Computer games have been with us for decades now, and there have been thousands of releases on dozens of platforms. But which of these are the greatest of all?
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls series has been going on for a long time and has become a triumph of world-building in gaming. The fifth instalment – Skyrim – immersed players in this world like never before, and introduced more scope for people to roleplay an individual character such as optional thievery mechanics.
Portal created a slightly unexpected sensation and spawned a number of internet memes. It also combined a unique and charming sense of humour with innovative new physics-based game mechanics to create the freshest game the platform/puzzle genre had seen in a long time.
The Pokemon series is huge and this is largely down to the strength of the original games. It also serves as a cautionary tale. Despite being thoroughly polished, it was so extensively played that people still managed to find exploitable bugs – emphasising the need for software testing such as software testing by bugfinders on all software.
Age of Empires
Often, the best games are those that define genres, and Age of Empires certainly did that for the real-time strategy genre. It set the standard for this kind of game and, while the formula may have evolved over the years, it still stands today.
World of Warcraft
Another game that set the standards for its genre. World of Warcraft really helped the idea of Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games to take off. What’s more, it still remains one of the definitive games of this type, and is exceptionally popular.
While Age of Empires and World of Warcraft helped define genres, Pac Man helped define gaming as a whole. It was the first game to really pull together many of the elements that would define gaming over the following decades.
Final Fantasy VII
The Final Fantasy series is immense, and includes both wonderful and terrible games. Final Fantasy VII remains very much the franchise’s most glorious moment. It is considered the quintessential ‘JRPG’ and was also the game that made the franchise popular in Europe.
Another genre-defining classic, few games have been as influential as Goldeneye 64. When 3D game environments were in their infancy, Rareware quickly established a near-perfect formula that came to define First Person Shooters. Games like Call of Duty still follow this example.
Super Mario 64
Before 3D environments arrived, bitter rivals Mario and Sonic were the two undisputed titans of gaming. This game ended the war, and Mario emerged supreme. While Sonic struggled with the transition, Mario entered the new three-dimensional arena triumphant with the game that showed just what this new technology could do.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Nintendo 64 was a console that broke new ground, and this is perhaps why it has taken the top three spots on this list. Ocarina of Time has frequently been named the best game of all time, and this is hard to dispute. With varied environments, an immersive storyline in a beautifully-rendered Hyrule, and groundbreaking gameplay mechanics, it is still a truly epic gaming experience.