This week, we’re running a big list of what we — and a group of trusted friends — recently voted as the 500 best video games of all time. For the backstory, criteria, explanation of why Breath of the Wild isn’t on the list, etc., head to the beginning here: The 500 best games of all time.
For numbers 300-201, scroll down.
300. Microsoft Flight Simulator
Though technically not the first flight simulator, Microsoft Flight Simulator revolutionized the simulation genre with how many real world variables it threw at players. The changing weather, time of day, new coordinate systems and a new engine were seen as so realistic at the time, the game's advertising claimed if it were any more lifelike "you'd need a license."
299. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
(2013, Nintendo 3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is one of the best classic Zelda games in the series. Building upon the series' dungeon design and overall presentation, A Link Between Worlds also introduced new gameplay mechanics such as the ability to merge into walls, later seen iterated on in Super Mario Odyssey.
298. Diablo 3
(2012, Mac, PC, others)
When released in 2012, Diablo 3 set a new world record as the fastest-selling PC game, resonating quickly with players. Incentivizing a new level of experimentation for the Diablo series, Diablo 3's accessibility and improved gameplay and systems made some feel it was "easier to enjoy," according to IGN, than other Diablo games that shipped with more obtuse design philosophies.
297. Thief: Deadly Shadows
(2004, PC, Xbox)
Part of a series known for changing the way we play games, Thief: Deadly Shadows changed the way we play Thief games. Offering first- and third-person perspectives and reconfigurable controls, Deadly Shadows abandoned the mission-to-mission structure of earlier games, allowing players to explore and interact with its Victorian-styled world, creating a more engaging, accessible, immersive sim.
296. The World Ends With You
(2008, Nintendo DS, others)
The World Ends With You was "out to challenge everything you'd commonly expect from a RPG experience," according to IGN. Heavily focused on modern styles and fashions, the game felt like a far cry from its Japanese role-playing contemporaries in presentation and gameplay. Its combat system was especially notable for making use of both Nintendo DS screens, changing up the traditional turn-based combat approach.
295. Super Mario Bros. 2
(1988, NES, others)
The middle child between one of the most important games of all time and what some see as the greatest game of all time, Super Mario Bros. 2 introduced key mechanics and characters that later became key components of the series. One notable example is the ability to lift and toss objects, a feature present in nearly every Mario game that followed.
294. Sonic CD
(1993, Sega CD, others)
Sonic CD feels like a Sonic game on steroids. It utilized the Sega CD memory for a more graphically-intensive experience, and introduced a deeper take on gameplay, adding two different timelines for players to run through, with levels changing based on which they were in.
(2013, PC, others)
Proteus is like an Elder Scrolls game free of distraction. Changing the world with every playthrough, Proteus' only objective is to explore — but at your leisure. Proteus tells its players nothing; it expects nothing of them. There's no princess to save or enemy to kill. It's simply a meditative experience through imaginary worlds, an experience only possible in games.
292. NBA 2K12
(2011, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, others)
NBA 2K12 not only scratched the itch left by the 2011 NBA lockout, but became what many see as the "best basketball sim ever." Aside from iterating on the series' long-running gameplay, 2K12 introduced classic teams and professional players, allowing fans to simulate what it would be like to see Michael Jordan at his peak take on LeBron James.
291. God Hand
(2006, PlayStation 2, others)
God Hand tries to marry two audiences: fans of weird humor and fans of difficult action games. Developed by some of the same people responsible for Resident Evil 4, God Hand focused on hand-to-hand combat, a call back to old arcade brawlers. While many reviews were semi-positive and the game has built a cult following, developer Clover Studio closed shortly after its release, making God Hand its last game.
290. Final Fantasy
(1990, NES, others)
Final Fantasy was never meant to be what it is now. In fact, the word "Final" is in the title because developer Square assumed it'd be the last game it released. It was wrong. Now one of the most revered and longest running series in games, Final Fantasy has helped popularize the role-playing genre.
(1977, Atari 2600, others)
Combat is 27 different games in one — kind of. Featuring different variations on vehicles like tanks, jets and biplanes, Combat was an early example of war gaming and helped popularize the concept into one of the biggest genres in gaming. Its innovative use of varied gameplay is an early example of a game pushing its gameplay beyond one schtick.
288. Tennis for Two
Tennis for Two was one of the first video games ever developed. Using Donner Model 30 analog computers to simulate ball trajectories and wind resistances, creator William Higinbotham helped pave the way for the rest of the video game industry.
287. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag
(2013, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, others)
Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag dared to be different. Still an Assassin's Creed game at heart — with all the sneaking, stabbing and the like — Black Flag expanded Assassin's Creed 3's naval combat into a major feature, receiving its own ocean-based open world. The game quickly became a series favorite, and a high water mark before successor Unity brought things down a peg.
286. Kingdom Hearts
(2002, PlayStation 2, others)
On paper, it shouldn't work. Mixing Square Enix characters with Disney characters, Kingdom Hearts tells a wholesome story about friendship and how, even from different planets, we can find common ground. Kingdom Hearts does away with role-playing conventions like turn-based combat in favor of more approachable alternatives, making it a good first step into the genre.
285. Kirby's Dreamland
(1992, Game Boy)
The debut of Kirby, Kirby's Dreamland was developed with two players in mind. Creator Masahiro Sakurai wanted Dreamland to be a game anyone could pick up and play — even those unfamiliar with action games. Additionally, he wanted it to offer optional challenges for more experienced players. The product is a "relaxing adventure" that never takes advantage of its players, according to Game Informer.
284. Forza Horizon 3
(2016, PC, Xbox One)
More than just a racing sim, Forza Horizon 3 is a rare example of a racing game incentivizing exploration. Cementing the "series’ status as the driving game for everyone," according to GameSpot, Horizon 3 gives players an entire Australian landscape to drive about and, of course, race through. As Polygon's Colin Campbell put it, it "is as beautiful as it is engaging."
(1985, Arcade, others)
A classic multiplayer dungeon crawling adventure, Gauntlet was a smash success for Atari in the mid '80s. Due to that success, Gauntlet was quickly ported to nearly a dozen different platforms, and followed-up numerous times as the years went on.
282. Super Mario Sunshine
Being the first 3D Mario to follow Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine had some big shoes to fill. Upon the game's release, many loved the water-based backpack that allowed for worlds to be traversed in different ways other than just running and jumping, but were put off by the lack of polish and issues with the camera.
281. Max Payne
(2001, PC, others)
Max Payne is Finlandian love letter to American cinema, a gritty, modern reimagining of the crime noir film genre permeating the '40s and '50s. Equal parts John Huston and John Woo, it tells a story of love, addiction and tragedy, all tied into a game with the flashy, violent gunplay of a Matrix film.
(2001, PlayStation 2, others)
Ico is the Occam's Razor of video games. Developed to be minimalistic, stripped of unnecessary mechanics and exposition, it is notable game designer Fumito Ueda's take on the classic boy meets girl concept. Ico made use of its minimalism to tell a story resonating with its players emotionally, making it one of the most renowned games of all time.
279. Dark Souls 2
(2014, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
"Dark Souls 2 is unflinchingly ambitious in a way that few games are," according to Polygon's Phil Kollar. Forcing players to learn and abide strictly by its rules, Dark Souls 2 gave players a bigger world with more secrets, while increasing the challenge tenfold. Dark Souls 2 tempted players to keep exploring, all the while reminding them death was only one step away.
(1988, Apple II, others)
Wasteland's post-nuclear world paved the way for Fallout in nearly every way. Aside from obvious setting comparisons, Wasteland let players boost desired skills, interact with characters and influence the world. It was the first instance of a "persistent world" game where choices made in a particular area remained throughout the story, making players always mindful of their actions.
277. Ultima 7: The Black Gate
(1992, PC, others)
Ultima 7: The Black Gate is the most "masterfully executed" game in the series, according to creator Richard Garriott. The Black Gate brought major changes to the Ultima formula in terms of player control and completely real-time gameplay. Considered "daring and unusual" by Computer Gaming World upon its release, The Black Game is one of the best role-playing games ever made.
276. The Stanley Parable
(2013, PC, others)
Constantly changing, constantly speaking straight to the player, The Stanley Parable was creator Davey Wreden's experiment with what happens when players go against a game's objective. Transforming based on the player's decisions — even the weirdest ones — The Stanley Parable was a test of interactivity and how games could still work when broken.
275. Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
Despite how important stealth is to the ninjitsu discipline, Tenchu: Stealth Assassins was one of the first ninja-based games to center around it. Making players think critically about how to approach a target, rather than just slicing away, made Tenchu more strategy-focused than most ninja games seen in the late '90s.
