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100 Games to Play Before You Die

# 20-11

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Ultimately we're all digital dust, so what do we do with the precious little time we have on this planet?  Help cure a disease?  Please.  Volunteer for charity?  Don’t make me laugh.  Obviously, the correct response is “play video games.”  I know what you’re thinking: “But Noble Eskimo, with such little time left, how do I know which titles are worthy?!”  Fret not my chronologically deficient amigo! We've got you covered.  We count down the top 100 games that you absolutely must play before it's game over.

I want to make clear this is not a “Best 100 Games of All Time” list. The games here were chosen based on a number of factors to determine which ones have best stood the test of time, made an industrial impact, have lasting significance, and most importantly, can be recommended to a terminal patient without further compromising their mortality. That said, please enjoy the countdown!


#20 - Conker's Bad Fur Day (N64, 2001)

If you've never played this testament to the brilliance of fecal humor, you're missing out on one of the most memorable games of the last decade. Amidst the raunchy film parodies and talking poop monsters lies one of the best platformers for the Nintendo's 64-bit box. If you find yourself in the awesome position of turning this game on for the first time, I highly recommend bringing a few friends and a suture kit for your sides.


#19 - Chu Chu Rocket (Dreamcast, 2000)

Of all the obscure game ideas out there, Chu Chu Rocket among the most bizarre of the bizarre. Guiding adorable mice into rocket ships as a giant carnivorous cat chases them is an idea borne of hallucinogenic substances, though as most great musicians know, brilliant ideas generally are sprung from heavy drug abuse. I can't think of a more intense party game than Chu Chu Rocket. You and your friends will be fighting, screaming, yelling, and swearing all the way until the final seconds of each match.


#18 - Mega Man 3 (NES, 1990)

I am so glad IGN decided to post an article about why Mega Man 3 is better than Mega Man 2 before I wrote this "100 Games" feature, because I was unprepared to face the wrath of a million Mega Man 2 fans... so hopefully IGN absorbed some of their hate. While the Blue Bomber's second outing was outstanding and made huge strides in advancing the franchise, the third attempt is where everything came into place and really clicked.


#17 - Chrono Trigger (SNES, 1995)

Regarded by many as the greatest RPG of all time, Chrono Trigger is one of those games that was way ahead of its time. Featuring a unique and creative plot, brilliant characters, and an outstanding art design that fully took advantage of the SNES' processing power, Chrono Trigger deservedly rests near the top of the role-playing mountain. It's difficult to portray the game's excellence in a few measly sentences, but rest assured: if you've never played this game, you're in for a treat.


#16 - Sam & Max Hit the Road (PC, 1993)

Day of the Tentacle, Secret of Monkey Island, Full Throttle - all of these games equally deserve a spot here at #16, though Sam and Max Hit the Road is my favorite of the classic point-and-click adventure titles. Brilliantly comedic and packing more wit per pixel than should be legal, Sam and Max brings a dog and rabbity-thing together to fight crime and bust proverbial skulls. Whether you're exploring the world's largest ball of twine or smashing street signs with your face, Hit the Road never disappoints or takes the easy path to game design.


#15 - Starcraft II (PC, 2008)

The original Starcraft spent twelve years at the top of sales charts across the globe and spawned a national sport in Korea, and now its sequel is poised to follow in its footsteps. Quick-thinking and impeccable balance have been staples of Starcraft since its inception. An outstanding narrative with a fully-realized universe and relatable alien species makes Starcraft II a game you can play (and enjoy) until the end of time.


#14 - Rock Band 3 (Multi, 2010)

Rock Band spawned the full-band gaming experience, but Rock Band 3 perfects it. Simple drop-in / drop-out functionality, a nearly limitless track list and a set of features that everyone can enjoy brings people together just like a real band, without the complications of creative differences or showboating drummers that never showed up to practice because they told me they were too busy working out and sleeping and stealing my girlfriend.


#13 - Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC, 2010)

I really wish Amnesia was available for my PSP, because when I pooped my pants out of sheer terror due to this game, I would've been on the toilet instead of my office chair.


#12 - Final Fantasy VII (PS1, 1997)

Final Fantasy has such a deceptive title; the fantasy never is truly final. This is especially the case with Final Fantasy VII, as no other game in the series (or genre... or industry) has spawned so many spin-off titles, devout cosplayers, or even fully-realized symphonic concerts. The final boss music, "One-Winged Angel" has been treated with so many remixes, arrangements and parodies that it probably rivals "Happy Birthday" as the most-heard song of all time. Final Fantasy VII is also so jam-packed full of iconic moments (Aerith's death, anyone?) that its impact on the industry is undeniable.


#11 - Pinball (Multi, est. ~ 1869)

Even though you'd be hard-pressed to find a pinball table dating back to 1869, the basic premise of the game has existed since before even that time. Pinball is the purest form of a solo gaming experience; it's just you against the scoreboard, trying to rack up an undefeatable high score while lesser gamers worship your excellence. Pinball has evolved over time, adding tilt recognition, flashy lights, etc etc, but the core concept remains just as fun as it always has been. My personal favorite table is The Lord of the Rings Pinball, but pretty much any table will do... as long as it's not Shrek.



#100-91 #90-81 #80-71 #70-61 #60-51 #50-41 #40-31 #30-21 #20-11 #10-1

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