The 50 Best Games - From The Age online

Just thought I would post this rather than link as I know some of the articles on The Age you have login to read.


The 50 best games
By Jason Hill
October 6, 2005

Best-of lists are difficult to compile and guaranteed to create controversy. In the realm of interactive entertainment, where every player's experience is unique and technology is constantly improving, the task is even more perilous.

Every title can be a creative masterpiece in its own right, providing countless hours of entertainment.

The interactive industry is only 30 years old but it has evolved from a fledgling hobby with products created by bedroom-based enthusiasts to a $10 billion-a-year entertainment behemoth.

Rapid technological advances have seen electronic games go from primitive two-dimensional reflex tests to sprawling epic adventures with photo-realistic worlds to explore.

Early arcade games were designed to provide a few minutes of frivolous fun for 20 cents a play, but the astonishing complexity and scope of today's games can entrance players for months.

For this list, games have been judged on their entertainment value today rather than their impact when released. Many highly influential games, including Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Command & Conquer, Elite, Pitfall, Street Fighter and Pong are absent.

We have also chosen the best instalment in each series, unless sequels are significantly different. Enjoy.

1. The Sims 2 (PC) Everyone can play this masterpiece differently: the depth and freedom is astonishing. Guiding your endearing digital denizens to health, happiness, fame and fortune can be comical and poignant. Sims age and reproduce, passing on their traits to evolving family dynasties. Creative flexibility lets you mould entire neighbourhoods, construct dream homes and sculpt characters.

2. The Legend of Zelda:Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64) Shigeru Miyamoto's magnum opus is a spellbinding cocktail of wondrous exploration, ingenious puzzles and combat in a beautiful world. The convincing environment is populated by a raft of colourful characters, and there is a huge variety of tasks. An epic to be savoured from the moment Link and his horse first gallop across the screen.

3. Half-Life 2 (PC) An astonishingly realistic and immersive world that envelopes the senses with thrilling cinematic set pieces providing an astonishing spectacle. Exciting shoot-'em-up action is blended with sublime storytelling and convincing characters who exhibit emotional depth. A technical triumph.

4. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64) A decade on, Super Mario 64 remains the finest platform game ever. Players feel giddy as they explore its varied, vibrant and magical worlds, which are filled with countless surprises and taxing challenges.

5. Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas (PS2) An epic adventure in a colossal playground of anarchy. The scale is enormous and the freedom intoxicating. Missions include drive-by shootings, thuggery, chauffeur duties, casino and truck heists, rescue missions, thrilling chases, turf wars, stealth raids and daring thefts.

6. Halo 2 (Xbox) A spectacular thrill ride. The gripping solo campaign features intense tactical battles and many memorable scenes. Driving through a chaotic battle is spine-tingling. The riotous multiplayer modes offer endless entertainment on brilliantly designed maps.

7. Gran Turismo 4 (PS2) An astonishingly accurate driving simulator to thrill petrol hedonists. Every nuance of a car's movements is faithfully replicated, providing an exhilarating ride. The scale is overwhelming, with over 700 vehicles, 50 tracks, countless racing challenges and the chance to play photographer or race team manager.

8. GoldenEye 007 (Nintendo 64) Provides a level of immersion few games can match, thanks to wonderful atmosphere, interactive environments and smart opponents.

Tasks include bungee jumping from a dam, destroying tanks, defusing bombs, copying keys, photographing items, stealing secret weapons and rescuing hostages. Multiplayer is also a blast.

9. Ico (PS2) A unique, unforgettable adventure with stunning film-like visuals and haunting ambience.

Protecting your vulnerable companion as you explore a labyrinthine fortress heightens your emotional investment. Puzzles are beautifully integrated and extremely satisfying to solve.

10. Metal Gear Solid (PlayStation) Mesmerising. Few games are as rewarding and surprising. Metal Gear offers a tightly scripted plot and countless imaginative set pieces.

Sneaking through areas filled with security cameras, trapdoors, mines and patrolling guards is great fun and the scope to experiment is vast.

