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My Top 100 Favourite Games of All Time

This list used to be about my top 50 games ever, but since Giant Bomb wants me to put 95 items into a list for a new quest I thought hey, why the hell not? Keep in mind I revise this list every now and then, check back frequently to see changes.

A few things of note:

  • Do not try to disagree with this list. It is made up of my personal preferences and is not trying to tell you what your favourite games should be.
  • This list is subject to change at any time.
  • I try to wait three months after having first played a game before I decide whether or not to add it to the list, and after this three month period I try to play the game at least once to see if it still lives up to the hype I had for it upon first playing.

I'm currently revising this to version 56.0 so there's 103 items at the moment, will fix that soon...

List items

  • Fantastic 3D platformer filled to the brim with charming characters and humour. All of the levels remained cliche, yet cartoony and colourful enough to draw you in. The characters all spoke in their signature mumbling jargon while keeping the distinct Rare humour in their dialogue. You couldn't forget the fact that everything under the sun had been given a pair of googly eyes, either.

    Rare's first attempt at this genre seemed to get it all right with palatable levels and just enough stuff to collect without going overboard. While it's debatable whether the quality of the platforming gameplay succeeded that of Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie had a real charm with its characters and levels that Mario just couldn't capture, which is why I still love it and will happily go back to it today.

  • Saying these two titles were the best of the franchise just because they were the first, I feel would be shortsighted on my part. The real reason I liked the original games so much more was because their collectathon aspect at the time wasn't so much to ask for. With just the right level of dedication, you could catch 'em all and add all 151 entries to your Pokedex. In subsequent games catching all of the Pokemon would require one to purchase all sorts of dumb, uninteresting spinoffs and attend numerous official Nintendo events in the middle of nowhere. With Red and Blue, the number of critters felt like a reasonable challenge for you to tackle without too much help and just rewarding enough to feel worthwhile.

  • If I had to sum it up in one word, I’d say atmospheric. Everything just drew me in and captured me in this desolate world of Tallon IV. There was a real lonely feel, and just the right ratio of combat in the first person-shooting to the exploration of the alien planet. Metroid Prime had some really fantastic environments, ranging from the frostbitten tundra of Phendrana Drifts, to the scorching hot Magmoor Caverns and eerie alien corridors of the Phazon Mines, and being so isolated in your exploration of these deserted locales added to the immersion. The weapons of the game were fun to use, the enemies and bosses equally exciting to defeat. Everything had been wrapped up together really tightly in a way that I felt the subsequent installments of the trilogy just couldn’t live up to. It was a real masterpiece and an experience I won’t forget any time soon.

  • This rides in at number one spot on many Game of the Ever or favourite lists, and for good reason. Extremely tight game and defined how adventure games should be made. Even Miyamoto himself has trouble replicating the same experience of Ocarina of Time.

  • Best character development I've ever come across. Plotline becomes a little convoluted at the end, but the characters remain oh-so strong.

  • A game which became incredibly competitive almost by mistake. Surprising how much depth there is to this game.

  • My game of 2011, beat it three times in the week it was released. Proof of how far a handful of people can go with a good idea if they all work well together.

  • I played this almost a decade after it first came out, but it still holds up today. Amazing storytelling, concept and music.

  • My game of 2012, if only because I was lucky enough to have a bug-free experience. The character development and writing in this game is really amazing - truly sets the bar for games in the future.

  • Would try to put this lower to prove I'm not just a big Rare fanboy, but I've played it too many times and I'd just be lying to myself about how much I enjoyed it. Great humour, solid adventure/platformer gameplay and just an overall good game.

  • Only lasts a couple of hours even on the first run, but even though it was a puzzle game it somehow had a great replay value that made me come back to play it again half a dozen more times. GLaDOS is amazing, btw.

  • Sequel to critically acclaimed Donkey Kong Country, which had been praised for its fully rendered graphics and tight platforming gameplay. Some would shun it for not featuring the franchise mascot with a more prominent role, but those who ignored this minor detail would discover a fantastic platformer which improved on its predecessor in almost every way.

