Are These The 100 Best Adventure Games Of All Time?

Are These The 100 Best Adventure Games Of All Time?

The fine folks over at have taken on one of the most herculean tasks in video-game-list-writing: They have assembled a list of not the top 10, not the top 20, but the top 100 adventure games of all time. It’s a really good list, too.

The list was part of a multi-part series they ran, and each game has its own entry along which nicely includes a list of “If you like this, you might like” suggestions. I highly recommend checking it out. Just for fun, I thought I’d assemble the full top 100 list here, just to see how it looks when you can see ’em all at once.

Personally, I think it looks pretty good! I certainly can’t argue with the #1 choice, which is one of my very favourite games of all time. And not just because of the music, which is both a symptom and a cause of that particular game’s awesomeness.

I dare you to read this list and not want to go back and play at least one of these. For me, it was Tex Murphy, which I barely got to play when I was younger, even though I remember reading printed walkthroughs just so that I could experience the game in some form.

Here’s the list, with links to their respective pages:

100. Titanic: Adventure Out of Time

99. Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor

98. The Space Bar

97. Runaway: A Twist of Fate

96. Gold Rush

95. Ripley’s Believe it or Not!: The Riddle of Master Lu

94. Faust (aka Seven Games of the Soul)

93. Toonstruck

92. The Dig

91. The Feeble Files

90. Spycraft: The Great Game

89. The Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time

88. Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, The Wizard, and the Wardrobe

87. Penumbra: Black Plague

86. Dark Fall

85. The Dark Eye

84. Colonel’s Bequest: A Laura Bow Mystery

83. The Black Mirror

82. The 7th Guest

81. Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire

80. Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened

79. Gemini Rue

78. Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist

77. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

76. Drawn: The Painted Tower

75. Kings Quest: Quest for the Crown

74. Shadow of the Comet

73. Discworld II

72. Maniac Mansion

71. Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail!

70. Amber: Journey’s Beyond

69. I Have no Moutn, and I Must Scream

68. Shadow of Destiny

67. Pepper’s Adventures in Time

66. Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon

65. Hotel Dusk: Room 215

64. The Book of Unwritten Tales

63. Black Dahlia

62. Obsidian

61. Loom

60. Another Code

59. Myst III: Exile

58. Star Trek: Judgment Rites

57. Indigo Prophecy (aka Fahrenheit)

56. In Memoriam

55. Syberia II

54. Samarost 2

53. Return to Mysterious Island

52. Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

51. Zork Nemesis

50. Infocom Text Adventures

49. Sam & Max: Season Two

48. Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers

47. Professor Layton and the Curious Village

46. The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time

45. The Curse of Monkey Island

44. Simon the Sorcerer

43. John Saul’s Blackstone Chronicles

42. Conquests of the Longbow: The Legend of Robin Hood

41. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

40. Myst IV: Revelation

39. Last Window: The Secret of Cape West

38. Full Throttle

37. Stacking

36. Sanitarium

35. The Neverhood

34. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

33. L.A. Noire

32. Gabriel Knight: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned

31. Portal

30. Bad Mojo

29. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

28. Sam & Max Hit The Road

27. Discworld Noir

26. Heavy Rain

25. Tex Murphy: Under a Killing Moon

24. Police Quest 2: The Vengeance

23. Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness

22. The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel

21. Blade Runner

20. Still Life

19. Beneath a Steel Sky

18. Myst

17. Machinarium

16. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers

15. Syberia

14. The Secret of Monkey Island

13. King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

12. Zork Grand Inquisitor

11. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

10. Portal 2

09. Tex Murphy: The Pandora Directive

08. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

07. The Last Express

06. The Day of the Tentacle

05. Riven

04. Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars

03. Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within

02. The Longest Journey

01. Grim Fandango

Some thoughts: Nice to see Amnesia get some love in there, and also nice to see Gabriel Knight 2 above the original. While Sins of the Fathers will always have a place in my heart, I too prefer the second one. Shadow of the Templars really is great, isn’t it? I’m several hours into the iOS version, and while I haven’t played in a while, this made me want to return.

