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

51) Dark Souls

Year of Release: 2011
Developed By: FromSoftware
Published By: Namco Bandai Partners
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"Dark Souls' main claim to fame is how brutally difficult it is. That's deliberate though; director Hidetaka Miyazaki's pushback against the softening of modern games. With ferocious enemies, unforgiving terrain, and fatal traps, every step taken through the cursed land of Lordran is potentially your last. Yet your fate is ultimately in your own hands, failures frustrating but fair. Traps can be avoided, enemies out-manoeuvred, terrain navigated. Each death makes you a little wiser, and you'll soon wade back in with masochistic delight in hopes of uncovering more of the world's hidden, horrifying secrets." - Empire, 2015

52) 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

53) 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

54) Super Smash Bros. Melee

Year of Release: 2001
Developed By: HAL Laboratory
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo GameCube

"The first Super Smash Bros. was a Nintendo fanboy's wet dream: Take a bunch of Nintendo's most famous faces and throw them into a single, massive battle royale. The results were awesome. Two years later, Melee upped the ante-more characters, better graphics, and more varied movesets. Today, Smash Bros.'s legacy can be seen in a new wave of competitive local multiplayer games, such as TowerFall and Samurai Gunn." - Popular Mechanics, 2014

55) Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Year of Release: 2002
Developed By: Rockstar North
Published By: Rockstar Games
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox, PC, Sony Playstation 2

"Vice City is every bit as good as we thought it would be - if not better. When a game can keep you as consistently entertained as this one, you'll be glad of the depth, and you really won't want to stop playing it. But don't expect to be constantly surprised, for much of Vice City is a retread of old ground, and if you didn't like the last one, then Vice City probably won't change your mind. But bear in mind that's rather akin to being a footballer and deciding that you'd rather not play with a ball today. Do yourselves a large favour and buy this game, or as Rockstar once advocated, steal it." - Eurogamer, 2002

56) Baldur's Gate II

Year of Release: 2000
Developed By: BioWare
Published By: Black Isle Studios
Platform: PC

"Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn was very much a leader of the pack during the RPG renaissance of the early 2000s and is still an excellent example of that genre's strengths. From its fantastically written characters and story to its vast arsenal of weapons, armors and magic, Baldur's Gate 2 was an adventure that you could not only get lost in, but that could be lived in, spending hundreds of hours exploring every hidden secret and mystery." - IGN, 2015

57) Donkey Kong

Year of Release: 1981
Developed By: Nintendo Research & Development 1
Published By: Nintendo
Platforms: Amstrad CPC, Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Colecovision, Commodore 64, Intellivision, MSX, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Sinclair ZX Spectrum

"Donkey Kong's clever coding made it difficult to parse luck from skill, and the simple clarity of the game design made battling the giant ape even more maddening. All you needed to do was run, jump and pause at the right times, over and over again, and you'd eventually send Donkey Kong tumbling down the construction girders. And the cycle starts again, with you thinking, "I just did this. I can do it again. No sweat." But dodging, smashing and jumping the ever quickening springs, barrels and fireballs did make you sweat. You were sharpening your reflexes, sure, but to what end? To play more Donkey Kong, of course. What else was there?" - TIME, 2012

58) Team Fortress 2

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

"It is a game where even a day's worth of play could fill a website's worth of anecdotes. Standing at the top of a tower trying to avoid Demo Man rounds while Heavies mount the stairs and Spies attempt to get behind you is a science-fiction Helm's Deep. And as with another of the Orange Box games, Portal, Valve's ability to teach players without over-encumbering them, or even without giving away that they are doing so, in no way diminishes the game's long-term appeal or its bounteous variety." - Eurogamer, 2007

59) Silent Hill 2

Year of Release: 2001
Developed By: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Published By: Konami
Platform: Sony Playstation 2

"Separating itself from the formulaic, zombie-laden schlock that was beginning to define the horror-game genre, this PlayStation 2 game was grounded in a certain kind of horrific reality. Following the story of the troubled and lost James Sunderland, this psychological horror game exposed the truth behind his relationship with his deceased wife. Silent Hill 2's story tackled taboo subjects like domestic abuse and incest, setting the bar for horror games to come by scaring the player not with hallways full of dessicated monsters but with the horrors found in the hearts of men." - Wired, 2009

