Top Ten Greatest Damn Video Games of All-Time

Since Mario hit our screens in 1985, there have been video games that bleed beauty and technical sophistication. This here is a list of the greatest damn games of all-time, one made up of games that have pushed the threshold of what can be considered art; and entertained us for hours, even years after release.

Now, this isn’t a list of your favorite games. Don’t get upset, just because your favorite isn’t on here. I already know you’re going to be upset, and I’m not going to apologize. Also, this is a celebration of games, so expect spoilers.

Alas, behold the greatest video games of all-time!

#10. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence

Metal Gear Solid 4 may be the most technically proficient of the series, but none have ever reached the emotional heights of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Naked Snake is tasked with the duty of killing his former master and mother figure, The Boss, all while dealing with love interests, a huge threading tank, 4 (or 5) wacky boss supernatural beings, and a dislike for James Bond and vampires. The gameplay is the fully-realized version of the potential left behind by Metal Gear Solid 2; with the camouflage feature, you won’t be able to believe how you got along without it.

The emotional impact Snake is feeling during his journey to assassinate the only mom he’s ever known resonates with all of us, and as such, this is one of the only games Ive ever cried during. This game also houses some of the best boss battles ever, such as the sniper battle against The End, in a wide-open forest, with three interconnected areas, having to utilize your microphone, and keen senses to survive; or the explosive battle against The Fury, which quickly turns into survival horror; or the fantastic final battle against The Boss. All that, and the theme song (as well as the ending song, Way To Fall), makes this the greatest of the series, and one of the greatest games of all-time.

Standout moments: The End, The Fury, The Boss.

#9. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

I already spoke of Uncharted 2 in the our Top 10 PS3 Exclusives List, so I might as well just plagiarise my paragraph from there:

The full proverb is No Honor Among Thieves, which is certainly the case in Nathan Drakes second outing, and in most minds, his best. His first game showed a lot of potential, which was unfortunately not ceased due to clunky shooting controls and screen-tearing. Uncharted 2 takes its potential, and runs it up a very large hill, and has perfect framerate and zero screen-tearing, making it one of the most technically perfect console games ever made. Uncharted 2 pays homage to a lot of action-packed Hollywood movies (most notably the Indiana Jones series), and plays like a 12-hour movie, with all the action, romance, twists and turns you would expect from such; but the pacing is perfect, never gets stale, making it a joyride to play long after the credits roll.

Standout moments: the train (of course) and the final chapters in Shambhala.

#8. Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Knuckles

The biggest installment of the series is also the best. Originally, due to time constraints, split up into two games, Sonic The Hedgehog 3, and Sonic and Knuckles; becomes one long, grand game full of platforming goodness. Remember when Knuckles used to be Sonic’s enemy? Or when he was naive enough to be tricked by Eggman? Early Installment Weirdness at its finest. I always found it the most fun to play as Knuckles, since he can climb walls, and glide, while with Sonic and Tails, it was easy to die.

Excellent 16-bit graphics, amazing music, and long play-time, with 14 emeralds to collect (the latter 7 are SUPER EMERALDS), made Sonic 3 and Knuckles the best game on the Sega Genesis, and the greatest Sonic game ever.

#7. Bioshock

Your leisurely vacation to the underwater dystopia of Rapture, remains the greatest FPS of the seventh generation of gaming. An FPS where the gameplay takes a backseat to the atmosphere, yet is still sublime. The variety of plasmids and weapons made the combat very strategic, compared to the stick twidling of, say, Call of Duty; and, as well as the hacking, adds to the atmospheric sandbox feel of the game. Big Daddies, protectors of the Little Sisters, have become video game icons, and send shivers down you spines every time you see one. It spawned two great sequels, Bioshock 2 and Bioshock Infinite. The PS3 version of Bioshock Infinite comes with this game for free, so if you haven’t, there’s really no reason not to play this game.

#6. The Orange Box

Valve did gamers a solid when they released this hefty AAA-filled compilation of FPS for us to enjoy on our seventh-gen consoles. This comes with perhaps the greatest FPS of all-time, Half-Life, and its episodes, both of which are great, especially 2; cerebral puzzle game Portal, the greatest freebies ever; and Team Fortress 2, a team-based multiplayer game, in which Valve discontinued support for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions a long time ago, and is free on PC, anyway.

Half-Life 2 utilizes the greatest physics in any video game (the Gravity Gun is a great showcase for that), with some truly epic set-pieces, great characterization (for Alyx, perhaps the greatest female AI-partner until Elizabeth in 2013), and very well-designed levels, makes it into an epic experience that only Valve could deliver; along with its continuation episodes, and Portal, makes this a no-brainer. Who knew the greatest FPS of all-time wouldnt even have iron-sights?!

#5. Grand Theft Auto IV

It may not have the biggest play-space, or the most extravagant, wacky toys; but it certainly is the best open-world sandbox game ever made, let alone best GTA. You are Niko Bellic, ex-soldier who immigrates to America, looking for a new life amidst the bullshit fairy tales his cousin Roman sang to him over the phone. Here, he makes the best of the bad situation he lands in, and must take to underground of criminals, drug dealers, mafioso, diamonds and trucks full of heroin, as well as friends, all while trying to make his and his cousin’s life better, in the search of the elusive American Dream.

