My Top 20 Games Of All Time

Tonight on ABC2 at 8.30pm, Good Game is running down its audience voted top 100 games of all time. As part of the show they kindly invited yours truly on to the show to talk about some of my own personal favourites and I had an absolute blast doing so.

It also inspired me to make a little list of my own.

So here it is, the Mark Serrels voted top 20 games of all time. It goes without saying that this list is subjective, and if I did it tomorrow it would probably look different. It also goes without saying that you'll probably disagree. You'll be angry that I didn't include "THIS GODDAMN GAME YOU IDIOT IT'S THE BEST GAME OF ALL TIME". If that's how you feel, drop your own list in the comments below.

This is going to be fun!

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past

I just think it was the most perfectly designed game ever made back then. In a lot of ways it helped inform me of my own tastes and taught me what I truly loved about video games and the experiences they could provide me. Playing A Link To The Past was a real formative experience for me personally. It is legitimately timeless. It provides the template to one of the greatest series in gaming history. But it’s more than that. It is a rare thing: a practically flawless gaming experience.

2. Metroid Prime

The words use to describe Metroid Prime are my very favourite words. The kind of words that describe – for me personally – what video games/art/anything should be striving to become: seamless, polished, otherworldly, awe-inspiring. No video game world has been able to compete since. I can’t think of another space in games that feels at once perfectly organic yet brilliantly designed. That will always be Metroid Prime’s crowning achievement. It has become lionised in my imagination. It is the game I always compare to others. It’s my high water mark.

3. Dark Souls

Imagine King Canute, sat on his throne at the edge of the ocean, roaring against the inevitable shifting of the tides. Only in this story King Canute forces the ocean backwards from sheer force of will, from his own ability to define himself in opposition to the natural changing of the guard. That’s Dark Souls: defined by its own power to not give a fuck about you or anything. Dark Souls has a stubborn power. It has already transformed gaming. It is flawed, unique, and masterful. Its world will affect you. Its world will become a part of you. I am convinced that I left a little part of myself in Dark Souls; probably Dark Souls has left a part of itself in me.

Yeah, that sounds a little bit gross.

4. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. Man. That was a game that really became a strange obsession for me. I estimate I’ve finished it about 20 times. I just kept playing it and playing it… thinking about the details. Obsessing over the details, thinking about the details. It was unhealthy in hindsight. I essentially wanted to be Guybrush Threepwood. I wanted to have those adventures.

To this day I believe I could literally – in my imagination – walk through almost every single puzzle in that game in sequence. It is hardwired into my brain. I loved it so much.

5. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

As a huge Hideo Kojima fan, I truly believe that every single Metal Gear Solid game has elements of greatness, but Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater might be the only game in the series that is great in almost every single sense of the word. Kojima’s need to push gaming in strange directions often results in moments of pure genius, but it also tends to create moments that simply don’t work. In Snake Eater, Kojima’s strike rate was as high as it had ever been, or ever has been since. It’s my favourite entry into a series I adore.

6. Halo

Bizarrely, for a game so popular, I don’t think Halo gets quite enough recognition for how innovative it was within the FPS framework. It doesn’t get enough love for its brilliant sense of scale. Still my favourite multiplayer game of all time.

7. Yoshi’s Island

Arguably the greatest platformer ever made. Bursting with innovation. A game so full of ideas it had the ability to use some of the most interesting mechanics once and then toss them away. The Jimi Hendrix of video game design.

8. Street Fighter 2

On any other day this might be higher in the list. It’s Street Fighter 2. No-one who lived through the release of this game in arcades could possibly deny the strange power it had over nearly everyone.

9. Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

I showed restraint. I only placed two Zelda games in my top 20. Link’s Awakening was one of them. I think that says it all.

10. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

Probably about 1 million times better than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

11. Journey

Everything about this game is perfect. The ending. Oh my god. The ending.

12. Super Mario Galaxy

A game that just removes all restraint, cuts all ties to common sense. The end result: a schizophrenic masterpiece where all bets are off. Gorgeous.

13. Rock Band 2

This is the kind of game I might forget to put on my list. I’m so glad I remembered this time. Few games have brought me such joy.

14. Skate 2

I think Skate 2 is the greatest sports game ever made. I dare you to disagree with me.

15. Fantasy World Dizzy

I don’t expect you to understand. But please understand.