(1976, Arcade, others)
Forcing players to think ahead and in the moment at the same time while controlling an ever-lengthening snake, Snake is one of the most widespread games of all time. Shipping on everything from Nokia phones to graphing calculators, Snake is malleable enough by design to be everywhere and fun enough to keep players wanting to play.
273. Shadow Hearts: Covenant
(2004, PlayStation 2)
A direct sequel to Shadow Hearts, Covenant received major acclaim when it released in 2004. The game made significant improvements to the the original's combat, adding new moves and the ability to customize attacks. Critics also praised its impactful story, soundtrack and visuals, with IGN calling it "the perfect sequel."
272. Quake 3: Arena
(1999, PC, others)
Quake 3: Arena knew exactly what its fans wanted: multiplayer. That's why Arena was the first in the series to ship without any campaign options. Critics praised the fast-paced fighting as well as the improved visuals and effects. The game quickly became a staple of the competitive gaming scene, helping pave the way for the now-booming esports industry.
271. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
(2001, Game Boy Advance, others)
Going to court is, often, not a good thing. But Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney makes court fun. A visual novel set in the judicial system, Ace Attorney tasks players with defending clients and seeing through witnesses' lies. This take launched a massive multimedia series and found a large group of passionate fans.
270. MVP Baseball 2005
(2005, PlayStation 2, others)
MVP Baseball 2005 was a game made for the most hardcore, nerdiest baseball fans out there. "Repetitive as hell but addictive in the same sense," according to SB Nation, the game included Single-A rosters, minor leagues, major leagues and deep cut Easter eggs unlocking everything in the game. As SB Nation editor Matt Ellentuck put it, "What more could you ask for from a baseball video game?"
269. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
(2000, Dreamcast, others)
Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes did what any sequel should do: improve upon the source material. Featuring more than three times the number of characters of the first game, New Age of Heroes was crazier, albeit more refined, than the original.
268. Heroes of Might and Magic 3
(1999, PC, others)
Heroes of Might and Magic 3 breaks its gameplay into two major camps: strategy and turn-based combat. Inside a super-detailed world, players could explore multiple layers of the game's map. Might and Magic 3 found immense fanfare for its incredible presentation and combination of two genres.
267. Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly
(2003, PlayStation 2, others)
Fatal Frame 2 takes one of survival horror's only lines of defense and replaces it with an old camera. Widely considered one of the scariest games of all time, Crimson Butterfly's excellent use of atmosphere, jump scares and the inability to fight back made it, according to Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann, "the scariest kind of experience in any medium."
(2016, PC, others)
Event is about finding companionship while alone. Abandoned in space, players must solve the game's problems with no professional assistance, no other human touch. As the player forms a relationship with an AI, which can actively communicate like a chat bot, and who doesn't exactly want you to leave, Event explores how loneliness adheres us to those around us.
265. Demon Attack
(1982, Atari 2600, others)
Demon Attack didn't do much new but its variety made this fixed shooter a cult-classic. As opposed to shipping with one game mode, Demon Attack had 10 variations in its level design, each introducing new enemy weapons and movement patterns.
264. Sonic The Hedgehog 2
(1992, Genesis, others)
Sonic The Hedgehog helped make Sega a household name. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 helped make Sega a juggernaut of the game industry. Introducing mechanics that redefined the series and characters like Tails, Sonic 2 helped turn the Sonic franchise into the massive multimedia property it remains today.
(2012, Xbox 360, others)
Fez was simultaneously the angel and the devil on the shoulders of the indie game community. Award-winning before its release, Fez helped usher in something of a renaissance for independently developed games with its quasi-2D world, tough puzzles and bright visuals.
262. Age of Empires 2
(1999, PC, others)
Age of Empires 2 took the shortcomings of its predecessor and improved upon them tenfold. Age of Empires 2 was one of Microsoft's first big footsteps in games before it hit the scene with Xbox.
261. Demon's Souls
(2009, PlayStation 3)
Sparking a whole new subgenre, the "souls-like," Demon's Souls was a test of the player's own masochism as much as it was a journey through a fantastical gothic world. Tremendously challenging in an effort to give players a sense of accomplishment by progressing, Demon's Souls proved massively influential in how challenge and combat were handled in games.
260. Persona 3
(2007, PlayStation 2, others)
Putting a heavy emphasis, arguably heavier than in other Persona games, on social links, Persona 3 gave players unique ways to bond with its characters — though often through sad occurrences.
