What’s the Best Video Game From the Year You Were Born?

There were some close calls when making this list!
Michael Michael (179)
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Remember the first video game you played? (Note...the answer will age you!)

For many, video games stay in our memory as markers for certain periods of our lives—as long as your old enough. Like the Super Mario period, the Final Fantasy period, the Donkey Kong period, etc.

We invite spirited discussion below, telling us your favorite from any given year.

Video games are now a valid subject for historical study. They've been with us for so long, and the various developers and franchises have a history that's rich and fascinating.

You can use this list to check the best game from the year you were born (or the year your kid was born). Or, you can use this list as a journey through video game history. There were so many close calls making this list. We invite spirited discussion below, telling us your favorite from any given year.

Our list begins in the 1970s, when video games first entered the mainstream as arcades. The list then moves all the way to the current year (2020) for the newborns reading!

Note: that unless otherwise marked, all images are of gameplay taken directly from the game.

Want to play some of the older games on the list?

Many of the older games on our list can be played as ROMs for RetroPie. Check out our RetroPie FAQ page to learn more about RetroPie and consider building your own RetroPie gaming unit to play them!

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Galaxy Game

Galaxy Game

System: Arcade

Developer(s): Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck

History

One of the earliest attempts at a commercially viable arcade system, Galaxy Game was developed by Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck at Stanford University. The pair invested heavily into the connected arcade systems (the first of their kind) that would charge players 10 cents per game or 25 cents for three games. Initially, the novel arcade cabinets drew huge crowds around Stanford, but the project never became commercially viable.

Gameplay

GalaxyGame

Actually a remake of the early game Spacewar! (1962), players control two spaceships, lovingly referred to as "the needle" and "the wedge." They attempt to shoot one another down while also avoiding the stars flying past them. What's unique about the game is that the developers gave the ships Newtonian physics, which kept them moving even when they stopped accelerating. This was huge for the time period.

Did you know?

Galaxy Game was the second-ever game with the ability to charge people money to play the game. One play cost five cents.

Pong Arcade

Pong

System: Arcade (later Atari)

Developer(s): Allan Alcorn

History

The origins of Pong are somewhat disputed; though, Allan Alcorn is generally credited with developing the version of Pong that we know today as the original. He based his design on an early game on the Magnavox Odyssey—one of the first at-home video game systems. Magnavox sued Atari over Pong, eventually agreeing to share in the game's rights. Throughout the early 1970s, various video game companies leeched off the original's success, producing Pong-like games throughout the decade.

Gameplay

You know Pong! It's like low-fi tennis played without a net. Two players each control a verticle character that can move vertically on the screen. They must align the verticle character with the moving ball to hit the ball back to the other player. When the player misses the ball, it scores a point for the other player.

Sounds simple? Atari is still developing new twists on the classic game today, like their Mini Pong, Jr.

Did you know?

The original Pong arcades would break down very quickly after being installed in bars. It turns out that they were so popular they were overfilling with quarters, causing the breakdown.

space race gameplay

Space Race

System: Arcade

Developer(s): Atari

History

It was a slow year for games if you were born in 1973. Still, Space Race might be the best game on the list that never achieved any commercial success and made almost no money. The game's issue was simply that people were still excited about Pong, and the arcade cabinet, which had to be custom made, did not sell well at all.

Gameplay

In this two-player game, each player controls a spaceship that must fly from the bottom of the screen to the top of the screen. They can only move the spaceship up and down—and must avoid the dashes (asteroids) flying by horizontally. Each time a player reaches the top, they earn one point. When time runs out, whoever has the most points wins.

Did you know?

This largely unsuccessful game was only the second game from Atari, after Pong.

Tank Arcade Game

Tank

System: Arcade

Developer(s): Kee Games (Atari)

History

Atari established Kee Games as a subsidiary and fake competitor to sell clones of Atari Games as a competitor. Tank, however, was the only game fully developed by Kee Games not based on a previous Atari game. Tank became a huge commercial success and led to the release of follow-up arcade cabinets like Tank II, Tank III, and more.

Gameplay

Using a joystick, players control their tank's movement through the playing field. With buttons, players can fire shells at one another to destroy the opposing player's tank. When a player destroys the other tank, they earn one point. The tank revives, and gameplay continues until the timer runs out.

Did you know?

The joystick used for Tank became the same joystick that Atari used in the Atari 2600 home console.

Gun Fight Arcade Game

Gun Fight

System: Arcade

Developer(s): Taito (Japan) / Midway (USA)

History

Gun Fight was a huge leap forward in game development. Designed by Tomohiro Nishikado for Taito in Japan as Western Gun, the US license was sold to Midway, who designed an attractive cabinet for the game and added some key technical elements to the game. When Midway adapted it, it became the first game to use a microprocessor (8080) and a shifter circuit, which increased the fluidity of the graphics and animations. These elements would later appear in many arcade games, such as Space Invaders.

Gameplay

Ricocheting bullets! Yup. As expected, two players use a joystick and a button to fire bullets at one another—bullets that ricochet off of objects floating by like cactuses and trees. When one player is hit, a comedic "Got Me!" appears next to their body, and the shooter earns one point. The shot player revives, and gameplay continues until the time runs out. Whoever has the most points wins.

Did you know?

Gun Fight was the first game to show human-against-human combat? (Think they would have predicted games like Grand Theft Auto?)

Atari Breakout App iPhone

Breakout

System: Arcade (later Atari 2600)

Developer(s): Atari

History

Based on Pong, Breakout was released on May 13, 1976 and became an immediate hit. It was built by the legendary Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak. Atari asked him and Steve Jobs to cut down on the number of circuit boards needed to run this game, offering a bonus for every circuit board they could reduce. Eventually, the pair cut it down from 150 to only 44 circuit boards. However, Atari never used the Wozniak version because it was too compact and complicated for them to replicate. Much of the work on Breakout would aid in the development of the Apple II personal computer.

Gameplay

The player moves a horizontal platform left and right on the screen, which deflects the ball up into the 5-6 horizontal walls. When the ball hits the wall, that portion of it disappears. The player wins by safely removing all of each wall's portions without the ball falling past their horizontal platform.

Did you know?

Atari was almost unable to copyright the game because the courts ruled that the game was too simple and contained no copyrightable elements. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg ruled that it was copyrightable, however.

