Best Video Games of all Time :: The portal of the largest rankings on the Internet!

Video games are an entertainment powerhouse to rival the movie industry.

Consoles, desktop computers, and mobile devices all contribute to the worldwide gaming market, offering buyers thousands upon thousands of titles to choose from. Countless games come and go without much fanfare, leaving little impression in the mainstream consciousness.

Others, though, make an indelible impact that lasts a long, long time.

In the list below, you will find the best video games of all time ranked in order of superiority. Take a look and think about where you would place your favourites!

The 20 Best Video Games of All Time

Video game
1 Batman: Arkham City In short: Batman: Arkham City was an absolute masterpiece.

Rocksteady were faced with a significant challenge after the release of their hit Batman title, Arkham Asylum. A sequel was inevitable, demanded by casual players and hardcore fans of the Batman alike, and lesser developers might have crumbled at the immense expectations brewing in the worldwide fandom.

However, they exceeded all expectations. By far.

Arkham City took Batman outside of the claustrophobic, nightmarish confines of Arkham Asylum and placed him in a much bigger environment. This was Batman as it had never been done before, combining his detective skills and combat panache to beautiful effect, all in an open-world location that let you actually explore Gotham City to your heart’s content.

Sure, Arkham Knight came along years later and gave us an even bigger Gotham sandbox to explore, but Arkham City remains the preferred choice for many. The game benefited from a fascinating plot, gorgeous visuals, realistic settings, exciting action, outstanding stealth, and oodles of great moments that kept you coming back.

There was also a stunning climax and conclusion in storey for players who reached the end too, one with far-reaching repercussions in Batman’s world. The Arkham series existed within its own self-contained universe, and so was not beholden to the same continuity as the comic-book series upon which it was based.

Arkham City was the stuff of dreams for any Batman fan, providing the first real ‘Batman simulator’, crafted with obvious love and affection by Rocksteady.

Arkham City was perfection. Enough said.

2 Mass Effect BioWare struck gold with Mass Effect.

Though three sequels followed in its wake to a more mixed reception, the first waa bona fide classic.

This beautiful sci-fi epic followed the crew of the Normandy as they embark on a cosmic quest to halt a large-scale attack on the peaceful heart of the galaxy from overwhelming forces. It’s a tour de force of incredible graphics and storytelling, boasting one of the deepest original universes created solely for a game.

Mass Effect was more of an RPG than its sequels, which became more focused on action, and it was probably the most engrossing of all. Playing as Commander Shepard, you faced all kinds of alien races, faced certain death on strange worlds, and took a direct role in the narrative courtesy or moral choices and branching dialogue trees.

BioWare gave you stunning freedom and flexibility to explore open space at your own pace. You could explore a number of different planets in search of items to salvage, and there was lots of personalisation options to explore. For sci-fi fans, it was a dream come true, combining the best of various franchises.

Mass Effect was one of the greatest sci-fi video games ever made. No question. It took players on a fascinating voyage to alien worlds, allowing them to meet all kinds of lifeforms and indulging in hardcore action sequences too.

3 The Last of Us Naughty Dog are known for two franchises: Uncharted, and The Last of Us.

The latter is a phenomenon, featuring a deep, dark, emotionally-powerful narrative that kept gamers hooked by the thousand. It was classed as one of the best video games ever made.

In The Last of Us, you play as Joel, an everyman caught up in a zombie apocalypse. He loses his daughter at the start of the game, and goes on to build a fresh life in the new world built on the ruins of the old one. The characters are grizzled, used to a life of surviving however they need to, with Joel particularly haunted by the life he lost.

The gameplay is driven by character and context-based action, incorporating stealth, hand-to-hand combat, cover-based shooting, driving, and dialogue. There’s lots to keep you engaged as you play through the story, while multiplayer modes add extra depth and longevity.

