Games Of The Generation, For Every Generation

For some reason I got myself thinking about my favourite games of the generation for all the generations. Then I thought, wouldn't this be fun to do on Kotaku!

I'll go first. Here's how we'll do this. You have to choose one game for every generation. For reference, I've been using this Wikipedia list of consoles to define each generation. You must choose one game as your favourite of that generation, and a sentence explaining why. You can also choose one honourable mention as a runner-up.

Here are mine...

I'm so old that I started with the third generation!

The Third Generation

Winner: Midnight Resistance I played a lot of terrible video games during this period of time and when I think of the ones that were actually good, Midnight Resistance is the one that springs to mind. Honourable Mention: Way Of The Exploding Fist

The Fourth Generation

Winner: The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past Pound for pound the best designed video game ever made. Honourable Mention: Street Fighter II

The Fifth Generation

Winner: Super Mario 64 It changed everything. Miraculously still manages to hold up to this day. Honourable Mention: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Sixth Generation

Winner: Metroid Prime [Swoon] Honourable Mention: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

The Seventh Generation

Winner: Dark Souls Maybe it's just fresh in my mind, but I haven't loved a game like this since... Metroid Prime! Honourable Mention: Red Dead Redemption


    I don't suppose handheld games are allowed into this party.

    3rd Gen:
    Alex Kidd in Miracle World.
    It was the first game I played that sucked me in and begged to be finished, was over the moon when I eventually did complete the game.

    4th Gen:
    Street Fighter 2 on Megadrive.
    Man... to be able to play my favorite game at home, whenever I wanted... That was THE best thing ever!

    5th Gen:
    Tony Hawk 1 on PS1
    3d Graphics, stereo and ACTUAL songs for audio, brilliant. Spent wayyyyy too many hours on this.

    6th Gen:
    Although I had both a PS2 and XBOX - I'm struggling to think of a game that I can list here.

    7th Gen:
    The Last of Us.
    I can't remember the last time I felt so engrossed in a game, this one blurred the lines of gaming and story telling. Utterly amazing game.

      MUCH more accurate list. Well done.

        I think it’s a worse list.

        Your comment is WAY INACCURATE.

        I think you've missed the point. It's supposed to be each person's individual games of each generation. One person's list can't be more or less accurate than another's list because it's purely opinion-based.

      I have one for the 6th gen: Quantum Redshift. An unappreciated gem for the original Xbox.

      The biggest selling point of Quantum Redshift was the graphics detail it possessed. Water and glass would show real-time reflections, each of the game worlds were abundant with high-resolution textures (Not that you can see most of them due to the motion blur!), and the camera "lens" would be flecked with water droplets after being submerged. And it could do all of this at 60 FPS without framerate drops in 4-player split-screen! Where Halo 2 struggled, this game breezed along! And all while having racetracks set around the globe with a truly global feel on each track (Each track has the countdown in their native language!) and in 5.1 surround!

      All on a 733 MHz Intel Pentium III, 64 MB of DDR SDRAM and 233 MHz nVidia graphics!

      EDIT: I almost forgot, you can also use music on the Xbox hard drive as the soundtrack for races!

      Last edited 26/02/14 1:52 pm

      Never played Shadow of the Colossus on PS2? That game was brilliant.

    3rd generation: Aussie Rules Footy ("Out of bounds.....on the full....")
    HM: Super Spike Volleyball

    4th generation: Mario Kart. And by a country mile too. Pumped so many hours into this game and still break it out occasionally.
    HM: NBA Jam TE, Super International Cricket, Donkey Kong Country 1&2, Yoshi's Island, Mario All-Stars and about 50 others.

    5th generation: Syphon Filter
    HM: Metal Gear Solid

    6th generation: GTA Vice City
    HM: GTA San Andreas, GTA3, SSX Tricky, Jak3, could list games all day haha.

