Future Publishing's Golden Joystick awards have been a mainstay of the UK games industry for a while now (the awards first began in 1983), and this year we're being offered the chance to vote for the 'Ultimate Game Of All Time' to mark 50 years of gaming.
To get to this stage, The Golden Joystick Awards assembled a judging panel of industry experts and legends, including Katsuhiro Harada (Tekken series), Debbie Bestwick MBE (Team17), Gary Penn (DMA Design, Grand Theft Auto), Keith Stuart, Keza MacDonald (both from The Guardian), Shahid Ahmad (former lead of Sony’s Strategic Content Division) and a wide range of journalists from Future's gaming brands – such as Edge magazine, Retro Gamer and GamesRadar.
This team had to narrow the initial 150-game shortlist down from the 1.1 million-odd video games which have been released since the arrival of Computer Space way back in 1971 – the first commercially-available game. This list was then whittled down by the judging panel to 20 games, taking into account elements such as critical reception, legacy, commercial impact, social impact and their own personal view.
In case you were wondering, here's the final shortlist:
- The Last of Us
- Doom (1993)
- Super Mario 64
- Street Fighter II
- Space Invaders
- Pokémon GO
- Super Mario Kart
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Halo: Combat Evolved
- Dark Souls
- Metal Gear Solid
- Half-Life 2
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
- SimCity (1989)
As you can see, there are a fair few additions there from the world of Nintendo, as well as some notable omissions – but, as Future is quick to note, there was a method to the madness:
The judges repeatedly faced this challenge: how many titles from a particular franchise should we include? How do you assess which game from a particular series deserves elevation above all others? These decisions were long-debated - to a depth you might not believe - but by leaning into the judging criteria listed above. Quite often, a game was chosen that’s not even *technically* the best in its own series.
The awards will also allow you to vote for the best gaming hardware of all time, too.
Head over to the Golden Joystick Awards page to place your vote, and let us know what you make of that 20-game shortlist by leaving a comment.