BRONZE
These honourable mentions provided me with many hours of enjoyment.
NES SNES N64
Adventures of Lolo Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest F-Zero X
Dr. Mario F-Zero Rush 2: Extreme Racing
Mega Man 2 Illusion of Gaia  
Super Mario Bros. 2 Mario Paint  
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game Soul Blazer  
Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link Street Fighter II: The World Warrior  
  Super Metroid  
  Top Gear 2  
     
GB GBC GBA
Super Mario Land Mario Tennis ChuChu Rocket!
Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons  Super Mario Bros. 2: Super Mario Advance
Tetris   Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2
Yoshi   Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3
    Super Mario Bros. 3: Super Mario Advance 4
    WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!
    WarioWare: Twisted!
     
PS1 DS WII
Final Fantasy Tactics Animal Crossing: Wild World Kirby's Return to Dreamland
Intelligent Qube Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Super Paper Mario
Parasite Eve Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
     
PS2 NGC XBOX
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King Ikaruga Dead or Alive 3
God of War Metroid Prime 2: Echoes JSRF: Jet Set Radio Future
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy Viewtiful Joe Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil SSX 3  
The Simpsons: Hit and Run    
Soul Calibur II    
     
  PC  
Age of Empires Myst Tomb Raider (2013)
Bastion NHL 2002 Worms
Batman: Arkham Asylum Prince of Persia Worms 2
Deus Ex: Human Revolution RollerCoaster Tycoon Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
Doom The Sims Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
Half-Life 2 Simtower World of Goo
Life is Strange Street Fighter IV  

 

 

SILVER
Presented in no particular order, these are some of my absolute favourites that fall just outside of my top five.

Super Mario 64
Nintendo 64

Genre: Platformer

Release: September 1996

Summary
This game is revolutionary. Mario's transition into 3D was smooth and graceful, and he brought with him a ton of new gameplay mechanics never seen before. Everything introduced raised the bar several notches, and Super Mario 64 still stands as one of the greatest games ever.

Skies of Arcadia Legends
Nintendo GameCube

Genre: RPG

Release: January 2003

Summary
This is definitely one of the most enjoyable games out there. The difference between this and some other titles in its genre is its ability to remain light-hearted, optimistic, friendly, and charming while still being a ton of fun. I'd recommend this or its Dreamcast equivalent any day.

Super Mario Galaxy 2
Nintendo Wii

Genre: Platformer

Release: May 2010

Summary
While just as great as the first (and in many ways superior), the reason this isn't in my top 5 has to do with it being iterative, rather than the jaw-dropping genre re-defining experience of its predecessor. Still, SMG2 offers up a stellar experience truly worthy of its name.

Valkyrie Profile
Sony PlayStation

Genre: RPG

Release: August 2000

Summary
A fantastic tale of Norse Mythology, Valkyrie Profile is absolutely incredible. I've never felt so moved by a story, conveyed wonderfully through lighting, tone, atmosphere, and superb voice acting. The gameplay itself is also well executed, although a bit complicated.

Metroid Fusion
Game Boy Advance

Genre: Platformer

Release: November 2002

Summary
This is a well crafted Metroid game, and works very well despite the smaller real estate to work with. The controls are solid, the graphics are crisp, and the gameplay is in keeping with the series as a whole. It's far more linear than the rest of the series, but it's still a worthy addition.

Mario Kart DS
Nintendo DS

Genre: Racing

Release: November 2005

Summary
I love this game. I've put countless hours into it, mostly online. I don't really play games online, but this one is the exception. I find the controls so fluid and well implemented, the track designs so fun, and the challenge in mastering advanced techniques very rewarding.

Chrono Trigger
Super Nintendo

Genre: RPG

Release: August 1995

Summary
Chrono Trigger was one of the SNES's last major entries, but also one of the strongest RPGs of its time. Through a host of interesting characters, the game tells its tale in a way that keeps players engaged, while also employing mechanics that seem simple yet are so finely tuned.

Max Payne
Windows

Genre: Action

Release: July 2001

Summary
Max Payne is a lot of fun. It offers up an atmosphere not previously seen in its genre, through compelling storytelling and a unique narrative. The introduction of the 'bullet time' technique clearly sets the bar for later games, and aids it overall in being exciting and fast-paced.

Super Mario Bros.
Nintendo

Genre: Platformer

Release: October 1985

Summary
As the game that started it all, it still stands up as one of the absolute best of its genre. The music is legendary and the controls are simple but fluid. It's a title that changed the face of the gaming industry forever, having a lasting impact across multiple generations of players.

Chrono Cross
Sony PlayStation

Genre: RPG

Release: August 2000

Summary
Chrono Cross is a very well done title, although unusual in its genre. So many playable characters. A lot of strategy involved with various elemental combinations. A complicated story that sometimes gets very dark, but overall, it is a real pleasure to play.