The Last of Us may not have been perfect when it was released, but it left countless fans mesmerised. The game blended certain elements that had proven successful in numerous other titles (such as zombies, shooting, cover, and stealth) and mixed it into a fantastic experience no player could forget. Watching how the relationship between Joel and his surrogate daughter Ellie unfolded was gripping stuff, and delivered an emotional impact that not every game does.

As a result, The Last of Us helped to mark Naughty Dog as a developer to watch.

4 Minecraft Minecraft is easily one of the best video games of all time, allowing players to take a strongly creative stance and build their own unique worlds. The sandbox gameplay was a beautiful concept, offering hours upon hours of entertainment with a good-natured sensibility, unleashing everyone’s inner architect. Unlike many games which revolve around destruction, Minecraft instead encouraged development and constructive thinking for a positive experience.

The game was developed by Mojang, and was available across multiple platforms, from consoles to smartphones. Players were able to craft their own items, design and build structures of all sizes, and explore. Combat featured too, though on a smaller scale than more action-focused titles.

Minecraft tapped into the appeal of Lego (and other buildable bricks from other brands) and allowed gamers to enjoy the basic principle of that legendary toy in a virtual environment. It received heaps of praise from players and critics alike, and was a huge commercial success.

5 Star Wars Battlefront The Star Wars universe has always been rich, exciting, and ripe for video-game adaptation. There have been dozens of tie-ins released across computers and consoles over the decades since Star Wars first hit cinemas in 1977, and the original run of Star Wars: Battlefront games were some of the most successful.

Gaming giant EA worked with DICE to produce a new take on Star Wars: Battlefront in 2015, with an updated take on the core team-based gameplay. While it may not have featured as many modes and features as the original games, Star Wars Battlefront boasted beautiful visuals and exciting action that hooked gamers by the million.

Star Wars Battlefront achieved impressive sales and gave players a stunning recreation of the beloved fictional universe in which to cut loose. The sight of stormtroopers crossing the snowy plains of Hoth or battling it out on the platforms of Bespin was a wonderful thing, and the crisp presentation gave the game a powerfully immersive feel.

Star Wars Battlefront took games based on George Lucas’s groundbreaking films to another level, and will remain a classic for this reason alone.

6 Empire Earth Empire Earth spawned an entire series of games, and advanced the RTS (Real-time strategy) genre nicely.

The game revolved around gathering resources with which to erect buildings, overthrow competing civilisations, and cultivate a large community of civilians. The game was built with a stunning breadth and depth, spanning a staggering 500,000 years of history.

As a result, Empire Earth allowed you to explore 14 different eras, which started with the prehistoric age before running right up to the nano age. Each epoch had its own unique look and feel, and contributed to a game which was totally unlike any other.

Empire Earth was compared to the Age of Empires games, due to the historic settings and the real-world approach. It also utilised familiar 3D graphics for a more immersive, realistic visual style, while the morale system required a delicate approach at times.

Empire Earth also included the Space Age and technological innovations, offering a truly expansive view of the advances humanity has made throughout its presence on Earth. Few games can claim to do the same.

7 Red Dead Redemption Rockstar had already made some of the most amazing open-world games by the time Red Dead Redemption came along. This allowed them to bring their superior design skills to a bold new frontier: the Wild West. Before this, their games had embraced more modern landscapes and cities, revolving around high-speed cars, urban architecture, and cutting-edge weaponry.

Red Dead Redemption swapped all this for the stark beauty and rustic functionality of the old West, steeping players in an authentic world we all recognised from so many classic Western movies. You were able to ride horses through vast desert vistas, engage in duels in little towns, get involved in drunken brawls in saloons, and even take jobs on ranches.

Red Dead Redemption showed why Rockstar remained one of the biggest, most important development companies in the world. It looked incredible, the script was rich and engaging, and the characters were well fleshed-out.

All in all, Red Dead Redemption deserved every bit of its outstanding reception and high sales. It will always hold a special place in the heart of fans who couldn’t get enough of being the cowboy they always wanted to be.

