The year is over, so once again we thought it was time to make a list of the best games of all time. That’s no easy task, because so many great games have come out in the past thirty-five years. Nevertheless, we at the editorial team put our heads together, called each other rotten fish and cut the most emotionally charged knots. The result is this comprehensive list and a very grim atmosphere on the editorial staff.
It may sound somewhat crazy, but to make a list like this as fair as possible, you actually have to be flexible. For example, with sports games you often choose the best from the franchise, because they are usually released every year and sometimes differ little from each other. That while from franchises like those of Zelda or Mario you’re going to encounter multiple games in the list, though we tried to keep that to a minimum as well.
In addition, different aspects come into play when it comes to choosing a game. Thus, games are not all looked at in the same way, because some games have to make it mainly on the impact it had when it was released, while others have to make it on its playability or nostalgia. It is impossible to compare the first Mario game with, say, Red Dead Redemption 2, but you still have to make choices in such a list.
Fat chance you don’t agree with the list, we already couldn’t agree with each other on our small editorial team, let alone with the rest of the Benelux. Still, we would love to read your reaction to the list, stating that we are incredible sadists because we didn’t put your favorite game in the list. But even more fun, you probably have all kinds of memories of the games in the list and please don’t hide that, we enjoy reading them!
The 100 best games of all time (2023)! (100-96)
The 100 best games of all time (2023)! (95-91)
The 100 best games of all time (2023)! (90-86)
The 100 best games of all time (2023)! (85-81)
The 100 best games of all time (2023)! (80-76)
75. Little Big Planet (2008)
LittleBigPlanet was Media Molecule’s first game and the studio showed right away that it has a fresh take on gaming, focusing on creating your own content. This game became immensely popular in a short time, and that was mostly due to its cute but beautiful graphics and the features offered by the editor. It also gave Sony a new mascot for the PlayStation brand and it could have used that at the time. After all, it was lagging behind Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and with games like LittleBigPlanet, it finally managed to close that gap. Soon the community had created a wide variety of games and levels, and with users posting videos en masse on YouTube, the game received more and more attention.
Naturally, a sequel followed in which you could build and play even more, with slightly sharper graphics. After LittleBigPlanet 2 and Tearaway, Media Molecule went to work on their next project, and in the meantime, we also got a fairly fun platform game centered around Sackboy himself, although it didn’t have many other creative possibilities. Dreams also came out after that and was technically an ambitious game, in which you could create games but also movies. After a long development time, the game unfortunately did not become a huge success, although it certainly has a creative community.
What Media Molecule is currently working on? Well, they are working on a game about a toy train, in which you have to solve puzzles with the little train. The game is called Tren and looks pretty fun! Whether we will ever get another Little Big Planet game is unknown, but at least we won’t say no to it!
Moment of the game:
We played all kinds of fun mini-games made in Little Big Planet, but honestly we were a little less good at creating them. When downloading other people’s ideas, we often found out that we weren’t the only ones!
74. Streets of Rage 2 (1992)
Capcom’s Final Fight was immensely popular and made its way to the Super Nintendo via the arcade. Sega must have seen this and thought they could do this much better than Capcom and so Streets of Rage made its way into the arcade halls and Sega Mega Drive. The sequel to this game was indeed better than Final Fight, while it obviously took many elements from Capcom’s series. The controls feel better and, in addition, the music is to die for. And that was quite an achievement at the time, as the sound of the Sega Mega Drive normally sounds many times less than that of the Super Nintendo. Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima knew how to handle the audio of Sega’s 16-bit console like no other.
The characters are otherwise fine, and you have access to a small number of moves, including a strong attack that will cost you HP. Still, we are mostly reminded of Adam’s “Get uppa” or whatever he says. Two forward and B and Adam does a powerful uppercut and the great thing is that you can deploy it so nicely when you’ve already given someone a few blows.
A third volume also came out, but it somehow didn’t play as well and the characters were uninspired. For years Sega did nothing with the series other than endlessly porting the first two games, but the long wait was finally rewarded a few years ago! The fourth installment was also great and now Sega is even working on a 3D version of the series. We can’t imagine it will be as fun as it was in 2D, but we’re happy to be surprised!
Moment of the game:
Just like in Contra, there’s always that one loser who can’t resist picking up all the stuff, leaving you with an empty HP bar and he’s eating a nice chicken, even though his HP bar was already full from the previous chicken, which he finished a second before. Jerk!
