The 100 Greatest VIDEO GAMES of all time (80-61)

100-1  |  60-41 |  40-21  | 20-1

80. Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (2007)
Platform: Nintendo DS

Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is a terrific film noir-esque game with a ton of atmosphere. It’s set in 1979, in a small, somewhat rundown hotel located in the southwestern United States near Los Angeles, California. You play Kyle Hyde, former member of the NYPD, and you’re looking for your old partner. As you delve further and further, speaking with the various hotel patrons and employees, you start to uncover vital information, unraveling the mystery of the hotel’s dark past, eventually leading you to what you’re after. The use of Nintendo DS’s features is ingenious and unique. You move around and interact with the environment using the DS’s touch screen and must solve a variety of puzzles using the handheld’s various features including the touch screen, microphone, and its closeable cover. The DS is held rotated 90 degrees from normal, like a book, with an option in the game to allow the player to switch which side the touchpad is on depending on which hand is dominant. Most of all this game is about your interaction with the numerous people you encounter. Your results in unearthing clues are strictly based in how you deal with them. The dialogue is realistic and immersive and reflects the moods and personalities of the characters. It’s extremely well written and makes for an engaging experience.
79. Choplifter (1982)
Platforms: Apple II

This game was was unique in the fact that while many games start off in the arcade and then are ported to home computers and consumer consoles, Choplifter was one of the few games (Lode Runner is another) to take the reverse route… It was such a hit on the Apple (a total “go to” game for the system), they actually turned it into an arcade game. Another Broberbund special, with terrific graphics and gameplay, the player assumed the role of a combat helicopter pilot on a mission to save hostages being held in POW camps in territory ruled by the evil Bungeling Empire. The player must collect the hostages and transport them safely to the nearby friendly base, all the while fighting off hostile tanks and other enemy combatants. Released only a year after the Iran hostage crisis the game’s creators have stated for the record that the “the tie-in with current events was something that never really crossed our minds until we published it”. It was this connection, however, that initially captured the imaginations of gamer.
78. Dragon’s Lair (1983)
Platforms: Arcade Game

Dragon’s Lair was an arcade game that ran on a laserdisc. Instead of the usual bitmapped sprites, this actually featured real animation created by former Disney animator Don Bluth. The enormous difference in graphics between this and all other arcade games created a sensation when it appeared, and was played so heavily that many machines often broke due to the strain of overuse. You play as the reluctant hero, Dirk the Daring, on a mission to rescue the Princess Daphne from the evil dragon Singe locked in a wizard’s castle. The screen shows animated scenes, and the player executes an action by selecting a direction or pressing the sword button with correct timing. It was this mechanic, however, the made it not exactly easiest game to play, Unlike other games, you moved the joystick left right up or down when you’d see a quick prompting flash. You needed lightning reflexes to be successful… When I was a kid I usually ended up dead in two seconds. Interestingly enough though, years later I found a place that had an old machine and for the hell of it dropped a coin in and for some reason the timing thing all suddenly clicked with me and I found that I was able to play almost all the way through it. It was a terrific experience finally getting to see how this movie played out. The animation was top notch and humorous, the comedy mostly stemming from not only the bizarre looking creatures and death scenes, but the fact that while Dirk was a skilled knight, he was also clumsy and cowardly, prone to shrieking and reacting in horror to the various dangers he encountered. A unique classic all the way.
77. Masquerade (1983)
Platforms: Apple II

