2007 was the year when puff-chested publishers hyping better console graphics didn't mean much anymore. Hyperrealism was boring. But story in games — that indeed was the final frontier. BioShock ushered in a new era of intense plot, narration and dialog everywhere, but particularly in shooters. It all meant that game stories could now be comparable to well-woven tales in other media. Every AAA and indie developer with complex, empathetic characters owes a heavy debt to BioShock for raising the bar. There'd be no Horizon Zero Dawn , Gone Home or Edith Finch without the startling horror story that comprised many of the tense moments one felt throughout the macabre, underwater fantasy that was BioShock .
- Harold Goldberg ( )
(2007, PC, Xbox 360, others)
BioShock is still, 10 years later, like nothing seen elsewhere. Its art deco underwater metropolis-gone-wrong instantly invited players in, enticing them to search every corner to learn what went wrong with Andrew Ryan's utopia. Telling a complex story about the nature of man, BioShock offered one of the most unforgettable experiences in games.
114. Herzog Zwei
Herzog Zwei was one of the first real-time strategy games. Allowing players to pilot a flying mech while simultaneously buying and deploying combat units on the battlefield, Herzog Zwei paved the way for other strategy games like Dune 2 — even though it itself wasn't very successful.
113. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
(2003, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, others)
It's hard to imagine a world where Braid and Arkham Asylum had the impact they did without Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time not coming first. Allowing players to bend time backward and forward while fighting enemies with a fluid combat system, Sands of Time's pacing made it a standout.
112. Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon
(1990, PC, others)
Railroad Tycoon is just one of dozens of groundbreaking games bearing Meier's name. Allowing players to plan and manage their own railroad company — making them responsible for laying train tracks, building train stations and actually scheduling trains — Railroad Tycoon received numerous perfect scores and spots on greatest games of all time lists in the early '90s.
111. Hitman: Blood Money
(2006, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360)
Hitman: Blood Money feels like a simulation rather than just a stealth game. Holding players accountable for performing clean jobs, Blood Money ratcheted up the difficulty of the series by penalizing players for being too violent, loud or otherwise out of character for a professional assassin.
(2000, PC, others)
Counter-Strike threw out what players expected from first-person shooters; a guns-blazing approach would only result in death. The game focused on teamwork, guns had accurate recoil and shooting someone in the arm did less damage than, say, shooting them in the head. Because of this realistic approach, Counter-Strike and its sequels have become staples of the esports industry.
109. Kentucky Route Zero
(2013, PC, others)
Kentucky Route Zero is one of those games people tell you to go into blind. Somber and contemplative, Kentucky Route Zero explores the life of rural America, both in its simplicity and its bizarreness. Though all its episodes aren't out yet, Kentucky Route Zero has become a highly talked-about game, as players wonder what secrets still hide on the backroads of Kentucky.
108. Super Mario Maker
(2015, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS)
After decades of Nintendo inventing and reinventing the wheel, Super Mario Maker gave players the chance to make their own 2D Mario levels. Super Mario Maker pushed the boundaries of creativity, allowing fans the chance to reimagine some of the most influential levels in games — and make new ones.
107. Papers, Please
(2013, PC, others)
As the fictional country of Arstotzka collapses, Papers, Please puts players in the role of an immigration inspector, allowing or detaining would-be immigrants at a border checkpoint. The game puts the lives of others in your hands — possibly at the cost of your family's safety. Upon its release, Papers, Please was lauded for its intense moral dilemmas.
106. Final Fantasy Tactics
(1998, PlayStation, others)
A different kind of Final Fantasy game, Tactics abandoned the series' traditional role-playing approach, replacing it with an isometric tactical game. This new direction, and the masterful depth with which it was pulled off, gained the game universal acclaim, with many praising its challenging gameplay.
105. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
(2002, PlayStation 2, others)
Vice City took the drab, gray buildings from Grand Theft Auto 3 and replaced them with sun-soaked beaches and flashy muscle cars. Its wide cast of wild characters, exciting open world and amazing soundtrack made Vice City one of the best entries in a series full of some of the best game of all time.
104. Burnout Paradise
(2008, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Burnout Paradise introduced the series to open-world gameplay. Players were free to progress in the game as they chose, meaning if they wanted to just drive around and engage in the game's ever-absurd crash physics without racing, they could.
(1984, BBC Micro, others)
Elite more or less created the modern space flight simulator genre. Paving the way for persistent world games like Second Life and World of Warcraft, Elite's establishment of space-trading also greatly influenced games like No Man's Sky and Eve Online.
102. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
(2000, PlayStation, others)
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 marked an apex for both the series and action sports games. Building on a proven formula, the game sold better than nearly any other action sports game at the time. While not the most revolutionary in the series, Pro Skater 2 was the product of intense dedication and iteration from developer Neversoft.
101. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
(2001, PlayStation 2, others)
Sons of Liberty was masterclass in how to write a plot twist, smashing player expectations by introducing series newcomer Raiden as the protagonist after the game's prologue. And that was one of just many surprising elements of the story, which dealt with topics like incest and existentialism.
Marvel vs. Capcom：超级英雄的冲突因为没有玩家而减速。来自各种Capcom游戏的Marvel超级英雄和角色的十字架， Marvel与Capcom的丰富多彩，不间断的动作使得从拱廊到游戏机的近乎无缝的过渡，当时声称是最闪亮的，最为过度的 -市场上的顶级战士。从长远来看，它的续集可能会让它黯然失色，但很难忽视Marvel与Capcom的初步影响。
The origins of arcade game Lunar Lander run all the way back to the early '60s when the original idea was conceptualized. Tasking players with safely piloting a lunar landing module on the surface of the moon, Atari's Lunar Lander with its vector graphics helped pave the way for one of the company's most successful and important projects, Asteroids.
(2013, PC, others)
It's not enough to simply call Gunpoint a puzzle game; its dynamic problem solving makes it so much more. Allowing players to chose how to approach the game's stealth-based levels, as well as rewire entire buildings to change that approach, Gunpoint sits somewhere between a puzzle game and a play-your-way stealth game, and it's better than most games in both genres.
323. Gran Trak 10
(1974, Arcade, others)
Gran Trak 10 changed an entire industry. It's simple by today's standards, as players drove a car around a track from a top-view angle, passing checkpoints and avoiding obstacles. However, simplicity aside, Gran Trak 10 was one of the first games to utilize -based read-only memory graphics, rather than visuals — an industry standard going forward.
322. God of War
(2005, PlayStation 2, others)
God of War protagonist Kratos begins his quest as a one-dimensional murder machine. But the game is also a study of unbridled anger and how it can, sometimes irrationally, influence actions. With beautiful levels and an addictive, fluid combat system, God of War remains one of the biggest video game series 12 years later after its debut.
321. Empire: Total War
(2009, PC, others)
In a list full of strategy games, it's hard to stand out. Empire: Total War, though, knows how to do so. Putting land and sea battles in real time while focusing on the difficult technology of gunpowder weaponry, Total War's surprising depth — even compared to other strategy games — and historical setting make it a unique and amazing entry in the strategy genre.
320. Dungeon Keeper
(1997, PC, others)
The objective of Dungeon Keeper is right there in its name: establish, maintain and run a dungeon, with the ultimate goal of taking over the game's world. That description may be selling it short, though. Led by Peter Molyneux, Dungeon Keeper is often cited by developers as an influence, as well as establishing a standard of comparison for strategy games going forward.
319. Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse
(2005, Mac, PC, Xbox, others)
" ." " little plot." " ." Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse subverted a long-running video game trope by putting the player in the role of a zombie on the hunt for brains. Garnering a cult-following, Stubbs the Zombie is a bizarre, funny bloodbath reminding everyone to not always take everything so seriously.
(1995, Mac, PC, others)
Descent never lets its players feel safe. Given a full-3D environment with no gravity, players have six degrees of movement — as opposed to the two degrees of other shooters. This choice opens up everything, all the while giving enemies similar options. Though this approach wasn't adopted by many first-person shooters going forward, Descent revolutionized the way zero gravity was handled in games, implementing a more realistic approach.
317. Computer Space
(1971, Arcade, others)
Everything started here. Computer Space was both the first arcade video game and the first commercially distributed video game. Computer Space was responsible for making the video game industry just that, an industry.
(1980, Arcade, others)
Battlezone put players face-first into the action. Considered by many to be one of the first virtual reality games, Battlezone made its players active participants in its tank combat, rather than controllers of a third-party.
(2003, GameCube, others)
Bringing the 2D vertical shoot-'em-up genre back with contemporary advancements, Ikaruga was called a " ," " " and a " ." While it didn't bring a massive new wave of shoot-'em-ups flooding the market, Ikaruga's influence is still felt in games today, like Nier: Automata, which borrowed from Ikaruga 's inventive take on an old genre.