    7th generation: The Last Of Us. (Maybe, I dunno, it's so recent but loved the game)
    HM: Red Dead Redemption, Fallout 3, Skyrim

      3rd generation: Aussie Rules Footy ("Out of bounds.....on the full....")
      Played this for the first time recently... my god it's awful.

      Mario Kart
      Have never and will never understand the appeal of this or its sequels. Overly cutesy, simplified arcade racers where winning involves a large dose of random chance. Heresy I know.

      Fallout 3, Skyrim
      I sort of assumed we were excluding things which were much better on PC.

        Haha I wouldn't have played Aussie Rules in 20 years, or any other NES game for that matter.

        The beauty of Mario Kart is that it is very precise. So much so that when doing the time trials your top 5 scores can all be within 0.01 or 0.02 of each other. A thing which I feel the sequels lack. Also the randomness in GP's also only really comes in in a 2-player game too, as otherwise you know exactly what the other players weapon will be. Even in two-player I think skill plays a much larger role.

          Up until the Playstation was released I played almost exclusively on various home computers, so splitting by generation doesn't make a lot of sense to my eyes. If we map the dates approximately:

          1st Generation: I don't recall the name of the console - my parents bought one of those 16-in-one paddle/ball consoles with various "sports". The best builtin by far was the light gun target game, although the foosball soccer playalike was also pretty good.
          2nd Generation: Ms Pacman (on Atari 2600).
          3rd Generation: Amiga Moria (a roguelike with some graphics for characters). HM to Lemmings 2 and of course to Tetris (on PC).
          4th Generation: Command & Conquer
          5th Generation: Final Fantasy VII. (The horribleness of the PC version of this is what led me to buying a PS1.)
          6th Generation: Grandia 2. HM to Tales of Symphonia and to Persona 4. (6th gen was the golden age of JRPGs, it really was.)
          7th Generation: Skyrim (on PC). HM to Tales of Xillia.

      Aussie Rules footy is one of my greatest memories as a young kid simply due to the out of bounds on the full.Hell you could play as Tasmania :P

        I was always bummed that I had to play as "Perth" and not the West Coast Eagles. Particularly since the Eagles were featured ON THE FRONT COVER

          I remember for christmas in 1996 my parents asked me what do you want and i said Aussie Rules for the nintendo sadly i never got it..... Playing an emulator of it nowadays just doesn't feel right to me either.

      NBA Jam for 4th Gen for absolute sure in my opinion. That game created friendships, destroyed friendships and everything in between. I mean seriously, it was THE BEST time for NBA ever coupled with (at the time) the coolest game.

      6th Gen: Gran Tourismo and/or FF VII

    This is too tough for a passing comment on my behalf and I would most likely get bogged down on the differences between the games impact on it's generation or it's genre.

    I could spend the better part of a week trying to compile my own list.
    I can say I agree with Mario in the 5th gen, which is actually hard when you consider the 64 pumped out quite a few home runs in the beginning when talking terms of innovation.
    Goldeneye, Zelda, Shadows of the Empire, god even Waverace was something special when it came out.

    Answer to every generation is "something on PC". That aside:

    Gen 2 - Frogger

    Gen 3 - Bubble Bobble

    Gen 4 - Puyo Puyo Tsu

    Gen 5 - Goldeneye. Come on, people.

    Gen 6 - Gran Turismo 3

    Gen 7 - Red Dead Redemption

    Last edited 26/02/14 1:26 pm

    2nd Gen: Pitfall (Atari 2600)
    3rd Gen: Too busy playing Quest for Glory and Monkey Island on PC to own a 3rd gen console
    4th Gen: Super Metroid (SNES)
    5th Gen: Ocarina of Time (N64)
    6th Gen: Tales of Symphonia (Cube) - Runner up: Super Smash Bros. Melee (Cube)
    7th Gen: Tales of Vesperia (360) - Runner up: Monster Hunter Tri (Wii)

    Not necessarily the 'best' games, but on reflection, these are the games with which I got the most enjoyment from the console(s).