Masquerade was a graphics/text adventure with terrific cartoony art, in which you play a detective looking for a notorious criminal called Mr. Topp. It was full of ambience and menace. The menace mostly came from how fucking HARD it was, rated as a Class 5 (Expert) adventure by the nerd powers that be, who proclaimed it, “one of the most difficult adventure games written for the Apple II, or any computer”. This is mainly due to the fact that the game can only be won by using items obtained and utilized in the ONE correct sequence, yet these items can be used (consumed) in multiple ways. Furthermore, an incorrect use of an item often opens up new locations, and the player is able to play on without ever knowing that the item has been used incorrectly (other than being frustrated later on!). In some cases, the game requires double actions (where the player has to perform the same action twice to fully solve a puzzle), which only compounds its difficulty. Got that? See? Even the EXPLANATION of why it was so difficult is difficult. You know how hard this game was? It was so hard that its publisher ran a contest in which anyone completing the game had the chance to win a $1000 prize. As a kid I always thought that there was a correlation between the name and the contest and the BOOK “Masquerade” by British author Kit Williams’, which concealed clues to the location of a jeweled golden hare, created and actually hidden somewhere in the British Isles by Williams himself. Interestingly, in doing research for this list I discovered that only 1500 copies of the game were ever sold, which is meaningful to me, cause Masquerade was one of the FEW games I actually bought (well my parent’s anyway) for the Apple, the rest were copied on floppy disks though our school’s geek underground.
76. Bioshock (2008)
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3

Set in an alternate history 1960, the game places you in the role of a plane crash survivor named Jack, who must explore the creepy underwater city of Rapture, and survive attacks by the mutated beings and mechanical drones that populate it. A first person shooter technically, the game incorporates a lot of RPG and survival horror elements, which really sets it apart from the standard. The graphics and design are unbelievably gorgeous, giing it a unique kind of art deco horror feel. You use a combination of weapons and plasmids (genetic alterations), in order to complete objectives which, at various places in the game, can be found at these vending machines. If you’ve accumulated enough money, you can buy ammunition, health, and other additional equipment. Another cool thing about the game is he ability to create new weapons and items. These can be constructed from spare parts you find strewn around and assembled at “U-Invent” machines you run across. The story as it unravels to it’s surprise endings (there are three different ones depending on how you play the game) is extremely compelling, making it one of the best next-gen games out there… A much-anticipated sequel will be coming out sometime this year.
75. Combat (1977)
Platforms: Atari 2600

Combat was an early and thoroughly entertaining video game for the classic Atari 2600 , the father of the modern gaming console. It was one of its nine launch titles for the system and was included in the box with the system. So it was the first gaming experience for everyone who owned an Atari. My brother and I used must’ve logged in hundreds of hours playing this thing. Variety was the name of the game in combat. It was this unbelievable variety (27 game modes!) that made this game one of the most replayable titles of the time… You could play as tanks, jet fighters, bi-planes in all sorts of different situations. In one game you could be invisible, another, you had bullets that bounced like ping pongs and in others you could control a squadron of planes flying through clouds stealthily deking out your opponent. I particularly liked the one that pitted your squadron against a GIANT bomber. This is definitely a Hall of Famer, game-wise.
74. Wild Arms (1997)
Platforms: PS1

Wild ARMs was a terrific RPG with a cool American Wild West theme that also mixed in medieval Europe elements. It sported 2D graphics for during the normal gameplay, while the battle sequences were rendered in 3D. I loved this game… It was long and involved and maintained my interest all the way through. You play a young boy named Rudy who has the ability to operate powerful weapons called Ancient Relic Machines (ARMs), forbidden remnants of a lost age that resemble guns. Along with his companions Jack and Cecilia, the group must use their respective skills to navigate through the vast wastelands and dungeons of the country Filgaia and prevent an otherworldly threat from reviving their lost leader and destroying the world. Controlling a party of three really gave you a feeling of camaraderie as you progressed through a number of environments and battles solving puzzles along the way. One cool thing in it that I remember was about two-thirds of the way though the lengthy game, there is a false ending where you think you’ve won… Credits start rolling up and just when you begin to experience that wistful feeling you get after finishing a really good game, the credits stop and the game continues… FAKE OUT!! Great underrated classic for the PS1…
73. Super Star Wars Series (1992-94)
Platforms: SNES

