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Top 100 Video Games of All Time
Updated Quarterly

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Position #40 (23,808)
World Class Track MeetNES, December 1988
The one game that would popularize actual movement outside of the thumbs. The NES Powerpad saw its glory with this one. You could go head to head or race against opponents like Turtle, Rabit, Bear, Horse, and the ever-predictable final opponent, Cheetah. Regardless of whether you were bloodying your knuckles slugging the pad or racing appropriately on your feet, the game was a challenge in all events. The triple jump and long jump had the nice feature of allowing you to jump off the Powerpad entirely to increase the length of your jump, at which point you could step back on when you felt that it was time to land. The 100m dash was a test of endurance and the shear quickness any 2 extremities could produce, and the hurdles were flat out brutal. Although the game offered far more repetition than variation, it has yet to lose its thrill. Somewhere between the tight competition, the struggle for the records, and the state of pure exhaustion that always accompanied the previous two, the game was a marvel with replay value that will seemingly never fade.



Position #39 (23,976)
Pro WrestlingNES, March 1987
Whether you're using the acrobatic style of Star man or the illegal biting and choking of the vicious green guy, the variation and individuality among the characters and their unique moves made this game what it was. Whether you're playing a championship against the computer, which was always easier with a turbo button, or playing head-to-head, Pro Wrestling was one of the most competitive games with some of the best replay value to date. Although numerous wrestling games have since surpassed it in graphics, detail, depth, variation, and most every other notable characteristic, no game has since topped this game's design, and it still rings in as the number 1 wrestling game of all time.



Position #38 (24,002)
Super MetroidSNES, April 18, 1994
Some say this one outdid the first, and perhaps it did- but that's getting into controversial opinions of innovation, originality and design. What cannot be argued, however, is that Super Metroid is regarded as one of the greatest and most classic action-adventure titles to date. It's the third installment in the series in which you play as Samus Aran, and when it was released it was the largest title among the three (and the largest game on the SNES system).

After destroying the life-sucking Metroids in the sequel to the original, you saved a single larva for scientific research. But the space pirates, introduced in the original, managed to escape with it in ideas of worldly conquest. This third installment brings the series back to the style of the original with areas that look almost identical, as you travel through the planet of Zebes in attempt to destroy the space pirates for good. The detail of the graphics and smooth animation were of the most notable of any SNES title and the play control was comprehensive, extremely precise, and nearly unbeatable. Super Metroid represented a the perfect blend of fast paced action, a well suited soundtrack, unbeatable game play, and a flawless design. This seems to be the recurring response that has pushed this game so high into the ranks.



Position #37 (24,198)
Ninja GaidenNES, 1989
Although the final boss may very well be impossible, the game is one of the absolute best platform combat games existing. In the days of the original Nintendo's popularity, Ninja Gaiden was on top. In this first of three titles, you play as Ryu Hayabusa, a highly skilled ninja intertwined in two stories of the game. In one, you are struggling to find the two demon statues and separate them to prevent the destruction of Earth. But while you're doing this, you're also trying to avenge your father, as well as find the cause of his death. Not only did the action in Ninja Gaiden never leave you in a dull moment, but it was of the first games to use cinema cut scenes between each level to build tension and dig the story a little deeper. Ninja Gaiden remains a classic in the age of replicas.



Position #36 (24,378)
Baseball StarsNES, July 1989

This rare and often rarely recognized sports title had a small release and a subsequent giant following. Not only did it spawn 5 sequels, but it was the sports title that created the modern format. The ability to create and selectively improve skills on custom players, as well as the team itself is now standard in sports titles, but it found its roots in this game. Additionally, the game was of the first sports titles to include data memory as to not lose progress between playing intervals.

Baseball Stars was fundamentally the RPG of sports games. You could completely customize and design your own team, pick your logo, name your team, name all your players, and as you win games and prize money, train each player individually in any number of ways, whether that comes in the form of improving power hitting, contact hitting, speed, luck, prestige (the more famous your players are, the more money you win), fielding, or pitching abilities in as many ways. The American Dreams was the team to beat though, with all of the biggest hall-of-famers throughout history, Babe Ruth to Cy Young. And if you think your team is good enough, you can watch them play in tournaments by themselves, keeping track of all statistics in the record books, with the league leaders in every category brought together from all the teams. It was likely the single most innovative sports title to come out since Baseball made its appearance in 1985.