    So third gen is NES/Sega Master System then?
    I only had the Sega Master System myself and looking back it pales in comparison so the NES. I did enjoy my time with my games and while Alex Kidd will hold a special place in my childhood heart it was certainly no Super Mario Bros. However, there's no doubt in my mind that Duck Tales was the best game on the NES.

    4th Gen
    I never had my own Mega Drive or SNES, so this gen kinda passed me by. However from the limited exposure I had on each console, I will say Earthworm Jim was the clear winner for me.

    5th Gen
    N64 beats out the PS1 here by virtue of the lack of loading times compared to the minutes you'd often wait to play a single round of Destruction Derby. Sure, Playstation had Crash Bandicoot but was that really ever a match for Super Mario 64? Anyway, the best game of this gen is a toss-up for me between Lylat Wars (aka starfox 64) for it's split-screen multiplayer, or Goldeneye for it's split-screen multiplayer. Oh, who am I kidding. Goldeneye by a broad margin.

    6th Gen
    This is where I really re-entered the world of consoles after years of PC gaming and fell in love with what I could do with a set of twin thumbsticks and triggers after years of keyboard/mouse. Sure I could have bought a joystick for the PC but it never felt right unless I was playing a flight sim. I'll throw an honorable mention to Jet Set Radio on the Dreamcast (even though it was surpassed by it's Xbox sequel, Jet Set Radio Future) and FFX on the PS2, but the real winner of this gen had to be Halo. It's local multiplayer was strides ahead of the competition, it redefined the deisgn of FPS gaming, and had a killer story to boot. It has it's haters, but Halo is the winner here.

    7th Gen
    With so many games I've yet to play on my 360/PS3, and so many still in living memory I don't know if I can really call a winner here. There were some really high points. I think in recent years there's been a lot more thought put into what makes a good story, and put the player more in the driver seat instead of the passenger seat. It became less about shiny graphics and more about giving us worlds we wanted to live in and really explore. And while I have hundreds of hours in Fallout 3 and New Vegas that might argue in their favour, I think the best game at accomplishing that was Mass Effect 2. Sure, some of the impact of the Mass Effect franchise wouldn't really be felt until Mass Effect 3, and the world was built (and certainly grabbed my attention) in the first entry in the trilogy, but if you asked me which game to give to someone to tell them what the last 9 years of gaming have really been all about, I'd hand you a copy of ME2.

    Gen III

    Winner - Wonder Boy III - The Dragons Trap (SMS)
    Runner Up - Impossible Mission 2 (C64)

    Gen IV
    Winner - Legend of Zelda-A Link to the Past (SNES)
    Runner Up - Secret of Mana (SNES

    Gen V
    Winner - Final Fantasy VII (PS)
    Runner Up - Chrono Cross (PS)

    Gen VI
    Winner - Final Fantasy X (PS2)
    Runner Up - Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (PS2)

    Gen VII
    Winner - Legend of Zelda - Skyward Sword (Wii)
    Runner Up - God of War II (PS3)

      WB3: The Dragons Trap is imo one of the greatest games ever, if not the greatest for me.
      Good times...

    This is mine. Interestingly I was into some different genres with each generation..

    3rd Generation -
    Winner: Zach Makraken & the Alien Mindbenders
    Played this on the ol' C64 and was really into the point & click adventures back then, this one being my favourite.
    Honourable Mention: Ghost and Goblins (so hard, but played it so much)

    4th Generation -
    Winner: Street Fighter 2
    My most played game on the old SNES. Was big into fighting games at Timezone at the time, and this was like the first ever arcade game I could play at home.
    Honourable Mention: Mortal Kombat (same reason as SF2, but this wasnt as polished)

