Our Favourite Games Every Year We've Been Alive

You might have seen this doing the rounds on social media: your favourite video game for every year you were born.

It's a lot of fun to do, so we did it!

Here are some of our lists. Feel free to drop your own in the comments below!

Alex Walker, Editor

"Building a list from 1987 was surprisingly pretty easy, but then I'm coming at it as someone who grew up with PC and didn't really get hugely into consoles or handhelds besides the Game Boy/DS.

"I kept things pretty simple: either I picked games I had the most vivid memories of, ones that changed my life the most, or games that I spent the most time with. That's why I've got Advance Wars on the list (even though I didn't play it until a couple of years after release). DOOM came out in 1993, but I rolled with Myst because that game formed part of my relationship with my mother; it brought us together over video games, and was the start of us playing puzzle games decades later. (I nearly listed Riven for the same reason, but ended up going with GTA 1 because it's still my favourite of the series, and I remember having an argument with my brother in the car about the meaning of the word "gameplay" back when we were kids.)"

Hayley Williams, Social Media & Community Editor

"I know I haven’t been alive as long as anyone else here, but this was still a challenge. Most years had either too many games I loved, or none at all. Some games that were hugely influential for me, like my first ever FPS Bioshock, were beaten out by other incredible games in the same year. The hardest has to be 2007 — how did so many huge, franchise-birthing games come out in a single year? And then there are downright terrible years like 2005. Minish Cap wasn’t a particularly defining game in my life, but apparently that’s all there was. Some years were no brainers, of course. Yes, I’m referring to 2002. And 2012."

Mark Serrels, Managing Editor

"I had so much fun doing this list, mainly because it gave me a chance to remember those old Spectrum games I grew up playing. Those games played such a large part of my early childhood.

"I found it really tough to leave some games out — Monkey Island 2 is the one that springs to mind, and Metal Gear Solid 2 — but for some reason 1999 was the toughest year. In hindsight it feels like I totally just skipped video games that year! Like Hayley, 2002 was a no brainer. As was 1991 and 2011. Easiest years for me by far."

Rae Johnston, Gizmodo Journalist

"There are definitely “better” or “more important” games than these, but I decided to simply choose the games I invested the most time in, or had the biggest impact on my life (some are a little embarrassing, I’ll admit!) One thing about the process of compiling this list - it made me realise how much of my life I’ve spent in an arcade!"

Also, just as an added bonus — and because he gave me the idea to do it in the first place — here's David Wildgoose's list. Long time readers might remember the Goose as Kotaku Australia Editor before I started. Jesus that was a long time ago. Also, David is older than me. That feels nice. We have a lot of games in common because he has good taste.

Now it's your turn! Let's see them!


    2016 - Doom
    2015 - GTA5
    2014 - Wolfenstein: The New Order
    2013 - Battlefield 4
    2012 - Far Cry 3
    2011 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
    2010 - Battlefield: Bad Company 2
    2009 - Left 4 Dead 2
    2008 - Team Fortress 2
    2007 - BioShock
    2006 - Prey
    2005 - Quake 4
    2004 - Half-Life 2
    2003 - Vietcong
    2002 - Battlefield 1942
    2001 - Max Payne
    2000 - Perfect Dark (N64)
    1999 - Turok: Rage Wars (N64)
    1998 - 1080° Snowboarding (N64)
    1997 - GoldenEye 007 (N64)
    1996 - Mario Kart 64 (N64)
    1995 - Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
    1994 - RoboCop Versus The Terminator (SNES)
    1993 - Mortal Kombat II (SNES)
    1992 - Lemmings (SNES)
    1991 - The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants (SNES)
    1990 - The Cyber Shinobi (Sega Master System)
    1989 - Golden Axe (Sega Master System)
    1988 - Rambo III(Sega Master System)
    1987 - Ghostbusters (Sega Master System)
    1986 - Alex Kidd in Miracle World (Sega Master System)

      Love the first 5 Master System titles. Throws me back, how effing hard was Ghostbusters.

      1080 - oh how i played this shit out that.

      going to have to try and get it on dolphin. thanks for the memories

    Awwww Alex, I knew there was a reason for why I love you brew.

    Thats a pretty swish list.

