way on the nostalgia factor, but reviving and sometimes even improving an old beloved type of RPGs counts a lot to me.
Life is Strange often felt like it had low production value, but a lot of bonus points for trying. Part of the reason it is on the list is that I wanted a pure story/adventure game on there. Alternatively it should probably be The Longest Journey or Dreamfall, but those were not exactly less flawed games.

X-Wing: CD-Rom
This is my all time favorite game. I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in this game. I stopped because my THIRD pilot died or was captured in the 4th tour of duty and I burned out. I know that TIE Fighter is a superior game, but I never got to play that one. My friend gave me his copy but the fifth of five floppy discs was corrupted and it wouldn't install.

Now the rest in no particular order:

Final Fantasy IX
A love letter to the aesthetics of older FF games, I adored the relationships in this one, between Zidane shamelessly flirting with Dagger or being a great older brother to Vivi, it had the most characters I was really interested in.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3
It was like Sonic 2, but better!

Mass Effect 2
I enjoyed ME1 a lot, but the opening of this one sold me so hard. Added with save file decision carry over, I was hooked.

Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness/Beyond the Dark Portal
Sometimes I'd race through missions just to watch those awesome cutscenes. Plus, clicking on sheep til they explode is fun.

Risk of Rain
I don't know what it is, but I love this game. I still play it on the reg when I'm watching stuff on my PC.

Metal Gear Solid
I explored every nook and cranny of this game for years and still learned new things about it. So hammy yet so entertaining. Plus, fun with stealth camo.

Final Fantasy VII
This game made me a hardcore gamer. After an aborted family trip to Chicago, my dad took us all to Family Video and spent the money we were going to spend up there on rentals. Unlike every single other time we went, he told us we could rent whatever we wanted in whatever quantity, and I asked to rent a Playstation and 2 games. One was some dinosaur nonsense while another was FFVII. My eyes bugged out at the opening cinematic and I was hooked forever. Tragically, FamVid did not rent me a memory card, so I played the first 10 hours over and again several times. I started plans for crappy jobs to pay for a PS1 after that weekend.

When my mom offered to help me pay for a PC for my freshman year of college, I secretly upgraded the ones I was looking at just so it could run this game. She still doesn't know about it.

Starfox 64
We have friends in Indianapolis that are loaded and whenever we visited to go to the Brickyard 400, we would stay with them. They would inevitably invite their kids to come as well, and they would bring their kids. One set of those kids were fine, three good boys who'd behave. The other two sets were spoiled rotten and hyperactive. They were all smaller and younger than me, but my parents would mete out severe punishment if I hurt them in any way, so I would basically cordon off a section of one of the rooms with a TV and N64 with this game and play it and woe unto any of those f*ckers who ran into me while doing that. This game helped me cope with nine of those little bastards running around and screaming while I couldn't do anything to stop it. Also, I figured out how to beat the game on the top most path and I was damn proud of that.

I'm going to cheat a bit and use game series in the place of games, but always with an exemplar that sticks out for me from the rest of the bunch. It's also really hard for me to differentiate between games that I'd play again now, games that were improved by their sequels but that I still played more of the older ones, and games I loved back in the day but that didn't age well.

In no particular order:

Baldurs Gate 2
Star Control 2, especially the open-source Ur-Quan Masters
X-Com - the original, with OpenXCOM or XcomUtil
Civilization 4 and the rest of the series. I think 4 is the best game, but I actually played much more 1 and 2.
GTA San Andreas (I didn't like 4 at all, and 5 was fun but didn't quite have the crazy fun factor of SA)
Europa Universalis- 4 is the best game but I spent more time with EU2 + AGCEEP mod and its commercial spinoff For the Glory.
King of Dragon Pass
Ultima 7 (with U4 a close runner up). I bought a whole new PC to play this because my super-early 386/25 was missing one instruction that the funky Origin memory manager needed.
Assassin's Creed 2
Mass Effect 2

Just edged out: Falcon 4, Janes Longbow 2, or Janes F-15E Strike Eagle as the exemplar of medium/hardcore flight sims, none of which individually made the list. WoW because of an apocalyptic amount of play time though it wasn't ever a "great" game.