    It featured some of the best level design in the trilogy, the best music soundtrack of the trilogy and possibly one of the greatest of all time courtesy of David Wise, as well as some brilliant new game mechanics and secrets to uncover. It was rather amazing for me to see how the designers were able to create such a great diversity of levels while retaining the pirate theme throughout the entire game, and even after playing through the game at least half a dozen times, Donkey Kong Country 2 is still a very refreshing experience and my favourite 2D platformer of all.

  • One of those games that never stops moving once it kicks into gear. I was late to the party, but I was not disappointed.

  • The version I got to experience of this game was the Gamecube remake. While there's still some charm to the original in its terrible script and voice acting, I have to say I really appreciate games that are able to make me feel genuinely tense, able to scare me at times. Fantastic survival horror game and definitely a favourite.

  • Graphics were amazing at the time, but I just loved the universe Rare created and the tag-team cooperative gameplay.

  • Fantastic RPG all up. Great characters, story and interesting gameplay mechanics. While not being able to control your entire party was a bummer, I think the full moon system worked better than Persona 4's rainy day cycle. The music also, while not as mainstream and please-everybody as Persona 4's, is a lot catchier and appeals more to me.

  • Didn't get to experience this for years after its initial release, but I now understand the hype surrounding it. One hell of an RPG with great narrative, characters, and above all (for me at least) an outstanding soundtrack.

  • Amazing sequel to an already fantastic game. Hard to state how surprised I was at just how much fun I had with this, even after the first game.

  • The original 3D platformer. Very fun and easy to go back to.

  • Very atmospheric experience set in a claustrophobic environment. Has a very good story which kept me intrigued the whole way through, too.

  • So hard. But soooo good. Music is fantastic, too.

  • Have a bunch of things to nitpick about with this game, but I couldn't put it down. Ended up spending over 100 hours with the game and each of the DLC packs to get the full 1550 gamerscore on the 360 version.

  • Excellently stylistic art style coupled with fantastic platforming gameplay.

  • I really loved the characters in this, the writing and the way the story wrapped up in particular. Helped it stand head and shoulders above most shooters out there today.

  • The blend of deep story, stylish visuals and emotive music in this game made it a favourite almost immediately.

  • It's hard to compare this game to the original since I loved it for different reasons. It's not really as quotable and isn't short enough to have the same replay value. I was really able to appreciate it from a design standpoint, though. Lighting and composition of scenes was fantastic, and the scripted events for test chambers really added to the gritty feel of the game. I also loved the pacing (eg the game would tell you that you had 5 chambers left to go before something happened, and you'd start thinking "gah, that's too far away" and then the game would throw a curveball just as you were thinking that)

  • Great combat, visuals, voice acting, stealth... just an all around awesome experience.

  • Barreled through most of the cases in this game quite fast after I got it. Love this game. LOVE this game.

  • A great Final Fantasy game. Loved the music and characters and story.

  • One of the original exploration-based sidescrollers that was just right up my alley.

  • Beating the Elite 4 in this game then realising you could explore Kanto in its entirety again? It was a pretty good feeling.

  • Proving 3D platformers still have a place in today's industry, and that there's still a lot of new things which they can offer. Felt I had to move this down a bit after playing Galaxy 2 heh

  • Great stylised visuals which I can easily see standing up to the test of time in several years. Was a little easy, but still very fun.

  • Many say it's overrated but I rather liked it. The story is pretty good, the materia system was pretty cool and I really liked the music for the most part too.

  • This game is batshit insane and I loved every minute of it. Got a bit hard at times, though.

  • I could hate this for being an Ocarina clone if I really wanted... but each time I go back to it and play it again it's just too hard. It might be samey and maybe a little too easy, but it's still a really good experience.

  • Something about all the paper abilities available for use outside of battle was what I think made me cherish this one more than the original. Also the writing is phenomenal.