With damn-near a 100 story missions (not even counting the 40+ missions that come with the 2 episodes, which feature different playable characters and storylines set during IV, which must be played in order to have a complete understanding of the entire story) and innumerable amounts of side-missions (which would mean nothing if the gameplay wasnt as amazingly fun as it is), collectibles, arcade games, and stunt jumps; as well as 16-player multiplayer, with a ton of gameplay modes; needless to say, your playtime will be long. or, you can just screw about, running over civilians, blowing things up, and evading police; which is fun, but you should be sure not to let that impede on your playing through the masterful, mature narrative; with a rather tear-jerking ending (depending on which one you choose).

Standout moment: Three Leaf Clover.

#4. Super Mario 64

Though it was not the first 3D platformer, it was the one that turned the genre on it’s head. While many franchises died with their step to 3D (Earthworm Jim), with a mixture of bad graphics. and broken polygon ceiling gameplay; Mario made his leap to 3D with a freaking bang. It looked beautiful, it was huge, with hundreds of stars to collect in the games many levels, all of which are expansive, well-designed and offer a sandbox feel; as in you could collect certain stars in any order, while some could only be collected after certain requirements are met; the game also didn’t railroad level to level, and once you unlocked an area of the castle, you could play any level in that area, in any order (not to mention all the hidden levels). Compare that to the more streamlined nature of Galaxy.

Most of all, though, this game was fun. Really fun, with its robust platforming with complex analogue controls unheard of to the platforming genre at the time. It was remade for the DS as Super Mario 64 DS (no, really), and includes Luigi, Wario, and Yoshi as playable, main characters. Super Mario 64 is, if not the best, then, the most important platformer since his first adventure on the NES.

#3. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Okay, I’m gonna level with you. I’ve had a pretty hard time deciding which Zelda I was gonna use; they’re all so great, and a lot of them have revolutionized the action-adventure genre. I ultimately decided to go with Twilight Princess. Why? Because its very-well designed, and quite amazing! Twilight Princess is easily the one of the best games on the Gamecube and Wii. It is such a dark and challenging adventure, a contrast to Wind Wakers colorful, cartoon-ish atmosphere (though that game is still dark, as well).

The gameplay mechanics function much like the other 3D Zelda games that came before it; Link travels through vast landscapes on his horse, Epona; can lock on to and strafe around enemies, slashing and using various items and weapons against your foes, and to solve puzzles. All of this is made more robust with the use of motion controls in the Wii version, which function very-well, and more engaging than pressing buttons, though the game is just as playable with a traditional controller in the Gamecube version, or as a replacement for the Wiimote in the Wii version. A swipe of the Wiimote equates to a swipe of you sword, and so forth. It also has some dark, but very-good graphics, definitely the best on the Gamecube, and even better with widescreen support on the Wii.

There are some other new gameplay features, but I dont want this to turn into a review, so Ill let you experience it for yourself; whether it be on Wii or Gamecube (or Wii U).

#2. Portal 2

After you killed a psychotic AI who has a fetish for scientific testing (GLaDOS; voice by Ellen McLain), you are put into cryogenic sleep. Turns out youve been sleeping for a while, and Aperture Science is in ruins. You are approached by a brilliant moron AI sphere by the name of Wheatley (Stephen Merchant), who needs your help escaping AS. One thing leads to another, and you’ve awaken GLaDOS, and all hell has broken loose. Through a few twists and turns, turrets, potatoes, Cave Johnson, and lemons; you and your trusty Portal Gun must tackle puzzle after puzzle, to break free of the psychotic AI’s grasp.

The gameplay consists of shooting orange (L1, LT) and blue (R1, RT) trans-dimensional portals, using your Portal Gun. You use these portals to move things from one side of the room to the other, be it lasers, cubes, or goo, launching yourself, or just to get from one place to the next; You can only place portals on white walls. The gameplay is pure perfection, and requires an active brain (or a wiki, for all you cheaters); as well as the narrative, with great voice-acting and some truly exceptional quotes that you’ve most likely heard out of context; make this the most humorous, as well as greatest puzzle game ever made. And this is without touching upon the separate co-op campaign, which is double the length of the original Portal.

Well, here we are, nearing the end of the list. Before I reveal #1, here are some games that got shafted for a spot on the list:

Mega Man 2

Street Fighter II


Final Fantasy VII

Super Metroid

Super C

Mass Effect

Katamari Damacy

Persona 4

Shadow of the Colossus

The Sims

Batman: Arkham City

Red Dead Redemption

and various sequels and prequels from the franchises on this list

Okay, without further ado, here’s #1:

#1. Resident Evil 4

The definitive shooter, Resident Evil 4 took third-person shooting gameplay and camp to perfection. Resident Evil 4 is nothing short of perfect. By dropping the series’ awful controls, and setting it in a completely different atmosphere, they managed to drop some of the series’ more heinous aspects, while perfecting their decent ones. Back in a time when Resident Evil was set apart from other shooters by atmosphere, and not over-the-top action, the atmosphere is no more chilling than in RE4.

