Organizing a list of the greatest games of all time is a bold, challenging, and sometimes presumptuous feat. Producing results which are unanimously satisfying is impossible. Nevertheless, several game journalism outlets have taken on this endeavor over the years - a brave few even went as far as compiling lists of one hundred games! Projects like these require many hours of unrelenting dedication and teams of passionate, intelligent individuals who should be congratulated.
With this wealth of informative content at our disposal, it all begs to be measured up and analyzed. What would one find from making comparisons between IGN's top 100 games and Gamespot's ten perfect-scored titles? Many of the sites have varying opinions on the top ten, and some had surprising entries in the No. 1 spot. In some cases, many games found their way to the top 10s or 20s of almost every list around.
This all brings up some interesting questions: which games appeared the most? How many top-ranking games were from recent generations? And most of all - can comparing these lists reveal to us the greatest video game of all time?
Though this list may not have been slaved over by an authoritative group of passionate gamers, it's still a very valuable source of data. Metacritic collects the most noteworthy reviews for a single video game and calculates its average rating based on numeric scores. Their list of the 100 all-time best reviewed games has a few repeats due to multi-platform reviews and re-releases, but by omitting these duplicates, we are given an objective list of the top ten best games, according to user and critic reviews. At the top sits The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Here are the top ten of the list:
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
2. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
3. Grand Theft Auto IV
5. Super Mario Galaxy
6. Super Mario Galaxy 2
7. Grand Theft Auto V
8. Perfect Dark
9. Metroid Prime
10. Halo: Combat Evolved
For their top 100 videogames of all time list, G4tv.com awarded Super Mario Bros. the No. 1 spot, praising it for saving the video game industry while simultaneously making millions of kids gamers for life. While more than half of the top ten spots are dedicated to aged Nintendo exclusives, G4 also acknowledges some slightly more recent titles like Bioshock, Shadow of the Colossus, and World of Warcraft.
IGN's Justin Davis called Super Mario Bros. 3 an unrivaled "master class of platforming excellence," praising its variety show of ingenious design ideas, as well as its timeless playability. Standing as the greatest game of all time in IGN's top 100 games of all time, Super Mario Bros. 3 heads this list as the sequel of all sequels, followed closely by titles like Portal 2, Half-Life 2, Halo 2, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
As part of the evolution process from GamesRadar to GamesRadar+, the team of fresh blood and senior members thought it pertinent to join forces and establish a list of the 100 best games ever. Boasting a list which bypasses nostalgia and historical significance, GamesRadar+'s countdown is one of the few to not feature a Nintendo game in the top spot.
Applauding its precise and well-honed mechanics, its severely challenging and rewarding gameplay, and its dense lore; GamesRadar+ awarded Dark Souls the title of best game ever, followed closely by other modern masterpieces like Red Dead Redemption, Uncharted 2, Resident Evil 4, and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
After completing lists for the best games of each console generation, WatchMojo gathered the results of these lists and scrutinized over them to create their grand finale. For their countdown of the top 10 video games of all time, only one game per series could qualify for the short list. Heading this compilation of gaming excellence is, once again, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time. The N64 classic was applauded for its "precise gameplay, revolutionary mechanics, well-paced storyline, replayability, fantastic level design, combat variety, and [epic scope]."
Possibly the most divergent of these lists, Videogamer's Top Games of All Time lists thirty "sheer class" video games which will allegedly leave the player with immense satisfaction. What sets this list apart from the rest is its clear focus on contemporary games. Of the top ten out of thirty games listed, none date further back than 2005. This could be due to a possible bias against older games like Super Mario Bros, which "can occasionally venture into the infuriating," or the Final Fantasy series, which sports "pretty silly" stories and a laborious number of battles. Topping this list is Rocksteady's most recent title, Batman: Arkham Knight, which is currently sporting an 8.5 on Metacritic.
With its 200th issue back in December of 2009, Game Informer rallied up and put together a list of the Top 200 Games of All Time. Heading the list is none other than the original The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Released back in 1986, this seminal piece of gaming history was the first to feature a battery-powered save system and a fully open world to explore. Immediately following this masterpiece is Super Mario Bros. and Tetris, completing the Nintendo trifecta. This may not be the most modern list of gaming achievement, but old-school gamers will certainly be appreciative.
Though more of a multi-medium magazine than a video game-centric outlet, Slant Magazine respects the delicate nature of compiling a list of pieces from an art form still in its historic "infancy."
How...do you compare the limited efficiencies of an 8-bit side-scroller to the gleaming HD vistas of a next-gen open world? How do you survey everything that video games are capable of, every idiosyncratic way they've been shaped and contorted, and come up with a list that accommodates all of it? How do you account for outmoded styles or formats, or obsolete technologies, or milestones beginning to show their age?
By going with a sure thing, of course! Like many before them, Slant put The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time at the top of their list, followed closely by the old and the new - titles like Chrono Trigger, Portal 2, Super Metroid, and Bioshock.
Though they haven't quite yet supplied its readers with a "Top 100 Games of Awesomeness" equivalent, Gamespot recently went over their list of 10/10 reviews and discussed their reviewing process. These games were not given a numeric ranking, but are instead equally considered "essential" experiences for gamers of any kind. Another modern-focused list, the oldest games on this list (and by a margin) are Chrono Cross and the one and only The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
After looking over these lists, it would be easy to compare the top-rated games, name Ocarina of Time the champion of games, and call it a day. But this overlooks some significant factors; many of these games, whether No. 1 or not, appear in numerous lists far more than others.
For instance, Dark Souls was given the highest honor in GamesRadar+'s list, but it appears not once in any other list (unless you count VideoGamer's inclusion of Dark Souls 2).
In order to establish the most authoritative Top 10 list, we have gone over the data to find which games appear most out of these nine lists (including ranks 1-20, as all of these sources provide 20 or more rankings), then calculated their average ranking to find which games were most consistently considered the best.
Here are the results. GameSkinny is proud to present the Top 10 Best Video Games, According to the Internet!
What do you think of this list? Let us know in the comments below!