  • Freakishly violent fun. I don't want to sound like some 12 year old kid who thrives on violent movies and games rated above their age, but the way this game rewards your good play with scenes of blood and gore really appeals to me.

  • Man, FUCK if this wasn't an awesome game. You may notice that I've already got the original Mass Effect a little lower down this list. Mass Effect 2 improved on all the poor aspects from the first game.

    The combat was done a lot better. Atmosphere was a lot better in many places (compare the club in the Citadel to Afterlife on Omega). Level design was better - side missions on different planets didn't feel like you were entering the exact same bases. They also dropped a bunch of other clunky stuff which ended up making it a much better game.

  • Excellent reboot of the classic sidescrolling/exploration genre from Super Metroid and Castlevania.

  • I'd list all Animal Crossing games on this list if I could, even though they're all essentially the same game. This was the first one I played though and had me hooked the longest -- for a solid 6 months after I bought it. The online capabilities were really cool, too.

  • I love both of the Viva Pinata games but I don't feel I can list both of them on this list since the second was pretty much an expansion. But in that way, it delivered so well and gave me everything I could ask for in a sequel to a beloved original. The themed challenges were probably the best new addition, though.

  • So what if he has a water pack on his back? That doesn't mean the game isn't fun. Has its flaws here and there in design, sure, but it's still good fun.

  • My first Mario game. Never forget.

  • Great karting fun and good online memories from 2005-2007 here. I'd probably even go as far as calling it the definitive Mario Kart experience, even after having so much fun with Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64 and Double Dash.

  • Really good game. Didn't like it as much as the Resident Evil Remake but was still so hooked that I beat it over the course of a week, playing whenever I could in between uni homework.

    There's a scene about halfway through the game that made me realise I really cared about the relationship between the two main characters in the game. I felt the devs may have been able to capitalise on this a bit more, but the fact that I actually cared during that one scene (no spoilers!) was very telling to me in that there was something the creators had done very right here.

  • Neat little puzzle-platformer with a good sense of humour.

  • Still have a ways to go with this game but I'm really hooked so far. A real surprise; had heard good things about it but didn't expect I'd be playing it the most out of all the games on my backlog.

  • An old favourite, used to play through this cooperatively with a friend all the time. Used to be my favourite game before I played Donkey Kong Country 2 and realised it wasn't quite as good as I thought.

  • Best entry the Zelda franchise has had in a while.

  • I really liked this game. The puzzle aspect might not be so new after three installments, but the memo function is better than ever here and the extra effort put into more animated cutscenes and voiceovers was really nice. The ending made me tear up a bit, too.

  • I'm a tad too young to remember the classic Mega Man games fondly. This was the first "old school" Mega Man game I beat (just before Megaman 2), and I loved it.

  • Quirky RPG with a nice battle system. Better than the second game, haven't tried the third yet though.

  • Splitscreen multiplayer memories from the late 90s are flooding back to me now...

  • I think the addition of assassin recruits was really neat, and overall I liked this one better than AC2. Not too much story progression but it was still really fun.

  • I'm a sucker for 3D platformers. This was made by the creators of Sly Cooper and Infamous and is rather under-appreciated.

  • The original 2D sidescrolling platformer. Still holds up today and is oh-so-easy to go back to.

  • Actually like this game more than the third in the trilogy, just because it retained the isolated feel and didn't feel so Halo-like.

  • The original and one of my favourite N64 games back in the day. Multiplayer in this game kicked ass.

  • Nice visuals, music and overarching narrative to tie together some very fun brainteasers.

  • I was almost two decades late to this party, yet having played it now I can really see where the love for this game and franchise stems from. Great adventure game, wish I had played it back in the 90s as a kid.

  • I was born in the 90s, but I recently went back and finished this. Really holds up as an NES game, and I feel it's designed a lot better than some of the newer games in the franchise.

