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' Random Insanity Board.

"Random Insanity. The name may conjure images of grand crazy get-togethers, wild partying, and just senseless, bizarre, flamboyant behavior completely detached from social norms or views. But in reality, the board is far more calm, housing many folks who for one reason or another just didn't quite fit in with the norms of other boards. After all, a post in a topic where the regulars feel it has no place, is called random (well, that'd be one of the nicer things they could call it...), and those in society deemed to be the sort not quite fitting in right, are considered insane in some way. That's RI. It is in RI's blood, to be a haven for outcasts in a way, unwanted, and like a tangible manifestation of the idea that all those who become rejected could have some place to gather. Even by those who run the site, RI seems to have never been particularly accepted or appreciated, but maybe that's just an insecurity warping perception.

What you can find on RI is anything. Silly jokes, random real life discussions, roleplaying, cliques and rivalries, crazy nonsense, serious debate, petty squabbles, rants and grievances about all manner of things one can take issue with, friendly long-running banters, sometimes there's a giraffe that glares ominously at you when you shower - really rather erratic altogether. Perhaps the board least fit to ever function as a "hivemind" but there is a strange beauty to its disharmony. Or it may just be the wavy air from the newest topic fire distorting things. Still pretty to look at, though. I digress." -- Written by The moonlight knight

Honorable Mention: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations: "Phoenix Wright is, in a sense, a strangely popular video game from Capcom. Many would argue that it isn’t a game but more of a story book. Have you ever read one of those Goosebumps Choose-Your-Own-Adventures? It’s something akin to that but a tad more linear. The most known titles from this genre are probably erotic PC games with pretty illustrations or Monkey Island. Phoenix Wright, however, does not rely on pretty graphics but on its dialogue and use of logic. The games play through as investigations and then court cases. Sounds boring? It isn’t. You have to think intuitively as the games progress. Things are never as straightforward as they seem, you might need to reevaluate what you think is normal and think with more than common sense. Let’s put our focus on one of the third installment of the game, Trials & Tribulations. This is considered to be the pinnacle of the series. Each game itself has top-notch writing but the third brings in some of the most memorable characters and storylines into the fray. Aside from Phoenix Wright, our ever lovable lawyer, and his spiritual assistants, Maya and Pearl, we are introduced to several characters that will stay with you and think of as awesome – namely a certain prosecutor with a love for coffee and justice named Godot. The characters and stories aren’t always what they seem; you explore each character’s emotions and drives as you play. This game is different from the usual run and gun action and that’s what makes it great." -- Written by Rick Rack Roo (originally nominated by zackstife)

Honorable Mention: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: "Wind Waker is a favorite among many fans of the Zelda series. For one thing, it incorporates the beautiful mix of action, puzzle solving, platforming, exploration, and every other kind of gameplay element for which the series is known and loved. As is to be expected of this wonderful series, every aspect of the gameplay is incredibly well thought out and plays like a dream in all regards. The action is basic and easy to learn, yet is nonetheless very satisfying and includes a particular degree of depth for those who wish to master it. The puzzles are on an ingenious level of difficulty in which they provide a level of thought, but are easy enough to be solved before frustration sets in. The exploration provides ample replay value, yet does not cause the player to get lost while trying to finish the main storyline. While executed particularly well in Wind Waker, this is still all just standard for the Zelda series. Perhaps what sets Wind Waker apart from the others is its mix of a conservative Zelda formula at heart combined with a mix of several new gameplay concepts. Wind Waker stays firm to its Zelda roots, yet offered fans their first chance to use sailing as a form of exploration, complete dungeons with the cooperation of NPC characters, use new items such as the grappling hook or the Deku leaf, pick up and wield the weapons of fallen enemies, and many more new concepts that created many exciting aspects of gameplay. Wind Waker is, all in all, a fantastic game that offers fans and newcomers alike a great opportunity to the fantastic experience of a very well-made and wonderfully programed Zelda title." -- Written by Etrurianmage (originally nominated by gcnfiend)