16. Metroid Fusion

Technically Super Metroid should be here, but I played Metroid Fusion first. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

17. Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption is one of the few games that created an environment so stunning I was happy to just exist in it.

18. Trauma Center

This belongs on this list. Believe it. No other DS game can come close. No other DS game can compare.

19. Horace Goes Skiing

Nostalgia. This is my one self-indulgent nostalgia based pick. Don’t try and take it away from me.

20. Mass Effect 2

The only game that ever made me truly believe that I was saving the world.

Feel like making your own list? Drop it in the comments below.


    +1,000,000 respect points for including Rock Band 2!

      I'm so glad I remembered.

        Interesting choice, considering Rock Band 2 was never released in Australia.

          Didn't stop us from importing it! And even though RB3 has Beast and The Harlot and Free Bird, RB2 has a much better, more challenging setlist.

        Rock Band just doesn't get the recognition it deserves anymore. To me, it feels more like a game than most other games actually do these days. I can't remember the last time that I had such fun playing a game for the sake of high scores.

    well as lists of favorites are very subjective i can calmly and safely say that was a terrible list :P lol

    I'm really happy to see Yoshi's Island represented on this list.

    I voted The Last of Us as number 1, Red Dead Redemption as number 2 and I can't remember my would have been awesome, I promise.

    This is a solid list. A lot of good games on here that really deserve a pave on the list. Not all of them, but I'm nitpicking.

    Would be interesting but knowing Good Games audience I would expect it to be firmly stuck in the "Top 100 of Alltime (of the last 8 years)".

      I thought it was actually in the past 20 years (I remember seeing most of the games starting around the 90s era when I was voting)

      So how high up the list will Minecraft be then?

        Hahaha.... It will be all of the top 10... 1 spot for each OS it works on...

      the rest of us Non Good Games audience are NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBS though, arent we?

    aww.. not a fan of RPGs Mark? :(

    I guess Mass Effect 2 will have to do :p

    I've played 3 of those games.
    What am I even doing on this site???

      What are you doing even wasting your time reading this article!? You should be playing the ones that you have missed right now!!

        But I needed to read the article to know what ones I haven't played! :)

    Technically Super Metroid should be here, but I played Metroid Fusion first. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.Haha, I can totally relate. Fusion totally blew my mind when I first played it, such an amazing game. Although Zero Mission pipped it for favourite once that came along.

    Trauma Center. This belongs on this list. Believe it. No other DS game can come close. No other DS game can compare.Respect. For me it's one of those games I always forget about, often citing Rhythm Heaven of Soul Bubbles as my top DS game instead. They're probably my top three* though.

    *Subject to spontaneous expansion without notice

    Also I totally didn't "get" the Galaxy games. Can't even remember which was which. Not that they were bad or anything, but neither came close to Mario 64 for me. I can just keep going back to that game forever.

      Trauma Centre (I refuse to spell it Center)!!! I wonder if they have made a 3DS version of that game... now I want to go back and play it again! What an awesome game.

        Apparently Under The Knife 2 was released in the US. Still need to nab a copy of it. Oh and also Trauma Team. And totally can't remember if I've played New Blood, or only Second Opinion.

    Skate 2 is a must have, as is Yoshi's island. I'd also include a Trials game of some sort in there, along with Colin McRae Rally (the first one) (PS1), Dave Mirra BMX 2 (PS1). Point Blank, Psycho Fox (SMS), Then Farenheit on xbox... RDR is a great choice also. Most recent tomb raider I thought was amazing... so many to choose from!

      Full Respect for Point Blank.

        Honestly I am going away on holidays in October and I am most excited about the fact they have a Point blank 2 machine in their arcade. Damn thing is 20yrs old and last time I was there worked great. If its still there I'm considering making them an offer on it.

          Oh man I'm having nostalgia trips at my desk right now. So much fun playing the original time crisis and point blank on my mate's PS1. Good times!!

          i keep looking through ZAX amusements page, a smallish company in port melbourne. they have two versions of time crisis 2 for sale, and the smaller of the two is going for 8 grand more than the DX model. i would love to get my hands on a point blank or point blank 2 though. ive offered the guy who runs timeout in box hill $1000 for their 4 player simpsons cabinet.

