Top 100 All-Time Adventure Games

Adventure games have been around for over thirty years! Hard to believe, isn’t it? We’ve seen plenty of classics over the decades, and new gems are still being produced today. With such a rich history, just how many deserve to make a list of all-time greats? Our previous compilation of top adventures had 20 games listed, but that was nearly ten years old itself. So what would it be this time? 25? You’d be amazed how quickly those slots filled. 50? That leaves far fewer casualties, but some series alone can easily stake a claim to three or four slots.

Why not 100?

While much of the world probably couldn’t even name 100 adventure games, those of us who cut our teeth on the groundbreaking early text titles, basked in the Golden Age of graphic adventures, suffered through the dark times and lived to see the modern-day (relative) renaissance know better. It’s not only possible to think of 100 quality adventures, it still leaves some painful omissions.


With a number in mind, that left one important consideration. What constitutes “the best”? How do you compare games spanning decades of styles and technology? Is a now-antiquated genre pioneer from 1985 still a classic today? Does it need to be? Do new games have any right to stand alongside their forebears that paved the way and have stood the test of time? What’s really important? Longevity, innovation, production values, historical relevance? What’s more crucial? Story, exploration, puzzles?

The answer is: all of the above – or none! There’s no scientific formula. It’s a combination of factors that depends entirely on the context for each individual game. You can debate each choice, each placement, and we hope you will! The beauty of opinion lists is that there’s no right or wrong, and we argued long and hard among ourselves just to arrive at ours. Sometimes we even contradicted the site's own reviews. But we’re completely confident that our final selections are deserving candidates and a wonderfully diverse representation of the genre’s best to date. Not every game will suit every taste, but there’s plenty of must-play gaming for all in our top 100 all-time adventure games.

Can’t be bothered reading the whole article? Or just can’t handle the suspense? Click here for the complete, full-spoiler list. (But you don’t know what you’re missing!)

Agree with our choices? Disagree? A little of both, somewhere in between? Have your say in the reader comments below.

And now, let's get started!


Table of Contents

 

Page 2: #100-96

Page 3: #95-91

Page 4: #90-86

Page 5: #85-81

Page 6: #80-76

Page 7: #75-71

Page 8: #70-66

Page 9: #65-61

Page 10: #60-56

Page 11: #55-51

Page 12: #50-46

Page 13: #45-41

Page 14: #40-36

Page 15: #35-31

Page 16: #30-26

Page 17: #25-21

Page 18: #20-16

Page 19: #15-11

Page 20: #10-6

Page 21: #5-1


First up: #100-96...

Continued on the next page...




About the Author

Comments

Jackal Jackal
Dec 24, 2011

The heading says “You may also like”, not “These other games are identical”. And anyone who likes Syberia 2 should like ANB. Both have beautiful hand-painted artwork, third-person gameplay, epic storylines, expansive locations, strong characterization, etc. Syberia 2 is more like ANB than Sinking Island.

Necrosis Thanatos
Dec 24, 2011

Like some of the other posters above, I am using this list to remind myself of those games I haven’t yet played and to discover ones I’ve never even heard of.  I knew full well going into this that my favorite adventure games would never, ever appear in the top 100 at any gaming website.  I’m one of those freaks that would put the Rhem series and the Mysterious Journey games at the top of such a list.  Hmmm, maybe I need to set up my own website…

orient orient
Dec 24, 2011

It’s good to see Cing getting the recognition they deserve with Hotel Dusk and Another Code. The adventure landscape is a duller place without them. Dreamfall and Syberia II are also some of my favourites, though I hope to see their originals much higher in the list, in amongst all the Lucas Arts and Sierra games ;-)

subbi
Dec 24, 2011

They could also say you’d might like The Longest Journey, in reference to Syberia 2, but that one is of course still upcoming in the list :-)
Another suggestion could be “Journey to the center of the earth”, i sincerely hope this is no indication we can still expect this game in the Top50, given the fact it hasn’t been featured yet!

inflikkt inflikkt
Dec 24, 2011

i really gotta try gold rush! it sounds fun.  im also definitely getting Gemini Rue..  cant believe i never heard of it.  Book Of Unwritten Tales looks really great too, and im intrigued to try I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream.  i need to get around to these. Riddle Of Master Lu and LSL7 are several others i never got to try… 

u made me realize i missed alot of great games.  thanks for this list!!

