You could look at impact on the medium, or highest sales. You could write down your personal favorites on pieces of paper, then throw them into the air. Where the pieces land? That’s your list!
But what we’ve got here is something slightly more scientific. Reviews aggregation site Metacritic compiles all reviews of games, then it averages those scores into an overall average. What you’ll find below is the top 50 highest-rated games of all time, based on the averages obtained by Metacritic. We made one small change: Since there are a handful of duplicates on the list (multiple versions of the same game, released on multiple platforms), we’ve just taken the highest-ranked version of the game to make room for a handful of games that wouldn’t have otherwise made the list.
Without further ado, these are the 50 best video games of all time:
50. “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4”
Critic score: 94/100
User score: 8.4/10
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Build your skills, earn respect, and show that you’ve got what it takes to Go Pro. 190 progressively harder goals. No time clock, no constraints. Pro-specific challenges. Evolving levels. Interact with other skaters. Multi-player modes. Customize your game…Your career is what you make of it.”
Platforms: GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, Tapwave Zodiac, OS X, PC
49. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”
Critic score: 94/100
User score: 6.4/10
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Modern Warfare 2’ continues the gripping and heart-racing action as players face off against a new threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse. An entirely new gameplay mode which supports 2-player co-operative play online that is unique from the single player story campaign. Special Ops pits players into a gauntlet of time-trial and objective-based missions. Rank-up as players unlock new Special Ops missions, each more difficult. Missions include highlights from the single player campaign, fan favorites from ‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’ and all new, exclusive missions. Setting a new bar for online multiplayer, ‘Modern Warfare 2’ multiplayer delivers new capabilities, customization, game states and modes, including: Create-a-Class Evolved. Secondary Weapons – Machine Pistols, Shotguns, Handguns, Launchers. Riot Shields. Equipment – Throwing Knives, Blast Shield, Tactical Insertion. Perk Upgrades. Bling (Dual Attachments). Customizable Killstreaks – AC130, Sentry Gun, Predator Missile, Counter-UAV, Care Package. Accolades (Post match reports).”
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, OS X
48. “Final Fantasy IX”
Critic score: 94/100
User score: 8.9/10
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The last ‘Final Fantasy’ for the PlayStation, ‘Final Fantasy IX’ returns to the pure fantasy roots that spawned the series. This latest installment features highly detailed characters, vehicles, and environments, and breathtaking cinema-graphics. The addition of brand new features such as the story-enhancing Active Time Event system and the return of mini-games that grant additional gameplay make ‘Final Fantasy IX’ not only a memorable gaming experience, but also a significant step forward in the series.”
Platforms: PlayStation, iOS, Android, PC, PlayStation 4
Intel’s Hades Canyon NUC is deceptively powerful given its diminutive size. It’s quite capable of 1080p/60FPS gaming (and typically on Medium to High quality settings) thanks to Intel’s Kaby Lake G processor which bakes in AMD’s Radeon Vega M GH graphics. I can tell you from experience it makes a fantastic Steam Big Picture console on Windows 10. But Windows and I recently broke up. I’d love to use Hades Canyon as a semi-portable Linux music studio or Steam Play console. On Ubuntu 18.04, that goal wasn’t attainable for the average user, but Ubuntu 18.10 and Hades Canyon are practically best friends.
How did this all come together? NUC resellers contacted Canonical (Ubuntu’s parent company) about having “out of the box” support for Hades Canyon, so Canonical employee (and Ubuntu Podcast host) Martin Wimpress ordered one, figured out what was required to make Ubuntu and Hades Canyon play nice together, and rallied for the necessary updates to be included in Ubuntu 18.10.
For months, Linux users struggled with Hades Canyon, reporting things like power management issues and problems with graphics drivers among other minor snags which would be large hurdles for the average user. So today I eagerly slapped Ubuntu 18.10 on a USB stick today and installed it on my own Hades Canyon NUC, and I can report that it runs flawlessly out of the box.
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In my case, flawlessly means a carefree install, great gaming performance without any post-install updates or command line tweaking, perfect HDMI audio (plus my wireless LucidSound LS30 headphones were detected and sounded awesome), and generally stable, expected operation.
To clarify, all flavors of Ubuntu (such as Ubuntu Studio, Kubuntu and Ubuntu Budgie) offer this same level of compatibility with Hades Canyon since they’re built on the same base and Linux kernel. Additionally, Wimpress says that Ubuntu 18.04.2 — scheduled for release February 2019 — will also support Hades Canyon, as well as laptops coming to market that feature Intel’s powerful Kaby Lake G processor and Radeon Vega M graphics.
In general, Linux kernel 4.18 seems to offer vast improvements for Hades Canyon NUC and specifically AMD’s Radeon Vega M graphics hardware. I’ve seen reports of success from Arch and Fedora users who’ve upgraded, so it’s wonderful news that slick devices like the Hades Canyon NUC — and by extension future products featuring Radeon Vega M graphics — should be well supported going forward.
And of course I’m going to let Ubuntu 18.10 stick around on my Hades Canyon NUC for a bit. I’m currently benchmarking some games using the Phoronix Test Suite and will be posting those results shortly so stay tuned!