    5th Generation -
    Winner: Golden Eye
    Being a bond fan, absolutely loved this game. The opening gun barrel sequence always gave me goose bumps, I was finally living the fantasy of being 007.
    Honourable Mention: Resident Evil 2 (my first ever PS game)

    6th Generation:
    Winner: GTA San Andreas
    Toss up between this and Vice City, but had to choose this one for the sheer size and things u can do it, plus being into ol School hip hop, i really dug the South Central LA influence of it.
    Honourable Mention: Zelda Ocarina of Time

    7th Generation:
    Winner: GTAV
    Tough decision but had to go to this one just for the amount of money it made.
    Honourable Mention: The Last of Us

    also props to Midnight Resistance. That image alone is bringing back all the fond memories of that game.

    Last edited 26/02/14 1:34 pm

    Stop being so Nintendo Mark (only because I never had one until the Wii :P).

    Third Gen - Toss up between Gauntlet and Rainbow Islands, both on Spectrum
    Fourth Gen - Sonic 2
    Fifth Gen - Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy IX
    Sixth Gen - GTA San Andreas. About the only generation I'm certain on the game of the generation
    Seventh Gen - Fallout 3 or Red Dead Redemption. (Can I include Medieval 2 as a 2006 PC seventh gen game?)

    It’s funny to see Nintendo taking out your top award 3 generations in a row from SNES to Gamecube.
    I’d have to agree with you though for the SNES and N64 years as least (although not necessarily those games in those orders).

    The PS1 got LOTS of great games, the N64 got the absolute classics.

    3rd Gen: Super Mario 3 - how is that even a question? (Runner up: Bubble Bobble. Played for hours with my Dad)
    4th Gen: Chrono Trigger - still one of the best games of all time in my opinion. (Runner up: FF6 - my favourite FF game)
    5th Gen: This one is tough for me because I didn't spend much time in this particular gen. Mario 64 though. First game I ever 100%'d without a walkthrough. Was very proud of myself. (Runner up: FF8? Maybe?)
    6th Gen: GTA3 - Total game changer. (Runner up: We <3 Katamari. The original, made betterer. Loved it. to bits.)
    7th Gen: Mass Effect (Series?) - Like taking part in a giant sci-fi movie. Love the universe, love the story, love "MY" Commander Shepard and talking about her compared to friends' playthroughs. (Runner up: Guitar Hero World Tour + Sequels (they're the same game) - Hours of fun with friends.)
    The problem with Gen 7, by this point, I've pretty much moved on to PC exclusively and I'm trying to think of games I played on console and totally enjoyed. Also I've only just picked up The Last Of Us so I'm about to start it. That could change my answer. GTA5 is great but too recent for me to count.

    Last edited 26/02/14 1:44 pm

      Internet High-Five for Gen 3/4/5

    I'm even older and get to start at 2nd gen!

    2nd Gen:
    H.E.R.O - Atari 2600 - while it started out pretty simple the game soon got punishing with the complicated levels where you had to use your dynamite sparingly and would run low on fuel.
    Runner Up: Pitfall

    3rd Gen:
    Wonderboy in Monster Land - Master System - Platforming and RPG elements the game had lots to do.
    Runner Up: Alex Kidd in Miracle World

    4th Gen:
    Secret of Mana - Snes - I can remember spending hours just levelling up before tackling the next section. It was basically Dark Souls for the Snes
    Runner Up: Sonic 2 - Megadrive

    5th Gen:
    Banjo Kazooie - N64 - Pretty much the perfect 3D Platformer with things to collect and secrets to find. Tooie and DK64 went overboard with stuff to collect but the original Banjo got the balance right
    Runner Up : Zelda Ocarina of Time - N64

    6th Gen:
    Wind Waker - GCN - Still the best Zelda game ever made.
    Runner Up: GTA San Andreas - PS2

    7th Gen:
    The Last of Us - PS3 - I struggle to complete games now but The Last of Us I was absorbed until the very end, then I replayed it again immediately afterwards!
    Runner Up: Dark Souls - PS3

    So youre meant to be able to kill that thing in the Dark Souls picture?

