Curated list of "The best 50 / 100 games" for each platform?

Does anyone know a reliable source for a curated list of “the best 50/100 games” for each console platform? (I’m hedging my bets here because some platforms had a lot of games in their catalog and top 100 might not even cut it.)

With the state of emulation being the way it is today, we have infinite games to play. And that’s the problem. I don’t want the ability to play every single game ever released on a single console, no matter how shlocky, no matter how obscure… I want the objectively best games for the platform, at least by metacritic / most “people” / most reviewers say standards.

As he said at the end of the video…

Because the honest truth is there are more games that can be played on this system at a perfect resolution than you actually have time to play.

I feel like too many of these devices pile every single possible release, no matter how shlocky, no matter how lame, on the device like that’s a good thing (look! there are 62,845 games!) when it isn’t – it’s just overwhelming and a waste of my time. I am never gonna play Wheel of Fortune for Gameboy Advance! And you shouldn’t either! :frowning:

I want to build a reasonable “best of” list for all the possible platforms, but I’m not sure how to do it.

If it’s not inappropriate, I actually have two Ayn Odins. If you can help me (and everyone else interested in the topic, per this topic) reply with a reasonable list of the “best of” for all these systems, I will send you a free Ayn Odin.

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There’s a few sources I’ve found online, though I’m usually looking out for less well known picks.

RacketBoy has “Best Undiscovered”, “Rarest and most valuable” and “Games that defined the…” lists for different platforms which have some interesting picks in them - especially for Game Boy.

Examples:
The Best Undiscovered Game Boy & Game Boy Color Games - RetroGaming with Racketboy

Games That Defined The Dreamcast - RetroGaming with Racketboy

The Best Undiscovered Sega Dreamcast Games - RetroGaming with Racketboy

The Rarest and Most Valuable N64 Games - RetroGaming with Racketboy

The Best Undiscovered Gameboy Advance (GBA) Games - RetroGaming with Racketboy

and so on…


Then you’ve got your blog posts where passionate writers come up with their own lists. This one’s great:

Top 100 GameBoy Games #100-91 | Satoshi Matrix’s Blog (wordpress.com)


There’s also the “/v/'s recommended games wiki” which has some interesting recommendations.

Examples:

Nintendo DS | /v/'s Recommended Games Wiki | Fandom

Nintendo DS/JP Only | /v/'s Recommended Games Wiki | Fandom

You can find similar lists for other platforms via those sources, even stuff like the MSX.


Now, the above lists aren’t ranked by metascore or anything, but they are curated and there is accompanying text next to each game entry, which is useful if you either know what you’re looking for, or want to know what you’re getting in to.

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If you’re looking at this question with the perspective of “I want to pump games in my emu device / my flashcart but I don’t want my SD card to be flooded with sport games and horse betting simulators! What’s the good stuff?”, I get that. It’s way more fun and pratical to curate your own library than just download the NES fullset filled with chinese bootlegs, LJN and other veneral diseases.

That being said I would recommend you look at it from the perspective of “What kind of video games do I like?” instead of “What’s the best?”. There are many reasons

*I’m showing my fangs here but, really, I would not trust any “curated” list by the current tastemakers. The English Old Video Games writing field is, how do I say it, very inbred. Lots of 40-something american dudes who have fond memory of playing Japanese platformers on their nin-tay-doos and are instinctually dimissive of contemporary competing platforms, or style of games they did not grow up with (the dreaded FPS!). The kind of people that get really indignant if you say Medal of Honor is a more popular and historically import game than Klonoa. The kind of people who wave their expertise through mediocrely-written webpages and hour of video content filled with pretentious namedrops, but who repeatedly demonstrate a poor understanding of the games they’re talking and blame their lacking mechanical skills on some imagined design fault. Etc. etc.

*Related to the above, there’s a certain “tyranny of the majority” effect when talking about the library of old game platforms. A lot of the popular games still are not necessarily the best, but the one that are the most accessible, that were the most marketed, are piggybacking off some popular IP, and so on. Wall Street Kid might secretly be the best stock market-betting simulator of all time, but that’s not gonna do it any good when people playing the NES in 2022 are not doing so for games like Wall Street Kid.

*Conversely and paradoxically, the internet has a way of elevating echo chambers and have things of limited appeal appear much more popular than they actually are. Certainly you could get a hundred of self-styled experts to agree Dodonpachi Dai-Ou Jou is the ideal embodiment of arcade excellence and that very well may be true and I may agree with them - but I wager the overwhelming majority of people would still find DOJ to be unenjoyable, byzantine dogshit.

