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My Top Ten All-time Video Games List

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I have decided to do a list of my favorite all-time top ten video games. This list is not meant to be definitive. (IE my favorite games may not be the same as yours, but I would be glad to hear about yours if you feel like sharing) The list spans time, and platform.

Games have come a long way, and while I haven’t been the most consistent or addicted gamer, I have gone through my phases. You will also notice that one game in particular is missing from this list. That game is James Bond Goldeneye from the N64. Everyone and their mother played that game like lunatics for weeks/months, maybe even years on end. I am not that guy. It is a great game that I enjoyed a lot, but for whatever reason my group of friends and I did not play that game as religiously as the rest of the world. Therefore, it does not make my top ten. I am sure it makes most other top ten lists

Also, I will be giving honorable mentions, which might be similar games that could have made the list or games on the same platform that competed for my attention in the same time period.

Without further ado.

10. Centipede – Apple IIe Home Computer

    Centipede was one of the first games that I ever played in my lifetime. We had it on a real 5 and 1/4 floppy disk for the Apple IIe. I remember playing this game, the first home game of my lifetime, until my fingers hurt from pressing the buttons. The only thing that sucked was having to take turns with my brother and sister. Also, it led to an inadvertent childhood punishment. I remember playing it one afternoon and I wasn’t able to finish off a level and I said something about how they “didn’t hit my ship!” because I thought I had been unfairly killed by the game. My mom comes running in from the kitchen and sends me to my room for swearing. To this day, I swear to you that I said the word “ship” and my mom was wrong. Plus, it would be like the back judge in the NFL calling holding at the line of scrimmage. If you are too far away to see the play then you are too far away to throw the flag. Anyway, Centipede was a great game.

    Honorable mention – Galaxian, Dig Dug

———————

9. Super Mario Kart – Super Nintendo

    One year, we got the Super Nintendo for Christmas and that was when my brother and I realized that this whole gaming thing could have some legs. Seeing the upgraded graphics of F-Zero and other games on the Super Nintendo just fascinated us. But, it wasn’t until we got Super Mario Kart that we were totally addicted. Super Mario Kart had ever element that a game needed. It was part racing. It was part death match. It was part Saturday morning cartoons. There were secret paths that you needed to execute to get a leg up on the competition. You could also set time records against the computer. Just one of the most perfect games of all time, especially for me, being competitive and having a brother to play against.

    Honorable mention – R.C. Pro Am, Super Mario 3, Dr. Mario

    (note on Dr. Mario: This was a special game for my family and me. It was the first and only time that video games turned into a family event. I used to play this puzzle game with my dad, and mom as well as my brother and sister. A surprisingly fun game.)

———————

8. Doom II – PC

    Doom was the start of a whole new generation of games based on running around, shooting things and having them explode in gory 3d glory. I played Doom 1, but II didn’t catch on to the whole 3d blaster until ID Software released the second game in the series. Doom 2 had the coolest levels, the coolest weapons (BFG), and the coolest graphics that the world had ever seen. On top of that, it really introduced gamers to the Deathmatch, which has been an integral part of gaming ever since. At the time when this came out, the world still wasn’t totally connected to the internet. My friends and I were into the Bulletin Board technology which allowed you to dial into local networks using a modem. We used this kind of technology to blast each other in Doom 2 for countless hours and countless frags (kills.)

    Honorable mention – Wolfenstein, Duke Nukem 3d

———————

7. Warcraft II – PC

    Warcraft II was the first of the war combat planning and strategy genre for me. The original Warcraft was a great start, but Blizzard Software really pulled it together for the sequel. Much better graphics, better control, and awesome multi-player, really made this game as addictive as it was. You start off building peons, to get your buildings together, in order to build the most diverse and powerful army possible. You could be either Orcs or Humans and build alliances, or go it alone. The bottom line is that this game usurped a whole bunch of hours from my life as I sat in front of a computer screen playing General God to all my pixilated minions.

    Honorable mention – Command and Conquer, Starcraft, Age of Empires

———————

6. Unreal Tournament – PC

    This built upon the successes of its predecessors like Doom II, Quake and Duke Nukem. It took it to a whole new level if you ask me. This game kept the arcade appeal of the Id Software titles and mixed in sniping and some of the features from the more technical and simulated shooting games. On top of the fact that they had very good internet multiplayer support, including capture the flag, and other variations on the deathmatch, it was a perfect game. The support around the world from independent developers and casual fans with programming skills also made this game better. There were mods (modifications) and an almost limitless supply of downloadable levels that always kept the action fresh.