(2015, PlayStation 4)
Remember Demon's Souls from two spots above? If that's an introduction to From Software's world of sadism, Bloodborne is the Ph.D program. Brutally tough, Bloodborne's ever grim trip through the blood-fueled Gothic city Yharnam, like all Souls games, teaches players through death, walking a delicate tightrope between being brutal but fair and impossibly challenging.
258. Final Fantasy 8
(1999, PlayStation, others)
Final Fantasy 8 had to bear the weight of being the follow-up to one of the most popular games of all time, but it more than rose to the occasion. Changing the game's visual aesthetic to resemble more lifelike characters and changing up core Final Fantasy mechanics, like limit breaks, Final Fantasy 8 continued the series' nact for reinventing its own wheel.
(2016, PC, Xbox One, others)
Every millisecond of Inside feels crafted for only that moment. With specific animations used only once, environments constantly changing and a story never staying in once place longer than a few seconds, Inside tells an ever-bleak story (probably) about conformity, sparking numerous debates online about what exactly developer Playdead was trying to say with its expertly-crafted masterpiece.
256. Donkey Kong Country
(1994, Super Nintendo, others)
Pick 100 Nintendo games and chances are a dozen will be groundbreaking platformers. Donkey Kong Country is just one of those games, but that shouldn't downplay its importance. Better looking than most games at the time with its bright 3D-rendered visuals, Donkey Kong Country became one of the highest rated, best selling Super Nintendo games of all time.
255. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
(1984, Apple II, others)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy paved the way almost single-handedly for every humorous adventure game following it. Remaining faithful to the series it takes its name from, the game is a hilarious trip through the solar system. It's also a very difficult one. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was massively influential on LucasArts games that combine humor with obtuse puzzle design.
254. King's Quest
(1980, Apple II, others)
King's Quest completely changed the graphic adventure genre. As the first adventure game to feature full animations, rather than static screens where players typed in text commands, players could walk around levels in different depth and interact with objects in a whole new way. King's Quest greatly influenced adventure games going forward, such as Maniac Mansion and Secret of Monkey Island.
253. Star Control
(1992, PC, others)
Star Control is one of the finest examples of developers letting players approach a game however they want. Either played as a melee or strategic game, it helped define the idea that games can be malleable and dynamic and players can make an experience wholly their own.
252. Maniac Mansion
(1987, Apple II, Commodore 64, others)
Lucasfilm Games' first self-published game, Maniac Mansion focused on B-movie humor, obtuse, non-linear design and great animation. Its use of a simple point-and-click mechanic, rather than command lines, became an industry standard for the adventure game genre, allowing for levels to be explored and interacted with quickly.
251. Pokemon Go!
(2016, Android, iOS)
A full-blown phenomenon in 2016, Pokemon Go! flooded streets and public spaces, as people, phones in hand, tossed Pokeballs at as many Pokemon as possible. Necessitating players to go out into the real world to find Pokemon in the augmented reality game, Pokemon Go! turned collecting into a social experience, and, in some cases, completely changed people's daily activity and exercise.
(1997, Mac, PC)
Go where you want, interact with people how you please, approach situations as peacefully or aggressively as you'd like. The depth and expertise in which Fallout tackled these ideas led to the foundation of a massive series, as well as recognition by such institutions as the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
249. Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse
(1990, Nintendo Entertainment System, others)
Far bigger than the original, Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse gave players numerous gameplay paths to take, each unique with their own events. Castlevania 3 is often noted as one of the best NES games of all time.
248. The Jackbox Party Pack
(2014, PC, others)
Sit a group of friends in front of The Jackbox Party Pack and they'll quickly learn who among them has the dirtiest mind. Including game options where players must use word association or draw increasingly bizarre prompts, The Jackbox Party Pack turned competition into a test of irreverence and quick wits.
(1987, Nintendo Entertainment System, others)
Though it lacks the multiple paths of later games, the original Castlevania is still remembered for its high learning curve, making players be both nimble and knowledgeable of the enemies they're going up against on their way to defeat Dracula. Castlevania set the dark, atmospheric approach for the rest of the series, taking the first steps of a franchise that's lasted nearly 30 years.
246. Another World
(1991, Amiga, others)
Another World was one of the earliest examples of a video game trying to bridge the gap between cinema and interactive media. A platformer at its core, Another World is most notable for its cinematic quality, coming well before games like Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill portrayed their stories.