Position #35 (24,411)
ContraNES, 1988
Contra is a side scrolling shooter where you can go through level after level solo or simultaneous with a partner, each with unlimited standard ammunition, and the ability to acquire power-ups along the way. It was the perfect formula for the genre, and it represented it well. It had complete linear game play without much in the way of depth, but it somehow managed to achieve remarkable replay value even today. As the story goes, in 1957, a strange meteor crashed into a remote South American island, and it went unnoticed for 30 years. In 1987, a powerful and evil alien known as Red Falcon emerged from his hiding place here and began a conquest to take over the world. Mad Dog and Scorpion must then go invade this island to save humanity. Although Contra has conjured up several popular sequels, all worthy of mention, none can top the original.



Position #34 (24,430)
Paper MarioN64, February 5, 2001
Paper Mario is just like a classic story-book with a complete twist on visual experience. It's an innovative 2D stylized representation of a brilliantly designed RPG, cloaked in Mario's paper-thin exterior. Paper Mario is absolutely one of the most clever and innovative games that has come out in recent years, with a remarkably original graphical layout that perfectly combines two-dimensional characters in a three-dimensional world with vibrant color schemes and beautiful environments. Every character in the game, from Bowser to the townspeople are created in these flat 2D sprites and their movement patterns are graced with folding just like a sheet of paper. All of the backgrounds and objects in the game, however, are constructed of three-dimensional polygons. Paper Mario plays as the sequel to the ever-classic Super Mario RPG, and offers much more freedom in movement than in the isometric view of it's precursor. Mario is carried through a challenging quest of seven different lands, teamed up into a party of seven varied characters, including a ghost, a bob-omb, a koopa, a fish, and so on, all helping not only in battle, but in exploration as well. The game itself is highly captivating to both RPG an platform audiences, as it encompasses elements of both genres. The familiar classically styled platform action is the main form of exploration, yet it is enhanced with an RPG style game play with interactive turn-based fighting mechanics through a menu driven interface. Here Mario and his six other party members can perform various attacks and blocks depending on what weapons, items, and magical attacks they have, using everything available from every previous Mario titles, including jump attacks, bombs, fire balls, lightning, etc. Although Paper Mario is not overly long or drawn out, it offers a highly engrossing story through the course of the game, and represents the perfect RPG formula with classic Mario game play still at the core. It's release marked a clash of styles that since became regarded as the single best RPG for Nintendo 64.



Position #33 (25,329)
Bubble BobbleNES, 1986
This title came in the design of a classic 80's arcade style, yet had a fascinating twist to it. With the option of two players, you play the roll of small colored dinosaurs in odd colorful worlds filled with bubbles, with an almost magical touch to it. A good distance into the game, when you're wondering if it will ever end, the final boss appears at level 100. It's an amazing and thrilling battle in the most interesting scenario yet. Then, upon success, the thrill is kind of replaced with curiosity, as the game doesn't end. The final boss was fake, and you're swept off to new and even more whimsical levels, each one more peculiar than the last, until finally, the real last boss makes his showdown.



Position #32 (26,004)
Castlevania II: Simon's QuestNES, December, 1988
This platform adventure game came as the sequel to the ever-classic Castlevania, and features the original Simon Belmont. In the land of Translevania, you seek out the body parts of Count Dracula, who you have previously destroyed. You need them to reverse the curse that Dracula cast on you during your last encounter. And as you search the lands, you travel through beautifully varied landscapes of forests, towns, swamps, planes, caves, and the journeys across and underneath giant lakes and great cliffs. This adventure had incredible depth, almost to the extent of modern RPGs. When the days turned to nights, you could leave the towns for the plains and forests to enter into battles and collect money for weapon upgrades and the purchasing of valuable items. When morning returned, and the shops reopened, Simon could purchase a better whip and head out in safer exploration of new lands. The game design was outstanding, the music was perfectly done, and in addition to the amazing depth, it featured three unique endings. The first was the black and white, accomplished by completing the game from a previously saved quest. The second version had extra footage and featured full color, viewable only by starting the game from the beginning and playing straight through, no saving, start to finish. It may take all day, but the ending was a marvel, worth the effort to the few who could do it. The third? That was the secret, accomplished probably only a handful of times throughout history, and the game has too much value for me to spoil here.



Position #31 (26,168)
Final Fantasy IISNES, November 23, 1991
Final Fantasy part II makes worlds of advancements beyond the original. In addition to the beautiful new graphical layout offered by the SNES, Final Fantasy featured good depth and a great blend of exploration and thrills. You play the roll of Cecil, the leader of the Red Wings, and you're given an order to steal a crystal from a king of another kingdom, and return it to your own king. After fulfilling the mission, Cecil is unaware of his reason. Shortly after, the king bans you from his fleet. Still not understanding the king's reasoning, you're given another chance to prove yourself worthy and reclaim your position on the fleet by slaying a monster and delivering a package to a small town. The package you deliver kills the entire town in a violent explosion, and realizing the king has become evil, you turn your battle against him.