    Honorable mention – Unreal Tourney 2, Half Life

———————

5. Ms. Pacman – Arcade

    I don’t know exactly why, but Ms. Pacman is far superior to the original Pacman game in my opinion. Maybe it has to do with the fact that my orthodontist had a table top version of this game in his office that I would play while I was waiting. No matter. This game is addictive and fun. I have had a lot of fun throughout my life coming across the occasional Ms. Pacman game and more often than not, setting the highscore before leaving the bar/arcade/mall or whatever.

    Honorable mention – Q*Bert

———————

4. Contra – Nintendo

    Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start – This cheat code has been on the lips of video gamers the world over since this game came out. You don’t know? This is the code that gives you and your teammate a bunch of extra lives before you start a game of Contra. You compete against the game. You also try and compete against whoever you are playing with for the rapid fire and spread guns that are on each level. I can’t tell you how many times my brother and I played through this one until the end. Just too much fun.

    Honorable mention – Mike Tyson’s Punchout, Tecmo Bowl, Gauntlet

———————

3. John Madden ’94 – Genesis

    It was hard to figure out which John Madden football game to put on the list, but this is the one that sticks out in my mind because it was the unofficial year of the running backs in this version of Madden. Emmitt Smith could cross the width of the field seven times in the backfield before turning up for a big gain. This was probably the best year for the games when they were in the Genesis/Super Nintendo phases. Sure the “maddenisms” got really old and you wanted to curse your brains out when Madden would say “Quarterback can’t hold onto the ball that long” as your QB was being blitzed and ultimately driven into the ground, but overall this made for some exciting, high scoring video game shootouts.

    Honorable mention – Other Madden Years, NFL Blitz, NBA Jam, Bill Walsh College Football, Double Dribble, Blades of Steel

———————

2. Quake – PC

    Before Unreal Tournament, Quake really set the world on fire with internet multiplayer. I honestly can’t remember how many people used to play simultaneously in this game, but it was one of the best online deathmatches ever. It was the best real 3d game of its time allowing people to move totally freely from bridges, to floors, to underwater areas where you could be electrocuted by the lightning gun. This game defined the first 6 months of my freshman year of college when we were awkward, lonely and before the girls our age had been properly abused by upper classmen to the point where they would give us the time of day again. (Did I get off on a tangent?) This game is also how I learned about firewalls that existed between Boston University dorm buildings. But, before we developed a social life in college, we had Quake to steal away nights on a campus without cable TV.

    Honorable mention – Quake 2, Descent, Call of Duty

———————

1. Diablo 2 – PC

    My number one game of all time has to be Diablo 2. This game was addictive, had great multiplayer, had a great storyline which used cinematic sequences to keep the gamer interested, and had maps and levels that were never the same twice. It epitomizes what gaming is today. It also made good use of the Expansion Pack, which is a lower-priced expansion to an original game that comes out later. The expansion pack become standard video game stuff since Diablo 2. I think this game has given more than just the horribly un-lubricated red-eye effect that it gave me. It gave rise to these Massively Multiplayer Online worlds like Everquest, City of Heroes and Worlds of Warcraft. After my Diablo 2 addiction, I am not willing to even try playing games like those.

    Honorable mention – Diablo, Crusader: No remorse, Warcraft III

———————

So there you have it. My top ten video games of all time. I am sure I missed a lot of your favorites. Be sure to leave me your top ten list, or at least a couple of your favorites.

This first appeared at FilteringCraig.com – Your daily dose of something or other.

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About Craig Lyndall

  • Keith Sikora

    First off, thank you for the props to NFL Blitz, the batard child of all football video games. The only major problem with the list, that I could find, is the lack of the video game that redefined our notions of just how violent a video game could be: Mortal Kombat. On the list, you have three first person shooters. Admitedly, nearly nothing is as fun as running around with the BFG or a Chainsaw and hacking zombies to death, NOTHING on this earth beats Smoke’s Blow-up-the-world fatality.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    Yeah Mortal Kombat was an influential game, but I never really got into that one all that much, for whatever reason. I always liked the Street Fighter games better.

    Anyway, just a matter of preference.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Have you played Mortal Kombat lately? Just because it set a standard doesn’t mean it still plays well. I would argue that II is still immensely fun, but not the first.