8 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt The Witcher games were based on the fiction of Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, and the third release was generally regarded as the best of the bunch.

Like many a fantasy video game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt revolved around a strong, combat-ready hero exploring an organic world filled with intrigue and danger. It used a familiar third-person perspective, and featured some truly jaw-dropping graphics in its representation of the various environments.

The lead character, Geralt of Rivia, was sent on a quest to find his adopted daughter who had gone on the run from a terrifying force known as the Wild Hunt. The game allowed players to engage all manner of enemies in thrilling combat, perform magic spells, meet countless NPCs (non-player characters), and complete a huge roster of quests (including main and subs).

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was a breathtaking game that deserved all of its massive acclaim. It offered countless hours of gameplay, and the range of players gave plenty of reason to keep coming back for years after its release.

9 Grand Theft Auto V The Grand Theft Auto series had evolved in all kinds of exciting and groundbreaking ways by the time the fifth main game in the series came along.

The franchise had started towards the end of the 1990s, and grew from a basic top-down game into a massive, sprawling open-world adventure with virtually endless replayability. Once again, Grand Theft Auto V was played from a third-person perspective (though a first-person mode was available too), and its incredible design enabled players to explore its world at a level the series had not seen before.

Grand Theft Auto V switched between three different lead characters, and revolved around an intriguing storyline with more depth than other games in the series. It also incorporated an online multiplayer option, offering a communal experience for as many as 30 people at the same time, in competitive and co-op modes.

One of the most impressive aspects of Grand Theft Auto V was its enormous countryside environment, which you could enjoy for hours on end without having to venture back into the gritty urban locations.

10 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was a significant improvement on the previous game, Oblivion – which had actually been near-flawless itself.

Skyrim took place in a world inspired by Norse mythology, filled with snow-capped mountains and wintery settings. The visuals were absolutely gorgeous to behold, the sheer variety of quests (both main and optional) was remarkable, and the diversity of locations helped to make up a world in which you could truly become lost.

On top of all this, Skyrim also featured dragons: they were massive, beautiful, and genuinely thrilling to see. Various different winged beasts appeared throughout the game, and they brought a wonderful sense of epicness to the entire experience.

Skyrim offered players a choice of numerous races when building their custom character at the start of the adventure, with a Dark Elf, Nord, Redguard, and more available. NPCs would react differently to your character depending on the race you chose, and specific skills were available to each.

Skyrim was an absolutely beautiful game from start to finish, catering to hardcore fans or the fantasy genres and casual gamers alike. It will always be a classic, and a must-play for anyone looking for a deep, engrossing RPG.

11 Uncharted 2 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was generally regarded as an improvement on the original game that introduced treasure-hunter Nathan Drake, and is considered one of the best video games ever made.

Naughty Dog had quite a habit of producing games that connect with players and evolve into long-running franchises, with their The Last of Us enjoying its own massive success. Uncharted 2 was a third-person action-adventure game with elements of platforming and action, with players guiding Nathan through a huge variety of environments by running, jumping, climbing, and generally being something of an Indiana Jones character.

The game involved shooting and combat too, with elements of stealth throughout. Uncharted 2 boasted beautiful visuals as well, something which Naughty Dog were clearly adept at, and the extensive list of treasures to be discovered during the game helped to add to its longevity.

It helped that Nathan Drake was such a likeable character, with enough charisma and depth to carry an entire game. He was part of the appeal that brought players back after the first Uncharted, and his character drove the action onward.

Uncharted 2 included a multiplayer mode too, with co-op and competitive gameplay available, with missions to complete. This helped to expand the experience and gave fans more and more content to come back for.

12 Portal 2 The first Portal game was something of a groundbreaker when it was released, being a first-person puzzle game with a unique style. In the sequel, you took on the role of a character named Chell in the solo campaign, though a co-op mode enabled you to play as a pair of robots with a friend.