      Yep! I've seen that screenshot many times before, but just realised that I've actually encountered it now!

    My favourites

    3rd: Super Mario Bros 3
    4th: Final Fantasy IV
    5th: Vagrant Story
    6th: Resident Evil 4
    7th: hmmmmm jury is out on that one for the moment. I put Xenoblade here for the time being ;)

      Shit me, forgot about Vagrant Story. I put FFIX instead, but Vagrant Story was a brilliant gem right at the end of the psone's life that always gets overlooked imo. Awesome story, characters, setting. Gameplay was great, good replayability, bosses were tough unless you figured out the best weapons and affinities to beat them. Imo, the second best RPG ever, the first being FFIX as that's the best 'traditional' RPG and the charm of that game gets me every time

        Nice. Vagrant Story is still my favourite game of all time. Love love love that game.

    My first ever console was a ps2 so you could call me late to the party, but my games for the 6th and 7th generations would have to be Halo and CoD4, both were massive in their effect on the gaming industry (for better or worse) and both were genuinely good games

    Another old fart clocking in here, starting at 2nd Gen.

    2nd Gen:
    Tron - Intellivision - Revolutionary in it's own way.
    Runner Up: River Raid - Atari 2600 - Rote learning was every so much fun.

    3rd Gen:
    Wonderboy in Monster Land - Master System
    Runner Up: Alex Kidd in Miracle World
    (Shamelessly stolen off @Stevorooni due to exact same choices)

    4th Gen:
    Sonic 2 - Megadrive - It gave so much colour and movement for a 2d game, the animations gave the characters character - something which I'd argue hadn't happened before the capabilities of the Megadrive.
    Runner Up: Altered Beast - Megadrive

    5th Gen:
    Final Fantasy VII - PS1 - Lots of reasons, but mostly tackling a large, mature story line with complex game mechanics and sure enough, you truly came to care for those characters you followed all the way to Lvl 99.
    Runner Up : Zelda Ocarina of Time - N64. Revolutionary time altering mechanics and it forced the player into thinking in another plane - not only 1, 2, and 3d, but having to figure out puzzles in 4d? Youch.
    Honourable Mention: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver for doing what Zelda did with the shadow realm.

    6th Gen:
    FFX - Playstation 2 - for a lot of reasons as per FFVII, but also for showing what can be done with landscape. Spira became a character, especially when you get to the reveal about the travels being undertaken and why when you finished an area, Yuna would stop and look.
    Runner Up: God of War - PS2 - It brought back platforming to a non-Nintendo system in gory, glorious detail.
    Honourable mention: Conkers Bad Fur Day for showing what good writing and humour can do to an otherwise slightly mediocre game.

    7th Gen:
    WiiSports - Wii - A classic because it showed how fun party games with motion controls could be like. Many people scoff at it, but you should remember the fun times you had with mates and tennis.
    Runner up: Tiger Woods 2k11 - Wii - I had to think long and hard about this. But I will have to go with Tiger Woods. Simply because it showed how a mature handling of motion controls could be used in a game to make it go from outstanding to brilliant. Like it or not, the 7th Gen was defined by motion control and both of these games show it from it's infancy to it's useful application (Note: there was a LOT of useless application)
    Honourable Mention: Too many, but to pick one I would say The Last of Us.

    8th Gen:
    pffffffft It's just come out, what classics?

    I'm so old that I've gotta start at 1st gen.

