HOME | Top 1000 - List | Top 250 - Detailed |
|

1) Tetris

Year of Release: 1985
Developed By: Alexey Pajitnov & Vladimir Pokhilko
Published By: Bullet Proof Software, Infogrames, Mirrorsoft, Nintendo, Sega, Philips
Platforms: Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Arcade, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, Mac OS, MSX, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo Game Boy, Philips CD-i, Sega Mega Drive, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, WonderSwan Color

"It's the puzzle game. Not a puzzle game, THE puzzle game; the most-played, most-imitated, most influential puzzler of all time. Nothing else comes even remotely close.

It all goes back to Tetris, though -- little chunks of four blocks falling down into pits. It embodies the neat mixture of simplicity and depth that's the mark of any classic puzzler, and even more importantly, a game of any genre." - IGN, 2007

2) Super Mario 64

Year of Release: 1996
Developed By: Nintendo EAD
Published By: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS

"Mario made the jump to 3-D in this delightful gem that Nintendo smartly released alongside its N64 console. Gamers explored the Mushroom Kingdom like never before, taking leisurely strolls around the castle, sailing through air and fighting Bowser's minions across multiple worlds. Not only is this a sweet game, but it defined the 3-D platform experience, influencing numerous designers to create their own, original offerings." - Gamedaily, 2008

3) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Year of Release: 1998
Developed By: Nintendo EAD
Published By: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 64

"There's a reason that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is widely regarded as one of the greatest video games ever created and it won't take you long to find out why that is. The game takes everything that was great about the Zelda series and somehow manages to bring it all into the world of 3-D graphics without a single hitch. Not only that, but the developers have also managed to add enough new elements to make the game truly stand out from the previous releases in the series. Ocarina of Time is honestly as close to video game perfection as you can get and an absolute must-play for any video game fan." - Nintendo Life, 2007

4) Doom

Year of Release: 1993
Developed By: id Software
Published By: GT Interactive
Platforms: 3DO, Atari Jaguar, Nintendo Game Boy Advance, PC, Sega 32X, Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, Super Nintendo (SNES)

"The contributions Doom has made to the video game world are legion. It busted the first-person shooter genre wide open. It proved shareware and game demos could be a viable marketing tool. It showed how visceral the online head-to-head experience could be. It opened the doors for player-created game expansions. Perhaps more important than all these landmarks, however, is the fact that Doom is just plain fun. No matter what system it's running on, exploring, finding secrets, and killing everything in sight within the smooth first-person engine is as fresh now as when Doom was first introduced." - Game Informer, 2009

5) Half-Life 2

Year of Release: 2004
Developed By: Valve Corporation
Published By: Valve Corporation
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox, Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"Half-Life 2 is the game of the decade, not just because it's good, but because it encapsulates so much of what mainstream gaming has been trying to do for the last ten years; the aspiration to create believable, physically accurate worlds, then to make us a part of them. The narrative and technical achievements of this game and its episodic follow-ups have been equaled, perhaps, but not significantly bettered. We may see Half-Life's usurper in the coming decade - we may witness the next quantum shift in the medium. It will be fun getting there." - The Guardian, 2009

6) World of Warcraft

Year of Release: 2004
Developed By: Blizzard Entertainment
Published By: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform: PC

"World of Warcraft's biggest revelation is that the 12 million people who subscribe to Blizzard's mega-hit MMO aren't that different than non-players. Sitting down for a few hours with an Alliance instance or a Horde raid may not be all that different from watching a day's worth of football on a Sunday. Except in World of Warcraft, you get to slay a giant freaking ogre, which is more than an armchair quarterback can say." - TIME, 2012

7) Final Fantasy VII

Year of Release: 1997
Developed By: Square
Published By: Square, Eidos Interactive, Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: iOS, PC, Sony Playstation

