What are the all-time best 100 video games?

The best video games in history. Cool idea for a list, and I’m surprised I haven’t seen it anywhere else recently, although putting a collection like this together is quite a daunting task.

Whenever there’s a list like this on the ‘Net, it’s always important to remember this is all subjective. Who can really say what are the best video games in history? There’s also a big difference between best games, and the most important ones in the grand scheme of things.

That said, there’s currently a poll where you can vote for the best video games in history on Time’s website, and there’s already a controversy over whether Angry Birds should be included. The readers can decide that for themselves in the voting poll, but what other games are on the poll? 

Time has set up the games by decade, going back to the ’70s with Pong, Breakout, and Space Invaders, along with games like The Oregon Trail and Hunt the Wumpus. Pong was of course a big milestone. It wasn’t the first video game, but as Time writes, “It was the first one to become wildly popular and commercially successful.”

As Time reminds us, Space Invaders made $2 billion dollars in profits in four years, and I think this was in quarters from the arcades. (This report doesn’t make it clear whether the home version was available within those four years, but it very well could have been). In any event, that’s still big money, especially in ‘70s – early 80’s cash.

Important games listed from the eighties include Defender, Pac-Man, Castle Wolfenstein, Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Prince of Persia.

As Time notes about Pac Man, “So simple, yet so fun – and arguably one of the most recognizable video games in existence.”

And Super Mario Bros. is described as “The game that went on to define ‘platforming’- This is the game that defined so much of what we’ve been doing in games since its arrival on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985.”

Important ’90s games include Sonic the Hedgehog, Mortal Kombat, Doom, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider. In the case of Doom, it wasn’t the first-person shooter game, “but it was the first for PCs, and it’s unquestionably the one that blew the genre wide open.” Resident Evil was a landmark for scary games that “crystallized video game dread,” whileTomb Raider “channeled the directorial sweep of cinema,” which is standard issue in games today. 

In the new millennium there’s Grand Theft Auto III, Halo Combat Evolved, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Guitar Hero, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and World of Warcraft, to name a few. 

I certainly know what my favorites on the list are, and you can pick your personal favorites, as well as the titles you feel have the most historical significance on Time’s poll here.