GameSpy's Top 50 Games of All Time
We tallied up the votes from our in-house staff, called our favorite developers, crunched the numbers, fought, argued, cursed each other, and finally calculated our list of gaming's best.
By - The GameSpy Staff

10. Legend of Zelda
1986 -- Nintendo

One of the most beloved games of all time, Legend of Zelda is a bonafide classic, and with good reason. Zelda was the first "action-adventure" title that most people had ever come across, and its mix of action, interesting puzzles, fantastic (for the time) graphics, slowly expanding story, and hidden areas kept gamers glued to the screen. Then... just when you thought you had it beat, the game throws you a curveball and sets you back down in a world that's not only completely scrambled from when last you saw it, but is twice as hard on the hero as the first time.

Matthew Ford, Microsoft Games: "It's hard to put into words why I admire this game so much. I finished it and now my 6-year-old son is playing it and both experiences lead me to abject admiration of the game's elegance, variety of action, and attraction of the story and characters. It boils an RPG down to its essence. I recognize it's not a pure RPG in that there is basically a linear growth path, but it's more than an adventure game: it very cleverly redefines your progress not in terms of mere statistics but rather as your abilities' extension through the expansion of your inventory. At the game's midpoint, the emotional effect of re-entering the assaulted world moved me in a way no game had ever done before."

Richard Garriott, Destination Games: "A classic example of great game play lessons we in the US can learn from Asia."

  • GameSpy Hall of Fame Induction: August 2000

    9. Starcraft
    1998 -- Blizzard Entertainment

    With hindsight, it seems almost comical that many wondered if Blizzard could pull it off. Command & Conquer and Total Annihilation had set the bar for how a modern RTS would handle. Blizzard not only leapt over the bar, but blew the competition away with StarCraft, which dominated sales for 1998 and 1999. Wizards, Orcs and Trolls gave way to Marines, Protoss and Zerg, backed by a surprisingly effective storyline and cast of characters. And Blizzard's commitment to getting it right the first time made for a hassle-free game that was simply a joy to play.

    Geoffrey Zatkin, Verant Interactive: "StarCraft was a beautiful game, both visually and with all of its elements of game play. It was simple to learn, yet had depth, strategy, humor and good single and multiplayer elements. Oh yea - and it was fun."

    Brian Chapman, Microsoft Games: "Age of Empires may be a better balanced, more "real" game, Warcraft may be the original RTS, but I found StarCraft the most interesting and fun. It tells a story, There are characters, and the different races are really different. Also, there is nothing like marching across the map with 16 Siege Tanks, in staggered ranks!"

    Mark Grimm, Microsoft Games: "3 completely developed tech trees is incredible. Beautiful art and UI."

    Mark Asher, freelance writer: "The best ever RTS game and one of the most engaging stories to boot."

  • GameSpy Hall of Fame Induction: February 2001
  • FilePlanet Starcraft Files
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    8. Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss
    1992 -- Origin & Blue Sky Productions

    Before Quake, before Doom, even before Wolfenstein, there was Ultima. Not only did Ultima Underworld do it first, many feel itdid it better. You could look in every direction, down into a deep chasm or up to the ceiling of an arching cavern. Movement wasn't tied to a 2D map with variable height, bridges on streams could be walked over or swam under. It was a 3D world to explore. Ultima Underworld gave us our first look at an immersive 3D first person environment. And it wasn't just the view that set Underworld apart. We had objects that could be thrown and bounced off of walls. Arrows that sailed through the air, monsters that didn't simply charge to their death but would flee when wounded.

    And as if that wasn't enough of a challenge in 1992, they decided to add an RPG layer as well. You had inventory to manage, puzzles to solve, and stats to improve. Not every creature was there for the killing. There were also many NPC's inhabiting the Stygian Abyss willing to offer aid if you took the time to chat with them. At the time there truly was no other game like it in the marketplace.

    Steve Gilmour, BioWare: "The very first PC game I ever laid hands on. I had bought a computer off a geek at UBC, and of course the box came with 4 or 5 games. I remeber playing a few, then I got UU going. 8 hours later I remembered to empty my bladder. It was suddenly night, and I had no idea where I was. All I knew was that I had to get those runes."

    Rich Carlson, independent developer: "The Underworlds are, for me, the only CRPGs that actually capture the experience of a good old fashioned AD&D megadungeon. Check this out: Non-linear 3D levels oozing with creepiness....individual NPCs and "monsters;" bridges; underground rivers (with currents); lava pools; slippery ice; sloped floors; doors that swing open and shut (and can be locked/unlocked or bashed); "3D" furniture; item enchantment; items with multiple functions; a clever combat system; skills; an early physics model; swimming; an automap with text input; conversations; undocumented features; fishing poles; snowballs; popcorn; artifacts....and on and on. This was 1992 (!) and I was totally KO'd. I still am."

    Cliff Bleszinski, Epic Games: "It was so ambitious and ahead of its time."

    Richard Garriott, Destination Games: "Ultima Underworld proved sophisticated RPG's can also exist in POV."

  • GameSpy Hall of Fame induction: July 2001

    Next: Quake...

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