This is biased towards the last 20 years - there are some older games that I remember loving the heck out of but can't really place on the list. So, the superannuated honorable mentions:
Crush, Crumble, and Chomp (someone please please remake this)
Star Trek - the old fashioned text one
Star Raiders - the same thing but in 3d
Microprose Wingman
Castle Wolfenstein & Beyond Castle Wolfenstein
System Shock 2

The outlier among the others for myself is GTA- I find myself thinking I like thinkier games but what I end up playing more of lately instead is dumb shooters.

Relative to other people, my first instinct is to say KODP but since that's gotten a lot of attention lately I'll go with Jumpgate or Netrek, just because of obscurity. Or old XCOM because the new one really is genuinely better.

(no order)

Zelda: Link to the Past
Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Doom 2
AD&D: Treasures of Tarmin (Minotaur in EU territories)
Farming Simulator 15
The Sims 1-4 (love 'em all)
Crusader Kings II
No One Lives Forever
Gone Home

Reaching back to pre-Atari 2600, that wasn't as tough as I thought. I could think of at least 20 (or even 30) more that would be closer to the comprehensive GOAT list in my mind, but the selections above are pretty representative of the various highs over the years.

Hm, yeah, Gone Home is a good one too. Could have been a candidate for my 'story game' deliberation.

Civilization 2.
CounterStrike 1.6.
Grand Theft Auto 3.
Monkey Island.
Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time.

In no particular order.
Going to mull over this list a bit.

Edit: Crap. Doom, Final Fantasy VII, and Carmageddon need to be on that list.

Don’t think it’s possible to do a best list so I’ll do the ones that had the biggest impact on me, which seems to mostly line up with my social experience of them. No order.

Super Mario Bros. 3

I don’t remember ever being as obsessed with a game, or a game that everyone else I came into contact with anywhere near my age range was also as obsessed with.

Final Fantasy IV / VI

Have to combine them. Feels like one long summer of JRPG grinding goodness.

King’s Quest VI

As someone else said, the pinnacle of point and click games except maybe Gabriel Knight, but the social experience of my friends gathered around the PC trying to max out the points in this game gives it an edge.


Playing with friends via dial up. My parents picking up the phone and disconnecting us. Suffering actual phyaical withdrawal symptoms when we went on vacation. Good times.

Shadow of the Colossus

I bought this on PS2 on a whim knowing almost nothing about it. Mind blowing.

Metal Gear Solid

It’s really hard describing what it was like to play this compared to its contemporaries. I can’t think of any modern example that so sticks it from the pack. Still my favorite series despite missteps.

A Link to the Past

Playing this with my stepfather and with friends. Getting the Nintendo Power guide like two days after I beat it on my own and no longer needed it. I feel like a little kid again just remembering playing this for the first time.

Mario 64

I played with the menu screen for about twenty minutes before starting the actual game. Then I just ran around and jumped aimlessly for at least thirty minutes after that, giggling.

Perfect Dark / Goldeneye

Groups of friends gathered around for laptop gun action. Odd job is the worst.

Fallout 3

An emergent narrative experience I doubt I’ll ever top.

The top three here are set but beyond that the order could change at any point.

1. The Witcher 3
2. Mass Effect (yes, the original)
3. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Civ V (I spent the most time with 2 and think that 4 is the best strategy game in the series, but 5 is most enjoyable for how I play the game)
Zelda: BoTW (I had planned to buy no new games this year and get through a bunch of backlog games. Instead, I've played BoTW pretty much exclusively.)
Knights of the Old Republic (didn't play til 2008 and somehow had managed to avoid the big spoiler)
GTA Vice City
Super Mario World
And then I dunno. A bunch of games come to mind for #10: Star Wars: Jedi Knight, Space Rangers 2, Privateer, Skyrim, Mario Galaxy, Loom

I actually made up my list a couple of years ago, and I update it periodically as needed (which doesn't happen very often). My list actually has a mix of games that I've liked from my formative gaming years until now. All of these games I either played multiple times, or spent one very long time playing through the campaign.