          I had my light gun for PS1 with point blank and that other game that I cant remember anymore.... I think the only game that ever brought out the PS1 after the PS2 came out was point blank....
          How could Trials not be there....... a travesty :)

      I loved the latest Tomb Raider too but I would still pick Uncharted over it unfortunately. Tomb Raider made me a little bit too squeamish...

    SF2 on snes had so much hype, plus a costly price tag ($140 on release) But I loved that game, sunk so many hours in and had very bruised thumbs

    Zelda LTTP deserves #1 - what an amazing game

    Super Mario World not far behind

    Goldeneye 64 would be in my top 20

      I thought about it, but that game has just aged so, so terribly.

        Whether the game has aged badly or not should not factor.
        Shouldn't you be judjing it on the memories you have of the game and where it ranks in your lifetime of game playing.
        It's like going back to watch starwars, I can't do it anymore as it feels like it has aged badly to me but I still rate it as one of my most favourite films because of the the way it did affect my life throughout the years.
        You shouldn't be down on it because it hasn't aged well.

          My friend, if you can no longer watch Star Wars, I would suggest that you have aged badly.

          I judge them on how many hours I spent on them, and how much they dominated my waking thoughts at the time.

          I mean I can't really seriously play System Shock 2 or Deus Ex anymore but back in the day? I KILLED those games and did multiple replays over the years.

          So they will always be on any list that I'd make.

        It's aged badly but fuck it was awesome when it came out.

        The age thing is interesting though - does aging badly invalidate an awesome game?

          I think it does, a truly timeless classic should be just as enjoyable today as it was when it first came out.

          Take FF7 for example, a timeless classic in every way except for one of the most important, the art style has not aged well and this detracts somewhat from its enjoyment today but FF6 or FF9, hell even FF8 has aged much better.

            It really depends on what you are measuring through. A timeless classic - yeah, aging badly does not bode well.

    Baldur's Gate 2, Bioshock Infinite and Mass Effect 2... greatest games of all time imo.

    Dammit mark where's Baldur's Gate 2?! You haven't played it have you =,=

    Edit: Also Chrono Trigger... because it's Chrono Trigger dammit!

    Last edited 12/08/14 12:51 pm

    I think you mean your list is subjective, don't you? :P

    As for my fav games of all time:

    1. Starcraft: Brood War. Takes #1 spot by a mile.
    2. FF7
    3. MGS
    4. WoW
    5. Uncharted 2
    6. Last of Us
    7. Half Life
    8. Half Life 2
    9. Command and Conquer
    10. Witcher 2
    11. Diablo 2
    12. Devil May Cry
    13. Xenogears
    14. Gran Turismo
    15. GTA: Vice City
    16. Mass Effect
    17. Xenoblade Chronicles
    18. Battlefield 3
    19. Tenchu
    20. Tekken Tag Tournament

    Last edited 12/08/14 1:03 pm

      Good list you have, but I'd drop Battlefield 3 and add in Goldeneye for the n64 purely for the multiplayer

        And I'd then drop GoldenEye for Perfect Dark purely for doing everything it did plus more and better :P

          And I'd drop both and then add BC2 in the place.

            I hear this from the boys I play BF with all the time. Unfortunately I came to the BF series too late to experience it in full swing :(

              BC2 was my first Battlefield game actually, BF3 was amazing too, but BF4 is god awful yet I still force myself to play it for some fucked up reason. But apparently BC2 still has quite a following on PC, and it certainly does on PS3 cause I play with my friend on it all the time!

      Holy shit, Tag Tournament!

      So many wasted afternoons after school playing that at my mate's house.

    Shining Force 1 & 2 would by my number 1 & 2. Absolutely epic! Also AFL NES and Cricket SNES versions :)

      NOT OUT
      Snes cricket was cool, I remember when the gaming magazines "leaked" screen grabs of that game - must have title of the time

      An AFl games on SNES would have been cool

      [This comment has been blocked by Sega to provide higher search rankings for the Shining Arc trailer]

    well in terms of top 3 in no order
    I had Doom 2, Super Mario Kart (SNES) and Chrono Trigger all 3 games I have spent a significant amount of hours in, totally absorbed making new challenges in and just playing to death.There are a few other games that make the expanded list (Sam and Max, Super Metroid, Adventures of Link, Yoshi's Island etc.) but those 3 I keep coming back toeven today.
    Favourite challenge is starting doom 2 with a pistol on each individual level on Hurt me plenty difficulty.

