Top 10 Games of All Time

I’ve been thinking for quite a while about the idea of the “greatest games”. What makes a truly great game? In my mind, it’s not just a matter of how fun the game is, or how much replay value it has (although that’s important). What was it’s impact on the gaming industry as a whole? How innovative was it? Do I still remember it ten years later?

I’ve put together a quick list of qualities that I think a great game should have:

  1. Innovation in it’s genre
  2. Originality
  3. Replay value
  4. Just plain fun

Video games seem to be a dime a dozen these days, and honestly, most of them suck. I can count on one hand the number of games in recent years that were amazing. I’m talking about games that I would make me buy a system just to play. This whole idea struck me when I first started playing Katamari Damacy. It was without a doubt the absolute best game I’ve played in a long time. Everybody I know loves this game, including non-gamers. Hell, my Grandma thought it was great.

So what are the top ten games of all time? So far, I’ve only been able to think of four definites and two maybes that meet my standards. It’s probably no coincidence that all of these games have multiple sequels. Here they are, without further ado:

The Definites

Katamari Damacy

I already talked about this game a little bit. Quite simply, it is the most original game I’ve seen since probably the birth of video games. All you do is roll over things and get bigger. The concept is so simple (and weird), yet it’s so much fun. The game also presents endless amounts of oddities in the cities and towns, story line and sound effects. Every time I show this game to somebody whose never seen it before, it’s like rediscovering it all over again. The soundtrack is great also.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

This game puts it all together and wraps it up in a neat little package. Although this is actually the fourth installment in the GTA series (I think), it’s the first one that really brought everything together. The Scarface-style storyline is great as is the 70s-80s theme. The game is long, immersive and challenging, with tons of side games. I also love how well the radio stations tie into the theme of the game.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (1 or 2)

Tony Hawk completely revolutionized the genre of XTreme sports video games. Does anyone remember what those games were like before Tony Hawk? I do, regrettably. They were terrible.1 Tony Hawk was truly the first of it’s kind, and it was amazing.

I have a tough time deciding whether it should be Tony Hawk 1 or Tony Hawk 2 on the list. The original was the innovative title, but the second one greatly improved on it by adding the ability to string tricks together using wheelies. You could also use this same argument to include Tony Hawk 3 since it introduced reverts, allowing you to basically string an infinite number of tricks together.


I don’t really have much to say about this one, except come on, it’s Tetris.

The Maybes

Super Mario Kart

I just loved playing this game when I was a kid. It was a fun and goofy racing game to play with friends. Oh the joy that came from waiting until your best friend was just about to cross the finish line to win the race and then hitting them with a red shell.

Secret of Mana

I still love this game. Actually I own it, but not a Super Nintendo to play it on. This probably isn’t the first action RPG game released, but I do think it’s got to be one of the best.

What Else?

Okay, so Super Mario Kart and Secret of Mana probably shouldn’t even come close to making this list. They just happen to be two of my favorites. But what other games should? What about Super Mario Brothers? Isn’t that one of the first side-scrolling action games ever? Should we go back even further? Pong?

I still haven’t been able to pick a game from my personal favorite genre, RPGs. There should definitely be one on the list, but which one? There should probably also be a sports game (Madden?), one of those bloody shooting games, and maybe even an MMO (World of Warcraft?).

What else have I missed? I think there should be something about the Wii in the list. The Wii definitely qualifies as innovative, but is there a game for it that is truly amazing yet? I’m not so sure.

So, I guess I’m stuck here. I’ve picked four games so far. What do you think should round out the rest of the list?

  1. Except for maybe Skitchin’. How often do you get to hang on the the back of a car while hitting a fellow competitor over the head with a crowbar?