Greatest video games of all time

Over the years, numerous gaming magazines and websites have churned out a ton of ranked lists as part of an ongoing attempt to comprehensively document the top 10 (or top 100, or 200, or whatever) video games of all time.

This page aims to offer a summary of some of the leading Top 10s, as excerpted from various Top 100 (and up) lists.

Skip to the bottom for a condensed summary of my overall findings.

Standards for list inclusion

I have tried to be as diverse and inclusive as possible in my selection of lists. My only criteria is that any included list must:

  • attempt to document the greatest / most important / most influential games of all time, as opposed to merely the best of a single decade, year, or “era;”
  • be written from a fair, serious, and mature perspective (as in, not absurdly esoteric or biased towards one particular genre or platform)
  • come from relatively established and professional outlet (as in, written by someone or some organization, who are speaking from some position of relative expertise in the gaming community, or have commissioned some manner of credible public study or survey)

Now based on your perspective, some of the lists below will obviously appear more credible than others, but overall I erred on the side of quantity over quality. By assembling as vast a collection of lists as possible, I was hoping to see if there appears to be any critical consensus regarding which games are truly history’s best.

My findings come at the end.

A brief warning about controversies ahead!

Obviously, what makes these lists fun is their inherently controversial nature. Every list will contain some outrageous exclusions and inclusions, and any one could easily spawn an argument. That being said, I have provoked controversy even further by choosing to include a few lists from the 1990s and early 2000s that only features games published on Nintendo-brand hardware platforms, and the occasional list that only includes games playable on the PC. I have not, however, included Sega, Microsoft, or Sony lists of a similar limitation.

My logic was thus: Nintendo systems and the personal computer are the two longest-reigning gaming platforms in existence, having occupied a dominant chunk of the marketplace since at least the mid-1980s. While such lists will be unavoidably exclusionary, I’m not convinced that the bias of their exclusion is extreme enough to justify ignoring the useful insights brought by their inclusion.

In other words, I believe this page is better able to document great games from the 1980s through early 1990s by including narrow lists from a time when the video game marketplace itself was narrower than it is today.

Legend

Nintendo
Sony and Microsoft
Sega and misc.
NES (1985-1994) PlayStation (1995-2004) Genesis (1988-1996)
Game Boy (1989-2002) PlayStation 2 (2000-2013) Saturn (1994-1998)
SNES (1991-1998) PlayStation 3 (2006- ) Dreamcast (1998-2003)
N64 (1996-2003) PlayStation Portable (2004- ) Personal Computer
GameCube (2001-2006) Xbox (2001-2008) Arcade
DS (2004- ) Xbox 360 (2005- ) Atari 2600
Wii (2006- ) Multiple
Wii U (2012- )

Another note: As the years progress, games tend to migrate onto more and more systems. Super Mario Bros. eventually made its way to the Game Boy Advance, Ocarina of Time wound up on the 3DS, and now, in our modern era of downloadable content, you can basically play everything on everything. That being said, in the interest of most accurately representing a game’s origin story, whenever possible I have tagged games with the name of whichever platform they were initially designed for. Games that were always intended to be on multiple platforms at the time of their original debut are the ones that get the “multiple” tag. At times, this required a bit of subjectivity, and since I am not the world’s greatest gaming historian please email me if you believe I am misrepresenting a game’s background.

I use English names for games (if a distinct one exists), but usually Japanese release dates.

IGN (2015)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
2
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
3
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
4
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
5
Portal 2Valve2011
6
Half-Life 2Valve2004
7
Super MetroidNintendo1994
8
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
9
Halo 2Bundle Studios2004
10
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987

Official Nintendo Magazine [UK] (2014, issue 114)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
1
Super Mario GalaxyNintendo2007
3
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
4
Super Smash Bros. MeleeNintendo2001
5
Mario Kart 8Nintendo2014
6
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
7
Super MetroidNintendo1994
8
Goldeneye 007Rare1997
9
Super Mario Galaxy 2Nintendo2010
10
Pokemon HeartGold / SoulSilverNintendo2010

Note: This list featured a tie for first place.