In no particular order.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
I was a Nintendo kid, and this was the holy grail when it came out. I had only played the first few dungeons of Link's Awakening, so I was coming to Zelda relatively fresh, and it blew my mind. I still go back and play it every few years, and while it lacks a lot of details and side quests of modern games, it still holds up as solid.

Pokemon Red
I was 10-11 years old when the Pokemon games first hit American shores, and was basically the target audience for Pokemania. The combination of the game, show, cards, and movies pulled me in and sparked my imagination like nothing else. It wasn't my first game, but it was probably what really got me into gaming. I know it wouldn't hold up today, though.

Resident Evil 4
My first M-rated game, and what a game it was. I don't remeber how many times I played it, but I know I did a Chicago-typewriter only run, and maybe an infinite rocket launcher run as well.

Super Smash Bros. Melee
I can't tell you how many late nights I spent with friends in college playing this.

Persona 4
Borrowed this from a friend (after borrowing P3), and I liked the story and characters much more than I did in P3. I loved both games because they were the first big JRPGs that I played that spent a lot of time developing and fleshing out the characters and letting them interact, which made previous JRPGs I had played feel thin by comparison.

Ghost Trick
Here is my outlier. My favorite games are usually action games or RPGs. This is a half visual novel, half puzzle game. The writing is great, the story is great, the twists are great and made me yell OH **** quite a few times, and the game has impossible amounts of style. And Missle is top Pomeranian.

Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout 3 was my first WRPG somehow, and I loved the exploration in it. I then went back and played 1 and 2 before getting to New Vegas, and I loved basically everything about it, but especially the writing and missions in it. It helped that I played it well after launch, and had no issues with crashes.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (2005)
Got this on a random May the 4th sale on steam for like $2.49. Proceeded to drop about 246 hours into it. It was my go to pick up and play game until the servers went down.

Rocket League
My next pick up and play game. I've played 146 hours in it, and even if I'm not good at it (can't be bothered to practice aerials) I still love playing it. I need to play with the Bottle Rockets crew some time, but I don't know when that will happen.

Trails in the Sky First Chapter and Second Chapter
I'm going to cheat and put two games together, but since it's one continuous story I won't feel bad about it. It's a JRPG with all the anime cliches and a slow burn story (in the first game, anyway), but I loved the setting and the world building the game does. It luxuriates in conversations, and the NPCs dialogue changes after almost every event. But it does a lot to ground what is happening and develop the characters so when story beats happen it feels like they matter, which is something I love in RPGs; and some of those story beats were fantastic. The music is also top tier.

I have a few games that are on the outside looking in. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may supplant OOT one day, but it would need a replay at some point to see if it holds up when I see everything a second time. Xenoblade Chronicles is the best 60 hour long JRPG that I've played, that unfortunately goes for 80 hours and didn't quite stick the landing for me. And I got hooked on Star Wars: Rogue Squadron when the original trilogy got re-released, but I have no idea if it would hold up.

This is a topic I'm gonna have to return to later. Firstly, to have time to read everyone's posts, and secondly, to actually figure out what my ranking would be.

I guess in chronological order, since ranking them would be impossible.
Yar's Revenge: It was my first zen experience in a video game, at the highest difficulty I went into a trance playing it perfectly.
Ultima IV: The game that really opened up the possibilities of what an rpg could be.
Doom 2: First experience with multiplayer co-op and deathmatches. It was sublime, and still holds up today with lots of mods.
Civilization 2: In the mid-1990's I rarely quit a game til it was finished. I beat that game so many times and lost many evenings to it. (nowadays I lose focus on a game if a butterfly flutters by the window)
Ultima Online: First mmorpg experience, and still the best memories of online gaming.
Thief: The Dark Project: Exceptional sound mechanics, stealth, and freaky level design added up to a game that still holds a sense of mystery after all these years.
Baldur's Gate 1: A quantum leap forward in rpg's. Still the gold standard for party based gaming, I think.
Thief 2: The Metal Age. Better mechanics and design, less emphasis on freakiness.
Age of Wonders 2: Shadow Magic: Huge variety of races and magic, endless mods, and a pretty good campaign added up to 1000's of hours of 4X'ing.
Skyrim: Of course.

