Well, it looks like IGN has wrapped up another list of their “top 100 video games of all time.” And since I wrote a thing about it last time they did such a list in 2015 (my how time flies), I figured I’d write one about this as well. And because I’m such an opinionated bastard, I’ll give a little bit of my two cents on the selections and placements and such.
It seems like this time around, IGN’s criteria was mainly focused on how much of an impact a game had at launch, how “ahead of their time” they were, and how well they’ve stood the test of time. Which is a pretty decent list of requirements, I must say.
Of course, you can check out IGN’s actual list here, but if you like to read some random blogger’s writing about someone else’s list, then sit your butt down and stay right here!
Here, in full, is IGN’s most recent Top 100 list.
100: Pokemon Go
99: Final Fantasy VII
97: Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
96: Star Wars: TIE Fighter
95: The Oregon Trail
94: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge
93: Burnout 3: Takedown
92: Fallout 2
90: League of Legends
89: Mega Man 3
87: SimCity 2000
84: Super Mario Odyssey
83: System Shock 2
82: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
81: Persona 5
80: Grim Fandango
79: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
78: Goldeneye 007
77: Super Smash Bros. Melee
76: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
75: X-COM: UFO Defense
74: Suikoden II
73: Battlefield 1942
72: Dota 2
71: Final Fantasy Tactics
70: Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
69: Thief II: The Metal Age
67: Donkey Kong
66: Team Fortress 2
65: The Sims
63: Fallout 3
61: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
60: Silent Hill 2
59: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
58: Mass Effect
57: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
56: Batman: Arkham City
55: The Witness
53: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
52: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
50: Deus Ex
49: Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn
48: Ms. Pac-Man
47: Counter-Strike 1.6
46: Persona 4 Golden
44: Resident Evil
43: Diablo 2
41: World of Warcraft
40: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
39: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
38: Final Fantasy VI
37: Mass Effect 2
36: Pokemon Yellow
35: The Legend of Zelda
33: Metroid Prime
32: Resident Evil 4
31: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
30: Metal Gear Solid
29: Super Mario Galaxy
28: Shadow of the Colossus
26: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
25: Sid Meier’s Civilization IV
23: Halo 2
21: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
20: The Last of Us
18: Chrono Trigger
17: Grand Theft Auto V
16: Dark Souls
15: Street Fighter II
14: Super Mario Bros.
13: Halo: Combat Evolved
12: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
11: Portal 2
10: Super Mario 64
9: Red Dead Redemption
8: Half-Life 2
6: Super Mario Bros. 3
5: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
4: Super Metroid
2: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
1: Super Mario World
Now for my take on all of thi… Wait a moment. Super Mario World is number 1?!
In all seriousness, I love Super Mario World, and although I think there’s a small handful of games I love just as much, it’s definitely one of the few games where I think placing it at number one on a greatest of all time list seems pretty inarguable (sans for butthurt fanboys who think there’s some pro-Mario conspiracy with such things). I mean, if we go back in time to gaming’s earliest years and pinpoint the most timeless, ahead-of-their-time games of that generation, Tetris and the Mario titles probably stand out the most. And seeing as World was basically the culmination of all things Mario up to that point, well, again, it’s just hard to argue.
In all honesty, the top 10 as a whole is pretty solid. I’m glad they went with Red Dead Redemption over one of its Grand Theft Auto siblings (for all its praise, GTA seems to be a series where as soon as a new entry is released, the old ones go by the wayside with their praise, while RDR has held its place quite nicely over the last eight years). Though personally, I would place Portal 2 well above the original (both are excellent, and I get that the first game had the originality factor, but the sequel is just so much more).
Hold the phone? There aren’t any Donkey Kong Country titles on the list? 0/10. Well, okay, maybe not a 0, but surely DKC2 deserves a spot on there (as does Tropical Freeze, but I’m used to that game being greatly underrated by this point). Also, no 2D Sonic’s? Really? Not even Sonic 2, 3 or CD? But then again, IGN is the site now infamous for stating that “Sonic was never good.” Maybe not in 3D, but the Genesis games were most definitely good.
Also tragically absent are any of the Mario RPGs or Mario Karts. Now, I know some people would say there are already a lot of Mario games on there. But this isn’t a lovey-dovey “everyone gets a trophy” party. It’s a list of greatest games of all time. Meaning that the games that are best should go on there, even if certain series’ are more prominent than others. And while the idea of “best games” is indeed subjective, am I really supposed to believe that not even a single Mario Kart has earned a spot on the list? Come on. And also, I really love Super Mario RPG. Also also, where the hell is Galaxy 2?!
I am happy to see Dark Souls and Bloodborne represented, and decently high on the list as well, though I would also put the other Souls games on the list somewhere because ohmigoshDarkSoulsisamazing!!11! Also glad to see Symphony of the Night placed so highly. It seems like a lot of these lists these days forget just how much of an impact that game had, and usually place it absurdly low. So it’s good to see it almost crack the top 10.
As for games that I think are far too low, I’d say Undertale definitely deserves much better. I know the game gets some flak due to its rabid fanbase (but if we’re judging games by fanbases now, then every game must suck…except maybe Earthbound), but I’ve never seen a more creative and all-around fun and inspiring indie game. Going back to Mario, there’s no way you can convince me that Odyssey shouldn’t be much, much higher, and no way in Hell should it be below games like Journey or Skyrim (which aren’t bad games, mind you, but the former lacks depth and the latter failed to improve the sense of control that its predecessor Morrowind suffered from a decade beforehand).
As for games that I think are higher than they deserve (besides Journey and Skyrim), I think The Last of Us being in the top 20 is a little hyperbolic. Again, a good game, but I kind of get the impression it was a case of a game treating itself like “the best game ever” before it was released, and the public fell for it hook, line and sinker; without stopping to actually analyse it on any deeper level (its supposed “masterful” narrative falls back on a lot more over-played tropes than critics let on. What’s that? The zombies aren’t the real evil of the post-apocalyptic world, but humans! Bahgash! Who’d have thunk!). And well, I think I’ve made it more than clear time and again that Bioshock is a series that didn’t really do anything new or better for the FPS genre, and featured political commentary that feels like it could have stemmed from a college freshman who thinks he knows everything about the world because he just started a political science course, but simply received massive praise because it had any political commentary whatsoever. And I know I’ll get flak for this, but I’ve long-since grown kind of tired of seeing Ocarina of Time place so highly. An incredible game, to be sure, but honestly, I’ve always felt that Nintendo (and others) had made better games, even back in ’98.
Finally, there are a couple of games included that I don’t feel aged very well – such as Goldeneye 007 and the original Resident Evil – but I suppose those are probably included more because of their initial impact. I guess I can’t argue it from that perspective, as both revolutionized their genres in their day (but you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that Resident Evil is any fun to play today with those tank controls).
On the whole, I guess IGN’s most recent list is pretty solid. Do I agree with everything on the list? Well, obviously not. But it isn’t my list, so why would I? Again, I’m just an opinionated jerk, and an obsessive one, and one who’s passionate about video games. So of course I’m going to have strong feelings about it, even if I have nothing to do with it. But despite some obvious omissions (seriously, Mario Kart?), and some questionable placements, the games included are mostly great.
Wait, I’m still peeved that DKC2 isn’t on there. 0/10.