The 100 best games of all time (2023)! (80-76) – That’s Gaming

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.

The rules

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)

80. Conker’s Bad Fur Day (2001)

A scheming squirrel with a big hangover jumps and shoots through colorful surroundings in an attempt to find his way home. Conker’s Bad Fur Day is chock full of hilarious characters and persiflages on well-known Hollywood films. Originally, developer Rare planned to make a kid-friendly game starring a squirrel, but luckily they recognized that there were already plenty of games like that on the Nintendo 64.

Rare was very nice on the Nintendo 64, and it’s a shame they didn’t make games of this kind of quality for years. Indeed; after Microsoft incorporated the studio, another remake of Conker’s Bad Fur Day was released. Despite looking great, they censored it quite a bit, even though it added a certain atmosphere to the game. Incidentally, you can find a fine version in Rare’s fine collection, Rare Replay.

If you play the game today you will notice that not everything has stood the test of time and that some jokes ‘can’t be done’ anymore. Still, it’s a fun ‘trip down memory lane’ and that’s why we at the editors enjoy spending a good few hours with the scheming squirrel every now and then.

Moment of the game:

If you’ve played the game then you already know what’s coming here. At one point you encounter a large monster made of poop. That sounds less funny than it is, but the monster turns out to be an excellent opera singer! Think of it as a level boss, which you fight during its serenade. A moment never to be forgotten!

79. Contra/Probotector (1987)

Up, Up, Down, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A … who doesn’t know the Konami code? In this game, it gave you 30 lives, and frankly, those extra lives come in handy when playing Contra for the first time. After all, the delightful blast-game is bruisingly difficult, but through trial and error, you’ll keep making progress. If you get hit once, you’re dead, and the idea is that you won’t make the same mistake next time, but it’s guaranteed that you’ll die at the next step. It is recommended to play this game in pairs, although it is useful to choose a friend who will not take away all the weapons. By the way, you already have to be very careful which weapon you grab, because your old weapon doesn’t come back and you can only have one in your pocket. Very annoying if you have a great weapon, but then accidentally pick up an inferior one, while you are just on your way to the level-boss.

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You may think: Contra, it looks familiar, but that name…. Yes here in Europe we know the first few games in the Contra series as Probotector… Somehow they thought we couldn’t handle it here if the violence didn’t come from robots. Contra itself was actually quite inspired by movies like Rambo and Predator, even the cover of the game is an outright copy. The Contra series is now also “just” called Contra here, and every now and then a new volume comes out.

By the way, this is not the only Contra game in the top 100, but that doesn’t mean the whole series is great, as Konami has lost the magic of the series for decades. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get another good installment, but the last few in no way came close to the Contra games of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Doesn’t really matter, because then we’ll just play the old classic games!

Moment of the game:

The moment of the game is actually a negative moment! You must have played this game with all kinds of buddies or schoolmates and then you know that fights can happen just like that. You can find power-ups by shooting flying objects, but there was always that one lame person who picked up all the power-ups, while you can only “carry” one at a time. Writing this, our blood still feels congealed from those moments.

78. Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)

Let’s get right to the point: without Halo, you wouldn’t be playing an Xbox right now. The first installment gave gamers a reason to purchase Microsoft’s first console and made many LAN parties happen. What a time! Four TVs, four Xboxes and a lot of refreshments proved to be the ultimate combination for evenings of unforgettable gaming fun. Despite GoldenEye 007 (N64), it was assumed at the time that first person shooters would never work successfully on a console, but Halo CE proved otherwise. Halo popularized, for example, the “go around the corner to get your shield fixed”-health system-as well as carrying only two weapons. The weapons themselves sounded nice and mournful and gave the game a military vibe, despite its large sci-fi content.

Developer Bungie made several more sequels with great success and then started working on the Destiny franchise. These days, every Halo game is made by 343i, though not always successfully. Many Halo fans miss Bungie’s work, but fortunately they can have their fun with Halo The Master Chief Collection, as it contains all of Bungie’s polished Halos. The difference between Bungie and 343i is easy to see in Halo CE’s Aniversary mode. Namely, you can switch between the old and new graphics and, while the new graphics are quite nice at times, it lacks the very atmosphere that Bungie was able to create.

Not all levels are equally good, for example, several sections of levels are constantly repeated, especially when the Flood starts interfering with the game. Again, this provides extra challenge during higher difficulty levels, but it is mainly the large outdoor levels that made Halo so good in the campaign.

Moment of the game:

The first time you crash on Halo you find yourself in the beautiful world of the ring planet, and many Halo players find that a great memory. Still, we have the best memories of playing with our buddies, on the couch or via LAN. And then it didn’t matter if we played against each other or the campaign, even if you could only do that with two of us.

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77. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)

Maybe this games wasn’t quite what die-hard Metal Gear Solid fans expected, but the gameplay in The Phantom Pain is rock solid. Countless missions let you complete entirely at your own discretion, while your abilities continue to expand. Your opponents also react to your choices, for example, if you often shoot your opponents in the head from a distance with a sniper, certain opponents will start wearing helmets. The controls are masterful, which is something we should probably miss in the series since the mastermind behind Metal Gear Solid, Hideo Kojima, has since left Konami.

Where previous volumes were full of endless cut-scenes and radio calls, in The Phantom Pain you get much more gameplay for your money. I myself have over 200 hours in the game and have enjoyed every second of it. It’s a great mix of stealth, exciting action, gathering resources, building “Mother Base,” ordering weapons and brainwashing enemy soldiers captured with balloons who then work for you.

Yes, there was also criticism from some fans, who found the story a bit sparse, and that is mainly due to Kojima’s previous games. After all, those were full of long cut-scenes, although the length of them was often criticized back then. Then again, you can’t please everyone all the time; for us, The Phantom Pain is one of the best games ever!

Moment of the game:

You have just completed a tough mission where you have put several enemies to sleep, tied them to a balloon and brainwashed them in your lab. You call your pilot to have the helicopter pick you up and you wait for it to arrive. The helicopter lands while “Take on me” by A-Ha blasts out of its speakers! A wonderful moment that immediately makes you feel good. Unbelievable that you can’t do this in more games!

76. God of War (2018)

The God of War series is one of high quality. The first few parts came out on PlayStation 2 and these were already fantastic, but God of War 3 held the throne for a long time. Great battles took place on huge enemies and the scale of these made for an epic spectacle. But then in 2018 came a reboot of the series and Greek mythology was traded in for Norse, with success. The game’s atmosphere still remained brutal, but the story and gameplay a lot more personal. You’re out and about as Kratos with your son, and while you try to teach him the finer points of “the trade,” you also try to keep him safe from all the evil you encounter along the way.

The graphics of all God of War games are beautiful and imaginative, while the reboot really pulls all the stops out of the PS4 cabinet to create a breathtaking world. This is typical of a story-driven PlayStation exclusive, whose quality drips off like a pair of swimming trunks just out of the water. Meanwhile, a second installment was also released on the PlayStation 5, and again it is delightful, but was ultimately less iconic.

We are also very curious to see what the future holds, as you can change settings quite often. For example, how about Kratos in Chinese or Japanese mythology? We would love that!

Moment of the game:

The man with bald bats is not alone this time, but with his son. He still has a lot to learn, so you often have to rescue him from trouble. Still, the dynamic between son and brutal father is one we won’t soon forget!

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