Space Wars Game

Space Wars

System: Arcade

Developer(s): Cinematronics

History

Larry Rosenthal originally designed the game for personal enjoyment, an MIT-grad, who also developed the hardware components necessary for him to play it. Later, Cinematronics aided in developing the later Space Wars system. Space Wars became the design that Cinematronics would use for many of its later games, all with vector-based graphic designs.

Gameplay

A two-player game only, each player uses one button to turn the ship left and another to turn the ship right. There's a button to thrust forward and another to shoot. Lastly, players could enter hyperspace, teleporting to a new random location on the screen. The object is to shoot down the opponent's ship and avoid the obstacles.

Did you know?

Space Wars was one of the first games to have an options menu—allowing players to select certain gameplay features like a gravitational star in the center of the screen or whether shells ricocheted.

Original Space Invaders

Space Invaders

System: Arcade

Developer(s): Taito (Japan) / Midway (USA)

History

An immediate success, Space Invaders became the highest-grossing game of its time. Many credit Space Invaders with making video games a global phenomenon. Tomohiro Nishikado designed it for Taito. To make the game, he had to design custom hardware for the Intel 8080 CPU and design custom development tools. The game used a multi-chip barrel shifter circuit, similar to the one used in Gun Fight.

Gameplay

Space Invaders was the first stationary shooter of its time and paved the way for other shooting games to follow in the subsequent years. A player controls a laser-shooting ship, moving it horizontally across the screen. The ship shoots upgradable lasers at waves of enemy ships and aliens (space invaders). The player must dodge the enemy ships and projectiles while earning a score for destroying the enemy ships.

Did you know?

Space Invaders's popularity continues today, particularly the image of the iconic enemy space invader. Invader, a French street artist, is well known for his depictions of the space invader in cities around the world.

Space Invaders Street Art
Asteroids Arcade Game

Asteroids

System: Arcade

Developer(s): Atari

History

Another space-themed game? For sure! The graphic limitations of games at the time were perfect for space-style games. Asteroids, however, raised the bar for vector games, where lines are drawn on a vector monitor. The game almost didn't see the light of day, however, when it was reported that play-testers were exhausted from not having a break from using the controls when playing the game.

Gameplay

Players use thrusters and control a ship's direction while trying to break up the huge asteroids that fly by on the screen. Players get points for shooting the rocks—the smaller the rock, the more points earned. The other goal is to ensure that the player's ship does not crash into the rocks, which break apart when they are shot. Players must fight the inertia of the physics-based ship.

Did you know?

The current world record in Asteroids is held by John McAllister who scored 41,338,740 points during a live-stream in Portland, OR.

Pac Man

Pac Man

System: Arcade

Developer(s): Namco

History

Toru Iwatani, the Japanese game designer, was inspired by pizza to create one of the more iconic game characters of all time. In fact, Pac Man is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential games of all time. Pac Man expanded the appeal of arcade and video games to an even wider audience (to include women) with its cute characters, colorful gameplay, and..oh yeah...ghosts! It became one of the first video games to utilize the then-revolutionary RGB color display.

Gameplay

A player controls "Pac-Man," who attempts to eat all of the small yellow dots on the gameboard without being caught by the ghosts. Whenever a Pac-Man eats a bigger yellow dot, the ghosts turn blue and can be captured by Pac-Man for points. There are varying levels and game layouts that players must navigate to earn a high score.

Did you know?

Each ghost has its own name, which is a clue for how it chases Pac-Man:

  • Shadow Blinky chases Pac-Man relentlessly
  • Speedy Pinky tries to outpace him
  • Bashful Inky uses complex methods to catch him
  • Pokey Clyde goes back and forth between chasing him and running away
Donkey Kong Original

Donkey Kong

System: Arcade

Developer(s): Nintendo

History

Created by the legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, Donkey Kong was a remake of a failed game venture called Radar Scope. Nintendo charged Miyamoto to redesign a game that would appeal more to an American audience. And history was made. After its release as an arcade cabinet, it was then ported to almost every major home computer and game device, including a handheld Game and Watch edition.

We had a bit of debate for this year's selection, which was close between Donkey Kong and Frogger.

Gameplay

Players play as "Jumpman" (later renamed to Mario) and must climb the construction site to save his girlfriend, Pauline, from Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong throws barrels that descend the platforms, which Jumpman must avoid.

Did you know?

Donkey Kong sparked a lawsuit by Universal Studios, which held the trademark to King Kong, the movie. Universal lost the lawsuit; otherwise, who knows what would have happened to the iconic game series.

Screenshot of Donkey Kong Jr

Donkey Kong Jr.

System: Arcade (later NES)

Developer(s): Nintendo

History

Why not just reverse the roles of Mario and Donkey Kong?! In the sequel to the popular Donkey Kong, Mario (formerly "Jumpman") is now the villain. The game was a huge leap forward in terms of graphics and sound for games, winning numerous awards in both categories. We can already see the beginning of Nintendo's next major game series in this one. Can you guess which one? (Hint: It's the next year's game!)

Gameplay

Players control Donkey Kong, Jr., who can climb ropes, jump on platforms, slide, and climb. Multiple types of enemies must be avoided, and bonuses such as cherries that Donkey Kong Jr. can acquire on his way to the key. He must reach the key hanging to a rope to unlock the cage that holds his father, Donkey Kong. There are a total of 4 stages to complete.

Game and Watch edition
Game and Watch Donkey Kong Jr Image

Nintendo released three different "Game and Watch" editions of Donkey Kong, Jr. Game and Watch editions of games became popular mini-versions of well-known Nintendo arcade games throughout the 1980s.

Mario Bros Gameplay

Mario Bros.

System: Arcade (later NES)

Developer(s): Nintendo

History

It's Mario! And Luigi! While Mario's first appearance may have been in Donkey Kong, it's in Mario Bros. that he becomes immediately legendary, as does the entire platform game genre. The game was designed by legendary designers, Shigeru Miyamoto and Gunpei Yokoi, who designed the game around the idea that Mario was a plumber living in New York City-based on his having a thick mustache and overalls. Both the arcade version and the NES-port were hugely successful.

Gameplay

Mario and Luigi, two plumbers in New York City, notice strange creatures in the sewers and investigate them. They travel through the pipes and navigate various platforms to move through. There are a variety of enemies the duo face. Even if defeated, the enemies will reawaken after a given time if the player does not complete the level fast enough.

Did you know?

Mario Bros. opens with the first movement from Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik!

