It's hard to pick favorites when it comes to video games. As with movies and books, one's preference for video games is deeply personal. 

But that didn't stop us from rounding up the top 50 video games of all time.

We did have some parameters, however, when choosing the games: This list includes console video games, spanning from the 1980s to today, and includes only games from more-modern consoles (sorry, Atari and ColecoVision fans!). In most instances, we chose an entire franchise or series of games, rather than just one, as our favorite. 

We also took into consideration Metacritic scores, user reviews, as well as our own personal experience to choose the games on this list. 

The good news is that many of these games were either re-released or are still around in some form, whether on eBay, Amazon, or through virtual consoles like that of the Wii U. 

50. "Disney Infinity"

Release date: Aug. 18, 2013

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360

Buy it here.

"Infinity" isn't just an action-adventure game. It incorporates actual figurines from Disney and Pixar movies that interact with what's on the screen. There's a linear storyline, as well as an "open sandbox" environment, where all the different figures can play at the same time. And with the release of "Disney Infinity 2.0," Marvel comic superheroes have been added to the mix.

"Disney Infinity" is also responsible for resurrecting Disney's dying video game unit, Disney Interactive. 



49. "Star Fox 64"

Release date: 1997

Platform: Nintendo 64

This scrolling shooter was one of the top-selling games of 1997, and it's easy to see why. Players took on the role of Fox McCloud over 15 levels, with multiplayer support. It was the first game to support the Nintendo 64's Rumble Pak accessory. 

For those missing the action, a Nintendo 3DS version was released in 2011, called "Star Fox 64 3D." You can buy it here. 



48. "Silent Hill" (franchise)

Original release date: Jan. 31, 1999

Platform: PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation Vita

Buy it here.

Unlike so many horror games that try to make you jump out of your seat, Konami's survival horror series has long relied on psychological terrors to keep gamers coming back. Each game of the franchise is set in the foggy, fictitious American town of "Silent Hill," where players are often forced to face monsters that are actually real-world manifestations of the unconscious mind. The next game in the series, called "Silent Hills," will be out next year, but you can check out the game's playable teaser on the PlayStation 4 now.



47. "Resident Evil" (franchise)

Original release date: March 22, 1996

Platform: Dreamcast, GameCube, Nintendo 64, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Sega Saturn, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Buy it here.

One of the original survival horror games, "Resident Evil" has spawned more than 20 sequels and remakes, and even a series of feature-length films starring Mila Jovovich. But it's the games themselves, which revolve around the evil Umbrella Corporation and its release of the T-virus that turns everyone into zombies and grotesque creatures, that makes it one of the best franchises and Capcom's biggest, with more than 61 million games sold as of this year.



46. "Wave Racer 64"

Release date: Sept. 27, 1996

Platform: Nintendo 64

"Wave Racer 64" forced players to race while maneuver past colored buoys, all while trying to stay upright. The trick, though, was acting fast enough and passing each buoy on the appropriate side. 



45. "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!"

Release date: 1987

Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System

When you think of boxing video games, the first one that comes to mind has to be "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!" Players took on the role of Little Mac, who fought his way up the ranks to beat the big guy, Mike Tyson, at the end. 

The game was re-released in 1990 and billed as just "Punch-Out!!," after Nintendo's license to use Tyson expired. The last battle was replaced by a fictional character, named Mr. Dream. The game was also released for the Wii in 2009. You can buy it here. 

The game was notoriously hard, however. Not even Tyson can beat himself in the game. 



44. "Dragon Age"

Original release date: Nov. 3, 2009

Platform:  PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Bioware's dark fantasy role-playing series has attracted a huge loyal fanbase with varied, interesting, memorable characters and strong storytelling. After a solid entry in 2009 with "Dragon Age: Origins," Bioware is up at bat again with this month's release of "Dragon Age: Inquisition," where you're the leader of an organization charged with protecting the world from peril.



43. "Okami"

Release date: April 20, 2006

Platform: Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3

A stunning and extremely creative video game, "Okami" lets you play as the great spirit Amaterasu, who takes the form of a white wolf, as you roam a beautiful watercolor and cel-shaded world, which looks straight out of a Japanese ink wash painting. Your goal is to hunt down an ancient demon. Your weapon? A celestial paint brush.