(2005, PC, Xbox, others)
Psychonauts was about growing up. The first game developed by Double Fine, it told a story about helping people get over their worst fears. Psychonauts' tales of family strife and overcoming mental hurdles garnered a loyal fanbase that clamored for years for a sequel — which, thanks to crowdfunding, it's now getting.
(1979, Arcade, others)
One of the first hits of the early era of arcades, Asteroids hardly needs an introduction. Letting players pilot a spaceship, shooting off incoming asteroids and flying saucers, Asteroids has been one of the most influential — and copied — games of all time thanks, in part, to its clever game design and easily imitated gameplay loop.
243. Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening
(2005, PlayStation 2, others)
A return to form after the flop that was Devil May Cry 2, Dante's Awakening nearly perfected the series' fluid, flashy combat and was one of the best hack-and-slash games of the mid-2000s.
242. Gears of War
(2006, Xbox 360, others)
When you take place behind a piece of cover in a third-person shooter, you have Gears of War to thank. Not because it was the first game to use cover as a primary mechanic, but Gears popularized the idea, making it an industry staple. Gears was also one of the best-looking games of its time.
(2000, Dreamcast, Xbox)
One third life-sim, one third beat-'em-up and one third masterfully-told narrative experience, Shenmue made a huge dent in the industry in terms of how video game stories could be told and how worlds could exist without the influence of the player.
240. X-COM: UFO Defense
(1994, PC, others)
While certainly not the first tactical strategy game, X-COM: UFO Defense helped refine the genre with turn-based alien space combat. Spawning uncountable imitators, UFO Defense pit players against aliens as they each did their best to take down difficult foes.
239. Wing Commander
(1990, PC, others)
Highly expensive and highly successful, the visual precedent set forth with Wing Commander marked a shift for many in game development. Many games that followed had to live up to the graphical and mechanical panache of this space combat simulator.
238. Shantae and the Pirate's Curse
(2014, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, others)
Upon its release, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse stood "out from the glut of retro-inspired platformers," according to IGN. Shantae and the Pirate's Curse differentiates itself with witty humor and unique islands for players to explore to find hidden items and battles.
237. Sensible Soccer
(1992, Amiga, PC, others)
Sensible Soccer isn't just a great game; it's a "cultural artifact," according to a panel of pioneer game developers and even Polygon's editor-in-chief Chris Grant. An early example of a sports game trying to fully encompass the entire spectrum of a sport, Sensible Soccer featured numerous divisions and seasons, and thousands of soccer clubs from around the world.
236. Monster Hunter Generations
(2016, Nintendo 3DS, others)
Monster Hunter Generations is a greatest hits of the Monster Hunter series. With more monsters than ever, chances are if you have a favorite beast, it's in Generations. This who's-who of a game makes it a great entry point for people curious about the series but who might not want to play every version.
235. Impossible Mission
(1984, Commodore 64, others)
Impossible Mission is anxiety inducing. Given six hours to collect 36 randomized puzzle pieces — with 10 minutes deducted after each death — the player gets a mix of platforming and adventure challenges.
(1992, Amiga, others)
Classified as a "cinematic platformer," Flashback used hand-drawn backgrounds and rotoscoped animations to make characters look more lifelike. Flashback was an early pioneer of cinematic games, with many critics praising its visuals, sound and animation as innovative and top notch.
(2012, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, others)
Dishonored is a game about planning, each level a maze of opportunities to explore. Whether your plan is an all-out assault or a silent game of cat and mouse, Dishonored's world constantly adapts to your choices in positive and negative ways. Never telling players how to pull off an objective, Dishonored also never lets them forget the repercussions their actions had on the game's world.
232. Mass Effect
(2007, Xbox 360, others)
On the surface a game about space politics and intergalactic war, Mass Effect is more memorable for the deep, emotional relationships players can engage with in the game's world. Mass Effect was the introduction to relationships that — for many players — stretched across three games, giving players years to spend with those they cared about.
231. Tomb Raider
(1996, Saturn, PC, PlayStation, others)
At the time a radically new take on action-adventure games, Tomb Raider broke away from the 2D norms, giving players large fully-3D levels to explore, traverse and fight within, paving the way for series like Uncharted.
