Video games have been awing us all since we were children. In such a short time, they have come such a long way! As we look to the future of gaming with excitement and wonder, we cannot forget about all of the timeless classics and staples that have gotten video games this far.
We at Novofex have listed together our picks for the top 10 most influential and groundbreaking games of all time. These games have been selected for a variety of reasons – everything from their raging popularity, to their unique characters and influential game play. In fact, many of these games have really broke the mold and set the standard in both the single and multiplayer worlds!
Compiling this list was not easy. In fact, trying to narrow down all of our favorites from the inception of console gaming was an extremely daunting task. For this very reason, we have quite a few honorable mentions to go through before we can even get to the actual top 10.
Parappa the Rapper (Sony Playstation)
1997 – Who could forget such characters as our favorite “Chop Chop Master Onion”, and such ridiculous, awful lyrics like “Step on the Gas, Now Step On the Brake”? This was such a simple, yet addictive game, that made great use of the button pad. If you did not know where square, circle, x, and triangle were on your controller before playing this game, you definitely knew where they were after! Without a good knowledge of the controller, you were destined for doom. On top of this, A humorous story and unique paper-like, two dimensional graphics earns Parappa a spot on our honorable mentions list – regardless of how silly the game concept was. Hey, it even spawned sequels and spin off games!
Need For Speed : Hot Pursuit (Sony Playstation)
1998 – Cops, cops, and more cops! Before Grand Theft auto became a mainstream title, this game made it possible to stick it to the cops. Pull over? I think not! This game had all the classic elements of a great racing title, just as did all the previous Need For Speed titles – fast cars, challenging tracks, and addictive game play. Adding cops to the mix was a genius idea that earns this title a solid spot on our honorable mentions list.
Super Smash Brothers (Nintendo 64)
1999 – Ever wonder what would happen if you could pit Mario in an all out death match against Pikachu? Maybe Samus against Peach? Super Smash made all of your favorite, epic battles a reality. Unique, eye catching battlegrounds and fun, comical attacks made this title an instant classic and overnight success.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (Sony Playstation/ Nintendo 64)
1999 – This game was awesome. Defying the laws of physics and gravity was the norm, and it seemed that one could literally do tricks on or off of anything. That is , until you tried the same ticks in real life, and ended up in the ER! This game was not just skateboarding – it was also a great soundtrack with fun goals and a petty competitive multiplayer platform.
Street Fighter II (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
1992 – Hadouken! This instant fighting classic has become quite the cult phenomenon. Awesome special attacks and intense 2-D fighting made it a staple in the fighting category, neck in neck with its main competitor, Mortal Kombat. Fun fact – There was never a Street Fighter “1”. When this classic arcade game was ported to consoles, it was automatically labeled as Street Fighter 2.
Tetris (Nintendo Gameboy)
1989 – Playing with blocks had never been so fun! In fact, we played this one so much that the theme song has become a staple in pop culture society. The goal was simple – Arrange blocks to form straight lines. The more lines you got, the higher your score was. As you got more lines, the game pace sped up, and became more challenging. Currently, the official world Tetris record is set at 999,999. We usually lost focus at 100!
Perfect Dark (Nintendo 64)
2000 – Who could forget Joanna Dark?! With her blazing red hair and awesome agility, this girl was the original bond-esqe bad-ass of the Cyber Future. Based off of the controls and game play of the widely popular “Goldeneye” title, this game saw much success. Unfortunately, the 2005 followup on Xbox 360, Perfect Dark: Zero, was not as popular – but that is a whole other conversation we can save for a different day.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
1992 – A personal favorite of the games that are on this list, this was possibly the most popular of the classic TMNT games. It was like an awesome side-scroller beat em up and history lesson all in one! Each level was set in a different time period, as Shredder bans the turtles back into the past about 1/3 of the way through the game. As you beat the levels, you travel through time ultimately to face shredder head on in the future!
Mortal Kombat (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
1992 – GET OVER HERE! This game was one of the main fighters of its day. It was a little more graphic in regards to blood and gore, which made in instantly cooler than its rival Street Fighter. Add in fatalities and special moves, and this game had all of the needed elements of an addictive classic fighting game.
Halo: Combat Evolved (Microsoft Xbox)
2001 – Halo offered state of the art graphics when the Xbox console debuted in November 2001. Probably one of the defining single player campaigns of its day, this game spawned sequels that laid the groundwork for a fun, online multiplayer experience as well. The gamer plays as Master Chief, whom we know only by the name “John -117”. He is a Spartan Military super- soldier crafted by the USMC to fight the intergalactic evil force known simply as “The Covenant”. Over 13 years later, there are still being Halo sequels created to this very day!