42. "Dark Souls"

Release date: Oct. 4, 2011

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

A spiritual successor to the game "Demon's Souls," "Dark Souls" is, according to critics, one of the most difficult games ever made, but also one of the most rewarding. There's not much of a plot to speak of — it's mostly left up to the player to piece together various clues — but the game takes you through various open worlds as you fight off impossibly tough monsters and get killed again, and again, and again, and again, and again. And then a few more times after that. But it's punishing without being unfair, and thus, each of your lone victories will taste all too sweet.



41. "SoulCalibur" (franchise)

Original release date: 1999

Platform: PlayStation, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

The weapon-based fighting game is a standout in the genre. There are six games in the series, which are all set in a fantasy version of the 16th century. There are a ton of characters in the game, all with unique backstories, fighting abilities, and weapons. The franchise has also included characters from other games, like "God of War" and "Assassin's Creed." In "Soul Calibur IV," you could even play as Darth Vader or Yoda from "Star Wars."



40. "Super Smash Bros." (franchise)

Original release date: 1999

Platform: Nintendo 64

"Smash Bros." is one of the best fighting games out there. Instead of knocking opponents down, players have to knock opponents off a stage. Each character has his or her own set of moves, but the button combinations for each are the same no matter which character you are. 

The cast of "Smash Bros." brings together a bunch of characters from the Nintendo universe. The latest sequel to the game for the Wii U, "Super Smash Bros. Wii U," will be released later this month, and the 3DS version was also recently released. Buy it here.



39. "Wii Sports"

Release date: 2006

Platform: Nintendo Wii

Buy it here.

"Wii Sports" was bundled with the Wii when it was released in 2006. The game included five different sports — tennis, baseball, bowling, boxing, golf — meant to show you how to use the Nintendo Wii Remote. It's the second-best-selling game of all time, behind "Tetris" (which was bundled with the original Game Boy).



38. "Destiny"

Release date: Sept. 9, 2014

Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Buy it here.

It was one of the most anticipated games of 2014, and the first big game to take advantage of the graphical and online capabilities of the current generation of consoles. But while Bungie's latest adventure has a few kinks in the armor — it can be quite repetitive and there's zero plot to speak of — "Destiny" is ultimately an extremely addictive first-person shooter with gorgeous environments, snappy gameplay, and fun powers and abilities to choose from.



37. "Skyrim"

Release date: Nov. 11, 2011

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Buy it here.

Bethesda Game Studios launched the first "Elder Scrolls" game in 1994, but the franchise didn't take the world by storm until almost two decades later, with "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim." It's the biggest action role-playing game Bethesda has ever created (that's saying something), and it's also one of the richest in terms of looks and gameplay.

Unlike past games, everything you do in the game, from mixing herbs to fighting to shooting arrows and using magic, helps you improve those skills simply by performing them more often. It's also deeply rewarding in terms of a storyline: You are the Dragonborn, the human who is prophecized to destroy a dragon that wants to eat the world. And with a living world and so many powerful abilities to choose from, no two journeys in "Skyrim" are ever the same.



36. "Super Mario Kart" (franchise)

Original release date: 1992

Platform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System

"Super Mario Kart" is a go-kart racing game that lets the player take control of one of several different characters from the Mario and Nintendo universes. There are a bunch of "Mario Kart" titles in the franchise, the most recent being "Mario Kart 8" for the Wii U. You can buy it here. 



35. "Journey"

Release date: March 13, 2012

Platform: PlayStation 3

You wake up in the middle of a sprawling desert. Off in the distance, you see a shining mountaintop. Your goal: to get there. Through dunes and ruins, your character will learn how to fly to get to that mountain — but the journey is much more than the destination. "Journey" is one of the most beautiful-looking and beautiful-sounding games ever created — its soundtrack, composed by Austin Wintory, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (the first ever for a video game).



34. "LittleBigPlanet" (franchise)

Original release date: 2008

Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation Portable

For a long time, the puzzle platform game "LittleBigPlanet" was one of the only reasons to get a PlayStation 3. Players control Sackboy, navigating him through various levels and collecting bubbles along the way. But the coolest part of the game is the creative portion, in which players get to design levels for others to play. The third iteration in the series, "LittleBigPlanet 3," comes out Nov. 18.



33. "R.B.I. Baseball"

Original release date: 1986

Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System

"R.B.I. Baseball" was the first baseball game to use actual player names. Each player had different abilities in terms of running speed and hitting prowess. The best part was the ever-elusive home run, which got the crowd roaring and sent fireworks into the air. 

