Lists are good, right? Everybody likes lists. I thought there should be one here listing the 100 greatest games, because everybody likes lists and lists are good.
To be completely truthful, I was playing Pokemon on my laptop here at work, but the battery ran out, so I had to think of something else to do, and decided to make this list.
So yes, making a list of top games sounds just right, but ordering them by quality is almost always wrong. Even if I were to waste the next two hours trying to rank these games by greatness, the only thing that I would truly stand behind would be the #1 game because there is a special reason for it. In other words, the next 99 items you read (and you will read them, because if you die, you will go to hell where this blog is the only thing you have for entertainment) will be completely meaningless according to their number, but make no mistake: these are the greatest 100 games ever.
At least until I think of another game that needs to be up here and I have to kick one’s ass the hell out.
100. Dragon Warrior – A fine RPG, mono e mono battles, began the Dragon Quest series, what can you say? A lot of people got this game for free by subscribing to Nintendo Power magazine, but I didn’t because I already had a subscription. Thanks a lot, fuckholes.
99. Final Fantasy IV – You may know it as “II” for the Super Nintendo if you’re not up on things. Cecil? Kain? That one. It was such an improvement over the NES graphics and gameplay that it was an absolute joy to play. Good everything, and I used to fly the airship all over the world and pretend I was a tour guide, stopping at the various towns and castles.
98. Secret of Mana – Say you wanted an RPG where you level up and get stronger, but Zelda-style overhead slashing action? Secret of Mana was the perfect answer to that request back in the day. With its amazing music and variety of weapons, I whiled away many an hour playing this while listening to the first Ween CD I ever owned.
97. Rygar (NES) – See, if this list were actually ranked according to greatness, this game would have to go into the top 10, easily. Side-scrolling and top-down action, a rudimentary leveling system, incredible badass soundtrack, and the mocking reality that this game CAN be beaten in under two hours if you know what to do. But you don’t. But you should.
96. Strider (NES) – Turn on the NES and the theme song starts right up – and what a track. Hell, I could easily make this list the 100 greatest video game soundtracks and 75% of these games would end up on it. Strider is a fucking badass, and I don’t care if you think his scarf looks gay. Cipher-slashing, attack sliding, magnet boots, plasma beam, Zain project, pneumatic tubes wiring a pyramid and the Blue / Red Dragon bases made this game so rad even though it’s buggy as shit.
95. Strider (Genesis) – Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.. ha… ha… haaa.. haaaaaa… haaaaaaaw… haaaaaaaaaawww. That’s what you hear when you start the game as the Grand Master Meio kidnaps the earth. Then fly into Russia on a robotic hang glider and start slashing and flipping around battling crazy mechs and manipulating gravity against the backdrop of one of the most powerful soundtracks of all time. Capcom makes you practice your balls off to beat a game like this and it’s totally worth doing.
94. Final Fantasy VII – Everyone’s played this and knows why it’s on the list. If you haven’t, just wait until a remastered one comes out. The graphics are laughable now, but the music and story are pretty goddamn good. I like this one because the last boss is not ambiguous. Too many Final Fantasy games have you fighting some supernatural nutsack who you don’t even know anything about, but here it’s like “YOU’re going down because YOU have been fucking ME over and pissing ME off almost the whole game.”
93. Final Fantasy IX – A beautiful, beautiful game. I love Final Fantasy IX, and would totally marry it.
92. Final Fantasy XII (Intl. Zodiac System if you can get it) – People didn’t like this one so much, but I think it’s fucking great. It’s rather non-traditional because you don’t have random battles while walking around on the overworld, and basically you see a monster and run around deciding whether to attack or not. Feels kind of like World of Warcraft only with beautiful graphics, an epic story and backdrop that makes the Star Wars prequels look like a 4th grade short story contest reject, and you can program you other team members to act not with artificial intelligence, but act based on YOUR intelligence and ability to strategically organize your priorities. Trust me, it’s fucking sick.
91. Final Fantasy VI – yeah, this one belongs up here, too, even though it gets fucking long in the tooth and I’ve only beaten it once though I’ve gotten 100 hours in at least three times. So many characters, great presentation, oh – and a non-ambiguous last boss who is a total asswipe and you’ll definitely feel good about killing him.