Watch the video:

Tetris Original

Tetris

System: Electronika 60

Developer(s): Alexey Pajitnov

History

While working at the Computer Center of the Soviet Academy of Sciences as a speech recognition researcher, Alexey Pajitnov became interested in how our decisions when playing games reveal something innate about ourselves. The original game had no graphical interface. He designed the game as a series of bracketed dots, dashes, and rectangles that would fall toward the bottom. When he realized that the rows filled up rather quickly, he had the idea to automatically remove them when that happened. He later adapted the game to work on an IBM personal computer, and history was born.

Gameplay

Players must move and rotate the falling polygons to fit them like puzzle pieces into the rows below. In theory, players can continue to play forever—as the rows disappear when they are completely filled. The game ends when the falling pieces no longer fit on the screen and stop near the top.

Did you know?

The shapes in the game Tetris are called tetrominoes, which are geometric shapes composed of four squares.

Tetrominoes
Super Mario Bros. Gameplay

Super Mario Bros.

System: NES

Developer(s): Nintendo

History

The follow-up to 1983's best game, Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. is widely considered one of the greatest games of all time and the father of all platform games. Designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka spent three years perfecting their masterpiece. The game is often praised for its creative level design and its precision controls. Super Mario Bros sold more than 40 million copies, making it one of the best-selling games of all time.

Gameplay

Players control either Mario or Luigi in the Mushroom Kingdom. They must traverse various platform levels, avoiding enemies and collecting power-ups, as they attempt to rescue Princess Toadstool from King Koopa (Bowser). Power-ups include the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and the Starman. The screen side scrolls revealing more and more of each level. In the final stage of each world, players must fight Bowser—making this one of the first instances of a "final boss" in video games.

Did you know?

Super Mario Bros. contains an unbeatable glitch level called "World Negative One" in the first NES release. There's a hidden area to warp to in World 1-2, which can warp you to different areas. If a player uses a bug that allows Mario to go through walls, they can reach the "-1" level.

Legend of Zelda Original Gameplay

The Legend of Zelda

System: NES

Developer(s): Nintendo

History

Ah, yes. I remember slashing those bushes! Another ground-breaking first in a series of games by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka for Nintendo. The Legend of Zelda was completely innovative in terms of game design and gameplay. It's the first action-adventure game of its kind. It also was one of the first games to incorporate a rich and detailed storyline that began in the gamebook and continued in the game itself.

Gameplay

The game shows Link, the hero of the game, from an overhead perspective. He attempts to navigate various parts of the world in an attempt to save Princess Zelda. During the adventure, Link acquires various powerful items to help him in his quest. When killed, enemies drop Rupies—the in-game currency that Link can use to buy upgrades and hearts from the shops.

Did you know?

Princess Zelda was named after Zelda Fitzgerald—wife of the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Original Final Fantasy Gameplay

Final Fantasy

System: NES

Developer(s): Square

History

Another first in a long series of games that continues until today, the original Final Fantasy was one of the first known RPGs (Role Playing Game). The gameplay would be emulated by countless games. Designer Hironobu Sakaguchi based the game on the highly successful Japanese hit game, Dragon Quest. Final Fantasy marks the first game in an ongoing series that is currently at #16.

Gameplay

Players form a "party" or team of fighters that attempt to take down enemies in the fictional world. The world itself is governed by the four elements, as are each of the characters—who have their own unique abilities to aid the party. The party travels from town to town, collecting gold, acquiring items, and defeating the major bosses on their quest to restore the light orbs to each part of the world.

Did you know?

Final Fantasy received its name in part because designer Hironobu Sakaguchi considered giving up game design if Final Fantasy was not a success. He planned to return to teaching at the University. Of course, we know it was a huge success!

Super Mario 3 cover

Super Mario Bros. 3

System: NES (later SNES)

Developer(s): Nintendo

History

While this is technically the game's Japanese release date, it did first appear in the US as an arcade. Designed by the already famed team Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, Super Mario Bros. 3 completely expanded and heightened the gameplay features of the first two releases in the series. It's considered by many to be the best Super Mario game in the series. It was later remade for the Super NES, which provided the game with even slicker graphics and smoother responsiveness.

Gameplay

Super Mario 3 Gamplay

Like the others, Super Mario 3 is a 2D, side-scrolling platform game, where players must avoid or jump on each level's enemies. Again, Bowser has taken Princess Toadstool, and Mario and Luigi must navigate different worlds to try to catch his airship. They battle his children, known as "Kooplings," who appear as mini-bosses in the game. It's the first instance of a world map (aka Overworld Map) that the players can use to navigate between levels.

Did you know?

Super Mario Bros. 3 is still the highest-grossing, non-bundled video game of all time, when you adjust for inflation ($1.7 Billion).

Golden Axe Game

Golden Axe

System: Arcade

Developer(s): Sega

History

It's Sega's first entry into our list and for good reason. Golden Axe was just quite simply fun to play! Designed by Makoto Uchida, who previously designed Altered Beast (which didn't quite make our list), Golden Axe was thought to be part Street Fighter and part side-scroller. Uchida was inspired by his love for the Conan adventure movies.

Gameplay

Players could choose between three different kinds of heroes:

  • A battle axe-wielding dwarf, "Gilius Thunderhead"
  • A male barbarian, wielding a two-handed broadsword, "Ax Battler"
  • A longsword-wielding Amazon, "Tyris Flare"

Each hero had their own unique abilities and play styles. Players would advance through each level from left to right, fighting off enemies with attacks or magical spells. Players can ride steeds in the game, which provide a bonus to speed and new attacks. In addition to the Adventure Mode, there was a Duel Mode where players fought against increasingly difficult waves of enemies. Many of the gameplay features in Golden Axe would influence later game designers.

Did you know?

The contemporary hit games, Spelunky and Spelunky 2 are heavily inspired by Golden Axe, including the steeds and the game feature that spawns an unbeatable enemy to chase you if you take too much time on a level.

Mega Man 3 Gameplay

Mega Man 3

System: NES

Developer(s): Capcom

History

Capcom was reeling after Mega Man 2's success and worked to quickly establish the franchise of games as a competitor to Super Mario Bros. It almost never came to be, however, because of all the infighting and turmoil at Capcom during the time. The lead designer, Akira Kitamura, quit his job during the development, and many felt the project would never come to be. So the fact that Mega Man 3* still makes this list as the game of the year says a lot about this game and the franchise itself.