Watchmojo (2014)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
3
Half-Life 2Valve2004
4
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
5
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
6
Portal 2Valve2011
7
Mass Effect 2BioWare2010
8
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimBethesda2011
9
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005
10
Goldeneye 007Rare1997

Games Radar (2014)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
PortalValve2004
2
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
3
Super MetroidNintendo1994
4
Shadow of the ColossusBluepoint2005
5
Legend of Zelda: The Wind WakerNintendo2003
6
Bioshock2K Games2007
7
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
8
The Last of UsNaughty Dog2013
9
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
10
World of WarcraftBlizzard2004

Empire Magazine (2014)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Last of UsNaughty Dog2013
2
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
3
World of WarcraftBlizzard2004
4
Final Fantasy VIISquareshoft1997
5
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
6
Goldeneye 007Rare1997
7
ShenmueSega2000
8
Grand Theft Auto VRockstar2015
9
Red Dead RedemptionRockstar2010
10
Halo: Combat EvolvedBungie Studios2001

Games Radar (2012)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
PortalValve2004
2
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
3
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
4
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
5
Legend of Zelda: The Wind WakerNintendo2003
6
Grand Theft Auto IVRockstar Games2008
7
Shadow of the ColossusBluepoint2005
8
Bioshock2K Games2007
9
Super MetroidSquaresoft1994
10
Mass Effect 2BioWare2010

Gaming bolt (2012)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
3
PongAtari1972
4
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
5
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
6
Half-LifeValve2004
7
PitfallActivision1984
8
Prince of PersiaBrøderbund1989
9
Pac-ManNamco1980
10
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993

G4 (2012)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
2
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
3
Bioshock2K Games2008
4
AsteroidsAtari1979
5
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
6
The Legend of ZeldaNintendo1986
7
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
8
Goldeneye 007Rare1997
9
Shadow of the ColossusBluepoint2005
10
World of WarcraftBlizzard2004

Unikgamer (2012)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Mass Effect 2BioWare2010
3
Half-Life 2Valve2004
4
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
5
Fallout 3Bethesda2008
6
Mass EffectBioWare2007
7
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
8
PortalValve2007
9
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
10
Uncharted 2: Among ThievesNaughty Dog2009

PC Gamer (2012)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Mass Effect 2BioWare2010
3
Half-Life 2Valve2004
4
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
5
Fallout 3Bethesda2008
6
Mass EffectBioWare2007
7
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
8
PortalValve2007
9
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
10
Uncharted 2: Among ThievesNaughty Dog2009

Official Nintendo Magazine [UK] (2012)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario Galaxy 2Nintendo2010
2
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward SwordNintendo2011
3
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
4
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
5
Pokemon Black / White VersionNintendo2011
6
Mario Kart WiiNintendo2007
7
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
8
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
9
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind WakerNintendo2003
10
Super Smash Bros. BrawlNintendo2008

Nintendo Power (2012, issue 285)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
3
Super Mario GalaxyNintendo2007
4
Final Fantasy III (VI)Squaresoft1994
5
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
6
Mega Man 2Nintendo1989
7
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
8
Super MetroidNintendo1994
9
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind WakerNintendo2003
10
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005

PC Gamer (2012)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
PortalValve2007
2
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimBethesda2011
3
Team Fortress 2Valve2010
4
Fallout 3Bethesda2008
5
Dragon Age: OrginsBioWare2009
6
World of WarcraftBlizzard2004
7
The Elder Scrolls IV: OblivionBethesda2006
8
ArmA IIBohemia2009
9
Civilization IVFiraxis Games2005
10
StarCraft IIBlizzard2010

Jeux Video (2011)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
2
Out of This WorldInterplay1991
3
Donkey Kong CountryRare1994
4
Deus ExIon Storm2000
5
Batman Arkham AsylumEdios2009
6
Mass EffectBioWare2007
7
Hitman 2 : Silent AssassinEidos2002
8
Final Fantasy VIISquarest1997
9
World of WarcraftBlizzard2004
10
Duke Nukem 3DGT Interactive1996