90. Fallout 3 – Oh, post apocalyptica, thine charms doth shine or something. What a crazy long expansive and explorable game this one is. Survival in a post nuclear wasteland has never been so appealing, and the culture is something charmingly sinister. Easily went over 150 hours TWICE on this game with content still left to explore.
89. Fallout – New Vegas – just like 3, only in the desert. Different flavor of beast and greater selection of moral / alignment decisions. Used to freak me out that I wouldn’t get a game’s whole content by choosing one side over the other, but instead of seeing what I’d miss by making certain choices, I just let the NPCs convince me whether they were worth helping or only worth robbing and killing. Shit gets real in the nuclear desert.
88. Half-Life – I remember repeatedly playing this game all night long during the summer of ’99 as I dubbed about 100 episodes of the Pokemon cartoon onto VHS tapes. My lack of sleep and shitty posture resulted in the pinching of a nerve above my left shoulder blade, and the skin around that area is still numb. Fucking loved Half-Life.
87. Half-Life 2 – Dyaaaamn. Sequels usually don’t get to be better than the original, but I think Half-Life 2, besides being the perfect 1st-person shooter also has one of the most compelling dystopian sci-fi plots ever. The hideous Combine empire, years into their occupation of earth has made the place unforgettably stunning in its ugliness. Kick fucking ass. Great weapons and a GRAVITY GUN for god’s sake.
86. Portal – This was the reason I wanted the Orange Box in the first place. Hell, I should have just doubled up Portal and HL2 to save a slot, but it should be known that these are two entirely different games. While HL2 is a 15-20 hour rampage across hell and back, Portal is a three hour game in a research lab and is so incredibly fucking clever, people still make “The cake is a lie” references. Don’t they? The computer guiding you is probably the greatest non-human video game character of all time. This game is dirt cheap now, and everyone should have it. It would be worth replacing all of the Gideon bibles in hotel rooms with download cards for Portal, I just think it’s so right.
85. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (The Arcade Game) – If you were a TMNT fan when this game came out, it was just about the most amazing thing ever created. The TMNT game for the NES made by Ultra was a total joke and fucking disappointment, but the arcade game was full color sharp-ass beautiful proportional turtles who looked exactly like their characters from the cartoon, and the action was perfect, the bosses were right, and all four turtles could play at the same time. Make no mistake – this was the best cartoon to game adaptation ever made.
84. The Simpsons (Arcade) – Everything I said about the last game only with the Simpsons. Konami had the fucking knack for making great arcade games based on existing franchises, and nobody has ever done it better before or since – not even Bandai.
83. Animal Crossing (Any of them) – Whichever; I’m not picky. They all have charms and challenges and I could easily amuse myself on a desert island until I starve to death by playing any game from this series. Build a house, collect furniture, go fishing, pay your rent. This game teaches you how to live a double life with weird animals.
82. The Legend of Zelda – The game that really started it all. No offense, but video games just weren’t that damn deep until Zelda came around. The mythology of the Triforce was an entirely original fantasy that beckoned the first generation of Nintendo players to go beyond their insert-coin gaming mindset and think critically over an extended period of time. What they came up with is: This fucking rocks, what a great game, I think we need to have video games forever now. And the Triforce granted that wish, yet people still have the nerve to give Nintendo shit for not making a profit for their goddamn whiny opportunist shareholders. Hey shareholders: FUCK YOU!
81. Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Best game for the Nintendo 64, probably. First to take the Zelda series to that 3D space and introduce “Z-targeting” making for some extremely innovative combat and exploration. 64 graphics look kind of terrible now, but for some reason, this game is forgivable in the same way Final Fantasy VII is. It gets kind of fucked up dark and creepy in this Zelda game, too, and its rare that a game fills you with such tangible dread. I remember staying at this dude’s house once, and he had the game paused at this part in the forest dungeon all week and I would occasionally just turn over to his Nintendo 64 channel and listen to the music for a while and get creeped out.