60) Tomb Raider

Year of Release: 1996
Developed By: Core Design
Published By: Eidos Interactive
Platforms: PC, Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation

"While its sequel sold more copies and improved on many aspects, the first Tomb Raider was by far more revolutionary. The game is known both for presenting one of the earliest and best female action-hero protagonists in video games and for its innovative gameplay. Tomb Raider was one of the most graphically detailed game; combined with its atmospheric soundtrack, the game felt extremely cinematic. The incredible popularity of both games was a major contributing factor in the success of the PlayStation console." - Popular Mechanics, 2014

61) Sonic the Hedgehog

Year of Release: 1991
Developed By: Sonic Team,Sega
Published By: Sega
Platforms: Sega Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive

"Sonic is now in his twenties, roughly three times the lifespan of actual hedgehogs. And what a life he's lived. The Sonic the Hedgehog series not only spans what seems like a million different video games, but spills over into TV shows and comic books as well. Nintendo has Mario; Sega has Sonic. Mario collects coins; Sonic collects rings. But Sonic can also tuck himself into a ball and whip through loop-de-loop levels at breakneck speed. The first of the many versions of the game, aptly titled Sonic the Hedgehog, hit the scene in mid-1991 on the Sega Genesis before going on to become one of the best-selling video game franchises in the world." - TIME, 2012

62) Mass Effect

Year of Release: 2007
Developed By: BioWare
Published By: Microsoft Game Studios
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"What made Mass Effect so compelling was how effectively BioWare presented all of these things together. The game's visuals looked a far sight better than KOTOR and Jade Empire. The voice acting -- which included voice work for every single line of dialogue in the game, even incidental text like the in-menu glossary, and alternate male and female versions of protagonist Commander Shepard -- varied from acceptable to exceptional. It combined player agency and technical sophistication to an unprecedented degree; at the same time, it also united the depth and flexibility of a PC RPG with the immediacy of a console shooter (or at least faked it convincingly). Its uniqueness made it a hit, and that success made BioWare a breakout star." - 1up, 2012

63) Super Mario Galaxy 2

Year of Release: 2010
Developed By: Nintendo EAD
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Wii

"Super Mario Galaxy 2 has no business being as imaginative as it is. Hell, I've played entire games that are less interesting than a single one of its 49 galaxies, which twist you and discombobulate you and shoot you through space so fast it's still hard not to gawp at its finesse, at the fact Nintendo actually managed to make it all work. And like all the best Mario games, there's something incredibly joyous about Mario Galaxy 2; it's an antidote to the cynicism that can sometimes feel omnipresent in the industry; the reminder that the medium can produce beauty and wonder." - IGN, 2015

64) The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Year of Release: 2006
Developed By: Bethesda Game Studios
Published By: 2K Games
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"Oblivion, the fourth in the series, was released in 2006 and swept sandbox gaming to new heights. Like other fantasy roleplaying games, it spun a high fantasy yarn replete with demonic invaders and dynastic shenanigans.

But unlike its peers, it let you abandon its central quest and explore optional subplots...or just wander off into the forest, where you might encounter totally unrelated subplots, like a village overrun by Lovecraftian forces, or secret vampire cabals. Citizens in the game kept to daily schedules, performed basic jobs, chatted with each other in town plazas and even made their way from city to city on errands." - TIME, 2012

65) The Witcher 3

Year of Release: 2015
Developed By: CD Projekt RED
Published By: CD Projekt
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox One, PC, Sony Playstation 4

"This series has come a long way since the first game released in 2007, going from a somewhat clunky RPG produced by a small studio to a hugely popular, polished open-world title that much of the gaming world was anticipating.

The Witcher 3 tells a compelling story, and populates its world with believable characters that serve to draw you in and make you feel like you're living it. This is the best storytelling we've seen in RPGs, and it has set the standard that games should be judged by in the future." - The Escapist, 2015

66) The Secret of Monkey Island

Year of Release: 1990
Developed By: Lucasfilm Games
Published By: Lucasfilm Games
Platforms: Amiga, PC, Sega CD