The aim was to use the portal gun to create portals connecting two surfaces, and the player would be able to cross from one area to the other. It was a challenging game, but filled with lots of excitement and brain-teasers to enjoy. Puzzle games are generally not played from a first-person perspective, and the stunning up-close-and-personal visuals helped it to feel unique.

Portal 2 was classed as one of the best video games of all time, and its fans found plenty to keep coming back for. Different gels and items helped the characters navigate the world in various ways, to keep the gameplay fresh.

With Portal 2, players were given a distinctive gameplay experience that rewarded persistence and creativity.

13 Mario Kart 8 Mario Kart had been a go-to game for countless players across the globe before the eighth title in the series came along. The multiplayer mode had entertained millions for hours on end, inspiring true rivalry and passion like few other games could.

Mario Kart 8 included various elements that had already been seen in the franchise. The core mechanic was racing, of course, with players taking control of one of the iconic Mario characters (Mario himself, brother Luigi, Bowser, Toad etc.) in a variety of colourful karts. The visuals were absolutely gorgeous, fun, and lively, while the tracks were wonderfully unique.

Mario Kart 8 also encouraged players to employ weapons and items with which to distract or hinder rivals’ progress throughout races. This was a key aspect of the Mario Kart experience, and was done to terrific effect in the eighth game.

Like other entries in the series, Mario Kart 8 was a huge success, selling more than eight million copies. Underwater racing, hang-glider gameplay, motorbikes, and customisation features all appeared in the game too, offering immense replayability.

14 Super Meat Boy Super Meat Boy hearkened back to a simpler time in the world of gaming, focusing on 2D platforming and a notoriously high difficulty level.

This charming little oddity revolved around the titular Super Meat Boy, who was just as he sounded – a being made of raw meat. He was on a quest to rescue his girlfriend (Bandage Girl) from the villain of the game, the grotesque Dr. Fetus. It was a unique game with lots to enjoy, though it was fairly punishing at the same time.

Super Meat Boy demanded a cautious approach and lots of patience, with more than 300 tricky levels to navigate. The game was developed and published by the aptly-named Team Meat, and hit numerous different gaming platforms.

While the game was well-received, it was also not to every player’s taste, given the intense difficulty and steep learning curve. Still, this didn’t stop it becoming one of the best video games of all time, celebrated for its retro sensibility and deceptive simplicity.

As video games become more and more advanced, countless gamers find themselves looking back to the kind of titles that appealed to them in their younger age, which really helped to pique their interest in the medium. This often drove them back to retro games (using re-issues and emulators), and Super Meat Boy fit into that niche beautifully.

15 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare The Call of Duty series of games is a true phenomenon.

These first-person shooters crossed various eras and settings, from the Second World War to the far future. The hugely popular and highly competitive multiplayer mode helped to take the Call of Duty name to the top of the gaming industry, racking up millions upon millions of sales.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare took the series’ frantic shooting and muscular action into space, focusing on a war for the Solar System. The brutal group known as the Settlement Defense Front were hellbent on taking it over, while the heroic Special Combat Air Recon (or SCAR, as it was aptly known) fought to keep it safe.

Players were able to take enemies down both on-foot and in vehicular combat, with advanced starfighters available to pilot. Before the game was released, it was met with some controversy, though it ended up being well-received eventually thanks to its quality storyline and thrilling gameplay.

Zero-gravity environments gave Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare a suitably authentic feel, while the grappling hook and boost pack added to the heavy sci-fi sensibility. Different planets and asteroids could be visited during the game, expanding the Call of Duty experience far more than anyone may have predicted when it first began.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare set a high bar for future FPS games set in space, especially with the addition of flyable starships.

16 Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was one of the greatest games of all time, providing players with a chance to realise all of those childhood pirate fantasies like never before. Rather than simply running through Venice or another historical environment on foot or horseback, Black Flag took the Assassin’s Creed series to the high seas for the first time.