      I am not sure if edit is still broke so replying to myself

      1989 Supermario land (GB)
      1990 Ultima IV
      1991 Battletoads
      1992 Wolfenstein 3D
      1993 Doom or Day of the Tentacle
      1994 Earthworm Jim
      1995 Mechwarrior 2
      1996 Diablo 1 (but this year was amazing for games)
      1997 G-Police
      1998 Half-Life or Thief
      1999 Unreal Tournament
      2000 Deus Ex or Final Fantasy
      2001 Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance
      2002 Battlefield 1942
      2003 Warcraft 3 TFT
      2004 MGS3 Snake Eater
      2005 F.E.A.R (most criminally underrated fps in history)
      2006 Hitman Blood Money
      2007 Call of Duty Modern Warfare
      2008 Dead Space
      2009 Demon Souls
      2010 Mass Effect
      2011 Dark Souls
      2012 Counter-Strike Global Offensive
      2013 State of Decay
      2014 Destiny
      2015 Rainbow Six Siege
      2016 Doom
      2017 Injustice 2?

    Where would one go to find a list of videogames organised by year of release? :P

    Would probably be better off just going through my collection and checking the years on the boxes, though that'd still probably take a fair amount of forever.

      just google. They do a good spread of games that you can scroll through

    1979: Asteroids
    1980: Pac-man
    1981: Donkey Kong
    1982: Pitfall
    1983: Spy Hunter
    1984: Karateka
    1985: Gauntlet
    1986: Space Quest 1
    1987: Afterburner
    1988: F-19 Stealth Fighter
    1989: Golden Axe
    1990: Super Mario World
    1991: Another World
    1992: Super Probotector: Alien Rebels
    1993: Secret of Mana
    1994: Earthworm Jim
    1995: The Dig
    1996: Neverhood
    1997: Final Fantasy 7
    1998: Grim Fandango
    1999: Final Fantasy 8
    2000: Vagrant Story
    2001: Metal Gear Solid 2
    2002: Kingdom Hearts
    2003: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
    2004: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
    2005: Psychonauts
    2006: Final Fantasy 12
    2007: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
    2008: Metal Gear Solid 4
    2009: Infamous
    2010: Red dead redemption
    2011: Dues Ex: Human Revolution
    2012: Persona 4 golden
    2013: The Last Of Us
    2014: Mario Kart 8
    2015: Bloodborne
    2016: The Last Guardian

      Man so many of this list are games I wish I could put on my list. Red Dead was fantastic, Deus Ex HR was amazing. MGS2 lost to FFX for me but it's like choosing between my children (if I had any). 2008 would have been MGS4 for me if Valkyira Chronicles didnt just blow everything away that year.

        Oh I sat on ffx and mgs2 for about 10minutes haha.

        The slam dunk years with my all time favourite games were the hardest to choose because those years were filled with excellent games. Looking back at it all, it seems great games come in waves. 2017 is going to be one of those awesome 'wave' years that will make this list really hard to make

      Hey, Vagrant Story! Great contender for that year, but I have to go with Chrono Cross myself.

    1993: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
    1994: Super Metroid
    1995: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
    1996: Quake
    1997: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
    1998: Banjo-Kazooie
    1999: Roller Coaster Tycoon
    2000: Diablo II
    2001: Paper Mario
    2002: Metroid Prime
    2003: Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire
    2004: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
    2005: Shadow of the Colossus
    2006: Mother 3
    2007: Team Fortress 2
    2008: Valkyria Chronicles
    2009: Batman: Arkham Asylum
    2010: Red Dead Redemption
    2011: Bastion
    2012: Spec Ops: The Line
    2013: The Last of Us
    2014: Bayonetta 2
    2015: Bloodborne
    2016: DOOM

    Some years I really struggled to find a game I cared for (2008 comes to mind, I like Valkyria Chronicles - but nowhere near to level I like something like Metroid Prime or Bloodborne) and some I really agonized over (man Quake and Super Mario 64 came out in the same year, that's nuts).

      96-97 were absurd. Every year that ends with a 7 for the last three decades, actually, has been a bit of a stonker.

        Thank goodness this year doesn't end in a....oh, no.

          No way mate, 97 gave us G-Police. Game felt ahead of its time when it released.

            Final Fantasy 7, Carmageddon, Age of Empires, Dungeon Keeper, Fallout, Theme Hospital and Ultima Online all released in 1997, it was a great year.

              I was looking at it and the 90s were pretty solid, I had forgotten how many genuinely awesome games there were.

              You forgot:

              Goldeneye 007
              Oddworld Abes Odysee
              Quake II
              Tomb Raider 2
              Starfox 64
              Monkey Island 3
              Tekken 3
              Grand Theft Auto
              Total Annihilation
              Bushido Blade
              Ace Combat 2
              X-Wing vs Tie Fighter
              Diddy Kong Racing

              Holy shit that year was amazing.

                It wasn't an exhaustive list, just the standouts :) From the extra ones you added there the only ones I enjoyed were Abe's Odysee, GTA and XvT. The rest I either never played or didn't care for.