The gameplay was turned from top-down to over-the-shoulder, which would become standard in third-person shooters. With it’s very fluid, distinctive laser sight, aiming has never been as perfect since; being able to pull off perfect headshots with ease, if you’ve leveled up your weapons. Not being able to move while shooting may put some off, but for people like me it’s no problem, and adds to the games haunting feel. Because of the merchant, the game also has a mild RPG element to it, allowing you to customize your weapons (hint: level up the Red9, as its easily the best gun in the game), for use against the Ganados.

I can go on and on about this game, but unless you’ve played it, you’ll have no idea what makes it so special; hell, half of it is an escort mission, and it’s still great, so that you should tell you right there it’s quality. The PS2 version onward also comes with Separate Ways, itself a little more than half as long as the main campaign. I recommend either the Wii version, which has the best controls, or the HD version for PS3 and 360.

The gameplay’s awe-inspiring perfection, chilling atmosphere, and dialogue and execution that is so horrible its incredible, make Resident Evil 4 the greatest video game ever made.

I hope you enjoyed reading the list, and if you don’t agree with it, that’s great. The fact that there are so many great games and people’s favorites is evidence to just how far gaming has come since we were batting around a block with two rectangles; and I’m sure its only gonna get better. For now, rigbybot127, signing off.

James Flaherty

Two things I love with a passion are video games and writing, and what's a better combination of those two things than being a game reviewer? 'Cause that's what I am. A reviewer for Leet Gamers Asia. My tastes in games breach all genres, though my fortes are platformers and first-person shooters. My favorite game series is probably Super Mario, specifically the 3D games. I also love Rayman, Hitman, Bioshock, Half-Life/Portal, Uncharted, and Grand Theft Auto. As for my favorite game, it's hard to say: I love Portal 2, Shadow of the Colossus, Half-Life 2, Bioshock, Resident Evil 4, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Rayman Legends, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Grand Theft Auto IV, L.A. Noire, Fallout 3, Journey, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence all so damn much.

15 thoughts on “Top Ten Greatest Damn Video Games of All-Time

  • May 30, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Love this list and Resident Evil 4 is the best!!!!! Wii Version is the best version of the it :)

  • May 30, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    Nice list, I agree with most of your choices. Resident Evil 4 is so damn good, its such a shame that the sequels that have followed have been so poor and uninspired.

  • May 30, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    That why yuo can have Resident Evil: Revelation

  • May 30, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Awesome list you got there.Still about RE4,it is an awesome game but still not the best in the series.

  • June 8, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    Resident evil 4 in no way should be number 1, they shafted super Mario rpg, and final fantasy 7 should be number 1. Truly revolutionized gaming.

  • June 8, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Final Fantasy VII was considered, but ultimately was shafted. RE4 revolutionized gaming, and has some of the best controls of any game. Along with it’s so bad, it’s good script, and corny VA, makes for a masterpiece.

  • June 21, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    I value your writing talent and your uncanny ability to make clear, concise points. I agree with a great deal of your unique views. Thank you.

  • July 6, 2013 at 3:50 AM

    i think San Andreas should have been on the list instead of gta iv

  • July 8, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    I’m not sure how New Horizons 2: Uncharted Waters for SNES never makes these lists. A truly epic sailing rpg/simulation with 6 character scenarios to play.

  • July 15, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    Great list. I would have chosen Ocarina Of Time for the Zelda game. I also would have put GoldenEye and Banjo Kazooie on there as well – and maybe the first Turok (The Dinosaur Hunter – all the sequels were horrible). I’m almost 50 years old, so I grew up with Pong, Atari, ColecoVision, NES, etc. – and I have everything through PS3 and 360 – including the handhelds. I think the N64 was the best system ever – the golden age of video games that will never return.

  • July 29, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Would have liked to see Shadow of the Colossus in there personally, but good list. I wonder if The Last of Us would crack this list?

  • July 29, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    The Last of Us will definitely make this list of Top 10 games of this gen. I do regret not putting SotC in here. Might do it when I update the list.

  • July 31, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    It’s all very subjective, but I am pleased to see SotC get the honourable mention. Personally, when I think about how video games have resonated with me over time, Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time (I understand your dilemma with the Zelda’s though) and SotC stand apart.

    Any considerations giving to FF6 (or 3 depending on where it was released)? Or was it simply a matter of liking FF7 better?

  • August 1, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Final Fantasy VII is a very good game, perhaps the best of said series. It did get shafted, unfortunately, but you may see it in the future on another top 10 list, or even a top 20 remake of this list.

  • September 19, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    I played resident evil outbreak on ps2 that’s wat I like, the normal zombie games but when I played 4 n zombies with weapons n weird ass mutents didn’t seem like the old zombie games so I stopped playin at part u had to trap the worm guy in a tank to burn him lol plus the controls was weird as god while playing, pressing the wrong dam button all the time lol (might of been that I was playin Pc more at the time n not use to Xbox)

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