(1999, Dreamcast, others)
Notable for offering players freedom of movement in all directions, Soulcalibur also made 3D weapons-based fighting history as one of the best-looking Sega Dreamcast games. With a Dreamcast hooked up to a PC monitor, little could touch it.
229. Halo 2
(2004, Xbox, others)
Halo 2 changed multiplayer games forever. With an automated matchmaking process, players picked what game type they wanted to play and the game made a playlist for them. This move was seen as a defining moment in how online matchmaking would go forward in the future.
228. Jet Grind Radio
(2000, Dreamcast, others)
No game matches the attitude of Jet Grind Radio. A hyper-stylized take on the then-huge action sports genre, Radio's cel-shaded world, hip hop-influenced soundtrack and altogether zaniness made this rollerblading, spray-painting game stand out in a genre oversaturated with licensed tie-ins.
227. Left 4 Dead 2
(2009, PC, Xbox 360)
Being scared is a communal event in the zombie shooter follow-up, as the game's "AI Director 2.0" procedurally alters scenarios to make each playthrough dynamic, effectively making it impossible for anyone to guess exactly what's going to happen next.
226. Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness
(1995, Mac, PC, others)
Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness turned Blizzard into the titan it is today. A completely overhauled experience from Warcraft, made with a bigger development team and budget, Tides of Darkness was a precisely balanced game, "perhaps one of the most finely tuned ... of all time," according to IGN. Combined with rave reviews and accessibility for newer players, Tides of Darkness sold millions. Blizzard never looked back.
225. Virtua Racing
(1992, Arcade, others)
Virtua Racing, at the time, was one of the best looking games available. Its high frame rate, multiple camera angles and 3D NPCs made players feel closer to a real racing event than ever before. Virtua Racing helped usher in a new wave of 3D games.
224. Red Dead Redemption
(2010, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
With Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar proved its GTA model could work in a different setting — and in many ways work better than it does in GTA. The developers also showed that they could make one of the best endings the game industry has ever seen.
223. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
(1991, Amiga, PC, others)
A notoriously difficult, obtuse video game genre to get into, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge was applauded by critics for its "lite" game mode, allowing new players to get a good foothold to get into the adventure genre. LeChuck's Revenge also gets credit for using the iMUSE sound system, making sound for the first time a major part of the adventure game experience.
222. Gran Turismo
Gran Turismo is one of the highest-rated racing games of all time. When it hit the scene, Gran Turismo was one of the best-looking racing simulators out there and a remarkably complete package with over 140 cars.
221. A Mind Forever Voyaging
(1985, Amiga, others)
A Mind Forever Voyaging is like a walking simulator in the form of a text adventure. Not focused on puzzles, the game allows players to explore its dystopian United States in great detail. The game takes you on its own journey, letting you, if you're so inclined, take in its experience more than you interact with it.
220. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
(1999, PlayStation, others)
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was the tip of the iceberg. Partnering with Tony Hawk and other professional skateboarders to make an authentic representation of skateboarding, Activision ushered in the massive popularity of action sports games. Though many tried to steal this successful formula after, it took awhile for anyone to match Pro Skater's addictive, trick-based gameplay loop.
(2016, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, others)
Subverting everything modern players had learned to expect from a first-person shooter, Doom was a wholly new, yet old, experience exceeding the expectations that came with its name. Forcing players to get up-close and personal with enemies, chainsawing them in half or crushing their skull cavities, was as relentless as it was amazing.
218. Burnout Revenge
(2005, PlayStation 2, Xbox, others)
Some racing fans want a pure, perfect simulation experience. Other racing fans want to turn cars into scrap resembling a crushed soda can while going more than 200mph. Burnout Revenge is the latter of these two. Fast, aggressive and loud, Revenge rewarded recklessness, making for a game constantly tempting players to hurl their vehicles faster and harder than ever before.
217. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward
(2012, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, others)
Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward saved its best secrets for last. A sequel to 999, it continued the Saw-like puzzle escape rooms concept, but also broke the fourth wall in subtle ways not immediately apparent to the player, waiting until the game was over to fully divulge.
216. WarioWare: Twisted!
(2005, Game Boy Advance)
Full of unique, inventive "microgames," as is customary for the series, WarioWare: Twisted! also made use of a built-in gyro sensor. This mechanic was used often in the game, making Twisted! one of the only Game Boy Advance games to utilize motion controls.
