AATG Readers' Games: 25-11

   23/05/2007 at 22:43       Joe Bennett       52 COMMENTS.
We're nearly there! Today sees the games ranked by you as being the best 25-11 games of all time and there are some absolute gems in here, as well as a couple that would have been considered real contenders for the number one spot before we started this.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to Nos. 25 in the 'AATG Top 100 games of all time'.


Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Platforms: XBOX360/PC

Trying to summarise Oblivion in a few words is difficult but mentat managed to do it in his
The sound was absolutely immense; the voice acting was superb and perfectly delivered and the variety of tunes on offer was astounding. Better still the radio stations were in the main absolutely hilarious and I pulled up to the side of the road a few times just to listen to their lines of dialogue. True the on-foot controls were annoying me a little, but the variety of the missions was keeping me going and the rest of the game made up for it.

Then came the difficulty spikes. I was suddenly presented with a mission that I just couldn't seem to do and worse still, it returned me to the hospital sans all my equipment after I died. So I booted up a save game, played through the two missions that I hadn't saved after and got through to the mission again. Remembering to save this time I tackled the mission, died, loaded up the save game, drove all the way across the city again, died, loaded up the save game, drove all the way across the city again, died...and so it went. I quickly became infuriated at the omission of a "retry mission" option and left it alone.

I returned about seven months later, completed the mission on my first go and wondered why I'd stopped playing it. I played for about another three hours until I got to another really tough mission and the same thing happened again, with me getting increasingly frustrated to the point of actually throwing the joypad across the room, something I've only ever done three times in my life (once was as a kid playing Decathlon, when I lost the race by about one second after approx 10 minutes of frantically waggling the joystick. The other was playing Geoff Crammonds F1 where I'd led the race until the end, only for my tyre to explode on the final lap. I wasn't happy to say the least).

I then left the game alone for just over 2 years and returned only to find that the problem still annoyed me, that I couldn't see any logical reason as to why there wasn't a restart mission option (other than to frustrate the gamer) and that the missions were starting to get a little repetitive.

But I do appear to be in the minority. This is the second game of the GTA franchise to make it into the Top 100, which is an impressive feat, and I can see why it's so high. I just suppose my tolerance for poor game design and difficulty level pitching isn't as high as some of you.


Super Mario World
Platforms: SNES
Developer: Nintendo
Released: 1992

Strangely enough at the time of release Super Mario World wasn't considered to actually be that good. Due to the similarity between Super Mario World and the previous NES versions, people didn't exactly go overboard for it and instead turned their attentions to a little blue guy wearing trainers on Nintendo's rivals console. You might know him. His name was Sonic. As a result, whilst Super Mario World satiated the tastes of Mario fans, newcomers to videogaming went for Sonic.

How times change though. Within a few years Super Mario World was being heralded as being one of the greatest games ever made and that description still rings true today.

With its richly detailed worlds, brilliant character design, some superb music and intricate level design,Super Mario World outlasted Sonic in the replayability stakes and is still thought to be the best 2D platformer today. Being the highest 2D platforming entrant in the 'AATG Top 100' does nothing to hurt that claim.


Half-Life 2
Platforms: PC/XBOX
Developer: Valve
Released: 2004

Visually jaw-dropping and a dream to play if you've got the right PC, Half-Life 2 deservedly sits in the Top 20.

Whilst the XBOX version was technically impressive given the hardware to hand (there were frame-rate issues but they had to be expected), it was the PC version that received all the critical acclaim and all of your votes.

Interestingly though, whilst it received countless votes, not one person voted it as their all time favourite game. Despite magazines and other (obviously inferior) Internet gaming sites dishing out scores of 10/10 or 95%+ it wasn't enough for any of you to consider it to be your favourite game. Surprising to say the least! Perhaps it was Valve's insistence on using Steam to install this game, something that even made me shudder when I typed it, that made you reconsider and choose something else!

Other than the visuals and interesting story, Half-Life 2's best part for me were the physics-based puzzles. The gravity gun could be used for many purposes; returning grenades thrown at you and holding objects out in front of you to produce cover and the interaction with the environment to solve puzzles were all memorable experiences.