                  All I was getting at was, I wish I could go back to 1997, because clearly gaming was super amazing back then!

    Struggled to find some for a couple of years so I stole from previous lists :)

    83 Jet Pac
    84 Tetris
    85 Super Mario Bros
    86 Wonder Boy
    87 Maniac Mansion
    88 Double Dragon II
    89 Golden Axe
    90 Secret of Monkey Island
    91 Lemmings
    92 Wolfenstein 3d
    93 Syndicate
    94 Doom 2
    95 Chrono Trigger
    96 Elder Scrolls II Daggerfall
    97 Goldeneye
    98 Baldur's Gate
    99 Tony Hawk
    00 Diablo 2
    01 Golden Sun
    02 Elder Scrolls III Morrowind
    03 Star Wars Knight of the Old Republic
    04 Fable
    05 Jade Empire
    06 Bully
    07 Mass Effect
    08 Saints Row II
    09 Dragon Age Origins
    10 Red Dead Redemption
    11 Elder Scrolls V Skyrim
    12 Dishonored
    13 Brothers Tale of Two Sons
    14 Dragon Age Inquisition
    15 Witcher 3
    16 Dishonored 2

      Nice list, quite a few either on my list or my shortlist

    I don't know if this is just nostalgia but it feels like the late 90s had some amazingly high quality games.

    I'm amazed the original Half Life made absolutely no one's list. It'd sure be on mine. Great lists though!

      It was on my short list but couldn't go past Baldur's Gate for the year. So much time lost in that world. Go for the eyes, Boo

    Was a challenge and like Mark I had fun going back and remembering old games. So many awesome memories. Would have to say of all the year 2006 was the barest for me, switched and swapped a bit there but nothing stood out so that is probably the 'worst' best game on the list.
    Like Hayley 2007 was a hard choice, the birth of the next generation of new IP.
    The last few years is likely to change as there a a number of games on other peoples lists that I haven't got around to playing yet.

    My list 1979: Asteroids
    1980: Missle command
    1981: Frogger
    1982: River raid
    1983: Ultima III: Exodus
    1984: Boulder dash
    1985: Paper boy
    1986: Bubble Bobble
    1987: Kings Quest
    1988: Double Dragon
    1989: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    1990: Renegade Legion: Interceptor
    1991: MegaTraveller 2: Quest for the Ancients
    1992: Fate of Atlantis
    1993: Syndicate
    1994: X-COM
    1995: Star wars: Dark forces
    1996: Civ II
    1997: Fallout
    1998: Baldur's gate
    1999: Planescape: Torment
    2000: Diablo 2
    2001: Halo
    2002: Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
    2003: Beyond good and evil
    2004: Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from butcher bay
    2005: Psychonauts
    2006: Titan quest
    2007: Bioshock
    2008: Burnout Paradise
    2009: Batman: Arkham Asylum
    2010: AC: Brotherhood
    2011: Portal 2
    2012: Mark of the Ninja
    2013: Brothers
    2014: Wolfenstein: The New Order
    2015: Hand of fate
    2016: The Witness
    2017: Horizon: Zero dawn

    Last edited 22/03/17 2:56 pm

      Between us, we've almost got the list I wrote out manually. :-)
      Glad to see I'm not the only one that put down Brothers though. We need more games like that.

    I don't think I'd be able to do this without having a strict rule about choosing 'game that came out that year even if I didn't play it that year' or 'game I specifically enjoyed in that year'. Both would be hard; I don't even remember what I played in specific years of my youth and I've also rarely ever bought and played a game the year it came out...

    1986 Alex the Kidd in miracle world 2002 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
    1987 Double Dragon 2003 Dynasty Warriors 4
    1988 Altered Beast 2004 Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
    1989 Golden Axe 2005 Resident Evil 4
    1990 Castle of illusion, Mickey Mouse 2006 Bully
    1991 Sonic the hedgehog 2007 Uncharted: Drakes Fortune
    1992 Sonic the hedgehog 2 2008 Far Cry 2
    1993 Doom 2009 Resident Evil 5
    1994 Super Metroid 2010 Red Dead Redemption
    1995 Mortal Kombat 3 2011 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
    1996 Pokemon Blue/red 2012 Mass Effect 3
    1997 Final Fantasy VII 2013 The Last of Us
    1998 Meta Gear Solid 2014 Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
    1999 Final Fantasy VIII 2015 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
    2000 Perfect Dark 2016 Uncharted 4: A Theif's End
    2001 Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of the Patriots

      2002 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
      2003 Dynasty Warriors 4
      2004 Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
      2005 Resident Evil 4
      2006 Bully
      2007 Uncharted: Drakes Fortune
      2008 Far Cry 2
      2009 Resident Evil 5
      2010 Red Dead Redemption
      2011 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
      2012 Mass Effect 3
      2013 The Last of Us
      2014 Middle-eartj: Shadow of Mordor
      2015 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
      2016 Uncharted 4: A Theif's End

    What, nothing for Star Control 2?!