Players were able to take command of their own ship, customising it as they saw fit, and explore a beautiful, rich world with oodles of features. The game was simply incredible at every level, most notably its visuals and the sheer breadth of exploration available.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was set in the 18th century, and let players see the Caribbean as it was at the time. There were jungles, shipwrecks, towns, ports, and many other types of locations to investigate, while your ship could be customised to your own liking. Ship to ship combat was thrilling, with players able to board or capture enemy ships, reinforcing the authentic seafaring feel.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was an absolute classic, with lots to keep coming back for. Who could resist sailing their own pirate ship, flying a flag, and exploring tropical islands just as they always wanted to?

17 Far Cry 4 Far Cry 4 enjoyed the most successful launch of any of the Far Cry games before it, selling more than seven million copies within its first year. It took the first-person shooter franchise to the Himalayas, and revolved around the familiar set-up – a lone warrior finds himself caught up in a civil war in his native Krayt (a fictional country), with the usual mix of combat and exploration essential to survive.

Far Cry 4 incorporated certain elements from the RPG genre, such as a branching narrative which led the story in different directions based on certain choices. On top of this, it offered gamers the chance to edit areas with the map editor, as well as multiplayer modes (co-operative and competitive).

This game introduced the ability to kick items and hide enemy bodies to avoid detection, while lots of guns, vehicles, and helpful pieces of equipment were all available. Far Cry 4 was filled with the sort of tense, action-packed moments that had helped to make the series so popular, and fans lapped it up.

Different environments were free to explore too, varying from forests and rivers to vast mountains. Speedboats, buggies, vans, and more could be driven too.

18 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of the first big games on the Nintendo Switch console, and brought back one of the most beloved franchises in the history of video games. The star, Link, returned too, only in a much bigger, more organic, more open world than ever before.

The story saw Link wake from a hundred-year sleep at the beginning of the adventure, only to be led by a strange voice. He was soon sent on a quest (as he had been so often before) to protect the land of Hyrule from Calamity Ganon, through the familiar action and exploration.

Still, where The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild differed from previous Zelda titles was the sheer breadth and depth of the environments. Link had the ability to collect a huge range of items, including weapons, armour, and food. Countless quests were scattered throughout the game, and voice acting made its debut in the series too.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was well-received upon its release, snagging a number of Game of the Year accolades and claims that it was one of the best games ever made.

19 Dark Souls Dark Souls was released by legendary brand Namco Bandai Games, and developed by FromSoftware. It was a massive success, with many describing it as one of the greatest video games of all time, thanks to its exciting, deep combat, complex environments, and storytelling.

The game was played from a third-person perspective, with a main focus on exploring the beautiful locations using a cautious approach. The structure was dependent on trial-and-error, which added real challenge to the experience (one that may have been too much for some players). The world of Dark Souls was vast and continuous, with a seamless connection via a main hub.

A major part of the Dark Souls gameplay was the two forms player characters took – hollow or human. Dying in the latter meant they would be restored to their hollow condition, with the only way of re-acquiring the humanity being a specific item. It was a novel mechanic in the kind of game players had seen many times before, and lent it a fresh feel.

Dark Souls was also celebrated for its simple, minimalist storyline, relying on players’ interpretation of information than long-form explanations. Many a game could learn a lesson there!

20 Super Smash Bros. Tossing many of Nintendo’s best, more cartoony characters into a brawling game might have sounded like an odd concept, but Super Smash Bros. was a bold choice that truly paid off.

However, unlike certain other fighting games (such as Mortal Kombat), the aim was not to inflict mass damage upon enemies – rather, it took a suitably sweet Nintendo approach: you had to knock your opponent out of an arena instead.

Super Smash Bros. was a crossover title that pit characters from games like Super Mario Bros., Punch-Out!!, Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem, Mega Man, and many more against one another. The visuals were beautiful, the combat was exciting, and the entire game had that distinctive Nintendo polish.