Featuring excellent AI just like the original, some superbly designed puzzles and a gritty Eastern European looking setting, Half-Life 2 is a real treat for any FPS fan. Its also been announced for the XBOX360 and PS3 for later this year and has a number of expansion packs available for the PC.


Civilization/Civilization 2
Platforms: PC
Developer: Microprose
Released: 1991/1996

Some of you cheated again and included both Civ's as one vote so I decided what the hell, they're very similar anyway I'll lump them both together. If you're interested though, Civ 2 just shaded it with slightly more votes.

How can I even begin to summarise Civ as a series in a few words? It's one of the most complex games ever made, leading your civilization from its first building all the way through to the conquest of other civilizations (or getting your space shuttle to Alpha Centauri). Civ is still played by many people today and some even argue that the more recent versions don't come anywhere close to Civ 2 in terms of gameplay. Whichever version you plumped for though one thing was assured, you were going to lose a lot of hours playing it.

Absolutely timeless!


Guitar Hero
Platforms: PS2
Developer: Harmonix
Released: 2006

I know this being out of the Top 10 will surprise some of you as this was considered as a contender for the number one slot by some.

As our very own Hairyarse said:
Guitar Hero isn't something you play, it's something you feel. And, it's the only game to ever make rocking out with a plastic Fisher Price toy feel cool.

Err no you still don't look cool Hairy. In fact you look like a plum. But you don't care as you gyrate, jump on the coffee table, swing the guitar behind your head (whilst sending the PS2 flying through the air due to the ridiculously short cable) and strum the night away while everybody else in the room points and laughs, whilst secretly looking on in envy.

It really is a fantastic party game and a really challenging solo experience as well. It's not often you find a game that can do both of those things perfectly but Guitar Hero nails it.

But instead of me waffling on for another couple of paragraphs, I hand you over to our very own Stevas for his
utterly superb and laugh out loud funny review of the game last year.


Deus Ex
Platforms: PC
Developer: Ion Storm
Released: 2000

Was this really only released seven years ago? I thought it was much older than that, that's the sign of me getting old that is!

Anyway Deus Ex, apparently pronounced "Dayus X" and not "Juice Er" as I'd been pronouncing it for years (what? I thought it was French! Bugger off with your fancy linguistic skills) is another one of those Metroid Prime kind of games where you want to type "FPS" but know people will come round your house in the middle of the night and bludgeon you to death with a Microsoft Sidewinder for saying so. So regardless of genre (can we opt for FPS/RPG?) Deus Ex is an absolute legend of a game that got me hooked on my PC for ages when it first came out.

The ability to enhance my skills in certain areas by spending the skill points I'd earned or augmenting myself with nano-augmentations was an absolute first for me in this type of game and I couldn't stop playing. Then I bought a new graphics card (due to the old one dying) and my whole world came tumbling down...Deus Ex didn't like it. Bastard! I'd just put hours into the game (and spent ages dossing about with things just for the fun of it) and forces that I seemingly had no control over now ripped me away from it. Never mind I thought, I'll stick it in the cupboard and get it out again when I upgrade next. It. Has. Never. Worked. Again. On. Any. System. I've. Owned.

It got worse though, one machine I had loaded the game up perfectly, let me play the first few minutes then WHAMMO, graphical glitches ahoy! Suddenly it was painting the same 1x1cm across the screen whilst the sound coming out of my speakers suddenly resembled something recorded by the Beastie Boys. I hate all of you that have had the pleasure of playing this through to the end I really do, and I bemoan my own tortured luck for not having a compatible graphics card since the year 2000.

I know that there were multiple endings and I know that there were many plot developments that you could affect depending on your choices throughout the game, but I never managed to experience them myself. I did manage to experience the sequel but despite being an entertaining game in its own right, it couldn't hold a torch to the original (presumably through fear of melting it).

Still at least a lot of you managed to experience its delights and voted for it to appear in the Top 20...bastards!


