Trying to pick the best video games of all time is a task defined by one word: hubris.
How could anyone possibly create a definitive list of gaming’s greatest accomplishments when there’s such a wildly large variety of games to choose from? That’s a question we asked ourselves over and over when deciding to put together our own top 50 list. It was the kind of task we could slice up hundreds of ways, coming out with completely different lists every single time based on our preferred methodology. That’s a testament to the rich history of games, which offer countless diverse experiences worthy of praise.
So it may seem silly to try and distill that rich landscape down to a short list. While we may have agreed when initially embarking on this ambitious project, the months of debates among the Digital Trends team have proved to be more valuable than we could have ever imagined. Construction of a list like this gave us the chance to determine what we value most in the games we love, forcing us to more closely examine our personal favorites and enduring classics. That led to long conversations where each writer involved got a chance to gush about the titles they love. It was an exchange of passion that reaffirmed our collective love of the medium we cover.
Now, we’re excited to pass those warm feelings along to our readers in a list that captures that spirit. The 50 games we ended up agreeing upon span decades, from some of gaming’s earliest hits to a 2020 indie that stands toe-to-toe with foundational classics. Not every game included may play perfectly by today’s standards, but we firmly believe that every single one of them still has something special to offer today. Whether that’s giving you a deeper understanding of how a genre formed or presenting the kind of jaw-dropping spectacle that captures the medium’s endless potential, these are the games that still resonate with us in an ever-expanding universe of interactive experiences.
So indulge us in our hubris and follow along with our picks for the 50 best video games of all time. You might disagree (we hope you do, in fact), but our wish is that you’ll leave with a better understanding of what we love about video games. ~ Giovanni Colantonio, Gaming Section Lead
Honorable mentions: Borderlands 2, Candy Crush Saga, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Destiny 2, Elden Ring, Fallout: New Vegas, Final Fantasy XIV, Galaga, Gauntlet, God of War (2018), Inside, Kingdom Hearts 2, Myst, Persona 5 Royal, Red Dead Redemption 2, SimCity 2000, Streets of Rage 2, Super Mario Odyssey, System Shock 2, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?