Top 10 Best “Top 10 Best Video Games of All Time” Lists (of All Time)

 

5: Electronic Gaming Monthly (1997)

10 – Saturn Bomberman

9 – Final Fantasy VI

8 – Contra 3: The Alien Wars

7 – Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

6 – Super Metroid

5 – Street Fighter 2 Turbo

4 – Super Mario 64

3 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

2 – Super Mario Bros. 3

1 – Tetris

Why it’s a good list: Although this is one of the oldest lists here, it has held up extremely well. Notice how often each game in the top five has already showed up in this countdown. The games on here all have a timeless appeal about them (though this is the only list I know of that places Contra 3 so highly), and we even get some much-appreciated Sega Saturn love with the stellar Saturn Bomberman (perhaps another slightly obscure choice, but it’s Bomberman, and arguably the best one).

Aside from some usual mainstays and the above mentioned ‘underrepresented’ titles, this list even included Yoshi’s Island!

This list seemed to be favoring fun gaming experiences that held up to 1997 standards, and apparently 1997 standards have aged wonderfully, seeing as each game listed is still a whole lot of fun and appeal to various preferences.

4: Edge Magazine (2009)

10 – Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

9 – Halo 3

8 – Super Mario Galaxy

7 – Tetris

6 – Super Mario World

5 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

4 – Resident Evil 4

3 – Half-Life 2

2 – Super Mario 64

1 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Why it’s a good list: This was Edge Magazine’s first list that labelled itself as “the most fun games to play today.” But seeing as both this and the 2015 list also claim to be lists of “greatest games of all time,” this list holds up a whole lot better, seeing as it covers more eras of gaming than the 2015 edition.

Really though, I don’t know how much I can say about it, the games speak for themselves. 2D classics, 3D trailblazers, single and multiplayer shooters, the eternal puzzle game, Mario in space… This is an incredible lineup of games that, although some may once again whine at the number of Nintendo titles, is hard to argue how much fun they were in their day and still are today. And seeing as that was the primary criteria that Edge was going for, I’d say they did a swimming job at it.

3: Nintendo Power (2012)

10 – Resident Evil 4

9 – The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

8 – Super Metroid

7 – Super Mario Bros. 3

6 – Mega Man 2

5 – Super Mario World

4 – Final Fantasy VI

3 – Super Mario Galaxy

2 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

1 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Why it’s a good list: Sure, you might not expect a magazine called “Nintendo Power” to be the most unbiased magazine out there, but they tried there best to make sure their lists of “best games of all time” represented the medium as best they could. Look no further than this list, from their very last issue.

Seeing as this is a Nintendo list, there are obviously a lot of Marios and Zeldas, but they’re all games which have appeared in many other lists of this nature by multiplatform sources. Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past, and the three represented Mario titles usually rank near the top of best lists. Similarly, Wind Waker has grown in appreciation over the years, and more and more people are recognizing it for its merits (better late than never, I suppose). It could be argued as the most timeless Zelda game.

Then we have yet another appearance by Super Metroid, Resident Evil 4, and Final Fantasy VI, adding some variety in genres and developers. And then, Mega Man 2. Sweet, sweet Mega Man 2. Undoubtedly the most important third-party game in Nintendo’s early years, Mega Man 2 is still one of the most timeless NES games, and it’s good to see it get its due in a list like this.

There are other Nintendo magazines and websites that have made similar lists, but they usually end up placing some very recent games really high up, which, for a console-exclusive magazine, can feel more like advertisement than anything. But here, the most recent game is Super Mario Galaxy, which was five years old by the time this final issue was released. It gives a strong sense that the editors were trying to give their final issue a lot of credibility (and they succeeded) by making their final list feel genuine. Though the overall top 285 (one for each Nintendo Power issue) had some problems, the top 10 feels like the games the editors could agree left an impact on themselves, Nintendo, and gaming.

2: IGN (2007)

10 – Resident Evil 4

9 – Final Fantasy VI

8 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

7 – Super Metroid

6 -Half-Life 2

5 – Super Mario 64

4 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

3 – Civilization 2

2 – Tetris

1 – Super Mario Bros.