There were a ton of sequels to the game in the 1990s. The most recent one, "R.B.I. Baseball 14," was released in the spring, and is available for various platforms including mobile. However, it wasn't met with the same great reviews as the original. 



32. "Madden NFL" (franchise)

Original release date: 1988

Platform: Originally released on the Apple II; later released across all platforms

The greatest (American) football simulator game of all time has to be "Madden NFL." The game, which features realistic scenarios, players, and voice commentary, has been released annually since 1990. The latest in the series, "Madden NFL 15," features Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on the cover. Buy it here. 



31 "Psychonauts"

Release date: April 19, 2005

Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3

One of the funniest, most creative, and beautifully stylistic games ever made, "Psychonauts" centers on a boy named Raz who runs away from the circus to sneak into a summer camp for those with psychic powers. To progress in the game, you must jump into other characters' minds, gain new psychic abilities, fight their demons, tag their emotional baggage, and defeat their other mental afflictions.

Buy it here on Amazon or Steam



30. "Mario Tennis"

Release date: Aug. 28, 2000

Platform: Nintendo 64, Wii (Virtual Console)

With simple controls — you press A or B, plus your directional stick, to hit the ball in different ways — "Mario Tennis" was an extremely addicting game for the Nintendo 64, especially when you had four players at once. It received critical acclaim for its accessibility as well as its physics. 



29. "Uncharted" (franchise)

Original release date: 2007

Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita

One of the best reasons to buy a PlayStation console over an Xbox is "Uncharted." The action-adventure third-person shooter follows the story of Nathan Drake, a treasure hunter. The second game in the series, "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves," is among the top-rated games across all consoles.



28. "Guitar Hero" (franchise)

Release date: 2005

Platform: PlayStation 2

Ever dreamed of playing "I Love Rock 'n Roll," followed by "Killer Queen"? "Guitar Hero" let you be a rockstar in the comforts of your home. It's a music rhythm game that came with cool guitar accessories. The franchise branched out with various sequels and accessories, like a drum set and microphone. It was followed by another successful game in the genre, "Rock Band." 



27. "Mass Effect"

Release date: Nov. 20, 2007

Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U

"Mass Effect" is a lot of things: a third-person shooter, a role-playing game, a high-octane action-adventure strategy game. But more than anything, it's a space opera. You are Commander Shepard, and your mission is to save the galaxy from the destructive mechanical beings called Reapers. You must recruit soldiers, scientists, and allies from different planets across the galaxy and make difficult decisions that affect you, your crew, and the entire universe. And in "Mass Effect 3," the company introduced same-sex relationships in the series. 

The trilogy ended in 2012, but BioWare says it is making another game set in the "Mass Effect" universe, though it warns fans not to call it "Mass Effect 4."



26. "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" (franchise)

Original release date: Aug. 31, 1999

Platform: PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3

Tony Hawk's awesome "Pro Skater" put you on a board and sent you off throughout various cities, trying to complete missions. By stringing together awesome tricks, like aerials and ollies, you could rack up the points to be a true pro skater. The game also featured a great soundtrack and some big names in skateboarding, like Bam Margera and Bob Burnquist.

There were several sequels, but our favorite has to be "Pro Skater 4," which changed up the Career mode and gave players more time to explore various levels. 

And good news to all the skateboarding fans out there: Another sequel will be released in 2015. 



25. "GoldenEye 64"

Release date: Aug. 25, 1997

Platform: Nintendo 64

Though countless games have been based on movies, Rare, the developer of "Donkey Kong Country," created one of the most addictive, memorable first-person shooters ever. It has the same plot as its namesake film, but the game shone thanks to thrilling moments (dropping in on bad guys in a bathroom is a great way to start a game) and its incredible multiplayer.



24. "Kingdom Hearts"

Release date: March 28, 2002

Platform: PlayStation 2

This action role-playing game combines perhaps two of the most beloved franchises of all time: "Final Fantasy" and Disney. The main character, Sora, and his buddies Donald Duck and Goofy are tasked with traveling to various Disney-themed worlds on a mission to prevent invasion by the bad guys, called Heartless. 

Several sequels across various platforms were released. "Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix" will be released soon (you can preorder a special collector's edition of the game now), and "Kingdom Hearts 3" is in development.



23. "Red Dead Redemption"

Release date: May 18, 2010

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Rockstar is known for the "Grand Theft Auto" series, but the company created something truly beautiful and memorable with "Red Dead Redemption," which is an open-world adventure set in the Wild West. As John Marston, a former outlaw charged with bringing his old partners to justice, you can ride horses, collect bounties from wanted posters, duel, play cards (and cheat), collect herbs, hunt wild animals, and even hogtie random characters and place them on the train tracks, if you so desire. 