Super Smash Bros. allowed players to customise their characters, tweaking the roster of attacks and power-ups they could use. The game was available to play in a single-player or multiplayer mode, online or local, though it was just as fun across both.

The game showcased the kind of creative, out-of-the-box thinking and high quality that Nintendo had become known for in their extensive history, and delighted fans of all ages.



What Makes the Best Video Games of all Time?

The 20 best video games explored above are pretty diverse. As you can see, the list mixes genres, platforms, themes, and style, jumping from violent story-focused adventures to colourful family-oriented racers.

This is testament to the diversity present in the world of video games. Everyone can find something that appeals to them, regardless of their taste, age, or experience – this is just part of the reason the industry will always thrive.

The titles covered in our list of the best video games of all time appeal to different people. With Arkham City, for example, Rocksteady produced a game with enough excitement, style, and action to hook casual players as well as dedicated Batman fans, and the game’s success spoke for itself. It sold millions of copies and inspired action figures, comic-book spin-offs, and other games set in its universe.

Arkham City is one fantastic example of a video game’s power to engage players. It didn’t just offer you the chance to scroll from one side of the screen and punch villains like other Batman games had done in the past. On the contrary – it provided you with an unforgettable experience in which you truly got to step into the Dark Knight’s boots.

Here, Rocksteady allowed you to become Batman the detective, Batman the fighter, Batman the explorer, Batman the hero, all in one package.

Skyrim, likewise, delivered a complete adventure that gave fans of the fantasy genre a journey like no other.

Like Skyrim and Arkham City, The Last of Us, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and however many other adventure games provided an experience that felt unique. Of course, certain mechanics and elements cross from one to the other, creating a familiar gameplay style at times, but overall they were their own game.

This applies to the other titles in this list of the best video games, regardless of their visual style or structure. Mario Kart 8, as most of us know, is a fast-paced, cartoony racing game with colourful characters that’s suitable for all ages.

Video games have been accused of being too violent at times, revolving too much around blood, guts, sex, bad language, and the darker sides of the human psyche. However, games like Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Smash Bros. demonstrate the sheer accessibility of the best video games.

These titles can be played by middle-aged men looking for a fun experience while they drink a few beers, a child during a family get-together, or even grandparents curious to see what the fuss about video games really is.

In short: the best way for a video game to be considered one of the best, most impressive ever is to just be itself. When one groundbreaking title comes along, it typically inspires a rush of clones which never live up to the original – it’s the true trailblazers that people always remember.

How Important is Genre in the Best Video Games?

Genre is clearly vital in all forms of entertainment, from music and movies to (of course) video games.

Why? On a superficial level, it helps buyers know what to expect when they hand over their cash. When you buy a game labelled as a ‘fighter’, you know it will feature hand-to-hand combat, a certain level of violence, a choice of characters, and (most likely) multiplayer modes.

When you purchase an RPG, you know that it will revolve around one or more heroes embarking on a quest. You will expect a levelling mechanic, customisation, a rich narrative, and probably a fantasy or sci-fi setting. The same mindset applies to all genres – RPG, FPS, racer, football, puzzle etc.

You will encounter a huge variety of genres in the list of best video games above, but many of these add their own unique twist on the genre in which they are based. For example, Mass Effect was an action-adventure game, but it included strong RPG elements too. You were free to choose your character’s gender, tweak their appearance, and dictate how their personality evolved over the course of the game.

Skyrim was an RPG through and through, but it still transcended the limitations that hold lesser examples of the genre back. You were able to develop a wide range of skills and talents, could become a werewolf, and even get married. The game was an absolute masterpiece and a shining example of how deeply immersive the RPG genre could be when it aimed for the highest standards.

Genre can be considered so important because it gives developers a set of standard rules, tropes, and character archetypes to use. They can either embrace these and create an experience that gamers have seen countless times before, or they can create something truly impressive, bending or breaking the criteria defining the genre.

All of the 20 games above do this in one way or another.