Gaming has, for the last four decades, been a vital part of human life and in the past few years, it has become the largest entertainment sector in the world. Without a doubt, video games have become among the leading forms of entertainment in the world today. Without video games, it would be very hard indeed to fill in those free hours in the day that so many gamers have!
But what are some of the best video games? It’s a subjective list. For some people, it’s the classics; Pong, Tetris, Pac-Man, Alex the Kidd, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario. For others, it’s the modern-day AAA classics; The Witcher 3, Horizon: Zero Dawn. For others, it’s the major game-changers; industry masterminds like Counter-Strike, World of Warcraft, and Age of Empires. The kind of games that shaped an entire genre. In short, there is no ‘right’ answer. What we do have, though, is a collection of some of the best video games ever listed in no particular order.
Whether the game is one of the best ever due to its performance or due to its legacy, or even just down to pure sales, we’ll try to explain below.
What are the best games out there to play?
Today you have the option to go for the best PC games, the best online games, the best RTS games, the best MMOs…it’s entirely up to you. Below, though, you will find a list of some of the best video games ever. Whether it’s down to its influence, a long-lasting legacy on the gaming industry, or the high technological bar that the game has set, we’ll try and explain it.
So, what are some of the best video games ever? The list is almost too large to cover! So, here’s just some starter suggestions – both new and old.
While for most it’s between Pong and Space Invaders for the game that made everything possible, Pong is probably the most important game of all time. While it’s by no means a game-changer today, it’s 1972 release made it the ideal game for kick-starting what has become a multi-billion industry.
While the PS2 and PS3 games of the God of War series were brilliant, they were essentially Devil May Cry themed takes on mythology. With the most recent PS4 God of War, though, Sony produced an instant classic.
With the intensity and energy of the old games but with a totally refined combat system, God of War was a genuine game-changer. It managed to introduce a tremendous story, a real nod to its mythological lineage and built an organic story between father and son. In an era of increasingly bland open-world games, God of War raised the bar. It was one of the highest-selling games of the PS4 era, and constantly rates in the 90% margin on most video games rating sites.
Now, this is a contentious one; most say that Final Fantasy VI, VII, or VIII are the best in the series. It’s mostly down to subjective opinion. Final Fantasy IX, though, was consistently praised for its intelligent story-telling, proper fantasy world, and an excellent cast of characters. Throw in absolute gluttony of mini-games to enjoy, and it’s easy to see why so many people have taken FFIX to their hearts as one of the best JRPGs of all-time.
The numerous re-releases and consistent critical acclaim help it to stand out as one of the most successful games of the PS1 era, with a consistent score from critics across its numerous releases in and around the 90+ mark.
In terms of old-school platformers like Mario and Sonic, Super Mario World consistently comes out at the very top. With a tremendous blend of levels and no shortage of challenges throughout its various stages, Super Mario World was a genuine change of pace.
With previous Mario games being hugely successful, Super Mario World combined everything that made Mario (before and after) so amazing. By so openly using other major characters like Luigi and Yoshi to such a great extent, too, it was arguably the pinnacle of the 2D Mario era: a game that influenced more or less every Mario release ever since.
We can’t pick a single game from the Legend of Zelda series. It was hard enough picking one Mario game!
The Zelda series, from its first release in 1986, has seen so many new releases. From the major progress in Link to the Past, changing the gameplay hugely, to the 3D platforms ranging from Ocarina of Time to Breath of the Wild, we’ve seen Zelda take on so many forms and themes over the years. As an adventure game that’s driven by story and lore, though, it’s among the most impressive of all-time.
Released in 1990, The Secret of Monkey Island wasn’t the first point and click adventure. It was, though, by far the most charismatic and charming. A landmark of the LucasArts era, it built on the famous SCUMM system and developed a game that was challenging, intricate, and intelligent. Monkey Island arguably did more than any game until its release to help take games on a more story-driven experience. It’s not the combat or in-depth graphics that makes Monkey Island a classic; it’s the dialogue options, the wit, and the charm!
While fighting games were always popular, Street Fighter II (and it’s 800 re-releases since) was the game-changer for the fighting industry. They made fighting games change their entire style, developing something far more fun and rewarding for players.
In fact, it would be fair to say that Street Fighter II was one of the first games to have a genuine competitive system around it. It helped to set the tone not only for fighting games but for the idea that video gaming could be complex and challenging enough to be an actual industry and sport in its own right.
As the mac-daddy of the original Real-Time Strategy series, today Command and Conquer is practically unknown. In the 90s, though, it set the tone (alongside other names like Warcraft and Age of Empires) for competitive real-time strategy. Smart layouts, interesting unit systems, and intelligent computer AI all led to making C&C and its rivals the beginning of a major industry.
While Dune II might have laid the foundations, Command and Conquer built upon them in the most amazing of fashion. RTS might not be prevalent today, but from the 1990s until the 2010s it was a massive, massive industry.
Since the year of 1996, if you have played a Nintendo games console, you have likely played a Pokémon game. The dungeon-sprawling creature-catcher became an addiction of its own. In fact, so addictive was it that monster catchers have been very rare. It was only until the recent popular online game TemTem that Pokémon has had a genuine rival for the crown of best creature catcher.
For many people, the Pokémon TV series and movies are unbearable. The games, though? They were something almost any gamer could genuinely enjoy.
The racing scene has been wild and diverse ever since the days of things like OutRun. However, it was Gran Turismo that brought the idea of fully licensed, realistic competitive racing into our households. The (then) awesome graphics and realism in the racing for the time made it a true genre adjuster.
Today, Gran Turismo and its heaps of content became the ideal choice for anyone looking for some fun when it comes to racing. While it’s vastly outdated and competitive now, Gran Turismo once used to always come 1st place in the racing industry. It’s original greatness, though, inspired new competition.
Both games are equally as important as one another. While games like Castle Wolfenstein and DOOM made the first-person genre big, it was games like Half-Life and Counter-Strike that rewrote the rules. Half-Life was one of the first major story-driven FPS games, with more than just enemies to kill for Reason A. Counter-Strike, meanwhile, made the world of competitive online FPS a thing.
Though other games were online first, nothing achieved the same quality and precision as Counter-Strike. It was, as its base game Half-life, the precursor to FPS games either being heavily story-led or built for multiplayer.
Our last entry – though this list could easily extend far past 100 games – is another genre-maker. While many games existed that were similar to its predecessor in Diablo, studios have spent millions trying to capture the lightning in a bottle that was Diablo II.
It’s intense action, strong story, and diverse leveling and loot system spawned about four genres on its own. From games like Borderlands making the ‘loot shooter’ a thing to games like Path of Exile being built purely as ‘Diablo killers’, we’ve seen industries form and rise all thanks to the development that Blizzard released back in the year 2000.
So, this list only scratches the surface of the best video games ever. Sorry if your favorite game isn’t featured; we can only include so many today! What, then, is your favorite game of all-time? And what do you think is the best game of all times, or maybe the most influential?