11. Pro Evolution Soccer 4 (PS2) As complex, deep and entertaining as the real sport, this is a subtle simulation that rewards practice.

There are countless ways to score and matches between skilled players are tense and dramatic.

12. Resident Evil 4 (GameCube,PS2) A relentlessly gripping thriller that assaults the senses. Hero Leon can perform acrobatic manoeuvres.

Pacing is exquisitely judged, with puzzles, side quests and item collection complementing the rousing combat.

13. Super Mario Bros 3 (Nintendo Entertainment System) Remains a pleasure to play after 15 years thanks to an elegant design.

Controls are perfect and each stage meticulously constructed. Players run, jump and stomp on enemies through eight enormous, secret-filled worlds.

14. Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation) A spellbinding role-playing epic with real emotional depth, thanks to its brilliant characters and plot. Possibly the first game to make players cry after the death of Aeris.

15. SimCity 2000 (PC) An infinitely engaging city simulator lets players design a huge metropolis from scratch. Later sequels added clutter, but 2000 offered a wealth of choices to explore without overwhelming users.

16. Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green (Game Boy Advance) Each Pokemon game is ridiculously similar, but they are all grounded in an irresistible template. The battle system is simple to learn yet incredibly complex and collecting the critters hugely addictive.

17. Civilization II (PC) A hugely engaging strategy classic with terrific depth. Begin at the dawn of time to build a civilisation. To be the most successful you must juggle priorities: balance economies, master new technologies and smite the odd foe.

18. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2) Fun-loving criminals are transported back to the 1980s. A massive, hedonistic city is brimming with terrific characters. Wickedly entertaining, whether completing the diverse challenges or cruising the streets.

19. Super Mario Kart (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) Hugely enjoyable, light-hearted racer with appealing characters, cleverly designed tracks and amusing weapons that ensure battles are tight and exciting.

20. Metroid Prime (GameCube) Exploring superbly designed worlds in this tense adventure is absolutely gripping, whether scanning for clues, blasting enemies or transforming into the fabulous morph ball.

21. Burnout Revenge (PS2, Xbox) Astonishingly fast and thrilling racing action with spectacular crashes.

22. Age of Empires II (PC) Marvellously deep and engrossing historical strategy epic that is perfectly balanced.

23. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (GameCube) Enchanting adventure with fascinating locations, delightful characters and rewarding challenges.

24. Project Gotham Racing 2 (Xbox) Cleverly designed high-speed racer that rewards stylish and daring manoeuvres.

25. Tekken 5 (PS2) A highly theatrical fighting game with great characters and surprising depth.

26. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (PC, Xbox, PS2, GameCube) Visually spectacular and rewarding stealth adventure featuring smart opponents and empowering freedom.

27. Super Monkey Ball 2/Deluxe (GameCube, PS2, Xbox) Tricky and addictive puzzler with hilarious bonus multiplayer party games.

28. World of Warcraft (PC) An astonishing, massive multiplayer world that proves engaging for beginners and roleplaying veterans alike.

29. Sam and Max Hit the Road (PC) A hilarious old-school adventure starring a canine detective and a psychopathic rabbit.

30. Rez (PS2) A gloriously innovative and entrancing musical shooting game.

31. V8 Supercars 2 (PS2, Xbox) This surprisingly varied and thrilling racing game is deep yet approachable.

32. Doom 2 (PC) The grand-daddy of shoot- 'em ups, still incredibly fun and intense.

33. Wipeout 2097 (PlayStation) Impeccably crafted futuristic racer that helped define the PlayStation generation.

34. Animal Crossing (GameCube) A unique, living town full of amusing characters and fun activities.

35. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC) Offers invigorating freedom to explore stunning environments with spectacular gymnastics.

