This is what we believe to be the most accurate, totally unbiased list of the best video games of all time anyone has ever created.
This article is more than 2 years old
So many platforms to play on, some games translate better on one than the other. Then there is personal taste. What was fun in our childhood doesn’t quite translate as an adult. How do you come up with a list of the best video games of all time? We have the answer.
We’ve created a complex scoring system by combining game scores from some of the most respected sources and applying a mathematical calculation to sort them out. The result is what we believe to be the most accurate, totally unbiased list of the best video games of all time anyone has ever created.
Here they are: the 20 best video games of all time ranked and in order.
20. TETRIS | 1980
- Metacritic – 85 IGN – 90 Gamespot – 90 AVG – 88.33
The first version of Tetris was created in 1984 by Soviet Russian software engineer Alexey Pajitnov. The game was then exported to the United States for the Commodore 64 and IBM PCs.
The game’s biggest success happened 30 years ago Nintendo introduced the puzzle game Tetris on its handheld Gameboy system. Tetris on Gameboy was an immediate hit and its popularity only soared. It was an addictive game; one you could get lost in for hours.
The basic gameplay was simply. Maneuver tiles into place as they fell from the top of the screen. As gameplay advanced, the tiles would move faster. Sounds simple enough, right? But those who have a history with the game, and there are plenty of you, know just how frustrating Tetris can be. That frustration with the games endless stream of falling blocks isn’t enough to keep this icon off a list of the best video games of all time.
19. SUPER MARIO WORLD | 1980
Best Video Game In Class: Side-scrolling Platformer
- Metacritic – 88 IGN – 85 Gamespot – 94 AVG – 89
Super Mario fans were excited by the introduction of Mario’s dinosaur friend Yoshi in this, the fourth platforming game in the Super Mario series. In Super Mario World Mario, along with Luigi and Princess Peach, are on vacation in Dinosaur Land. While relaxing on the beach, Princess Peach disappears. When the boys wake up, they begin to search for her and come across a giant egg. The egg hatches and out pops Yoshi. He informs the boys that his friends have been imprisoned in eggs. It’s now up to Mario and Luigi, along with Yoshi, to save his friends as well as the oft-kidnapped Princess.
There are fun, new elements introduced. With certain power-ups, Mario is able to float or fly. Also, not only is Yoshi able to run-jump-stomp the bad guys, but he could also eat them. Yoshi can unleash his red tongue upon Koopas, Goombas and Monty Moles and never have a full stomach.
Super Mario World is the only side-scrolling platformer to make its way into the top twenty. So in addition to earning its spot at number 19, it earns the title of Best Side-Scrolling Platform Game Of All Time.
18. MINECRAFT | 2011
- Metacritic – 93 IGN – 90 Gamespot – 85 AVG – 89.33
Minecraft, the best-selling game on the planet, comes in at number 18 for obvious reasons. It’s popular and it is fun so it’s a fit on any best video games of all time list.
Minecraft’s charm, though, is in its blocky appearance. Characters, materials, animals, and creatures all have that squared, blocky look to them. The game has four different modes of play; survival, creative, adventure and spectator. While there is no set goal to accomplish, these different modes allow players to interact how they wish. For instance in survival mode, players gather natural resources in order to build their world. Players have a health bar that depletes upon every attack from creatures or a number of other obstacles tossed at them.
17. BLOODBORNE | 2015
- Metacritic – 92 IGN – 91 Gamespot – 90 AVG – 91
Plenty of skill is needed when it comes to this highly acclaimed, but quite difficult Playstation 4 game. Bloodborne doesn’t give much help in terms of gameplay instruction, so be on your toes for this one.
The story, as it is, follows a hunter through the city of Yharnam, trying to find the source of a blood-borne disease that has infected the cities inhabitants. You collect items along the way to help strengthen your character and his weapons. Not for the faint of heart or one who doesn’t like to put a lot of thought into their gameplay.