I know what I like so one thing I like to do as a late flashcart Evangelist is google stuff like “All Game Boy shmups”. You’ll probably find an article or a youtube video with all the games, and skimming through it, I’ll make note of the games I think looks at least vaguely fun and interesting. For platforms with smaller libraries, stuff like Game Sack’s recent run through of every Neo Geo games might come in handy. Or more in the spirit of your question, this site ranking all NA SNES releases (currently up to #26).

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I keep my own lists of top 5 or 10, for each of my favourite platforms. Though my taste is more Japanese than Western. I should share them online.

Anyway, there are people that put together packs of games like this. The MiSTer scene has people doing it. And I seem to remember some on internet archive for PlayStation, etc.

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The Racket Boy lists up above are some of the best, wump. I’ve found those to be pretty useful during the years I’ve been actively collecting for various consoles.

One thing I try to do myself is not buy games just for the sake of buying them for my personal collection so I like to think that the lists of games I own for various platforms are pretty good approximations of “quality” in the catalogs of those machines. The only thing that prevents me from owning some games is obviously… price. And those are always going to be on those Racket Boy lists.

I recently moved my collection to Price Charting, and I haven’t really made it public in the past, but I’ll do that for awhile so you can have a look. Stick and ball sports games can mostly be discounted out of hand as picking one or two from that list (such as NHLPA 93 or NHL 94 on Genesis… or just NHL 94 on Sega CD) would easily be enough.

My most actively collected games are Sega stuff. I’m not a huge NES guy so that’s definitely underwhelming, but I do love most of what I own there.

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That is all fair and well said. I am fine with a list that is primarily driven by sales figures, that is,

Give me the 80 best selling games on Game Boy Advance

with a light sprinkling of

Then add the 20 “most underrated” games on Game Boy Advance as compiled from {x} different sources for diversity

Even better, if there was some way of involving a site like metacritic which aggregates review scores, that’d be better still than sales figures. But for older platforms that might be tough.

Anyway, that’s the challenge… and I do have a free AYN Odin for anyone willing to help me do it for all the major emu consoles. Ideally we could post the lists here for everyone to share (and argue about)… maybe one topic per platform?

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GameFAQs has a list sorter in advanced search based on peoples’ ratings, which can give an idea of which games are more popular than others. Surprised that more people don’t use it:

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The old Smokemonster rom packs had folders for “best of lists” that I often appreciated.

My eventual move for flash carts and MiSTer usually ends up as a 1G1R set + a “recommended” folder made from those Smokemonster folders + a translations folder + “personal picks” (Bobble Selects®) folder.

Picking for the personal picks folder is super fun. You can keep it tight and then when a game gets over the hump in your mind it’s cool! Can help guide physical buying too.

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oh yeah, whenever i setup everdrives, i love finding something sanctuary’s 100 best type folders, always some imports ive not played in there & they’re usually great

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Ranker is a decent site that comes up frequently when I search for “best of” games. I’m not very familiar with it but it seems like a crowd sourced rank (up or down) of games. Here’s their ps2 page for example: Link

You’re never going to find an objective list. Opinions are subjective in nature. :disguised_face:

For everdrives, mister, etc, I only put on games I want to play otherwise it’s cable TV with 1,000 channels and I keep flipping around every couple minutes.

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One potential issue is for a lot of formats you’re less likely to find games which only released in Japan.

I think this is a bigger issue with handhelds than it is with consoles because handhelds historically have always been a smaller part of the conversation despite their importance in gaming history. One example would be how you rarely find anything written about Konami’s legendary Power Pro Kun Pocket series - which spanned 14 games across GBC, GBA, and DS - despite its quality and despite it being a spiritual successor to TokiMeki Memorial games (no joke - it’s a hybrid baseball, simulation game and, if you want, dating sim).

In the past certain unofficial magazines in this country used to review most import titles released which was a great way of discovering titles - regardless of critical reception. Nowadays you can find many unlisted games by window shopping on sites like Yahoo Auctions, but it does take a lot of time to go through those items!

And there’s always going to be eclectic games which may have been misunderstood upon release but are actually really interesting today. Odama on GameCube rarely gets talked about nowadays and it wasn’t well received on its release, but I think it’s one of the best exclusives on GameCube to play today. But it took me so long to get round to it because you’ll rarely see it mentioned anywhere.


Then there’s also the question that with these systems like the Ayn Odin, which can play games from multiple systems of the past, whether platforms are more important than time periods/era, or genre.

It might be more beneficial to curate a list of games by genre and by release period?

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This is a really old site but I’ve enjoyed reading through these in the past and there’s a real variation on genres.

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that’s the one i was talking about! they’ve got some real gems on those lists, i really dig their NES/famicom one

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These are really good lists. The only way I could fault them would be the lack of Japanese-only releases as @harborline_765 mentioned often happens.

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