Super Star Wars was an entertaining trilogy of games made specifically for the SNES that were based on the original three Star Wars films. The games’ story arcs and levels followed the plots of the movies pretty closely… Essentially a side scrolling platformer, you could play as Han, Luke or Chewbacca, who all had different abilities and weapons. Some cool stages interspersed throughout allowed you to race landspeeders or pilot an X-Wing fighter. The graphics were terrific and the gameplay mechanics was solid. It was really a tremendous and supremely satisfying and entertaining series… I can’t single out any one game in the series as superior, as they were all uniformly great. Another cool thing was, this being before the days of waiting a minimum of two years between games, the titles all came out within a year of each other and were greatly anticipated each time I can assure you. Anyway, the responsive controls and secret areas and collectables were highlights and for those reasons among others, made them the greatest Star Wars video games available for a good long time..
72. Beatles Rock band (2009)
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo Wii

The Beatles: Rock Band is the third major release in the Rock Band music video game series and, like other games in the series, it allows players to simulate the playing of rock music by using controllers shaped like musical instruments. But, unlike the others which were a mix of different popular artists, this is ALL BEATLES ALL THE TIME, the greatest band that ever was. Out of the box, the game contains 45 different, remastered, Beatle songs that span their relatively short, but HUGELY productive career. If you get sick of playing those, you can download extra songs through the game’s store as well… they plan to keep on releasing more in future… The graphics and designs are gorgeously executed and artistic, ranging from the grimy Cavern Club of Liverpool to Shea Stadium, the Studio and bursting with colour psychedelic scenes, it is truly a visual as well as sonic treat. The ability to perform your favourite Beatles songs is a delight to fans across the globe and provides a new way to experience their genius for the kids as well. It sold gazillions upon its release. I mean this is a no-brainer.
71. Archon: The Light and the Dark (1983)
Platforms: Apple II, Commodore 64

Archon: The Light and the Dark was a computer game that took the game of Chess to a whole new level. The pieces, all having specific moves just like Chess, actually came to life and when threatening another piece began a battle sequence in which the victor gained control of the space. Generally (but not always) in combat, a stronger piece would defeat a weaker piece in either defending or capturing a square. It was also possible for the fight to result in a double-kill, in which both pieces are eliminated. This uncertainty adds a level of depth and complexity into the game that was incredible, since it was not always possible to predict if taking a square will be successful. I loved the variety of the different pieces in the game, as they all had different abilities in the combat phase. These include movement, lifespan, and weapon damage & attributes. The weapons varied by range, speed, rate-of-fire, and power. For example, the pawn (represented by knights on the ‘light’ side and goblins on the ‘dark’ side) attacked quickly, but had very little strength; its weapon, a sword or club, had limited reach and power. A dragon is considerably stronger and can attack from a distance, while a golem moves slowly and fires a slow but powerful boulder. These nuances were really innovative and made this one hell of a game to play with a friend. I keep waiting for a next-gen version of this (there have been PC versions)… That would be something
70. Championship Wrestling (1986)
Platforms: Atari ST

Championship Wrestling was an awesome game (with terrific graphics) to play with a bunch of people. My friend Steve had this on his Atari ST (one of the few people who had one that I knew… He also had a Commodore Amiga which NOONE had, needless to say, we all spent a lot of time over at his house). You could have up to seven friends battle it out for the World Wrestling Belt. After each player selects a wrestler, the computer would organize a single elimination tournament, pairing the wrestlers off in a series of one-on-one brawls to the finish. It was so much fun, it really had like a playoff atmosphere, the tension mounting as the bouts wore on. With eight wrestlers to choose from, and each of them capable of more than 25 wrestling moves, there was a tremendous amount of variety to the gameplay. On top of that, each wrestler was endowed with a custom move specific to them. The more complicated your moves during a match, the higher your score will be. All this aside, it was the wrestlers in this game were what really set it apart. Their different personalities were all hilarious and unique: from K.C. Colossus the bald bruiser to Colonel Rooski to my personal favorite Zantoclaw, which I always thought this would’ve made a great metal band name. This game was as fun as they get… Totally underrated gem.
69. Space Harrier (1986)
Platforms: Arcade game, ported to numerous consoles most notably the Sega Genesis

