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Time Magazine Names The 100 Best Video Games


Yeah, I chose Paperboy as the header image for this post and you’re just going to have to deal with it. Best of lists are bound to attract controversy so prepare yourself to have some opinions on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 best video games. 

Time’s Techland compiled the list, which for some reason, is organized not from 1-100 but by the decade the games were released. Perhaps it was an attempt to limit the number of complaints that one game should have been ranked higher than another.

Regardless, in the 1970s, they’ve of course listed Pong. They write, “When it was released in 1972, Pong wasn’t the first video game. Depending on how you write the rules, there might have been as many as a dozen before it. But it was the first one to become wildly popular and commercially successful, which is its own kind of glory.”

The 80s lists games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong,  Tetris, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Super Mario Bros.

This is the game that defined so much of what we’ve been doing in games since its arrival on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985: coin-collecting, hidden power-ups that rendered Mario bigger and more powerful or awarded abilities like fireball-tossing or invincibility, jumping on enemies to defeat them, battling end-level “bosses,” using “warp” zones to shortcut between levels and jamming to musical themes now as recognizable as any top 10 pop tune.

The next Mario game to make the list was in the 90s with Super Mario 64. It shares the decade’s accolaids along with Street Fighter II, Sonic the Hedgehog, Resident Evil (the only one of that series on the list), Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, and more.

Once we hit the 2000s, things like Angry Birds come into play. They write, “It’s the ultimate modern-day casual game series. Hand your smartphone to a toddler with Angry Birds loaded up and watch what happens.” Indie game Braid also made the cut.

Rock Band, Portal, BioShock, Katmari Damacy, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, The Sims, World of Warcraft, and Guitar Hero are just a few of the other video games from the 2000s. “Portal came about just as video game success and meta-awareness hit significant crests. Big money was being made, big ambitions yielded complex worlds and the big ideas about where the medium was going hung heavy in the air,” they write. “So it surprised everyone that 2007′s best game was a small gem of minimalism built around a singular, brilliantly executed mechanic.”

Just two from the 2010s made the cut: Mass Effect 3 and Batman: Arkham City.

So, what do you think of their choices? Check out the entire list and let us know if you think there are any glaring omissions. For me, it’s Wizards and Warriors or Golden Axe.

(via GeekMom)

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  • Anonymous

    Looking at that little “should X be on the list” widget for each game, it pains me that “Rez” is running 15% “definitely”, 85% “no way”.

  • http://twitter.com/FasterthanShaun Shaun Manning

    Paperboy is 100% the correct header image.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003037095323 Jerilyn Nighy

    I’m surprised they mentioned NetHack considering how predictable their list is, but it’s hardly the most popular Rogue-like of all time. Anyhow — glaring omissions — I could go on all day. At the very least they should’ve mentioned Sid Meier’s Pirates!, Pool of Radiance, Dune II, The Blade Runner game from the late 90′s, maybe some Speccy games like Manic Miner/Jet Set Willy, The Lords of Midnight. Also their Famicon/Nintendo bias shows in their 80′s list.

  • http://twitter.com/LadiesMaknComix Ladies Making Comics

    No “Snake, Rattle ‘n’ Roll”? That was the greatest NES game, and I swear only me and my sister knew it existed. It was as “3-D” as you could get with NES, the graphics were great, and the gameplay was way more challenging than most NES games.

  • Anonymous

    No Baldur’s Gate or Baldur’s Gate II, I can live with. But no Planescape: Torment or Fallout?

  • http://profiles.google.com/mkjonese Emma Jones

    No Pokemon, Gauntlet, Fallout, or recent Zelda games (even OOT or MM would work!), but they have Animal Crossing, Wii Sports, Flower and Castlevania? Blasphemy!

  • bdy

    Hm, for me, I’d have put in Final Fantasy X instead of Tactics. Also, where is Darksiders II? I’m kind of surprised that there aren’t more independent games, like The Forgotten Swan or Botanicula. Maybe it’ll make more sense when I read the article in full (i.e., after I’ve processed what their methodology for selecting the Top 100 was).

  • http://profiles.google.com/josephfinn Joseph Finn

    Damn straight. God, what a great game. Fun and surprisingly hard.

  • Anonymous

    You are correct about the game’s awesomeness. I have played it and wished it would return to light as a virtual console game.

  • Anonymous

    Seriously no Mario Galaxy, no River City Ransom, or Mario Paint?

  • http://twitter.com/LadiesMaknComix Ladies Making Comics

    I wish, but apparently Microsoft owns the game now so it would have to be on Live Arcade. WHICH IT IS NOT >:(

  • http://twitter.com/RockShrimp Willow

    needs more base wars.

    Also, more The Fool’s Errand.

  • Anonymous

    Legend of Zelda OoT didn’t make the list for the 90′s, but Solitaire did. A game I could have the same experience playing with a pack of cards.

  • Anonymous

    Oh Final Fantasy VII, my love, I knew you would be here.

  • http://tinyglimpses.blogspot.com/ Meg P. W.

    My husband is very saddened by the lack of Fallouts and Twilight Princess.

    I’m sad that 60% of voters didn’t think Katamari Damacy deserved to be on the list.

  • http://twitter.com/kirbylovesduke Faith Villanueva

    Came here just to see if Tactics was on the list. Success!

  • Anonymous

    BioWare’s PR must have burnt the midnight oil to get ME3 on the list. Also, Arkham? What? e_e Where the hell is Journey?

  • Anonymous

    No mention of Limbo, the first two Monkey Island games, Psychonauts or Assassin’s Creed. Sad feels ensued.

  • Anonymous

    Now I have to eat a comfort pizza.

  • http://www.facebook.com/englerp Engler Pascal

    Yeah, others titles that i miss: System Shock, Tie fighter, X-Com: Ufo Defense, Battle Isle 2 and Panzer General. And maybe The longest Journey and incubation. And at least one Total War-Game.

    Also Mass Effect 3? (i like it so far, but it’s not really a title i would
    have put on the list).

  • http://www.facebook.com/englerp Engler Pascal

    Yeah, Rez was one of the positive surprises on the list. A part from that, it’s a bit lackluster imho. The grouping by decades is a nice idea, but..

  • http://twitter.com/BrightBlueInk Inky

    You know, I think the media’s love of putting Mass Effect 3 on a pedestal when it was a good but not fantastic game has only help to fuel gamer rage over it more. Every time I start to forget how much I disliked the original ending and BioWare’s handling of the fallout, something like this comes out and rubs more salt into the wound.

  • http://twitter.com/snarp Sarah Pin

    Earthbound is not on this list. Totally indefensible! I will be writing angry letters to Time Magazine, which is something I do every day anyway.

  • Ceolwulf

    Agreed, loved the Blade Runner game and spent ages playing Lords of Midnight and Doomdarks revenge on the spectrum

  • franckmail

    Shining Force III, Dragon Age: Origins, Landstalker, Streets of Rage, Mario Kart, Vroom, Sega Rally, Ocarina of Time, WoW, Valkyria Chronicles, to name a few…