Who doesn’t love lists? I know I do. I especially love lists of best things, and I love lists of video games; so lists of best-video-games-ever always interest me. GameFAQs is running one of these ‘competitions’ at present, and even better, someone has made a tool so that you can go through this competition yourself via their tumblr page. I had a go and found both the process and my own results interesting.

There are inherent problems with this sort of thing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. Such lists are always biased towards more recent games and consoles, and the criteria for judging can be difficult to choose. How do you decide if a game is ‘better’ today than a game released 25 years ago? Then there’s the difficulty in comparing single-player and multiplayer experiences.  Also, I always feel like I’m being disloyal to a much-loved game if I say something else is better than it. As if I’m insulting the memory of those hours spent with Squall and Rinoa by saying I preferred my time with Shepherd and Liara. It’s so hard to choose! Fortunately, the tool linked above has an option to say ‘I feel the same way about both’. Can be a bit weird to select this for choices between games I’ve never played, as well as those I love, though.

I’ve played most of the games on the list, and I imagine it doesn’t really work that well if you haven’t played a good proportion of them. I found myself having to make some really hard decisions. It took me 281 ‘battles’ (head to heads), with the difficult questions starting at battle 97. That was ‘Metroid Prime or Half Life 2’? Some of the hardest were:

158: Final Fantasy 8 or Mass Effect 3?

184: Zelda: A Link to the Past or Super Metroid?

214: Resident Evil 4 or Mass Effect 2?

263: Mass Effect or Zelda: Ocarina of Time?

264: The Walking Dead or Zelda: LTTP?

Answering some of these conundrums could sustain entire articles in themselves. It’s an interesting process, though. I was actually quite happy with my results. According to the tool, I have four joint favourites; four in joint-second; and four in joint-third. Off the top of my head, there weren’t any major omissions from the choices, although the selection is generally quite heavy in RPGs and story-based games. There were no fighting games, for example. That’s probably interesting in itself. Anyway, head over and take a look! Oh, and the best game ever is Mass Effect. No surprise.

My own top 20 or so is:

1 Mass Effect
1 Zelda: Ocarina of Time
1 Resident Evil 4
1 Mass Effect 2
5 The Walking Dead
5 Mass Effect 3
5 Final Fantasy VIII
5 Skyrim
9 The Last of Us
9 Metroid Prime
9 Zelda: A Link to the Past
9 Super Metroid
13 GoldenEye 007
14 Super Mario Bros. 3
14 Super Mario World
16 Half-Life 2
17 Borderlands 2
18 Super Mario 64
19 Resident Evil
20 Tales of Symphonia
21 Pokemon Red/Blue
22 Batman: Arkham City
23 Smash Bros. Melee
23 Paper Mario: TYD