"Perhaps the most influential game of all time, Final Fantasy VII changed the video games industry in a profound way. Before Final Fantasy VII, video games were pretty much straight, simple, objective-oriented games. Go through this level, collect this many items, and so on. Final Fantasy VII brought a deep (at the time anyway) story, the likes of which most gamers had never seen. Although many games before it had been story-oriented, Final Fantasy VII was the first one to have a true cinematic feel. The game also revolutionized the way graphics enhanced a game's experience, with CG sequences and richly detailed prerendered backgrounds that had not been equaled at the time." - Gamespot, 2002

8) BioShock

Year of Release: 2007
Developed By: Irrational Games
Published By: 2K Games
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"In a time when contemporary urban landscapes, fantasy-themed townships, and shiny futuristic cities were so prevalent that one seemed to blur into the next, Bioshock introduced me to Rapture, a world completely unlike anything I had ever seen in a game, or just about anywhere else. Mechanically, it was a competent successor to System Shock 2, but it was the pervasive, palpable presence of Rapture and its creators that make the game one of the greatest of all time." - IGN, 2015

9) Metal Gear Solid

Year of Release: 1998
Developed By: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
Published By: Konami
Platforms: Nintendo Game Boy Color, PC, Sony Playstation

"I'm in awe. An admittedly ambitious project from the very beginning, Metal Gear Solid has managed to deliver dutifully on all of its promises. From beginning to end, it comes closer to perfection than any other game in PlayStation's action genre. Beautiful, engrossing, and innovative, it excels in every conceivable category." - IGN, 1998

10) Resident Evil 4

Year of Release: 2005
Developed By: Capcom Production
Published By: Capcom
Platforms: Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Wii, PC, Sony Playstation 2

"Resident Evil 4 is a reminder of the days before the madness of San Andreas was replaced by the sobriety of GTAIV, when Lara Croft was fighting dinosaurs rather than rapists. It's a game filled with nonsensical flights of fantasy and heavy with indulgences the likes of which only a Shinji Mikami could get away with in a company as large as Capcom. There are cutscenes most players will never see, Easter eggs few will ever discover and entire systems built for fleeting moments then discarded forever - movable bookcases for a siege, a boat for a three-minute boss fight, weaponised lanterns for Ashley's brief interlude, a jet ski for the final escape - and all of them are executed flawlessly." - Edge, 2013

11) Super Mario Bros.

Year of Release: 1985
Developed By: Nintendo R&D4
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

"Super Mario Brothers might as well have come down from another planet. In an age where Pitfall was the standard of console game sophistication, showing a kid Mario was like buzzing Kitty Hawk with the Space Shuttle while the Wright Brothers were taking their first flight. Thirty-two scrolling levels, eight bosses, undersea adventures, power-ups, warp zones, coin heaven, dozens of secrets, and an unforgettable musical score were almost too much to get our minds around. Fortunately, Nintendo's ingenious and instructive World 1 level design taught us everything we needed to know to begin our quest across the enormous Mushroom Kingdom." - IGN, 2015

12) GoldenEye 007

Year of Release: 1997
Developed By: Rare
Published By: Nintendo,Activision
Platform: Nintendo 64

"Until 1997, home consoles were a bit of a wasteland when it came to shooters. Aside from a handful of relatively shoddy ports, gamers seeking a quality FPS needed to saddle up to a PC. But all of that changed when Rare's Nintendo 64 hit proved that you didn't need a mouse and keyboard to experience a phenomenal shooter. A diverse, cinematic campaign lured us in, but it was the impeccable multiplayer that kept this cartridge locked into our consoles for years after its release." - IGN, 2015

13) Super Mario World

Year of Release: 1991
Developed By: Nintendo EAD
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Super Nintendo (SNES)

"It's hard to put into words just what exactly it is that makes Super Mario World so amazing. Is it the clever, challenging level design? The careful pacing and wealth of layered secrets? The fact that it gave us Yoshi?