    Anyway, I’ve always felt that PC and console games should be seperated. They really are their own seperate industries with unique experiences. That said, nice job picking Ms. Pac Man over Pac Man. Most people fail to realize how much the Misses has over her husband. Excellent job with the NES version of Contra over the surprisingly cheap arcade game.

    Unfortunately, you failed to mention Samurai Shodown II, which eveyone knows is the greatest game ever. =;)

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    Reminds me of that scene in Billy Madison.

    Kid: Mortal Kombat for the SEGA Genesis is the best game ever.
    Billy: I disagree, although Mortal Kombat is a good game. My favorite game is Donkey Kong.
    Kid: Donkey Kong sucks.
    Billy: You know something? YOU SUCK.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    So, am I the only one here who loved Diablo 2 this much? It always just seemed to be the perfect combination of action/adventure and role playing.

  • http://jadedreality.blogspot.com spiderleaf

    Mine cross platforms as well:

    Civ III – PC
    GTA (either Vice City or San A) – PSII
    Centipede & Pacman – Arcade
    Madden (I hated ’95 but the others were great)

    and my most recent fav – Def Jam fight for NY – PSII

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    Civ III should probably be in the Warcraft II honorable mention, but I never played it. I guess I just missed out on the Civilization games altogether.

    GTA 1 was one of the coolest games ever. We played that game over the lan in college.

    I tried to get into the later GTA games, but I just got bored trying to go through all the missions. Plus, I am an XBox guy, not PS2.

  • http://jadedreality.blogspot.com spiderleaf

    I’m at that point with San A… the missions are way too long in this one, but I love the depth of scenery.

    I wanted to switch to Xbox, but I kinda got into the… I have 20 games for PSII that cost me over a grand, so how can I justify shelling out even more on xbox… I’ll probably switch soon enough though ’cause my PS only lasts about a year and it’s driving me batty.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    In terms of pure hardware power the XBox is much better anyway. they are still lagging in terms of the number of titles, but they have more than enough to satisfy me. I would still consider myself a PC gamer first and a console gamer second.

    I would never play a first person shooter on a console, that’s for sure. Halo and Bond have been exceptions, but they are rare.

  • Keith Sikora

    Sorry for the non sequitor, but I disagree Matt. All Mortal Kombats (from 1 to that new ungood one that was just put out) still not only play remarkably well, but the fun of watching Scorpion unleash the fury never gets old.

    Also, what is the consensus on Contra III? Better or worse than original Contra?

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    I consider Contra III not only to be the pinnacle of the series, but probably the high point of action shooters period.

    MK 1 really is a disaster. All the characters have the same exact basic moves. There’s no real strategy. Special moves are slow and the balance is awful. II fixed a lot, if not everything.

  • Duane

    OK, I will admit to sporadic addiction to computer games. Here’s my list. I only play Mac games, so I might have missed a few good ones. My rankings
    reflect how I felt about the game at the time I first played it, as opposed to my current level of interest in them, which is relatively low.

    1. Unreal

    My first major production game. Scared the crap out of me.

    2. Starcraft

    With its expansion pack, the best of the “Craft” series.

    3. Warcraft 2

    Great fun. A precursor to Starcraft.

    4. Diablo 2

    Mindlessly addictive. The irresistible urge quest to level up and find better stuff.

    5. Riven

    Also known as Myst 2. This one grabbed me and wouldn’t let go until I finished it. Yes, even Diablo fans can play “puzzle games.”

    6. Heroes of Might and Magic 3

    In spite of the cartoonish look of this game, it is a deep strategy game. With the exception of the Combat Mission series, the best replay value on this list.

    7. Myth

    It’s hard to find anything wrong with Myth. A unique game, with the best voice acting ever.

    8. Myth 2

    Better graphics than the first, but somewhat weaker scenarios. Still, one of the best designed games ever. Bungie kicks ass.

    9. Combat Mission

    Squad level WW II with 3D terrain, historically accurate units and geography. Playing army was never so much fun.

    10. Alpha Centauri

    When I feel like imposing my will on an imaginary world, this is the one. Satisfies both my territorial instincts and my sci-fi predilections.

    Honorable mention: Fallout, Deus Ex, Railroad Tycoon 3, Age of Empires, Baldur’s Gate 2

    Now, I really need to go read something.

