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.
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.
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.