Silver86
Dec 25, 2011

hard to make list of 100 top adventures, it’s too individual, i just seen 20 places so far and i can already say i disagree , the dig on no 92 no way ;], and my top adventure will always be indiana jones and the fate of atlantis

aimless
Dec 25, 2011

“And anyone who likes Syberia 2 should like ANB.”

Well, no.  I loved Syberia, both parts.  ANB didn’t impress me at all as a game and AFAIC, there’s no way the artwork in that one comes even close to the quality of artwork in Syberia.  So my lack of motor control was due to “you might also like ANB”.  It really doesn’t follow, even though, from the ‘on paper’ resemblance you note, anyone might think it did.

Jackal Jackal
Dec 25, 2011

Hence the word “might” originally. Wink No two games or people are alike. These are just secondary recommendations that should appeal to many. If they were sure things, they’d be on the main list. Grin

zane
Dec 26, 2011

I really wanted to get into ANB and play through it immediately. But i could not get into it at all.. The english voice acting was amazingly bad to me. And the puzzles were kindv annoying.. The story seemed like it might have some promise.. but i quickly lost interest with the game. I might have to make another attempt eventually.

Kosa
Dec 26, 2011

About #71’s “You might also like [...] especially #4” :

Too bad there never was a #4… According to the creators/publishers, the leisure suit larry sequence goes like 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7. They claim they dont understand WHY there has to be a #4 so they just skipped that one Tongue

In my opinion that’s what makes Al Lowe stand out when it comes to adventure games!!!

Jackal Jackal
Dec 26, 2011

Yeah, Kosa, that was the joke. Wink

Gabe Gabe
Dec 26, 2011

Bah ,#45 – The Curse of Monkey Island, it’s a sin.

zane
Dec 26, 2011

hmm yeah, “infocom games” at number 50 is definitely cheating Wink

JanaBanana JanaBanana
Dec 26, 2011

Still dont know why is Syberia2 on 55. Hope that’s the price if Syberia 1 is in top 10. For me both parts are like one game.

thejessmister
Dec 27, 2011

This is an awesome list! I was hoping to see one of the games from the Atlantis series make it on here, but I’m starting to doubt it. Oh well, I can’t wait to see where Heavy Rain, Portal, Syberia, and, perhaps, L.A. Noire or Stacking end up!

iqzulk
Dec 27, 2011

Really-really hoping on Riven being in top10.

Kinda disappointed with low rank for Loom, but… oh well, it’s your list, after all.

I am also very interested, if KGB, Agharta, Azrael’s Tear, Zero Critical and Pathologic will manage to claw their way into this list (but somehow I already doubt it).

ponponpon
Dec 27, 2011

The Curse of monkey Island at #45? Are you serious? I am playing adventure games since 1993 and this game, together with Day of the Tentacle is my #1 game. I was sure it will make at least the Top 10. Usually I see eye to eye with AdventureGamers reviewers, but this id too much!
Please fix the list.

ponponpon
Dec 27, 2011

In general, very strange choices for quite high places. Ghost Trick? Infocom? I mean, OK, they may have a room in this list, but in much lower place.

aaroncarney
Dec 27, 2011

simon the sorcerer is in no way better than COMI!

aimless
Dec 27, 2011

It was really good to see Sanitarium appreciated.  If it weren’t for the wooden voice acting of the main character and the horrible sequence at the end that demands way too much of ‘my’ reflexes, it would be much higher on my own, personal list of greats but it is definitely there and definitely a great game.