I also like how this list includes current-gen adventure games (it is an “all time” list, after all). There are some great ones, from Gemini Rue to games you wouldn’t necessarily think of as “Adventure Games” like Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire. I don’t know if I’d really call Portal an adventure game, and I don’t know how I feel about putting all of the Infocom text adventures in one category (or about ranking them 50th!) but then again, I think I get it. Otherwise they would have taken up 20 or so spots.

Anyhow, head on over to the site and check out the full write-ups. It’s a well-curated collection of games that are entirely worth celebrating.

Top 100 All-Time Adventures []


  • Zork: Grand Inquisitor brings back very happy memories.
    So many quotes my sister and I still quote at each other all these years later. 😀

    • I’ve never actually finished The Dig. I always seem to get up to the same part too. I loved it, though. Something completely different from LEC.

  • I’ve only played about a quarter of these games, my list mostly padded out by Lucasarts and sierra games. 😛

    It’s a good list, but I’d argue with the order (which is basically the point of lists, am I right?). The Dig at #92 when Grim Fandango takes first place? Grim Fandango was great, but The Dig barely even made the list! The Dig is top ten material!

    Glad they mentioned The Riddle of Master Lu though, if I think waaaay back that’s probably the game that got me into PC point-and-click adventure games. I didn’t play the text entry titles like the old Sierra ‘Quest’ games until later.

    • Check the write-up for The Dig. They gave it 3 stars, but it still made the top 100. Definitely a sign this list should have been top 20 or fewer 🙂

      • The site’s editor mentions in the comments that they didn’t consult their reviews at all when constructing this list. I think the editorial staff has changed so much over the years too, that the original reviewers aren’t even on staff any more…

  • The import of this list and others like it, is completely lost in being 100 long. Much like filling in an election form below the line, the middle 80% is complete filler and waters down the rest of it.

    Who gives a toss what came where in that section of the list?

    Also, I feel as though I read this list weeks ago, but I guess it was only a few days ago. Someone must have tweeted it to me… My timeline is all broken this first week back to work :S

      • apparently they are going to wait until they’ve finished the MMO the secret world or whatever, then it’ll be another 18 months til Dreamfall: Chapters and then, and only after that will they do the longest journey 2. Boo.

        • It’s been so damn long since Ragnar Tornquist announced Dreamfall: Chapters (and secured a grant from the Norwegian government), the I’m not even sure it’ll happen any more. 🙁

  • Sierra and LucasArts should have more of their titles higher in the list as these two companies were the best at adventure games but why isn’t Full Throttle from LucasArts higher on the list? The music was a big part of that game and the voice talent that they had (Mark Hamill) was all great

  • I kind of lost faith in the list when my favourite adventure game of all-time (Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned) didn’t make the top 20. I guess the thing with these lists is that it’s all subjective, just making the list means a lot.

  • I was all kinds of pleased to see Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire make this list. Often in the forums over at Adventure Gamers there’s constant battle on whether these can be classified adventures. If they don’t want them, I’m sure some other genre would. 😉

  • What the heck? What is Portal 2 doing on that list? And I would petition ‘To The Moon’ to be on there as well.

    • Yeah Portal 2 doesn’t really make sense, sure its a puzzle game; but not quite an adventure game.

      By that logic, Half Life 2 should be on the list because you had that seesaw puzzle in it.

  • I think this is a pretty fair list, although I feel toonstruck should have been higher.
    Biggest omission in my eyes is Ghost Trick, but looking down the list I would have been hard pressed to pick one to remove.
    Maybe just slide in front of Still Life.

    • Ghost Trick is number 41 😀

      I’ve been doing the same thing. “Ha! They didn’t mention… oh, wait… yeah they did”.

      The one game missing for me is Zak McKracken, which I absolutely love.

  • The Dig at 92? I’m sorry, that’s just incorrect. And Portal is not an adventure game in any way.

