Like every other form of electronic media, most video games are popular for a time and then fade away into disuse. The exact reason this occurs is different for every video game, but is usually a combination of new competing video games, advances in graphics, and low replay value. While quality video games will often spur the creation of a sequel, many times with few differences from its predecessor, few games actually last the test of time. For a very small number of games, despite improvements in video game technology, the quality of the game and more importantly, the replay value of the game, is so great that the game continues to flourish years and even decades after it is first published. The following games are the best ten games ever with high replay value.
10. Minesweeper (PC) – This addictive little puzzle game was first included with the earliest versions of Windows, back when nearly every PC was still running DOS. The game has simple graphics and equally simple to play. You simply search a field for randomly placed mines, using basic mathematical theory to determine where each mine is situated. The longevity of Minesweeper shows in that it is, to this day, the most common game for office workers to play while wasting time, rather than working.
9. Chrono Trigger (SNES) – Originally published for the SNES, and later re-released on the PlayStation and Nintendo DS, this is considered by many to be the best role playing game (RPG) of all time. Generally, due to a rather single track storyline and long completion times, most RPGs do not have good replay value. Due to a branching storyline and sixteen unique endings, this game is the exception to that rule. Conveniently, after defeating the game once, your characters keep their earned levels while playing through to get alternate endings. This combined with great game play and gorgeous anime cut scenes has made this the RPG with the most longevity of any RPG on the market.
8. Alien Crush (TurboGrafX-16) – Alien Crush was the first of four different games that were eventually published in the Crush series of games. Each of these games is a highly unique and surprisingly addictive pinball game. Much more similar to real life pinball machines than the average pinball video game, the multi-screen game is literally filled with bumpers, rails, ramps, and bonus lights. Unlike real pinball machines, good play can earn you a bonus mini-game on another screen. Re-released recently on the Wii Virtual Console, this game is as good now as it was 20 years ago and once you start playing, you can easily lose track of hours.
7. Halo (Xbox) – Besides ending the PC domination of the first person shooter market, this Xbox classic also helped jump start multiplayer play. The single player mode is exciting and fun, but a single play through is usually enough for one lifetime. The real replay value of this game is the multiplayer mode. Each map is unique and there is little that compares to spending an afternoon shooting your best friends. Plenty of other games offer a similar experience, but the original is still the best.
6. Civilization (PC) – Sid Meier’s Civilization single handedly defined the genre of turn based strategy games. While games like Master of Magic, Alpha Centauri and Master of Orion tried to copy the formula, none had the success of this classic. Despite having spawned three sequels and a number of spin off games, each with better graphics and advanced game play, the original game is still as good and addictive today as it was when first published. To this day, players still try to defeat this game on the hardest difficulty, a feat worthy of legends.
5. Pokemon (GameBoy) – The original Pokemon game was released in 1996 on the GameBoy handheld system. Despite overly cute monsters and kid-oriented plotline, the game surprisingly had almost as many adult players as children. Rare among children’s games, the game play was actually some of the best ever. Since it was released, dozens of sequels have been released, that despite having better graphics, all have almost precisely the same game play and plot. The fact that each sequel is nearly identical to the original proves the remarkable replay value of the game.
4. Rock Band (PS2, Xbox, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii) – Rock Band is a video game that is the natural evolution of karaoke. Allowing up to four players to play guitar, drums, and sing, the game has both single player and multiplayer appeal. While the initial game only comes with a moderately sized collection of songs, hundreds of new songs are regularly released for purchase as downloadable content. By constantly releasing new content, the publisher makes sure that game play never gets stale and that the game will continue to be popular for years, possibly even decades, to come.
3. Dance Dance Revolution (Arcade, PS2, Xbox) – Originally an arcade smash hit, this rhythm game eventually got ported to both the PS2 and Xbox as well. Long before Wii Sports or Wii Fit, hundreds of thousands of video game enthusiasts used this dance simulator as a daily or weekly form of cardiovascular exercise. While it does not have the downloadable content of Rock Band, the thrill of physical exercise makes it more exciting to play. It is one of the few arcade games that has managed to have more than a three year shelf life and home play is nearly as good as the arcade.
2. World of Warcraft (PC) – The majority of massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) follow the same pattern as standard video games. They are massively popular for about two to three years before subscriptions begin to suffer and the game begins to fail. With over 10 million subscribers, and still growing, World of Warcraft is the exception to this rule. The replay value of this game comes primarily from constant content updates by the developers. Every few weeks, new content is made available, for free, to all subscribers. The biggest updates are rolled into expansions that cost about $40 to purchase, but add years of additional playable content. Many World of Warcraft players have been diligently playing 20 or more hours a week for the better part of a decade and still, to this day, no single person has completed all of the content in the game.
1. Tetris (Multiple Platforms) – The game with the highest replay value of all time is also, unsurprisingly, the best selling single player game ever. Created in 1984, a version of Tetris has been available on almost every major gaming console, handheld device, and computer platform ever invented. Despite virtually no change in graphics or game play since originally released, the game continues to win awards and praise every single year. Game play is so addictive that one man actually received a 4 month prison sentence for refusing to stop playing while on a plane trip to England. With over ten times as many players as World of Warcraft, and appealing to fans of all ages for over 25 years, no game in history has the replay value of this timeless classic.
While new games have the appeal of originality, video game players will often long for the familiarity of a great older game. No matter how great an old game is, though, if it does not have good replay value, the game simply will begin to bore quickly. The preceding games all have unequivocal replay value and truly are as enjoyable to play today as when they were first released.