Games Radar (2011)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
PortalValve2004
2
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
3
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
4
Grand Theft Auto IVRockstar Games2008
5
Legend of Zelda: The Wind WakerNintendo2003
6
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
7
Shadow of the ColossusBluepoint2005
8
Half-Life 2Valve2004
9
Super MetroidSquaresoft1994
10
Mass Effect 2BioWare2010

Slogan Yams (2011)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
3
Super Mario Galaxy 2Nintendo2010
4
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
5
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
6
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
7
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
8
Super Mario GalaxyNintendo2007
9
Super Smash Bros. BrawlNintendo2008
10
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992

The Best 100 Lists (2011)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Halo: Combat EvolvedBungie Studios2001
3
Call of Duty 4: Modern WarfareActivision2007
4
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
5
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
6
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
7
HaloBungie Studios2007
8
Grand Theft Auto IVRockstar Games2008
9
BioShock2K Games2007
10
GoldenEye 007Rare1997

Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition (2009)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario Kart Nintendo1992
2
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
3
Grand Theft AutoRockstar Games1997
4
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
5
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
6
Halo: Combat EvolvedBungie Studios2001
7
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005
8
Final Fantasy XIISquare2006
9
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
10
GoldenEye 007Rare1997

FHM (2009)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Call of Duty 4: Modern WarfareActivision2007
3
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
4
Fallout 3Bethesda2008
5
Super Mario KartNintendo1992
6
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
7
Super Mario GalaxyNintendo2007
8
Star Wars: TIE FighterLucasArts1995
9
Tom Clancy's Splinter CellUbisoft2005
10
The Legend of Zelda: Links' AwakeningNintendo1993

Action Button (2009)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Out of This WorldInterplay1991
2
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
3
Half-Life 2Valve2004
4
Mother 3Nintendo2005
5
Pac-Man: Championship EditionNamco2007
6
Gears of WarEpic2006
7
Street Fighter III: Third StrikeCapcom1999
8
Cave StoryPixel Studios2004
9
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
10
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake EaterKonami2004

Game Informer Magazine (2009, issue 200)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of ZeldaNintendo1986
2
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
3
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
4
Grand Theft Auto IIIRockstar Games2001
5
Half-Life 2Valve2004
6
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
7
MetroidNintendo1986
8
Final Fantasy III (IV)Squaresoft1994
9
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
10
Ms. Pac-ManNamco1981

Empire Magazine (2009)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
2
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
3
World of WarcraftBlizzard2004
4
Call of Duty 4: Modern WarfareActivision2007
5
Sid Meier's CivilizationMicropose1991
6
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
7
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
8
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
9
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
10
GoldenEye 007Rare1997

Edge Magazine (2009)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
3
Half-Life 2Valve2004
4
Resident Evil 4Capcom2004
5
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
6
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
7
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
8
Super Mario GalaxyNintendo2007
9
Halo 3Bungie Studios2007
10
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's IslandNintendo1995

Official Nintendo Magazine [UK] (2009)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
2
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
3
Super Mario GalaxyNintendo2007
4
Mario Kart WiiNintendo2007
5
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
6
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
7
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
8
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
9
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005
10
Street Fighter IICapcom1991

VGChartz (2009)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
3
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
4
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the PatriotsKonami2008
5
Super Mario GalaxyNintendo2007
6
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
7
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005
8
Final Fantasy III (IV)Squaresoft1994
9
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
10
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991

Gamer.Blorge (2008)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the PatriotsKonami2008
2
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
3
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
4
Halo 3Bungie Studios2007
5
Call of Duty 4: Modern WarfareActivision2007
6
Grand Theft Auto IVRockstar Games2008
7
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
8
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
9
Gears of WarEpic2006
10
Final Fantasy XSquaresoft2001