Chronological order is the only way to order this list...

And the amount of hours I put in Space Invaders.... World of Warcraft couldn't hold a candle to it!

In haste.. I would say

1. Swashbuckler
2. Lode Runner
3. Karateka
4. Pirates!
5. Defender of the Crown
6. Civilization
7. Dune (.. just one more sietch)
8. Dune II
9. Dungeon Keeper
10. World of Warcraft

And what about X-com, Lemmings, Strip Poker, Kings Quest, Blade Runner, Baldurs Gate and so on. Or the very first Leisure Suit Larry.. which fame diminished with every follow up they made.

Can't we make a top 10 per platform / Decade

This could cause massive analysis paralysis, so not thinking about it too hard, a list of games that have sucked me in big time over the years. Skewed older games because less choice and more free time equals more play.

Speedball 2
Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis
Masters of Orion 2
Sensible Soccer
Warcraft 2
Advance Wars
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

Outlier there I guess would be Dark Alliance, I'm guessing not the Baldur's Gate game people usually include in fave lists!

I've missed loads am sure, even making snap judgements a top 10 is harsh.

Edit... and yeah it appears Blizzard know how to tickle my fancy!

I find it hard to compare older to newer games. I mean, I remember loving Baldur's Gate, but I really can't remember much about it. It's more remembering feelings than specific mechanics or storylines. So, when I come to write a list like this it's impossible to compare a game like Baldur's Gate 2 with a modern classic like Witcher 3. I love them both, but when I pushed usually say Witcher 3 is my favourite of all time, because it's fresher in the mind and I'm more convinced I actually loved it. So, I decided to exclude anything before a certain point from my list because I simply can't compare them. I needed an arbitrary cut off point so I chose the release of WoW as that point, because that game drastically changed the sort of gamer I was (and up until that point I would really have thought of myself as a gamer anyway).

1. The Witcher 3
2. World of Warcraft
3. Team Fortress 2
4. Mass Effect 2
5. Diablo 3
6. Dragon Age: Origins
7. Heroes of the Storm
8. Subnautica
9. Total War: Warhammer
10. Crusader Kings 2

Outlier: I very much doubt anyone will have Heroes of the Storm on their list. I'm an unashamed Blizzard fanboi, and that game just sucks my life for weeks at a time. Then I burn out, but I always come back. For someone who shies away from competitive multiplayer, partly due to shyness, partly due to sh*tness, Blizzards achievement in making a MOBA feel accessible to me makes it worthy of a spot on my list.

Interesting that we both have three Blizzard games on our lists Kergguz, but not the same three

kergguz wrote:

Outlier: I very much doubt anyone will have Heroes of the Storm on their list.

I really should play that a bit more often (or at all, really). I just keep finding other games taking the priority in my gaming time.

My quick and dirty list:

  1. Chrono Trigger - I don't think there is any game I've looked back on as fondly and as often. It is a rare gem where everything, story, characters, music, combat, and more, just falls into place perfectly.
  2. Portal - While Portal 2 improves the original in so many ways, I still think the first one as being my favorite for one simple reason: it's length. It's satisfying to sit down and being able to play through the entire story in one or two sittings.
  3. The World Ends With You - Just like Chrono Trigger, this game managed to pull everything together into a nearly perfect bundle. It's unique, and often frantic, game play created a level of fun few RPGs manage to achieve.
  4. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - I would consider this my perfect Metroidvania (come at me Metroid fanbois!). A terrific franchise that is taken to it's peak, ignoring some questionable dialog...
  5. Final Fantasy 6 - I still consider this the best of the Final Fantasy games. It includes a large cast of memorable characters, most of whom feel like necessary threads in the incredible tapestry of the story. Add in how much the game mixes up game play and settings, and there simply isn't a better 2D RPG.
  6. Tetris - Classic. Addictive. I never grow tired of it.
  7. Civilization V (with expansions) - With all the addition and balances of the expansions, this is my favorite of a titan of franchises. I fully realize this might only be because I haven't play VI.
  8. Mario 64 - The game that made 3D platformers work, and still one of the most fun to play. The sense of freedom in this game still remains incredible. While newer additions to the franchise add great gameplay elements and superior visuals and sound, Mario 64 is the one I remain happy to return to.
  9. Super Mario Bros 3 - My favorite of the 2D Mario games, and, like the original Super Mario Bros, a masterwork of 2D platformers. I perfer 3 over 1 simply because it offers more choices. It isn't as linear and the levels and the powerups offer more ways to approach each level than the original SMB.
  10. Final Fantasy Adventure - I have played through this game in it's entirety more often than any other handheld game. While it is a Zelda-like RPG adventure, there is something about it that has pulled me in over the years over Nintendo's much more recognizable franchise (not that the Mana franchise is forgotten, of course). It kills me that the remakes of this game have been so lackluster.

Final Fantasy Adventure is probably my outliner, given that it is a scaled down, Zelda-want-to-be that would have likely been mostly forgotten if it wasn't for Secret of Mana.

qaraq wrote:

I'm going to cheat a bit and use game series in the place of games, but always with an exemplar that sticks out for me from the rest of the bunch. It's also really hard for me to differentiate between games that I'd play again now, games that were improved by their sequels but that I still played more of the older ones, and games I loved back in the day but that didn't age well.

I don't think there's really "cheating" in this exercise.

Also, you certainly won't be alone in presenting collections of games together as an entry in your list. If you ask me, some game experiences become worthy of noting as favorites precisely because of the larger context of the series or collection of games rather than the singular achievements of one particular entry.

For example, whenever I find time to figure out my list, you'll see me grouping together at the very least Forza games and Elder Scrolls (or maybe even Elder Scrolls/Fallout games) and presenting them as single entry. In both those cases (and maybe in a few others) the way they inhabit my brain is more as ongoing, ever updating, ever evolving versions of very specific game experiences with through lines so strong that just considering a single entry would miss the point of why and how they're important to me.

Anyway, very excited to see this thread get made and read folks' posts. I too was very much intrigued by the idea presented by that episode of Waypoint Radio, and it really made me wish that I had thought years ago to start periodically building this sort of list every few years, so that I could look back and see how my thoughts and tastes in games changed over time. Anyway, never too late to start.

Bubblefuzz wrote:

Interesting that we both have three Blizzard games on our lists Kergguz, but not the same three :)

Pretty cool for a company that only had one game for about a decade

(only slightly joking... for a long time they were just 'the World of Warcraft company'. Cool that they've given their other franchises more love in recent years and branched out a bit).

Okay, my list far too diverse to sort although my number 1 is clear:

1)Witcher 3

It seems the case with modern RPGs that as the series goes on it gets less ambitious (see Mass Effect). The Witcher went the other way, being an open world that could have gone horrible wrong. But it retained the handcrafted feel of its predecessors in a world that was as close to living and breathing as I needed. Each game in this series is brilliant in its own way, but 3 was something truly special.

Everything else:
Warcraft 2
Half Life

I didn't grow up playing games. We had an Intellivision that was too much of a nuisance to play regularly, and I occasionally went to the arcade or played on the PC at a friends house.

After school I moved in with friends who played games regularly and I was introduced to these three. With these games the bug truly bit and my connection to video games was created.

Mass Effect

An ambitious and messy title that had its most interesting features polished off in subsequent releases. I still get a chill remembering the first time opening the galaxy map in the Normandy and seeing all the possibilities.

Saints Row 3

This fun and irreverent take on the open world GTA-type game got me into open world games for the first time. Turn out the key to a fun open world is a good game that happens to be in an open world. Not an open world with a boring game stuck in it.