215. Tony Hawk's Underground
(2003, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, others)
Five games into the series, Neversoft found itself ready to change up its tried-and-true skateboarding formula. Tony Hawk's Underground added a story about becoming a professional skater and the ability, for the first time, to get off the skateboard. Its success not only changed how Tony Hawk games were played, but also how the world looked at skateboarding.
214. Super Mario 3D Land
(2011, Nintendo 3DS)
Super Mario 3D Land was a marriage between old and new. Combining the classic designs of side-scrolling 2D Mario games with more contemporary freeroaming 3D Mario games, 3D Land used the two schools of thought to create new ways to play a Mario game.
213. Street Fighter Alpha 3
(1998, Arcade, others)
Street Fighter Alpha 3 gave players the option between three fighting styles picked from other Street Fighter games. This mechanic changed the landscape for Street Fighter fans, giving players many ways to play and experiment with how they approached fights.
212. Star Raiders
(1979, Atari 8-bit, others)
Star Raiders was a first-person shooter before there was a first-person shooter genre. Considered one of Stanford University's 10 most important games, Star Raiders was one of the more complex first-person based games of the late '70s, boasting better visuals and allowing the player to look both in front of and behind their spaceship.
211. Mini Metro
(2015, PC, others)
Leave it to video games to make rapid transit planning a fun way to spend an afternoon. Tasking players with building an efficient transit line for an ever-growing city, Mini Metro was a realistic simulation that was easy to understand but constantly challenged players by throwing new obstacles their way as cities grew, leading to increasingly more complex train lines.
210. Batman: Arkham Asylum
(2009, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, others)
Telling a story about The Joker taking over Gotham City's notorious institution, Batman: Arkham Asylum invited players on a trip through the mind of Bruce Wayne. The game's combat and stealth proved influential and made Arkham Asylum one of the greatest superhero video games of all time.
209. Stardew Valley
(2016, PC, others)
It took no time for Stardew Valley to surpass all expectations. Its tranquil visuals and sound design, surprisingly deep relationships and pick-up-and-play gameplay quickly garnered the game a massive fandom. Developed by only one person, Stardew Valley was one of 2016's most talked-about games for its lighthearted approach to farming.
208. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
(2015, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, others)
The end of an era for a 30-year-long series, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain radically redefined open world gaming, how players could interact with environments and how cinema and games could blend together.
207. Mega Man X
(1994, Super Nintendo, others)
Telling a semi-mature story about the dangers of robot sentience, Mega Man X reinvented the Mega Man series. Adding numerous new moves, characters and mechanics that changed gameplay significantly, Mega Man X was a successful attempt to update the once-stale series.
206. WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!
(2003, Game Boy Advance, others)
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! is one of Nintendo's weirdest games. Tasking players with wrapping spaghetti around a fork, threading a needle and catching flying toast, Warioware took the microgame concept and ran with it.
205. Virtua Fighter 2
(1995, Arcade, others)
Virtua Fighter 2 exhibited remarkable attention to detail. Pairing the game's groundbreaking visuals with an incredibly smooth framerate, it turned out to be one of the mid-'90s most realistic fighting games, setting a precedent for the level of detail fighters strived for as time went on.
204. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
(2004, PlayStation 2, others)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater made Metal Gear what it is today. Where earlier games focused on hiding around corners, Snake Eater required learning, adapting to and exploiting protagonist Snake's rainforest environments. Combined with one of the more memorable stories told in games, Snake Eater is often considered the best Metal Gear game.
203. Fallout: New Vegas
(2010, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Fallout: New Vegas is, on the surface, a typical Fallout game: the world is in ruin, monsters walk the Earth and the player is free to choose how to interact with the world and its inhabitants. However, greater than the sum of its parts is the story it tells about post-apocalyptic capitalism, making it an important example of games as political satire.
202. Bushido Blade 2
Bushido Blade 2 is a rare example of a sequel being better by being simpler. Much like the original, Bushido Blade 2 emphasizes real(ish) combat focused on skill — especially when death is usually one hit away. But combined with an overall better presentation and more fighters, Bushido Blade 2's simpler approach to fighting made it one of the best games in the genre.
201. Animal Crossing
(2002, GameCube, others)
Animal Crossing drove home the idea that console games didn't necessarily need clear-cut objectives. Making use of the Nintendo 64's internal clock for realistic passages of time, players were free to live out a new life with anthropomorphic animals, filling days with numerous side activities, free of care of any incoming dangers.
Story text: Blake Hester