91-100    81-90    71-80    61-70    51-60    41-50    31-40    21-30    10-1

Video Game Index / Main Page




#20: Super Mario Bros.

Company: Nintendo    System: NES

After the "big crash" of 1984, most people thought the console scene was dead. But with Nintendo's NES, a new age was ushered in that firmly established home gaming as one of the biggest forms of entertainment.

And the charge was led by a then-unknown pack-in game. A sequel to a minor arcade hit, SMB brought home colorful graphics and simple-yet-addictive gameplay that provided the spark that re-ignited the home console industry.

Even in this day and age of hi-def graphics and surround sound, the game still holds sway with gamers both young and old, as can be seen with its' popularity as a download on the "virtual console" on Nintendo's Wii system.

SMB introduced the concept of "easter eggs" to the masses. While they had been included in earlier games, and are now a given today, SMB's hidden features like "warp zones" gave it a tremendous amount of replay value, as gamers scoured every inch of the game's levels to find all of its' secrets.

The game also firmly established Mario and his gang of co-horts as the mascots for Nintendo. While other characters had been associated with certain game companies before, such as Pac-Man with Namco, Mario became the face for Nintendo.

Not only did he appear in sequels, the little plumber was (and still is) featured in many of Nintendo's games -- and not only became a symbol for Nintendo, but gaming as a whole.


#19: Tetris

Company: Spectrum Holobyte    System: PC

Originally created by a Russian programmer as a diversion from his "real" work, Tetris has appeared for nearly any platform that supports gaming in any way in the twenty years since its' creation. The gameplay has hooked in millions of people, even many who have never played a video game in their lives, and it still remains the gold standard for puzzle games.




#18: Metal Gear Solid

Company: Konami    System: Playstation

"Snake? Snake?? SNAKE!!!" That cry became burned into the brain of many an impressionable youth when the phenomenon known as Metal Gear Solid hit the Playstation like a bomb back in 1998.

Originally appearing on the NES, Metal Gear was a semi-popular sneak peek into what would become to be known as the "stealth" genre.

Regarded as a niche by many at first, the series' Playstation debut would firmly establish the fine art of smoking cigarettes while sneaking around before snapping some poor schmuck's neck as one of the most popular forms of gaming.

While the game's story was often times confusing (a trait which the series holds to this day), MGS drew in gamers with its' strikingly realistic graphics. But it was the gameplay which ultimately kept them riveted to their controllers.

Tense, exhilirating, and even humorous all at the same time -- like the use of a cardboard box as a tool of infiltration -- MGS set the bar very high, and most games since have failed to even come close.

The character of Solid Snake (patterned after Snake Plissken from the film "Escape From New York") has since become one of the most iconic in all of gaming. With his dry wit, kick-ass moves, and cool costume, he's a video game nerd's wet dream come to virtual life.



#17: Pac-Man

Company: Namco    System: Arcade

More than a simple game, Pac-Man has transcended its' arcade roots and become an icon of pop culture. Those who grew up in the 1980's (and even many who did not) can instantly recognize the little yellow guy and the memories it brings back.

Tossed aside by many industry "experts" upon its' appearance, Pac-Man went on to become one of the most sucessful games of all time. Its' sway over gamers became so great that some areas experienced coin shortages, and even politicians stepped into the fray to try and stop the "scourge" of the game.

Pac-Man is also notable for being the first game to make a major crossover with women -- who preferred the game over the shooters and sports games which dominated arcades at the time -- and for becoming the first game to be merchandised in other areas, with everything from toys to lunch boxes to bedsheets becoming hot items for many children of the decade.

Pac-Man's success spawned many imitators, which led Namco to go out and sue the makers of these "clones". This established an important legal precendent to making video games full-fledged intellectual properties, instead of the disposable nature they previously had.


#16: Max Payne

Company: Rockstar    System: Playstation 2

A refreshingly mature game that owed more than a tip of the cap to classic "film noir" movies, Max Payne firmly established the fact that console games aren't just for kids.