  • Nick Jones

    My all time favorite game? Definitely Carmageddon (PC). Extreme ultraviolence, the jumps, the power-ups, body parts squishing when you run over them, the ability to send lampposts, cars, gas pumps, telephone booths and mailboxes into crowds (“Nice Shot, Sir!”), The Electro-Bastard Ray…what’s not to love?

    My others, in no particular order:

    Tomb Raider 2: better graphics, level design, and story than 1. (PC and Playstation)

    The Operative: No One Lives Forever GOTY : funny, uses a diversity of skills and tactics, great story. Downside: some cutscenes go on far too long. The game that brought me back to the FPS genre. NOLF II was better-looking, but just not that much fun. (PC)

    Final Fantasy III/VI: despite the old-school 2D sprites and art direction, the personalities of the characters and the great story will keep you playing. Highpoint: the villain Kefka’s sick laugh. (SuperNintendo, Playstation)

    Final Fantasy VII: the first FF for Sony. A great big world, intersting characters and story, at least one moment that will bring a lump to your throat, great cutscenes (the one where a titanic monster has its head blown off by an equally large cannon is a particular favorite) a theme park with minigames, a desert prison colony, a martial arts religious temple, an archeological dig, a swamp with a big mother snake…I could go on and on. (Playstation, PC)

    I think that’s it for tonight.

  • Anthony R

    where is starcraft it’s good game.
    1. Diablo 2 – PC
    2. Starcraft – PC
    3. Unreal Tournament – PC
    4. Quake – PC
    5. Mortal Kombat – PC
    6. Doom II – PC
    7. Warcraft II – PC
    8. Pacman
    9. Wonder Boy in monster world – mega drive
    10. Quake – PC
    11. Centipede – Apple IIe Home Computer
    12. sonic 2 the Hedgehog

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    Starcraft was honorable mention under Warcraft II. I loved Starcraft, but if I had to choose between it and Warcraft 2, I would have to go with Warcraft.

    Duane, we can see from your list that Blizzard has been one of the kindest game developers to mac users. They were the first ones that I remember to include PC and Mac versions of games in the same box.

    Matt, Contra III was the one on the Super Nintendo? I vaguely remember playing a newer one at some point. It was good, but never captured my attention like the original.

    By the way, another game I forgot was Super Mario 2. I think pretty much everyone I know liked this game the least in the entire series of Mario games, but this was my favorite.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Yeah, Contra III was on the Super. Hard Corps was on the Genesis, and there was a final, awful attempt on the NES with Contra Force. The two Playstation (and one Saturn) versions were a disgrace, though the latest PS2 incarnations are great, especially Shattered Soldier.

  • Paul De Angelis

    Matt’s right about the PC/console differences. For PC, I’d include (besides the usual suspects):

    Grim Fandango
    Homeworld
    Jagged Alliance
    Magic Carpet
    Planescape: Torment
    Realms of the Haunting
    Sam and Max Hit the Road
    Star Wars: TIE Fighter
    Syndicate
    Twinsen’s Odyssey
    Ultima Underworld
    X-Com

    and Dune 2

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Craig: Mario 2 wasn’t really a Mario game (just some sprite swaps from Japanese import) which is why so many people shun it. I love it simply because it’s so completely different, but it’s no Mario 3. That was probably the high point for the series.

  • Theodore

    Your choice for top ten video games is not really what i would call very good and furthermore your selection simply provides to me clear evidence that your mentlity is less thanthat of the games which you so highly regard as being the best when really your dumber than the games and i dont mean the electronics but the plastic

  • Mark Requena

    Here’s my top ten list, you know it makes sense rodney.

    Burnout 3 Takedown
    Grand Theft Auto Vice City
    Midnight Club 2
    Need For Speed Underground
    Tigerwoods 2005
    Fifa Soccer 2005
    Pro Evolution 4
    Mario Kart (snes)
    Super Bomberman 2 (snes)
    Street Fighter 2 Turbo (hadoooo-ken)

    Whoever put Tomb Raider 2? what was good about that game apart from her tits. SLAP

  • Mark

    Oh and all this Xbox is better than PS2 talk is getting old. Games are at a state now where it doesn’t really matter too much if one machine plays games slightly cleaner than the other, it’s a basic PC anyway, a gimick if you ask me.

    Xbox does run a bit slicker but it doesn’t really matter.