36. PaRappa the Rapper (PlayStation) Delightfully bizarre, enjoyable and influential Simon-says music game.

37. Battlefield 2 (PC) Exhilarating team-based multiplayer warfare.

38. Grim Fandango (PC) A creative and atmospheric adventure with enchanting characters and engrossing plot.

39. Fable (Xbox, PC) Lets players make moral decisions that mould their character and affect their social standing.

40. Tetris (Game Boy) Simple yet addictive puzzle game, often imitated, never bettered.

41. WarioWare Touched (Nintendo DS) A collection of fabulously frantic and creative mini-games.

42. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath (Xbox) Fresh and entertaining outlaw romp cleverly combing exploration and combat.

43. Tomb Raider (PlayStation, Saturn, PC) Lara's first outing remains her most satisfying, thanks to clever puzzles and brilliant level design.

44. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Megadrive) Breathtakingly fast and meticulously designed platform leaping action.

45. TIE Fighter (PC) Star Wars space combat game with spectacular battles and terrific missions.

46. Deus Ex (PC) An ambitious blend of many genres in a rich world of unparalleled interactivity and intrigue.

47. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (PlayStation) Terrific skateboarding simulation that provides endless challenge.

48. Rome:Total War (PC) Addictive and astonishingly epic warfare with spectacular, highly tactical battles.

49. Pikmin 2 (GameCube) Blooming marvellous puzzler with players commanding hundreds of delightful plant-like critters.

50. Counter-Strike (PC) Rewarding and tactical teambased online shooter.

cutty's picture

Lots of things i'd change re-arrange (of course) but the only thing i feel inclined to comment on is Half-Life 2, which is soooooo overrated imo (from a gameplay point of view, production values wise it deserves the spot).

Mick1460's picture

three words - LOL

I sold my copy of Sims2 to a Uni girl who loved the games. I hated it mainly because you have to be good. You cant create a single mum with a child that has six heads and grows up to become a train robber. You eat, sleep, go to work...hang on - I CAN DO THAT NOW! I guess I am trying to say that for me, a game is ment to be an experience that takes you out of your day-to-day life. Something that lets you become a race car driver, an LA gangbanger, a plumber with a mushroom problem, a leet skater or a space marine is fantastic because its an escape from cooking, eating, sleeping.

A good friend of mine once said when I asked him what he thought of the Sims: "I have never considered playing games a waste of time until I played The Sims, I was cooking, eating and sleeping in the game when I could have been doing those things myself"

That my 2 cents anyway. I agree that everyone is different and we all like different games - The Sims isnt for me...

unknownuser2's picture

Top 50 games list - that would be very difficult to compile, My list would without a doubt contain more rpg's.

LiveWire's picture

yeah iignore these lists, peoples oppinions are to personal to compile a difinitve list like this. if it read: "my top 50 games" then fine, but you can't say "THE top 50" and expect to speak for everyone. something like that would have to be compiled by votes or sales figures - and even then it woulnd it speak for everyone and probably still be innacurate.

Jacana's picture

We all know about opinions.... and everyone has one ;)

I do agree that lists like this are opinion, but I was impressed to see that the list
a) spanned not just current gen consoles
b) included some of the more "alternative" games
c) was still willing to list some of the more "kiddie" games

Daemin's picture

Pity Sam n Max only got a spot so low. That was a truly fantasic and hilarious game :-)

pb's picture

quote:Originally posted by Jacana

b) included some of the more "alternative" games
c) was still willing to list some of the more "kiddie" games

Pffft! It didn't even include Karamari Damacy!?


cutty's picture

Needless to say Thief/SS2 etc should be on the list. But i didn't expect em to be.
And this comment is kind of tangential but look at the film world where Kubrick never won an oscar but crap like 'A Beautiful Mind' wins best picture. hahaha.

MoonUnit's picture

quote:Originally posted by Jacana

c) was still willing to list some of the more "kiddie" games

i was talking with a few friends who were furious counter strike was at 50 under games like "whatever that super monkey ball thing is" ;)
still, everyones got their own list

Jacana's picture

quote:Originally posted by pb

quote:Originally posted by Jacana

b) included some of the more "alternative" games
c) was still willing to list some of the more "kiddie" games

Pffft! It didn't even include Karamari Damacy!?