Voter's choice: Paradroid
Paradroid was the first computer game to really capture my imagination as a young teenager, and to start me thinking about the possibilities of truly ingenious gameplay design. Andrew Braybrook was a C64 legend but this remains his masterpiece. It's a simple eight-directional 2D shooter with one genius game-changing gimmick; you start as a low-powered robot but can commandeer the more powerful ones you encounter via a clever circuit-hotwiring mini-game. Brilliantly simple and simply brilliant, Paradroid is a landmark classic of the 8-bit era, and my all-time personal favorite. Find it, play it.
- Gary Whitta ( )
(1985, Commodore 64, others)
If you've played Nier: Automata, Paradroid will seem familiar — though it released 30 years before. A shoot-'em-up with puzzle elements, players either destroy enemy robots or take them over via a hacking puzzle minigame. Paradroid's genre swapping makes for a tough challenge, one that lets you experiment with the best ways to play.
(1976, Arcade, others)
Taking influence from the success of Pong, Breakout iterates on the former's addictiveness, all the while casting aside its simplicity. Bouncing a ball against breakable colored bricks, Breakout added a level of challenge unseen in Pong with a much larger playing field and more things going on on the screen for players to keep track of.
312. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a game constantly standing the test of time. Released nine years ago, Brawl continued the Smash Bros. legacy of constantly refining its gameplay, all the while building its roster of characters from dozens of different series.
311. Battlefield 1942
(2002, PC, others)
Perhaps not the most groundbreaking World War 2 game in terms of its campaign, Battlefield 1942 opened up player options for how players could tackle objectives with numerous weapons and drivable vehicles. 1942 also set a high water mark for online shooters with its dynamic maps ripe for players of different skill levels to make use of the tools available — like the aforementioned vehicles.
(2013, Ouya, others)
If you combine Hotline Miami and Super Smash Bros., the result is Towerfall; games are fast and tense, and death comes quick. Shipping without online multiplayer, TowerFall called back to games like GoldenEye 007 and, of course, Smash Bros. with its tense local competitive matches that end friendships and prove who's the quickest with the trigger.
(2009, PlayStation 3, others)
Released the same year as violent games like Assassin's Creed 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Flower was a noticeably quiet game. Telling a subtle story about the dichotomy between nature and human innovation, Flower gave players time to think as they controlled its dancing petals across vast landscapes, meditating on the untouched nature in an ever-growing world.
308. Chrono Cross
Square's sophomore Chrono game led by a who's who of rockstar developers and artists, Chrono Cross kept a lot of the DNA that made Trigger such a success, all the while boosting its visual presentation and abandoning the more grindey combat of role-playing games found in the Final Fantasy series.
(2010, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, others)
Split/Second is similar to Burnout games — you race around and cause damage. But Split/Second's premise, that you're causing destruction as part of a reality TV show, called out the exploitation of the genre. Never explicit in its message, Split/Second tasked players with causing the most catastrophic damage for entertainment, but also a pointed finger at the controversial TV genre.
306. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
(2001, PlayStation 2)
Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec masterfully blends being a hardcore simulator and a game so well it found nearly unanimous acclaim from players and critics. Selling over one million copies within three days of its release in 2001, A-Spec gave players a realistic feel of what racing was like behind the wheels of hundreds of licensed cars.
305. Age of Empires
(1997, PC, others)
Though to be " " strategy game compared to its contemporaries at release, according to GameSpot, Age of Empires takes a realistic, historical approach to the genre, giving players control of ancient civilizations during key real ages. Leaning more into combat than strategy, Age of Empires made for an accessible entry point for those interested in the genre, but intimated by its barrier to entry.
304. Tekken 3
(1997, Arcade, others)
One of the PlayStation's best-selling games, Tekken 3 helped modernize the fighting game genre with its polished controls and numerous combos. It also sparked an intensely-passionate competitive community that continues to exist to this day.
303. Tempest 2000
(1994, Jaguar, others)
A remake of the 1981 game Tempest, Tempest 2000 received critical praise for its trippy graphics and techno soundtrack. It also, as many have pointed out, helped bring positive attention to Atari and its Jaguar console at a rocky time in the company's history.
302. Day of the Tentacle
(1993, Mac, PC, others)
The first game led by Tim Schafer, Day of the Tentacle remains one of LucasArts' most popular releases two decades later. Its time-traveling humor and improved visuals over other LucasArts games caught the attention of critics when it released, as well as placing a lot of eyes on Schafer, who went on to have a prolific career.
301. Resident Evil 2
(1998, PlayStation, others)
If the first Resident Evil was about intimate horror, Resident Evil 2 was about about creating a world of horror. Taking place in the fictional Racoon City, the game put zombies in the streets, making for sprawling dangers. Resident Evil 2 laid the groundwork for a lot of the series' lore, serving as the basis for many later games and novelizations.