  • I adore this game for its writing; its story and character development. The voice acting is also surprisingly good for a budget title. This is one of those titles that is never going to appear on the lists of best games of all time but on a lot of lists of favourites just because it's so unique and because opinions on it are so subjective -- only some people are going to be able to look past all of its flaws and love it, and I was fortunate enough to be one of those people.

  • Learning the rules of the world in the game was mighty frustrating, but it's still a remarkably fun and challenging experience.

  • Finally got around to playing this winter after hearing about the game years ago and buying it in a 2012 steam sale. Super charming.

  • Short, but again simple and fun enough for me to have played through it half a dozen times.

  • Faaaan-freaking-tastic snowboarding game. Tricks are out of this world but really fun to pull off.

  • Love the characters, the missions, the story... just a really good game all up. Has some technical problems and mechanics which haven't aged too well but otherwise really good.

  • A handful of design issues hurt my experience with the original game, but Assassin's Creed 2 fixed most of them and made me genuinely interested in the game's universe. Also the ending is CRAZY.

  • Bit too heavy emotionally for a Gears game in the single player, but there were still a lot of great moments and the horde mode was (is?) still really fun.

  • Quick little game which is easy to pick up and run through, but has multiple paths for the storyline and a lot of replay value.

  • Not a fantastic game technically, but I hold a place in my heart for the simple beat 'em up gameplay of Ghoulies.

  • Immersive game that just doesn't let you stop once its fluid storyline gets going. I especially love the way Half Life 2 tells its story, too - never taking you out of Gordon Freeman's shoes to make sure you're always the one in control and experiencing the story it has to tell.

  • Solid platforming gameplay with a tonne of hidden goodies to discover.

  • Huge, steroid-filled muscle men blasting aliens to bits. Campaign was very fun, multiplayer not as much. But there's something about the fact that the designers decided to put a fucking chainsaw on the end of your gun which makes this game pretty hard to hate.

  • I actually like this game a lot more than my inner Banjo fan may like to admit. Gets repetitive later on but still really fun for the most part.

  • Didn't love this one as much as the second but it was still an all around great RPG.

  • I think my favourite part of this game were the nods to oldschool gaming culture. The sorts of rumours which flew around the schoolyard about hidden secrets, powerups and treasures. A very pretty looking game at face-value, but dig a bit deeper and you'll find there's a whole lot more to Fez than meets the eye.

  • Amazing dual stick shooter. Terrifically addictive gameplay.

  • Online Pokemon battling is great fun. The single player formula still holds up strongly, too.

  • Co-op wasn't as good as I probably would have liked but it was still an all around good game.

  • The story of this game is batshit crazy at times, as if it was just made up as the developers went along... but I still loved playing through it. Music is also wonderful.

  • Such a step up from previous console shooters and way ahead of its time. It's easy to go back to this game now because it laid a lot of the foundation for today's shooters, whereas the gameplay mechanics for games like Goldeneye feel really dated now.

  • Thank goodness this didn't turn out to be just another cutesy 3D platformer.

    Some problems with the level design and controls which made it "difficult" for some, but the script and story events were hilarious.

  • Who'd have thought a videogame based on a trading card game based on a videogame could actually be so fun. Definitely saved me a lot of cash buying all of my own cards and traveling to all sorts of weird events to play against others.

  • In reflection of this game... while I don't praise it as much as some and while I don't think it matched the level of Braid in terms of indie quality, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game and would love to be able to develop something like it myself someday.

  • Bought this recently on the 3DS virtual console, has quickly become one of my favourite puzzle games ever.

  • Really enjoyed the smoothness of this shooter compared to a lot of FPSs before it. The campaign was pretty short, but still enjoyable.

  • The first Mario RPG. Many would argue it as the best... I liked it although in my eyes I've liked some of the others more.

  • This was the first version I owned. Music wasn't as good, but the mechanics were great and there weren't any infinite-rotate features or the ability to hold a bunch of line blocks to make things easier.

  • Tidus is kinda whiny, and the story doesn't make sense at times. But I liked the combat mechanics and the music in particular.