“Super Mario 64 perfectly delivered a new yet supremely balanced experience. It is a rich, deep game that is filled with fun”
Sega I’ve chosen Pokémon, because it is one the few globally successful Japanese game franchises still having tremendous success today, after over 20 years in business.
It’s widely acknowledged that Tetris was a key title in the Nintendo Game Boy becoming a huge hit, but the Pokémon games definitely contributed strongly to the handheld’s longterm sales. Many games have taken inspiration from Pokémon, following the flow of ‘collecting’ and ‘fighting’ elements, and although the franchise found success on console, the recent worldwide success that was Pokémon Go on smartphone shows that Pokémon’s spiritual home is on handheld devices. For me, Pokémon is the pride of Japanese videogames, and is loved by men and women of all ages the world over.
Valve Since Civilization II was released, I have had a Civ game installed on every computer I have owned and have been playing a game of it almost non-stop. One part of me wonders why we, as an industry, even bother releasing any other games.
Civilization is certainly one of the very best series ever to grace gaming, and Civilization II is arguably its peak. There’s an ingrained sense of exploration, progress and conquest to Civilization that I’ve always found particularly compelling.
So many great games come to mind: Super Mario 64,
Fallout 3, Oblivion, Skyrim, Zelda: Ocarina Of Time and GTA: San Andreas are all good candidates for me. Each time I decide on one I am tempted to change my mind, as each is good for a different reason. Is steak better than ice cream? Well, it depends on the context, and they’re difficult to compare.
I think my choice for the best game, after much thought, is Super Mario 64. Even though it wasn’t necessarily the first 3D platform game, it revolutionised the form and re-established an entire genre. It was jammed full of great ideas, had so many iconic elements – both new and reimagined from the earlier 2D games – featured excellent music I can still hum now, and had a well-balanced learning curve. I remember it became incredibly difficult for me as I hunted the last stars, but I still hunted them.
Media Molecule Super Mario 64 is the best game released since Edge’s inception. Not only was it groundbreaking in terms of inventing numerous game mechanics and control schemes that are now fundamental to a slew of genres, but it remains the best example of a platform game. I shall assume that these words you are now reading live in a small section surrounded by similar sections that contain words to the same effect. If not, please amend your copy of this fine publication with scissors. While countless games have imitated Mario
64, their improvements have been largely superficial and generally to the detriment of the overall experience. When Mario 64 was made, they were inventing the rules as they went in an act of raw creativity. By comparison, so many subsequent games appear to be the work of meticulous engineering that somehow misses that infinitely precious creative spark. Like a child imitating their favourite comic-book artist by painstakingly tracing a drawing of Superman, the copy fails to capture the vitality of the original.
Super Mario 64 was the first game to move 3D gaming forward beyond the space battles, flight simulators and firstperson shoot ’em ups that had dominated the scene for almost two decades by that point. It proved that an intuitive ‘Nintendo-like’ game really could be made in 3D, with sharp controls and addictive loops. Suddenly you didn’t need to be a hardcore gamer to embrace 3D. All the elements from the 2D Mario games were there in glorious 3D, and they worked – and the framerate was consistent, which is something else that you hadn’t been able to rely upon until that point. It marked a turning point in general opinion, and 3D became the main genre for most games from that point onwards, with 2D being pushed aside for quite a while.
N3TWORK For my nomination I was looking for something that perfectly captured the fact that our medium lives at the intersection of art, design and technology. The game that is, in my opinion, at the pinnacle of that intersection is Super Mario 64.
Super Mario 64 perfectly delivered a new yet supremely balanced experience at the launch of the Nintendo 64. It is a rich, deep game that is filled with fun, and so clearly lovingly crafted. Its bold, inventive use of 3D to expand the player’s sense of place, puzzle and world is a stunning example of how, in the right hands, technology, art and design can create amazing experiences.
For its exquisite analogue controls, the restrained and intelligent use of camera, the bold use of 3D to expand the sense of place and wonder, and for its overall completeness as a balanced game, Super Mario 64 is in my opinion the best game since the inception of Edge.
