A few months ago, when I was working on my "Top 10 GameFAQs Top Ten Lists" list, I came across an early list titled, "Top 10 according to the Poll of the Day board", written way back in 2005. The list got me thinking: what would the various different GameFAQs social boards rank as their Top 10 games of all time?

So, I decided to do this little project. Conduct a series of polls on several of the major GameFAQs social boards, and tabulate the results. To make it more of a community effort, though, I didn't want to just write what I thought about each winning game: I wanted to see what the board members themselves had to say about the games they chose. So, each individual game's write-up comes from a board member of the actual board for the list.

Because that meant having to reveal the winners in order to solicit write-ups, I've also included two honorable mentions, just to keep a little surprise as to what made the actual Top 10. If you're interested in the actual methods that went into tabulating this list or in the full results, check out the Conclusions section. Additionally, this series initially consists of five lists, but I plan to do more in the future: if you'd like to suggest a board for a future list, drop by the A-10 Attack! board and let me know.

Now, without further adieu: The Top 10 Game of All Time, According to GameFAQs' Contests Board.

"For the most part, Board 8 follows the basic trend consistent with all of GameFAQs. We love our big-time Square and Nintendo games from the 1990s, we're falling out of the love with the Wii really fast, the PC is lagging behind and we love our nostalgia. On other sites you might see more love for the PC or the current generation, but GameFAQs loves their nostalgia trips. Not to say we dislike the new generation of video games, but as a group I think it's fair to say we love our 1990s and early 2000s.

The obvious point to make from this list project relative to other boards however is how our "flavor of the month" tastes are all over the place. The first big example is the original Phoenix Wright game, even though it didn't make the list. It's the symbol on our wikia, and whenever I'd run multi-board game contests Board 8 would rally it hard and annoy everyone else. We still love Phoenix, but we've since seen moved on to the Persona series, Pokemon and obviously Umineko. We'll probably be the laughingstock weaboos of GameFAQs for Umineko making this list, but it's all in good fun.

We're an odd board in that we have a great social circle on top of being the place to discuss contests, but it all works together somehow and the regulars wouldn't have it any other way." -- Written by Ultimaterializer

Honorable Mention: A Link to the Past: "Please help me…I am a prisoner in the castle dungeon…my name is Zelda…"

With this simple psychic summons in the night begins The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Dispensing with all but the simplest plot exposition, LTTP instantly pulls the player into a massive adventure to save the princess, find gobs of items, defeat Ganon, and save the world.

There are many aspects of the Zelda series which make it uniquely loved among gamers, and all of these aspects are at their peak in LTTP. Hyrule is densely packed with items to find and locations to explore, and its surprising degree of depth provides a magnetic pull which draws the player to investigate every nook and cranny. And they’ll have to, since LTTP contains a huge array of items and does a superb job of making each one useful throughout the player’s quest. Moreso than any other Zelda, LTTP truly feels like an adventure from wire to wire.

Dungeons, another forte of the Zelda series, are splendidly handled in this game. The game packs a whopping 13 of them, more than any other installment, and their variety is excellent. From the straight-forward Eastern Palace to the highly unique Skull Woods to the hair-pullingly difficult Ice Palace, every dungeon in LTTP stands out, with their quality accented by challenging bosses and well-designed puzzles.

LTTP also stands out for how well it handles the subtle aspects of game design that are easy to forget about. The difficulty curve is perfect, steadily upping the game’s challenge to test the player without any sudden spikes that make the player want to quit in frustration. Controls are flawless and intuitive, minimizing any frustration which could draw the player out of the game. The music is simple but doesn’t get old, and both overworld themes are iconic video game melodies.

Overall, A Link to the Past stands some 19 years after its original release as a high point in game design and deserves to be played by any self-respecting gamer." -- Written by SubDeity (originally nominated by gitanil)

Honorable Mention: Resident Evil 4: "If there was ever a game that was the very essence of revitalizing a series, its name would be Resident Evil 4. From the moment you step into the Village and hear Dr. Salvador rev his chainsaw for the first time, you know that things have gotten real.