"Comedy didn't really exist in video games until Monkey Island. Or at least, I'd never seen it. But then along came Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate who couldn't seem to get out of his own way -- or that of the evil pirate LeChuck. His bumbling point-and-click adventure, which included bottomless inventory pants, literal red herrings, and insult sword fighting, was not only funny, but also featured great characters (Stan!), colorful graphics, memorable music, and a playful Caribbean vibe. It remains every bit as wonderful today as it was 25 years ago." - IGN, 2015

67) Batman: Arkham Asylum

Year of Release: 2009
Developed By: Rocksteady Studios
Published By: Eidos Interactive
Platforms: Mac OS, Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"Rarely does a game do a character justice in such a satisfying way. Arkham Asylum finds room for every major aspect of Batman's enduring appeal, and it does so in a game compelling enough to work even without its masked star. Fans of the caped crusader really shouldn't hesitate - this isn't just the best grown-up Batman game, it's the best superhero game, bar none." - Eurogamer, 2009

68) Pong

Year of Release: 1972
Developed By: Atari Inc.
Published By: Atari Inc.
Platform: Arcade

"For all intents and purposes, video games began with four white rectangles on a field of stark black: Atari's Pong. No, Pong doesn't hold the honor of being the first-ever video game; it wasn't even the first interactive table tennis game. That doesn't matter, because Pong was the one that stuck.

Just as motion pictures evolved from kinetoscopes and rock music mutated from blues, video games descended from mechanical arcade machines and novelty features that scientists put together with oscilloscopes. Pinpointing the first-ever true game will keep the medium's historians arguing among themselves for all eternity. But no one could reasonably claim that Pong wasn't the first one to matter." - 1up, 2012

69) Okami

Year of Release: 2006
Developed By: Clover Studio
Published By: Capcom
Platforms: Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation 2

"One of the greatest crimes in gaming history is that Capcom's breathtakingly beautiful Okami never quite found the audience it deserved. Presented in sumi-e inkwash visuals, the quest of the wolven sun goddess Amaterasu was a highlight of the PS2. Using a Celestial Brush to restore life and colour to the world was both a clever game mechanic and an oddly transcendent experience. Perhaps structural similarities to Zelda caused players to overlook Okami, or that its roots in Shinto mythology proved too confusing, but creator Hideki Kamiya's opus still deserves attention" - Empire, 2015

70) Journey

Year of Release: 2012
Developed By: Thatgamecompany
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: Sony Playstation 3

"A red-robed figure. A fluttering scarf. A barren desert landscape. Not the three elements you'd immediately guess would combine to form one of 2012's most memorable titles. Nonetheless, Thatgamecompany's third release captured hearts and minds with its simple, speechless odyssey. Unable to communicate save for a single, ambiguous chirp, anonymous players nonetheless forged emotional bonds, united by a common goal. With beautifully stylised visuals and an enchanting, evolving score, this simple saga is one of the PS3's most poignant legacies." - Empire, 2015

71) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Year of Release: 2003
Developed By: Ubisoft Montreal
Published By: Ubisoft
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Game Boy Advance, Nintendo GameCube, PC, Sony Playstation 2

"Where the third entry in the original Prince of Persia trilogy failed to successfully transfer the series from its 2D roots to a 3D setting, Sands of Time succeeded. A reboot of the classic franchise for the sixth generation of consoles, the game featured beautiful graphics and acrobatic 3D platforming and combat, all of which it combined with an innovative time-bending mechanic. The game was a hit, earning critical acclaim and spawning multiple sequels and a feature film adaptation. We try to forget about that last bit, though..." - Popular Mechanics, 2014

72) Grim Fandango

Year of Release: 1998
Developed By: LucasArts
Published By: LucasArts
Platform: PC

"LucasArts' Tim Schafer brought the world a piece of unpitchable brilliance in the late '90s with this one of a kind adventure game: a film noir pastiche set in the Aztec afterlife starring a skeleton travel agent called Manny and a giant orange demon who happened to be the best mechanic in existence. Critics swooned, but almost no-one bought a copy, sounding the death knell of the story-driven puzzle genre and spawning a group of die-hard superfans worshipping the game's dark humour, bonkers but brilliant storyline and harder-than-a-cryptic-crossword riddles. Nowhere else would a gun that fires marigolds be so frightening." - Empire, 2015