Gameplay

"Rush" is here! Mega Man 3 introduces the dog, "Rush," to the series, along with a whole host of new gameplay mechanics and abilities. Megaman continues to side-scroll through various levels, using his blaster to destroy enemies. At the end of each stage, Mega Man can pick up special upgrades for his blaster or his movement abilities that he'll keep throughout the rest of the game. Rush, the dog, has abilities all of its own, as well, that Mega Man can use to aid him.

Did you know?

Many consider Mega Man 3 one of the most difficult games ever made!

Street Fighter 2 gameplay

Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior

System: SNES

Developer(s): Capcom

History

Capcom delivers a one-two punch to the game industry! First Mega Man, now Street Fighter 2—what some consider the greatest fighting game ever made (if not the greatest game period). It's noted as one of the first games that sparked competitive gaming and as one of the top three best selling games of all time. It's hard to really state just how influential the game is. Many note the high-quality animation that's due, in part, to the ability for each character to use different amounts of memory to animate.

Gameplay

Players fight one-on-one against either the computer or human opponents in best-of-threes. There is a bonus stage in the one-player mode where players will do something like break a car or break barrels for additional points. Players can campaign against each fighter by traveling to their location on the world map. Unique to Street Fight 2* is selecting characters, each of whom has a unique ability and fight style.

Did you know?

Street Fighter 2 has been frequently sampled by numerous hip-hop artists and referenced in lyrics by rappers like Nicki Minaj, Lupe Fiasco, Dizzee Rascal, Lil B, and Sean Price.

Wolfenstein 3D gameplay

Wolfenstein 3D

System: DOS

Developer(s): iD Software

History

Often called "The Grandfather of 3D Shooters," Wolfenstein 3D is the third-installment in the Wolfenstein series of games. What makes the game unique is that it's one of the most successful "shareware" games of the time and demonstrated the viability of using shareware to make games. They released the first episode for free to drive up interest in the game. It helped popularize and set the gold standard for the first-person shooter genre. Its gameplay engine was licensed to many subsequent first-person shooters, as well.

Gameplay

Players play as Allied spy William "B.J." Blazkowicz during World War II. They must try to escape the Nazi dungeon called Castle Wolfenstein. On their way up the dungeon's various levels, they encounter Nazi troops, commanders, and even Nazi dogs! Players can find new weapons to use throughout the dungeon. The game appears as if in 3D, though the objects in the game are really 2D figures at different viewing angles.

Did you know?

To this day, Germany has refused to rate Wolfenstein 3D because of its depiction of Nazi soldiers and imagery. It was even banned in Germany until 2019!

Mortal Kombat 2 gameplay

Mortal Kombat II

System: Arcade

Developer(s): Midway

History

While many may have first experienced this game on the Sega Genesis, that was actually a later port-version of the arcade original. Mortal Kombat expanded the world and gameplay mechanics of its predecessor. It was an immediate success. Ed Boon, designer and programmer, cited Midway's care with making sure the gameplay was smooth. They also custom-built certain design functions to have features like built-in gravity in the game.

Gameplay

A new tournament is commencing, and the players must ascend the ranks to fight the evil emperor Shao Kahn. There are various combos and finishing moves available to each character that can be unlocked using a certain combination of buttons. There is also the addition of "Fatalities," which are special end moves to finish the opponent.

Did you know?

The blood depicted in the game had to be colored green to be allowed in Japan. It was completely banned in Germany. And met lots of critical resistance worldwide due to its depictions of violence.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 gameplay

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

System: Sega Genesis

Developer(s): Sega

History

The stage was set in 1994 for the next Sonic to be the one that brought the franchise to fame. Sonic even made our list of the higest-grossing franchise of all time! Sega initially began developing the game to be a 3D version that used a 3D chip, but the chip took too long to complete—so Sega decided to revert to a 2D version of the game. The game debuts a fan favorite: Sonic's rival, Knuckles the Echidna. In fact, a separate game, Sonic & Knuckles was originally intended to be one game with this version of Sonic; however, development took too long, so they decided to split the games. So Sega created a "lock-on" cartridge that allows the games to be combined. This was a pretty revolutionary idea.

Gameplay

Players can play as Sonic or Tails or both and advance through the 2D platform adventure. Tails can fly by spinning his tail in the air. Like the previous Sonic games, Sonic's health is determined by the rings he has collected. When he's hit, he loses some rings, as they scatter out of him. When he's hit without any rings, then he must go back to the beginning of the level, one life down. Each stage has mini-bosses. The final boss is Dr. Robotnik.

Did you know?

It's alleged that Michael Jackson began composing music for Sonic 3 and composed other tracks for Sega. However, Jackson's child sexual abuse scandal disallowed his work to be used in the game.

Chrono Trigger gameplay

Chrono Trigger

System: SNES

Developer(s): Square

History

The "dream team" came together to make what some consider to be the greatest game of all time, certainly one of the best RPGs of all time. The "dream team" was: Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series; Yuji Horii, creator of Enix's Dragon Quest series; and Akira Toriyama, a manga artist. The game featured several different endings and side quests that could be completed to develop certain characters. This was one of the first instances of these kinds of quests. It's also the introduction of "New Game Plus," where players, once they win the game, can start over with all of their items, gold, etc., and play through again.

Gameplay

Players control a party of characters through a 2D map world as they travel back in time to prevent the future apocalypse. Players can converse heavily with villagers and people to acquire quests, gold, and items. Chrono Trigger uses an "Active Time Battle" system, in which a character's speed stat determines the overall move order during a combat turn. Players can travel in time, and their past actions will affect how the game plays in the future. It's this kind of richness that makes it one of the greatest games of all time.

Did you know?

There have been two fan games created as sequels to Chrono Trigger: Chrono Resurrection and Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes. Both were terminated due to cease and desist orders by Square.

Civ 2 Gameplay

Sid Meier’s Civilization II

System: PC

Developer(s): MicroProse

History

What do you get when you combine an in-depth strategy board game with a genius game designer like Sid Meier? Civilization II—another frequent inclusion on lists of the greatest games of all time. And while Sid Meier is responsible for the idea of the game and the original Civilization, we must note that this version's success is due in part to designer Brian Reynolds's enhancements.

Gameplay

Players explore a global map, shown from the top-down. They must establish cities in key locations that allow them to access resources on the map. Other civilizations compete and develop military prowess to protect their resources, defend their cities, and attack other players. There were two ways to win in this version of the game: Be the first player to build a spaceship to Alpha Centauri or be the last player remaining (military victory).