Why it’s a good list: Of all the lists I’ve seen that aimed for historical impact/influence, IGN’s 2007 list is probably the best put together (it’s only missing Street Fighter 2). Every game listed had a profound impact on gaming, and are widely acknowledged as such by just about every publication out there.

This top 10 also has a good sense of variety in platforms, timeframes, and genres. It admittedly has a lot of similarities to IGN’s 2003 edition, but the placements and new additions make it feel a bit more thought-out.

Again, I don’t know what else to say. I certainly can’t argue with any of the games here for their impact on gaming, and since that was what IGN was going for, I’d say the list is a big success.

There was a time when IGN would make a new list of best games of all time every other year (with a fan voted list in the years in between). But they haven’t done one since this 2007 edition (save for one other fan voted list in 2008). Instead, they’ve opted to make lists grounded solely in recent generations and consoles. I simply think they’re aware how well this list turned out back in 2007, and are a bit skeptical to produce a follow-up.

1: Nintendo Power (1997)

 

10 – Street Fighter 2 Turbo

9 – Final Fantasy VI

8 – Final Fantasy IV

7 – Goldeneye 007

6 – Super Metroid

5 – Super Mario Bros. 3

4 – Mario Kart 64

3 – Tetris

2 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

1 – Super Mario 64

Why it’s a good list: Although this list is the earliest on this countdown, and thus a fair share of acclaimed titles – including Ocarina of Time – weren’t even released yet, and two of the entries were released the same year as the list, if you look at it in retrospect, it represents timelessness a lot better than most other best game lists.

Yes, it’s Nintendo exclusive (though two multiplatform titles made the cut in Street Fighter 2 and Tetris), and who knows what I would have thought of this list had I seen it back in the day (well, considering I would have been around seven years old, I probably would have loved it regardless. Because video games). But it’s a list that you can look at today and say it really holds up.

The only thing even close to a questionable entry is Mario Kart 64, but that’s only because there are so many varying opinions of which is the definitive Mario Kart entry these days. But back in 1997, Mario Kart 64 was a revelation, and it’s still fun today.

Nintendo Power may not have been the source to go to for unbiased reviews, but it seems whenever they were discussing games in an historical, long-term context, they truly shined. I don’t know what crystal ball they looked into when they devised these lists, but somehow Nintendo Power seemed to know which games would end up standing the test of time (or, in the case of Goldeneye, which ones would have long-term effects on the medium, even if the game itself has aged).

A quality list from an unlikely source, to be sure.

I must admit, the top four lists were all pretty difficult to rank. And I still feel I’m flip-flopping between them. I think Edge’s 2009 list consists of the games I’d most readily play today, IGN’s 2007 covers historical significance really well, while the Nintendo Power lists capture a sense of timelessness the best. Take that for what it’s worth. After all, it is just my opinion.

Author: themancalledscott

Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining, the man called Scott is an ancient sorcerer from a long-forgotten realm. He’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil. Or, you know, he could just be some guy who loves video games, animations and cinema who just wanted to write about such things.

10 thoughts on “Top 10 Best “Top 10 Best Video Games of All Time” Lists (of All Time)”

    1. Believe it or not, Nintendo Power had Galaxy 2 listed at number 15! Pretty shameful, but the top 10 is still solid.

      And thanks! I have an on again/off again interest in best video game lists (and animated film lists, but those sadly feel like backhanded lists by people who just don’t want to rank them with live-action movies). So I’m glad my personal research on the subject did some good. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks, I really enjoyed that post! I was looking at similar lists recently actually for fun, and was surprised to find Crystal Chronicles ranked higher than Four Swords Adventures on various lists (all of them top 100 lists though, neither of these games can be found anywhere near the top 10). Anyway these lists are fun to parse, and personally I’m very much drawn to a top 3 consisting of Resident Evil 4 (the definitive Wii version, natch), Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, in any order. And maybe some Mario 64 somewhere in the mix too. That works for me. As someone who grew up in the 3D era of games it’s a bit harder for me to assess the historical impact of 2D games from earlier generations, so it’s difficult to place stuff like Megaman 2 as much as I love playing it.