"Until the release of the 3rd installment in the popular Super Smash Brothers series, there were several questions in life that remained unanswered. Could Ganondorf overpower King DeDeDe if he had a beam sword? Would Lucario be able to take on Wolf O'Donnell if they were fighting in Shadow Moses Island? Such universes crossing each other used to remain in the boundaries of imagination and internet fanart, but due to the creative minds of Nintendo and Hal Laboratory, these fantasies can now be lived out in the reality of your TV screens. Containing frantic, 4-player, fighting action with characters, stages, and items spanning from over the past 3 decades, Brawl is a party in itself with enough action and content to suffice for several games. And that's precisely why Brawl fall into 10th place in Gamefaqs' collective opinion on the top ten games of all time." -- Written by TheRomanDisease (originally nominated by ChaosZeroRoxorz)

"Super Metroid was a huge accomplishment and a masterpiece considered by many in the Metroid series. Then she vanished. Eight years later, Samus returns in Metroid Prime. Though she missed the iconic jump to 3D on the Nintendo 64, this game did to the Metroid series what Super Mario 64 did for the Mario series. It takes everything that makes the Metroid series and transitions it to a 3D world where the environment is beatuiful. Everywhere you look there's a plant, rock formations, technology frozen in ice, never the pointless wall where the world ends. The enemies bring excitement and sometimes fear, such as the invisible Chozo Ghosts, the surprisingly frightening Sheegoths and their mothers, the varieties of Space Pirates, and of course the larger than life bosses where Meta-Ridley takes the trophy. The music is ambient where it needs to be and energizing or revitalizing when it needs to be. Chozo ruins lays down the ambient, but slightly creepy music that perfectly describes the deserted civilization. And the few remixes, such as Magma Moors and Meta-Ridley's theme are both perfect transitions from past games into the Prime series. Lastly, the gameplay is completely solid and Metroid-like. Exploration always plays a large part of this game, as does collecting all the hidden expansions. New elements, such as visors, add a whole new element. The scan visor really stands out, as it introduces a whole new collecting element to the series, logging all the monsters and Log Entries that tells the hidden story of the planet you are stranded on. So people may still consider Super Metroid the trophy to the Metroid Series, still, but Metroid Prime definitely revived the series to a whole new audience, and even replaced Super Metroid on that pedestal." -- Written by bryguy1357

"Majora's Mask, while following many conventions and even using many elements directly from its predecessor-Ocarina of Time, is clearly a different type of Zelda game. The core structure of the game has been completely overhauled, and the result is several creative and wholly interesting new elements of gameplay. The repeating three day structure of Majora's Mask and the ability to transform into many different creatures and wield several fascinating new powers soon became beloved aspects of the game that many fans entirely appreciated. However, what really sets Majora's Mask apart and certifies it as one of the greatest games of all time is the fascinating thematics and atmosphere of the game's world of Termina. The entire world feels alive and complete with a stunning level of emotion from its several inhabitants. All of Termina's denizens go about their lives in oblivious bliss to their ultimate doom, yet this only gives the player greater insight to their deepest fears and struggles. Every aspect of Majora's Mask is complete as a believable and fascinating world of incredible feeling. This atmosphere, creating what may just be the greatest video game world and narrative ever committed to disc or cartridge, is what truly defines Majora's Mask in a way that no other Zelda game, or any game at all, has ever even come close to challenging. All in all, Majora's Mask is known to fans for its beautiful balance of traditional Zelda gameplay and its creative and deeply moving new approach to storytelling. " -- Written by Etrurianmage (originally nominated by ChaosZeroRoxorz)

"Anyone with a brain in their head will tell you that small monkeys in people’s clothing are as entertaining as it gets. Donkey Kong Country 2 is a game that more than establishes that point. Jam packed with bananas, coins, awesome animal friends, and fearsome enemies, this amazing platformer well withstands the test of time. The computer-rendered backgrounds made for beautiful graphics for the games time and the soundtrack is arguably of the best in video game history. The levels are complex and packed with secrets, and the challenges run the gambit from simple and entertaining to intense and border-line sadistic. Just as lovable as the gameplay itself was the cast of characters both good and evil. Various members of the Kong family assisted Diddy and Dixie on their perilous journey to rescue a shockingly helpless Donkey Kong from the clutches of Kaptain K. Rool, who has an army of ‘Kremlings’ at his disposal. Kremlings brought a sort of darkness to what was essentially a child’s platformer. These were not cutesy turtles or mushroom men; this was an army of sharp toothed, sword swinging, gun wielding monsters trying to keep you from your ultimate goal. Also standing in your way were treacherous locations varying from pirate ship, to lava lagoon, to haunted glade with music conforming beautifully to each world. In all DKC2 was an amazing title that veteran gamers will forever hold dear to their hearts and is well worth the 800 points it costs to buy it on the Wii." -- Written by Cryptospuridium

"I'm personally glad I was able to do this write-up (though honestly it wasn't too hard to get approved for it). Chrono Trigger was the very first RPG that I ever played, and while some would consider it "overrated", in my opinion it very much deserves all of the praise that it gets. If you've never played this, what are you waiting for? Honestly, this should be on any RPG gamers' list of top ten, and it's not surprising to me that RI picked it for this.

