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25 Greatest Video Games of All Time

Updated on December 5, 2013
MattyJ9999 profile image

Matt is a computer scientist, software engineer, and entrepreneur with extensive experience in business and writing.

Top 25

I'm going to list what in my opinion are the 25 greatest video games of all time. Many of these games received a boost because of nostalgia, but all of them have affected me one way or another. Some of the games on the list are newer, but you'll see a lot of classics here. My first gaming system was an NES and I've also played many PC games throughout the years.

25. Dragon Age

Dragon Age brings a lot to the table. You have great graphics, brutal turn based combat, an interesting complex story line, and the choice between good and evil. You can choose to be noble, kind, and generous, or to be evil, malevolent, and murderous. These types of options lead up to major re-playability for the type of gamer that likes to see all the options. This game has swords, dragons, magical spells, romance, kissing, a cognitively disabled dwarf that tries to sell you stuff, a dog, some wizards, explosions, a witch, demons, and some pretty wicked cut scenes that make you feel like you're part of the game. I highly recommend this one.

24. Fable

This is another choose your own fate type of game. You can be really really good, or super super evil. The main story line to this game was a little short, but there were plenty of side quests that helped to extend the life of the game. This game was really ahead of it's time when it came out. It had the perfect blend of graphics and story along with a smooth combat system. Give lady Grey a black rose and check out her basement.. It's neat..

23. Ninja Gaiden

What can I say about this game? You're a friggin ninja running at speeds of what I'm assuming are well over 20 miles an hour while swinging your sword at enemies. The best part is... when you hit them they EXPLODE! Or at least that's what the 8 bit animation looks like anyway. This game is awesome, but it's REALLY hard... I mean really hard. I've never beaten it but I have a friend that has a no death run on Youtube here >>> <<<

22. Starfox 64

This game came out when I was in 6th grade. I remember how pumped I was. Back then the combination of 3d graphics and excellent game play were simply amazing to me. This game was much better than it's predecessor and offered an exciting gaming experience that's still relevant today. I remember I loved the katina level because it totally reminded me of the movie Independence Day. You had the huge mother ship with all the little fighters zooming around, and if you lost they blew up the structure you were trying to save with a giant laser beam. I have fond memories of charging up my blasters and taking out large clusters of fighters while watching them shoot to the ground and explode into tiny pieces. Fun stuff.

21. Syphon Filter 2

I'm usually not into the whole action adventure third person shooter genre but for some reason I've found that i've listed two of them in a row. Oh well... Syphon Filter 2 was a pretty great game. Your protagonist Gabriel logan is a really BA secret agent. There was plenty of skydiving, tasering, secret agent sneaky stuff, shooting, and good ole' fashioned espionage. I literally spent countless minutes of my early adolescence tasering people until they shook, screamed, and burned alive.

20. Mass Effect 2

I didn't play Mass Effect 1 and I'm not sure if i'm going to play Mass effect 3 but Mass Effect 2 was pretty awesome. The main Character Shepherd is a very polarizing ass kicking type of hero. He's the Han Solo of his universe and he's usually busy saving humanity or the universe when he's not bagging babes. (He can be a chick too) The outer space sci-fi feel blends perfectly with the pristine graphics this game has to offer. As always, I love games where you have the choice of good and evil, and there are plenty of choices to make in this game which result in multiple endings. This one is a must play for all gamers.

19. Illusion of Gaia

A lot of people didn't like this game for a multitude of reasons I don't understand, but I thought it was a pretty cool game. There was a good action and puzzle element along with RPG features that made it similar to The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past. The story was much more in depth and emotionally moving in many ways. However, the main character does use a pink flute to beat up on enemies which may have been why people hated the game.. who knows..

18. Final Fantasy 10

This series took an epic dive after making this game. I mean seriously I will never touch another Final Fantasy game, they completely ruined this one for me. This was the last installation in the series that was similar to the original style of game play. This game had an awesome turn based battle system, a unique new way of leveling up, and great graphics and story. I bought this game with my Playstation 2 when it first came out and I was blown away.

17. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

This one is a corner stone of the series. Out of all the great games for the Nintendo 64 console this one has to be one of the best. You get travel through time and battle your way through various enemies and dungeons on a quest to seal away the evil thief Ganondorf. As usual your trying to save the princess Zelda and ensure that all the inhabitants of the kingdom of Hyrule live happily ever after. It's a great throwback to the older games and at the time of it's release was a graphical powerhouse.

16. Super Mario 3

Ok... This game is still so much fun. I spent a lot of my child hood mastering this game. I could try and go into intense detail of how awesome this game is and how it completely changed the face of the gaming industry forever, but nothing I could say would really do it justice. It's an Iconic piece of artwork.

15. The Legend of Zelda

By today's standards the graphics are terrible, but this is another legendary game that was a whole lot of fun back in the day. This games puzzles were challenging and the action was fast paced. Some of my earliest memories are of playing this game.

14. Mario 64

This game was Mario's first trip into the 64 bit realm. This game featured 100% 3D graphics and some of the best game play of the series. Nintendo hit a home run with this one. I once actually made my best friends little sister cry because I grabbed a baby penguin and threw it off a cliff in the first snow area. I felt bad...

13. Breath of Fire

A lot of people will argue with me that Breath of Fire 2 was better than the original. I disagree. Breath of Fire was one of the best role playing games for the Super Nintendo. Everything about this game is awesome. Great, items, weapons, spells, and dragon upgrades. The story is compelling and leads to an epic clash with an evil deity bent on the the destruction of the Earth.

12. Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64 took everything that was great about Super Mario Kart and multiplied it a thousand fold. This game has great fast paced action, smooth controls, unique power ups, and multiplayer modes that gave it fantastic replayability. Mario Kart is great for parties, go for the gold!

11. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Another one of my childhood favorites, A link to the past took you through hell and high water to retrieve 3 pendants, the master sword, and 8 crystals on your way to saving the princess, killing a wizard, killing Gannondorf, and retrieving the Triforce... and after acquiring the Triforce you restore the land to its previously awesome peaceful state.

10. Morrowind

The third game in the Elderscrolls series, and in my opinion Bethesda's best piece of work. This is an epic roleplaying game with a non linear style about it. I love non-linear games because you aren't forced to do any one thing immediately. This game has a lot of amazing random encounters, and hidden quests and items. The graphics were great for it's time and even today you can download custom made skins that greatly improve the quality of the game. Morrowind also allows you to choose between good and evil, but randomly killing certain characters of the game could have catastrophic results. If you like roleplaying games this one is a must play.

9. Super Mario RPG

This game boasted some of the best graphics for the super nintendo and also one of the best game play experiences. You can definitely tell that it was developed by square soft as the turn based style battle system shines and offers fun and strategic play. This game takes you through the mushroom kingdom to defeat an enemy from another dimension that threatens the existence of all. Mario teams up with Bowser, the Princess, and several new friends to help defeat the evil enemy. I got this game for Christmas one year and it still brings back great memories. The humor in the game is cute, and the story is compelling and vibrant.

8. Chrono Trigger

From here on out the list was pretty tough to make. I could have easily put this game at number one. Squaresoft made another amazing game here with multiple endings, a beautiful storyline, great characters, and epic replayability. Chrono Trigger is the type of game that leaves a lasting impression on a person that plays through it. I was in sixth grade when I first played through this game, but I did not see all the endings until recently.

7. Master of Orion 2

I love this game and I still play it from time to time. There are hundreds of technologies, space travel, mass colonization and expansion, and plenty of alien diplomacy. Of course, with this game being incredibly awesome, diplomacy almost always fails and leads to war! Stupid Klackons! This game is definitely one of my favorite PC games of all time. It would be great to see a developer revive this series as long as they could stay true to the classic and amazing game play.

6. Earthbound

This game offers the blend of unique cartoon graphics, a heart warming story, and a hero that everyone can look up to. Ness's epic quest takes him from his hometown all the way through time and space to fight the evil Giygas. Ness and three close friends must stick through thick and thin while saving locals and saving the Earth! This game's story could melt the ice in any poor fools heart.

5. Final Fantasy 4

This game takes the Dark knight Cecil on a trip through a midevil world under the attack of a mysterious strange man by the name of Golbez. Golbez's evil plan is to capture all of the world's air force, and crystals on the way to unlocking a much greater evil. Cecil unites with some powerful allies and undergoes an ultimate change before facing that great evil. This game has the classic Final Fantasy combat system, a great cache of weapons and times, an amazing story, and some epic battles. You can max out your characters in this game and get all of the best equipment and still run into enemies that can give you trouble. This game takes you all the way to the moon and back in a truly epic experience.

4. Mike Tyson's Punch-OUT!!

I started playing this game when I was 6 years old and I still throw it in every now and then. This classic features some of the most amazing game play ever created. It's widely considered one of the greatest video games ever made. If you can make it all the way to Mike Tyson and knock him out you truly have reached the upper echelon of gamers.

3. Final Fantasy 6

This Final Fantasy takes you through a roller coaster ride of a rebellion, to the destruction of the planet, and finally to the destruction of the evil villain Kefka that started the whole mess in the first place. This game is an emotionally packed story line coupled with all the greatness of the early Final Fantasy series. The esper system of magic is one of the series best and the relic system offers for some deadly combinations. I recommend the gengi glove, the offering, and a couple of tiger claws on Sabin for some serious damage.

2. Fallout 2

This game has it all. I struggled putting this one at number two. You have the choice of being the savior of the wasteland or the devil that drives it back into a nuclear oblivion. All the choices you make effectively change the game. You can melt down a power plant and poison the surrounding towns or you can fix the plant and save the people. You can free slaves, or become a slaver for cash. You can plant explosives on your enemies, steal from anyone, become a professional boxer, star in a porno, join several gangs, do drugs, buy prostitutes, OR.... you can do none of that. You can help the more civilized people of the wasteland consolidate their resources or you can destroy them. Every time I play this game I find something new that I haven't found before. Your karma affects how people react to you. This game eventually takes you to what's left of the government in this post apocalyptic world and most don't like what they see. This game is truly amazing and none of it's sequels have come close to doing it justice.

1. Final Fantasy 7

Although the last few were hard to choose it would also be hard to say that this isn't my favorite game of all time. Squaresoft truly made a masterpiece that has been revered as one of the greatest games ever. Final Fantasy 7 has the single best story of any game I have ever played. The level of development of the characters and all aspects of this game are admirable. Even the music is epic. I remember when this game first came out. It was the most gorgeous game I had ever seen. I was instantly drawn in by the combination of graphics, art, music, and story. I think everyone remembers how they felt when Sephiroth's blade pierced Aeris' heart... even if their best friend had already given away what happened.

That's my list! I hope you enjoyed it, and if you're a gamer I'd recommend them all!! :)

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      7 years ago

      I'm still a faithful Zelda fan, 1 through whatever it is now. I haven't had time to play it in so long I can't remember when the last time was, but it's been ages ago.

      However, the other games you listed looked pretty interesting. If ever I take up the hobby again, I'll be sure to have a look at them!


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