Guild Wars 2

Was a toss up between this and its predecessor. Guild Wars was my first real online gaming experience and I still fire it up every now and then. But the follow up took the spirit of Guild Wars and turned it into something very special.

Crusader Kings 2

A grand strategy game where not getting assasinated by your wife is more important than painting the map your colour? Where expanding your borders needs machinations before you go to war? Sign me up.


I ignored this for years. It looked like a cheesy multiplayer third-person shooter, yet the thread kept popping up on the forum and after a few days of lurking there I decided to give it a try and I fell in love. Tuned out it was mostly PvE co-op with an amazing movement system.


I actually struggled to come up with a 10th game. Witcher 1 was a front runner, when I remembered how much I enjoyed this back in the day. A true tactical shooter where killing was penalised. I still haven't picked up SWAT 4, but it's up on GOG now, so I will soon enough.

The Outlier:

Probably Warframe. I tend to play most games slowly and methodically. This game rewards movement and is far more frenetic than my usual fare.

Final Fantasy 3/6Probably a game that cemented my love of the JRPGs. The early internet and me printing out walkthroughs for this game hyped me up for this.
Chrono Trigger I probably could choice between this and FF3 so I chose both. It is a wonderful game full of choices and snappy fun.
Fallout 2 This was the first CRPG I fell for hard. It was a crazy world full of drugs, bad people, hard choices and an smg to the face.
Etrian Odyssey 3 Generally the series is awesome. I love that it continues to the newest handhelds.
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the past I can sit down and finish this game bar none. No rough edges or anything for me.
Team Fortress 2 My break up game. The game that I probably put more hours than I care to mention. It was that game that when I was hurting it let me heal.
Bloodborne There are plenty of good souls games. This one in particular in the speed and tone just is my favorite.
Atelier Totori
Persona 3 P4 is classic but 3 is where everything clicks. Burn my dread.
Ninja Gaiden: Black It is the character action game. Change my mind.
Doom 2 Super shotgun all the way.
Outlier: Probably the Hot Shot's Golf/Everybody's Golf I love this style golf game. I don't know why. It is just so good.

I decided to stop giving this list so much thought and just go with whatever bounced into my mind/memory as I went along. Because you say "Best of All Time" I'm busy trying to qualify things and as a result my efforts to be consistent result in more inconsistency. So effectively this is largely games that had the greatest impact on me or what I love about the industry mixed with where I stand on the franchise or genre as a whole.

No particular order.

  • Super Mario Bros.
    Yeah, I know, Mario Bros. 3 is "the best" of the side-scrollers, and then you have the evolution of the franchise in games new and old. Y'know what? I don't care. The original Super Mario Bros. was likely the biggest game changer in video games. It took advantage of the tech to introduce a new level of polish and possibility that other games on the Nintendo wouldn't have dreamed of. The physics of Mario combined with the careful feedback of sound effects and addition of warp pipes... just the fact that the game was tested and balanced in the way it had been. Nintendo exhibited good software design principles before it was the big deal it was today. Nintendo was doing what Valve became famous for thirteen or so years before Half-Life was even a thing. We effectively owe modern video games to Super Mario Bros., and the fact that it is still enjoyable today despite the outdated tech and expanded sequels is enough of a testament to its quality.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
    I know it's often an argued joke around here and just about every time it comes up I find myself being too emotionally invested. I do sincerely believe Final Fantasy Tactics has the best story told in video games even to this day. It builds a believable world facing real political challenges combined with a resonant epic tale where it turns out Jesus was the devil all along. Moreso, the very fact that the hero is a nobody overshadowed by a morally questionable man praised for saving the people from the nobles... if this story were a novel it'd have been influential. Instead, as a game, it gets forgotten. Yeah, the mechanics and balance of the battles aren't perfect, despite the fact that they're deliciously crunchy. Other games may have improved some aspects of the combat system, but never has there been a whole product to top it. Final Fantasy Tactics is incredible and it needs to be ported to every platform possible ASAP since I'd rather not be forced to play it on my phone.
  • Final Fantasy VII
    I know. Ridiculous, right? I can hear Clockwork's laughter already. In the end, though, I cannot help it. This is the Final Fantasy I look back on most often and most fondly aside from Final Fantasy IV, and VII is an undoubtedly better game. While I do believe VI had the better story, FFVII was... well, it was a lot. Going back as an adult I found the story to be way better than I first believed. The combat may be as outdated as any old Final Fantasy, but I think it's the best, non-class based of that traditional battle system. Locations like the Gold Saucer and mini-game events like the bike race helped expand the gameplay possibilities to push the franchise into the boundary-breaking territories I always believed it to be. Even if Final Fantasy isn't the greatest RPG series out there, and even if FFVII isn't actually the best, I think its significance is due as much to itself as it is to Sony's marketing campaign.
  • Destiny
    So, I started writing about Halo: Combat Evolved. The co-op, the shooting mechanics, enemy variety and A.I... the thing is, I liked aspects of Halo 2 better than CE, and then I liked aspects of Reach better than CE. In trying to figure out what it is I loved about these three games, I realized that the version of Halo that encapsulates everything I love about the franchise is... the original Destiny.

