So, in my unending quest to play all the best games of all time, I thought, what better place to find some decent lists than the vasty reaches of the interwebs. So, through my thorough interweb research, I stumbled across a variety of lists and, since I’m probably not going to get to play every game in the top 100 over the course of 2009, I thought I’d just look at a cross section of the top 10s.
In the week since I’ve joined, I’ve been called out on having a predisposition to hate on new games—not that it isn’t warranted, as all my blogs thus far have taken on subject matters regarding classic gaming. So, I’m taking off the blinders people. I want to enjoy what gaming these days has to offer. Thus, I turned to the warm, welcoming arms of Google and searched for lists of top games of all time.
Oddly enough, my rantings and ravings of the Golden Age of Video Games being past seems to be supported by the gaming community at large. Look at the dates next to most of the titles. All of these lists to which I’ve linked were generated in 2008—near the end of the year.
IGN Readers' Poll (2008)
1 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Nintendo 1998
2 Chrono Trigger Squaresoft 1995
3 Soul Caliber Namco 1998
4 Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Nintendo 1992
5 Metal Gear: Solid 3, Snake Eater Nintendo 2004
6 Super Metroid Nintendo 1994
7 Goldeneye 007 Rare 1997
8 Metal Gear: Solid Konami 1998
9 Resident Evil 4 Capcom 2005
10 Shemue II Sega 2001
Stuff magazine [UK] (2008)
1 Half-Life 2 Valve 2004
2 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Nintendo 1998
3 Final Fantasy VII Squaresoft 1997
4 Goldeneye 007 Rare 1997
5 Super Mario World Nintendo 1991
6 Elite Acornsoft 1984
7 Sonic the Hedgehog Sega 1991
8 DOOM id / GT Interactive 1993
9 Grand Theft Auto 3 Rockstar Games 2001
10 Turrican 2 Amiga 1991
Entertainment Weekly magazine (2008)
1 Tetris Alexey Pajitnov 1987
2 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Nintendo 1998
3 DOOM id / GT Interactive 1993
4 Super Mario World Nintendo 1991
5 Guitar Hero Harmonix 2005
6 Street Fighter II Capcom 1991
7 Super Mario Kart Nintendo 1992
8 Goldeneye 007 Rare 1997
9 Grand Theft Auto 4 Rockstar Games 2008
10 Metal Gear: Solid Konami 1998
By the very definition, these rankings are based on a popularity contest. But what struck me as odd was how few of the games listed are within the past few years—GTA4, Guitar Hero, and RE4 being the exceptions to that stipulation.
Also, the only game to bridge all three lists, is LoZ:OoT. Which proves that both the Americans and the Brits can at least agree on one very important thing: Link is the awesomesauce.
Now, I’m sure if we only polled PC gamers that we’d get a completely different list. And if we polled JRPG rabid fanboys* it would look completely different. But the populous as a whole tends to think that many of the best games ever came out of the mid nineties.
And, on a personal note, the majority of recent games that I’ve enjoyed have been reiterations/reinventions of previous titles—SSBB, Mario Kart Wii, LoZ: Twilight Princess, MGS4, RE4—all sequels. That’s not to say that there haven’t been one-offs here and there of original titles and franchises that have been good and entertaining. Bioshock leaps to mind in particular.
Are most gamers stuck in a nostalgia loop? By buying so many sequels, are we creating the problem for ourselves? Is it because the pricetag has gotten so steep that we are hesitant to take the $50 plunge on a game franchise yet to prove itself?
I don’t have all the answers, but I also came across this list from Wiki of games that have shipped individually, (not bundled with the original console):
Top 20 selling console games of all time
1. Nintendogs (DS – 21.67 million, all 5 versions combined)
2. Wii Play (Wii – 20.91 million)
3. Pokémon Red, Blue, and Green (Game Boy – 20.08 million approx.: 10.23 million in Japan, 9.85 million in US)
4. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES – 18 million)
5. New Super Mario Bros. (DS – 17.63 million)
6. Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! (DS – 16.82 million)
7. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (DS – 16.48 million)
8. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (PS2 – 14.89 million shipped)
9. Pokémon Gold and Silver (Game Boy Color – 14.51 million approx.: 7.6 million in US, 6.91 million in Japan)
10. Wii Fit (Wii – 14.01 million)
11. Super Mario Land (Game Boy – 14 million)
12. Mario Kart DS (DS – 13.79 million)
13. Mario Kart Wii (Wii – 13.67 million)
14. Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day! (DS – 13.27 million)
15. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire (GBA – 13 million)
16. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2 – 12 million)
17. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen (GBA – 11.82 million)
18. Super Mario 64 (N64 – 11 million)
19. Gran Turismo (PS1 – 10.85 million shipped)
20. Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS – 10.57 million)
18 of that top twenty
were Nintendo franchised games. 7 included Mario in some way. 5 were Pokémon. And who can blame us? If I’ve got to drop my cash for a game, I know what I’m going to get when I pick up something with Mario or Pokémon in the title.
We vote out wallets. If we want games to evolve and grow we need to support indie games and obscure titles. Otherwise, we’ll get another rehash of what’s already proven, tried and true and profitable
. Don’t get me wrong—I loves me some goomba stomping action—but I am also frustrated that I don’t have more variety in my gaming diet…but that’s because there’s so many mediocre titles out there.
Lulz at the Catch 22.
Now, if you will excuse me, I believe Mario Party 29 is on pre-order today and I’ve got to be the next in line.
*relax, boys...I'm one of you.