It’s getting down to the top ten! You can get caught up with #50 through #21 right here. But for now, let’s cut through the bottom of the top twenty of the best looking games.
20) Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Rare makes this list a few times for a reason, but Conker rates so highly for two reasons. One, it pays tribute to the Looney Tunes of old in three dimensions, and makes it work. Two, it does so in about the most gleefully obscene and offensive way possible.
19) The Last of Us
We know, it’s a shock we did a list about great video games and this game turned up on it. Still,The Last Of Us is a game of grim beauty, but on a sheer technical level, the PS3 gets pushed to its limits and then some. Never has ruin been so convincing… or so glorious.
18) Crash Bandicoot
Back in the late ’90s, all game console hype surrounded colors. There were millions of them! You could finally see millions of colors! But of all the games to come out, it was Crash that actually used that to its best effect. “Colorful” is apt, but it’s how the colors are used that’s great.
17) Samurai Shodown
SNK dominated arcades in the ’90s with their high-powered hardware, and often delivered two-dimensional games of exquisite beauty. This game, though, is arguably their greatest achievement, bringing the gore of other games at the time to the animated 2D fighters that seemingly being outclassed by Mortal Kombat and its clones.
Little Mac is iconic for a reason, but Punch-Out!! is also where Nintendo began experimenting with different techniques and ability in graphics. Which leads pretty much right into…
15) Super Mario Bros. 3
It’s hard for an 8-bit game to keep its graphical swagger, but this game pulls it off. As the ultimate refinement in 2D platforming, it’s also a game that’s clear even at sharper and sharper resolutions… not necessarily easy for old games.
14) Street Fighter II
Really all you need to say about this game is that Capcom’s art, a mashup of anime and martial arts movie tropes, is probably at least indirectly responsible for defining much of ’90s pop culture, for better or for worse. Hey, at least nobody wore Zubas.
13) Super Mario 64
“The polygon ceiling” became a common term as an industry built on 2D games was faced with making 3D games work. Nintendo, as it had before, showed the way, and started a process of refining, not to mention redefining, a genre.
OK, so it might also be the most frustrating game ever made. But it’s pretty! It’s really pretty! Almost pretty enough to make you forget you’ve hit a wall in that hoverbike level. AGAIN.
11) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
The intersection between traditional animation and the hardware capable of running it fluidly was really defined by Konami’s brawlers from the ’90s. The Simpsons brought the cartoons to life. But the biggest beneficiary? Definitely the Turtles, with this classic brawler.
Come back tomorrow, for #10 through #6!