Did you know?

Remember the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Miniprose sampled the sound effect from it for the combat between two infantry units.

Golden Eye 07 Gameplay

Golden Eye 007

System: N64

Developer(s): Rare

History

It's the first of the modern-day first-person shooters to make the list, but it won't be the last. It was originally conceived as a side-scroller led by designer Martin Hollis but transformed into a 3D game. It had meager expectations, as the team developing it was relatively inexperienced, but it arrived to great critical praise for its graphics and gameplay depth. It was one of the first games to have single-player missions and stealth elements for a shooter.

Gameplay

Players play as James Bond and must complete various objectives across the levels in the game. Many of the gadgets from the film are featured in the game, as well. Stealth is an important aspect of the game, as the more players fire their gun, the more enemies will continue to spawn. Players can collect and use varying guns throughout the game.

Did you know?

Golden Eye 007 was a test of sorts to see if a first-person shooter could be successful on a console using a controller. Oh boy! Could it ever!

Zelda ocarina of time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

System: Nintendo 64

Developer(s): Nintendo

History

For many Zelda fans, this game is the best one ever made. The fifth installment in the The Legend of Zelda series has 3D graphics for the first time. Ocarina of Time was originally released as a 64DD disc but was released as a cartridge instead. Legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto directed this project, which developed concurrently with Super Mario 64. Both teams were able to borrow ideas and design elements from one another. Critics who praise the game note that the game ticks off all the boxes, including sound, storyline, gameplay, and graphics.

Gameplay

Link must stop the villain, King Ganondorf, and he travels through a beautifully expansive 3D-rendered environment. Link uses swords, shields, and projectiles to do battle. A new feature called "Z-targeting" locks Link (and the camera) onto an object, person, or enemy. Link must learn various melodies on his ocarina, which later becomes the ocarina of time.

Did you know?

If you preordered the game, you received a special collector's edition of the game that came with a gold cartridge. This tradition began with the original Zelda and continued throughout the series.

Soul Calibur original

Soul Calibur

System: Arcade (later Dreamcast)

Developer(s): Namco

History

One of the legendary four when it comes to fighting games: Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, and Soul Calibur. Though many actually put Soul Calibur above them all. Why? For one, Soul Calibur was the first game to allow true 3D movement when fighting. Soul Calibur also focused heavily on using weapons, which added some gameplay variety to a fairly straightforward genre. Soul Calibur made huge leaps in character anatomy and physics engines in video games. The designers paid particular attention to how humans actually move when performing various actions, making the game even more realistic.

Gameplay

We already mentioned the revolutionary new 3D movement allowed to the fighters. Previously, you could only dash along the third axis but would return to normal lateral movement after. Another huge improvement with Soul Calibur is "forgive buffering," which makes it so a player can press the button for the next move while their character is still performing another move. This reduced the need for the kind of expert timing required to perform combos in other fighting games. Finally, blocking became a more robust action, which could be directed and used strategically.

Did you know?

Many cite Soul Calibur as the only reason to own a Dreamcast console! Disagree? Let us know why!

Diablo 2 gameplay

Diablo II

System: PC, macOS

Developer(s): Blizzard North

History

Who among us hasn't lost hours to the slash-and-run addictive gameplay of Diablo 2. This second version in the series far exceeded the first in terms of gameplay depth, storyline depth, and overall graphic quality. The one critique many had at the time is that during particularly intense moments in the game, it put quite a strain on a PC's limits. This also began Blizzard's history of taking a very long time to develop games. (This game took three years.) But it was worth the wait!

Gameplay

Players can play as one of 5 (later 7) different classes, such as a barbarian, warrior, or sorceress. Players followed the storyline to different maps and different worlds, where they fought hoards of enemies in a quest to find Diablo. Along the way, players acquired items that would drop at different rates depending on the item's rarity. (This was s system borrowed from Baulder's Gate.) Players could acquire sets of items, giving extra powerful effects. The game introduced the idea of "farming," which meant fighting easy enemies to acquire rare loot and gold.

Did you know?

Diablo II is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest-selling computer game ever sold! It sold over 1 million units in only the first two weeks of release.

Grand Theft Auto 3 with Toys

Grand Theft Auto 3

System: Playstion 2 (later PC/Xbox)

Developer(s): Rockstar Games and DMA Designs

History

Oh boy! This game caused tons of controversy when released due to its depictions of violence, sex, and drugs. It stirred up controversy about whether or not games influence how people act in real life, as well. It did so many things well, however, that it earned its place as the hands-down game of the year for 2001. Many cite GTA3 as a forerunning in realistic 3D-world rendering that would create a living, breathing world fresh for the player as new parts of the world rendered. Also groundbreaking was the developers' choices when it came to in-game sound. Most of the in-game music comes via the radio in the player's vehicle. Player's can switch radio stations while driving to change the background audio.

Gameplay

Players play as Claude, who is betrayed during a bank robbery by his girlfriend. You must complete missions and explore the world to try and track her down. Missions often involve acting as a hitman or finding money. Players can acquire safehouses in various parts of the world to store guns and other goods. As players complete missions, they unlock new guns, earn more money, and get closer to the goal of...vengeance!

Did you know?

Rockstar's been taken to court numerous times because of the game. The most famous case involved two teenage stepbrothers, William and Josh Buckner, who shot and killed Aaron Hamel and Kimberly Bede. They claimed to be inspired by GTA3.

Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind Gameplay

Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind

System: Windows / Xbox

Developer(s): Bethesda Game Studios

History

One of the most expansive, detailed worlds ever created in a video game, Morrowind ranks high among those who love open-world designs with seemingly endless avenues for exploration. Developers used a licensed copy of NetImmerse to craft the world of Morrowind, which allowed them to enhance visual effects like light-on-water. It was one of the first games of its kind to allow players to completely disregard the main plotline (if they chose to) and follow the natural flow of their exploration to complete the game in different ways.

Gameplay

While there are a main plotline and story, players create their own character and choose their own path through the game. Players can customize their character's attributes and skills—and advance them throughout the game to go for different strategies. Players roam from the first person point of view and use weapons and spells to take down powerful enemies and foes.

Did you know?

Bethesda allows players to make their own plugins or add-ons to the game. These plugins are usually easy to install and can change almost everything in the game, including enemies and surroundings.