For a character who originated on the arcade and became a star in the 8-bit era, Super Mario World marked a remarkable next-gen debut for the mustachioed plumber. To this day, Super Mario World remains one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful, and widely beloved games of all time." - Popular Mechanics, 2014

14) Deus Ex

Year of Release: 2000
Developed By: Ion Storm
Published By: Eidos Interactive
Platforms: Mac OS, PC, Sony Playstation 2

"While today it may offer a hilariously cartwheeling narrative, hideous voice-acting and far too much 'We've seen the Matrix 20 times!' it still carries that unmistakable air of wanting videogames to be so much more than they'd been before. It's a protest, a call to arms, an uprising against what games were in danger of becoming. A world that explores you as you explore it, the constant choice of how to behave and how to fight and the still-rare sense of wanting to educate you while taking your own intelligence entirely seriously. That, and reminding men that it really is not cool to walk into the women's toilets." - Rock, Paper, Shotgun, 2011

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

Year of Release: 1991
Developed By: Nintendo EAD
Published By: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Game Boy Advance, Super Nintendo (SNES)

"It's rare that a prequel should be better than the original but Link To The Past turned Link into Nintendo's second superstar. This is a great adventure and seeing as it introduced multi-level dungeons, heart containers, the hookshot, the master sword and parallel worlds, it's importance in the Zelda legacy can't be overlooked. Yet even if you ignore all that, Link's journey to rescue Princess Zelda from the dungeon of Hyrule Castle is still gripping now." - Official Nintendo Magazine, 2011

16) Street Fighter II

Year of Release: 1991
Developed By: Capcom
Published By: Capcom
Platforms: Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Arcade, Commodore 64, Nintendo Game Boy, PC, Sega Master System, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Super Nintendo (SNES)

"Proof that the beat 'em up is one genre that hasn't necessarily benefited from advances in technology, Super Street Fighter II is still the best fighting game of all time some 15 years after its original release. Unbelievably this was the fourth Street Fighter II game but it improved upon previous versions with more characters and better visuals. Pitch perfect fighting action." - Official Nintendo Magazine, 2011

17) Halo: Combat Evolved

Year of Release: 2001
Developed By: Bungie
Published By: Microsoft Game Studios
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox, PC

"Halo: Combat Evolved set the standard for quality, action, and execution on Microsoft's consoles; it defined Xbox gaming as we know it. Until the release of Halo, first-person shooters always felt clunky on consoles; Bungie proved they were absolutely at home here, and opened up the doors for the genre.

Halo gave gamers everywhere a compelling reason to buy an Xbox. For just a second, let's put aside everything that Halo delivered as a game and face one sobering fact: If not for the triumph of Halo in the face of the PS2's incredible success, the Xbox never would have survived. It's the reason we have everything else." - Official Xbox Magazine, 2009

18) Chrono Trigger

Year of Release: 1995
Developed By: Square
Published By: Square
Platforms: Android, Nintendo DS, Sony Playstation, Super Nintendo (SNES)

"Chrono Trigger is a masterclass in RPG design, its execution so far beyond the quality and poise of contemporary JRPGs it's embarrassing. It represents the work of a company at the very top of its field, a team of designers so confident with the rules that they helped establish that they felt free to subvert and invert them to glorious effect. While this is a game presented in simple 2D sprites and count-the-frames animations, its underlying maturity and creativity is somehow all the more potent for it." - Eurogamer, 2008

19) Super Metroid

Year of Release: 1994
Developed By: Intelligent Systems
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Super Nintendo (SNES)

"The Metroid series differed from most other platforming games via its non-linear level design, large explorable world, and weapon-based combat. Samus Aran's 1994 Super Nintendo outing built on these elements with sharper graphics, cinematic elements, and even more refined gameplay, setting the standard for the side-scrolling action-adventure platformer genre that would come to be known as "Metroid-vania." Its influence can be seen in everything from the classic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night to modern indies such as Cave Story and Shadow Complex." - Popular Mechanics, 2014