I really don't have to tell you a thing about the game because I most likely wouldn't be able to tell you a thing that you didn't already know, and if you've never played it, I definitely wouldn't want to spoil one of the most defining games of a genre, of all time. From the characters that we all know and love, the brilliant music composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the multiple endings that added much to the replay value, and even to the debates over how Crono's name should be spelled, this game is truly unforgettable." -- Written by Bitentili (originally nominated by ChaosZeroRoxorz)

"Ah yes, the game that no one would write a write-up for, and it also just happens to be another of my all-time favorite RPG's! I am of course very thrilled to be doing this, as it was actually the game that got me into the Final Fantasy series, and I've probably put a good 20 hours into the card game alone.(which I'd like to remind you the card game in FF9 awards you nothing besides a good time, so that really means something)

No Final Fantasy 9 write-up would be complete without a mention of the games soundtrack, I can't call it the best of the series, but it's definitely something special. Now I'll be honest, the game ended too soon for me, 50 hours in, but that definitely doesn't stop me from replaying it. Let's not forget the skill it takes to get the Excaliber II, or dare I say, to master the jump rope minigame. I still find time every year/every other year to replay this game (and you should too!), it always manages to stay fresh somehow. Thank you for reading and I hope this does the game justice." -- Written by Bitentili (originally nominated by AnUndesirable)

"What is there to say about this game that hasn't already been said millions of times? That it was the ideal game to transition what may be the greatest franchise in gaming past its potential darkest hour and fall from greatness in the turn of 3-D? That it established the conventions for gaming in the third dimension that are still being sought after and imitated today? That it paved the way for basically any action-adventure game to come? That's all established gaming history that Ocarina of Time has built. Though personally, I'd think less about how Ocarina of Time changed the gaming industry forever and more about the fact that, well, it was just a really good game. From the (for the time), very impressive visuals, to the compelling and well paced narrative, to the fantastic score, to the hours upon hours in the game's bottomless pit of amazing replay value, every aspect of fantastic game design was so wonderfully executed in this game. However, the game's greatest strength is, of course, the gameplay that is absolutely out of this world. Every minute of the player's quest is so brilliantly designed. The game is constantly challenging without being frustrating. The puzzles are creative and interesting without ever becoming difficult to the point of tedium. Exploration is always present yet the game is streamlined enough that the player doesn't become lost. Truly, every aspect of the game was so beautifully in balance that it can only be called a work of genius and a masterpiece for the ages. All in all, I think the best summarization of this game's quality that I can give is this: Ocarina of Time doesn't hold the influence that it does today simply because it was released in the right place at the right time. It achieved that revolutionary effect only through a very precise effort of brilliant design and incredible merits as a game. I don't think I can say this for any other game throughout history, but absolutely no other game could have ever been what Ocarina of Time was." -- Written by Etrurianmage (originally nominated by Daniel_RA)

"Resident Evil 4 may be one of the greatest action video games ever made. You know that feeling you get when your adrenaline is pumping something fierce and you feel like you can take on anything? Resident Evil 4 provides that feeling non-stop until the credits roll. If ever there was a game that provided more over-the-top action, I have yet to play it, because quite honestly, I don't think anything will ever even hold a candle to RE4. The development team at Capcom really put their heart and soul into crafting such an intense experience, and their years of work truly paid off, because RE4 practically reinvented the action genre. With an over the shoulder camera, a vast arsenal of upgradeable weapons, QTEs that gave Shenmue a run for its money, and truly thrilling boss fights, everything about Resident Evil 4 was cranked to 11. The dialogue might have been mediocre, but nobody who has played RE4 will ever forget Leon's quirky one-liners or practically anything that came out of the merchant's mouth. If anything negative can be said about RE4, it's that it kinda destroyed the long lasting bond between Resident Evil and survival horror. The horror was there, but it was more or less overwhelmed by the action. Some might say this was a bad move, but if you can look past the genre barrier, you're sure to find a game that grabs you by the eyeballs and never lets go. There aren't many games that have me coming back 8 or more times to playthough the entire game and even the bonus modes like "The Mercenaries" or "Operation Ada", just because of how enjoyable it is, but RE4 is certainly one of them, and for a game that has held my interest for so long it certainly deserves to be considered one of the best ever." -- Written by IOTH (originally nominated by OreganoTrail)