Star Wars Knight of the Old Republic Gameplay

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

System: PC / Xbox

Developer(s): BioWare

History

We all know how picky Star Wars fans can be when it comes to content. So finally, along came a game with which Star Wars fans could be satisfied. This also happens to be considered the best Star Wars game ever made due to its rich storyline, compelling characters, and incredible audio. Both BioWare and collaborate, LucasArts, sought to create an entirely new chapter in the Star Wars universe, which added to the original story and served as its own plot. Some consider this one of the greatest games ever made.

Gameplay

Players can choose to play as a Scout, Soldier, or Scoundrel—and can even perform actions throughout the game to align themselves with the light or dark side of the force. Knights uses round-based combat, where characters can perform a certain number of actions per round. Players also make decisions during dialogue scenes, where the choice of their words will matter to who they are and how the plot unfolds.

Did you know?

Many people love this game for its orchestral sound. But there's actually no orchestra. Because composer Jeremy Soule only had an 8 megabit per second MIDI system, he had to write each instrument separately and record them separately as well.

This game also made it on our list of the Best Video Games of All Time.

Half-life 2 gameplay

Half-life 2

System: PC / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3

Developer(s): Valve

History

Using a large team and a new in-house game engine called Source, Valve sought to create the best FPS (first-person shooter) of all time. They used an almost unlimited budget to make the game and four years of development time. And in most people's opinion, Valve succeeded in its efforts. They crafted a game with a highly advanced physics engine, richly detailed characters, and an engaging story. They were also able to release the game on their new distribution platform, the now-widely used Steam.

Gameplay

Players play as Gordon Freeman and collect an arsenal of powerful weapons as they level up throughout the game. There is the main storyline, which can be followed throughout, and a host of optional stories with which a player can engage. It's unique in that it contains no cut-scenes but uses only in-game dialogue to continue the narrative forward.

Did you know?

An early version of the game was hacked and leaked, which delayed development for a year. A long enough wait, considering the game was already being developed for four years.

Resident Evil 4 Gamplay

Resident Evil 4

System: Gamecube

Developer(s): Capcom

History

The Resident Evil franchise is known for making the kind of games that will scare the living daylights out of you! Seriously. The games do a great job of simulating the actual experience of watching a scary movie—where suddenly something will jump out at you from a closet. A game not for the faint of heart is what we're getting at here. And many consider this to be the best of the franchise. Originally this game was to be an exclusive Gamecube game but was ported to other systems—a good plan, as the game sold more than 10 million copies.

Gameplay

One of the first games to utilize an over-the-shoulder view, it went a long way to popularizing that view among gamers. Players play as Agent Leon S. Kennedy, who has to rescue the President's daughter from a cult. Players are offered context-sensitive controls that change depending on the situation they are facing. They also have quick events that trigger, where players must hit a certain combination of buttons to win the encounter. Throughout the game, players collect new weapons and...well...try to survive!

Did you know?

According to the Guinness Book of World Records,Resident Evil 4 holds the record as the best-selling "Survival Horror" game ever made.

Legend of Zelda Twighlight Princess gameplay

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

System: Gamecube / Wii

Developer(s): Nintendo

History

Who would have guessed that another Zelda game would find its way onto the list?! But if you're lucky enough to be born in 2006, you're born on the year that Zelda made a huge departure in terms of the series's overall tone. Some loved it. Some hated it. But either way, Nintendo improved upon its previous attempts at world-building and art design. The team worked to make a simultaneous release possible for both the new Wii and the Gamecube—and have the game take advantage of the new features that the Wii offered. It's definitely one of the top five Zelda games of all time, and some claim that it's the best.

Gameplay

Players play as Link, who is on a quest to prevent the parallel dimension, called the Twighlight Realm, from taking over Hyrule. The game takes place over-the-shoulder of Link, who must complete puzzles, battle enemies with context-sensitive controls, and, yes, even aim (if you were on the Wii version). Players enter one of nine dungeons to collect items and solve the puzzles. The world Link travels through is quite large, and he can acquire a steed to navigate it more quickly. The physics of horse riding in the game is particularly impressive for its time!

Did you know?

Developers had to literally flip the game when they were porting it to the Wii from the Gamecube. They were having issues with the controls for each of Link's arms, and the fastest way to solve the issue to make a mirror image of the entire game and go from there.

Bioshock Gameplay

BioShock

System: PC / Xbox 360

Developer(s): 2K Games

History

The game is a masterpiece! Seriously. Think: steampunk meets Resident Evil, but better! If you've never played a game from the BioShock franchise, then you're missing out on some seriously stunning visuals and haunting audios. The design fashion is very steampunk, and many credit BioShock for bringing steampunk fashion back in some ways. The storyline is also incredibly rich and involving that one feels like they are in on a good movie, and half of the fun of continuing the game is finding out how it ends. I won't tell you how!

Gameplay

BioShock is a first-person shooting game that combines elements of many other game types, including RPGs, adventure games, and puzzle games. Players play as Jack in an eerie half-underwater world known as Rapture. In addition to weapons, players have plasmid, which grants them powerful abilities for a time. Players hack into the various systems of Rapture to attempt to find a way out into the real world. But is there a real-world even waiting? Or is Rapture all that's left of humanity?

Did you know?

BioShock was nearly a film! It made it all the way to the production stage before Warner Bros. pulled the plug out of fear that it wouldn't perform well. Gore Verbinski was the director.

Spore Game

Spore

System: Windows / Mac

Developer(s): Maxis

History

Fans waited a long time for this one. I mean...a LONG time. But when players finally had their hands on Spore, they witnessed a groundbreaking new concept for video games—one that not only involved engaging strategic gameplay but had built-in scientific lessons regarding evolution as well. The idea of raising a species from a microscopic organism into a complex species was certainly novel and gave players a God-like feeling of controlling every aspect of their burgeoning world. It received mixed reviews, mostly regarding the game's fairly simple actual gameplay. As novel as it was, many felt the game lacked real gameplay depth. The game also had some DRM (Digital Right Management) issues that left some players at a security risk when they had to constantly re-authenticate their accounts. Still, it's an inventive and important game in game history!

Gameplay

Players grow their little micro-organism through different stages that require different ways of interacting with a digital world. Players customize their organism to survive in these new environments. Players face various foes that they must overcome on their way to reach the Space Age, where they do battle with aliens to win the game.

Did you know?

Major scientists worldwide have reviewed Spore to verify its scientific accuracy, who found that the game definitely deviates from the classical conception of evolution but does a pretty good job on the basics!

