Welcome to my Top 100 games list! This list has been a work in progress for over two years – ever since I saw a similar list on another site. I didn’t agree with almost anything that guy said (as I’m sure almost none of you will agree with me) – so I felt the call to come up with a list to call my own. At first I just wrote out a list of 100 games that I had played. Not feeling satisfied, I decided to rank the list. Still unfulfilled, I felt that I needed to write an explanation for each game – some weird urge to justify my decisions, if to no one but myself. Throughout the process, many games found their way on to the list, and many found their way off. I tried many new games and rethought many old games. But for a lot of time, the list just sat idle, as it was something I’d update pretty much just when I was bored at work.
The biggest reason I wasn’t super motivated to finish the list was that I didn’t have an outlet for it. At first, I didn’t have any sort of audience. Even after I grew a little bit of a following on Twitch and YouTube, I still didn’t have anywhere that I might actually post this thing! However, once Eric was kind enough to invite me to join Skirmish Frogs, I knew I had found a home for this. The vast majority of the games on here would be qualified as “retro.” Even those games which are relatively new still very much have a retro vibe to them (ie, Yoshi’s Wooly World, Shovel Knight). And really, this list is a celebration of my life of gaming – which, in my case, is a pretty “retro” thing.
As far as the rankings themselves go, I’ve considered things like gameplay, replay value, timelessness, story, unique qualities, cultural impact, personal impact, and overall just how much fun a game is. While I might give one of these categories a lot of weight for one game, it may not mean as much for another. I tend to be biased towards games I played as a child or youth – partially because of the nostalgia factor and partially because I played a lot more games then – but mostly because older games were just flat-out better. Maybe there were more bugs and the graphics weren’t as flashy, but the gameplay was almost always far more interesting, the characters more lively, and the time spent just more fun.
I also have little use for multiplayer games, as single-player games are more fun and often times have more to accomplish. I like games that have a lot to do and a lot to collect. I find that games whose primary claim to fame is their multiplayer component to be more repetitive and uninteresting. So when the occasional multiplayer-heavy game makes the list, or a game’s multiplayer component is mentioned as a strength, it should be taken as a true credit to its quality.
In general, if game X ranks higher than game Y, it’s because I think game X was either more fun, more nostalgic, or both. Except for the times when I don’t consider that at all. I may even think a lower-rated game is “better” than one higher than it, or even more fun. Ultimately, the criteria are entirely my own. I make the decisions, I make the ratings, and I don’t claim to be either fair or logical in any of this. Being irrational and unreasonable is frequent. You’re welcome to disagree – and please do so in the comments! A lively “skirmish” could be fun!
As for this post, it serves mostly as a preview to my list (also, it serves to earn me more Skirmish Frogs points). The list itself is close to 30 pages in Word – and that’s without pictures! Given its length, I’m going to be posting 10 games per weekday for the next two weeks, finishing up on Black Friday. This also has the welcome side effect of earning me Frogpoints, which may or may not be why I’m posting anything here at all.
Never Played! 🙁
Now, I don’t want to leave you with nothing, so here’s a few preview lists. First, a set of games that I’ve never played, but probably would be on the list if I had:
- more Castlevania
- Mass Effect
- Knights of the Old Republic
- StarTropics I & II
- Secret of Mana
- Illusion of Gaia
- more Zelda
- Kingdom Hearts
- Baldur’s Gate
- Paper Mario
It’s probably not fair to call this list a Top 100 without some of these being represented. But since it’s MY Top 100, it simply wouldn’t be accurate to include them since I can’t form an opinion on them. The only Castlevania I’ve played is Symphony of the Night. The Zelda games on the list are LttP, LA, OoT, and MM (in some order!) – so “more Zelda” is basically the rest. I’ve played a tiny bit of the NES entries and nothing after Majora’s Mask – but I’m sure there’s a lot to love there. I’ve played a little bit of Baldur’s Gate, and I think I’d really, really like it if I were to play more. It really saddens me that Mass Effect, Kingdom Hearts, and KotOR can’t be on this list. Maybe some day I’ll remedy that problem.
Now for some honorable mention games. Honorable mention goes out to several games that are fun and memorable, but lack that special “something” to warrant inclusion in the full list:
- Age of Empires
- Area 51, X-Men, & Simpsons Arcade Games
- Bloons Tower Defense Series
- Chip’s Challenge
- Donkey Kong
- Final Fantasy III(j)
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
- Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
- Kaizo Mario World hacks
- Mario Party Series
- Mega Man 7, X3
- New Super Mario Bros
- The Sims
- Yoshi’s Story
A few arcade games are on here, as they’re a lot of fun and worth mentioning, but lack the depth of the console and computer games on the main list (not to mention they cost money that I never had). Vice City is here to represent a nod to the Grand Theft Auto series – which has great gameplay, but the severe content concerns prevent me from including it any higher. A few of them (Metroid, MM7/3, FF3j, Yoshi’s Story) are definitely great games in their own right, but I already put enough stuff from their respective series on here that I didn’t want to include them. I mention Kaizo not because they’re necessarily their own games, but because of how exemplary the level design is. In particular, Level 9 of Kaizo 3 is one of the most beautifully designed levels I’ve ever played/seen. Bloons Tower defense is amazing – go play them if you haven’t. The Sims is of course wonderful, and Age of Empires was a fantastic strategy game.
Top 5 Series
Now, to provide a bit of a hint as to what to expect on here, my Top 5 game SERIES of all time:
- Final Fantasy
- Mega Man
- Donkey Kong Country
Expect to see a LOT of entries from these series on the list.
And for a final tease, game 100 is….
Blades of Steel (NES)