As with books and movies, ranking your favorite video games is by no means an easy task. And that’s because it’s always a deeply personal preference, that you may share with very few people in the world or none at all. Despite that, I decided to compile a list of 25 video games – available on a variety of platforms – and rank them based on personal preferences. You’ll find below games from different genres, that I selected and included due to their amazing graphics, engaging – or better yet, addicting – storylines and other features.
Note that I myself am somewhat of a beginner in the gaming world – a noob, in online gaming slang – and I am yet to play all the games I have included here. Therefore, for this selection, I have relied not only on personal experience, but also friends’ preferences, as well as user and critic reviews.
In some cases, for economic reasons, I nominated the entire franchise instead of a single game. Hopefully you will find some of your own favorites here too, or if not, you’ll at least get some ideas for games you might wanna start playing next:
25. Super Mario Bros
First released: 1985 / Available on: all Nintendo consoles
Probably the oldest game to make this list, Super Mario Bros is now an icon in the gaming world as well as in popular culture. In SMB, the player controls Mario as he travels through the Mushroom Kingdom in order to rescue Princess Toadstool from the antagonist Bowser. In a two-player game a second player controls Mario’s brother Luigi and assists the first player in his quest.
24. Guitar Hero (franchise)
First released: 2005 / Available on: PlayStation 2
“Guitar Hero” lets you be a rockstar in the comfort of your own home. This music rhythm game comes with a guitar-shaped game controller to simulate playing lead, bass guitar, and rhythm guitar across numerous rock music songs.With new sequels came new exciting features and accessories, such as drum sets and microphones.
23. Half-Life (franchise)
First released: 1998 / Available on: Windows, OS X, Linux, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Shield Portable
The series features science fiction first-person shooter video games developed by Valve L.L.C. As players assume the role of Dr. Gordon Freeman, they get to have a lot of fun with physics, exploration, and strategy. The games are largely acclaimed for their graphics and storyline.
22. Silent Hill (franchise)
First released: 1999 / Available on: PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation Vita
A third-person survival horror video game that which follows Harry Mason in his search for his missing adopted daughter in the fictional American town of Silent Hill. Five possible game endings are available, which rely heavily on player choices. The series has even inspired a visual novel as well a feature film, both by the same name.
21. The Legend of Zelda (franchise)
First released: 1986 / Available on: Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U
This epic high-fantasy action-adventure video game series centers on Link, the one playable character and chief protagonist. Link is in charge of rescuing Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule from Ganon, who is the main antagonist of the series. All games feature an engaging mixture of puzzles, action, adventure/battle gameplay, and exploration.
First released: 2012 / Available on: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
This beautiful-looking but especially beautiful-sounding indie video game has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media, a first in the gaming arena. As a player, you control a robed figure in a vast desert, traveling towards a shiny mountaintop in the distance.
19. Mass Effect (franchise)
First released: 2007 / Available on: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3
Mass Effect is a sci-fi action role-playing third person shooter video game, in which you are Commander Shepard, and your mission is to save the galaxy from the destructive Reapers. The story takes place in the year 2183.
18. Call of Duty (franchise)
First released: 2003 / Available on: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Nintendo DS, GameCube, Nokia N-Gage, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS, Android, BlackBerry
The series includes a massive set of videos games that simulate the infantry and combined arms warfare of World War II, the Cold War as well as World World III (set in the possible future). The most recent game in the series, “Advanced Warfare,” was released in 2014 and stars Kevin Spacey as the antagonist.
First released: 2007 / Available on: Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, OS X, Linux, Shield Portable, Shield Tablet
In this first-person puzzle-platform video game, you wake up in a glass-enclosed room owned by Aperture Laboratories, which is running a series of “tests” on you. Your main objective is to pass these tests with only one tool: a portal gun, which creates one blue and one orange portal. If you enter through the blue portal, you’ll come out of the orange portal, and vice-versa.
16. Mafia (franchise)
First released: 2002 / Available on: Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Mobile phone, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One
“Mafia” is a series of action-adventure video games, in which you as the player can take on the role of a criminal in a large city, who plans to rise through the ranks of organized crime. You’re given various missions by friends and mafia figures in the city underworld which must be completed to progress through the storyline.
15. L.A. Noire
First released: 2011 / Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
As an action-adventure neo-noir crime game played from a third-person perspective, “L.A. Noire” incorporates both in the plot and its aesthetics elements of film noir and draws much upon real-life crimes for its in-game cases, based upon what was reported by the Los Angeles media in 1947.
14. Fallout (franchise)
First released: 1997 / Available on: MS-DOS,Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, OS X
In this open world role-playing video game with a post-apocalyptic setting, you play an inhabitant of one of the long-term shelters known as Vaults who is tasked to find the Water Chip to save other dwellers from water shortage. All this happens in the aftermath of a global nuclear war in an alternate history timeline mid-22nd century.
13. Alan Wake
First released: 2010 / Available on: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
A beautiful blend between a psychological thriller and a cinematic action game put together, “Alan Wake” follows the story of thriller novelist Alan Wake, as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife’s disappearance during a vacation in the fictional town of Bright Falls, Washington, while experiencing events from the plot in his latest novel, which he cannot remember writing, coming to life.