Super Mario Bros. 3
Nintendo

Genre: Platformer

Release: February 1990

Summary
What an amazing game. I loved the original, am fond of the second title, but SMB3 takes it to a whole new level. The execution is so perfect that it still holds up well over 25 years later. With beautiful music, lots of new power-ups, and a lot of heart - this game rocks.

Animal Crossing
Nintendo GameCube

Genre: Simulation

Release: September 2002

Summary
So unusual that it's not even really a game. There are no enemies, no conflicts, and no end in sight. It's still absolutely brilliant, and for the first year after I bought it, I couldn't help but play every single day. It wears out its welcome eventually, but that doesn't lessen its whimsy.

The Legend of Zelda
Nintendo

Genre: Adventure

Release: August 1987

Summary
This is the original title that defined the franchise, and it's marvelous in its own right. While future titles take the gameplay to a whole new level, the original stands up well, especially with the simple yet well crafted dungeon designs and hauntingly beautiful music.

Portal
Windows

Genre: Puzzle

Release: October 2007

Summary
What a unique game. Such a basic concept, yet such flawless execution. Something that seems so simple is wonderfully complicated... and while the gameplay is well implemented, what takes it to another level is the sardonic humour, which is hard to explain. So just play it.

Final Fantasy VII
Windows

Genre: RPG

Release: May 1998

Summary
This is an epic title. It has compelling characters that you come to care about, and a great well-rounded story. With epic boss battles, a masterful soundtrack, and countless hours of fun, it is a complete experience that Square Enix hasn't really been able to re-capture.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
Super Nintendo

Genre: Platformer

Release: October 1995

Summary
While not as groundbreaking as its predecessor, Yoshi's Island is still fantastic on its own. It's completely original and charming. The visual style has never felt so unusual yet comfortable, and the music stands the test of time. This is a title I will replay again and again forever more.

Donkey Kong Country
Super Nintendo

Genre: Platformer

Release: November 1994

Summary
This right here is a fantastic title. It's clearly one of the most well crafted platformers ever made, and the effort that went into it shows. Offering up amazing music, revolutionary visuals, a ridiculous amount of hidden treasures, and addictive gameplay? This truly is a gem.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Game Boy

Genre: Adventure

Release: August 1993

Summary
This is Link's first foray onto the handheld scene, and the result is amazing. The dungeons are finely crafted, the items used to solve puzzles are well thought out, and the gameplay mechanics are polished. Beyond that, the musical score is outstanding for its limited hardware.

Katamari Damacy
Sony PlayStation 2

Genre: Puzzle

Release: September 2004

Summary
Quite simply, this game is the epitome of wackiness. The creative forces behind this must have been out of their mind, because the end result is insane. Fortunately, it's also executed beautifully. The music is fitting, the controls are fluid, and the visual style is whimsical.

Resident Evil 5
Windows

Genre: Action

Release: September 2009

Summary
I keep coming back to RE5 time and time again. I find it takes everything great from the fantastic RE4 and improves on it. In this iteration, your partner isn't just dead weight, the graphics have been improved considerably, and the gameplay is very well polished.

Tales of Symphonia
Nintendo GameCube

Genre: RPG

Release: July 2004

Summary
This is an excellent RPG. It offers up a skilled team of voice actors, interesting dialogue with a deep story, fantastic music, beautiful graphics, and a carefully designed real-time battle system that is frenzied but tons of fun. It's a title I know I will want to keep going back to.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Nintendo GameCube

Genre: Adventure

Release: March 2003

Summary
The Wind Waker is a solid addition to the marvelous Zelda franchise. Nintendo succeeds to great lengths by creating something breathtaking and oh so fun. The visuals are unusual but stunning and the musical score is right up there in the pantheon of terrific Zelda soundtracks.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Nintendo GameCube

Genre: Racing

Release: November 2003

Summary
This is a worthy addition to Nintendo's zany kart racing franchise. It offers innovative track design, very fitting music, and many unlockables to keep players coming back for more. The addition of two people per kart didn't add much to the gameplay, but it's still a lot of fun.

StarCraft II
Windows

Genre: Strategy

Release: July 2010 / March 2013 / November 2015

Summary
StarCraft II takes everything I loved about the original and improves upon it. Amazing graphics, strong well-polished gameplay, fitting music, and three interesting campaigns. The original installment and its 2 expansions are all wonderful. In short: it is back and better than ever.

Resident Evil 4
Nintendo GameCube

Genre: Action

Release: January 2005

Summary
This title is a masterpiece in more ways than once. Combining intense gameplay with a twisted story, it redefines the Resident Evil genre in a way that was sorely needed. Doing away with mechanics that plagued its predecessors, this game achieves a high and never loses it.