The action is top notch throughout with tight gameplay to match, whether climbing towering bosses like El Gigante, facing down waves and waves of Ganado in the Cabin battle, or running for your life to escape Salazar’s right hand (it came off!). Even cutscenes aren’t safe any more and that leads to some of more heartpounding scenes in the game; The Krauser vs Leon knife fight is one of the more cinematic and intense battles in the entire series. In the midst of all this action the horror never dies though, as the raspy breathing of Regenerators and the chanting death cult will snap you right back.

With the action ramped up, the characters and Resident Evil charm have managed to translate perfectly. Dialogue you’ve come to expect from the RE series is everywhere (‘Bingo?’ ‘YOU’RE small time!’) and the supporting cast ranges from a suave womanizing Spaniard to a midget castellan who overcompensates with a giant robot statue of doom. Plus the story – an often overlooked part of the RE series as a whole – weaves its way through Leon and Ada all the way back to the chessmaster Wesker and his goal of rising from Umbrella’s ashes.

RE4 proudly steps out of the shadow of the classic games as a new monster all its own while still very much acknowledging where it came from, and that is exactly why it has found such high amounts of praise since its release. -- Quite simply, Resident Evil 4 has something for everyone." -- Written by FFDragon (originally nominated by charlie811)

"Final Fantasy Tactics would be my favorite game ever just for the vanilla gameplay, but it gets even better once you get into replays and optional content. It's much too extensive to delve into completely in a small Top 10 writeup, but the basic gist is Tactics is the defining Strategy RPG. Rather than fights taking place in a traditional JRPG setting like with other Final Fantasy games, in SRPGs you fight on a large grid that resembles chess. With Tactics specifically, the depth of the gameplay is unmatched across the genre. It can be tough to grasp at first, especially when more and more things are thrown at you all at once. But it's a fun experience all the same so long as you keep multiple save files. If Pavlov ringing his bell made dogs salivate, then "That damn Wiegraf/Velius fight" triggers the exact opposite reaction for any first-time FFT player.

But eventually you get through that, cruise through the early parts of Chapter 4, get handed a auto-hasted win button and have a merry old time. Beyond this, a large subculture of people enjoyed playing the game with limits, like single class challenges and solo Ramza runs. Everyone knows me as the first guy who did all the SCCs and declared Calculators cursed when my foot snapped in two afterwards, but it was a blast and makes for one of the funniest gamer stories ever. My best man even brought that up during his toast at my wedding. With Board 8 specifically, a lot of the old challenge players migrated over because math was a shared common interest among challenge players and contest lovers.

Whether you fall in love with Tactics for the main game, challenge play, the quirky mistranslations, the great story, the outstanding soundtrack or for another reason altogether, one thing remains constant: Almost everyone who plays Final Fantasy Tactics loves the game to death. And because Board 8 has great taste in games, it's only natural we have the best game ever made on this list somewhere." -- Written by Ultimaterializer (originally nominated by DomaDragoon)

"Kicking off the 16-bit era, Nintendo brings in Super Mario World for the SNES. Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach, and Yoshi’s friends have been trapped into eggs and locked up in each of the seven Koopalings’ castle. It’s all up to Mario (and possibly Luigi) to save them all. This marks the first appearance of Yoshi, the green dino that everyone has come to know and love. Plus there are different colored Yoshis, each with their own unique ability, sometimes even game-breaking (Thank You Blue Yoshi).

Just like any other Mario game, Super Mario World has that timeless platforming formula of jumping on Koopas and Goombas that is fun to play at any given time. Plus there is new ability, the Feather Cape, which allows you to glide through the stage and slow down your fall. In addition the world map has been expanded to have the main 6 worlds connected together seamlessly, although some might have their own expanded view.