73) 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

74) The Walking Dead

Year of Release: 2012
Developed By: Telltale Games
Published By: Telltale Games
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"People rarely talk about The Walking Dead as a great game, which it is, and often doesn't get enough credit for. It has a handful of great puzzles between its dramatic, dialogue-driven scenes and tense action sequences. But this typically gets lost amid conversations of what a particular moment meant to a player, what they did or said in a given situation, and how far they were willing to go to protect their people. The Walking Dead is a deeply engaging story, one of the best gaming has seen. This is the game that proved adventure gaming - and interactive drama - still worked, and works better than it ever has." - IGN, 2015

75) Wii Sports

Year of Release: 2006
Developed By: Nintendo
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Wii

"Regardless of how "hardcore" you consider yourself to be, Wii Sports' impact on video games is undeniable. Alongside the explosion of iOS gaming, it broadened the very definition of our medium to a staggering degree. It provided merit to Nintendo's risky paradigm shift, put video games in homes that have no idea of what a Konami code is, and it may have very well been the last across the board pack-in that we ever see. It shattered the conception of video games as a compartmentalized hobby, and helped solidify our medium as a major facet of popular culture." - 1up, 2012

76) Braid

Year of Release: 2008
Developed By: Number None Inc.
Published By: Number None Inc.
Platforms: Mac OS, Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"Braid was the first art game to combine highbrow ambition with rock-solid gameplay. Like most pioneering works, it's largely about its own medium, appropriating the inexorable left-to-right movement and damsel-in-distress story of a certain famous gaming icon and using it as a metaphor for...life? Guilt? L'amour fou? Braid doesn't answer all the questions it raises, and that's a good thing. Better still is how elegantly the story and the game mechanics work together, with time-reversing levels exploring remorse and single-key puzzles as metaphors for loss. Like the games it parodies, Braid makes walking and jumping feel great, but it uses that visceral satisfaction to draw you into something profoundly disquieting." - Slant, 2014

77) Counter-Strike

Year of Release: 2001
Developed By: Valve L.L.C.
Published By: Sierra Studios
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox, PC

"Counter-Strike is the game that's been with me the longest, in one form or another, but for me, it all started here. Many of the things I value most in games, I value because of Counter-Strike: good level design, team-based dynamics, the emphasis on skill, the dedication required to master it, a friendly sense of competition, and a solid sense of community. It taught me the joy of earning my victories in a game, but also the importance of learning from my failures. It's the reason I love first-person shooters and the reason I stuck by PC gaming at a young age, and I owe it all to its earliest iterations." - IGN, 2015

78) Final Fantasy X

Year of Release: 2001
Developed By: Squaresoft
Published By: Squaresoft
Platform: Sony Playstation 2

"Final Fantasy X was a beautiful game when it was originally released and it was also the first in the series to feature a full cast of voice actors. The game detailed the quest of Tidus and Yuna, two potential lovers searching for a way to stop the mysterious and deadly force known as Sin. One of Final Fantasy X's greatest strengths was its turn-based battle system, which allowed players to freely swap out characters in their party at will, leading to an enhanced layer of strategy. Considering this, along with the heart-breaking story, Final Fantasy X is fondly remembered by fans of the series." IGN. 2010

79) Grand Theft Auto IV

Year of Release: 2008
Developed By: Rockstar North
Published By: Rockstar Games
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"One of the most critically acclaimed games of all time, Grand Theft Auto IV took the open world of GTA III and molded it into the living, thriving metropolis of Liberty City. Though the story follows main character Niko Bellic, in many ways the game is about Liberty City itself. Modeled heavily on New York City, the game's cityscape harnessed the full power of the seventh-generation consoles." - Popular Mechanics, 2014

80) System Shock 2

Year of Release: 1999
Developed By: Looking Glass Studios
Published By: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC

"In the wake of slippery BioShock, it's perhaps worth looking back at System Shock 2 to see why the release Irrational's watery opus was tinged with disappointment. BioShock was a broad, spectacular action game, but SS2 was an immersive sim and simply had more to offer. Inventory management, a more real sense of weakness and horror, heftier puzzles, environment mapping- it all builds into a sense of trust in the player that was absent in Bioshock. SS2 trusted that you'd figure out what happened onboard this ship, or the way into that room, or the way to survive against these creatures, which made for a more rewarding experience overall. It was simply a crystallisation of the first System Shock, providing something harder, sharper and larger, sacrificing nothing." - Rock, Paper, Shotgun, 2011