Kurufinwe Kurufinwe
Dec 27, 2011

Wow, the selection of games at ranks 40 to 31 is really, really, really strong. It’s almost hard to believe that there are 30 adventures which are better than those.

loserloser
Dec 27, 2011

It’ s interesting to see a lot of titles from a portable device - NDS. We haven’t even seen Phoenix yet! Besides, i’m so satisfied as a huge nintendo fan Smile

smulan smulan
Dec 27, 2011

I would not rank the games in your order, but then who would? Still I like your list very much, it isn´t predictable, it´s even in some ways controversial I guess .  But all the same with sound motivation accompanying it.

veruncheek veruncheek
Dec 27, 2011

I am also glad Space Bar, The Dark Eye, Spycraft, Feeble Files and Black Dahlia are in top 100. They are great games. And also nice to see Sanitarium and Riddle of Master Lu.
Btw. recently Dark Earth came on my mind - I never finished this game. Hopefully with the patches I have, it should run on my XP. It is great action adventure game.

ElfHybrid
Dec 28, 2011

So many I haven’t played yet! But two of my favs in the50’s.. hmm.. we’ll see.^^

veruncheek veruncheek
Dec 28, 2011

If Titanic is #100, Dust should be in the list, as it is better game and got better rankings. But in top 20? Wow, that I would not expect. And I wanted to mention, as I am quite nostalgic, 1997 was a great year for (adventure) gamers: two beautiful and atmospheric games I truly love - Atlantis and THE LAST EXPRESS (!) - were released. And some other titles I had pleasure playing - Blade Runner, The Course of Monkey Island, and also Ignition and Theme Hospital :-)
Anyway, I really like this list. I discovered some titles I have not played and want to. And I am glad most of the games I played are on the list.

bevil031
Dec 28, 2011

I hope they’re going to put BASS higher than 19 this time, and maybe put BS at nm.3 / 2 instead of 4???? - I mean, I’m pretty sure that they’re gonna put Monkey Island and Gabriel Knight higher than BS (don’t get me wrong, they’re great games), but I hope they put at atleast at nm. 3! :-)

Stuart Stuart
Dec 28, 2011

I thought Blade Runner might rank higher personally, that game was amazing, graphically still holds up, and had choice and consequences/results whereas most AGs still don’t have that.

gray pierce gray pierce
Dec 28, 2011

The fact that Overclocked is mentioned with “you might also like” makes me think we won’t find it on this list. Which is a real shame cause it’s one of the finest games ever imo and quite unique.

Also I think Phoenix Wrong is completely misplaced in the top 30 or really in any top. Not only does it cause epileptic seasures but it’s stories and characters are so completely rediculous it’s only fun if you’re under the age of 12. (of course that’s just my opinion)

Interplay Interplay
Dec 28, 2011

Overall I’m really liking the list. Great to see LA Noire and Heavy Rain so high. But Stacking in the top 40?  Of all time?  Hmmm.

Cellardoor
Dec 28, 2011

Great to see QFG4 Shadows of Darkness ranked so high. Well deserved, I would say.

The narrator is named John, BTW, not Jonathan. :-)

thejessmister
Dec 29, 2011

So far I’ve come across 19 titles in this list that I can play on consoles and the DS. Woohoo! I can’t wait to see where you guys have placed Portal 2. Its gotta be coming. We need more console adventure games. Its been great seeing them steadily increase these last couple years on the PS3. Now I’m off to go buy a Wii and play some Zack and Wiki! Looks great! Smile

 

Toefur Toefur
Dec 29, 2011

Awesome list. So many great games here, many of which I would love to replay and quite a few I am yet to play. The top 20 will be amazing, and although mostly brilliant games in 40-25, I felt that there were a few games in this range that were average to good at best and didn’t think they even came close to similarly ranked games. Just my thoughts though, other than that I’m fairly happy that the entire 100 so far is an accurate ranking of some brilliant and entertains games.

ghettodoghammer
Dec 29, 2011

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis better than The Secret of Monkey Island? No way, I must disagree.

Crix
Dec 29, 2011

Any list that does not have Monkey Island in the top 5 is completely illegitimate.

Antrax
Dec 29, 2011

GK1 has several dead ends, some intentional and one due to a bug.