20) Half-Life

Year of Release: 1998
Developed By: Valve Corporation
Published By: Sierra Studios
Platforms: PC, Sony Playstation 2

"If the industry were a crime scene, the guy with blue light would be seeing Half-Life's DNA all over the place. And yet, despite its host of imitators and disciples, Half-Life did that seamless style of play better than just about anything that's followed. It had more going for it than mere freshness; freed of expectation or example, Valve created something pure and unique that even the game's own sequels haven't quite captured. Sure, it's dated in places, and the low-gravity Xen levels that comprise the endgame represent one of the steepest drop-offs in quality the medium has ever seen -- but despite its age and flaws, Half-Life remains a masterpiece whose influence seems unlikely to fade with time." - 1up, 2012

21) Portal

Year of Release: 2007
Developed By: Valve Corporation
Published By: Valve Corporation
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"Released in 2007, Portal was met with unanimous, sustained praise and yet its influence has been almost non-existent. There have been no imitators, no cover versions, no respectful nods from other studios hoping to build upon its lessons and approach. That is, arguably, because it is a complete game, in which story and mechanics elegantly entwine and unfurl towards their natural conclusion. Like a short story that is too rounded to expand into a novel, and too idiosyncratic to birth a genre, Portal sits alone, majestic." - Eurogamer, 2013

22) Grand Theft Auto III

Year of Release: 2001
Developed By: DMA Design
Published By: Rockstar Games
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox, PC, Sony Playstation 2

"Grand Theft Auto III turned PlayStation 2s everywhere into roiling vistas of possibility where the id could run free and even the drudgery of getting around was a thrill.

It's almost laughable that its cartoonish violence was ever deemed controversial, because Rockstar arguably didn't get serious about its narratives until later. The punky scrappiness of Grand Theft Auto III harbored a rock-solid intuition about the new shape of fun, a hunch that continues to pay off very handsomely for Rockstar, its fans and video games in general." - TIME, 2013

23) Super Mario Bros. 3

Year of Release: 1990
Developed By: Nintendo R&D4
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

Fight monsters and mini-bosses, avoid ghosts and the burning sun. Make your way through water and quicksand. Dodge cannon balls and bullets and rescue the King's wand! In Super Mario Bros. 3 there are more warps, more chances at extra lives, and new special suits! The raccoon suit lets you fly and knock out blocks. The frog suit helps you out-swim the deadly fish. There are suits for every occasion! Store up flowers and mushrooms to use later on. Play game-show type bonus rounds! Go back to that last screen and get a mushroom! Pause to take a break, then continue where you left off!

Super Mario Bros. 3 is fun to play alone, or team up with a buddy to prolong the adventure!" - Popular Mechanics, 2014

24) Red Dead Redemption

Year of Release: 2010
Developed By: Rockstar San Diego
Published By: Rockstar Games
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3

"A true western can't be afraid to back down from its gritty substance, and Red Dead Redemption's final, unwinnable mission lives up to consequences often promised by the grim story. But that semi-tragic ending is earned by the plausibility of its rich open world, which is filled not just with outlaws to shoot, but also with cattle to herd and tame, animals to hunt, trains to rob (or protect), and townsfolk with whom you fight, drink, and gamble. But perhaps the grandest accomplishment was the sheer beauty of the territory, such that stumbling upon a rare sunset-lit vista while hunting for buried treasure was often reward enough." - Slant, 2014

25) Mass Effect 2

Year of Release: 2010
Developed By: BioWare
Published By: Electronic Arts
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"The first Mass Effect introduced players to the sci-fi universe that Commander Shepard and the crew of the Normandy could explore. With Mass Effect 2, the series streamlined its combat mechanics to feel more like a shooter while maintaining the RPG-inspired mechanics (earning experience points to level up, choosing and training skills, coordinating tactics with teammates) that appealed to fans of the first game. The result is one of the best gaming experiences in recent memory." - Paste, 2014

26) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Year of Release: 2007
Developed By: Infinity Ward
Published By: Activision
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"Until this mega-blockbuster, first-person shooters aiming for realism tended to focus on the events of World War II. And why not? Shooting at Nazis seemed to pose a less thorny moral dilemma than recreating a battle from, say, the Vietnam War. But by staging its conflict in a Middle Eastern locale, Call of Duty 4 brought a harrowingly familiar intensity to its campaign. Moral issues aside, it's not every day you get to narrowly avert a worldwide nuclear holocaust." - Paste, 2009

27) Shadow of the Colossus

Year of Release: 2005
Developed By: Team Ico
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: Sony Playstation 2, Sony Playstation 3

"Shadow of the Colossus weaves its own strange, fascinating mythology. A lone warrior on horseback arrives at an ancient temple with a body wrapped in a cloak; after hoisting his burden up on the stone alter, our hero, Wander, removes the cloak to reveal a lovely maiden, serene in death. A booming voice tells Wander he can return the soul to her lifeless body by defeating 16 fearsome colossi scattered around the land. Each colossus on your quest inspires awe, towering high above your head, sending earthquakes through the ground with each lumbering footstep. Few games in history can claim such taut atmosphere and dramatic scale." - Paste, 2009

28) The Last of Us

Year of Release: 2013
Developed By: Naughty Dog
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: Sony Playstation 3, Sony Playstation 4

"At a time when blockbuster action games are sinking into a mire of desperate overproduction, shallow gameplay and broken narrative logic, The Last of Us is a deeply impressive demonstration of how it can and should be done. It starts out safe but ends brave; it has heart and grit, and it hangs together beautifully. And it's a real video game, too. An elegy for a dying world, The Last of Us is also a beacon of hope for its genre." - Eurogamer, 2014

29) Starcraft

Year of Release: 1998
Developed By: Blizzard Entertainment
Published By: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform: PC

"StarCraft's legacy as one of the most important PC games ever made is secure. It revolutionized competitive gaming as we know, and is one of the only video games that could be rightfully called a true national sport. Part of its legacy is owed to the fact that it was in the right place at the right time. But its raw depth has helped it remain relevant even in the face of more advanced competition." - 1up, 2012

30) The Legend of Zelda

Year of Release: 1986
Developed By: Nintendo Research & Development 4
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

"One of the most beloved games of all time, Legend of Zelda is a bonafide classic, and with good reason. Zelda was the first "action-adventure" title that most people had ever come across, and its mix of action, interesting puzzles, fantastic (for the time) graphics, slowly expanding story, and hidden areas kept gamers glued to the screen. Then... just when you thought you had it beat, the game throws you a curveball and sets you back down in a world that's not only completely scrambled from when last you saw it, but is twice as hard on the hero as the first time." - Gamespy, 2004

31) Metroid Prime

Year of Release: 2002
Developed By: Retro Studios
Published By: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Wii

"Gamers who bemoaned Metroid's rebirth as an FPS took cold comfort in Nintendo's assertion that the game was a first-person adventure, not a shooter. We didn't know what this meant until Metroid Prime dropped. Then it all became clear: It wasn't about gunplay but exploration, puzzle-solving, platforming and story. By breaking the genre free from the clutches of Doom, this GameCube title took one massive stride forward for first-person games." - Wired, 2009

32) Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Year of Release: 2009
Developed By: Naughty Dog
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: Sony Playstation 3, Sony Playstation 4

"The first Uncharted game gave the PlayStation 3 something it sorely needed: an exclusive, killer franchise. But while the game had an interesting story, its frustrating and sometimes-buggy controls held it back from true greatness.