16. DARK SOULS | 2011
- Metacritic – 89 IGN – 90 Gamespot – 95 AVG – 91.33
Death, death and more death. If you don’t like to die in games, then perhaps Dark Souls won’t be your cup of tea. Death in Dark Souls is a learning experience. You will die many different ways; by the edge of an ax, the blade of a sword, impaled by fangs, crushed by boulders. You will be eaten, stabbed, poisoned and pushed off cliffs. You may die in the game, but Bloodborne lives comfortably on our best video games of all time list at number 16.
Death though, is unrelenting. Its setting, in the fictional kingdom of Lordran, sees the players cursed character roaming this kingdom, trying to discover the fate of undead humans. There is plenty of combat and magic with very challenging gameplay as players are expected to piece together clues to understand its story.
15. PORTAL 2 | 2011
Best Video Game In Class: Puzzle Platform
- Metacritic – 95 IGN – 95 Gamespot – 90 AVG – 93.33
If you like comedy with your puzzles then Portal 2 is your game. Portal 2 builds on the original as GlaDOS, the murderous robotic operator of the Aperture Science facility, is back, bigger and funnier than ever.
This time, though, Portal 2 has introduced a spherical robot named Wheatley, brilliantly voiced by actor Stephen Merchant (Fighting With My Family, Logan). Portal 2 retains the same basic gameplay, solving puzzles by placing portals around the facility and teleporting back and forth to solve them. JK Simmons (Spider-Man series, Whiplash) also lends his voice.
Portal 2 is the highest rank puzzle-oriented game on this list. No other type of puzzle game ranks any higher. So in addition to being fifteen on our best video games of all time ranking, it earns the title of Best Puzzle Platform Game Of All Time.
14. HALF-LIFE 2 | 2004
- Metacritic – 96 IGN – 95 Gamespot – 92 AVG – 94.33
Gamers find themselves once again playing as the main character, Gordon Freeman, as he ventures about an alien-infested Earth. This first-person shooter follows Freeman as he tries to rescue the world from what he unleashed (aliens) at the Black Mesa Research Facility.
Every action, emotion, physical environment is affected by the players’ presence. Metacritic was right when it voted Half-Life 2 as its 2004 PC Game of the Year and the math is right when we put it at number fourteen on this best video games of all time list.
13. BIOSHOCK |2007
- Metacritic – 96 IGN – 97 Gamespot – 90 AVG – 94.33
Bioshock is a first-person shooter game with elements of role-playing as it gives players different ways to engage enemies. It also allows the player to make moral choices such as allowing a character to be saved or killed.
The game takes the players, after an airplane crash in the ocean, to an underwater city called Rapture. The city was designed by Objectivist business magnate Andrew Ryan as a utopia, but as the main character Jack arrives, it couldn’t be further from one. Utopia has turned into a “class” war and Jack finds himself in the middle. Jack now must find out who is the true bad guy and how he can bring him down.
12. THE LAST OF US | 2013
- Metacritic – 95 IGN – 100 Gamespot – 90 AVG – 95
In The Last Of Us, a pandemic has run amok, changing humans into monsters and leaving the remaining unchanged to not only fight these monsters but themselves in order to survive.
The story follows Joel, who is hired to smuggle Ellie, a fourteen-year-old girl, out of a military quarantine. Ellie is immune to the pandemic. It’s a rough adventure across a brutal landscape. The Last of Us won over 200 Game of the Year awards and here’s one more for it: The Last of Us ranks number twelve on our best video games of all time list.
11. SUPER MARIO 64 | 1996
- Metacritic – 94 IGN – 98 Gamespot – 94 AVG – 95.33
This one is going way back. Back in its debut in 1996, Super Mario 64 was the first release in the series that featured three-dimensional gameplay. Playing as Mario, players explore Princess Peach’s castle to find her and save her from the clutches of Bowser. There is a lot to explore in the the Mario 64 world which also requires players to complete various missions to gain coins, stars, and power-ups.