    All of Bungie's lessons regarding mechanics, enemy A.I., elevation in difficulty, and co-op play was shoved into and expanded on in Destiny. What's more, what I always loved about Halo was the lore behind the Covenant itself and what that meant for a doomed humanity... both of which would be expanded and done in a more fascinating way in Destiny. The only superiority in the Halo series then lied in Halo 2's writing, where the story took a lot of the hinted at lore and theories and expanded on them in a way that paid off (and then everything else Halo promptly ruined). Destiny's lore is fantastic, and while it has always struggled to tell its story, events such as Taken King and, yes, even House of Wolves, have left an impact on me. So... yeah. Destiny 1 really was that good, and I'm going to be sad when the servers go down in September.

  • Metroid Prime
    It was a rough toss-up between Prime and Super Metroid. As I said in my Metroid Prime Echoes analysis, I don't think we've got the best possible Metroid yet, and having played Echoes again I think there's a lot of ways Prime could be improved upon. Even so, having played it enough to know where I should go, its lows aren't as low as other entries in the series. This makes Metroid Prime the closest to my quintessential Metroid game, and thus my preferred procedural exploration game to return to. I'm also a sucker for every log that can be found and the depth it gave to Chozo and Space Pirate cultures. Both Zelda and Metroid are key to my game preferences, in that I'd rather item pick-ups and upgrades over loot and RPG mechanics in my action game. However, Metroid is just... it's closer to my heart, really.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
    Too soon? Perhaps, but the thing is... I really do like the old Zelda formula, but I can't really claim that any one is better than the other. The Zelda franchise as a whole is one that I like, but there's no one game I hunger to return to over and over. I used to claim A Link to the Past was my favorite, but as I've gotten older... I like 'em all. I just like the formula.

    Breath of the Wild? That's a different story. I don't love it because it's a Zelda game or shook the franchise up. I love it because it's the first open-world game to never feel boring or tedious in the 90+ hours I put into it, and even now I have cravings to go back and play more. Last November I recorded some footage from the very beginning and just starting over felt wonderful. I've played plenty of open-world games, but Breath of the Wild is the first open-world game to feel like a world and get it right. All others are broken systems filled with chores in comparison. For me, Breath of the Wild is a game changer, just like Super Mario Bros.