22. "Final Fantasy" (franchise)

Release date: Dec. 18, 1987

Platform: Nearly every platform you could think of

Though each installment has its own setting, story, and characters, "Final Fantasy" remains one of the constants in gaming. The series is known for its creative characters, emotional plot lines, and soaring visuals. The franchise's 15th installment is coming soon for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.



21. "Half-Life 2"

Release date: Nov. 16, 2004

Platform: Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Roughly 20 years after the events of the first game — in which a group of scientists accidentally create an inter-dimensional instability that lets aliens flood the earth — you play one of those scientists, Gordon Freeman, as he collects information and weapons to fight an oppressive multidimensional empire called The Combine. "Half-Life 2" is a first-person shooter that has a lot of fun with physics, exploration, and strategy.



20. "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time"

Release date: Nov. 18, 2003

Platform: PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 3

Buy it here.

Imagine being able to turn back time to fix mistakes you may have made. Would you make the same choices? That's the premise of the intricate "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," which allowed you to turn back the clock for a few seconds if you accidentally misjudged a long jump or didn't quite kill an enemy in time. The original game, "Prince of Persia," which came out in 1989, can be found in "Sands of Time" as a hidden Easter egg. 

The beautiful graphics and the clever game mechanics made this a huge hit when it was released. A movie with the same name, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, came out in 2010 but didn't receive the same amount of praise as the game it was based on. 



19. "Metal Gear Solid"

Release date: Oct. 21, 1998

Platform: PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One

The pioneer of stealth gaming, Hideo Kojima's "Metal Gear Solid" franchise is considered one of the best of all time. The game's protagonist is Solid Snake, a legendary soldier-spy who is often charged with disarming and destroying giant nuclear weapon-armed mechs known as "Metal Gear." But the core skills needed are stealth and infiltration — you must hide under objects, sneak around walls, and use gadgets like infrared goggles to avoid, distract, or take out enemies.



18. "Shadow of the Colossus"

Release date: Oct. 18, 2005

Platform: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3

You play a boy named Wander, who only has a sword, a bow, and a horse at his disposal. He needs to resurrect a young girl named Momo — you don't know why yet — but the secret to her revival is by defeating various colossi that roam the world. Each giant has its own abilities and weaknesses, and it's your job to find them. It's a straightforward game, but it's also one of the most beautiful games ever made.



17. "Batman: Arkham Asylum" (series)

Release date: Aug. 25, 2009

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Starting with "Arkham Asylum," Rocksteady's take on the caped crusader is by far the best — and it's also one of the best superhero series ever made. As a third-person action adventure game, you play as Batman as he tries to foil the Joker's various plots — first at Gotham's mental hospital in "Arkham Asylum," and later across all of Gotham in "Batman: Arkham City." The final game of the series is coming in 2015: "Batman: Arkham Knight."



16. "The Last of Us"

Release date: June 14, 2013

Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

In Naughty Dog's adventure/survival horror game, you play as Joel, a man who is forced to survive a zombie apocalypse that claims many of his loved ones. You are charged with smuggling a teenage girl named Ellie, who is immune to the virus that turns people into zombies, to a group of rebels fighting the quarantine zone authorities that want to kill her. It's a stunning tale with several twists and turns, but it's beautiful throughout, and the plot makes it feel as if you're in a movie. In fact, the game will soon be a movie, to be produced by Sam Raimi.



15. "Assassin's Creed" (franchise)

Original release date: Nov. 13, 2007 

Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Wii U

The intricate plot line of the "Assassin's Creed" series is hard to describe. It's a story within a story, and the main protagonist, Desmond Miles, is the crux. At least in the beginning of the series. You play through his memories, as an Assassin, trying to defeat the Knights Templar. In the first game, you play as Altair during the Third Crusade.

But it's way more complicated than that.

The best part about the series, however, is its historical accuracy. The game takes you to Italy, America during the Revolution, and even the high seas in "Black Flag." The most recent game, which came out this month, takes you to Paris during the French Revolution. 

You meet a range of historic characters along the way, from Leonardo Da Vinci to George Washington.

The open-world action adventure game is among the top in its genre, and it's worth playing through, even if only to check out the views. 