Position #30 (26,735)
Legend of Zelda: Link's AwakeningGameboy, August, 1993
Another Zelda title on the list, another Miyamoto classic, and the top scoring Gameboy game of all time. First appearing in 1993, different versions have since been re-released adding color, detail, and in Link's Awakening DX, even a new dungeon, although hidden so well that it may not be found by many gamers. As usual, the game stars Link, who in this title, finds himself on a mysterious island where a shipwreck left him stranded. In order to escape this island you must find the eight instruments of the Sirens and wake the Wind Fish. Again, like all Zelda titles, this game is packed with riddles and puzzles all along the way, not to mention notable bosses and deep dungeons worthy of Zelda proportions. Link's Awakening stands as the first truly deep and engrossing title on a portable system. In addition to that, the game included a photo album feature, which allowed players to collect Hyrulian landscape pictures and print them out as stickers using the Game Boy Printer. Zelda: Link's Awakening proved to achieve maximal potential on a portable system, and has never lost its edge as one of the top voted games, and the number one of all time on any portable system.



Position #29 (26,928)
Final Fantasy IIISNES, October 20, 1994
The third in the ongoing Final Fantasy sequence has become the highest ranking title. The story begins as four teenagers from the village of Uru explore outside of their village. They all fall into a hole and discover the shrine of the Wind Crystal. With it, they learn that they've been chosen to become the four Light Warriors and are destined to restore the balance of Light and Dark. You play the roll of these four and set out in high adventure.

Some of the notable features in this game are the character classes (first seen in Dragon Quest III), offering more variability than the previous titles, and alternate forms of transportation (influenced by Dragon Quest IV), including an airship, which you fly to the Floating Continent, only to discover that the entire world is submersed in water. Believing that it's the magician Zande responsible, the quest turns to aims of his defeat. But after this, they four warriors are taken to the dark world and confronted with their counterparts, the four Dark Warriors. This becomes the true battle of returning the world to peace.



Position #28 (27,040)
Kid IcarusNES, July, 1987
It remains known as a "companion" game to Metroid, as the two games shared similar graphic and music styles. The difference, however, comes in the setting of Kid Icarus, as it takes place in a more mythological setting. With disproportionately massive bosses and items like the Mirror Shield, your character is in for a highly difficult, yet tactical adventure beginning in the underworld, traveling up to the overworld, then to the sky world, and finally exploring the palace in the sky. Although it was one of the earliest side-scrolling adventures to hit the NES, Kid Icarus remains one of the very best.



Position #27 (27,112)
Dragon Quest VSuper Famcom, September 27, 1992
Only released in Japan, this extremely rare title has somehow managed to fetch endless votes. In the United States, this fifth installment to the founder of RPG's, and the second in the heaven series can only be played on computer through an emulator and a translation patch, however in other parts of the world, versions are available on home console systems (SFC and Playstation). This game was the first ever to feature the option that popularized the Pokemon craze, monster training. Playing the roll of a young boy eager to find out what happened to his family, you have the ability to charm monsters and battle along side them. Although this would be the single influence that would create numerous games on this premise alone, it was very minor compared to what this game offered. The freedom you were given in this game compared to no other as you journey through your life, choosing who you wish to marry, inherit a kingdom, and travel the world on a magic carpet, occasionally stopping at a full casino with everything to gambling on monster battles and slime races, to slots and cards. Although it did not boast revolutionary graphics, the innovation in game play, storyline, and role playing freedom is among the best regarded in video game history. If released in the U.S., Dragon Quest V might have fetched a much higher ranking, but as it stands, the top 30 isn't so bad for such a rare title.



Position #26 (27,962)
Double DragonNES, 1987
Double Dragon is the king of the side scrolling brawlers. It had its own small feature in the Wizard, and its success prompted a full length motion picture of Billy and Jimmy Lee brawling through the streets. The movie was a complete failure, but the game it was based on was a marvel. The story was nothing to be noted, but the game play and design made for outstanding replay value. Billy's girlfriend was captured by Mr. Big and his gang, and so he and Jimmy Lee set out to the rescue. The game featured one player or two player simultaneous action, and a broad range of moves such elbow throwing, hair pulling, knee bashing, jump kicking, a few throws, and a good amount of baseball bats and whips. The tactical brawling kept the entertainment on high as you fought your way through the streets to the final confrontation with Mr. Big. But once there, elbow throwing against a machine gun gives you little hope.