To complement my previous post, here's some visualizations of my Top 50, including a rare pie chart from me showing publisher shares of the games in my list:
Well, I think it's safe to say I'm a huge fan of Nintendo's games (and for the sake of argument I'm counting Tetris as Nintendo-published, as they had that exclusivity deal back in the NES & Game Boy days for console versions and I only played those versions). Altogether, Nintendo-published games represent 44% of all the games on the list and six of my Top 10. Microsoft Studios and Capcom come in tied at second place with six games a piece, thanks to Halo and Mega Man, my two favorite non-Nintendo franchises. Konami and Square-Enix were the only other third parties to have more than one title in my list (note that two of the three Sega games were from when Sega was first-party). Every other third party only has one game a piece, collectively sharing that grey wedge.
Now to see how everything is distributed over time.
As we can see, my list is weighted towards older games. While nearly half of the games on the list are from this century, most of them are in the back half. Of my Top 25, only four—Perfect Dark, BioShock, Super Mario Galaxy, and Halo: CE—were made this century, while fully 15 of them were just on the NES and SNES. Overall, 22 games in the list were made between 1985 and 1995. There was a lull there in Gens 5 & 6, with only 10 titles represented (four of them on the N64 alone, representing all of the titles in that two-generation span that occupy the Top 25), in keeping with my general attitude that the first decade or so of the "3D Era" of gaming was a dry spell in terms of quality content as developers struggled to make compelling gameplay experiences that utilized the third dimension well (and quite a few of those early 3D titles have aged poorly). Then we have 17 titles represented in the past two generations, all but two of which are in the back half.
So, why is this? Well, I decided to rate a game's position among my all-time favorites through several criteria aside from obvious ones like overall quality and level of enjoyment, namely:
1) Its impact on me as a gamer. Some games were just absolutely mind-blowing to me when I first played them, or were otherwise so insanely fun that they left a permanent impression upon me. Having "seen it all" after 30+ years, newer games rarely have that kind of effect anymore.
2) Its lasting enjoyment. Some games weren't just fun the first time, but have remained fun, having aged very well. The best games from the 8-bit & 16-bit eras have remained incredibly enjoyable, and they never get old. Meanwhile, most games from Gens 5 & 6 haven't aged as well, and some have aged downright poorly, while most games from the last two generations simply aren't old enough to determine if they've aged well.
3) Its replay value. Some games I want to go back and replay on a regular basis. They're games I never get sick of. However, I personally feel that time commitments do factor into a game's replay value. Most modern games are significant time sinks, and because of how long they are, I frequently don't want to go back and replay them even if I did enjoy my time playing them. And even many games that have great gameplay and other good aspects are chock full of busy work, a problem I have with open-world games. In fact, BotW is the only modern open-world game on the list, and I placed it at only #37, because while a superb game in nearly all respects, it's just too damn long, and having 120 of those little shrines instead of a smaller number of proper dungeons (and finding heart pieces the old-fashioned way), felt way too much like busy work. If you look at just my Top 25, most of them can be beaten in maybe one to three sessions, with the longest being Final Fantasy IV. For long games, it takes something very, very special for it have any appreciable replay value. Most games these days have been a "one and done" deal with me.