Gabe Gabe
Dec 29, 2011

Here goes the top 10 i guess,

Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars
Day of the Tentacle
Riven
Portal 2
Longest Journey, The
Grim Fandango
Last Express
Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge
Delete
Runaway: A Road Adventure

subbi
Dec 29, 2011

Shocking not to have Gabe1 and Mobkey Island in the top10. Perhaps they both haven’t aged that well.
I don’t think Runaway will or should be in the Top10, as it was mentioned earlier that the third installment was supposedly the best and therefore featured in the Top100.
Could it be that the Monkey Island remake will still be in the Top 10?
I don’t think that would be fair…

ncf1
Dec 29, 2011

You have seriously got to be kidding - Kings Quest VI ahead of Secret of Monkey Island… oh dear, dear me.

Kurufinwe Kurufinwe
Dec 29, 2011

I still think the original Monkey Island deserved to be #1. Not only for historical reasons: it’s a game which is perfect at what it does, with absolutely nothing that should have been done differently. Oh well…

Now, I hate Day of the Tentacle and hope it doesn’t win this time again. And, as much as I like Jane Jensen and Gabriel Knight, GK2 is my least favourite of the series, and I certainly don’t want Dean Couldnotactifhislifedependedonit to become the poster boy for Best Adventure Game ever.

So I guess I’m officially rooting for The Pandora Directive, or The Longest Journey, for Best Adventure Game in the history of the galaxy!

aimless
Dec 29, 2011

And I’m officially rooting for The Longest Journey not to place at all.  I hate that thing.  With my luck, it will probably come out on top.

Lol!  Love Dean’s new official last name!

veruncheek veruncheek
Dec 29, 2011

Atlantis (first installment) and Dust (Titanic made it, kind of weird) not in Top 100? I understand some titles just had to be left out or forgotten. So - I am ok with that, my personal list is of course different. Still - good job and thanks again for this - it is inspiring. I know exactly which adventure game should be #1, but I am afraid it is not going to happen. But I am happy it is going to be (well, if it was not, Earth would stop turning for a moment) in Top 10.

Sinusoid
Dec 29, 2011

How about this list?
1. Gabriel Knight 2
2. Monkey Island 2
3. Broken Sword 1
4. Day of Tentacle
5. Riven
6. The Longest Journey
7. Grim Fandango
8. The Last Express
9. Goblins 3
10. Pandora Directive
Can’t wait to find out if I am right.

Interplay Interplay
Dec 29, 2011

Jackal, when all is said and done, could you have a page at the end that lists all 100 titles on one page?  Great job with this list.

iqzulk
Dec 29, 2011

I wonder, if there is actually any chance of Rama making it to the top10? I guess not…

Really glad Riven is in the top10 (as well as officially considered here to be the best one in series). Hope it will make its way right into the top3.

As well as I hope that TLJ DOESN’T make it into the top5. Top10 is more than good enough for that game already.

And yeah. Kinda disappointed with GK1 losing to GK2. Love the first one so much more…

Jackal Jackal
Dec 29, 2011

Interplay, yes there will be a complete list at the end, with a link directly to it on page 1.

graphicsgriffin
Dec 29, 2011

Very nice list. The main benefit of such lists is that you discover good games that you never played or even heard about before.

In my personal opinion, the top 3 should be: Grim, Longest Journey, and Portal 2.

ncf1
Dec 29, 2011

Have to agree about The Longest Journey - it’s the most overrated adventure game of all time. No doubt it will place highly.

zane
Dec 29, 2011

well, the only #1’s id be satisfied with would be: GK1, pandora directive, or last express.
Since Gk1 is already eliminated…. i dont expect to agree with the #1 choice Wink

Vel
Dec 29, 2011

If TLE is on top I’ll make AG my permanent homepage!


Page 2 of 5  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›


Post a comment

You need to be logged in to post comments. Not a member? Register now!

Also check out...

Whispering Willows review

OUYA PC Mac Linux

The Walking Dead: Season Two - Episode 5: No Going Back review

PC Mac iPhone iPad Android PS3 Xbox 360