12. World of Warcraft
First released: 2004 / Available on: Microsoft Windows, OS X
“World of Warcraft” is a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) set in the fantasy Warcraft universe, where you control a character avatar within a game world in third- or first-person view, exploring the landscape, fighting various monsters, completing quests, and interacting with non-player characters (NPCs) or other players.
11. Dark Souls
First released: 2011 / Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
As a third-person action role-playing game, “Dark Souls” relies heavily on exploration and encourages its players to learn from past mistakes, or find alternate areas to explore. It takes place in a large and continuous open world environment, connected through a central area, called the Firelink Shrine.
10. Elder Scrolls (franchise)
First released: 1994 / Available on: MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, N-Gage, Java ME, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, OS X
A series of action role-playing open world fantasy video games, known for their elaborate and richly detailed open worlds and their focus on free-form gameplay. Though the first game of the series, Arena, works by having the player kill monsters (and thereby gaining experience points), in the later games the focus shifts to a more skill-based approach, in which players develop their characters’ skills by applying them, and only level-up when a certain set of skills have been developed.
9. Assassin’s Creed (franchise)
First released: 2007 / Available on: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, iOS, HP webOS, Android, Nokia Symbian Windows Phone
This action-adventure video game series that consists of nine main games, all of them set in a fictional history of real world events and follows the centuries-old struggle between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control.
8. Dota 2
First released: 2013 / Available on: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux
“Dota 2” is a free-to-play MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena), in which players engage in matches between two five-player teams, each of which occupies a stronghold in a corner of the playing field. During such a match, the player collects gold, items, and experience points for their Hero, while combating Heroes of the opposite team.
7. Sims 3
First released: 2009 / Available on: Microsoft Windows, OS X
A sequel to the best-selling “Sims 2” and a major title in the life simulation video game world, “Sims 3” follows the same basic principles as its predecessors. The game play is open-ended and does not have a defined goal. You get to control your Sims’ activities and relationships in a manner similar to real life.
6. Final Fantasy (franchise)
First released: 1987 / Available on: Android, Arcade, BlackBerry OS, Windows Phone, Mobile phone, MSX, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo Entertainment System, GameCube, iOS, Ouya, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Wii, Microsoft Windows, WonderSwan, Xbox 360, Xbox One
The FF franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs), counting up to 16. In the games, players command a party of characters as they progress through the game’s story by exploring the game world and defeating opponents. Enemies are typically encountered randomly through exploring.
5. Diablo (franchise)
First released: 1997 / Available on: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, PlayStation
Set in the fictional Kingdom of Khanduras, in the world of Sanctuary, this game gives you the chance to control a lone hero character battling to protect the world from Diablo, the Lord of Terror. The character has to journey through sixteen randomly generated dungeon levels, ultimately entering Hell, where he finds his nemesis. The original game was followed by an expansion pack and two sequels.
4. World of Tanks
First released: 2012 / Available on: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
In this MMO (massively multiplayer online) game, you get to control an armored vehicle, which may be a light, medium or heavy tank, tank destroyer, or self-propelled gun. The focus is on PvP (player-versus-player) gameplay. The vehicles cover the eras from late World War I (i.e. the Renault FT) through to the early 1960s, the majority of them being based on historical designs.
3. Need for Speed (franchise)
First released: 1994 / Available on: Sega Saturn, MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo GameCube, Wii, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, 3DO, Zeebo, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Mobile game, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Game Boy Advance
Since its first release in 1994, the NFS franchise has produced no less than 20 installments. Almost all of them employ the same fundamental rules and similar mechanics: you as a player control a race car in a variety of races, the goal being to win the race. Although the premise may seem simple, the gameplay experience is extraordinary, and it gets better with every new game.
2. Grand Theft Auto (franchise)
First released: 1997 / Available on: MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows
An open world action-adventure video game series, in which you get to play a criminal in the big city, who plans to rise through the ranks of organised crime. Most games in the series are set in fictional towns modelled on American cities, like Liberty City, Vice City, or San Andreas, which are stand-ins for New York City, Miami, and the state of California, respectively. Grand Theft Auto III and subsequent games become more and more realistic, as they feature more voice acting and radio stations, which simulate driving to music, radio personalities, commercials, talk radio, pop music, and American culture.
1. Star Wars: The Old Republic
First released: 2011 / Available on: Microsoft Windows
My winner of choice is this MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) set in the Star Wars universe. The story takes place in the Star Wars Legends fictional universe shortly after the establishment of a tenuous peace between the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic, more than 3,600 years before the events in the Star Wars films. This game gives you the chance to choose between two factions – Republic or Sith. You advance through a combination of mission completion, exploration, and defeating enemies. New skills, unlocked by level, are taught by trainers and can be learned in game at a multitude of locations. Players’ choices directly affect players’ non-player character (NPC) companions. What’s more, every character in the game, including the player character, features full voice dialog to enhance gameplay and make for an amazing gaming experience.