    OK, it's jostling for a position with Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and Wolfenstein 3D, but man, it deserves some love.

      Ive never played Star Control 2, but the other 2 are damn fine games. I'd take a lot of convincing to push it above them...

        Then play it! You can download a free remake of it, called The Urquan Masters (they couldn't use the Star Control brand). It's truly a brilliant game! Holds up even now.

      You reckon that's bad... there's no mention of either TIE Fighter or X-Wing.

      I mean... that's just apostasy.

    I'd already dont a top 100 list, so this was pretty easy to translate across. There were some REALLY good years where some of my favourite games went missing, simply because they were released the same year as another amazing game. Also, I honestly couldnt find a game in 1989 that I remember playing much, so I put minesweeper. :P

    2016 = Overwatch
    2015 = Rocket League
    2014 = Mario Kart 8
    2013 = Grand Theft Auto V
    2012 = Fire Emblem Awakening
    2011 = Tekken Tag Tournament 2
    2010 = Mass Effect 2
    2009 = Uncharted 2
    2008 = Valkyria Chronicles
    2007 = Team Fortress 2
    2006 = Hitman Blood Money
    2005 = Need For Speed Most Wanted
    2004 = Metal Gear Solid 3
    2003 = F-Zero GX
    2002 = Grand Theft Auto Vice City
    2001 = Final Fantasy X
    2000 = Command & Conquer Red Alert 2
    1999 = Age of Empires 2
    1998 = Metal Gear Solid
    1997 = Final Fantasy VII
    1996 = Pokemon Red
    1995 = Chrono Trigger
    1994 = Donkey Kong Country
    1993 = Sam & Max Hit The Road
    1992 = Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
    1991 = Commander Keen 4
    1990 = Secret of Monkey Island
    1989 = Minesweeper
    1988 = Super Mario Brothers 3
    1987 = Manic Mansion

    Man, this thing's hard. Been going at it for like an hour and a half and still only about halfway.

      Need to be more decisive mate. Flip a coin if necessary!

        Not even that, just working through the lists to see what's there to choose from in the first place.

    This was hard! Fun though.

    1973 - Lemonade Stand
    1974 - Maze War
    1975 - DND
    1976 - Breakout
    1977 - Zork
    1978 - Space Invaders
    1979 - Lunar Lander
    1980 - Hunt the Wumpus
    1981 - Wizardry
    1982 - Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom / Munchman
    1983 - Lode Runner
    1984 - The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
    1985 - Gauntlet
    1986 - Defender of the Crown
    1987 - Wizball / Wonderboy in Monsterland
    1988 - Ghouls 'n Ghosts
    1989 - Millenium 2.2
    1990 - Sim Earth
    1991 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    1992 - Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel
    1993 - 7th Guest
    1994 - Sim Tower
    1995 - 11th Hour
    1996 - Toonstruck
    1997 - Carmageddon
    1998 - Spyro the Dragon
    1999 - RollerCoaster Tycoon
    2000 - The Sims
    2001 - Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex
    2002 - Ty the Tasmanian Tiger
    2003 - Kung Fu Chaos
    2004 - Half Life 2
    2005 - Animaniacs: The Great Edgar Hunt
    2006 - Half-Life 2: Episode One
    2007 - Team Fortress 2
    2008 - The World Ends With You
    2009 - The Sims 3
    2010 - Xenoblade Chronicles
    2011 - Portal 2
    2012 - Sleeping Dogs
    2013 - The Last of Us
    2014 - Far Cry 4
    2015 - Just Cause 3 / Witcher 3
    2016 - Watch Dogs 2
    2017 - -

      I was about to do one of these lists, but realised finding games between 1964 and 1980 would be extremely difficult. You've done well getting those 70s games. I think Pong was in 1972 so before that is a bit challenging.

        Maybe we can allow you to list board games prior to 1972? :P

    Well that took a while. It's a weird little list, but I think about as close as I'm going to get to what was important in one way or another to me at any one time.

