Today is Video Game Day (Sunday, July 12) and here at Gamify, we would be amiss if we didn’t take this opportunity to shine a light on some of our favourite games of all time.
Now this list is in no way what we consider to be the best games of all time, this is a list of subjectively special and important games in our own lives, we threw many names into the hat and then whittled it down to a clean and punchy list of 10. Feel free to argue the point with us, we love the opportunity to discuss games. Submit your games list in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
With that in mind, lets take a look at the rank of our 10 most treasured video games.
#10 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (2000)
Personally I’ve never been drawn to sports games. I get bored very quickly playing the FIFAs, NBAs and Maddens.
However, being an admirer of the skate scene with no identifiable talent, when Tony Hawk's Pro Skater came out I was obsessed.
I remember the day of the original’s release, my parents were going out for the night, my little sister was at a sleepover and my big brother was in charge of looking after us. I jumped on my bike and rode to the video store (which was in no way close to our house) on an unfathomably hot day, I hired a copy of the game and then passed out in the store, knocking over a shelf of VHS movies.
After an elderly lady held my head up and funnelled cold water down my throat I was back on my bike and racing home. My brother put on Hot Pockets for dinner, we ate them while watching Terminator 2 (awesome) and then we played Tony Hawk well into the night. That memory will stay with me forever.
Fast-forward a few years and Tony Hawks 2 comes out, the graphics are better, the soundtrack is better, the character roster is better, the skating mechanics are better, this game is a shining example of how to make a strong follow-up game.
This game had no real agenda, much like actual skating. You simply just want to tear up the environments with as many flip tricks and grinds as possible and I think thats what makes this game so special.
#9 Metal Gear Solid (1998)
Where do I begin with this one? Metal Gear showed me that video games can convey story in ways that cinema simply cannot. Espionage stealth games were not on my radar at this point in my life, I was so used to playing games where you had to attack and defeat your enemies directly. I never knew how fun it could be to sneak around an enemy facility like I was Luke and Han on the Deathstar.
This game is another example of being ahead of its time. The fact that the game requires you to change discs midway through is a great tell of how ambitious this game’s story truly is.
Metal Gear Solid is the reason why we have such cinematically beautiful cutscenes in every modern game, thanks in part to Hideo Kojima, a now household name in the gaming industry. Hideo’s magnum opus being Metal Gear Solid, pushed the limits of what the Playstation 1 console was capable of.
#8 Tetris (1984)
You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t played Tetris before, the reason being that it is one of the earliest and best examples of a strategic puzzle game to date.
The simple controls and surface design allowed for Tetris to be accessible across any and all game platforms. Tetris’ success is due to its simplicity, the easy to master controls along with the increasing difficulty in building creates an addictive vortex that sucks players in.
I’ve played so many versions of this game across different seasons in my life and it has never disappointed, there is no room for disappointment as it’s just you trying to best yourself or others in your top score. This game is simply timeless, this game will outlive all of us.
#7 Grand Theft Auto III (2001)
I could easily place any of the GTA games in this list. There is no mistaking that each game in the series supersedes the one before it in looks, functionality and capabilities, but I’m not here to argue that GTA III is superior to GTA V or even San Andreas for that matter, this game is special because of what it represents.
You have to give honour where it is due and this game kicked in the door on what was already a stellar year in games and said, “hold my beer!” Before completely obliterating the competition and redirecting the path of modern gaming as we know it.
This game is the gold standard in which we measure sandbox games now. What an amazing concept for early 2000’s gaming, in which you can engage with the missions at hand or you can simply run riot in an open world, a truly fresh breath of air from the standard linear games on the market.
I have many fond memories of playing this game with friends, enabling cheat codes and seeing who could survive the longest while creating havoc in Liberty City.
#6 COD Modern Warfare 2 (2009)
I never played the earlier Call of Duty games and to be frank, I don’t like most of the later editions to the series. However MW1 and 2 are flawless games, MW2 simply being the more defined and iconic of the two.
This game was my introduction to the competitive world of online gaming. The euphoria that comes when you defeat an enemy, knowing full well that it was an actual person, somewhere in the world competing against you is the closest I’ll come to experiencing heroin.
Come for the story mode, stay for the online multiplayer.
#5 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
This game is a time machine.
If you ask anyone that loved this game as a kid if they still own their 64, most of them will say yes, followed by, “I keep it around for three reasons; Mario Kart, Smash Bros. and Zelda”. I have friends that often unpack the 64 and play through this game, they should rename this game “Nostalgia: Window of Time”.