80. Zelda: The Wind Waker – Zelda at sea. What a miraculous graphical upgrade from the 64—this game is fucking gorgeous! At first you may not recognize it for Zelda, but once you’re in a dungeon, you know that the makers have not strayed far from their roots. So much to do and explore, and though the end drags a little, this one is probably the most brilliantly conceived games of all time, and Nintendo deserves a party every day of the year for making something this wonderful. No more talking about how the Wii U isn’t selling as much as the Wii did anymore, okay, you dildos? They made this game and it’s better than 99% of all the bullshit that comes out of Hollywood and you give bad toothy blowjobs to all those shitheads who make movies twice a year at your goddamn movie award shows. Shut the fuck up and celebrate Nintendo for their genius and don’t be such a dipshit concerned with their finances. Assholes.
79. Zelda: Twilight Princess – yeah, I’m on a bit of a Zelda tear, but believe me, all these games need to be up here for their own good. Twilight Princess revives Link in yet ANOTHER badass graphical style. This game introduced motion controls, and that wasn’t really necessary, but it was a fantastic launch title for the Wii. Beautiful game, awesome dungeons, and you get to turn into a wolf. That’s new and seems a bit out of place, but it hardly takes away from the hard classic core of a console Zelda game.
78. Zelda: Skyward Sword – yet ANOTHER graphical style? Yep, they did it again, this time in watercolor pointillism. They also improved the motion controls to actually make them the preferred way to play. I’m playing this one with my son right now for the second time, we love it that much. Some of the contrivances for dungeon mechanics are mind blowing in their execution. If I tried to explain them, you’d say “What the fuck?” and I’d say, trust me – they teach you how to work them all without even saying anything. Crazy fantastical shit that has to be experienced to be understood. Unfortunately, most stupid fuckbags don’t have the sack to pick up a Zelda game let alone decide to go all the way through with it. And if they do, they put it down right after beating the last boss and move onto the next fucking game without even thinking back on what they just experienced, and certainly never play it a second time through. The same people who say Nintendo is slipping are the same shitheads who treat a Zelda game like a $20 hooker, blow their load inside them, and then have the nerve to complain about having an itchy dick without even washing it until they get home. You stupid bastards don’t understand anything and you’re probably out buying the new Xbox because you like to waste money and you never fucking learn because you’re incapable because you’re retarded.
77. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – the first Castlevania where you can actually level up the main dude and give him different armor and weapons. A customizable Castlevania adventure with Metroid-like exploration makes SoTN one the greatest games ever, for sure. Soundtrack is top tits – Michiru Yamane is a name that needs to be known the way the name of any currently performing musician does not. Could literally play this game any time, and now I want to.
76. Metroid Prime – A lot of people got mad when Metroid went not only 3D, but first-person. Fuck those fools. This is the only way to explore an alien planet and actually feel like you’re on an alien planet. And unlike the two sequels to this game, they make it almost believable that the technology on this planet works the way it does. Chozo lore, space pirates, spider balls, and phazon-powered metroids are some serious shit, and though playing this will make your hands and arms sore, it’s worth every moment of carpal agony.
75. Doom – “Whoa,” I said to computer at the nearly empty Radio Shack, “It’s like Wolfenstein – with carpeting!” I will always remember when I first encountered Doom, and it is more or less exactly like I described above. It took that fun but kind of shitty Wolfenstein, and made it look fucking bad-ass. The interiors for Doom really were incredible, and shooting the monsters while trying to memorize all the secret passageways was at the very least, un-fucking-forgettable. This was also the game that popularized the word “Deathmatch” and once we learned how to play deathmatches in our school’s computer labs, a big tumorous chunk of our innocence fell away from us all.
74. Doom 2 – Probably could have boxed this up with its predecessor as a single entry, but Doom 2 had its own flavor, I think. It was a lot more Satanic, and just fucking ridiculous in its attempts to be dark and outrageous. I recognized pretty early on, I like to think, that most of the imagery was just a bunch of bullshit and stage dressing, and the real game was about conserving ammunition and not dying. The story was pretty silly, actually, now that I think about it, but still fondly remember playing this one particular winter, faking sick with the house to myself, listening to Ween’s “The Pod” on repeat. Memories.
73. Earthbound – Also known as “Mother 2” in Japan, this was one of the first RPGs to be self-aware and break the fourth wall by poking fun at some of the genre’s most traditional stereotypes. The thing that really drew me in and made me want to play nearly four years after it came out was that you could name yourself, your friends, your dog AND your favorite food, so that every time you came home, your mom would be like “Welcome home, dear! Here have some of this SHITPIE that I just cooked and go up to bed!”