    It's always way too subjective! For my recent games - Last of Us, Mass Effect (series), and Dark Souls. Earlier (rosy-tinted) games - Majora's Mask, Eternal Darkness, Metroid Prime (series) and Shadowman.

    Last edited 12/08/14 12:54 pm

    I'm just going to put the name of the series if I have more than 1 in it that I like.

    Elder Scrolls
    Age of Empires 2
    Civilization 5
    Mount & Blade: Warband
    Mass Effect
    GTA IV (Five multiplayer was garbage)
    Dark Souls
    Far Cry 3
    Alan Wake
    Watch Dogs
    Wolf Among Us
    Small Arms (I bet nobody knows this game)

    Ghouls and Goblins
    Spy vs Spy
    Space Quest
    Shogun TW
    Baldurs Gate
    Double Dragon
    Golden Axe
    Link to the Past
    Donkey Kong Country
    Super Mario World
    Super Mario Bros 3
    Super Mario Bros
    Mario 64
    Resident Evil
    Dead Space
    Mechwarrior 2
    World of Warcraft
    Mass Effect (All)
    Dragon Age: O
    Secret of Mana
    Secret of Evermore
    Alex Kidd
    Boy and his Blob
    Gran Turismo 1

    I'm going to say a lot of those will miss out on the Good Game episode...

    Last edited 12/08/14 4:42 pm

    Many Sierra games could be in the top 100. Police quest, Space Quest, Larry etc were so much fun

    Not one simulation game. No Civ, No Sim City....

    It goes without saying that this list is objective,

    Now there's a fine show of hubris! :-)

    In no particular order, the first twenty games I think of when I think of great games (limiting myself to one per franchise).

    The Dig
    Monkey Island 2
    Space Quest 3
    Halo 3
    Mass Effect
    Fallout: New Vegas (though it took me awhile to warm to it over Fallout 3)
    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
    Galactic Civilizations
    Civilization V
    X-Com: Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within
    Broken Sword
    Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
    Geometry Wars
    The Binding of Isaac
    Saint's Row 2
    Tomb Raider (2013)
    The Last of Us

    I assume that list closely resembles my top twenty, even though my preferences fluctuate day to day.

    Man... how do you stop listing favourites once you start? This is my list (that no-one cares about):

    Basically everything LucasArts put on PC pre-2000 (I'm counting C64 as a PC here)
    Max Payne 2
    Arkham Asylum
    The Neverhood
    River City Ransom
    Comix Zone
    Fallout 1
    Prince of Persia
    Mercenary: Escape from Targ
    Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
    Sid Meier's Pirates!
    Link's Awakening
    Tekken 5

    Last edited 12/08/14 1:50 pm

    First of all Mark, Tony Hawks is a far better game then SKATE.
    Secondly my only fear with the list is that some games will miss out just because they are separated by sequels. For example THPS had about 6 entries in the list, given I only had 3 votes I had to choose one which in part I understand, they are all different games but others like World of Warcraft expansions are all treated as one making it easy for all WoW fans to unite.
    My example might be bad but I hope the statement makes sense ......


        Years of journalism and your best comeback was to press Caps Lock? That's is as disappointing as SKATE was :)

          Robbo are you talking Skate or Skate 2? Because the sequel just cast a massive shadow on the original. Which tony hawk's are you talking about?

            More just to have a dig at Mark, but yes Skate 2 was far superior to the original but still no THPS. If I had to choose I think THPS2 or 3 would be the best, think I voted for 2 from memory. 3 had the revert addition but the sound track on 2 was epic.

              Sound track from 2, and how groundbreaking it was at the time. So much time spent in that hangar until I found out about all the bonus areas :D

              EDIT: You've just triggered a flashback haha. I'd forgotten about 3-4 years ago in Japan I was having a down day on a snowboarding trip. My mate Kohei had a copy of THPS2, but the memory card was busted so no save files. Ended up unlocking and clocking every part of the game in an 8 hour stint of gaming, instant ramen and shedloads of beer. Good times!!

              Last edited 12/08/14 3:22 pm

              THPS3 was my favourite for sure.

              (And I totally don't mind the dig!)

                I knoww you meant the dig as in a jibe, but now all I can think of is that I never finished the Dig. So many lucasarts adventures to finish from my youth!!!!

                  I've finished every Lucas adventure except The Dig. I just couldn't get into it.

                  Well, that and Labyrinth.

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