    1981 - Bandai Plane and Tank (LCD Game)
    1982 - Tandy Pirate (LCD Game)
    1983 - Alleycat
    1984 - Kings Quest
    1985 - Kings Quest 2
    1986 - Bubble Bobble
    1987 - R-Type
    1988 - Speedball
    1989 - Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon
    1990 - Commander Keen
    1991 - Scorched Earth
    1992 - The Incredible Machine
    1993 - Day of the Tentacle
    1994 - Rise of the Triad
    1995 - Full Throttle
    1996 - Quake
    1997 - NetStorm: Islands at War
    1998 - Thief: Dark Project
    1999 - Planescape Torment
    2000 - Deus Ex
    2001 - Baldur's Gate 2
    2002 - No One Lives Forever 2
    2003 - Beyond Good and Evil
    2004 - Anachronox
    2005 - Thief: Deadly Shadows
    2006 - Psychonauts
    2007 - Aquaria
    2008 - World of Warcraft
    2009 - Left 4 Dead 2
    2010 - Red Dead Redemption
    2011 - Binding of Isaac
    2012 - Botanicula
    2013 - Shadow Warrior
    2014 - Wolf Among Us
    2015 - Invisible Inc
    2016 - Overwatch
    2017 - Tides of Numenara currently, though I'm a long way behind with all the new and exciting stuff.

      Now that list is a blast from the past.
      Spent so much time on scorched earth and I think you are the only person I have ever seen mention NetStorm. That was such a fun game.
      Your addition of Aquaria is interesting, I tried it and didn't mind it but it didn't grab me. Based on the rest of your list (and how many were on my shortlist) I might need to give it another try.

        Scorch was a big deal in about year 7 of high school (albeit a few years after it came out). We used to do things like sharing customised quip lists for when tanks fired or died.

        You might be the only person I've ever had contact with who's ever even heard of Netstorm. It's such a wonderfully strange RTS.

        I think Aquaria might have been the first Metroidvania I played to any great extent. It's a lovely game, but I'm not sure whether it'd find its way onto my list if it were released today, now that I'm a little more familiar with the genre. I'm about due to give it another try.

        Last edited 23/03/17 8:04 pm

          I remember my dad brought home a work IBM laptop (which btw was 15m thick and had a 8" screen iirc) and the only game on it was Scorched Earth. It's still, to this day, the only video game my dad has ever played.

          It was such a wonderfully bizarre game that could really only have come from that time and the technical limitations. While I was poking around in memory I came across this which you might be interested in http://store.steampowered.com/app/355490

    1986: Rampage
    1987: Maniac Mansion
    1988: Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
    1989: Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero
    1990: Quest for Glory II: Trial By Fire
    1991: Wonderboy in Monster World
    1992: Quest for Glory III: Wages of War
    1993: Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness
    1994: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
    1995: Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
    1996: The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
    1997: Final Fantasy VII
    1998: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
    1999: Final Fantasy VIII
    2000: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
    2001: Final Fantasy IX
    2002: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
    2003: Freedom Fighters
    2004: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
    2005: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Australian Relase date)
    2006: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
    2007: Warhawk
    2008: Fallout 3
    2009: Assassin's Creed II
    2010: Red Dead Redemption
    2011: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
    2012: Dishonored
    2013: The Last of Us
    2014: Destiny
    2015: Fallout 4
    2016: Stardew Valley

      FF8 and Fallout 4, bold choices. I happen to agree with both of them but it's not the majority view by any stretch.

        I actually enjoy base building games. (Hell i have 4K hours on Life is Feudal)

      Freedom Fighters! Man I loved that game, glad to see it on someone else's list.

    1980: Missile Command
    1981: Donkey Kong
    1982: Choplifter
    1983: Asterix
    1984: Kareteka
    1985: Commando
    1986: Bubble Bobble
    1987: Double Dragon
    1988: Altered Beast
    1989: Golden Axe
    1990: Mickey Mouse Castle of Illusion
    1991: Streetfighter 2
    1992: Flashback
    1993: Cannon Fodder
    1994: Earthworm Jim
    1995: Twisted Metal
    1996: Tomb Raider
    1997: Tomb Raider 2
    1998: Metal Gear Solid
    1999: Soul Calibur
    2000: Tekken Tag Tournament
    2001: Grand Theft Auto 3
    2002: Jade Cocoon 2
    2003: Freedom Fighters
    2004: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
    2005: Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction
    2006: Company of Heroes
    2007: Mass Effect
    2008: Fable 2
    2009: Uncharted 2
    2010: Mass Effect 2
    2011: Skyrim
    2012: XCom Enemy Unknown
    2013: Tomb Raider
    2014: Lara Croft Temple of Osiris
    2015: Fallout 4
    2016: Rise Of The Tomb Raider
    2017: Horizon: Zero Dawn

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