14. "Call of Duty" (franchise)

Release date: Oct. 29, 2003

Platform: Nintendo DS, Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One

The first-person shooter was originally released on PC but expanded to consoles and even mobile. The games' settings range from World War II through the Cold War and into the future. Sometimes way in the future. 

The most recent game in the series, "Advanced Warfare," was released this month and stars Kevin Spacey as the antagonist. 

Our favorite, however, is "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare," which brought the series to present day and introduced a range of weapons and technology to the series. 



13. "Contra"

Release date: Feb. 20, 1987

Platform: Nintendo 

"Contra" is perhaps most well known for its use of the Konami code — up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start — a cheat code that gave players up to 30 lives in the Nintendo version of the game. The Konami code has since been used to find Easter eggs and cheats in various games and websites.

Gameplay objectives include running around and shooting enemies, while trying to avoid getting shot yourself. The game is both a side-scroller and a sort of 3D game, in which players could run forward and backward. 



12. "Donkey Kong" (franchise)

Release date: July 9, 1981

Platform: Every Nintendo platform

Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the "Super Mario" and "Legend Of Zelda" franchises, is also the creator of the red-tie-wearing great ape named Donkey Kong. He first started off as a bad guy throwing barrels at Nintendo's little red plumber, but he really grew up in Rare's "Donkey Kong Country" series, which featured three-dimensional playable characters Donkey and Diddy Kong in a mostly 2D side-scrolling world of jungles, oceans, and more. He is one of the most iconic characters in gaming, and his difficult side-scrolling adventures continue to attract new fans on Nintendo's platforms.



11. "Metroid"

Release date: Aug. 6, 1986

Platform: Every Nintendo platform

It's one of Nintendo's oldest and strongest intellectual properties: You play as the female bounty hunter Samus Aran as you protect the galaxy from Space Pirates, their dragon-like leader Ridley, and the parasitic organisms known as Metroids. You wear a cybernetic suit that gets powerful upgrades as you progress through the game. The shooter/platformer started as a 2D experience, but it really blossomed as a 3D first-person shooter in "Metroid Prime," which is widely considered to be one of the best games ever made, and it remains one of the highest-rated games on Metacritic.



10. "Grand Theft Auto" (franchise)

Release date: 1997

Platform: Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One

The "Grand Theft Auto" series started out in 2D and has since branched out into a huge open world, where players take on the role of a criminal. Gameplay involves assassinations, car theft, and pretty much any other criminal activity you can think of.

The storylines aren't linear, and the people you meet and the things you do are based on the choices you make. A re-release of "Grand Theft Auto V" on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will come out Nov. 18. 



9. "Sonic the Hedgehog"

Release date: June 23, 1991

Platform: Sega Genesis, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Sonic, that blue anthropomorphic hedgehog who runs at supersonic speeds and curls into a spiky ball to hit people, remains one of gaming's most recognizable characters. His side-scrolling games mostly involve racing through levels, avoiding obstacles, and collecting golden power-up rings. Though Sega's mascot once rivaled Mario in popularity, his games in recent years have not been received well — although he has joined Mario on a few occasions, most notably in Nintendo's "Super Smash Bros." franchise.

Sonic also might be the guy to thank for video games being released on Tuesdays. 



8. "BioShock" (franchise)

Release date: Aug. 21, 2007

Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

A spiritual successor to the dystopian "System Shock" series — and produced by former developers of that series — the first "BioShock" game in 2007 introduced gamers to the underwater city of Rapture, learning of the city's past through exploration while overcoming the city's horrific denizens, the creepy Splicers, and the heavily armored Big Daddies. Luckily, you have tons of unique weapons and superpowers at your disposal — powers you get by either saving the human Little Sisters that accompany the Big Daddies, or harvesting their bodies for more of that superhuman juice. But the decisions you make throughout the game affect how it's played, and how it all ends.



7. "Portal" (franchise)

Release date: Oct. 9, 2007

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

You've never had so much fun solving puzzles. In "Portal," you wake up in a glass-enclosed room that's owned by Aperture Laboratories, which is running a series of "tests" on you. Your goal is to pass these tests with one tool and one tool only: a portal gun, which creates one blue and one orange portal. If you enter through the blue portal, you'll come out of the orange portal, and vice-versa. It's an extremely simple premise — best the tests, and escape the labs — but it's a highly enjoyable experience, marked by some of the funniest writing ever found in a video game as well as some of the most creative physics-related puzzles you've ever encountered.



