Desert island video games

This comes up in my mind time and time again, as I try and peg my favourite games of all time. In fact, I guess most gamers play this game when not holding a joypad…

Anyway, this needs some formalised rules!

  • You can pick any eight games to be stuck on a desert island with for the rest of your mortal life (no continues). They can be from any year, any system, any format, any region.
  • If it’s an old system, assume users, networks or technology is still in place to allow enjoyable gaming.
  • This island has plentiful plug socket points. So if you need to take your Mega Drive, Mega-CD and 32X, no problem.
  • You can have whatever the best display is to play these games, from a Sony KV-M1421U through to Hanitrex arcade cab monitors… but I don’t really need to know what you choose, just helps your choices.
  • This mythical island also has ethernet sockets and wifi in the, err, palm trees, so multi-player online games are in the running.
  • You can also nominate some poor sod to be stranded on this island for those co-op games that simply must be played with a 2UP, like Bubble Bobble.

So, since I’m posing the questions, I’ll go first…

  1. Bubble Bobble — Arcade
  2. Skool Daze — ZX Spectrum
  3. Donkey Kong Jr — Famicom
  4. Gunstar Heroes — Mega Drive
  5. Super Mario Maker — Wii U
  6. Phantasy Star Online — Dreamcast
  7. Mario Kart DS — Nintendo DS
  8. Metal Gear Solid V — PS4

I’ll try not to come back and edit this list! If I do, I’ll explain why… promise!

I so badly wanted to put Crazy Taxi on the Dreamcast in there, but it really doesn’t have enough depth to justify a life-time sentence. I’m looking forward to hearing from you guys, whether to say I’m completely wrong and a stupid-head, or to list your favourite eight. But your list *is* wrong.

May 2012 Update: Dropped Call of Duty: MW2 for Vanquish.

June 2015 Update: Realising that I will have to come back and update this list as new games are released, I’ve swapped out Super Mario World for Super Mario Maker. Ohhhh! Big shout! My idea being that I’ll recreate SMW in SMM! Plus all that user generated content from other gamers!

Also swapped Batman PS3 for Donkey Kong Jr. There’s something about the simplicity and perfection in that 8-bit game. And MGSV — PS4 swapped in for Vanquish.

  • Hmmmm my list is not going to be cool. I tend to get bored of traditional gamer games too quickly, and I’m not one to replay things… however:

    1. Sensible World of Soccer. (The original Amiga version, with a couple ZipStick joysticks).
    2. Sensible World of Soccer. (PC version – slightly inferior, however it was totally hackable and the player database totally updatable. You could while away hours without actually playing it)
    3.Football Manager 2011 (Mac/PC – I could be cool and go for an older version, but I’d have more than enough time to get stuck properly into the latest stat avalanche version)
    4.Football Manager Live (Mac/PC – this was a 2 year crack habit. On a desert island I’d be happy to fall under it’s spell again).

    Told you it would be boring…

    5.Tiger Woods 2012 (360 – not even played it, but I hear it’s the best of one of fave all time series – going back to the original PGA Tour golf on the Amiga).

    6.Super Mario Kart (SNES – don’t think I need to explain that one)

    7.Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising (PC – the only 1st person shooter I’ve got into playing online. Bit of an odd one really.)

    8.Rock Band 3 (360 – If I’m stuck on a island I may as well have some choons to rock out to and download)

  • 1. WOW – Mac
    2. Super Mario World – SNES
    3. Elite – PC
    4. Counter Strike
    5. Tetris – Gameboy
    6. GLQuake – PC
    7. Street Fighter 2 – Arcade
    8. Day of the Tentacle – PC

  • gah! how did I not put a Street Fighter game in there? My brother will (try and) kill me!

  • Argh.

    Blast Corps – N64
    Transport Tycoon Deluxe (patched) – PC
    Quake – PC (min 7 volunteers needed for multiplayer)
    Drop 7 – iOS
    GTi Club – arcade
    Super Mario World – SNES
    Sim City 2000 – PC

    Can I have ‘ability to make own browser-based games’ as number 8?