Mario is a video game icon and Super Mario 64 is one of his most iconic games. So it makes sense that it would end up just outside the top ten on our best video games of all time list.
10. RESIDENT EVIL 4 | 2005
- Metacritic – 96 IGN – 95 Gamespot – 96 AVG – 95.67
Resident Evil 4 is the sixth (yes, we know there is a 4 in the title) in the Resident Evil series and sees the return of rookie cop Leon Kennedy. This time he’s back as a U.S. Agent, tasked to track down the kidnapped daughter of the U.S. President.
Leon finds himself in a village in Europe where the villagers have been infected with a mind-controlling parasite that turns them into murderous undead monsters who move much faster than your regular undead.
9. RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 | 2018
- Metacritic – 97 IGN – 100 Gamespot – 90 AVG – 95.67
Rockstar games hit it out of the park with this highly anticipated sequel. The setting is America in 1899 and the Wild West is dying. The Van der Linde gang is doing what they can to keep it alive though. Red Dead Redemption 2 follows the gang after one bad bank robbery forces them to run.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a vast world, one where players follow Arthur Morgan as he searches for what’s right while doing a lot of what’s wrong. He’s a bad guy you’re rooting for. The gameplay is outstanding with hours upon hours of straight storytelling or side missions galore. Any game this dense deserves a place in our best video games of all time top ten.
8. RED DEAD REDEMPTION | 2010
- Metacritic – 95 IGN – 97 Gamespot – 95 AVG – 95.67
The second in the Red Dead series, following up Rockstar’s Red Dead Revolver, follows former outlaw John Marsten in an open-world setting of the Wild West. Marsten is taken into custody by Bureau agents and has been promised amnesty if he will track down the remaining members of the Van der Linde gang, his former gang. We then follow Marsten as he uses his skills with brutal results, all in hopes of getting back to his family.
The sequel ranked at number nine on our best video games of all time list and the original is even better. So it lands here, right above its successor, at number eight.
7. GRAND THEFT AUTO V | 2013
- Metacritic – 97 IGN – 100 Gamespot – 90 AVG – 95.67
Another successful Rockstar entry, Grand Theft Auto V follows three criminals who plan for their survival by committing heists. The story follows the three as they complete missions using their set of eight skills.
Characters can be played from either a first or third-person perspective as they strengthen their abilities with every completed mission. The three criminals story is moved forward by agents from the Federal Investigation Bureau (FIB), who demand a series of operations to be performed. How far will these three criminals go to set themselves up for life?
6. HALO: COMBAT EVOLVED | 2001
Best Video Game In Class: First-Person Shooter
- Metacritic – 97 IGN – 97 Gamespot – 97 AVG – 97
Welcome to Master Chief’s world of Halo, the mysterious alien planet shaped like a ring. Master Chief is a super-soldier trying to unlock the secrets of Halo while fending off attacks from the Covenant. This game can be played as a single-player or as co-op as you try to complete objectives such as rescuing fallen comrades, attacking enemy outposts, sniping enemy forces, and raiding underground labs for advanced tech.
The Halo series was at one point so popular it was nearly turned into a huge movie franchise. Its popularity persists, with a new Halo TV series currently in development at Showtime.
Halo was a big step forward in gaming, a true landmark which stands the test of time. So it sits here, just outside the top five on our best video games of all time list. It’s also the highest rated, pure first person shooter game on this list. That earns it the title of Best First Person Shooter Game Of All Time. Some might argue that Halo 2 did it even better, but the numbers say that not only Halo: Combat Evolved do it better, it did it first.
5. SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2 | 2010
- Metacritic – 97 IGN – 100 Gamespot – 100 AVG – 99
The uber-popular sequel to Super Mario Galaxy now follows our hero into outer space, where he is in pursuit of Bowser, the Koopa King. Seems Bowser has again taken Princess Peach as his prisoner but has also taken control of the universe using Grand Stars and Power Stars. It’s up to Mario to travel across the galaxies, recover Power Stars, then journey to the center of the universe to rescue the fair princess.
4. SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY | 2017
Best Video Game In Class: 3D Platform
- Metacritic – 97 IGN – 100 Gamespot – 100 AVG – 99
Another Super Mario addition and one that ranks highly everywhere. Odyssey returns Super Mario to the sandbox-style Mario games not seen since Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. In this one, Bowser has once again taken Princess Peach from the Mushroom Kingdom with the intent of making her marry him. Right? Enter Mario and Cappy, a hat that allows Super Mario to control other objects, even characters.
Mario travels the many kingdoms, hot on the trail of Bowser, trying to stop the wedding from happening. Odyssey is a big game, exploration is key. In fact, even once the game is complete, there is much more to do.
There are a lot of Mario games on our best video games of all time list, but this is the one that ranks highest. It’s also the highest ranking 3D platform game. It could easily have ended up at number one if the numbers had fallen a little differently.
There are other Mario games which could have made the best video games of all time list too, and just missed making it into the top twenty. Super Mario 3, we’re thinking of you. If you ranked the Mario games collectively instead of separately, they’d be a clear number one. That’s not what we’re doing though, so the numbers run out for Mario here, at number three on our best video games of all time list for perhaps the best video game franchise of all time.
3. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD | 2017
- Metacritic – 97 IGN – 100 Gamespot – 100 AVG – 99
High praise followed this game when it was introduced. It took what everyone loved about the Zelda series and turned it on its ear. Hyrule is now an open world to explore and it’s loaded with hidden puzzles, mysterious landmarks, and enemy camps that can be raided for weapons and treasures. Not much direction is given, so exploration is vital.
In this, we follow an amnesiac Link as he must go to Hyrule Castle to defeat Ganon before Ganon can break free and destroy the world. Link must travel to places of his past to gain his memories back and obtain enough power to defeat Ganon.
2. GRAND THEFT AUTO IV | 2008
- Metacritic – 98 IGN – 100 Gamespot – 100 AVG – 99.33
Metacritic’s 2008 PS3 Game of the Year. Grand Theft Auto IV is another big hit from game maker Rockstar. This time, we follow war vet Niko Bellic and his arrival in Liberty City.
It’s a single-player game played from the third-person perspective. Bellic arrives trying to escape his past while under pressure from mob bosses and loan sharks. Its open-world design allows players to move about Liberty City freely, trying to locate whatever items they can or characters to interact with to help Niko survive.
The Best Video Game Of All Time
1. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME | 1998
Best Video Game In Class: Action-Adventure RPG
- Metacritic – 99 IGN – 100 Gamespot – 100 AVG – 99.67
Number one on our mathematically derived best video games of all time list, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has received high marks from all. Originally released in 1998, Ocarina is widely popular and also received a remastering and 2011 re-release on the Nintendo 3DS platform.
This story follows Link who, as a young boy, was tricked by the King of Gerudo Thieves, Ganondorf, to gain access to the Sacred Realm. Once inside the realm, Ganondorf placed his hands on Triforce which transformed the Hyrulean landscape into a barren wasteland. Link now must travel through time, gathering power, in hopes of fixing a problem he feels he helped create.
Any way you add it up, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the best video game of all time, by the numbers.
The Best Video Games Of All Time By Franchise
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time isn’t just the best video game of all time, it’s one of the best video game franchise of all time too, as the second Legend of Zelda entry on our list. Zelda is one of only four video game franchises to earn multiple spots in our ranking of the best video games of all time. The other three are Super Mario, Grand Theft Auto, and Red Dead Redemption.
Don’t like how this list came out? Don’t blame us, the numbers don’t lie. These are the best video games of all time.