While many levels may seem to be on the easy side, there is still a good deal of stages that will provide a fair challenge, especially to those playing for the first time. Although there might not be a lot of “puzzles” in the game, there sure are many unique ways to reach alternate exits, some leading to secret areas on the map, and man is this game full of secrets! From Block Switches, to Star Road, to the Special World, to beating Bowser early, there is much to uncover in Super Mario World. And once you’ve gone through all 96 goals of the game, you are rewarded with a simple star next to that number and the satisfaction that you have completed one of the greatest games ever made!" -- Written by WhiteLens (originally nominated by GTM)

"Atlus' Persona 4, released not so long ago in late 2008, could have been tailor made for board 8. Centred on a group of high school students, their developing friendships and hidden insecurities, the very lengthy RPG packs huge comical and emotive punch. The game's most unusual and interesting aspect is that the split between time spent in the town of Inaba - where the mute protagonist develops Social Links with various people, progresses characteristics such as intelligence and courage, and goes to school - and time spent in the strange, hidden and dangerous world where he and his friends, with the usual physical and magical abilities, must rescue those lost inside, is governed by the player. The system of fusing Personas, the beings used by the cast, with different attributes and abilities has impressive depth. Backed up by a widely varied soundtrack, quality voice acting, and an unabashedly Japanese setting and style, Persona 4 fully deserves its place as one of Board 8's favourites." -- Written by Kotetsu534 (originally nominated by dragon22391)

"Eighteen people trapped on a secluded island. A storm prevents anyone from coming or going, and cuts off communication with the outside world. One by one they’re picked off, without any explanation for what’s going on or how they’re dying. When dawn breaks, none are left alive – but death is only the beginning of this tale. Umineko no Naku Koro ni (which translates to When the Seagulls Cry) is a Visual Novel, which is a fancy term for a book with pictures and music. Think Phoenix Wright with no gameplay. It’s hard to describe Umineko without spoiling anything – the story goes through a multitude of twists and turns, always unpredictable and rarely dull. It blends elements of mystery, fantasy, and horror, creating a mystery where the object isn’t just to find out who did it, but whether or not it was even possible for such a crime to occur. It’s a fresh and new experience, something that gaming, and stories in general, are sorely lacking these days. The cast of characters is large and varied, with almost all of the character having a decent amount of depth. The music is the best in any game that has ever been created, with over 200 tracks total and an extremely high general quality. It isn’t without flaws; there are a few stretches of bad pacing, and the art leaves something to be desired, but all in all it’s an incredible experience from start to finish." -- Written by KamikazePotato

"Torimaya, Uematsu, Horii, Aoki, Sakaguch. . Forever known as the Dream Team after this game. It is a fitting moniker given what they accomplished. The best from Square, from Enix, and from manga/anime came together and created the definitive turn based RPG. 15 years later and a multitude of games released today still owe a great deal of gratitude to Chrono Trigger. It was the first major release in gaming to utilize time travel in the fashion it did, and the first to give immense replay value by adding in a multitude of endings. It uses its main cast of characters to tell the story, and does it mainly using the supporting cast, leaving Crono himself to be just judged by his heroic actions. Any write up of CT must talk about the music though, 15 years ago it unleashed an unparalleled soundtrack for a video game, and all these years later very few games are able to match the magic that Mitsuda and Uematsu created. In its day it was a graphical powerhouse, between its vibrant colors and lush environments that draw you into the world, and Torimaya-drawn characters giving extra facets to the characters; it has aged beautifully, more so than virtually any other classic game has. What more than anything makes it retain value even today is its battle system, the first of its kind. No random battles, movement of enemy position on screen effecting your attacks, and the combination team attacks in an RPG. All of that mixed together gives a virtually flawless game, with the perfect length for a game of its type as well. Long enough to tell the story, but short enough to keep you interested throughout, and coming back for more." -- Written by GreatWallofUK (originally nominated by SuperWhiscash)

"How many times have you started to play a game and slowly realized you were playing something special? Video games have now been around long enough there are quite a few which can be called “masterpieces,” but how often do you sit down to play a well-reviewed game, only to find it’s everything the critics have said and more? And what do you do when you find such a game? Perhaps you play it nonstop until the end, not wanting to remove yourself from such an immersive experience. Or perhaps instead you delay the inevitable, putting off the final battle until every single side quest and bonus game have been completed and mastered. Personally I fall into the latter category; Ocarina, for me, is an experience to be savored, one that every gamer, young and old, should look forward to playing at some point in his or her lifetime.