    The big mystery for me is why Half-Life 2 appears on these lists. I thought it was a decent game when it came out, and I’m currently replaying it and I still think it’s decent. But I don’t think it’s a patch on the original HL, and I also don’t see the sequel as nearly as influential or groundbreaking in the FPS genre. Perhaps that’s just me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know how you feel. I long to see a list that places Super Mario RPG and Donkey Kong Country 2 in the top 10, but I always have to settle for seeing them in random placements that are usually far removed from the top. *Sigh*

      And I see you (kind of/maybe/somewhat) named you top four favorite games. I myself plan on doing a list of my favorite games down the road, and thought it’d be a fun idea if I could get some of the bloggers I follow to do the same (around the same time) to turn it into one big, umm, “event” (for lack of a better word). Interested?

      As for Half-Life 2, I really enjoyed it, but I can’t say I’d put it in my top 20-ish. I think one reason it gets a lot of love is how it streamlined narrative into gameplay, instead of taking breaks from the gameplay to tell the story (though the first Half-Life may have done that as well, I sadly never played the original). It also emphasized physics in ways no other game did at that point in time, so there’s that too, I guess. Personally, I prefer Portal to Half-Life, and I would even refer to Portal 2 as being “Mario World Perfect” (I should coin that phrase). Team Fortress 2 is another Valve game I greatly enjoy, even if the memes it’s spawned utterly baffle me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would definitely be up for doing a list, either on my own blog (as some sort of joint effort where we post lists around the same time) or as a guest post on yours. My personal picks for a top 5 or 10 games might be slightly different – I don’t see “my favourite” as equivalent to “the best” – so you never know! With the games I suggested, they’re iconic and beloved by gamers as well as resonating with me personally, so it makes sense to me to see them at the top of an all-time list.

        I completely understand preferring Portal and the sequel over Half-Life 2, I feel the same way. Half-Life 2 expands on the features that made the original HL stand out – no cutscenes, playable story sequences, a (somewhat) realistic scenario, big setpieces etc – but some of those expansions paradoxically end up hurting the game. The original game has a silent protagonist, but you never have long conversations with anyone. You’re a scientist showing up for work, your experiment goes wrong and then it’s all about survival and escape. In HL2 they were trying to create these complex relationships between the various characters, and so everyone is chatting to Gordon in this personable, human way and it ends up feeling forced because of Gordon’s silence. It’s similar to Zelda: Twilight Princess, where Link’s silence holds back the effectiveness of the narrative. You can probably tell it’s a pet peeve of mine when games overburden silent protagonists!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Awesome! Hopefully I can round up some more of our fellow bloggers and we can get this thing going. Doing a guest post on my blog would be fun, but seeing as a “favorite/best games” post seems like a pretty big thing for any gaming blog, I wouldn’t want to rob you of the attention your blog might receive from it. We could always just link to each others blogs within the posts themselves. I guess I’ll leave it up to everyone who joins in.

        I also had the idea, on top of everyone’s favorites lists, to do one collective list between blogs. But that might be a bit more difficult, considering we don’t have a proper format to communicate in order to set it up, and we’d have to decide where to place it. Perhaps I’m over thinking this? :/

        I get what you’re saying. I appreciate that Half-Life 2 tried to make us know who Gordon is as a character despite his silence, but the sheer amount of interaction with other characters can feel strange.Totally agree on Twilight Princess. It tried so hard to be “dark” and “serious,” so they tried to make Link seem like a deep character (despite not only his silence, but also his loss of the facial expressions that he boasted in Wind Waker). It just came off as kind of silly. I feel Wind Waker and Skyward Sword were wise to place the emphasis in personality on characters like Zelda and Ganon (though it’s a shame Skyward Sword never even attempted to make Fi even the slightest bit interesting).

        Liked by 1 person

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