6 Great Games of the 20th Century

Many of the best games ever were released during the 20th century. The best games of the last century generally didn't have amazing visuals, but they all had great gameplay that enthralled players the world over. The article list below includes some of the great games of the 20th century.

6 Great Games of the 20th Century

Few can doubt that the gaming industry has made great progress in the last century. Early games of the 1970s and even the ‘80s were almost entirely flat two-dimensional titles with limited color. Then great titles of the 1990s included 3D games such as Mario 64, which added an extra dimension. These were some of the great games of the 20th century.

Super Mario Bros

Super Mario Bros was the first Mario platform title released on the NES during the 1980s. It is a 2D platform game in which Mario runs and jumps through the various levels en-route to Bowser’s Castle to rescue Princess Peach. Super Mario Bros revived the gaming industry after a period of decline. This game started the Mario franchise that goes strong to this day. It was also a big hit on the NES that helped establish the console.


Pac-Man was one of the most influential arcade games of its time. Namco’s classic soon became the world’s most loved arcade game before being ported over to consoles such as the Atari 2600, on which it was also a big hit. The Guinness book of records lists it as the highest-grossing arcade game. Namco has released many further Pac-Man titles that have expanded the franchise. Pac-Man was also featured in an animated series and in music with “Pac-Man Fever” reaching as high as number nine on the billboard charts. Today, players can play Pac-Man Championship Edition on Windows, console, and mobile platforms. 

PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX - PS3 / X360 - Trailer


The Russian Pajitnov designed Tetris, which is a puzzle game in which players rotate and slot in blocks (tetriminos) to rack up higher scores. Early versions appeared on the IBM PC, before West and Spectrum Holybyte gained early rights to the game. Players were soon hooked by the game’s immersive gameplay, and the game became a blockbuster as Tetris fever gained momentum. Many players rate Nintendo’s Game Boy version the best Tetris, which was ideally suited to the console. There have also been many variations of Tetris which have had new features and options added to them.

Mario 64

Before this, Mario games had been entirely two-dimensional. Of course, they were still great games, but Mario 64 on the N64 added a new dimension to the series. Mario games had 3D graphics and levels for the first time. Some new and exciting gameplay elements were also included for this Mario title, with Mario collecting stars to progress through the castle. Unlike previous additions to the series, Mario 64 was not particularly linear as players could play through its various levels in whatever order. Many players rate Mario 64 one of the best games ever.


Half-Life was a first-person shooter that added a new dimension to the genre. Half-Life had a compelling plot set in the Black Mesa research facility, and it was one of the first games to make use of scripted scenes throughout. It became one of the top-selling PC titles and was also ported to consoles such as the PlayStation 2. Today, players can play the Black Mesa Half-Life remake for Windows, which is available on Steam.

Black Mesa Official Main Trailer

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Zelda games were also great games of the 20th century. The Legend of Zelda was the first title of the series released on the NES in the 1980s, and that game soon established itself as one of Nintendo’s top titles. The early versions had a 2D top-down perspective, but that changed with the 3D N64 Zelda games. Undoubtedly, Zelda titles were, and still are, the best RPGs that effectively mix action with role-playing elements.

It’s hard to say which Zelda is the best in the series; however, Ocarina of Time on the N64 impressed many fans. That was probably because of the thrilling new perspective it introduced to the series. Nintendo also released an Ocarina remake on the 3DS. Zelda games were among the best titles on all the Nintendo consoles in the 20th century, and that remains the case today.

Ocarina of Time 3D - Remake Trailer

Those were a few of the best games of the 20th century. Tetris, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario 64, and Half-Life were great games of the 20th century that raised the bar for console and PC gaming. They are now established series with new and exciting games further expanding on the classic original titles.

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