81) Batman: Arkham City

Year of Release: 2011
Developed By: Rocksteady Studios
Published By: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"Batman is no stranger to games, but the Arkham series has been an outstanding demonstration of the character's versatility within the field. Arkham City is the pinnacle to date, with the notorious Asylum spreading out through Gotham's slums, creating a powder-keg waiting to explode as the Dark Knight's worst villains took control. Open world adventuring suits Batman perfectly, and Rocksteady's careful balancing of gadget-based stealth, brutal melee combat, and thought-provoking detective work made for an absorbing challenge. Filtering the best elements of comics, animation, and film, Arkham City is a distillation of everything great about Batman's world." - Empire, 2015

82) Mega Man 2

Year of Release: 1989
Developed By: Capcom
Published By: Capcom
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

"Time has treated Mega Man 2 with kindness. The eye-popping novelty of its set piece battles -- the massive Mecha Dragon and imposing Guts Dozer -- has long since faded, yet Mega Man 2 remains as playable as it was back in 1989. Its lean design sensibility offers a no-nonsense experience with enough diversity to keep things interesting every time you play through it. The precision and immediacy of its action serve as a reminder of how satisfying a well-designed action game can be when it's not bogged down by superfluous cruft. Mega Man 2 was borne of love, and as a result it continues to be loved by gamers the world over." - 1up, 2012

83) Halo 3

Year of Release: 2007
Developed By: Bungie
Published By: Microsoft Game Studios
Platform: Microsoft Xbox 360

""Finish the fight." Three words that sent chills running down the backs of the many players who walked away from Halo 2's cliffhanger ending unsatisfied. Halo 3 cemented the franchise as a perrenial all-star by proving that as many times as Master Chief's number was called, Bungie would find ways to make it a memorable affair. The big star this time out was The Forge, a sandbox-style creation tool that allowed players to create and customize their own multiplayer maps and game types. Fans also got a lot more closure out of this entry than the last, and thanks to it being the first Halo on the 360, Master Chief looked extra spiffy on his way to what would be a temporary retirement." - IGN, 2013

84) The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

Year of Release: 2000
Developed By: Nintendo EAD
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 64

"The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has Link living his own personal Groundhog Day scenario to prevent a very-pissed-off-looking moon from crashing into the world, and right off the bat with that premise, the series is in heavier and more innovative territory than usual. The game still manages to reuse everything worth taking from Ocarina of Time's template, but also adding just a drop of haunting, elegiac melancholy, casting a much different and enthralling pallor over the whole thing than anything the series has seen. Majora's Mask is as close to grim-and-gritty as The Legend of Zelda ever needs to be, but it's also the one game in the series that every developer, Nintendo included, can learn the most from, when it comes to adding depth, not darkness, to a series such as this." - Slant, 2014

85) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Year of Release: 2006
Developed By: Nintendo EAD
Published By: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Wii

"Twilight Princess is an incredible game on the whole, with so many peaks, so many magic moments that will live long in the minds of millions of gamers. Sure, there are times in the game when you want to shake Miyamoto and co by the lapels for including elements of the game which remain dogged by old-school convention, but they represent a flea bite on what is just a stunning and relentlessly enjoyable game. Regardless of whether you're a hardened series veteran or a wide-eyed newcomer, Twilight Princess is undoubtedly the best action adventure game for some time." - Eurogamer, 2006

86) Halo 2

Year of Release: 2004
Developed By: Bungie
Published By: Microsoft Game Studios
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox, PC

"For Halo 2, developer Bungie put all their then-revolutionary ideas into one basket. While most players remember how they cried foul at Halo 2's cliffhanger ending, no one disputed its multiplayer wasn't an ambitious effort; one that applied a PC-centric way of thinking to create an online community for Xbox Live. Bungie already had this pedigree from their PC-developer days, so it made sense when Halo 2 introduced a bevy of retooled online options. Clan lists, matchmaking playlists, and expanded options custom gametypes transformed Halo 2 from a mere sequel into one of the most important exclusives of its time." - IGN, 2013

87) Assassin's Creed II

Year of Release: 2009
Developed By: Ubisoft Montreal
Published By: Ubisoft
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Sony Playstation 3

"What makes Assassin's Creed II great isn't just that it fixes most of what was wrong with the first game, though. It's that it takes what the first game started and uses it to build something much bigger, much more involving and much more fun. The open-world action is similar - you'll still spend a lot of time free-running across rooftops and obstacles (which is a blast), climbing up the sides of gargantuan buildings, assassinating unwitting enemies and getting into seemingly endless swordfights with guards - but the sequel expands on the original formula so much, and so well, that Assassin's Creed feels like a training run by comparison." - Gamesradar, 2012

88) Punch-Out!!