6. "Halo" (franchise)

Release date: Nov. 15, 2001

Platform: Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One

In 2001, Bungie redefined the first-person shooter with the original "Halo," which let characters play as the super-soldier marine known as Master Chief as he took on a religious alien alliance known as the Covenant. In the original game, the Covenant is trying to activate Halo, a planet-size ring created to destroy all sentient life in the universe, and you as Master Chief are trying to stop them.

With a strong story and truly addictive gameplay, Microsoft made sure to hold onto the rights to Halo even after Bungie, the developer behind the original games, purchased its independence from Microsoft and stopped making the series. "Halo" is now in the hands of Microsoft-owned 343 Industries, which just released "Halo: The Master Chief Collection" (a remastering of the first four "Halo" titles for Xbox One) and is working on "Halo 5."



5. "Minecraft"

Original release date: May 17, 2009

Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita

"Minecraft" is a huge, open-world sandbox game that was originally released for the PC in 2009. Since then, it has been released on other platforms, including on the current-gen Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Microsoft just purchased the company behind the game, Mojang, for more than $2 billion.

The game looks like a huge gridded landscape, with various blocks representing trees, dirt, rocks, etc. The landscape is "procedurally generated," meaning that content is generated via an algorithm and can basically be infinite. And there's an in-game time system, which cycles through day and night. 

There are various activities you perform in the game: combat, exploration, crafting, gathering items, and building things. There are no specific goals, but there are different modes: Survival, Adventure, and Creative. 

But Creative mode is where "Minecraft" really shines, with people building amazing creations and structures. Including a working version of Disney World, where you can even ride the rides.



4. "Pokémon"

Release date: Sept. 28, 1998

Platform: All Nintendo platforms, particularly portables

The game is simple: The world is inhabited by colorful animals — monsters, really — that you can capture and keep as pets and use to fight other owners, called "trainers." Your character travels from town to town, meeting people and running into wild Pokémon along the way. The goal is to build the best team of Pokémon possible, so as you challenge other trainers, and bosses known as "gym leaders," your Pokémon get stronger, you earn badges for your achievements, and you can brag to your friends and rivals that you are "the very best that no one ever was."

Pokémon is the second-most successful and lucrative video game-based media franchise in the world, second only to Nintendo's Mario.



3. "The Legend of Zelda"

Release date: Feb. 21, 1986

Platform: Every Nintendo platform

All gamers have their favorite Zelda game — whether "A Link To The Past," "Ocarina Of Time," "Wind Waker," or one of countless others.

"The Legend Of Zelda" franchise has withstood the test of time — even though most of the games, while never featuring the same "incarnation" of these characters, feature a young hero named Link who must save Princess Zelda from the evil Gerudo thief known as Ganondorf.

Many of the tales take place in the kingdom of Hyrule and involve an omnipotent symbol called the Triforce, which consists of three all-powerful golden triangles: the triangle of courage is given to Link, the triangle of wisdom is given to Zelda, and the triangle of power is given to Ganondorf. The tales are all varied — sometimes you're transforming into animals and creatures to complete quests; other times you're traveling back and forth in time — but gamers of all ages have been able to connect with these emotional characters and their rich, often-amusing adventures.



2. "Tetris"

Release date: June 6, 1984

Platform: Various consoles

"Tetris," the game in which you manipulate falling blocks to create lines that are then cleared from the screen, turned 30 years old this year. 

The story behind "Tetris" is complicated, but the game is fun and hugely addicting. And who can forget the music?

It was released with the Game Boy handheld gaming system and turned the Game Boy into the most popular portable gaming system of its time. Since then, it has become one of the top-selling games of all time. It's so beloved, in fact, that a movie will be based on it.



1. "Super Mario Bros."

Release date: July 9, 1981

Platform: Every Nintendo console

He got his start as the ladder-climbing "Jumpman" in "Donkey Kong," but starting with "Super Mario Bros." in 1985, Mario quickly became the face and mascot of Nintendo — and an icon for the entire industry.

Mario is an absolute juggernaut, and the face of video games: Mario owns Guinness World Records for "Best Selling Video Game Series of All Time," "Most Prolific Video Game Character," and yes, even "First Movie Based On An Existing Video Game." Mario is also a pop culture icon: He has toys, commercials, candy, and of course, tons and tons of best-selling games. Mario has appeared in 116 distinct video game titles — including landmark games like "Super Mario 64" and "Super Mario Galaxy" — but that number doesn't even include all of the remakes and re-releases over the years. Mario, we salute you.



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