Guitar Hero (Playstation 2)
2005 – For a brief moment in time, this game made playing the guitar via a digital, 5 button controller more popular than playing the real thing! This game made it possible for anyone to be a rock star – from the comfort of their own living room, that is! This game became so popular that soon enough, one could not only play guitar, but also bass, drums, and even sing in follow up renditions of the game! This title took gaming peripherals to new heights – heights that have yet to be topped!
Super Mario World (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
1991 – Possibly one of my favorite games as a child – This was the SNES rendition of the original Nintendo’s classic Mario. It brought with it a fun user experience, with colorful, eye popping graphics for its day. It also introduced us to one more, key Mario staple – Yoshi!
And Now For The Top Ten!
10. Resident Evil: Director’s Cut (Sony Playstation)
1996 – What a cult classic this game has become. Released only on Playstation, with sequels spanning all consoles, this title made you afraid to sleep at night. You played as either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine ( the latter’s game play apparently being easier) to combat a horde of zombies that have taken over a mansion. The franchise was so influential , that not only have a ton of RE games been released, but there was even a successful movie series spawned from this initial game! If you had a Sony Playstation, this game was an easy must- have.
09. Goldeneye (Nintendo 64)
1997 – Instant Classic. Arguably the best bond game of all time! Goldeneye had a captivating series of missions and levels that experienced gamers and newbies alike loved. But what really made this one shine was its intense, no- nonsense multiplayer capabilities. Before the dawn of internet gaming, the fact that this game supported 4 player multiplayer battles was groundbreaking. With its addictive game play and fun cheat menu (paintball mode, anyone?), this game completely deserves its solid spot in our top 10 round out.
08. Doom (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
1995 – Doom, along with its sister game Wolfenstein 3D, became the role model for all future First Person Shooter Games. Although this game only had a few games in it’s franchise, and apart from the fact that none of them topped the original, this game literally paved the way for such modern classics like Call of Duty and Battlefield.
07. Duck Hunt (Nintendo Entertainment System)
1985 – Simple, yet satisfying. This game had fun cartoon graphics and allowed for anyone to become an awesome at home marksman! What really made it stand out, however, was the controller – we all remember it! That silly grey and orange blaster. Flimsy as it may have felt, such games today like guitar hero would not be here if it were not for the peripheral standards set by Duck Hunt.
06. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Nintendo Gameboy)
1993 – I was never a big fan of the Zelda titles personally, but there is no denying their impact on the gaming world. For me, I had my hands tied trying to help Mario rescue Princess Peach. Adding another adventure – princess- rescue game to my collection after Marion just never fully caught my attention. Nonetheless, the game has an intense cult following, and has stayed true to it’s roots since day one.
05. Sonic the Hedgehog (SEGA Genesis)
1991 – “Sonic was amazing! Simple, yet addicting. The perfect game for 2D platforms. The last few 3D attempts could just not compare! This series climaxed at the ever popular Sonic & Knuckles, that allowed you to insert any Sonic Cartridge into the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge to unlock secret games – who doesn’t like that? Sonic was SEGA’s flagship game and character, and was a direct competitor to Mario and Nintendo.
04. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360/ Sony Playstation 3)
2007 – Ironically number 4, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare set the new standard in the online multiplayer world for the next generation consoles. Never before had online multiplayer been so intense! The awesome graphics, intense firefights, and Prestige Mode made this title the go to game for an amazing multiplayer experience, that has yet to be topped til this day.
03. Grand Theft Auto III (Sony Playstation 2)
2001 – In the world of open-universe, free roam game play, this title takes the cake. First things first, the graphics need to be mentioned here. Going from GTA 2 (2D) to GTA 3 (3D) was simply awesome. The fact that you can do ever you want in this game was also awesome. Finally, the fact that you could do all sorts of things that your parents would not approve of, makes it most awesome of all! Defying the parents? What child or teen wouldn’t want to get their hands on this game?! Although this game put video games on the radar for crazy parents, making them believe that it influenced their kids to do horrible things, this series has stood the test of time and still has sequels being made to this day.
02. Pokemon: Red and Blue (Nintendo Gameboy)
1998 – Gotta Catch Em All! This game was my favorite Gameboy game, hands down. It loosely followed the Pokemon TV series, and implored the user to go and defeat 8 Gym leaders to obtain 8 different badges – all while catching the 150 Pokemon in the Pokedex and fending off Team Rocket at the same time. This one was surely an adventure. Hook up you link cable and get together with a friend for ever more Pokemon awesomeness – you could battle your friend and even trade Pokemon from game to game – a First in the on-the-go gaming world!
01. Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo Entertainment System)
1985 – Finally, we get to number 1. Where would video games all together be without the original Super Mario Bros?! This title did for console gaming what IBM did for the PC. It laid the groundwork for all future titles, and made us all fall in love with video games as a means of entertainment and enjoyment- a relationship that still exists today! Without this influential title, it would be very likely that video games today would not exist as they do. If that were the case, I would not even be here writing this post. Thank you Mario, for almost 30 years of gaming fun. We love you.