Year of Release: 1987
Developed By: Nintendo IRD
Published By: Nintendo
Platforms: Arcade, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

"Punch-Out is fun from the first moment, thanks to its giant personality-filled sprites and simple, responsive controls. But the game manages to elevate itself from the NES pack once it becomes apparent in later fights that the entire experience is actually about pattern recognition and puzzle-solving. It's a puzzle-boxing game! First memorizing the tells for boxers like Bald Bull and King Hippo, and then figuring out the exact method to pick apart their defenses is an extremely satisfying video game experience." - IGN, 2014

89) Quake

Year of Release: 1996
Developed By: id Software
Published By: GT Interactive
Platforms: Nintendo 64, PC, Sega Saturn

"It's rare for a game like Quake to come along and find itself at the intersection of so many big ideas. It was at the forefront of 3D. It influenced the public's acceptance of an emerging hardware category. It blazed new trails in multiplayer gaming, fostered a passionate community, and opened the doors to modding in a way that had never been done before. Somehow, in the midst of all this, Quake also managed to be an absolute blast to play." - 1up, 2012

90) SimCity

Year of Release: 1989
Developed By: Maxis
Published By: Maxis
Platforms: Amiga, Amstrad CPC, PC, Super Nintendo (SNES)

"SimCity was one of the first games where a few very simple subsystems (crime, property value, traffic, etc.) combined to make an interesting and challenging experience. Even playing on a black-and-white Mac with a tiny screen, I felt that there truly was a whole city inside my machine--one which relied on my judgment to succeed. I could fit all of the gameplay concepts in my head at once, which encouraged me to experiment frequently to discover how to create the best Sorenopolis." - Soren Johnson, lead designer of Civilisation IV

91) God of War

Year of Release: 2005
Developed By: SCE Santa Monica Studio
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: Sony Playstation 2

"Perhaps the pinnacle of modern hack-n-slash games, God of War introduced us to Kratos, a vengeful warrior who slices and dices his way through droves of enemies and Greek gods alike. While pulled from the pages of mythology, God of War's story was interesting and exciting. So was the game's combat Even quick-time-events-a gameplay mechanic usually scorned by players and critics-were enjoyable, and typically involved slicing various pieces off gigantic creatures of legend." - Popular Mechanics, 2014

92) Yoshi's Island

Year of Release: 1995
Developed By: Nintendo
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Super Nintendo (SNES)

"In this era of Trophies and Achievements, completing 100% of everything in a game is a common thing. But when Yoshi's Island came out, the reward for exploration was greater than a Gamerscore: For collecting all of the extremely well-hidden red coins and flowers and then finishing a level with 30 stars (which basically means you can't get hit), you received a 100% rating. If you did this on every level in a world, you unlocked two more levels in each of the six worlds. And these levels were even harder than the others!

I spent many hours one-hundred-percenting my Yoshi's Island cartridge and the save stuck with me all the way until an unfortunate incident while reviewing a contemporary knockoff Super Nintendo. I've never been so excited to start over from scratch." - IGN, 2015

93) Gears of War

Year of Release: 2006
Developed By: Epic Games
Published By: Microsoft Game Studios
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360, PC

"Gears of War implemented a wide array of systems into the game that elevated it above the average shooter. Concepts like active reload presented the player with a risk/reward scenario that added depth of an otherwise shallow mechanic. Couple this with the near-death state where the player could still crawl around the battlefield momentarily in search for aid, and it's obvious why so many critics and fans flocked to the game." - 1up, 2012

94) Resident Evil 2

Year of Release: 1998
Developed By: Capcom
Published By: Capcom
Platforms: Nintendo 64, Nintendo GameCube, PC, Sega Dreamcast, Sony Playstation