So much effusive praise has been heaped upon Ocarina, there’s not much more I can say in that regard. The story is epic, the world is enormous and the gameplay set the industry standard for the 64-bit generation. Ocarina has the best dungeon of any Zelda game (the Water Temple), the best side quest of any Zelda game (collecting all the Golden Skulltulas) and one of the best final battles of any game, period. If you haven’t ever played Ocarina, I’m incredibly envious, for you still have one of the greatest games in history to experience for the first time." -- Written by Jmast7

"Why is Final Fantasy X one of the greatest games of all-time, you ask? Well, let me tell you why I love it! First of all, it has a story that has captivated me in a way that few other games have. I was fortunate enough to be able to play this game without having anything spoiled for me, so watching everything unfold was a real treat for me. I think having everything being told through the perspective of Tidus (who was as new to Spira as I was) really helped immerse me into what was going on. As he learned, I learned. It was a wonderful experience for me.

Final Fantasy X also has one of the best battle systems I’ve ever played in an RPG. I love the Sphere Grid, how you can notice your characters slowly grow and improve as the game progresses. Plus, it’s very simple and easy to use. I also love being able to switch party members in and out on the fly as you please. It adds a new interesting twist even to basic random battles. Coupled together with the CTB (Conditional Turn-Based Battle) system, a new element of strategy is added to battles to keep them from getting too dull and repetitive, in my opinion.

Finally, I love the characters. Tidus, Auron, and Yuna are some of my favorite characters in any game. I enjoy how well the cast interacts with one another, and I grew attached to the characters as I progressed through the story. I wish I could take the time to elaborate on why I love them all, but alas, such is life! Just suffice it to say that FFX has one of my favorite RPG casts, and they help make the game as great as it is." -- Written by LeonhartFour

"When you think of things that defined the 90’s you think of things like: Power Rangers, the rise of the internet, Grunge, and Pokemon. Pokemon Red and Blue versions were released in the US in late 1998 and would go on to become an international sensation. The game itself focuses on a young trainer who goes around catching Pokemon and battling other trainers on the journey to become a Pokemon Master. Back then, if you wanted to be cool you played Pokemon.

My first game was Pokemon Blue. I remember choosing Charmander as my first. I was like “**** Yeah! It’s a friggen fire lizard.” First you play through the game and become the champ, but soon that’s not enough, you need to catch all the Pokemon. With the anime’s “catch” phrase “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” like a broken record in virtually every school kid’s brain, Pokemon was sparked even more

In late 1999 I joined the Pokemon Crater forums. Here I learned of things like damage calculation, type coverage, PP Waster Chansey, and the now famous Tobybro. Suddenly Pokemon had changed again from being a game which I played with my friends, to a game that suddenly involved strategy, prediction, and a lot of box tricks. Pokemon had bridged the gap from casual to hardcore.

While the original craze has died down somewhat, Pokemon remains to be one of the few games that is accepted by almost every gamer and non-gamer alike. I’d go as far to say that there are more Pokemon topics than any other game on B8 per a yearly basis. While not many people are still crazy about Pokemon, it remains to be an immensely popular game." -- Written by Chrono1219 (originally nominated by dragon22391)

"Metal Gear Solid is a series known for a lot of things: A few of the manliest men in gaming, a great cast, superb story, and fun stealth/action gameplay. In MGS3, all of these things came together to produce one of gaming's greatest overall experiences.

The story in Metal Gear Solid 3 follows Big Boss back when he was just "Naked Snake", and not the legendary mercenary he would later become. He experiences love, betrayal, betrayal on an even grander scale, and immense heartbreak, all while stopping the Cold War from reaching a nuclear climax coming to terms with the fact that he would have to fight his mentor and the person he respected most in life.

And who can talk about Metal Gear Solid 3 without mentioning the ending? It's commonly on "best ending in a video game lists", and for a good reason. Without spoiling, all I can say is that Naked Snake has his heart ripped in two: and you do, as well. It's a powerful and poignant scene that stays with people who play the series.