Space Harrier was a classic arcade shooter designed by SEGA’s legendary Yu Suzuki. It’s a game that pioneered a 3D perspective years before such a thing was really technically possible, and placed you in command of a flight-capable blonde-haired hero carrying an enormous bazooka. The “camera” was placed behind the hero’s back, and it was up to you to duck, dodge and weave him around the screen in all directions as he constantly raced into the screen, toward the horizon — and while wave after wave of enemies and environmental obstacles appeared to put a stop to his progress. What really made this game unique and special was the absolutely creepy vibe of the world you raced through on your jet pack/gun thingy…. The eerie Fantasy Zone. With its checkerboard ground and luminous colors, it was like being in some kind of strange dream and your foes were equally nightmarish. These opponents consisted of a one-eyed mammoth, floating heads that looked like they were imported from Easter Island and other various weirdos. An unlockable version of this game is available on the Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, which you can get for the PS3 and Xbox 360. A totally ahead of it’s time, innovative bit of strangeness all told.
68. Disney’s Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse (1992)
Platforms: SNES

Speaking of underrated gems, this next title I NEVER see on anyone’s list and it was one of the most entertaining side scrolling platforms I’ve ever played. What really set it apart was the whimsical, almost unnerving atmosphere. You play as Mickey, on a mission to find your dog Pluto who has been kidnapped by the Evil Emperor Peter. The magic world you adventure through is filled with climbing plants and strange creatures, buzzing bees you can jump on, and helicopter-like tomatoes you can ride. Along your way you pick up items such as: coins, fruit (which will give you an extra life if you collect enough), and hearts (which raise your life). When you run out of lives you can continue, which puts you back at the beginning or the last check point you passed. Unfortunately there was no save feature on this so you had to play it all the way through… and it was a lengthy game. Besides its weird vibe, the other notable feature of the game was the ability to change your characters’ outfits, which all different special abilities attached to them. A magician outfit enabled you to shoot magic; a firefighter uniform allowed you to continually spray water; and a mountain-climbing gear that gives him a grappling hook that can attach to certain surfaces and objects. All in all a really cool “Magical” experience. So much so, that it spawned two equally entertaining sequels.
67. Crash Bandicoot (1996)
Platforms: PS1

Crash Bandicoot is one of the great all-time platformers, and for a time, along with Lara Croft was one of the signature Sony Playstation characters. The game is played in a third-person perspective, with both side-scrolling and 3D racing levels. The graphics were colorful and top-notch for the time. What I really loved about it, was that it was not a cakewalk. It challenged you, for instance, if you lost all your lives, the game would end, which really added a sense of tension and urgency to it. The game controls were solid and responsive, with a number of moves at your disposal: running, jumping and the patented Bandicoot spin attack, which you could either dispose your enemies with or crack open the numerous wooden crates strewn around the levels, some containing Aku Aku masks, which protected you from a number of attacks depending on how many you collected. I particularly loved the non-platforming levels in this game, in which you ride a wild boar, narrowly avoiding dangerous spikes while continuously moving forward or outrunning a boulder (ala Indiana Jones), running towards the screen while dodging obstacles and jumping over pits. With twenty-five normal levels, as well as two secret levels and six boss battles, this game was quite a lengthy adventure. One of the most financially successful titles, many sequels were made, with varied results (ranging from great to awful). None, however, exceeded the original in terms of overall quality and fun.
66. Hat trick (1984)
Platforms: Arcade
Next up, was one of my favorite games to play in the arcade. For the time it had good clean, graphics of which I most remember the skate trails you left as you played and the Zamboni that appeared to clean the ice after games, which I always thought was a nice touch. It had a powerful simplicity to its game play. You only controlled one skater and a goalie, against another player or the machine. Mano a Mano so to speak, and the controls were unique in that your skater didn’t respond immediately as you moved the joystick, you had to build up momentum which made for a more realistic skating experience. You could bump into your opponent viciously to knock the puck away, which also added a fun competitive element to it, especially if you were playing with a friend. The contests could get really combative. Points were scored each time a player successfully hits the puck into the opponent’s goal, and man was it satisfying when you scored on him. The winner was the player who outscored their opponent in a game length of two minutes and if the score are tied after the clock has run down, a maximum of twenty seconds of overtime was played until one player scores to be declared the winner.
65. President Elect (1981)
Platforms: Apple II, Commodore 64, IBM PC