OtherSide Entertainment Asking someone to name the best videogame released since 1993 is really unfair. First, there are a lot of ways to define ‘best’. You can consider influence, sales, review scores, simply name your favourite – there are countless ways to measure ‘best-ness’. Second, there are so many great games to choose from. Think about
it – Doom, Warcraft II, Diablo ( I and II), Half-Life, Knights Of The Old Republic, World Of Warcraft, Guitar Hero, Super Mario Galaxy, Rock Band, Heavy Rain, The
Walking Dead, The Ico & Shadow Of The Collossus Collection (I had to work those two in and figured why not together?). Any one of those would be a great choice. But there’s one game that stands above them all – influential, great sales, great reviews and, yes, one of my favourites. That game is Super Mario 64. It ushered in the age of 3D platformers and, rare for a first, it was nearly perfect. Perfectly balanced, a great camera that always allowed you to see what you needed to see, just challenging enough to hook newbs and experienced gamers, a compelling world seen for the first time from a new perspective, great make-yousmile graphics, terrific animation (full of personality)… Think how many games have followed in its footsteps, rarely capturing its magic or matching its quality. Think how much time I spent playing it. Definitely the ‘best’ game of the past 23 years.
Funomena I would say Tetris, but that was released earlier than 1993, so I’ll say Parappa The Rapper instead, but specifically the first level with Master Onion. I’m not familiar with the genre, but Parappa is one of the pioneers of music games that taught us it’s fun to push the buttons. After the first level, I feel that the game mechanics get messy, but that first level is super-great and intuitive. It’s delightful.
Hilmar Veigar Petursson
CCP Games I choose Ultima Online, as it came the closest to giving me the myriad feelings that I felt back when playing my favourite MUD, Discworld, which came out back in 1991. It was also a huge inspiration for EVE
Online, which has pretty much been my life since.
Graybeard Games The revolutionary fifth game in the Zelda series and the first in 3D, Ocarina Of Time is an incredible game from start to finish. The world of Hyrule became a reality as you were immersed like never before. The game mechanics for dealing with 3D and combat were groundbreaking. The story was the best in the series and the clockwork puzzles define superb design. The game continues to be ported to new systems and played, replayed and enjoyed by millions. It’s as important today as it was when released in 1998. If there’s one game new designers and game makers should play and study, this is it. It’s the best.
The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time is, in my view, the most complete game ever produced. For me, there isn’t a single weak component in it. They literally got everything right. Compelling, family-friendly storytelling, brilliant characters, an epic open-world environment – and it even managed to pull off a genuine sense of peril as well as amusement and humour. It got the emotional content right too.
Not only that, but it was absolutely ingenious in so many of its game design elements and gameplay mechanics. Plus, it had an unforgettable soundtrack that even had you ‘playing’ a magical ocarina that could summon a trusty steed, change day into night, teleport around the world, bring in a storm, and even get milk from a cow – assuming you had something to put it in! There are countless amusing minigames and sidequests, and the whole world created a feeling that it was a genuinely non-linear adventure.
Very few games have ever got everything so right while providing so much. It was, in my view, the perfect game, and if you played it at the time, it’s one you can never forget. A genuine sense of adventure, wonder and pure magic.
Alloy Platform Industries It’s tough to define ‘best’. If the task was to elect my current favourite game it would be Playdead’s Inside, as it’s been in my head for weeks since I played it. For the game that’s brought most joy to my house, it would be Mario Kart 8, as my two sons love it. I’d also want to consider the GTA series for pushing the boundaries in every respect, especially San Andreas and GTAV. But the game I am going to choose because I loved getting lost in its glorious story and world is The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time.
Nintendo’s Zelda series has always been a favourite but the scale, detail and pure fun of the game stands the test of time, and I can’t wait to play it again with my kids as the nights draw in this winter. And I think that’s ultimately the highest compliment you can pay a game – or a book, a movie or an album, for that matter – it’s an experience you cherish so much that you want to hand it down to the next generation to enjoy as well.
Valve writer and VR specialist Chet Faliszek
Until Dark Souls came along, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time consistently topped our best-game lists. It’s still looked to today by devs as a genre exemplar
Alloy Platform Industries founder Phil Harrison