Uncharted 2 fixed that. Better controls made traversing ruins and jungle landscapes exciting instead of frustrating, while an improved combat system transformed gunfights from chore to treat. Nathan Drake's second treasure-hunting outing is nothing short of delightful-aside from all the henchmen trying to kill him." - Popular Mechanics, 2014

33) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Year of Release: 1997
Developed By: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Published By: Konami
Platforms: Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation

"Symphony of the Night is much more than just a fun side-scroller with an awesome twist, though. Dracula's castle has never been more varied, filled with gorgeous gothic pixel art and backed up by a fantastic soundtrack. Alucard and all of his monstrous foes are lusciously animated. It's basically the entire package. Art, animation, sound, gameplay, design... even replay value, thanks to multiple playable characters. It all comes together perfectly." - IGN, 2015

34) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Year of Release: 2011
Developed By: Bethesda Game Studios
Published By: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"In weaving together the extraordinary craftsmanship evident in the music, storytelling, adventure and world design of Skyrim, Bethesda has created a very special game indeed - one that's likely to remain in the affections of gamers for many years to come. It evokes a word that's overused in reviewing of all kinds: one that's best kept in the cellar in a plainly marked box and reserved only for the most special of occasions. For Skyrim though, I'd like to blow the dust off it, open up the lid, and enjoy a masterpiece with you." - Eurogamer, 2011

35) Super Mario Kart

Year of Release: 1992
Developed By: Nintendo EAD
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Super Nintendo (SNES)

"You always remember your first car - or kart, in Mario's case. This opening lap around the Mushroom Kingdom effectively created the kart racer, providing a blueprint of super-deformed vehicles, deranged tracks, and outlandish power-ups that all latecomers would follow. It made incredible use of the Mode-7 graphical abilities of the SNES, producing a startling near-3D look - it appears quaint now, but at the time the visuals were unmatched. However, Super Mario Kart's greatest accolade was in proving that humanity had never truly known rage before experiencing the ignominy of being smashed out of first place by an unseen red shell." - Empire, 2015

36) Minecraft

Year of Release: 2011
Developed By: Mojang
Published By: Mojang
Platform: PC

"Minecraft is a sandbox building video game which allows players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D world. The gameplay is inspired by Dwarf Fortress, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Dungeon Keeper, and Infiniminer.I once described Minecraft as the greatest game I have no desire to play. Which isn't quite fair, because I do want to play it. A lot. I just know that a single taste will have me hooked on its pixelated blocky world-building and I'll never get anything done again.

Minecraft's simplistic, rudimentary graphics are part of what makes the game so special. It's like the video game version of giving a creative seven-year-old a gigantic tub of Legos." - Popular Mechanics, 2014

37) Super Mario Galaxy

Year of Release: 2007
Developed By: Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Wii

"We should be tired of bailing out the hapless, girly-girl Princess Peach by now. If she hasn't yet learned how to keep herself out of Bowser's clutches, she probably doesn't deserve to be saved. But how can you possibly resist coming to her rescue yet again, especially when the journey offers so many giddy surprises. The designers at Nintendo who work on the Mario franchise have mastered the art of creating fresh, whimsical gameplay twists and Super Mario Galaxy is so well executed, it looks positively effortless." - Paste, 2009

38) Portal 2

Year of Release: 2011
Developed By: Valve Corporation
Published By: Valve Corporation
Platforms: Mac OS, Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"It's one thing to outthink a psychopathic computer program, as players did in the original Portal. But this brilliant sequel took things leaps and bounds beyond by asking players to outthink one another. In a co-op mode to rival all others, players were forced to work together, but never punished for betraying each other instead. In a meta move, the real cleverness wasn't in the exponentially more complex puzzles, but in the way it asked players to trust in that Charlie Brown-like way that their friends wouldn't infuriatingly, comically sabotage them at the last second. Shooting your friends was simple; trapping them in an infinite, head-spinning loop was impressive." - Slant, 2014

39) Final Fantasy VI

Year of Release: 1994
Developed By: Square
Published By: Square
Platforms: Sony Playstation, Super Nintendo (SNES)