73. Slay the Spire (2019)
Rogue-style games are all the rage at the moment, and Slay the Spire combines the genre with building a deck of cards. That seems boring, but secretly Slay the Spire is an absolute powerhouse of a game. You have 5 cards in your hand each time, with which you can attack, block or do something special. The battles are a lot like those old turn-based rpgs, where you have to balance killing the enemy and staying alive during battles.
The strength of Slay the Spire lies in the interaction between the cards, but also in the relics you can find. These relics provide a certain twist to your gameplay, so you would be crazy not to take advantage of them. As a result, you constantly adjust your strategy and it becomes important to choose or buy new cards that fit nicely into your battle plan. Once you notice what is possible, Slay the Spire begins to grab you, only to never let go.
There are also four different characters, each of which also has its own system. The Ironclad plays mostly with physical strength, The Silent with poison, The watcher with different “stances,” but our favorite is The Defect, who plays with orbs. All have all sorts of different collaborations of cards and relics, making every playthrough different. The game is super addictive!
Moment of the game:
Our editor Jos has “lost” a huge number of hours to it over the past few years, and he doesn’t regret it for a moment. In fact, it has a central place in his family! ‘We then have music on in the background via Spotify, making it a great time for us to have music on. In addition, it has helped our daughter with math!’
72. Mortal Kombat (1992)
Mortal Kombat was the American answer to Street Fighter 2 and changed the games industry forever. The game was full of violence and, along with Night Trap (Sega CD), caused games to have an age system in America. At the end of each fight, the winner gets the chance to literally make the opponent a head shorter, accompanied by lots of blood and lurid humor.
Incidentally, you had to have a Sega Mega Drive to see blood in the game (after entering the “blood code” A, B, A, C, A, B, B), as this was not in the Super Nintendo version. Nintendo indicated during a lawsuit that it would never show that kind of thing on Nintendo consoles, but money doesn’t stink and so there was ‘just’ blood in Super Nintendo’s Mortal Kombat II.
Mortal kombat is a series that still releases its parts every now and then, and by now you hear less whining about the violence in the series, even though the newer games are pretty violent. Just last year Mortal Kombat 1 came out, which gave the entire series a reboot. And so it is possible that sworn enemies can suddenly be friends and vice versa. Several films have since been released as well, the last of which was a few years ago. Still, it was also the first movie that was the most fun, despite not being a good movie by any means.
Moment of the game:
The fatalities were groundbreaking, of course, but it was mostly the rumors among fans of the game that made it all so unforgettable. The wildest cheat codes and characters made the rounds, but that didn’t mean it was all possible. Still, Reptile, a ninja with a reptile head, turned out to be found, which you could unlock by achieving flawless victory twice in a row on “The Pit. By the way, you couldn’t do this every time, it was only possible if something passed by in the background, which happened every 6th game on The Pit.
71. Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Sega wanted an answer to Super Mario Bros. and started researching what that should all look like. They finally came up with the idea of having a cool blue hedgehog run through levels, to show that Sonic is much cooler and faster than Nintendo’s fat plumber. Sonic came to life and was added to a competitively priced bundle with the Sega Mega Drive. While Nintendo had already held about 80% (!) of the gaming market for a few years, Sega still managed to attract attention in America, as well as in Europe, with that blue hedgehog.
Where everyone always talks about Sonic’s speed, we like the first Sonic precisely because it has a good mix of fast gameplay, but also good platforming elements where running fast is actually deadly. Later Sonic games, in our eyes, invariably made the mistake of being all about speed. Now we could go into a whole story about one Sonic game being better than this one, but then we’d be giving away too much. Just keep an eye on the list!
By the way, there are lots of versions of this game, but the best way to play it is on one of those old Mega Drive games. There are certainly compilation games, where you can find the first part as well, but by far most of those collections have lamentably poor emulation. The game also has a GBA port, but you can barely see any of the levels because so much of the entire screen is cut off (otherwise it won’t fit on a GBA screen). As a result, you can barely see anything coming, and with the fast-paced gameplay, that’s obviously a disaster!
Moment of the game:
Of course, we could start here again about how clever it is that Sonic made our Nintendo’s go by the wayside, but instead we’d like to take a moment to mention the game’s fantastic music. It often happens that we put on the tunes at home or at the editorial office and then “sing along” rock hard. Our favorite is the one from Star Light Zone, a nice jazzy feel-good tune that we always have a hard time getting out of our heads. You will probably have a different favorite, but that’s okay. In the end, Sonic’s soundtrack is one of unprecedented height and the series never came close to that quality after that.