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The 100 BEST video games of all time, according to Japan

The 100 BEST video games of all time, according to Japan

Video games are part and parcel of many people’s childhoods around the world. Think long hours on the weekends spent with siblings and friends fighting over the controllers, sneaky night sessions trying to beat a boss when mum’s not around, and the feeling of elation when you finally clock a difficult stage.

What Gaming Means to the Japanese

There probably isn’t one person who doesn’t enjoy playing video games at all, but to the Japanese, video games hold a special place in their hearts.

Japanese companies such as Nintendo, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Capcom, and Sega have defined and shaped the way the global video game industry has evolved since the beginning of video game history. These heavyweight industries are well respected on a global scale, and also have a huge presence in Japan. Game classics such as Super Mario, Pokémon, and Final Fantasy have a massive market not only domestically but internationally as well.

One reason why they’re so popular is because video games have an ability to transcend communication barriers and bring people together – and they’re just so fun, so how can anyone say no?

A survey was conducted recently to determine which games Japanese people think are the greatest of all time. Over 50,000 respondents voted, and the results are pretty amazing!

You’ve probably heard of the majority of them, but there will be some that surprise you! Let’s run through the results now.

Top 100 Games in Japan

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This was surprising but not completely unexpected. As the first fully open-world Zelda video game to be released, it was either going to be a complete success or an utter failure and luckily it was the former. People found that exploring the world at their own pace was a phenomenal change to the previous game design, and thus earned it the top spot on this list.

2. Dragon Quest V

3. Final Fantasy VII

These two options are clear favorites in terms of RPG games. With Final Fantasy, there is no denying that the seventh installment was one of the best, as its refined story and complex characters gave players so much more than just a casual gaming experience. With Dragon Quest, the option to choose who you end up with part-way through the game became a defining point of discussion amongst players.

4. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

5. Splatoon 2

6. Dragon Quest III

7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

8. Chrono Trigger

9. Final Fantasy X

10. Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Bros. 3 is the franchise’s highest ranking on this list.

11. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl

12. Super Mario Kart

13. Undertale

14. Pokémon Sword and Shield

15. Dragon Quest IV

16. Kingdom Hearts II

17. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

18. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

19. Suikoden II

One thing to note here is that even though Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the franchise’s biggest seller of all time, Super Mario Kart is the one that endeared itself into the hearts of the Japanese people.

20. Minecraft

21. Splatoon

22. Animal Crossing: New Leaf

23. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

24. Pokemon Red, Green and Blue

25. Tetris

26. Pokemon Black and White

27. Dragon Quest

28. Earthbound

29. Okami

Tetris and Minecraft are both considered classics without the flashy game play or design, and yet have still had a major impact on the Japanese audience.

30. Apex Legends

31. Tactics Ogre

32. Resident Evil

33. Final Fantasy VI

34. Final Fantasy V

35. Xenoblade Chronicles 2

36. Pokemon Gold and Silver

37. Final Fantasy IX

38. Puyo Puyo

39. Dark Souls

40. Xenogears

41. Momotaro Dentetsu Showa, Heisei, Reiwa Mo Teiban

42. Persona 5

43. Xenoblade Chronicles

44. Dragon Quest X

45. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land

46. Dragon Quest II

47. Final Fantasy XIV

48. Nier: Automata

49. Kingdom Hearts

The breakthrough Kingdom Hearts makes its appearance in the top 50. It’s breathtaking amalgamation of Disney and Final Fantasy characters makes it an instant favorite classic amongst many video game players.

50. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire

51. Final Fantasy IV

52. The Legend of Zelda

The original Zelda game has cracked the list here, but unfortunately, the classic is not in the top 50.

54. Dragon Quest VIII

53. Tales of the Abyss

55. Yo-kai Watch 2

56. Super Mario Galaxy

57. Donkey Kong Country

58. Animal Crossing

59. Dead by Daylight

60. Pokémon Black 2 and White 2

61. Super Smash Bros.

63. Final Fantasy III62. Xevious

64. Pokémon Hard Gold and Soul Silver

See Also

65. Suikoden

66. Ghost of Tsushima

67. Bloodborne

68. Pokémon X and Y

69. Super Mario RPG

Through this part of the list, you can see that there is a great mix of nostalgic classics as well as popular modern choices.

70. Monster Hunter World

71. Doctor Mario

72. Kirby Super Star

73. Gran Turismo 4

74. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

75. Animal Crossing: Wild World

76. Kirby Air Ride

77. Mario Kart Wii

78. Nobunaga’s Ambition

79. Metal Gear Solid

80. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

81. Dragon Quest Builders 2

82. Legend of Mana

83. Dragon Quest VII

84. Final Fantasy XI

85. Dragon Quest VI

86. Monster Hunter

87. Monster Hunter XX

88. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

89. Super Mario Galaxy 2

90. Final Fantasy VIII

91. Street Fighter II

92. Monster Hunter Ultimate

93. Persona 5 The Royal

94. Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War

95. Mother

96. Romance of the Three Kingdoms

97. Super Mario World

98. Persona 4

99. Pokémon Platinum

100. Persona 3

One thing to note as we complete this list is that the superior Street Fighter II is literally the only 1V1 fighting game that made this list – as it should be. 

Being the first 2-player fighting game to introduce an exciting level of social competitiveness made it explode when it was first introduced. With the option to choose a range of unique characters who each had their own charm and were much more malleable than previous fighting game characters, Street Fighter II rightfully deserves its spot in the top 100.

With a list of incredible games as expansive and inclusive as this, what are you waiting for? Dig up that console, prepare those controllers, and get right into it!

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