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Is it the shoes?

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Marino's Top 100 Games of All Time

Collection as of April 16, 2022
Collection as of April 16, 2022

I've kinda wanted to do this for a long time just as a personal experiment. I doubt anyone will care about my list, but I wanted to see what I would come up with. I had a birthday yesterday (April 16), so it felt like a good time to look back and give this a shot.

I own close to 1500 games and I keep a collection spreadsheet (big surprise), so I just took the list and started chopping. After the first run through the list, I still had over 200 games on it. The only flaw with this method is arcade games. I don't own any arcade games, so I feel like there might be a couple I'm forgetting that would've made the list. I'm sure that if I somehow lost the list that I ended up with here and redid it tomorrow, not only would they be in a different order, there would likely be 10-15 different games swapped out. But, that's irrelevant. This is what I'm going with. Feel free to yell at me in the comments.

If you know me at all, I like making stats and charts. So, here's a couple before I get to the list.

2012 the best year of all time? Apparently. But, man... what happened in 2002?
2012 the best year of all time? Apparently. But, man... what happened in 2002?
Recency bias? Eh, not really. And, no, the TI-99/4A is not a calculator.
Recency bias? Eh, not really. And, no, the TI-99/4A is not a calculator.

List items

  • 1999 (PC) - EverQuest is more than just a game. For better or worse, it was kind of my life for a few years. I haven't played it in about 15 years, but I think about it almost every day. The good times, the bad times, and most importantly the people that left an indelible mark on me. Endless stories could be told. It is the most fun that I've ever had playing a game and likely always will be. It took me years to realize that chasing that high in other MMOs was a fool's errand. EverQuest is without question my #1.

  • 1992 (SNES) - No game is perfect. But, A Link to the Past is the most perfect.

  • 2010 (X360) - One of the most well-told stories in the history of games.

  • 2017 (NSW) - I honestly didn't think anything would ever come close to knocking A Link to the Past out of the top slot for best Zelda, but this almost did it.

  • 1995 (Arcade) - The height of Mortal Kombat fandom. Having access to internet in its infancy was a like adding fuel to a fire too. The hunt for secrets and moves was intense. My friend Christopher and I used to make move lists and code booklets out of index cards and take them to the arcade to test them out. We were such nerds.

  • 2004 (PS2) - The best "arcade" sports game ever made. Most people will say they loved SSX and name Tricky their favorite, but Tricky was basically just a special edition of the first game. SSX 3 took everything to the next level and introduced an enormous mountain that linked every level/stage together and let you ride the whole thing in one go with no loading. It's the complete package.

  • 2012 (Vita) - Obviously this game holds a special place in the hearts of the majority of us here at Giant Bomb. I didn't play it myself until P4G, but it still became my favorite RPG of all time. It's funny trying to imagine how vanilla P4 worked without Marie's story though.

  • 2018 (PS4) - Easily one of the best action adventure games of all time. It's just astounding that they were able to evolve the franchise into this masterpiece.

  • 1999 (N64) - No Mercy is probably "better" but WM2000 gets my spot as best wrestling game of all time. It would've already been high on my list, but it definitely gets boosted thanks to League of Heels.

  • 1999 (PS1) - No, this is not a typo. Final Fantasy VIII is the best Final Fantasy. I played through it again in 2020 and it still holds up. Some of the cutscene to gameplay transitions are still kinda incredible.

  • 2000 (PC) - EQ was never better than it was during the Velious era. Every day was a race between rival guilds. It generated drama of the best and worst kind. The warring factions storyline was unique and created wild situations. And then there was the whole Sleeper thing. December 2000 through 2001 was a magical time.

  • 2009 (PS3) - Uncharted 1 was fine for what it was. But, with Uncharted 2, Naughty Dog really put it all together and set the bar for narrative action adventure games.

  • 2000 (PS1) - The manual changed everything. I spent countless hours maxing out every character and hunting down every single gap on that checklist.

  • 2004 (Xbox) - Still the best pro football game ever made. So good that EA killed it rather than try to make a better one.

  • 1987 (NES) - Probably the first truly captivating game I ever played. It felt like the whole neighborhood was trying to figure out its secrets. I still remember coming home from school and being mad that my mom found a new dungeon without me.