President Elect was one of the most unique and engaging games I’ve ever played. It gave the player the ability to play as various real historical, potential historical, or completely fictional Presidential candidates during the Presidential campaigns from 1960 to 1981 (although later versions included the 84 and 88 elections). You were given the option of playing a “Historical” or an “Ahistorical” scenario for each of the given years. Under the “Historical” option, the candidates, as well as economic and foreign policy conditions, and the status of the incumbent , were fixed. During an “Ahistorical” session, all those variables could be determined by the player (for example, the player could choose a 1980 race between an incumbent Republican President Ronald Reagan , versus a Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy , in the midst of an unpopular war and an economic boom). Alternatively, you could create your very own fictional Presidential candidate, which you would put together through the selection of various political, personal, and geographic attributes (kind of like creating an RPG player character ). In addition, there was the option of selecting a “Ahistorical” set of candidates within the otherwise “Historical” conditions of the selected year. In other words, you had a lot of options at your fingertips. Not only did the game come with all the major candidates of the elections covered by the span of the game, but it also included a number of hypothetical candidates from across the time frame as well, such as Jerry Brown , George Romney , Gary Hart , and Howard Baker with all their attributes stored in the game’s memory. Plus, the game could be played with either two or three candidates and the computer could control any or all of the candidates (thus allowing for the possibility of a non-player, straight simulation of an electoral scenario), basically meaning the game could be played by one, two, or three players. It’s g ameplay revolved on the activity of dispersing PAPs (“Political Action Points”), which were approximately equivalent to campaign funds, in terms of their relationship to real life Presidential campaigning, as well as scheduling personal, campaign visits to various states. Additionally, at the end of each of the nine, week-long, post- Labor Day game turns, there was a potential debate phase. It was a totally realistic and tension-inducing experience. Again, this was another terrific game to play against someone else. As someone who always enjoyed American history and the political process (even as a kid), I especially loved this one… A gaming classic in every respect.
64. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2003)
Platform: Nintendo Gamecube

It had been five years since a true sequel to the glorious Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time had been released, and Zelda fans were getting restless, to put it mildly. Around 2002, we started getting glimpses of what the new Zelda was supposed to look like… and MAN did it create a storm of controversy. Instead of the more realistic-looking next generation Link we had all been waiting for, we saw a completely cartoony and babyish looking Link with HUGE almond-shaped eyes, a large head and tiny body… This couldn’t BE!! Immediately, sides drew up, some loved the new direction calling it brilliant, most just fucking HATED it, and were disappointed beyond measure, hoping beyond hope that this was some kind of elaborate ruse set up by Nintendo and that the real Zelda will have amazing real life graphics. I must say that I fell into this bitter category. I was so disgusted by the direction they took that I didn’t get around to playing it for THREE years after it was released. Finally I picked up an already played copy and popped it in my dusty, seldom-used Gamecube, and you know what? I discovered it was a beautiful and ingenious game. Set on a group of islands in a vast explorable sea and you spend your time, traveling between different islands, traversing through dungeons and temples to looking for the pieces of the Triforce to defeat Ganondorf, as well as trying to find your little sister. It was far more emotional and expressive than all of its predecessors and really satisfying play and look at. The control scheme of The Wind Waker was largely unchanged from Ocarina of Time . This time around instead of an Ocarina you get a baton that you can wave in patterns that manipulate the wind’s direction. Additionally, wind is often needed to solve puzzles. The game is filled with the usual side quests a plenty, all sorts of dungeons and interesting twists and turns that make it a classic Zelda game. This was one title that I really felt wistful after completing it. Although it was a lengthy game it still felt short to me ‘cause I just didn’t want it to end… And those graphics that stirred so much controversy, it turned out that those gorgeous cartoony graphics were what made this one of the most endearing and unforgettable games I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience.
63. Barnstorming (1982)
Platforms: Atari 2600