    Gen 1 - Pong (on a hanimex 667 I think)

    Gen 2 - Pitfall (Atari 2600) or Burgertime (intellivision)

    Gen 3 - probably Mike Tyson's Punch Out or Bart vs. The space mutants

    Gen 4 - Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past Castlevania IV (runner up) (SNES)

    Gen 5 - Super Mario 64 (N64)

    Gen 6 - Beyond Good And Evil, Darkwatch, GTA Vice City, Fable (Xbox)

    Gen 7 - Ref Dead Redemption (Xbox 360) or Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

    Gen 8 (so far) - haven't played a lot of games from this gen, but so far it would have to be Ryse: Son Of Rome and Peggle 2 (Xbox One), that may change this weekend after playing Thief and PvZ:GW.

    So many other great games I could have mentioned, but they're the ones that came to mind first.

    Last edited 26/02/14 2:10 pm

    3rd Gen:
    Aussie Rules Footy (NES)
    HM: Wonder Boy (MS)

    4th Gen:
    Super International Cricket (SNES)
    HM: Shadowrun (SNES)

    5th Gen:
    Final Fantasy VII (PS1)
    HM: Shane Warne Cricket '99

    6th Gen:
    Halo (Xbox)
    HM: Final Fantasy XII

    7th Gen:
    Uncharted 2 (PS3)
    HM: Oblivion (Xbox 360)

    3rd Gen: The Legend of Zelda. Fantastic game that was so unique at the time. It's still really fun and re-playable even nowadays.
    Honorable mention: Super Mario Bros. 3

    4th Gen: Final Fantasy VI. My favourite game ever, yo'. Play it at least twice a year.
    Honorable mention: Chrono Trigger

    5th Gen: Metal Gear Solid. Such an interesting game with really fun gameplay and fantastic cutscene direction. Great bosses, great music, always new things to find.
    Honorable mention: Final Fantasy VII

    6th Gen: The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker. I don't even need to explain this one. It's incredible in every sense of the word.
    Honorable mention: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

    7th Gen: BioShock. I still can't fully explain why I love this game so much, but my love is real. This game has such an amazing environment and the word is so interesting and unique. I don't care if it's just System Shock 2 with more water.
    Honorable mention: Xenoblade Chronicles.

    Last edited 26/02/14 2:17 pm

    3rd: Alex Kidd (MS)
    4th: Yoshis Island (SNES)
    5th: Lylat Wars (N64)
    6th: Wind Waker (GCN)
    7th: Alan Wake (360)

    Of the consoles I actually had:

    1st Gen: Hockey (Hanimex TVG8610 - )
    2nd Gen: Pitfall! (Atari 2600)
    3rd Gen: The Legend of Zelda (NES)
    4th Gen: Mutant League Football (Mega Drive import)
    5th Gen: PaRappa the Rapper (PS1)
    6th Gen: Psychonauts (PS2)
    7th Gen: Rock Band 3 (X360)

    I've always been more of a PC guy, so my real favourites through the ages would have come through C64 - DOS - Windows.

    Anyway, these are the games that I played the most, and would go back to even when I had a newer system:

    2nd: Pitfall! (Atari 2600)
    3rd: River City Ransom (NES)
    4th: Comix Zone (Megadrive)
    5th: Tombi! (PSX)
    6th: Time Crisis 2 (PS2)
    7th: Batman: Arkham Asylum (technically on PC for me, but let's say PS3 'cause that's what I have)

    ANd apparently the Gameboy doesn't fit into any generation, so I'm just going to say that Link's Awakening and Gargoyle's Quest are awesome, regardless of the generation.

    gen 1: marksman ( i think it was called that). telstar colormatic (coleco telstar)
    gen 2: pitfall. atari 2600
    gen 3: alex kidd in miracle world. master system
    gen 4: altered beast. mega drive
    gen 5: mario 64/ ocarina of time. n64. metal gear solid. psx.
    gen 6: rival schools 2. dreamcast. shadow of the colossus. ps2
    gen 7: metal gear solid 4. ps3. xenoblade chronicles. wii
    gen 8: resogun. ps4 (i know it's early but i don't see anything beating it ever)
    yes, i am that old.

    edit: forgot xenoblade

    Last edited 26/02/14 5:13 pm

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