  • 2010 (X360) - I love Assassin's Creed. Yeah, even the first one. AC2 was great, but Brotherhood is where they really put everything together. It's the peak of the series.

  • 2020 (NSW) - New Horizons will forever be synonymous with the pandemic. I already liked the series, but it landed at the perfect moment and helped keep a lot of us sane for many months.

  • 2010 (X360) - The pinnacle of the plastic instrument era. Probably boosted on this list thanks to the Rock Band Nights at PAX East.

  • 2011 (X360) - Well over 200 hours played.

  • 2020 (PS5) - Nostalgia is a hell of a drug, but when paired excellent gameplay and brand new tech... it's dangerous.

  • 2000 (PC) - The first and probably objectively the best expansion EverQuest ever had. It had something for everyone, but the stories and memories from doing epic weapon quests for guildmates will never be forgotten.

  • 2016 (PS4) - The best FPS ever made.

  • 2008 (X360) - The closest that Molyneux ever got to his grandiose promises. In 2018, I played it again and there were still player bubbles running around. One even gave me 200K gold for no reason.

  • 2003 (GCN) - Four Zelda games in the Top 25? Yeah. Wanna fight about it?

  • 2007 (X360) - BioWare had set the bar fairly high with KOTOR and promised a lot. They delivered.

  • 1993 (Arcade) - They doubled down on everything that made the first one a phenomenon. More finishers, more secrets, more crazy ass rumors and speculation among friends, and much better gameplay that allowed for some creative combos.

  • 2001 (PS2) - In a vacuum, THPS3 is the best in the whole series. THPS2 has more meaning to me, but it's the introduction of the revert system literally tied everything together.

  • 1991 (SNES) - I still vividly remember standing in a Service Merchandise watching the attract screen loop forever behind a glass cabinet. Couldn't even play the damn thing and I was already mesmerized.

  • 2019 (PS4) - Control has everything; upside-down pyramids, FMV projectors, creepy janitors, hallucination pods, pneumatic tubes, vindictive rubber ducks, attention-seeking refrigerators, rigged roulette wheels, and ten minutes of blood-pumping prog rock.

  • 2000 (PS2) - Is Tekken Tag Tournament the *best* Tekken game? No. But, it was the only time I was ever popular in college. Solid memories there. Aside from that, it was the moment where home console games truly matched their arcade counterparts. It was the beginning of the end for arcades.

  • 2017 (PS4) - It's rare that a game can make you just put the controller down and think about what just happened. And this game does it multiple times. Also, truly one of the best video game soundtracks of all time.

  • 2017 (PS4) - I love golf games and I've played ever one in this series since 1997. This is easily the best one they've ever done. Landing the Hole-in-One on a Par 5 trophy would've won my "Best Moment or Sequence" award in 2017 for sure.

  • 2004 (Xbox) - The pinnacle of arcade racing. Revenge is good, but the addition of traffic checking removed the level of tension that you feel in Takedown. An amazing sense of speed that can be ruined by touching anything. Also... Crash Mode.

  • 2015 (PS4) - I love me some fantasy open world games, and the quests/storytelling in this game are on a different level than everything else. The map is huge but also dense with content. Also, both DLC releases could be considered as full games. It's incredible.

  • 2009 (X360) - Well over 100 hours spent in Thedas here. Still in that era where BioWare could do no wrong.

  • 2006 (X360) - Arguably the first truly "next-gen" game of that generation. This was my first Elder Scrolls game and I fell into that hole super deep.

  • 1997 (N64) - Being a Star Fox fan is a hard life. But, there were good times... long ago. This also holds a special place in my heart because it was the first thing I played at my first E3 in 1997. Feel that rumble!

  • 2018 (PS4) - There's a lot of discussion about "old" AC vs "modern" AC, but they're both great. Kassandra easily rivals Ezio as the best protagonist they've ever created. And their version of Greece here is simply gorgeous.

  • 2013 (3DS) - Making a direct sequel to the best Zelda ever made is a dangerous task. But, they fuckin' did it. It's an excellent balance of nostalgia and innovation.

  • 2005 (PC) - It's sad to think about how far this franchise has fallen, but BF2 was excellent. I miss commander mode.

  • 2018 (PS4) - The best VR game I've ever played.

