Wednesday, August 7, 2013

SuperPhillip Central's Top 100 Games of All Time - The Top Ten

This is it. The moment you have been waiting for. For the past nine weeks we've been counting down our favorite games of all time. This is the final week we'll be doing so, listing our top ten games of all time. As is standard for each week, here is our spiel:

On June 5, SuperPhillip Central turned five years old. We're celebrating big the only way we know how, with a list of our favorite 100 games of all time. SuperPhillip Central's staff has come together to come up with this list. These don't necessarily have to be the best, but they are indeed our favorites. Coming up with an order for these games has been an immense challenge. We're sure you won't agree with our order-- heck, we don't even agree with our order. That said, we hope you'll at least agree with our picks, and if you don't, at least you can read our rationale for our choices. Regardless, for ten weeks, we will be counting down our favorite games of all time. Please join us for this great undertaking.

If you missed a previous edition of our countdown, look no further than these links:

Games of All Time (100-91)
Games of All Time (90-81)
Games of All Time (80-71)
Games of All Time (70-61)
Games of All Time (60-51)
Games of All Time (50-41)
Games of All Time (40-31)
Games of All Time (30-21)
Games of All Time (20-11)

10) Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

Many competitive fighting gamers would stick up their noses at this choice, but our preference towards the Super Smash Bros. series has us choosing Brawl over Melee. Super Smash Bros. Brawl, while not as competitive of a fighter as Melee, was the more complete package. It was much more entertaining for parties and gatherings due to its off-the-wall antics, fierce action and intense battles. Throw in interactive stages, newcomers like Ike and Lucas, a healthy heaping of crazy items, and you have the ultimate party game. Like many of Masahiro Sakurai's creations, Super Smash Bros. Brawl brought players hundreds of hours worth of content-- stages, characters, modes, trophies, stickers, music, etc. One could spend months, if not years, trying to unlock everything that the game contained. Brawl was indeed a love letter to all Nintendo fans, lovingly designed by its developers, offering more characters than ever before in both playable and non-playable forms, two dozen all-new well-executed stages, trophies containing info about many Nintendo properties, music from an assortment of well-known Japanese composers and tremendous bang for one's buck. A local multiplayer fan's delight, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is our number ten game.

9) Mega Man X (SNES)

While we love the classic Mega Man series and think it has more great games than the X series, our favorite Mega Man title of all time just so happens to end with an X-- Mega Man X, to be specific. Everything about Mega Man was made more incredible and astounding with Mega Man X. You had more abilities like wall climbing, more replay value in finding Dr. Light's capsule upgrades, heart tanks and sub tanks, more challenge, more intimidating bosses and a more mature story. The level design was among the entire Mega Man franchise's best, making players perform daring leaps while keeping a cool head about them. This was definitely one of those games that would get your hands soaked with sweat as you clutched your Super Nintendo controller. Mega Man X is one of those games that we constantly find ourselves returning to. It may not take a long time to complete once you know the location of every item, but we always come up with new challenges to do-- speed runs, no damage runs, X-Buster only runs, etc. Case in point, if you're looking for hot and hectic 2D run and gun platforming action, there's no better than Mega Man X.

8) Banjo-Kazooie (N64, XBLA)

Yes, we actually prefer Banjo-Kazooie to Super Mario 64. While Super Mario 64 was revolutionary for 3D platformers, Banjo-Kazooie was evolutionary to Super Mario 64. It offered larger worlds, a wider array of moves (most of which had to be unlocked, so you would have a reason to return to past worlds), plenty of fun collectibles, awesome transformations a la Mumbo Jumbo, great music, Rare's trademark humor and some gorgeous graphics. It's actually the Xbox Live Arcade version that prefer the most and is our favorite. In the original N64 version, you had to collect all 100 musical notes in a given level at once. That meant if you died, you had to restart your collecting of them. With the XBLA version, if you die, all the notes you've collected stay collected. This makes the game a more fair and fun experience. Banjo-Kazooie delivered on all fronts, and focused on platforming and exploration to create a combination that is hard to beat.

7) Resident Evil 4 (Multi)

Out of all of the different versions of Resident Evil 4 that came out (the GameCube original, the PlayStation 2 port, the iOS version, the HD iterations), our favorite would have to be the Wii version. Not only did it offer superior aiming controls with the Wii Remote, but it was just a lot more entertaining taking shots on and picking off the Ganado horde. The version had all of the content of the PS2 port, and if motion controls did not suit your fancy, you could choose to use a more traditional means to control U.S. government agent Leon S. Kennedy. As a whole, Resident Evil 4 was a perfectly paced game, delivering thrills, chills and tense moments throughout its lengthy adventure through three major areas. The game defied all expectations, certainly our own, and there's good reason it is so almost universally loved. Resident Evil 4 created dozens of imitators and games inspired by it, and none-- even Capcom's own efforts-- have come close to outshining the game.

6) Metroid Prime (GCN)

Austin-based Retro Studios was a developer no one really had much clue about or faith in, but if they taught us anything, it's that Nintendo's influence can make the difference. Oh, what a difference it made with Metroid Prime. Taking the 2D foundation of the series and implementing it into 3D was certainly a daunting task, and the end result was a first-rate first-person shooter with a focus on adventuring. The world of Tallon IV felt lived in, natural and full of wonder to behold. Little in this world felt man-made, and the overall level design was simply superb. Secrets were smartly hidden and required some exploring to find, rooms and areas were linked together in a logical way, and enemy locations were wisely placed. The encounters on this mysterious planet were action-packed and exemplified the excellent controls that Retro Studios gave the player to control Samus Aran. Metroid Prime came from out of nowhere. Few expected it to be something special, and many gamers, including us, were hit with it like a strike to the back of our head. Unlike a real strike to the back of the head, Metroid Prime was mostly certainly welcomed and felt oh-so good.

5) Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

Previously Mario had ventured through the Mushroom Kingdom, explored the hallways and chambers of Peach's Castle and even had a platforming adventure on a tropical island. Who could have foreseen that Mario would be going galactic with Super Mario Galaxy, and who could have foreseen that it would become not only one of the highest rated games of the generation but also one of the best games of all time? Super Mario Galaxy put players in an epic intergalactic quest to save Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser through traversing along planetoids both big and small, taking down the Koopa King's forces and entering some of the best designed levels ever seen in a platformer. The originality and innovation that exuded in Super Mario Galaxy was no doubt breathtaking to behold and witness. Nintendo EAD created a title that was truly unforgettable and shows that all video games need not look towards Hollywood-like experiences for entertainment. Instead, pure fun in disc form is all you need for a good time.

4) Super Mario World (SNES)

The battles on message boards pitting Mario fan against Mario fan concerning which 2D Mario is superior, Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World, are never going to pass away any time soon. That's okay, as good discussion comes from such battles. Regardless, we're in the camp that prefers the multitude of secret exits, multiple paths to reach Bowser and addition of Yoshi with Super Mario World. Over two decades old now, few developers have come close to creating a game with as excellent and near-perfect level design than Super Mario World. There was no filler to be had. As stated with other Mario games on this list, every hill, every pipe, every enemy, every block, every coin, etc. had its purpose and was placed perfectly for players to try to overcome. The aforementioned secret exits meant the levels containing them could be explored more thoroughly, and when you finally found that key and keyhole, you felt an immense level of pride, as many of the secret levels were really well hidden. It says something about Super Mario World when you can not play it for years, yet go back to it and remember so much about it, especially the minor details. It is for these reasons why our top 2D Mario title is none other than Super Mario World.

3) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)

The greatest 2D Legend of Zelda title is A Link to the Past. After the drastic departure from what fans were accustomed to with the original LoZ with the side-scrolling Zelda II, Nintendo return to the overhead viewpoint of the original Legend of Zelda with their lone Super Nintendo entry of the series. As kids, we lost ourselves in A Link to the Past's Hyrule, venturing through the forests, caves, towns and dungeons, bombing walls for secrets, acquiring optional items, collecting Pieces of Heart, solving puzzles in dungeons, figuring out how to and then taking down behemoth-sized bosses and transporting between the Light and Dark Worlds. The two world mechanic opened up so many more possibilities to the world design, and the dungeon design offered plenty of brain busters that made us think out of the box countless times. It all adds up to Link's most complete and satisfying 2D adventure yet. With the Nintendo 3DS' A Link Between Worlds, we are anxiously awaiting returning to ALttP's version of Hyrule.

2) Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

To see a direct sequel of a 3D Mario game was an usual, but very welcomed, sight. To see it be the sequel of one of the highest rated games of all time made us worry at first. How would Nintendo EAD possibly outdo Super Mario Galaxy? The answer is "very well." Offering a higher challenge right from the get-go, Super Mario Galaxy 2 was a game that used ideas left over from the original Galaxy game, while bringing forth multiple amazing new gameplay mechanics, a near perfect mastery of level design by the designers, and some of the most fun we've had with a platformer since... well, ever! The developers designed Super Mario Galaxy 2 around the concept that players had already experienced its predecessor, meaning that the difficulty could be placed at a higher point at the start. This made for a much more rewarding, and challenging, experience for players. Even after besting Bowser and getting all 120 Power Stars, the game still wasn't over. You then needed to use your platforming prowess and a little ingenuity to reach 120 Green Stars scattered in hard to reach locations in each galaxy. Super Mario Galaxy 2, alongside Super Mario Galaxy, are without a doubt the best games of this generation and of all time. When your bottom line is entertaining the player and charming the pants off them at a constant rate, this is the type of exquisite game you get.

1) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64, 3DS)

The most masterful game on this list, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, released in 1998, after years of tech demos, trailers and screenshots in issues of Nintendo Power. The game went through several incarnations before finally becoming the highly rated and greatly loved game. Super Mario 64 was a game that put Nintendo in a class to themselves by properly and almost perfectly implementing a true 3D world. Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo took their expertise and successfully put the world of The Legend of Zelda into 3D as well. Pretty much using the foundation and formula laid down by A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time perfected it, adding new touches, new items that would go on to be series regulars, the incredibly innovative, intuitive and invaluable Z-targeting to center Link's attention on a foe at a given time, and dungeons that required deep thinking to solve the copious amounts of puzzles that laid inside.

We will never forget first walking out onto Hyrule Field and seeing the glorious expanses ahead of us. Sure, nowadays it seems quite empty, but then it was marvelous. Moreover, the entire game world was fascinating to explore, from the high vantage spots of Death Mountain to the beauty of Lake Hylia. The recent 3DS remake, Ocarina of Time 3D, built even more on the greatness of the Nintendo 64 original, beefing up the graphics and frame-rate, introducing the ability to change between equipping the Iron Boots with ease with the touch screen (making the Water Temple no longer tedious) and a Master Quest for veterans.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of those games that doesn't come out very often. It brings with it universal critical and gamer acclaim, it inspires countless developers, it redefines our understanding of what makes a truly terrific and expertly crafted game, and it sticks with us long after we've put the controller down.


There you have it. Those are our top 100 games of all time. Do you agree/disagree with our list? Are there games that you love that we neglected to name? Keep in mind that this list is by no means the be-all end-all and that it is entirely subjective. Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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