Two major gameplay elements were added to the series in MGS3: Camo, and healing individual body parts. Both of these were controversial, mostly for the fact that to change your camo or heal broken bones (which came often), you'd have to enter the menu and apply the correct item, and the constant menu access was found as annoying, but I liked it: it added a touch of realism and an extra layer of thought to the game fitting for a mission in which a single soldier was to infiltrate a powerful Russian base with huge numbers of soldiers.

Overall, the superb story and character interaction, along with a fun gameplay system, and a ton of wonderful bosses make MGS3 a wonderful experience, and truly one of the best games of all time." -- Written by dragon22391

"To steal a line from ESPN's Bill Simmons, Final Fantasy 7 is a game that was so overrated that it became underrated for being overrated. The game has gotten so much chic hate on so many sites for so many years that it's become cool to like it again. And good for FF7, because the game was outstanding. Screw the haters. By the way, fans of the game don't enjoy Square milking every last penny from the brand name any more than anyone else. A lot of fans will all say the same things: Screw Crisis Core, Advent Children, Dirge of Cerberus and all the other spinoff junk and just remake FF7 already.

As for why I personally love it, I first fell in love with the Final Fantasy series when I first played 6. I couldn't wait for the next one in the series, and I worked 2 jobs the summer of junior year just so I could buy a new PlayStation, Final Fantasy 7 and the official strategy guide. I barely slept for 2 weeks once I finally got it, and I enjoyed every last second. Think of every stereotype with that game, and I'd probably fit a lot of them -- "Dude, how are they DOING all these graphics?!" ; "Cloud's sword ROCKS" ; "Sephiroth is soooo cool-looking" ; "wtf Emerald has 1 million hit points, how do I kill him?????".

I'm a lot more mature in my old age of 27 (okay, I'm really not that mature) so I don't think that way anymore, but I still replay FF7 every now and again. The game was, and remains, really damn good and really fun to play." -- Written by Ultimaterializer (originally nominated by dragon22391)

Method: First, each board was solicited for a list of nominees. Each user was allowed to submit up to ten games for the nominations list. The purpose of the nominations list was two-fold: first of all, to give users a chance to nominate games they would like to write for if they won (nominators were given 'first dibs' on write-ups), and secondly, to have a public list of potential games. The second is to guard against a voter suggesting a game late that many previous voters would've voted for had they thought of it.

Then, the games (360 total) were entered in a large week-long poll. Users were allowed to vote for up to four games. Then, the top vote-getters from that round (43 total) were entered into a final poll, where users were allowed to vote for up to three games. The vote tallies of the two rounds were added and the initial round votes served as the tie-breaker.

With that, the Top 12 games were announced and write-ups were solicited. Nominators had first refusal to write-ups; then, any user on the board could claim one game they wanted to write for. Write-ups were collected, added to the list and posted.

Full Results: 43 total games made the final voting round. They are, in finishing order:
Super Smash Bros. Melee, Metal Gear Solid, Super Mario Bros. 3, Final Fantasy 6, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Team Fortress 2, Mother 3, Okami, StarCraft, Skies of Arcadia, Suikoden 2, Kingdom Hearts, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Metal Gear Solid 4, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Super Metroid, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Xenogears, Mario Kart 64, Secret of Mana, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Final Fantasy 5, Final Fantasy 8, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Tales of Vesperia, World of Warcraft

DDJ's Brief Analysis: The most interesting thing about Board 8's list is, obviously, the presence of Umineko no Naku Koro ni. After barely getting enough votes to make the final round, the game actually received the second-most votes in the second set of voting. Board 8 also engages a bit more in chic recent games as well, with Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 making the final list here while it did not receive a single vote on two other boards' lists. Personal taste dictates that I also have to smile that the board chose my personal favorite game, Final Fantasy Tactics. And for anyone perturbed that the two boards listed so far have chosen the two most obvious #1 games (Ocarina of Time for Poll of the Day, Final Fantasy VII for Board 8), don't worry: things will get interesting with the next two lists, Random Insanity's and Current Events'.

List by DDJ

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