Call of Duty Modern Warfare gameplay

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

System: Windows / Mac / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / Wii

Developer(s): Infinity Ward

History

While the previous games in the Call of Duty franchise were definitely good (and getting better), this is the game that sealed the franchise's success. The level of detail in the game—from a physics engine that calculates how much a bullet will penetrate based on the environmental factors to the realistic cover provided (or not provided) by certain objects in the world—is astounding! Not only is the gameplay good, but the storyline even mirrors some of the actual historical events of the time, regarding terrorism in particular.

Gameplay

Players play as a US Marine and engage in several different missions in the Middle East and a Russian civil war. It's a first-person shooting game that asks players to use stealth, follow commands, give commands, and fire weapons to secure objectives. It's meant to mirror the experience of actually engaging in action-packed combat closely. Besides the single-player campaign, players can play in a multiplayer mode against other players. It's this multiplayer mode that gave the game its longevity.

Did you know?

People still play this game's multiplayer mode, and the remastered edition of the game continues to sell well.

Mass Effect 2 gameplay shot

Mass Effect 2

System: Windows / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3

Developer(s):

History

Welcome to the decade of the shooting game! Seriously. From 2010 to today, shooters, whether 1st or 3rd-person, took over the gaming industry. They just kept getting better! And Mass Effect 2 is evidence of the beauty that can be achieved in the genre. One change to the genre that Mass Effect 2 initiated was having guns that weren't endlessly upgradable. Essentially, guns work as intended when you first pick them up. This idea made sense to gamers and found its way into many future shooting games. Mass Effect 2 is also part shooting game, part RPG.

Gameplay

Players play as Commander Shepard and travel via starship to stop the alien invasion in the Milky Way. Players engage in combat as a squad, with the AI being controlled by the computer intelligence (or lack thereof). Players can issue commands to the squad if needed. Dialogue and story are complex. Even when speaking to other characters, Choices made will affect how others treat Shepard throughout the game.

Did you know?

In 2011, Mass Effect 2 was included as one of 80 titles from the past 40 years to be placed in the Art of Video Games exhibit in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Catwoman scene Batman Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City

System: Windows / Mac / Playstation 3 / Xbox 360 / Wii U

Developer(s): Rocksteady Studios

History

Anyone who's ever seen or played Batman: Arkham City immediately notes the stunning visuals and visual effects in the game—particularly in combat scenes. The game certainly lived up to the hype surrounding it, given the expansive marketing campaign and multiple album releases that accompanied it. The game does well what you'd want an action-combat game to do well—action and combat. Developers spent a great deal of time perfecting the ability to combo and block-combo as Batman. Oh, and did we mention you get to play as Catwoman? (See gameplay still above.)

Gameplay

Players can play as Batman or Catwoman and follow a plot taken partly from the Arkham City comics. (Don't worry; no spoilers here.) They defeat enemies throughout the city to find out who is the mastermind behind Arkham City. Batman can use his fists (of course) and various gadgets to take down his foes. The combat is very smooth, and players can perform multiple actions in a matter of seconds.

Did you know?

The game has some serious voice actors for the characters like Paul Dini, Mark Hamill, and Kevin Conroy.

roland borderlands 2

Borderlands 2

System: Windows / Mac / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / Switch

Developer(s): Gearbox Software

History

The original Borderlands was very close to making the list in 2009, and the sequel only surpasses the first. The original game was an unexpected success. It turns out that gamers were really into the unique visual style and cheeky story elements that the game provided. So Gearbox had a much bigger budget when it came to improving on the first game. What made the game even better was the Gearbox interacted directly with the fanbase of the game and sought to make a game that took into account many of its fans' requests.

Gameplay

Borderlands 2 is a first-person shooting game with some RPG elements that take place in...you guessed it...the Borderlands, a semi-open world map. Players can play as one of four classes, each with their own unique play style and abilities. New weapons and gear can be purchased or found in the world. Players upgrade throughout the game after completing missions and can gain new abilities for their character. The game has a wonderful half-cartoon, half-real feel that adds to the unique visual style.

Did you know?

Through 2015, Gearbox continued to release new content, loot, and even the chance to win $50,000 to players who continued to want more content from their favorite game.

Super Mario 3D gameplay still

SuperMario 3D World

System: Wii U

Developer(s): Nintendo

History

A blend of the best of 2D side-scrollers with 3D elements, Super Mario 3D World continued Nintendo's tradition of making downright fun-to-play Mario series games. Many of the original game elements, such as the power-ups, make an appearance, but the game adds new intriguing puzzles and challenges to its arsenal.

Gameplay

Players play as either Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, or the unlockable Rosalina. Bowser has captured the Sprixie princesses, and the characters must save them. Players will note the many throwback elements from the original series, including the characters' abilities, power-ups, and even the flagpole ending. Added are a host of features for the Wii U controller setup, including the ability to blow into the microphone to reveal things and rub the touchscreen to make things happen.

Did you know?

The game was re-released for the Nintendo Switch in 2020, titled Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, as part of the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Nintendo Direct.

Middle-earth Shadow of Mordor gameplay

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

System: Windows / Playstation 4 / Xbox One

Developer(s): Monolith Productions

History

Given the popularity of The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, it was only a matter of time before Warner Bros. decided to recreate the world of Tolkien. Unlike other games based on movies, however, Shadow of Mordor is actually fun to play and visually stunning. It has its own storyline based on the original series, which is compelling all on its own. Some critics cite that the overwhelming majority of the game is spent killing Orcs, but the game definitely appealed to any fan of the Tolkien trilogy.

Gameplay

Players play as Talion, a ranger, who bonds with the wraith of the Elf Lord Celebrimbor and has shared memories with him. They set out to avenge the deaths of their loved ones simultaneously. Players use a variety of weapons, including swords and knives, to combat Orcs and other foes. Unique to the game is the "Nemesis System" of combat, which gives the AI a memory of how the player acted in the past and change their strategy/plot accordingly.

Did you know?

Warner Bros. was embroiled in a legal battle over their offering prominent reviewers and Youtubers contracts to review the game favorably. The Federal Trade Commission found that they must declare any future sponsorships in the future.

Super Mario Maker interface

Super Mario Maker

System: Wii U / 3DS

Developer(s): Nintendo

History

If there are two things we love at Howchoo, it's making things and Mario! And that's exactly what Super Mario Maker allows a player to do. It's the tonic to every gamer who's ever said, "I could totally make a better level than this." And you know what...many gamers did exactly that. Some of the creations that can be accessed via the online Course world are simply amazing!