"Resident Evil 2 grossed more money than most Hollywood movies of the time and broke many video game sales records. Marketing had something to do with it, but over the years the game has proven that it stands on its own. You play as Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield in a variety of overlapping scenarios as the two protagonists attempt to survive a zombie outbreak. The game's graphics, sound design, and level design all contributed to the game's atmospheric tone, an impressive feat for the PlayStation's hardware." - Popular Mechanics, 2014

95) Earthbound

Year of Release: 1994
Developed By: Ape Studios
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Super Nintendo (SNES)

"There has never been a game as irreverently comic and deceptively touching as EarthBound. It takes place in a darkly skewed version of Earth, with 13-year-old Ness's "rockin'" telekinetic powers and trusty baseball bat going toe to toe with local gangs and bullies, Happy Happy cultists, and drugged-out hippies. Despite liberally borrowing from RPG conventions (including an emphasis on grind-heavy gameplay), the game oozed originality in just about every other aspect, offering more than just escapism, but, in its battle against loneliness and negative emotions, a reason to ultimately set the controller down." - Slant, 2014

96) Secret of Mana

Year of Release: 1993
Developed By: Square
Published By: Square
Platform: Super Nintendo (SNES)

"The fact that Secret of Mana hasn't been more widely imitated -- not even by its sequels, which struck off in their own interesting yet different directions -- perhaps undermines the potential importance of the game. Yet even now, nearly two decades later, we can hold it aloft as a paragon of cooperative play design: A cult classic that provided a model for social play design that even the designers of cutting-edge modern software would do well to turn to for inspiration. Secret of Mana may not have been perfect... but then, visions of the future rarely are." - 1up, 2012

97) Sid Meier's Civilization IV

Year of Release: 2005
Developed By: Firaxis Games
Published By: 2K Games
Platform: PC

"The best part of the game is not the tanks or legionnaires or frigates (although those are definitely cool), but the way the game reflects the values you bring to it as you lead your civilization through 6000 years of history. If you want to be a war-mongering despot, crushing your rivals under your iron-shod boots, you can do that. If you want to be a peaceful aesthete, using your advances in art and culture to assimilate other civilizations, you can do that. If you want to be a focused research, striving to unlock the secrets of nuclear power and interstellar travel, you can do that too. Civilization asks you how you want to conquer the world and then turns you loose to pursue that goal in a world where every decision results in a tradeoff or consequence that adds layers and layers of meaning to your story." - IGN, 2015

98) Mario Kart 64

Year of Release: 1996
Developed By: Nintendo EAD
Published By: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 64

"It might not be as fast as the F-Zero series, but the Mario Kart series managed to introduce non-gamers everywhere to the joys of multiplayer racing. Mario Kart 64 was the follow-up to the original SNES title, completely outdoing it thanks to the ability to play with four players at once.

Mario Kart 64 also featured some of the best designed tracks in the franchise, such as Bowser's Castle and Wario Stadium. Though certain gamers may disagree with the series' rubber banding mechanic, in which players behind the lead are given more powerful weapons, it was through this design choice that the franchise gained such a wide appeal." - WhatCulture, 2014

99) UFO: Enemy Unknown

Year of Release: 1993
Developed By: Mythos Games
Published By: MicroProse
Platforms: Amiga, PC, Sony Playstation

"While many players may be more familiar with the series' fantastic modern reboot, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, UFO Defense is where it all started. The game tasked players with managing X-COM, a black-ops paramilitary organization set up to defend the Earth from alien invasion.

Gameplay has two major components: turn-based tactical strategy when commanding individual soldiers in battle, and real-time resource management when commanding the X-COM project as a whole. The game spawned several sequels and a cult following. Simply, it's one of the best strategy games ever made." - Popular Mechanics, 2014

100) The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Year of Release: 2002
Developed By: Bethesda Game Studios
Published By: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox, PC

"The Elder Scrolls' first foray into 3D (we're not counting Redguard) is still a classic, despite how far the sequels have moved on. It remains unique among Bethesda's open worlds, a genuinely alien fantasy landscape populated by people, creatures and factions that take time to truly understand. It offers the experience of being a stranger in a strange land, and over time the modding community has fixed almost everything that you might take issue with." - PC Gamer, 2015
Design & coding © 2015 - 2018 Peter Searle & Jeroen te Strake. Special thanks to Wesley.
About the project | Sources
Games data provided by TheGamesDB.net