    Zork Nemesis and Zork Grand Inquisitor make the list, but Return to Zork doesn’t? 🙁

    • Obviously you two guys need to go back and replay all three of those games. 😀 Of course if you replay them and still maintain the same opinion that’s totally acceptable…I just think maybe you’re nostalgia is taking sway since Nemesis and Inquisitor are imho leagues above Return. And I’m so glad to see inquisitor at number 12. That’s definitely one of the best all time…I’d possibly rate it at number one on my personal list.

  • I suddenly realize how many comments I’ve posted in such a short amount of time, mustn’t let people know I’m a gushing adventure game fan boy… :p

  • No.. Dark Seed…?

    There’s a lot of games missing that were revolutionary and pushed the genre forward.

    • imho, Dark Seed wasn’t actually a very good “game”. It had really good art thanks to HR Geiger, but the puzzles were pretty terrible. It could give the game credit for the interesting idea of having to get things done in a certain time, but that’s certainly not a completely new innovation introduced in Dark Seed.

    • Gah, Emblurr, don’t bring up old wounds. I can’t… I just can’t take that disappointment again. I miss you Ken and Roberta.

      I miss you.

  • Grim Fandango might be a great game, but it’s got horrible controls. Machinarium is also a sordid affair with linear progression, I think it made it onto this list by graphic appeal.

    Actually, looking over these games, a majority of them only have cult appeal. Even if it’s at the bottom of the list, Toonstruck shouldn’t have ranked at all.

    • The controls are irrelevant to me. The game hit so many high notes. From a great story, to a completely unique world, fantastic score and audio, amazing characters, clever puzzles, incredible subtext. There is probably more that I’m missing but I think it definitely deserves it’s place at number 1 (even if I would personally rank Grand Inquisitor as my personal favourite).

  • I got Shadow of the Templars as a Christmas present when I was 9. I had never heard of it or played any point and click adventure game, but grateful little gamer that I was, I played it from beginning to end and it sparked a life-long love-affair with the genre.
    Also, as upsetting as The Dig’s low ranking may be, we can surely all agree that Tim Schafer deserves his domination of this list.

  • Only one Sierra title in the top ten!! And a mediocre one at that!
    FOR SHAME!!!! The entire Top 5 titles should end in Quest!! I don’t care which ones.
    And the first GK made the top 20!!!!
    Was fun for the first half then it feels like they had to wrap it up too quick.
    That last section is one of the WORST examples of adventure games in history.

  • Portal an adventure game? righto…

    My opinion the top 20 “should” be filled with lucas arts, sierra, myst..etc.etc (all the old classics…) + Toonstruck should be in the top 20 aswell…

    The newer adventure games are good but they dont have the same touch as what the old ones do…

    This may be why i was like a little 5 year old kid on x-mas when i heard they were doing the telltale games (S&M and Monkey Island) and the Monkey Island remake come out.

    • That’s not really the “Adventure” genre this list is about. There’s already enough games on the list that barely fit, if at all. Portal, for instance, does not really deserve a spot on it, as fantastic a game as it is.

  • Silent Hill Shattered Memories is in there but no other Silent Hill games? That makes no sense to me, why would you pick that one over the others?

  • Good to see Broken Sword is still well regarded…play it is you liked The DaVinci Code.

    But in my opinion Deus Ex is the best adventure (not point-and-click), even though it includes FPS and RPG elements, the freedom and level of interaction were really the direction that modern adventure games should pursue.

  • I struggled with Grim Fandango due to the controls. Loved all the LucasArts titles though. Indy and the Fate of Atlantis, Sam and Max Hit the Road and Full Throttle all got multiple play throughs.

  • woo love grim fandango i only played it two years ago for the first time and fell in love with it to date it is still one of the greatest game stories of all time so wonderfully unique

  • A good list.

    The amount of comments here seem to show that the Adventure genre deserves more love.

    Heavy Rain and LA Noire were great, but the genre still has obvious fans. And even still, many games are adopting Adventure elements to them even if not being pure Adventure. It shows that the genre’s material will always have appeal.

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