Any Gamer ran rattle off a “Greatest Games of All Time List” and most of them will probably look pretty similar. I’ve never been a fan of objective lists for subjective content. One person’s “Amazing” is another’s “Mediocre”. So with that being said, here’s a list, in no particular order, of my 50 favorite video games of all time.
Developer: Sumo Digital, Realtime Worlds, Ruffian Games, Cloudgine, Reagent Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release: February, 20 2007
Metacritic Rating: 83
Crackdown is one of those rare games that truly lets the player feel like a hero. You’re a supercop, whose abilities (super agility, super strength, and enhanced aptitude with firearms and vehicles) progress by completing missions and finding collectibles. Using these abilities, the player is tasked with taking down three crime organizations that are running the city. The game is set in an open-world sandbox environment, which means the hero can carry their missions out however they see fit. You can attack enemies from long-range with a stealth approach. However, you can just as easily chase down the enemy in a car chase, hop out of your vehicle and then proceed to throw said vehicle at said enemy, which is pretty damn fun. Plainly put, this game is a blast.
Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release: May 18, 2010
Metacritic Rating: 83
Playing Alan Wake is like being sucked into a Stephen King story. The game plays out in an episodic style similar to a television show, with each episode ending in a suspenseful lead up to the next. Mechanically, the game revolves around standard third-person combat, but with the caveat of using light to weaken enemies. While most of the world is shrouded in darkness, the player must rely any source of light as protection. That, on top of an outstanding story, makes this game a beautiful, thrilling, and authentic experience.
-Harvest Moon 64-
Developer: Victor Interactive Software
Release: December 22, 1999
Metacritic Rating: 78
On paper Harvest moon 64 doesn’t seem too exciting. You’re new in town and must restore an abandoned farm left to you by your grandfather. Basically, that’s it: you fix up the farm, gradually rebuild the homestead, befriend your neighbors, and live life. There’s a subtle charm to it though that just can’t be replicated. The simplicity of the game is easily overlooked due to the tiny, yet compelling, details that make it not only addicting, but also endearing.
-Super Mario RPG-
Release: March 9, 1996
Metacritic Rating: N/A
There are very few games that could pull off what this game does; capturing the classic old-school Mario feel, while simultaneously delivering a strong RPG theme. The story, much like Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga is both whimsical and entertaining, and is honestly one of my favorites in gaming. Aesthetically, the game is fantastic. The visuals are sharp, with strong graphics for the time, and the musical score is much more impressive than one would expect. The gameplay follows the template of other Square titles, namely Final Fantasy, but innovates enough to keep it original. It seemingly turns the entire Mario lore on its head, yet still felt familiar and comfortable. This game was fresh, creative, genuine, and most of all it was fun.
-The Last of Us-
Playstation 3, Playstation 4
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release: June 14, 2013
Metacritic Rating: 95
The Last of Us is one of the rare games that reminds you how powerful this medium can be. It is just as poignant, emotional, and beautifully crafted as any film, novel, or piece of music. The relationship between the two main characters, Joel and Ellie, is so naturally genuine and heartfelt that it’s impossible to not become attached to them. Through gritty realistic combat, powerful storytelling, and masterful presentation, this game solidified itself as a landmark in video game history.
-Mortal Kombat (2011)-
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, PC
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Release: April 19, 2011
Metacritic Rating: 86
I’ve been a fan of the Mortal Kombat series for a long time. Each new entry tries to innovate enough to set itself apart from the last without losing what made the series fun in the first place. And with each entry, certain additions work and certain don’t. Personally, I always felt that the series peaked with Mortal Kombat II. That was until the 9th entry of the series was released. Simply titled Mortal Kombat, this was a reboot of the first three games in the series all wrapped into one title. NetherRealm took every good decision made through the previous eight games and combined them to give series fans exactly what they’d been wanting. There was finally a competent story mode to compliment the series’ renowned multiplayer. Most importantly, there was crisp mechanics, outstanding gameplay, and all-new glorious fatalities. This game renewed my love the series and revamped my passion for fighting games. I loved the 2015 sequel Mortal Kombat X as well.
-Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2-
PlayStation, Xbox, PC, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64
Release: September 20, 2000
Metacritic Rating: 98
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 is not only one of the best sports games ever made, it may very well be one of the best games period. This title does exactly what its supposed to; it’s incredibly fun, well balanced, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. You control either a user created skater, skating legend, or hidden skater and try to complete objectives and land ridiculous tricks. The arcade-style gameplay, perfectly apt soundtrack, and variety of game modes makes it one of a kind.
Publisher: Mojang, Microsoft, Sony
Release: November 18, 2011
Metacritic Rating: 93
Odds are you probably know all about Minecraft regardless if you’d consider yourself a gamer or not. This title completely changed the face of interactive entertainment and, because of its accessibility and unparalleled creative scope, it has surpassed gaming as a medium.
-Grand Theft Auto V-
Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC
Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release: September 17, 2013
Metacritic Rating: 98
This game made one billion dollars in three days. Universally it’s considered one of the greatest games ever made, and for good reason. The graphics are absolute outstanding with jaw-dropping environments and lighting. The sound design, voice overs, soundtrack, and score are nearly perfect as well. It’s honestly very difficult to find things to complain about in this game. The player controls three protagonists, each from differing backgrounds and lifestyles, as they plan and execute elaborate heists. This gets particularly fun when you quickly switch between protagonists during a mission to gain a new perspective or vantage point. In true GTA fashion there is, basically, unlimited freedom, and this game provides nearly unlimited things to do. It truly is an unmatched behemoth in regards to entertainment. Now, I’m still not sure if it’s a better game than Red Dead Redemption, but there are few if any games that can probably claim that.
-The Secret of Monkey Island-
Developer: Lucasfilms Games
Publisher: Lucas Films Games
Release: October 1990
Metacritic Rating: 88
I figured it would be appropriate to close out this list with my original favorite game. This was the first video game I can remember falling in love with. I’m a pretty big fan of anything Tim Schafer. His games always have such unique tones, and are filled with sharp writing, and incredibly vibrant worlds. He, alongside Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman lead the development of the game and, The Secret of Monkey Island is probably my favorite of his work. A point-and-click adventure revolving around a wannabe pirate, this game is the perfect combination of challenging, humorous, and entertaining. Point-and-click games always felt less like games and more “interactive story” to me, and this is no exception. But, this game is a damn fine story to be part of. The sequel is pretty great too. The Secret of Monkey Island introduced me to video games. It opened up many doors for me and spurred my passions for comedy, storytelling, writing, and adventure. It’s not only one of my favorite video games, but one of my favorite pieces of art.