"Mechs, firearms, and a variety of technologies that ride the line between science-fiction and steampunk all make their Final Fantasy debuts here. This is also one of the series' darkest entries with characters who contemplate suicide, several major deaths, and an insanely malicious villain who actually succeeds completely in his horrifying plan by the games halfway point. With the largest and most diverse cast of the entire Final Fantasy franchise, some haunting and emotional music from long time composer Nobuo Uematsu, the best set of side-quests ever delivered, and a wildly intense final battle, Final Fantasy VI is, without question, a series standout" - Popoptiq, 2015

40) Pac-Man

Year of Release: 1980
Developed By: Namco
Published By: Namco, Midway
Platforms: Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Commodore 64, Intellivision, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo Game Boy, Sega Game Gear

"Pac-Man marked the moment when video games transcended the arcade vending industry that birthed it to become a medium and business in its own right. No single pinball table had ever spawned a novelty rock song (Tommy notwithstanding). No cardboard-cutout target-shooting game ever launched its own Saturday morning cartoon. Even as Atari worked diligently on the home front to establish console gaming as something more than a passing fad, Pac-Man handily demonstrated the appeal of video games on every level." - 1up, 2012

41) Pokemon Red/Blue

Year of Release: 1998
Developed By: Game Freak
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Game Boy

"In both Japan and America, it's hard to think of a children's franchise more culturally ubiquitous than Pokemon. There were TV shows, card games, movies, and, of course, the best selling videogame franchise.

Beneath all the cutesy creatures and the feel-good coming-of-age story, the Pokemon franchise is a well-designed and engaging turn-based RPG that continues to stand the test of time. Fifteen years later, its formula has barely changed." - Popular Mechanics, 2014

42) Fallout 3

Year of Release: 2008
Developed By: Bethesda Game Studios
Published By: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"The idea of walking around a nuclear wasteland in 2077 is as much of a fantasy as anything else in a modern role-playing games, but the attention to details lavished by Betheseda upon their devastated, mutant-overrun version of Washington D.C. made Fallout 3 feel all too real. That's because the game allowed you to literally choose your own adventure. Because if you didn't feel like exploring the various ruined landmarks, subways, and museums that loosely connected the main plot, you could simply scavenge the surrounding, fully rendered areas, stumbling over old military bunkers and warehouses in the mountains, or picking through suburban homes, supplying your own grim stories and making your own brand of morality." - Slant, 2014

43) Space Invaders

Year of Release: 1978
Developed By: Taito
Published By: Midway, Taito
Platforms: Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo Game Boy, Nintendo Game Boy Color, Super Nintendo (SNES), WonderSwan

"The games on this list hold a great deal of clout with gamers for creating the threads that made modern gaming what it is today, but few truly transcend the medium the way Space Invaders does. Its sheer reach envelops the world even as its popularity finally descended from its dizzying heights. For many, Space Invaders was games, almost serving as both herald and ambassador for the audiovisual, interactive onslaught on the horizon. Perhaps because of this, it defined games as we know them today, setting the stage for the entire industry and inspiring countless developers to continue to bring their imaginations to life." - 1up, 2012

44) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Year of Release: 2003
Developed By: BioWare
Published By: LucasArts,Lucasarts
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox, PC

"Given how Manicheistic the worldview is in George Lucas' oeuvre, it surprised gamers when it was a Star Wars game that added shades of morality to a gameplay experience.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic took the consequences and branching story paths pioneered in games like Deus Ex and augmented them exponentially. You acted out every choice that made your character into a Jedi master or a Sith lord, giving the game a verve and believability that the latter-day Star Wars films lacked." - TIME, 2012

45) The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Year of Release: 2002
Developed By: Nintendo EAD
Published By: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Wii U

"Wind Waker was the bravest Zelda game Nintendo ever made. After Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask proved hits, fans demanded more of the same. Instead, director Eiji Aonuma dared to embrace change, delivering a cute, animated interpretation, with a younger Link searching for his kidnapped sister, not Zelda. Yet naysayers were silenced by ingenious dungeon designs providing memorable challenges, while the same cel-shaded style that drove some to apoplexy yielded stunning visuals, flawlessly capturing the imaginative sea-faring, pirate-filled journey at hand. In hindsight, Wind Waker is an undeniable work of art." - Empire, 2015