The ultra-swank and exceedingly violent "bullet time" moves just layered bloody icing on the cake.




#15: Doom

Company: id    System: PC

First-person shooters (FPS) games are now one of the mainstays in gaming, and it goes back to this entry. There had been previous attempts, most notably Wolfenstein 3D, but it was Doom that took the gaming world by storm.

While not that much to look at today, for the time, Doom was the absolute pinnacle of graphical intensity. Never before had players felt so much like they were actually "in" the game they were playing.

Doom is also important for bringing the idea of multi-player gaming to average users. While the idea had been introduced before, the ease of which you could set up player-vs-player "deathmatches" against people via remote networking is a benchmark in gaming.

It is also noteworthy that Doom was one of the first mainstream games to fully support the "modding" (game modifcation) community. Never before had so many "average" users been able to actually take charge and change the way their game was played, and then actually be able to share that with other players all over the world.

Finally, some mention must be made of Doom's violence. Though perhaps not quite as bloody as some previous games, Doom's "in your face" nature, along with "inventive" weapons like a chainsaw, made it a lightning rod for controversy. Most notably (and perhaps stupidly), Doom was cited as one of the reasons behind the Columbine school massacre.



#14: Forgotten Worlds

Company: Capcom    System: Arcade

Quite simply, Forgotten Worlds is one of the strangest games ever created. In it, you'll take on evetything from dragons to animated junk piles to oversized bacteria.

Even though the goings-on don't make a lick of sense and the between-level cutscenes are more than a bit cheesy, the excellent ambient soundtrack and outstanding graphics still manage to pull the player in.

The game's mise-en-scene still manages to impress even to this day. Of particular note is the "God of War" boss, a huge monster which spans several screen lengths.

But, when it all comes down to the nitty-gritty, Forgotten Worlds offers up some of the best shooting action ever. With its' joystick/radial button combo, it offers up one of the most intuitive and unique experiences ever in gaming.



#13: NARC

Company: Williams    System: Arcade

Ah, yeah, you gotta love the over-the-top edge of the 1980's, when even the "good" deed of getting crack dealers off of city streets involved blowing them into many little juicy chunks and then stealing their stash.

That's not kosher to you? Hell, son, this here game's endorsed by the FBI! I beat it and it told me to go to my nearest recruiting center.

Anyway, besides the hyperbole, NARC was notable at the time for its' use of digitized graphics and voices. It earns a (pardon the pun) high place on this list because of its' over-the-top attitude of "justice" at any price.

NARC was one of the first games to successfully transport the player into a gray area of morality. As such, it blazed a trail for many of the "mature" games which modern gamers hold so near and dear to their black little hearts.



#12: Phantasy Star Online

Company: Sega    System: Dreamcast

For years, MMORPG's were in the sole domain of PCs. But with the internet-ready Dreamcast, Sega handed out the crack that is this genre to the general public.

PSO featured enough action to keep button-mashers happy, and enough stat-raising and item grabbing to make the most die-hard RPG fan smile.

Sure, the story was nothing special (was there even one really at all?) and the graphics weren't the best, but the feeling of bonding with a group of players to take out the ultra-tough bosses is something that has rarely ever been equalled.

Phantasy Star Online showed that console gamers liked RPGs named something other than Final Fantasy, and were willing to actually play them with other people without being total smacktards that used colorful metaphors for mothers.



#11: GoldenEye 007

Company: Rare    System: Nintendo 64

Damn this game. Damn it for making me lose a year of my life while racking up kills with my friends.

Movie licenses, especially those based off of James Bond, weren't known for being very good. But GoldenEye not only did a great translation of the film, it showed that consoles could support multi-player, and do it well.

GoldenEye's single-player campaign still remains one of the better FPS experiences a gamer can have, with tons of dual-fisted action interspersed with outstanding vehicle-based levels. But it was in the all-out deathmatch arena where the game fully earned its' enduring geek cred.

It showed that console players can have fun playing against each other in realms other than sports or fighting games, and still remains one of the most finely-tuned and smooth experiences one can have in the genre.