Sid Meier's Pirates!
Platforms: PC/C64/Amiga
Developer: Microprose
Released: 1987

This got the third highest amount of number one votes out of all of the games voted for. An impressive feat especially for a game now 20 years old and all but one of you were voting for the original and not the remake that came out in 2004.

Comments such as this one from markusj:
so primitive today and the graphics are rubbish but I lost so much of my life playing this!!
and this one from Paul Webber
I once managed to play this for 32 hours straight (no food, drink or toilet breaks!)
are testaments to the quality of this game and also no doubt speak volumes of Paul's personal hygiene.

The open-ended gameplay (rivalled only by Elite at the time) and the wide range of gaming types on offer were genuinely way ahead of their time. You could attack towns or enemy ships, or even avoid violence altogether and grow filthy rich by trading instead. You could search for buried treasure or hunt down pirates. You could choose whom you wanted to marry and fight your enemies in a fencing mini-game. There were also the tactical naval battles that not only required combat tactics but also an understanding of the challenges that they faced during this era, such as catching up a faster ship using the weather to your advantage.

The remake of Pirates! also showed that there was very little wrong with the original as, other than graphical and audio improvements, there was very little else altered or added to the updated version.

The word "classic" is thrown around far too frequently in this industry, but Pirates! is one game that is fully deserving of that accolade.


Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Platforms: PS2/XBOX/PC
Developer: Rockstar
Released: 2004

Oh stop it, stop it right now! This better be the last one to feature otherwise I'm throwing all of my toys out of my pram and walking off in a sulk!

There's not a lot I can say here to be fair. Due to GTA: Vice City leaving me feeling more frustrated than fulfilled, I decided to give GTA: San Andreas a miss. I looked at the reviews and screenshots and thought it sounded a lot of fun, then I remembered the awful controls and annoying as hell difficulty spikes, complete with having to go back miles because they didn't offer me a restart mission option and I just decided that for the sake of my 4 year old joypad, it probably wasn't worth it.

Perhaps now more famous for the controversy it caused over the 'Hot Coffee' mod than its actual gameplay, GTA: San Andreas' open-ended gameplay was enough to earn it more perfect 100 scores than any other game I've ever seen and would quite possibly have been the highest scoring game ever on Metacritic if it weren't for the controversial 60 that it received from The New York Times, the only place to give it less than an 80.

I'm even tempted to give it a try myself now! Quick hide the joypads!


Super Mario 64
Platforms: N64
Developer: Nintendo
Released: 1997

Although it's available now on the DS (complete with control issues), the N64 version is still superior and this was the one you all voted for. It captured everything that made Mario so successful in 2D and transferred it into a 3D environment that just went to show that when you put the effort in, old 2D classics can be taken into the third dimension without losing any of the core gameplay and arguably even come out better for it.

At the time of release 3D games were still relatively clunky and controlled quite clumsily. Then Mario 64 came along and showed everyone that 3D games really could work and that they could offer tight controls and needn't be a chore to play. The world was so gorgeous and full of life that you wanted to explore every inch of it and the difficulty was pitched perfectly. It even managed a perfect 10/10 from Edge.

Before I started this Top 100 I wrote down a list of games (seventeen in total) that I thought stood a chance of reaching the coveted number one spot, Mario 64 was one of the first games on that list. I'm still a little surprised that it didn't get enough votes to take it into the Top 10, but considering two of my shortlisted potential number ones didn't even make it into the Top 100 I guess I should be happy that it's here at all. Mario may look like a porn-star but he failed to come first on this occasion.


Super Mario Kart
Platforms: SNES
Developer: Nintendo
Released: 1993

An abundance of votes but not one person voted for this as their favourite all-time game and that did surprise me.

The AI was so shockingly bad that whenever a racing game features catch-up AI it is now referred to as having "Mario Kart AI", but that didn't stop it being one of the best multiplayer games to grace any system ever.

Featuring incredibly impressive graphics for the time (thanks to Mode 7) and some superb track layouts, Mario Kart is still every bit as fun to play today as it was back then.