Shadow of the Colossus
Sony PlayStation 2

Genre: Adventure

Release: October 2005

Summary
What an unbelievable journey. Everything about it is moving from the moment you set foot on your adventure. By showcasing nothing but the most over-the-top epic boss battles, it is able to create an intense yet artistic atmosphere without the need for actual dialogue.

Super Mario Kart
Super Nintendo

Genre: Racing

Release: September 1992

Summary
My brother and I put a ludicrous number of hours into this wacky racing game. Offering several fun modes of play, several different characters with different racing styles, and creatively laid out tracks, this title is one for the ages, and still stands atop the kart racing genre.

Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Nintendo

Genre: Action

Release: August 1993

Summary
It took its already excellent predecessor Street Fighter II and just improved upon it nicely. I can't really say much more than that. With addictive gameplay that has stood the test of time, this game will always be one of the best. Ryu versus Ken. Epic battle. Epic game.

 

Batman: Arkham City
Windows

Genre: Action Adventure

Release: November 2011

Summary
I couldn't stop playing Arkham City when I got it - I even got 100% completion, which at times was very difficult. It was just so much fun. The story is great, the combat is phenomenal and even more polished than Arkham Asylum, and the experience was mind-blowing.

Transistor
Windows

Genre: Action RPG

Release: May 2014

Summary
There is a lot to love here. There is the fantastic and polished gameplay mechanics, the expansive combination and customization of loadouts, the gorgeous hand-drawn aesthetics, and the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack. It all makes for a stunning game start to finish.

StarTropics
Nintendo

Genre: Adventure

Release: December 1990

Summary
I'm very fond of this game. It's unusual and a bit clunky at times, but what it lacks in polish it makes up through interesting characters, great boss battles, fun puzzles, and a tremendous musical score that was ahead of its time. How many heroes save the day with a yo-yo?

Super Mario World
Super Nintendo

Genre: Platformer

Release: August 1991

Summary
This may be one of the greatest 2D platformers ever to exist, and that includes whatever the future may hold. When compared to titles of its time, it is the gold standard for Nintendo's whimsical Italian plumber. Fantastic music and flawless controls make this worth your time.

New Super Mario Bros.
Nintendo DS

Genre: Platformer

Release: May 2006

Summary
What a way to redefine the genre. After moving successfully to 3D, it was surprising to see a new side-scrolling Mario platformer, but they pulled it off. A ton of new innovations keep this from seeming like an expansion pack of the 80s classic, and instead, a complete game changer.

DmC: Devil May Cry
Windows

Genre: Action

Release: January 2013

Summary
At first the game seemed like your basic hack and slash, but then I really got into it. The atmosphere is intense, the moves are extremely varied yet can be accomplished with ease due to clever controller mapping, and the replay value is definitely there. It's just so damn fun.

 
 

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
Game Boy Advance

Genre: Adventure

Release: January 2005

Summary
This is a unique take on the Zelda franchise, and in this case, that is not a bad thing. It incorporates many new creative concepts without straying too far from its proven formula, and the end result is a title worthy of being prefixed with the famed The Legend of Zelda title.

EVO: Search for Eden
Super Nintendo

Genre: Action

Release: July 1993

Summary
EVO is an unusual title. What kept me playing was its rewarding style, allowing the player to accomplish new tasks and goals with additional improvements to your character, not unlike Metroid. EVO tells its story in a simple yet effective manner, and it is a joy to play.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Nintendo GameCube

Genre: RPG

Release: October 2004

Summary
Nintendo does it again. This game brings something to the table that you won't find elsewhere: an excellent RPG with an off-the-wall wacky sense of humour. While other game stories are more in-depth and involved, never have I felt like the story was more fun. Fantastically fun.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Nintendo Wii

Genre: Platformer

Release: November 2009

Summary
Taking the success of its redefining DS title, New Super Mario Bros. Wii implements several new features that vault the platformer into new directions. The ability to play co-op with up to four players is well implemented and adds a lot to an already fantastic Mario title.

Gone Home
Windows

Genre: Interactive Story

Release: August 2013

Summary
An absolutely marvelous achievement from start to finish, Gone Home is the result of perfectly executed storytelling, 90s nostalgia, and brilliant voice acting. It is a story about the human experience told in a meaningful way, and it moved me in a way I didn't think possible.

Final Fantasy X
Sony PlayStation 2

Genre: RPG

Release: December 2001

Summary
This is a marvelous step forward for the Final Fantasy franchise. With an excellent story featuring deep character development and strong gameplay, this title excels in its genre. With weak future installments, this may arguably be the last stellar title in the famed FF franchise.

Mega Man 3
Nintendo

Genre: Action

Release: November 1990

Summary
While some argue that other titles in the series are superior, I feel Mega Man 3 stands atop the rest. While it poses an incredible challenge (like most titles in the series), it offers up a great deal of fun, lots of replay value, and a musical score well ahead of its time.

