The Scientifically Proven Top 100 Video Games of All Time

When it comes to deciding which video games qualify as the best of all time, everyone has an opinion. And sometimes those opinions result in a violent argument over the mental faculties (or lack thereof) of the listmaker. So we thought we’d add a little science to the equation to find out exactly which games can be considered the “100 Best Video Games of All Time” and which ones have been fighting above their weight class all these years.

Sources and Methodology

This “Meta Top 100″ was compiled from six recent Top 100 lists and the 100 highest-rated games on GameRankings as of the the US release date of the most recent game selected by a source (April 30, 2012).

Each Top 100 list was chosen because it included titles from as many platforms as possible and stretched back multiple generations. As such, recent Top 100 lists from Nintendo Power and PC Gamer were excluded. No weighting of the sources was done as the “Meta Top 100″ uses the average position of each title in each list as the overall ranking. If a game was unreleased at the time of a list’s creation, it was not included in the game’s overall average. If a game was released and was unranked by a source, it was given a ranking of 101 from that source for averaging purposes. In the case of remakes (i.e. Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Source, they were considered one game for averaging purposes.

So, without further adieu, here are the sources used for our “Meta Top 100″:

IGN – Top 100 Games of All Time (Cut-Off: December 31, 2006)

Edge – The 100 Best Games of All Time (Cut-Off: June 30, 2007)
Source Notes: The ranking for “The Bomberman Series” on this list was folded into Super Bomberman for averaging purposes.

Edge – 100 Best Games to Play Today (Cut-Off: January 31, 2009)
Source Notes: The ranking for “The Bomberman Series” on this list was folded into Super Bomberman for averaging purposes.

Game Informer – Top 200 Games of All Time (Cut-Off: December 31, 2009)

G4 – Top 100 Video Games Of All Time (Cut-Off: December 31, 2011)

Games Radar – 100 Best Games of All Time (Cut-Off: March 31, 2012)

GameRankings (Cut-Off: April 30, 2012)
Source Notes: Multiplatform titles were only listed once with their highest score. Any game released before 1991 is not included in GameRankings’ database and any game released before the aggregator’s creation in 2000 without 10 reviews was removed from consideration due to an incomplete record of critical response.

It should be noted that another Top 100 list is currently working its way to completion: 1UP’s Essential 100. The feature is being spread out over half a year and four parts (one, two, and three are currently available). Hopefully it can be added to a future update of the “Meta Top 100.”

Alright, with all the housekeeping out of the way, let’s get to the list.

The List: 1 – 25

As if there was any doubt, Alexey Pajitnov’s puzzle masterpiece, Tetris, is “The Scientifically Proven Best Game of All Time.” It was included on every list and its lowest ranking was #9 in the Edge Special. But as with all “Top 100″ lists, it’s the exclusions that get all the hype. And in this case it’s the exclusion of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time from Games Radar’s list and Half-Life 2‘s exclusion from G4TV’s list. Both games have been battling it out as the presumptive “Best Game of All Time” for nearly a decade, but those exclusions pushed both a bit further down the list and allowed Tetris to sneak into the top spot.

However, it should be noted that this “Meta Top 100″ isn’t solely the domain of dusty (and sometimes musty) old games. The two newest titles on the list, Batman: Arkham City and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are both less than a year old and ranked within the Top 13.

Overall, Nintendo reigned supreme in the first quarter of the list as four Mario games (Super Mario 64, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Super Mario World), Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, and the aforementioned Ocarina of Time all made it into the Top 25. And for good measure, Nintendo also published the Game Boy/NES version of Tetris (considered by many, myself included, to be the definitive version of the game).

If you’re interested in The Complete List (which includes 334 titles), you can find it in Google Docs.

1. Tetris (1986)
Average Ranking: 4.7

2. Resident Evil 4 (2005)
Average Ranking: 12.3

3. Super Mario 64 (1996)
Average Ranking: 14.9

4. Super Metroid (1994)
Average Ranking: 16.8

5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991)
Average Ranking: 17.6

6. BioShock (2007)
Average Ranking: 19.2

7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
Average Ranking: 19.9

8. Half-Life 2 (2004)
Average Ranking: 20

9. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)
Average Ranking: 21.8

10. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
Average Ranking: 22.2

11. Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
Average Ranking: 22.4

12. Batman: Arkham City (2011)
Average Ranking: 23.7

13. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
Average Ranking: 26.3

14. Chrono Trigger (1995)
Average Ranking: 29.3

15. Red Dead Redemption (2010)
Average Ranking: 29.7

16. Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)
Average Ranking: 30

17. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997)
Average Ranking: 33.1

18. Mass Effect 2 (2010)
Average Ranking: 37

19. World of Warcraft (2004)
Average Ranking: 37.3

20. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010)
Average Ranking: 40

21. StarCraft (1998)
Average Ranking: 44.3

22. Shadow of the Colossus (2005)
Average Ranking: 45

23. Halo 3 (2007)
Average Ranking: 45.6

43 (tie). Ms. Pac-Man (1981)
Average Ranking: 46.2

24 (tie). Super Mario World (1991)
Average Ranking: 46.2

The remainder of the “Meta Top 100″ can be found on the next page.

This entry was posted in Features, Top Story and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
John Scalzo is Warp Zoned's Editor-In-Chief and resident retro gaming expert. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at john AT warpzoned DOT com.

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