IGN Readers’ Poll (2008)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
3
SoulCaliburNamco1998
4
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
5
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake EaterNintendo2004
6
Super MetroidNintendo1994
7
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
8
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
9
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005
10
Shenmue IISega2001

GAME.co.uk poll (2008)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Call of Duty 4: Modern WarfareActivision2007
2
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
3
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
4
Grand Theft Auto IVRockstar Games2008
5
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
6
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
7
Halo 3Bungie Studios2007
8
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
9
Half-Life 2Valve2004
10
Gears of WarEpic2006

Stuff magazine (2008, October issue)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Half-Life 2Valve2004
2
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
3
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
4
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
5
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
6
EliteAcornsoft1984
7
Sonic the HedgehogSega1991
8
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
9
Grand Theft Auto IIIRockstar Games2001
10
Turrican 2Amiga1991

Entertainment Weekly magazine (2008, issue 1,000)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
2
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
3
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
4
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
5
Guitar HeroHarmonix2005
6
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
7
Super Mario KartNintendo1992
8
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
9
Grand Theft Auto IVRockstar Games2008
10
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998

Dengaki Online (2007)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Final Fantasy VIISquare1997
2
Final Fantasy XSquare2001
3
Monster Hunter Freedom 2Capcom2007
4
XenogearsSquare1998
5
Tales of the Abyss Namco2005
6
Dragon Warrior IIIEnix1998
7
Dragon Quest VIIIEnix2004
8
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
9
Suikoden IIKonami1999
10
OkamiCapcom2006

Retro Remakes Readers’ Poll (2007)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
EliteAcornsoft1984
2
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
3
Half-LifeValve1998
4
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
5
Cave StoryPixel Studios2004
6
R-TypeActivision1989
7
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
8
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
9
Half-Life 2Valve2004
10
StarCraftBlizzard1998

Edge Magazine (2007)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005
3
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
4
Half-Life 2Valve2004
5
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
6
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
7
Halo: Combat EvolvedBungie Stuidos2001
8
Final Fantasy XIISquaresoft2006
9
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
10
Super MetroidNintendo1994

Note: List was printed in special issue entitled “Edge presents The 100 Best Videogames,” and included Edge’s 2000 list (see below).

IGN.com (2007)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
2
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
3
Civilization IIMicropose1996
4
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
5
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
6
Half-Life 2Valve2004
7
Super MetroidNintendo1994
8
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
9
Final Fantasy III (VI)Squaresoft1994
10
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005

Computer and Video Games (2007)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Deus ExIon Storm2000
2
Half-Life 2Valve2004
3
Civilization IVFiraxis Games2005
4
The Elder Scrolls III: MorrowindBethesda Softworks2002
5
Half-Life 2Valve1998
6
Rome: Total WarActivision2004
7
System Shock 2Irrational Games1999
8
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
9
Battlefield 2Electronic Arts2005
10
The Secret of Monkey IslandLucasArts1990

Note: List limited to “best PC games.”

GameTrailers.com (2006)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
3
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
4*
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
4*
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
5
Tecmo BowlNintendo1987
6
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
7
Grand Theft Auto IIIRockstar Games2001
8
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
9
Halo Combat EvolvedBungie Studios2001
10
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005

Note: GameTrailers picked two Mario games tied for fourth place.

Yahoo! UK & Ireland Games (2006)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
2
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
3
PokémonNintendo1995
4
Pro Evolution Soccer 4Konami2004
5
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
6
Monkey Island 2LucasArts1990
7
Super Mario KartNintendo1992
8
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
9
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
10
EliteAcornsoft1984

Famitsu readers’ poll [Japan] (2006)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Final Fantasy XSquaresoft2001
2
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
3
Dragon Warrior IIIEnix1988
4
Dragon Quest VIIIEnix2004
5
MachiChunsoft1998
6
Final Fantasy II (IV)Squaresoft1991
7
Tactics OgreQuest1997
8
Final Fantasy III (Japan)Squaresoft1990
9
Dragon Warrior VIIEnix2000
10
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998

