15) Guitar Hero (PS2, 2005)
While PlayStation’s SingStar had given hairbrush crooners a competitive outlet for their warbling in 2004, air guitarists had been neglected until Guitar Hero came along.
With its colourful buttons, the shrunken, plastic axe used to play along to its catalogue of classics (and some rubbish funk-rock by the Red Hot Chili Peppers) might’ve looked a bit Fisher-Price, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who wasn’t riffing along with a huge grin (or puzzling grimace of concentration) plastered across their face within minutes of picking it up.
14) God of War (PS4, 2018)
The original God of War was influential and memorable in its own time, but after several similar entries, Sony wisely gave Kratos a few years off – and went back to the drawing board.
The new God of War on PlayStation 4 is the end result, and it's a superb and stirring adventure about an older, gruffer warrior on a journey with his son. The presence of Kratos' offspring doesn't dull the action: with a new over-the-shoulder perspective, a battle axe, and a fresh North setting, God of War delivers intense moments on the regular.
Brilliant performances from both characters ultimately make this the definitive God of War experience, with the memorable father-son dynamic only amplifying the stakes amidst this gorgeous, yet brutal world.
13) Metal Gear Solid (PS1, 1998)
A landmark title in terms of storytelling, presentation and pioneering stealth-based gameplay, Metal Gear Solid was one of the first games that truly felt like an interactive movie. With copious amounts of voice acting and long, often meandering cutscenes, this was a game as concerned with telling a compelling tale and creating iconic characters as it was with its sneaking mechanics and combat.
And it’s all so very Japanese: despite its reliance on Hollywood tropes and characterisation, there’s a thread of self-knowing silliness running through it (and subsequent MGS games) that gives them a charm lacking in more po-faced Western-developed stealth titles.
From the moment Snake first sneaks around beneath a cardboard box, you’re aware that you’re playing something a bit special. And the fourth wallrupturing Psycho Mantis boss battle will be remembered as one of the 20th century gaming’s greatest moments.
12) Ico (PS2, 2001)
Ico was a new type of game, because it was as much art as game. It was beautiful. It had emotion, mystery and peril, but it was told without dialogue or violence.
You played a young boy with a wooden sword who finds a ghostly young girl trapped in an old fort full of nasty shadow spirits. It was your job to get her out, rather charmingly by holding her hand and escorting her through puzzles and mazes, letting go occasionally to batter back the ghosts.
Without it, games such as Flower, Journey, Never Alone and Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons would probably never have existed. Playing Ico is an utterly essential part of your gaming education.
11) Grand Theft Auto V (PS3/PS4, 2013/2014)
Remember when we used to get a new Grand Theft Auto game every year or two? Well, it’s been eight years since Grand Theft Auto V rolled out, and it’s still going strong: a consistent best-seller, a damn brilliant campaign, and an ever-updated online mode that still keeps pulling people in. It’s even getting an enhanced PS5 port later this year.
While previous entries may be more iconic and influential, Grand Theft Auto V absolutely lives up to the “latest and greatest” billing, delivering a more immersive city than ever, dazzling with its triple-protagonist storyline, and still feeling fresh and powerful after all this time. Still, we are absolutely itching for GTA6, whenever you’d like to get around to it, Rockstar Games.