Super Mario Sunshine
Nintendo GameCube

Genre: Platformer

Release: August 2002

Summary
Sunshine is a top notch platformer, although often overshadowed by other titles in the franchise. It takes an unusual direction for the series by presenting odd mechanics (water spraying) and an atmosphere (tropical island) that many fans found unusual -- but it worked.

StarCraft
Windows

Genre: Strategy

Release: March 1998

Summary
The RTS game that set the bar, StarCraft took what worked from this challenging genre, tweaked things in a fine balance, and rolled out a fantastically well crafted title. Until the sequel finally hit shelves, people were still playing it. You can't say that about many games.

Worms Armageddon
Windows

Genre: Strategy

Release: May 1999

Summary
I put so many hours into this game. It's wacky, it's creative, and it's so highly customizable. I loved playing against the AI and I had great fun playing against friends. The arsenal of tools meant that things rarely if ever felt stale, and this will always hold a dear place to me.

 

Portal 2
Windows

Genre: Puzzle

Release: Apr 2011

Summary
This takes everything amazing about the award-winning first game and triples the charisma. In terms of this genre, the two Portal games rank supreme in terms of their satisfying puzzles and absolutely unmatched sense of humour. It's just so satisfying to solve each of the puzzles.

Halo: Combat Evolved
Microsoft Xbox

Genre: Action

Release: November 2001

Summary
Halo is an impressive title. To me, the first person shooter genre has always felt repetitive, but through simple yet highly effective controls and a well laid out story mode, I felt this brought something new to the table. It provided countless hours of fun for my friends and I.

Beyond Good & Evil
Nintendo GameCube

Genre: Action Adventure

Release: December 2003

Summary
This is an amazing adventure worth playing. A game that went under the radar of most players, it's one I can't help but love. There is genuine heart in its quirky characters and fun story, and it offers such a pleasing overall experience, despite its short length.

Burnout 3: Takedown
Sony PlayStation 2

Genre: Racing

Release: September 2004

Summary
Requiring split-second decisions and fast reflexes, Burnout 3 is a burst of adrenaline from start to finish. Fantastic visuals, tons of variety, and a high-octane soundtrack highlight one of the genre's best titles. It's not realistic and it's not meant to be. It's still incredibly fun!

"Crysis" trilogy
Windows

Genre: Action

Release: Nov 2007 / Mar 2011 / Feb 2013

Summary
This series is a tour de force. Sporting amazing visuals, it amps up the first-person shooter genre in a big way. The controls are finely tuned, the atmospheres are incredible, and the Nanosuit really makes you feel invincible when you're powering through the various landscapes.

 

 

 

 

GOLD
A standard in which few games will ever reach.

 

#5 - Metroid Prime
Nintendo GameCube

Genre: Action Adventure

Release: November 2002

Summary
Metroid Prime is a stunning achievement. It is beautifully designed from the ground-up with awe-inspiring visuals and finely executed gameplay mechanics. Retro Studios took this famed series into 3D by creating a revolutionary title while still maintaining a classic feel. The boss battles are tremendous, the music is fitting, and the controls are perfectly laid out.

#4 - Super Mario Galaxy
Nintendo Wii

Genre: Platformer

Release: November 2007

Summary
When I first heard about this game, I was worried it wouldn't work. But Nintendo proves yet again that when it comes to Mario, they mean business. The gameplay simply can't be beat. It works so seamlessly, and there's something majestic and awe-inspiring about it. Moreover, the visuals are gorgeous and the orchestral soundtrack is one of my favourites.

#3 - Terranigma
Super Nintendo

Genre: Action RPG

Release: December 1996

Summary
Terranigma is a hidden gem, a beautifully crafted RPG that never found its way to North America. However through great strides, I found a way to play it and was blown away. The free-flowing mechanics work well. The characters are awesome. The story is interesting. The sidequests are rewarding. The music is beautiful. What more can I say? It is fantastic. 

#2 - The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Super Nintendo

Genre: Action Adventure

Release: April 1992

Summary
Taking what worked from its NES predecessors and removing what didn't, Nintendo created a revolutionary masterpiece in A Link to the Past. With cleverly designed dungeons that present a good amount of difficulty, a bevy of creative new weapons, and a musical score that will always hold a place in my heart, this game firmly cemented my love for the Zelda franchise.

#1 - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Nintendo 64

Genre: Action Adventure

Release: October 1998

Summary
There isn't much I could say about Ocarina of Time that can't be summarized like so: I've never felt more comfortable playing a game. It is a timeless classic that captivates me at every turn, even if I know what happens. With flawless execution across the board, it is worthy of being called the best game of all time, and I doubt it will ever fall off its perch atop my list.