  • 1998 (PS1) - One of the best 3D platformers of all time. The first Crash has some masochistic bullshit, but with the third game they struck the right balance between fun, varied gameplay and difficulty.

  • 1997 (PS1) - Like many, this was my first real RPG. I'm not sure why I wasn't into them as a kid, but everyone remembers their first.

  • 2012 (PS3) - I honestly didn't get it at first. I played through it once and it was fine. I came back about a year later and it clicked. The PS4 version is one of the first things I played on my OLED TV.

  • 1994 (Arcade) - NBA Jam probably ate more of my quarters than any other game. That's easy to believe considering it usually cost $2.00 to play a full game (50 cents per quarter). The 1990s was the best era of basketball and NBA Jam capitalized on that in the best way.

  • 1998 (Arcade) - "Just apply the NBA Jam treatment to other sports" sounds simple on paper, but making a football game this fun is not easy.

  • 2007 (NDS) - I have close to 20 Picross games from Jupiter now, but this was the first. The beginning of the addiction that has eaten hundreds of my hours.

  • 2003 (Xbox) - I have almost zero affinity for Star Wars. I've seen the movies, sure, but I have never been a fan. This game is easily my favorite Star Wars thing.

  • 2012 (X360) - Yeah, I got teary eyed. Keep that hair short.

  • 1992 (SNES) - I can't tell you how many hours my neighborhood friends and I put into the original Mario Kart. Endlessly shaving fractions of a second off of each other time trials and popping balloons.

  • 1996 (PS1) - Car combat at its best. It was a simpler time. A better time.

  • 1998 (N64) - At the height of wrestling popularity came the best wrestling game ever made (at that point). You couldn't create a wrestler, but you could edit existing ones, which kept the game alive far longer than usual as you could update it yourself to keep current by editing wrestlers' outfits.

  • 2004 (PS2) - The peak of the Grand Theft Auto series if you ask me.

  • 2011 (3DS) - This isn't a joke. StreetPass Mii Plaza is one of my most played games of all time. Around 400 hours. The games were unique and fun. It was a big part of my PAX experience for several years. I miss it greatly.

  • 2011 (X360) - As an MK fan from the beginning, it's hard to explain how happy it made me to see them return to greatness after the troublesome 3D-era. This game hit all the nostalgia buttons while simultaneously making things feel brand new again.

  • 2018 (PS4) - How do you possibly improve Tetris after 30 years of iterations? This is how.

  • 2004 (PC) - I still think about how good that flak cannon was.

  • 2007 (Wii) - Just pure joy. What video games are supposed to be.

  • 2014 (PS4) - One time, I accidentally spent over 3 hours straight in Skyhold just talking to people.

  • 2014 (PS4) - You ever play a game that feels like it was made specifically for you? This is it.

  • 1990 (NES) - People will tell you MM2 is better. Those people are wrong. You can't slide in Mega Man 2.

  • 1998 (N64) - "Marino! Why is this so low?!" Look. Ocarina did wonders for polygonal 3D adventure games going forward, but it's not a Top 10 game of all time. It's not even in the Top 5 best Zelda games.

  • 2009 (X360) - The first game was a proof of concept. AC2 took that proof and made one of the best action adventure games of the generation as well as one of the most beloved protagonists of all time.

  • 1996 (N64) - The N64 was the first console I bought with my own money. The problem was that I had no money left for games. I must've rented Mario 64 four or five times. It was a magical time.

  • 1997 (PS1) - One of many games that first caught my attention in PlayStation Underground CD Magazine. I must've played the demo for hours. Copies of the game were fairly rare, which made even used ones fairly expensive, but I finally got one. I still can't believe they reference it in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

  • 2005 (PS2) - From the depths of Kentia Hall to the mainstream. I was never good at playing the guitar. My time came when drums were introduced. Still, great memories with friends lands it here.

  • 2020 (PS4) - This game has no right being as good as it is. Just astounding how after 20 years of rumors and speculation they stuck the landing on remaking one of the most beloved games of all time.

  • 1988 (NES) - When you're seven years old and start whoopin' your uncles' asses in baseball, you remember it.

  • 1992 (Arcade) - It has begun!

  • 2016 (PS4) - I didn't really understand Rez back in the day. But, slap a helmet on me everything changes.