Gameplay

A player can design their own Super Mario course for other players to play through, or they can simply play the players' creations. Players can even vote on their favorites, allowing some levels to rise to the top! You're given access to many of the classic Mario elements to create your level, as well as some new exciting elements to include. New DLC adds elements to the game that can be used to create levels, as well.

Did you know?

Nintendo did receive some criticism for deleting people's levels without warning due to low popularity, which was never clarified. So if you plan to make a level, better make it good - or it just might go away.

The hardest level?

We're not sure! But here's some gameplay footage of one of the hardest Mario levels we've seen!

Watch the video:

Overwatch gameplay

Overwatch

System: Windows / Xbox One / Playstation 4

Developer(s): Blizzard Entertainment

History

The first full multiplayer game to make it on our list (multiplayer online battle arena). Overwatch sets the stage for future games like Fortnite and Player's Battleground. The game is free-to-play, with the option to purchase in-game cosmetics and other cosmetic items. Overwatch is Blizzard's first new game release since StarCraft, so, for Blizzard fans, it was a long time coming.

Gameplay

Players are placed on a team in one of many arena maps, and they need to accomplish certain goals while fending off the enemy team. There are various characters to choose from, each with their own unique abilities and fighting style. If a player's character is killed in the game, it respawns from the team's home base.

Did you know?

Overwatch has an active professional esports league, with players competing worldwide for huge cash prizes.

Watch the video:

Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild gameplay

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

System: Switch / Wii U

Developer(s): Nintendo

History

Breath of the Wild is hands-down one of the most beautiful games ever made! From the stunning lighting to the incredible world to explore, one could get lost in this game forever. The world rewards players who choose to explore non-linearly and try side-quests and missions. The game took about 5 years to develop and was the launch game for the new Nintendo Switch. It's regularly cited by critics as one of the greatest video games of all time.

Gameplay

Players play as Link in the Kingdom of Hyrule. The game uses both a physics and chemistry engine that make interacting with the environment incredibly real. For example, during a lightning story, players should not wear metal for the increased chance of getting struck by the lightning. Link has a stamina bar that players must negotiate to perform various actions. Players complete quests and challenges, as they collect memories in an effort to rebuild their world.

Did you know?

Breath of the Wild was originally designed as an 8-bit prototype with the exact same graphics as the original Zelda game. It was used as a proof-of-concept. Players are still waiting for Nintendo to release that version of the game!

Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay

Red Dead Redemption 2

System: Windows / Playstation 4 / Xbox One

Developer(s): Rockstar Studios

History

The original game, released in 2010, nearly made it onto our list that year, losing out to Mass Effect 2. But the follow-up from Rockstar Games turned out to be even better than the first. Drawing inspiration from real-life locations throughout the American West, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a visually stunning, western-themed third-person shooting/adventure game. The game garnered numerous awards and generated $725 million upon its release. Many consider this to be the game that opened the door for video games to be seen as works of art, rather than just entertainment pieces. The game is universally praised for its visuals and soundtrack.

Gameplay

The game is set in a western-themed open world, where players control Arthur Morgan. There are numerous missions and side quests to complete, replete with a host of western-themed baddies. Random events occur throughout the game, which a player can choose to partake in, as well. Players acquire guns and gain skill at numerous elements within the game, such as shooting, riding, and hunting.

Did you know?

There's an online multiplayer version of this game called Red Dead Online, where players can form groups and explore the world to gain experience and secret weapons.

Sekiro gameplay

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

System: Windows / Playstation 4 / Xbox One

Developer(s): FromSoftware

History

This choice is likely to be contested, as the Sekiro was up against Death Stranding and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Still, we give Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice the edge due to its unbelievable visuals and rich storytelling. We're also just huge fans of old Samurai movies, and with Sekiro, you get to feel what it's actually like to play in one of those movies. Set in a fictional Japan during the Sengoku period, there are tons of Buddhist myth and ideology references.

Gameplay

The game follows Ukonzaemon Usui, an orphan, who is seeking to protect his clan. This third-person action/adventure game focuses heavily on stealth, rewarding players for sneaking their way through the various towns and camps they encounter. There are tons of upgrades that players can earn during their journey. The main weapon a player must master, as expected, is the katana, which can be wielded with precision and deadly accuracy.

Did you know?

There were actually many female Samurai warriors during various periods in Japanese history, and we can't wait for a game to feature them!

female samurai warriors
Wikipedia
Animal Crossing Gameplay

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

System: Switch

Developer(s): NIntendo

History

This latest release in the Animal Crossing megaverse has to be included on the list this year because it's a game that's synonymous with the Covid-19 pandemic. The game allows players to socialize in the Animal Crossing world while staying safe at home and social distancing. Its incredible sales in 2020 are partly attributed to so many people's social distancing and discovering video games. Animal Crossing has a mass appeal to gamers of all generations.

Gameplay

Players play as a human amidst anthropomorphic animal creatures, as they partake in the various aspects of village life, like fishing, catching bugs, and hunting for fossils. The game's clock and the real world clock take are synchronized, so it simulates the time of the day for the player. The game's goal is murky, but generally, the goal is to make sure the village thrives well. It's one of the most open-ended games ever made, with players given the option to participate in the game however they'd like.

Did you know?

The game was inspired by Animal Crossing designer Katsuya Eguchi's real-life journey from his home village to Nintendo headquarters. He wanted to make a game that simulated his feeling of aloneness away from his family and friends.

Tennis for Two Game

Tennis for Two

(Pictured above.) Considered to be one of the first video games ever made, Tennis for Two was developed in 1958 by American physicist William Higinbotham. The game is shown on an oscilloscope and played with two custom aluminum controllers. Players must use the aluminum knob to adjust the angle of their ball's trajectory over the "net".

Spacewar!

Spacewar Game

Spacewar! was designed in 1962 by American computer scientist Steve Russell. Written for the brand new DEC PDP-1 minicomputer at MIT, it became a collaborative effort among the students and faculty. Players play as either a "needle" or "wedge" and attempt to shoot down the opposing player's ship. It was an extremely important game in video game history, as it set the stage for other space-themed games like Space Invaders.

We challenge anyone to beat every game on this list.
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Video games are for everyone these days and with a wide selection of demographics comes a wide range of difficulties.