"Generally, games based on movies are frowned upon by gamers and demeaned as something as a joke. Goldeneye, however, managed to break out of the mold from the rest of those games by being an outstanding title.The game follows the same plot as the movie in a series of missions which takes Bond to various locations for different objectives needed to be completed from within the region, and although not all the missions featured in the game are from the movie, the game follows the plot close enough even with the changes. The missions are completed by fulfilling the necessary objectives in each one, with each of the three difficulties for each mission presenting a higher level of challenge which could mean more objectives and tougher enemies. The enemies and environment are almost completely destructible and fun to mess around. There are also a good collection of unlockables to further improve your enjoyability with the missions. Story mode is a fun experience for fans of the movie or those just seeking a good time in an FPS story mode.

Now what Goldeneye excels at is its renowned multiplayer mode. Hours of fun could be had with a broad assortment of customization for your games including weapon categories to characters present in the story. Players could wreck havoc in a broad choice of maps to seek and destroy each other in the effort to be victorious at the end. With all the options galore this is a highly addicting and fun game to spend playing with friends.

Goldeneye, with its intriguing story mode and its excellent multiplayer mode, remains a gem for gamers and is a classic to revisit again and again." -- Written by highwind07

"While there may not be all to much to find revolutionary or individually amazing about this title, the game's several fans maintain that Tales of Symphonia holds true to several of the greatest landmarks of good design that any RPG can strive towards. For one, the pace is remarkable-with the plot introduced right off the bat and remaining interesting and gripping to the end. Tales of Symphonia conquers a very lengthy story without ever feeling dull or drug out. Proper development was also given to each individual member and aspect of the story, with all of the cast being endearing without becoming overemphasized, and the entire story cohesive without ever being gratuitous. The artwork and amazing score also factor into many fans' love for this game. However, what must be the one most critical factor to this game's success is the gripping battle system. Implementing real-time action battle sequences similar to those of a one-on-one fighting game, Tales of Symphonia is certainly one of the most successful games in breaking the mold of standard turn-based JRPG combat and transforming it into something altogether more enjoyable. With a very deep collection of special techniques, team-based strategies, and combo opportunities, Tales of Symphonia is no doubt endeared to its many fans largely thanks to the depth and sheer enjoyment of its combat. Again, while there may be little to hold to this game in terms of innovation or unique characteristics, there's little doubt among the gaming public that it did bloody near everything right in its design-earning it a place among gamers as one of the greatest games of all time and certainly a shining example of how to make an incredible RPG." -- Written by Etrurianmage (originally nominated by bryguy1357)

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 (210 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 (38 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: 38 total games made the final voting round. They are, in finishing order:
Xenogears, Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Smash Bros Melee, Fallout 3, Mother 3, Portal, Metal Gear Solid 3, Super Mario World, Tetris, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Final Fantasy 6, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, Shadow of the Colossus, Team Fortress 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal, Demon's Souls, Final Fantasy 8, LittleBigPlanet, Warcraft 3, Final Fantasy Tactics, Mega Man 3, The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, Harvest Moon 64

DDJ's Brief Analysis: Notice anything missing? RI's list has some notable omissions from what we've seen on the Contests and Poll of the Day lists: mostly, Final Fantasy VII. Not only did Final Fantasy VII not make the board's Top 12, it didn't even make the board's Top 38: it received only one single vote in the first round of voting. Similarly notable is the presence of a couple games other lists have omitted: the list winner, Tales of Symphonia, received relatively little attention on the other boards (although it did finish 13th on Poll of the Day), while Goldeneye 007, a true classic, received only one vote on the other three boards combined.

List by DDJ

Discuss this list and others on the Top 10 Lists board.

Have your own Top 10 in mind? Create and submit your own Top 10 List today.

Would you recommend this Top 10 List? Yes No