72. Mother 3 – The sequel to Earthbound, and never released outside of Japan. Luckily I spent years studying Japanese so that I could enjoy games like this, and it totally paid off when I experienced the heart-wrenching joy and sorrow of Mother 3. Yes, it will make you cry like a bitch. And the soundtrack is too good to be true. I remember listening to the sound test as I took long walks through Nara on my way home from work with the Gameboy in my pocket. Go get a Gameboy Advance emulator, the ROM and the fan-made English translation patch from an Internet near you (I hear they did a wonderful job translating it).
71. Final Fantasy XIII – I hesitated to put this up here, because deep in my heart, I don’t really feel that this is part of the same series to which FF’s 1-12 belong. However, it is a beautiful game, and my memories of playing it are vivid and precious. I played it for the first time at a dear friend’s place in California, drinking fresh Mojitos as my wife cooked curry for everyone and my 1-year old son got to drive a truck. It was a pretty crazy afternoon. And this is a pretty crazy game. I’ve written tons about it. Another time, I had a rare afternoon to myself and I think that this might be one visual interpretation of heaven.
70. Kingdom Hearts – At first I was like “Huh?” and totally skeptical that this was just some bullshit crossover aimed at wealthy Disney fans, but it turned out to be a legitimately enjoyable and moving action RPG. It was epic when I first played it on the PS2 in the summer of 2002, and it was epic when I played it together with my son in the summer of 2013. I guess if you hate Disney you shouldn’t play it, but personally it was worth letting go of my cynicism towards them.
69. Kingdom Hearts II – This was a kick-ass sequel to a sweet-ass game. Memories are hazy, but this was a colorful enchanted romp through some classic and more recent Disney grounds. God damn, there was a Lion King stage, wasn’t there? I can’t fucking wait to play this one again when the HD version comes out this year.
68. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – I have fucking loved Grand Theft Auto ever since the first game, because to me, a game where you can mow down innocent civilians and fight the police was basically the ultimate game. Like Ash’s Lilliputian clones in Army of Darkness, sometimes you get sick of being a little goody TWO-shoes all your life, and just want to cheese out with some wanton destruction. While 3 was how I always imagined a GTA game should play, I didn’t have a PS2 until Vice City came out, and it was my chance to truly crack out on the new style. And we did. The freedom to steal and kill was unlike any gaming experience, and the fact that my friends and I got drunk and played this every night for months says something ridiculous, too.
69. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – The map was to be three cities large, it was the 90s, you could get fat and tattooed – this one promised to be the ultimate GTA experience, and in some ways it is still unparalleled. I was so hyped for this game that I wired the money to my friend in America to send me a US PlayStation 2 and San Andreas so that I could have it with me in Japan the week it came out. Funny how that works, since usually the best games come out in Japan first, but by “funny” I guess I just mean that it works both ways.
68. Grand Theft Auto IV / V – meh, one or the another. They’re kind of like the same game, and I could enjoy either one without the other existing. Yes, I’m cheating by giving them the same spot, but the best GTA game would be a combination of these two because the story was awesome in IV and the environment was epic in V. It could be that I’m getting old, but the thrill of stealing and killing wore off considerably after finishing IV. No big deal, and I still support Rockstar for all the despicable behavior they have allowed me over the years, but.. well, I’ll just say thank you and move on.
67. Gabriel Knight – Holy shit, PC games get to go up here, too? That’s right, motherfucker, and Gabriel Knight is one of the greatest point-and-click adventure games ever made. While kids 20 years earlier looked up to the Fonz as the embodiment of “cool,” I had Gabriel Knight running around New Orleans solving the Voodoo murders as only he could. I remember the titillation of when after completing a certain chapter, the girl comes over to Gabriel’s and spends the night and how I told all my friends at school how “I got laid in a game last night!” just in time for a fellow classmate to say, “Oh yeah, guess what I did in real life last night?”
Shit I’m getting tired from writing this. Is it time to go home yet? All right then, the first of this series is done with. Come back for the other 66 fucking games some other time. Did you go download Mother 3, yet?