Activsion games were always among the best looking games on the Atari 2600… they were crisp and clean and always had a nice touch… the sunset sky on this game, is a perfect example of this. Essentially, Barnstorming a racing game, but instead of a car zipping through lanes against other cars, you fly a BIPLANE, through empty barns racing against the clock for the lowest possible time. This game is simplicity in itself… Your goal is to dodge geese, avoid windmills, and fly through a set number of barns in the shortest possible time. If you mess up and fail to fly through a barn, then an additional barn is added to the end of the course and you’ll have to fly through that. The number of barns you have to fly through differs depending on what game you pick with the game select switch: you’ve got 4 different choices. What makes this game so special is it’s just so zen … It had infinite re-playability because you HAD to beat your best time over and over again, so you would end up making these little adjustments in how you flew just to knock off a few milliseconds (after awhile you could memorize the courses). A lot of this incentive to get a good time had to do with the fact that if you’re really great, and able to meet or beat the Activision “Flying Aces” scores of 33.3 seconds on game 1, 51.0 seconds on game 2, and 54.0 seconds on game 3, you could take a picture of the screen and send it to Activision and they would send you back a FLYING ACES PATCH!! I actually did beat the score and got as far as taking the picture… but never got around to sending it in… I bet you they sell those patches on Ebay though…
62. Crazy Taxi
Platforms: Dreamcast (2000)
Originally released as an arcade game that sported only one level, Crazy Taxi was ported to the fantastic Dreamcast, and in a shifting paradigm, not only improved greatly on the original (adding tons of extra stuff to make it more fleshed out, such as an original level exclusive for the console, an expand original level design which spread out the landscape even further and the mini game filled Crazy Box Mode that teaches you how to properly perform crazy moves to use in the actual game), but also gave the title a larger, more rabid, audience than it ever had. Based in sunny coastal California locales, with steep hills and other strong similarities to San Francisco, you play as one of four insane cabbies whose main objective of the game is to pick up customers and take them to their chosen destination as fast as possible. Along the way, money can be earned by performing high flying stunts such as the “Crazy Through”—near-misses with other vehicles;—and “Crazy Drift”—extended, barely-controlled skidding, a large green arrow appears at the top of the screen always pointing in the right direction of your next destination, . You are basically rewarded for being as big a psycho driver as possible, provided you get your fare to their destination on time… The huge open-ended levels are gorgeous and sunny with an adrenaline pumping punk rock soundtrack adding to the fervor. I actually didn’t even care about actually picking anyone up, to me it was just a blast driving around the city, running over people, catching air and smashing into other cars… It was a terrific tension reducer. The sequel improved upon the mechanics and had smoother graphics but was pretty much a retread otherwise.
61. It Came from the Desert (1989)
Platforms: Commodore Amiga

Originally released for the Amiga , It Came From the Desert derived its inspiration from Hollywood . This game was undoubtedly inspired by dozens of 1950s drive in movies but most especially from the 1954 classic Them! (one of my favorite sci fi flicks of all time) It’s simply one of the most innovative, cinematic and engaging games I’ve ever played. Using fairly non-linear (one of the first games to use this tact) combination of dialogue boxes and several types of action scenes, you played the character, Greg Bradley, town geologist, out to discover the source of some very strange occurrences that have taken place after the witnessing of a falling meteor. The game is set in 1951 in a small and unknown desert-town in the U.S.A. named Lizard Breath, that is filled with quirky characters (that include, The Hell Cats; a group of bullies that drives in a fast car and are only out after trouble, The Neptune Hall; a cult/religion that can be found in the city that think their religion has some connections to do with the meteor crash, and a lascivious nurse who “thanks you” for saving her life) you interact with as you get to the bottom of the mysterious happenings… Your own character Bradley, is a prototypical “man of science” leading man of your classic B movie, armed with the ability to operate aircraft, heavy machinery and several types of firearms, and to suffer no injury worse than a flesh wound unless he’s committing a heroic sacrifice. Eventually you discover, the giant mutated ants hiding out in the desert and that’s where the real action begins. The graphics were blow-away great for the time, as they were rendered by the powerful Amiga and the spooky sound effects really heightened the movie experience. Add to that a bunch of interesting mini-games and you have an out an out classic, full of atmosphere that will stay with you forever.

100-1  |  60-41 |  40-21  | 20-1

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