Top 10 Video Games

Video games have long been a hobby of mine. Asteroids at the local laundromat, Super Mario Bros on the NES, and several generations of increasing bits later — I’m still a casual console gamer. I recently happened upon my friend Nuch Vader’s “favorite games” discussion of Wonder Boy, and I decided to write a simpler top-10 list.

Let me begin with a side note – Nuch Vader is an expert in all things gaming. During the 16-bit Console Wars (TurboGrafx/Genesis/SNES) we served in the same unit. Our tour of duty ranged from Keith Courage’s Alpha Zones through Resident Evil’s Raccoon City — He went on to start his own video game store. His first “favorite games” blog entry discusses Wonder Boy. I had forgotten how many good games came out of that franchise.

Now, on to my top 10 favorites…

The List

10) God of War (PS/2)
I was shocked to play a game this good so late in the PS/2 life cycle. Amazing storyline and gameplay are complemented by some of the best A/V seen on the PS/2. Control accepts input from mashing to professional combos.
9) Legend of Zelda (NES)
When playing Zelda, little things – like eating – became somehow less important. The persistent world, enabled by battery backup, encouraged you to try bombing every rock. The graphics, while simple, .
8) Combat (Atari 2600)
This title isn’t here simply to kitsch up the list — there weren’t too many solid 1-on-1 console games in those days. Combat’s tanks and planes made Pong look like child’s play. Tanks are even more fun with bouncing bullets. Any how, my fondest 2600 memories are of Combat.
7) Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Multiple)
GTA: SA is the most advanced of the series, adding Sims elements and seamless loading. While considerable attention is paid to the questionable content in the GTA series, the games wrap adventure, racing, stealth, and collecting in period-centric packages that redefine free-roaming adventure.
6) Metroid (NES)
A game with a scale beyond it’s era, Metroid offered a then-vast universe with plenty of powerups. What 8-bit gamer can’t recall the rush of getting the ball power up the first time?
5) Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis)
Simplicity is a virtue in the iconic Genesis platformer. What Sonic lacks in complexity, it makes up for in pure frenetic fun.
4) Wipeout (PSX)
The first killer app for me on the Playstation, Wipeout’s first iteration featured the most replayable tracks in the series. Never again has a racing game compelled me to shave milliseconds from my lap time. A soundtrack as modern as the game sealed the deal.
3) Castlevania IV (SNES)
My favorite SNES exclusive, a surreal color pallete paints the game’s diverse environments, and is complimented by the best audio I can recall from the entire 16-bit era.
2) Street Fighter II (Arcade, etc.)
Not only did I line up my fair share of quarters, but I’ve owned almost every console iteration as well. I suspect that I’ve spent more man-hours playing Street Fighter than Tetris.
1) Super Mario Bros. (NES)
Arguably the most influential platformer, SMB is also my favorite game. An obvious choice, perhaps, but this game was popular for a reason.

Disclaimer

Such a list is difficult to create. It is hard to distill 20 years of gaming down to 10 ordinal favorites. On another day this list may have been different, but rest assured that each of these games deserves a place in the Hall of Fame.

Other Lists

I did some quick searches for other top-n lists of video games to see what others thought, and below are some selections. Surprisingly few such lists appear on search engines, so perhaps I’ll add more as I find them:

  1. Newthread.org’s Top 100 Video Games
  2. IGN Top 100, 2005
  3. Will O’Neal’s Top 10 on cnet.com
  4. Top 100 Video games at blog-city.com
  5. Famitsu top 100
  6. JD’s Top 100
  7. Grand Pescado’s Top 10
  8. GameFAQs Top 100
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3 Responses to “Top 10 Video Games”

  1. John says:

    Would it even be fair to narrow down a favorite game list to just 10 games? (: I fondly remember playing Karateka back on an Apple //e in 4th grade.. the sheer delight of that I’ve shared with many other games–

    perhaps, a top 100 of top 1 games? 😉

  2. JonnyRo says:

    Zelda on the SNES is still probably my all time favorite game. Others have included Quake 2 (when played at 8 person LAN battles), and definately the Descent series.

  3. Jeremiah says:

    God of War was amazing, perfect. Another great game that came out last year was Guitar Hero!

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