IGN Readers’ Poll (2006)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
3
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005
4
Super MetroidNintendo1994
5
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
6
SoulCaliburNamco1998
7
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
8
Final Fantasy III (IV)Squaresoft1994
9
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
10
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake EaterKonami2004

Nintendo Power (2006, issue 200)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005
3
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
4
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind WakerNintendo2003
5
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
6
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
7
The Legend of ZeldaNintendo1986
8
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
9
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
10
Metroid PrimeNintendo2002

Electronic Gaming Monthly (2005, issue 200)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
2
Pac-ManNamco1980
3
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
4
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
5
The Legend of ZeldaNintendo1986
6
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
7
Space InvadersTaito1978
8
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
9
Grand Theft Auto IIIRockstar Games2001
10
PongAtari1972

GamePro magazine (2005)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005
2
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
3
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
4
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
5
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
6
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
7
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
8
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
9
Halo 2Bundie Studios2004
10
Super Smash Bros. MeleeNintendo2001

The Jaded Gamer (2005)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super MetroidNintendo1994
2
Mega Man 2Capcom1989
3
Katamari DamacyNamco2004
4
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
5
Final Fantasy III (IV)Squaresoft1994
6
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
7
Castlevania: Symphony of the NightKonami1997
8
Pirates!Micropose1987
9
Civilization IIMicropose1996
10
Baldur's GateInterplay1998

GameFAQs reader’s poll (2005)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Final Fantasy VIICapcom1997
2
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeRare1997
3
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
4
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
5
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
6
Super Smash Bros. MeleeNintendo2001
7
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
8
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
9
Halo 2Bundie Studios2004
10
Final Fantasy III (VI)Nintendo1994

IGN.com (2005)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
2
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
3
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
4
Civilization IIMicroprose1996
5
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
6
Pirates!Microprose1987
7
StarCraftBlizzard1998
8
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
9
Star Wars: TIE FighterLucasArts1995
10
Super MetroidNintendo1994

IGN readers’ poll (2005)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005
2
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
3
Tom Clancy's Splinter CellUbisoft2005
4
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
5
Half-Life 2Valve2004
6
God of WarSony2005
7
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake EaterKonami2004
8
SoulCaliburNamco1998
9
Grand Theft Auto: San AndreasRockstar Games2004
10
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992

PALGN (2005)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
3
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
4
Resident Evil 4Capcom2005
5
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
6
Grand Theft Auto: San AndreasRockstar Games2004
7
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
8
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
9
Half-Life 2Valve2004
10
Burnout 3: TakedownElectronic Arts2004

The Age newspaper / LiveWire (2005)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Sims 2Maxis2005
2
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
3
Half-Life 2Valve2004
4
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
5
Grand Theft Auto: San AndreasRockstar Games2004
6
Halo 2Bungie Studios2004
7
Gran Turismo 4Polyphony Digital2005
8
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
9
IcoSony2001
10
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998

Retro Gamer magazine (2004, issue 9)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
EliteAcornsoft1984
2
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
3
Manic MinerBug-Byte1983
4
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
5
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
6
Space InvadersTaito1978
7
Jet Set WillySoftware1984
8
Sensible Software SoccerSensible Software1992
9
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
10
Pac-ManNamco1980

Note:  Retro Gamer Issue 1 also featured a “Top 100″ list, though this one was actually 10 distinct “Top 10″ lists segregated by platform.

IGN.com (2003)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
2
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
3
Super MetroidNintendo1994
4
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
5
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
6
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
7
StarCraftBlizzard1998
8
X-COM: UFO DefenseMythos Games1994
9
Final Fantasy II (IV)Squaresoft1991
10
Street Fighter IICapcom1991

Entertainment Weekly / GF (2003)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
2
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
3
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
4
Grand Theft Auto IIIRockstar Games2001
5
Madden NFL 2003Electronic Arts2002
6
Half-LifeValve1998
7
The SimsMaxis2000
8
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
9
StarCraftBlizzard1998
10
Street Fighter IICapcom1991

Note: Number 9 on this list was actually “Warcraft / StarCraft” which is kind of cheating since they are two different games.

