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The 100 Greatest Video Games of All Time
The 100 Greatest Video Games of All Time

5

Shadow of the Colossus (2005)

The death of a colossus is a terrible thing. It feels all wrong: You thrust your sword into the softness of a great beast’s neck as instructed until it lurches forward and falls. The only thing you’re asked to do in Shadow of the Colossus is extinguish 16 impossibly beautiful creatures. There are no hazards, or enemies, or side quests. There are no power-ups or upgrades to be found. There is only you, the colossi, and the suffering you inflict upon them. Every video game is founded on a pretense of control—an illusion that you have a choice. Shadow of the Colossus dispels the myth by posing a simple question: Why? We should all think hard about the answer.  Marsh

The 100 Greatest Video Games of All Time

4

Red Dead Redemption (2010)

A true western can’t be afraid to back down from its gritty substance, and Red Dead Redemption‘s final, unwinnable mission lives up to consequences often promised by the grim story. But that semi-tragic ending is earned by the plausibility of its rich open world, which is filled not just with outlaws to shoot, but also with cattle to herd and tame, animals to hunt, trains to rob (or protect), and townsfolk with whom you fight, drink, and gamble. But perhaps the grandest accomplishment was the sheer beauty of the territory, such that stumbling upon a rare sunset-lit vista while hunting for buried treasure was often reward enough.  Riccio

The 100 Greatest Video Games of All Time

3

Super Metroid (1994)

Perfection in game design is like pornography: You know it when you see it. And in Super Metroid, it’s plain as day. It isn’t exaggeration to say that every element of the game has been conceived and calibrated to something like a platonic ideal: its level design feels complex but comprehensible; its difficulty is precisely balanced; its controls are as smooth as buttercream; and, perhaps most crucially, its sense of atmosphere is richly palpable. The greatness of Super Metroid is apparent from the moment Samus Aran floats up from within her Gunship to stand poised and ready in the rain. It’s achingly beautiful. This is game craft at the height of elegance.   Marsh

The 100 Greatest Video Games of All Time

2

Chrono Trigger (1995)

Chrono Trigger is the easiest, conversation-ending answer to the question, “Why do you like RPGs?” It’s in the wonderfully written, infinitely endearing characters that are the best examples of each of their archetypes. The great, smart-alecky humor balanced with the impending doom waiting in 1999. The twists and turns in the plot, few, if any, of which are telegraphed from miles away. The consequences of your actions across the multiple timelines. The combat. The lack of random encounters. The score. That Mode 7 clock at the start that still feels like the beginning of something epic 20 years later. This is every JRPG element working in total harmony.  Clark

The 100 Greatest Video Games of All Time

1

The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (1998)

During the lengthy, groundbreaking development of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Shigeru Miyamoto envisioned a worst-case scenario in which Link would be restricted to Ganon’s castle throughout the game’s entirety, jumping through portals to enter mission-based worlds a la Super Mario 64. Let us be eternally grateful, then, that Miyamoto-sensei and his colleagues got a handle on their newly broken-in hardware before submitting their final product. There aren’t enough superlatives, in any language, to describe how important Ocarina of Time is, not only to the medium of video games, but to the act of telling and being enveloped by stories. You start the game as a child, and finish it as an adult, having traveled countless miles, meeting all sorts of different creatures, both familiar and foreign, and being tested in battle and by a slew of imaginative puzzles. The Great Deku Tree. Dodongo’s Cavern. Jabu Jabu’s Belly. The Water Temple (oh God, the Water Temple). Your premier foray into any of these environments isn’t easily forgotten, and the dungeons comprise only a fraction of the fantastical pleasures found in Ocarina of Time, a game that’s not just a game, but the birth of a memory that will be held dear for eternity.  LeChevallier

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