The following is my personal list of the top 25 games of all time. I've been thinking of this for years constantly changing it as new games come out and bump older ones off the list but I might as well give out my list as it exists now (it hasn't changed for about a year now).
The list is organized in order from 1-25, with the title, system, developer, and the year the game was released also listed afterwards. For some I will give a reason why I chose the games.
1. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64, Nintendo, 1998)
I really shouldn’t have to explain this one. This game just rocked. Call it overrated or over-hyped if you like but you just can’t deny what this beauty meant for gaming. Revolutionary graphics, context-sensitive controls, a new degree of scale in bosses and environments, and a degree of polish and quality that rivals many of the games that come out today. You just can’t have a Tops list without this game on it, and it’s hard to argue from a all around standpoint it doesn’t belong in the Top of the Top.
2. Super Mario Brothers (SNES, Nintendo, 1985)
What can I say I do love the classics. Super Mario Brothers is notable not just for its revolution of the early 2D-platform genre, but for saving gaming. After the American Video Game market crashed in 1984 from over-saturation, it was Nintendo’s NES and Super Mario brothers that jumped in an saved the day for the future of all games everywhere. Plus, you can sit and play this thing till your eyes bleed! It’s everything Retro gaming should be, and was… two decades ago…
3. Final Fantasy VII (Playstation, Square, 1997)
You can really argue this one. I like it the most of the Final Fantasy Series, but I do acknowledge that many others agree that it wasn’t the best of them. Rather I like too see this game for introducing many features ideas, and concepts that have continued to drive RPG’s today. Final Fantasy Seven gave RPG’s a place outside of Japan, as they had long struggled to reach the casual gamers in the American markets. Its level of story, characterization, and its game play mechanics defined the genre. Its villain is widely considered as one of the best to ever come from a game, and its hero is a classical and iconic image for the entire series from which he comes. It is also notable as one of the first games for many, in which a central and beloved character dies.
4. Goldeneye 007 (N64, Rare, 1997)
While Wolfenstein may have created the FPS genre, it was Rare’s release of one of the few good movie video games that defined it. Goldeneye was really a candidate for the number one spot in my book but seeing how I have a tendency to force myself to consider more than just my personal enjoyment in how good a game can be and it’s significance in a Tops list, I had to bring her down lower behind other games.
But don’t get me wrong there are quite a few major innovations in what was in my opinion the best shooter of it’s generation. Goldeneye popularized the idea of a zoom in sniper rifle that gives all of us the right to scream “Boom! Headshot!” over our microphones, and then brag when we get a No Scope sniper kill. Furthermore no shooter before Goldeneye had used area specific damage, meaning that Goldeneye was the first games where a headshot could mean an instant kill.
5.Starcraft (Windows, Blizzard Entertainment, 1998)
You really can’t have a Tops list without this one showing up somewhere. This iconic RTS game is considered by many the greatest game ever to enter its genre. It’s use of three races, a widely acclaimed and beloved story line, and well-implemented game play are considered to have set the standard for every RTS that came after it. Plus, for the nation of South Korea, it’s practically a national pass-time!
6. Super Mario 64 (N64, Nintendo, 1996)
Nintendo's Italian stereotypes first adventure in 3D really can't be ignored. It contained many platform innovations that are still in play today, including its use of a controllable camera and it's analog control and it's basic level design concepts.
7. Grand Theft Auto III (Playstation 2, Rockstar Games, 2001)
Ranked as possibly one of the greatest games ever made, Grand Theft Auto III, though not the first game of its series or type, did bring the series into it’s crowning glory. Popularizing the sand-box style of previous games such as The Getaway, and adding new levels of open ended game play, Grand Theft Auto like many other games I’ve listed in the Top Ten, was not only a boatload of fun, but a game that set a standard for everything that came after it.
8. Halo: Combat Evolved (XBox, Bungie, 2001)
Halo reminds me much of Harry Potter or Twilight. It really doesn’t seem that different from the rest, but somehow it holds something over you that you just can’t escape. However, unlike Harry Potter or Twilight, Halo meant something else. Revolution. Halo revitalized what had become for many a dying or generic genre. It introduced a control scheme and game play format that has been imitated time and again, and brought back the FPS genre from a cold stagnation it had sat in for well over a half decade and was well regarded for its superior enemy and ally AI in comparison to it’s compatriots and its incredible symbolism and stock, but iconic main character.
Also of recognition are its effects on Pop Culture. Red vs. Blue, a drama comedy developed by Rooster Teeth that many attribute as popularizing Machinima animations. It’s sequel Halo 2, set forth a standard for online gaming on console systems, and was a massive cultural phenomenon that spanned a massive release and is one of the first games to be treated on equal footing by media giants with the releases of music and movies. It is notable for popularizing the Lan Party among more casual gamers.
9. Marathon: Durandal (Macintosh, Bungie, 1994)
Personally, I played this game on my PC using the Aleph One mod, but it really doesn't downplay the obvious significance the game must have had at the time it was released. Most people I know have never heard of it, but as a game, it was one of the first shooters to include any real degree of a story line and characterization, and the first to feature Dual Wielding weapons and voice chat multiplayer.
10. Doom (MS-DOS, iD Software, 1993)
Personally, I never got much into Doom. I thought the idea behind the game was a little stupid. But you really can’t argue with its massive importance. Doom gave birth to a new level of 3D graphics, was a major pioneer in multiplayer, and most notably, giving birth to Mod culture that has become a major block for the PC market.
Here’s the rest. I’m not giving explanations for all of them. You can look them up online and in various review archives or search Wikipedia, which is very good for picking up public opinions as well as ratings.
11. Age of Empires (Windows, Ensemble Studios, 1997)
12.Sid Meier’s Civilization II (Windows, Microprose, 1996)
13. Halo 2 (XBox, Bungie, 2004)
14. Grand Turismo (Playstation, Polyphony Digital, 1997)
15. Mario Kart 64 (N64, Nintendo, 1997)
16. Pong (Arcade, Atari, 1972)
17. Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube, Capcom, )
18. Rome: Total War (Windows, The Creative Assembly, )
19. Wolfenstein 3D (MS-DOS, iD Software, 1992)
20. Metal Gear Solid (Playstation, Konami, 1998)
21. Super Smash Brothers (N64, Nintendo, 1999)
22. Street Fighter II (Arcade , Capcom, 1990)
23. Final Fantasy X (Playstation 2, Square Soft, 2001)
24. Space Invaders (Arcade, Taito, 1978)
25. Devil May Cry (Playstation 2, Capcom, 2001)
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