The DORK Club (2003)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super MetroidNintendo1994
2
Chrono TriggerSquaresoft1995
3
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
4
Final Fantasy III (VI)Squaresoft1994
5
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
6
Half-LifeValve1998
7
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
8
Super Smash Bros. MeleeNintendo2001
9
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
10
EarthBoundNintendo1995

Electronic Gaming Monthly (2002, issue 150)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super MetroidNintendo1994
2
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
3
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
4
Castlevania: Symphony of the NightKonami1997
5
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
6
SoulCaliburNamco1998
7
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's MaskNintendo2000
8
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
9
Final Fantasy III (VI)Squaresoft1994
10
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991

GameSpy.com (2001)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
2
Half-LifeValve1998
3
Warcraft IIBlizzard1995
4
Sid Meier's CivilizationMicroprose1991
5
Quakeid / GT Interactive1996
6
DiabloBlizzard1996
7
Ultima IV: Quest of the AvatarOrigin1985
8
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian AbyssOrigin1992
9
StarCraftBlizzard1998
10
The Legend of ZeldaNintendo1986

Game Informer magazine (2001)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of ZeldaNintendo1986
2
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
3
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
4
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2Activision2000
5
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
6
MetroidNintendo1986
7
Final Fantasy III (VI)Squaresoft1994
8
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
9
Ms. Pac-ManNamco1981
10
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997

GameSpot (2001)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
2
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
3
Resident EvilCapcom1996
4
Virtua RacingSega1992
5
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
6
Dragon WarriorEnix1986
7
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
8
The Legend of ZeldaNintendo1986
9
Double DragonTaito1987
10
CommandoCapcom1985

Note: List was formally “most influential” games of all time.

GameSpot (2000)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Quakeid / GT Interactive1996
2
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
3
MystBroderbund1996
4
King's Quest IV: The Perils of RosellaSierra1988
5
Dune II: The Building of a DynastyVirgin1992
6
DiabloBlizzard1996
7
Sid Meier's CivilizationMicroprose1991
8
Half-LifeValve1998
9
Sim CityMaxis1987
10
Falcon 3.0Spectrum1991

Note: List was formally “most influential” games of all time.

Computer and Video Games magazine (2001, issue 240)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
3
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
4
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
5
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
6
Super Mario KartNintendo1992
7
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991
8
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
9
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
10
ShemueSega2000

Edge Magazine (2000, issue 80)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
3
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
4
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
5
Gran Turismo 2Polyphony Digital1999
6
Quake IIid1997
7
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
8
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
9
Half-LifeValve1998
10
Super Mario WorldNintendo1991

GamesRadar (2000)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
2
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
3
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
4
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
5
Civilization IIMicroprose1996
6
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
7
StarCraftBlizzard1998
8
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
9
Resident Evil: Code VeronicaCapcom2000
10
Street Fighter IICapcom1991

Note: With the exception of SMB, GamesRadar recognized entire “franchises” in their list. The specific games mentioned are the ones the authors note as the “bests” of the series.

Nintendorks (2000)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
2
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
3
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
4
Final Fantasy III (VI)Squaresoft1994
5
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
6
The Legend of ZeldaNintendo1986
7
Super Mario KartNintendo1992
8
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
9
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
10
Punch-Out!!Nintendo1987

Computer and Video Games Magazine Readers’ Poll (2000, issue 218)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
2
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
3
Final Fantasy VIISquaresoft1997
4
Metal Gear SolidKonami1998
5
Sonic the HedgehogSega1991
6
Resident Evil 2Capcom2000
7
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
8
Grand TurismoPolyphony Digital1998
9
Tekken 3Namco1998
10
Grand Theft AutoRockstar Games1998

Note: Sonic, in spot number 5, was formally the “Sonic series.”

