The 50 best videogames of all time
It could’ve been 200 – or 500 – but in the end we made our trigger-happy game reviewers Joe Griffin and Ciara O’Brien narrow their best videogames of all time down to just 50 . . . Plus, we talk to celeb gamers Jason Byrne, Mike Ross and Ed Smith about their all-time highs
Round one . . . fight! When we were compiling this list we were surprised at how many games appeared from years and decades gone by and at the variety, from the dark to the joyous, from dense digital worlds to simple puzzle games. This is a new medium, of course: when cinema was the same age, audiences had yet to experience sound or colour. But some games and characters have already entered the public imagination, whether it’s Street Fighter’s Chun Li or the infinite appetite of Pac Man.
Sorry if you think some entries are undeserved or that others should be here. Some beloved titles fell just outside of our top 50, such as the God of War series, while other bestsellers, such as Mortal Kombat, were dumped onto our unofficial overrated list.
Let the furious debating commence!
50 Tomb Raider (2013)
The latest in the archaeologist adventures was as feisty and likeable as Lara Croft herself.
49 North and South (1989)
Turn-based strategy in the American Civil War was slapstick, amiable and droll.
48 Minecraft (2009)
A genuine – ahem – game changer; the DIY world-building affair has unlocked the imagination and ingenuity of a generation.
47 Heavy Rain (2010)
This atmospheric, morally murky noir challenged how we view storytelling.
46 Civilisation ((1991)
Hey, nobody said building an enlightened population was easy, but this enthralling franchise asked gamers to create societies from scratch.
45 Quake (1996)
Scary, fast-paced and dynamic 1990s shooter.
44 Bioshock Infinite (2013)
An instant classic that blended thrilling combat and sumptuous graphics with mind-bending sci fi.
43 Limbo (2010)
The most vulnerable videogame hero of his generation starred in this haunting and challenging monochrome platform game.
42 Resistance 2 (2008)
1950s America re-imagined as an alien invasion, bringing conviction, pathos and innovative weapons.
41 Journey (2012)
Poetic and lovely exploration odyssey that changed how you view objectives in gaming.
40 Gravity Rush (2012)
A captivating and weird third-person superhero yarn. It made the most of the Playstation Vita’s abundant capabilities.
39 The Secret of Monkey Island (1990)
Ron Gilbert’s point/click swashbuckler advanced adventure games with neat storytelling and enough one-liners to sink a ship.
37 Strider (1989)
Side-scrolling futuristic game with imagination to spare and odd, otherworldly combat.
36 Dance Central 2 (2011)
The best Kinect game, in our opinion, was precise, cheerful and bursting with colour and energy.
35 The Last Ninja 2 (1988)
Clever puzzles and tactical game-play defined this innovate Commodore classic.
34 Little Big Planet 2 (2011)
Rewarding and warm platformer and game-building kit with an infinite supply of free levels.
33 Rock Band (2007)
Once beloved, now forgotten fame-simulator. It’s better to burn out and all that.
32 Bulletstorm (2011)
Debates still continue about whether this decadent, bloody and addictive first-person shooter/whipper was knowing or just dumb.
31 Plants vs Zombies (2009)
This undead vs greenery tower defence game proved that zombies could be comical and . . . cute?