The N64 update was generally ridiculed for having dull track designs. Mario Kart Double Dash on the Gamecube received very mixed responses (although the 5/10 from Edge was more than a little harsh) and seemed to take the series back further in every respect other than graphically, including the ridiculous Blue shell.

No it was the original Super Mario Kart that won your hearts and your votes here and deservedly so. The weapons and characters were perfectly balanced and made for some tight multiplayer races and the Battle Mode was another firm favourite. It actually required a lot of skill to be successful in multiplayer (timing your jumps perfectly to leap over a red shell was very hard to do), rather than getting lucky with power-ups (namely blue shells) and it's very deserving of its place just outside the Top 10.


GoldenEye 007
Platforms: N64
Developer: Rare
Released: 1997

Back in the days when Rare produced good games (rather than them producing a good game being a "rare" thing), GoldenEye 007 was the multiplayer game of choice for many teenage lads. Before that console FPS' weren't that popular as multiplayer games, due to inadequate controls and the hardware not being able to cope with the 3D graphics. But GoldenEye (and to an extent the N64 as well) overcame that hurdle and made this one of the most played multiplayer games of all time.

Fragging enemies via 4-player split-screen was immense fun, especially on a large screen, and the range of weapons and maps on offer was simply astounding. But let's not forget the amazing and surprisingly deep single-player experience. Oh no, that was every bit as good as the multiplayer and if I can be so crass, pisses all over the recent 007 games and promises to for some time yet.

Being one of the first games to inflict different levels of damage depending on which body part you shot, it required the gamer to consider whether the situation required a lot of lead or a lot of head. Sometimes less was more and biding your time and letting off a perfect headshot was better than spraying the area with bullets. It was also one of the first FPS games to encourage stealth. Some areas were filled with so many enemies that it was almost impossible to progress if you went in all guns blazing, so a little stealth meant that you could eliminate a few of them before even being detected or better still, sneak past them all without taking a single shot.

I'm personally not of the "GoldenEye is still the best FPS ever" camp as I feel that it is now really starting to show its age as a single player game. But multiplayer is a different story and the only recent game that has come close to emulating the frantic balls-out multiplayer FPS action is TimeSplitters and that is still miles behind.

Incidentally this is the game that I thought you'd vote as your number one and it didn't even make the Top 10.


Resident Evil 4
Platforms: Gamecube/PS2/PC
Developer: Capcom
Released: 2005

Pick yourselves up off of the floor!! Yes I know this was one of the favourites for the number one spot when you were all discussing it earlier in the week, but it hasn't even made the Top 10 and not one of you voted it as their all time favourite game!

repairmanjack when voting for it as his number two game of all time said:

What do you do when a franchise is beginning to stagnate but your loyal fan base criticises and fears any change to its winning formula? If you're Capcom, you say "to hell with it" and knock out what many believe is the single greatest video game in history. The next-gen came early, as outdated play mechanics and stilted, simplistic puzzles gave way to one of the most visceral experiences imaginable. Stunning graphics, sublime gameplay and a lengthy campaign that didn't resort to backtracking or repetition meant Capcom and the erstwhile humble Gamecube raised the bar in gaming to the point that most next-gen product is still being embarrassed by it. Resident Evil 4 gave me twenty of the best gaming hours of my life.

There's not really a lot else I can add to that superb summary as shockingly it still sits on my 'to play' shelf as I still haven't got round to playing it yet (along with about 40 others). Yes I know I'm a very bad man! I've got some time off in June though and I intend to give it a thorough test then.

So despite Resident Evil 4 achieving many awards during its lifetime, it doesn't even come in the Top 10 on this occasion.

So what do you think is going to be number one now? Is it a modern day gem or a golden oldie?

Why not post what you think the Top 10 will be in the comments section below and we'll see who gets the closest come tomorrow. I'm sure there's going to be at least a few surprises!

Check back tomorrow for the games ranked 10-1 in the 'AATG Top 100 games of all time'.

AATG Readers' Games: 10-1
AATG Readers' Games: 25-11
AATG Readers' Games: 50-26
AATG Readers' Games: 75-51
AATG Readers' Games: 100-76
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