This game is a trail blazer for the sandbox game. What was possibly going to be a castle based game with level portals (much like Mario 64), persevered and became so much more. This game isn’t just a personal favourite but an integral pillar in the medium of video games.
A fine example of an epic quest game, as you start the game as a child and finish as an adult. Along the journey, you will face-off against countless foes, travel large distances and solve some of the most elaborate puzzles in gaming.
To everyone who loves adventure games Ocarina of Time is your birthright.
#4 Red Dead Redemption (2010)
Rockstar Games, now at the height of their game with GTA’s sandbox formula decided to run it through the lens of a more mature work.
This game proves that the sandbox formula was made for an Old West adventure game. One of the biggest issues with the previous GTA games is having urban landscapes filled with buildings that have inaccessible interiors, shining a spotlight on the gamer’s limitations. Whereas the towns of Red Dead are alive and open for you to explore.
This game still looks beautiful and the soundtrack draws you right into the genre. I will never forget crossing into the border of Mexico at night on horseback while José González' “So Far Away” filled the cold and harsh landscape.
Needless to say, we’re all excited for the release of Red Dead Redemption 2.
#3 Uncharted 4 (2016)
A lot of Uncharted fans may see my entry of the 4th game in the series and disagree. I know what you’re thinking, “Uncharted 2 is the best in the series!” And I agree, my first experience with the Uncharted series began at #2 and I was instantly hooked from the opening scene, wounded and dangling over a cliff in a literal train-wreck.
However, I’d like to make the argument that Uncharted 4 is all the more better because of its predecessors. This game is a beautiful bow-tie on an epic adventure across multiple quests. It showcases the growth and maturity of all the key characters in the series, along with conveying the true weight of the stakes in the story.
All that being said, the game mechanics and capabilities are greater, the gaming system in which it is played is superior and the detail on this work is unparalleled. Seriously, you can literally jump on YouTube and see countless videos of the unnecessary detail work Naughty Dog put into this game.
Very few game titles have a final entry that perfectly bookends a series like Uncharted, this game manages to balance a big, epic adventure with intimate character moments.
#2 PUBG (2017)
PUBG also known as Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds is the latest game to revitalise a stagnant genre.
I mentioned earlier in this list, my love for MW2, however as first person shooters grew in popularity, the run-n-gun mentality behind a respawn game removed any sense of tactical play.
Resulting in the gameplay migrating towards a younger audience that don’t care for the game’s premise and functionality. They want to record themselves doing the most ridiculous 360 no-scope kills possible. This ruined the genre for me, I always wanted a multiplayer game where risk was present, where tactical play was rewarded and when your player died, that was it for you, causing you to play smarter and with caution.
PUBG screened all the players that would rather mess around than play competitively, everyone who parachutes in on PUBG is there to be #1, and our office loves playing the mobile version. No joke, we play in a squad every lunch around the conference table.
Fortnite may be skyrocketing in popularity but do not be fooled, all the 13 year old Mincrafters and no-scopers migrated onto that colourful, build-a-bear rip-off. PUBG is for the players.
#1 The Last of Us (2013)
For anyone who doesn’t “get” gaming, The Last of Us is the game I suggest they play. This is a heart-pumping tale, one that's packed with action and excitement, grim realism, and bucket-loads of emotion.
I was gifted this game on the day of its release, I put it on mid-morning just to have a teaser of what was to come. For anyone who has played this game before can tell you, the opening scene put a lump in my throat which I choked down until 4am the next morning.
That’s right, I played the game through in one sitting. I was glued, this game had layers to it. I was so conditioned to playing mindless games with surface level characters that when this game fell in my lap, I consumed it completely. The world building in this game is unmatched, with subtle hints of “non-story” elements scattered across the game. You gather story details of characters you will never meet, painting a bleak picture that your journey through this dystopian world is just one example amongst many others that weren’t as fortunate.
This game is so dense with content, it requires multiple plays just to take in everything. Personally, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve dusted this game off and replayed it in its entirety. Crazier still I almost always find something new.
This game is an instant classic, with Oscar-worthy performances, a beautifully melancholic soundtrack, stunning imagery and strong character arcs. The Last of Us is a shining example of an epic journey, bookended by two of the most experimental and ballsy openers/endings in gaming history.
So that is our list. I know, there are so many eligible entries that have missed the cut. If you want to put forth your own top 10 for this year's National Video Game Day, then please enter your list into the comments below.