46) The Sims

Year of Release: 2000
Developed By: Maxis, Edge of Reality
Published By: Electronic Arts
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, PC, Sony Playstation 2

"Over a decade after it's release, The Sims and its subsequent expansion packs and sequels remain as the highest selling PC games of all time. Will Wright's interactive dollhouse seemed to do the impossible by destroying all notions of age, gender, and level of gamer. It was a game for everyone, whether they knew it or not. Very few developers have been able to transcend the concept of audience, but Wright and Maxis did that very thing with The Sims. Not only was it possible to live in the world of The Sims; it was encouraged." - 1up, 2014

47) Ico

Year of Release: 2001
Developed By: Team Ico
Published By: Sony
Platforms: Sony Playstation 2, Sony Playstation 3

"Single-player video games are lonely. Ico made loneliness feel magical by giving you a companion, even as it constantly reminded you how alien her mind must be. Just like Princess Yorda's gnomic utterances imply a story that she just can't share with you, so does the game's environment imply a vast narrative of which this story is only a part, creating a potent illusion of context by withholding backstory. While the gameplay itself is basic puzzle-solving and crude combat, it's the mood that makes it special, the constant sense that there's something vast just outside the frame." - Slant, 2014

48) Sid Meier's Civilization

Year of Release: 1991
Developed By: MPS Labs
Published By: MicroProse
Platforms: PC, Super Nintendo (SNES)

"PC game Civilization was inspired by Maxis's SimCity and Bullfrog's Populous, both games that let you muck with aspects of civilizations at different levels.

Canadian history buff Sid Meier had played and admired both, but wanted something grander that intermingled warfare, exploration, diplomacy, city-building and elements of political philosophy.

Civilization in 1991 was his answer, a turn-based strategy epic with a board game feel that asked players to lead a primitive tribe from the stone age to a flourishing civilization on the verge of traveling to distant star system Alpha Centauri." - TIME, 2012

49) Resident Evil

Year of Release: 1996
Developed By: Capcom
Published By: Capcom
Platforms: PC, Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation

"Perhaps Resident Evil will always be remembered for its B movie fare -- a horrible consequence of low quality production values in the early dawn of 3D games -- but its deceptively brilliant take on terror and suspense distilled some of the best elements of the horror film genre into a digital and playable form. Much like Sweet Home, Resident Evil focused on the horror movie trope of survival and forced players to carefully (and quickly!) weigh their options during an encounter. It's directed camera angles hid offscreen enemies and created a form of suspense around every corner. It's true that Resident Evil has changed significantly since its original incarnation, but Capcom's original ultimately refined a promising concept of the 8-bit era into a masterpiece. In the process, it gave the industry a brand new genre of video games." - 1up, 2012

50) Grand Theft Auto V

Year of Release: 2013
Developed By: Rockstar North
Published By: Rockstar Games
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, Microsoft Xbox One, PC, Sony Playstation 3, Sony Playstation 4

"There's something of an East Coast/West Coast rivalry internalised by the Grand Theft Auto games. After dominating a pseudo-New York in GTA IV, the fifth entry hopped back across 'Murca for a sun-soaked tale of criminal fraternity in Los Santos. One of the most painstakingly realised virtual cities ever seen, it's perfectly possible to spend days blissfully exploring, enjoying bitingly satirical radio stations. Not enough? The complex relationships between three leads - a series first - whose lives are spiralling out of control leads to one of the series' most engrossing stories, capped off by Oscar-worthy performances from its voice cast. Impeccable." - Empire, 2015
Design & coding © 2015 - 2017 Peter Searle & Jeroen te Strake. Special thanks to Wesley.
About the project | Sources
Games data provided by TheGamesDB.net