It had Ico, Rez, and PaRappa the Rapper. Ico was such a beautiful game.

skunx's picture

quote:Originally posted by Daemin

Pity Sam n Max only got a spot so low. That was a truly fantasic and hilarious game :-)

Its great that after all this time, adventure classics like sam n max and grim fandango still make it in peoples lists, just goes to show.
And about Sam n Max, it was great, but Day of the tentacle was better, and Monkey Island 1/2 even better! [;)] but hey, its down to personal taste, hell i still like zac mackracken and the alien mindbenders [:I]

Caroo's picture


<.< seriously that was an excellent set of games. It had a lot to do and Dark Chronicle clocked up 87 hours for me and I didn?t even do everything I could of in it.

It wasn't a popular game. But I know for a fact that people are now willing to pay $200 for the original dark cloud.

^^ok. Maybe not top 50 of all time. But better then some described above.

Leto's picture

Pffft! It didn't even include Karamari Damacy!?

What's a bet that the guys who made that list just went, "...Katamari what...?" Hyper magazine had a Best 50 games list a couple of issues ago but did the smart/lazy thing of not ranking them; just a list of their fave 50 games. Which did include Katamari Damacy and a few other import titles that we've never even seen thanks to stupid regional coding and distribution.

Anuxinamoon's picture

Looked to me more like the best 50 designed games of all time, because Sims 2, while it is really mundane spouts a very good and addictive game design. So perhaps thats why it was at the top of the list.

I must say I'm sad to not see dark chornicle up there. I clocked 120 hours on that. It was a very fun game. Only now the disk is scratched and we can't replay it again without having to skip all the cutscenes. :(

souri's picture

It'll be a cold day in hell before Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is in my top 50. The puzzle elements were nice, but the fights were incredibly repetitive and mind numbing, especially when the game respawns the enemy a multitude of times in front of your eyes. My nephew is a pretty patient and hardened gamer, but when I saw him give up after retrying over seven times to get past this enemy respawning hell hole, I knew this wasn't the game for me. [:D]

redwyre's picture

I have no respect for a "Top 50" list that does not contain System Shock!

Kane's picture

I have no respect for any list, games or not, that doesn't contain Chrono Trigger and a Donkey Kong Country game! [:(!]

I am barely one one-hundredth the way through Chrono Trigger and it is possibly the best game I have ever played! BAH! Top 50 my bunghole! [:p]

mcdrewski's picture

Do you really think your bunghole is a top 50 contender?

Morphine's picture

I'm not even going to comment about that last post.

Anyway, I'm glad Goldeneye/Zelda:OOT did so well, because they were so well crafted for their day.
Aww ... poor diddums for the Doom 3 fanbois. No a mention, and it should remain that way too.

For all the games that have been released, it would be incredibly hard to knuckle down an absolute Top 100 best games ever created, just as hard (harder because of the longer history) as the Top 100 best films ever done.

palantir's picture

mcdrewski [:D]

Anyway, as far as the FPS games go, I'd rather see a Tribes game on the list then any of the others listed.

And there was a serious lack of RPG's!

And personally I thought PoP:sands of time was quite a fun journey..

And if we are going back to the old Sega days, I want Wonder Boy on the list.

flyingdoormat's picture

Hey guys, enjoyed your comments on my article. Thanks for the feedback.

One quick comment - I would have loved to include Katamari, but felt I couldn't seeing it still hasn't had a local release. It'd be fine for a games magazine feature, but not a mainstream newspaper. And sorry to the Looking Glass fans: the likes of Thief and System Shock were on my shortlist but just missed out.



souri's picture

I'm sure everyone agrees that you did a great job on the list - I was amazed at the incredible wide variety of great games in there. And I would pretty much agree with most of the titles in that list being there (although I personally would've replaced Counterstrike with Enemy Territory. [;)]). I'm doubly glad that Tetris made the list.

popawheelie's picture

pfft...FF7 rank 14..gotta be kidding me. And where are the games that started it all.. eg. Another world. I would have like to see dungeon keeper in there too, but maybe thats personal.


pk's picture

gotta say diablo 2 would be in mine, many many hours of playing this when it first came out