  • 2012 (3DS) - The perfect combination of nostalgia, challenge, and pure absurdity. A truly unique take on rhythm games. I hope they revisit this soon.

  • 2005 (PS2) - The best pure action game of its time.

  • 2005 (PS2) - For some reason, the odd numbered Tekken games are the good ones. And this is the best one.

  • 2013 (PS3) - Every once in a while, something is so silly that it resonates with virtually everyone. I've got some great memories playing with friends at PAX, playing 2-player on a single Vita, and even winning a contest on stage at The Tabernacle in Atlanta.

  • 2001 (PS2) - At the time, this game felt like it was dropped out of the future. I remember seeing it at E3 2001 and it seemed like a mess, but obviously it came together in the end.

  • 1988 (NES) - That code will be burned into my mind 'til the day I die.

  • 1999 (PS1) - It's better than the vast majority of Mario Kart games.

  • 2004 (PS4) - My cat is named Katamari. He too is a tumbling ball of garbage.

  • 2011 (3DS) - I like Dead or Alive. Always have. Yes, it's weird that my favorite one is the 3DS version, but it plays perfectly and it's super fun to fight other players' ghosts via StreetPass.

  • 2007 (PSP) - Puzzle Quest feels like a moment in time where no other games mattered. Everyone was playing it on every platform possible. Truly one of the greatest puzzle games ever made.

  • 2018 (PS4) - It took me 13 years and 3 versions of the game, but I finally finished it. And I get it now. It's incredible.

  • 2017 (PS4) - The post-post apocalypse never looked better.

  • 2021 (PS5) - One of the most beautiful games I've ever seen and deceptively challenging. Simply amazing that it's the studio's first game.

  • 2011 (X360) - I've played a lot of EA Sports golf games. Being from Georgia, it was great to finally see The Masters be included. The presentation was incredible.

  • 2006 (PS2) - I feel like not many FF fans like 12, but I certainly do. I had a blast breaking the gambit system to do wild stuff including leaving my PS2 on overnight while my team endlessly fought adds to level up dozens of times.

  • 2016 (PS4) - The culmination of Nate's (and Elena's) story hit hard. We didn't necessarily *need* a 4th Uncharted, but I'm super glad we got it.

  • 1999 (DC) - "You can see the players' breath during cold games!" - This game put everything EA Sports or 989 Studios had ever done to shame. Not just visually but in terms of gameplay too.

  • 1995 (PS1) - Blazing the trail for 3D platforming in the future.

  • 2012 (PS3) - MLB The Show is consistently one of the best sports sim games every year, but 2012 stands out above the rest. It also presented the ability to swap back and forth between the Vita version.

  • 2005 (NDS) - Probably the best overall Mario Kart. The introduction of online play felt magical at the time.

  • 1985 (NES) - The beginning of my obsession with golf games. Also the only game I can remember my dad even attempting to play.

  • 1993 (SNES) - Vividly remember getting this on my birthday inside an Air Jordan duffle bag. Wuh wuh wing dabba!

  • 1990 (NES) - I only remember getting to play this in arcades a couple times, but countless hours spent with friends on the NES version. One of the best arcade ports of its time for sure.

  • 2012 (Vita) - For a while, I was one of the Top 100 ranked players in the world. <insert joke here about there being less than 100 Vitas in the world>

  • 2006 (X360) - An early XBLA game and still one of the best.

  • 1997 (PS1) - I don't even like Street Fighter that much, but I love me some puzzle games. Another gem that I found through a PlayStation Underground demo.

  • 2000 (N64) - At E3 2000, I played this with three other people. None of them spoke English. Despite that, it was one of the most fun and memorable moments in all my years at E3.

  • 1992 (SNES) - Like many kids, Jordan was how I fell in love with basketball. This game basically taught me who all the other players were.

  • 1998 (PS1) - This is a game about a hamster driving a forklift solving 3D puzzles of national flags. What's not to love? I played this demo on PlayStation Underground in 1999 and was fascinated. Seventeen years later I finally got a copy off eBay and was able to play it on my Net Yaroze. It's fuckin' weird in the best way.

  • 1981 (TI-99/4A) - I'm fairly sure this was the first game I ever played. We had a handful of games on the TI-99, but this was the one I definitely played the most.