Kurt Kalata is an ardent video gamer from New Jersey. He has founded websites such as The Castlevania Dungeon, which focuses on Konami's long running, vampire slaying series, and Hardcore Gaming 101, which gives comprehensive reviews focusing on the history of gaming. His most recent book is Bitmap Books' A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games. In addition to his own sites and books, his writings have appeared in Retro Gamer magazine, Time Extension and at 1up, Siliconera, and Gamasutra.

HG101 Presents - The 200 Best Video Games of All Time by Kurt Kalata

Every website or magazine has their own "Best Video Games of All Times" list - here is Hardcore Gaming 101's! From early arcade classics to 3D action games, from text adventures to interactive cinema, this book includes 200 of the best video games ever released, covering over three decades of gaming history, created by developers all over the world. Each entry highlights why our picks are the best examples of their genre, and includes additional recommendations for similar games. Both rookie and veteran gamers will definitely discover some new and interesting games to check out after finishing this book!


"As you may know, we've featured a number of Hardcore Gaming 101 books over recent Game StoryBundles, but this is probably their best to date - a well-written romp through some of the top games ever created that's careful, loving, and not overly populist in its search for the plain amazing." – Simon Carless



  • "Hardcore Gaming's collection of best games was far from what I'd call traditional, but it falls in line with the outgoing and distinctive tone of the site. I was also slated to see classics such as Mappy and Wonder Boy on the list, as I thought I was the only one who appreciated those games. It also is sure to introduce a lot of viewers to try things out of their comfort zone and find a lot of really impressive and ground breaking games, like Another World and Shadow of the Colossus."

    – Nick, Amazon.com review
  • "Each title gets a page made up of words, artwork and screens, as well as a "see also" section at the bottom which cites a similar release which is also worth a look. You could therefore say that the actual list stands at 400 - and that doesn't include the 55 runners-up which are included at the close of the book, with each getting a short description and screenshot. All of this results in a frankly incredible resource for anyone interested in the history of gaming - all major genres are touched upon, and while you could argue that some are featured more heavily than others (sports and racing games have little coverage, while RPGs - western and Japanese - are in abundance), it does an excellent job of presenting a more rounded picture of gaming's greatest achievements."

    – Nintendo Life



In the context of NES platformers, Super Mario Bros. 3 decimates its competition. Even compared to other games in the series, it's a gigantic step upward from the frustrating Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, and the diversionary (through still excellent) American sequel. Compared to the original game, the screen scrolls in all directions, allowing for more open and less confining stages, including tense levels where the screen automatically scrolls. The map allows alternative routes to the end of each world, with challenging castles at the mid-way points, and airship stages that culminate in fights against one of Bowser's seven children. Put simply, itüfs far more expansive than almost any other similar game on the 8-bit platform.

Even divorced from context, though, Super Mario Bros. 3 excels because of its level design. The stages are relatively short, but each is memorably and skillfully designed. The eight Worlds all have distinct themes ? deserts, oceans, and clouds, with the most unique being one where everything, enemies and bricks, is oversized. There are charming details, like the bushes in the first World map, which appear to dance along with the theme music. The individual levels are filled with foes and items that pop up only a few times, like the menacing sun in the sand stages, or Kuribo's Shoe, a curious one-time item that lets Mario hop around unharmed on spikes. The Raccoon tail is the first (and best) power-up that allows Mario to fly, while several others abilities ? the Frog, Tanooki, and Hammer Bros. suits ? are uncommon, but offer cool abilities. It's the rare game where almost every part of it feels special.