  • The Wonderful 101
    Another one that might seem a bit "too soon", but in a lot of ways The Wonderful 101 did for action games to me what Halo did for shooters: reinterpret the mechanics in a way that's accessible to new players without compromising on challenge or resourcefulness. The combat is comparatively slower to titles like Bayonetta, DMC, and Ninja Gaiden, but the different powers available, how they interact, and the design of each foe in response to these powers makes for an incredible experience start to finish. While I had slowly been learning to appreciate action games more and more, I think The Wonderful 101 helped me better understand them and thus prep me to enjoy DmC and Bayonetta better (especially as my first time with Bayonetta I felt it incredibly over-rated. Going back to my old blog on it, I really didn't understand the game). It's the action game that has driven me to find love in a genre I might never have otherwise spent time with.
  • Mega Man X
    I can't say much about this one like I have the others. I haven't played every Mega Man game in existence. I'm not familiar enough with the Zero series or the DS franchise that followed. I know people keep singing the endless praises of Mega Man 2. But Mega Man X opened up the levels and added in upgrade/pick-up mechanics that, thanks to Metroid and Zelda, were becoming a beloved gaming staple for me. It gave X so much more mobility and options than Mega Man ever had on the NES. The levels were dynamic and consistently changed. The enemies were so animated and had such personality. It can be played and beaten in an afternoon, and even though I've done so at least two-dozen times (if not more), it never fails to entertain. There is something Mega Man X has that I've never found in another Mega Man game, ever.
  • Resident Evil 4
    Boy howdy do I wish I could put Dead Space here instead. It's actually surprisingly close between the two, but give me Resident Evil 4 on the Wii any day. A mixture of intense challenge while rewarding an understanding of mechanics and the environment. I still say people are babies when it comes to the whining about Ashley, and I wish more developers would take a risk at actually putting the player in the care of an NPC like her. It's not like she was an idiot charging into enemy forces. She tried to hide behind Leon, ducked when he aimed towards her, and overall stuck close. For everyone complaining about power fantasies they sure do hate when the game challenges you to think beyond "shoot all the things". Nevertheless, RE4 may have a supremely campy story, but man is it fun to go back to. One of the greats, for sure.
  • Nier: Automata
    Too soon again? Whatever, man. I was going to put Bioshock on this list until I realized everything it does in regards to narrative is child's play compared to Automata. There are layers upon layers of philosophy and conflicting ideologies here, and it doesn't have to impress games journos by making a clever statement about player agency. Which, yeah, at the time was some great stuff, but post-modern wankfests have become such a cliche of the industry that I kind of want to blame Bioshock for it as well. Nier: Automata certainly has its fill of post-modern themes as well, but despite the nihilistic shell the end result of this game is a positive, hopeful message, especially about the potential powers of games as emotional healing. So Hell Yeah I'm gonna give it up to Nier: Automata above Bioshock, or any other trendy Western "gaems r art" title of wannabe-Hollywood pretension.

    To be fair, I don't think that's at all what Bioshock is, I guess I'm just in a very hostile mood all of a sudden and want to tear something down/apart. I think it was reflecting on everyone's complaining about Ashley in RE4. Regardless, everything I love about Bioshock is outdone by other games, so despite its significance, kicked to the curb in favor of Nier: Automata spear-heading the pretentious literary game slot.

Here's my top ten...

Red Dead Redemption

Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City


Sid Meier's Pirates (NES version)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Mass Effect 2


Friday the 13th... don't judge me

Total Extreme Wrestling 2016

I'm impressed by how often CK2 is showing up in this thread. I still need to try it out sometime, before CK3 comes out (in 2025).

Jonman wrote:
detroit20 wrote:

With almost 40 years of playing video games under my belt, this is a difficult list to compile.

This. I have no idea how to compile this list. How do I even compare Elite on the Speccy with Skyrim VR? I can barely remember being 11, let alone tell you how it felt to play a specific videogame at that point.

The internet exists for porn, cat pictures, and making lists of pointless things. And, in dark corners, some likely combination of those three. So, have to think about this one . . .

Star Control 2 (naturally)
Planescape Torment
System Shock (first one)
Deus Ex
Mass Effect 1-3
Master of Orion 2
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Fallout 1-2
Half-Life 2

Yeah, I included some series... So sue me.

Honorable mentions: Dishonored 1-2, Doom (original), Dragon Age Origins and possibly Inquisition, Baldur's Gate 2, Team Fortress (the original Quake mod), Witcher 3, Assassins Creed 2, X-Com (original and remake) and X-Com 2 (remake), Portal, X-wing and TIE Fighter, Thief The Dark Project, Walking Dead S1 and Tales from the Borderlands, Subnautica, Batman Arkham Asylum and City, probably several others