Next Generation magazine (1999)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo1998
2
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
3
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
4
Civilization IIMicropose1996
5
Quake IIid1996
6
Super MetroidNintendo1994
7
Super Mario KartNintendo1992
8
Virtua Fighter 2Sega1995
9
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
10
GoldenEye 007Rare1997

Note: In this list Next Gen has made my life difficult by identifying four “series” in their top 10 (#1 is the “Zelda series,” #3 is the “Mario series,” #4 is the “Civilization series,” and #6 is the “Metroid series”). To keep this list in the style of all the others, I have thus tampered with it, and inserted games from each series which I think they would be statistically most likely to have chosen as the “best” game of each franchise.

Electronic Gaming Monthly (1997, issue 100)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
2
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
3
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
4
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
5
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
6
Super MetroidNintendo1994
7
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's IslandNintendo1995
8
Contra III: The Alien WarsKonami1992
9
Final Fantasy III (VI)Squaresoft1994
10
Saturn BombermanHudson Soft1997

Nintendo Power magazine (1997, issue 100)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
2
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastNintendo1992
3
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
4
Mario Kart 64Nintendo1997
5
Super Mario Bros. 3Nintendo1990
6
Super MetroidNintendo1994
7
GoldenEye 007Rare1997
8
Final Fantasy II (IV)Squaresoft1991
9
Final Fantasy III (VI)Squaresoft1994
10
Street Fighter IICapcom1991

Computer Gaming World (1996, November issue)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Sid Meier's CivilizationMicropose1993
2
Ultima IV: Quest of the AvatarOrigin1985
3
MULEElectronic Arts1983
4
Red BaronSierra1990
5
DOOMid / GT Interactive1993
6
Sim CityMaxis1987
7
Wing CommanderElectronic Arts1990
8
EmpireInterstel1978
9
WastelandInterplay1987
10
Falcon 3.0Spectrum1991

Next Generation magazine (1996)

Rank
Title
PublisherYear
1
Super Mario 64Nintendo1996
2
TetrisAlexey Pajitnov1987
3
Super Bomberman 2Hudson Soft1994
4
Sid Meier's CivilizationMicropose1991
5
Super Mario Bros.Nintendo1985
6
Virtua Fighter 2Sega1995
7
Street Fighter IICapcom1991
8
LemmingsPsygnosis1990
9
Quakeid / GT Interactive1996
10
Warcraft IIBlizzard1995

Overall totals

These lists predictably represent a whole host of different agendas, outlooks, and opinions on what constitutes a “great” video game. Some placed large emphasis on recognizing games that were historically “relevant” or “innovative” while others simply celebrated games that were fun to play.

Assuming these lists represent the collective authority of 20 years of professional game criticism, we can easily make a cumulative list averaging out the most universally popular games. Based on sheer citations alone, the most popular games of all time seem to be:

Rank
Title
1
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (44 lists)
2
Super Mario 64 (33 lists, tie)
2
Tetris (33 lists, tie)
4
Goldeneye 007 (26 lists)
5
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (25 lists)
6
Final Fantasy VII (24 lists)
7
Super Mario World (21 lists)
8
Metal Gear Solid (19 lists, tie)
8
Street Fighter II (19 lists, tie)
9
Super Metroid (18 lists, tie)
9
Super Mario Bros. 3 (18 lists, tie)

While Ocarina of Time is the clear winner, the consensus does start to break up soon after. This in part due to the marked shift in tastes that has occured in recent years, and the fact that list-makers’ biases tend to be towards newer games over older ones. One could easily argue that this cumulative total is rather biased towards old games overall, in fact, given some of the earlier lists were written well before some of today’s most critically-acclaimed games were released. On the other hand, one could just as easily argue that the consistent, multi-decade popularity of certain titles proves them deserving of particular recognition.

What do you think? If you have any new lists to add, new methods of tabulating overall rankings, or any other feedback, email me at jjmccullough@gmail.com.