30. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (2016)
Uncharted 3 felt like a fitting end for everyone’s favorite video game adventurer, but I’m glad Naughty Dog came back to make A Thief’s End. The game is a bit overly long and verbose at times, but that shouldn’t be surprising coming from the creative leads of The Last of Us. I was crying during the epilogue and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
29. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (2017)
I realize that I’m kind of cheating by putting the two recent Uncharted games back to back, but it’s a really close call and it feels wrong to put The Lost Legacy any more than a game ahead of A Thief’s End. The Lost Legacy does win the battle, though, primarily because of the early open area and the fantastic relationship between Chloe and Nadine. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I didn’t miss Nathan Drake once.
28. Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal (1999)
There’s something special about Pokemon, and Gold, Silver, and Crystal giving us two continents to explore felt like something too good to be true. The games also introduced the first new pokemon since the original 151, and while they didn’t all measure up equally, there are still plenty of memorable pocket monsters in there.
27. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
There isn’t a ton of Call of Duty love on this list (and Modern Warfare 2’s is at least partially ironic), but the original Modern Warfare more than earns its spot in the top 30. CoD 4 completely redefined the competitive multiplayer shooter, and nothing would ever be the same. It’s a testament to its legacy that you can still find a match on the PC, though it might be overridden by hackers.
26. Star Wars: Battlefront (2004)
Here it is, my favorite Star Wars game with a bullet. Words can’t even express the pure joy I felt playing this game as a kid, absolutely destroying some rebel scum with my snow trooper on Hoth. Conquest mode got better in the sequel, but I still prefer not having hero characters to play. Sure, the enemy AI would feel right at home in a Dynasty Warriors game, but that’s part of the fun.
25. Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)
We’re in the top 25 and Super Mario Bros. 3 is only the fourth best Mario game. What an impressive series. This game was a return to form after the weird departure of Super Mario Bros. 2, but did include several new features. You can pick up and throw blocks, and climb vines! Raccoon or Tanooki Mario can also float around the level, which adds an interesting layer of timing strategy. Trade-off multiplayer is also a fun addition.
24. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991)
I see plenty of “top games” lists citing A Link to the Past as the best game ever made or somewhere in the top 10. It’s an amazing game, but it doesn’t land that high on my personal list. Similar to Super Mario Bros. 3, A Link to the Past returned the series to a three-quarter perspective instead of the side-scrolling of Zelda II. This is also the first appearance of the Master Sword.
23. The Walking Dead: Season One (2012)
For all of the game’s bugginess, I still can’t get over how much the story of Telltale’s The Walking Dead affected and has stayed with me. If it wasn’t for the framerate drops and freezes during cutscenes, this would be a strong contender for top 10. Ok, the shooting sequences are also pretty terrible. But! The characters and writing are so well done, and that’s really the point of the game.
22. Gone Home (2013)
Wow, talk about an unexpected delight. Gone Home seems like a simple walking simulator, but it subverts your expectations at every turn. I thought for sure this would turn out to be some kind of horror game, and the developers sure have fun with that assumption. This is one of the few games my wife has watched me play through in its entirety, and she’s still glad that she did.
21. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)
Guess what? The Uncharted games are really good. I’m giving the nod to Uncharted 2 as the best in the series because it’s just the most fun overall. It doesn’t get bogged down in too much drama like Uncharted 3 and 4 occasionally do, and it has much better mechanics than the first game. Plus it introduced the world to the lovely Chloe Frazer. Actually, maybe this game should be top 10.