  • 1. Pugsleys Scavenger hunt. SNES
    2. Jet Set Willy, ZX spectrum
    3. Wolfenstein – Enemy Territory, PC
    4. Roller coaster Tychoon 3, PC
    5. Super Mario Cart, N64
    6. Out Run, Arcade
    7. Rainbow Islands, Amiga
    8. Way of the Exploding Fist, C64

  • Danny


    (In no order)

    1. Pro Evolution Soccer 6
    2. CoD 4: Modern Warfare
    3. Gran Turismo 5
    4. Tekken 3
    5. Final Fantasy 9
    6. Mario 64
    7. Populous (or something similar)
    8. Mario Kart DS

  • @kdsh7

    – GTA IV (never had the time to play this properly, despite enjoying it a lot!)
    – Red Dead Redemption (ditto)
    – Outrun Coast to Coast (if nothing else, just to cruise along listening to Magical Sound Shower)
    – Civ IV
    – Minecraft on a multiplayer server
    – Rock Band 3 with Fender Pro Guitar (since price is no issue and I’ve always wanted to know how Knopfler does the fingerpicking to Walk of Life)
    – Mass Effect 2
    – Deus Ex

  • Rob

    Let’s see then…

    1. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas – PS2
    2. Deus Ex – PC
    3. Grim Fandango – PC
    4. Mario Kart Double Dash – GameCube
    5. Carmageddon 2 – PC
    6. Capcom vs SNK – PS2
    7. Quake 3 – PC
    8. Metal Gear Solid 4 – PS3

  • 1: Homeworld 2
    2: Total Annihilation ( running under the Spring Engine )
    3: Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance
    4: Deadspace
    5: Bioshock
    6: Starcraft 2
    7: Space Empires IV
    8: Bejewelled

    Failing that:
    Visual Studio 2010 + Directx11 SDK

  • @miranda_tweets

    1. Dragon Age II – PC
    2. World of Warcraft – PC
    3. Oblivion – PC
    4. Age of Empires II – PC
    5. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time – Xbox
    6. Halo 2 – Xbox
    7. Carcassonne – iPhone/iPad
    8. Jurassic Park, Super Nintendo

  • Here we go:

    Shinobi – Arcade (I would finally have the time to learn how to one-credit it!)

    Super Mario World – SNES (It’s a classic. I’d replay those beautiful 96 exits over and over again)

    Thunderforce IV – Megadrive (I’d need a horizontal shmup, this would be it)

    Ikaruga – Arcade (With a whole lifetime, again I would learn to one-credit this too)

    Half Life 2 – PC (For longer gaming sessions I think this would be a good choice for the island)

    Unchartered 2 – PS3 (I’ll have this too for some HD goodness. Would be fun to replay if I had lots of time on my hands)

    Burnout 2 – Gamecube (One of my favourite racers)

    Mario 64 – N64 (I’d unlock all the secrets!)

  • Tom

    Ok Lets GO:-

    Civilization 4 with all expansion packs – the most hardcore of the civ series

    Quake 3 – an engine so good they will still use it for the next modern warfare

    Street fighter 3 – 3rd Strike Version 990608 – game design perfection
    (Arcade CPS3)

    Zelda the Windwaker – I haven’t played the later wii versions zelda’s but I enjoyed this one a lot.

    Bust-a-move 2 – incase there is someone to play on a 2 player VS
    (Taito F3 System )

    Street fighter 4 AE and MVC3 Just cause thats what I’m playing at the moment.
    (Arcade and Xbox 360)

    A remake of Final Fantasy 7 on the PS3 -(I know this one doesn’t exist but it needs to)

  • re: “if there is a 2 player” of course there is, it’s in the rules! Poor sod rows over from his neighbouring mystical island for co-op sesh’s, then buggers off. Convenient eh?

  • Tom

    Convenient very, convenient.

  • 1. Bubble Bobble
    2. Rainbow Islands
    3. Sensible World of Soccer
    4. Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow
    5. Monkey Island
    6. Final Fantasy IX
    7. Super Mario World
    8. Zelda: Link’s Awakening

  • Tough one! And I know I’m bound to change my mind at some point, but let’s see…

    1. Bubble Bobble – Arcade
    2. Half Life 2 – PC
    3. Lemmings – Amiga or GG
    4. LittleBigPlanet – PS3
    5. Super Mario World – SNES
    6. Donkey Kong Country – SNES
    7. Crash Bandicoot – PS1
    8. Shenmue – DC

    All selected on the basis of high quality, general epicness and my desire to 100% complete the ones I haven’t yet! ^_^

  • 1. Civilization IV w/ Warlords and Beyond the Sword (PC)
    2. Team Fortress 2 (PC)
    3. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PC)
    4. Pokémon Black or White (DS)
    5. Football Manager 2011 (PC)
    6. Bookworm Adventures Deluxe (PC)
    7. Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii)
    8. Qix (Arcade)

    Quite surprised at how relatively recent these all are, to be honest.

  • stinky ox

    Mixture picked more for durability than nostalgia:

    Zelda OOT
    WOW (Never actually played it due to not wanting to fall into an addiction but on a desert island who cares?)
    Words With Friends
    Robotron (a man’s got to have some Jarvis in his life even on a desert island)
    Burnout 2 (got to have a racer somewhere and this is a fave)
    Coin-op Star Wars (simple I know but I loved it and I’d want to play it every now and again).

    Really though all I’d need would be a compiler and a reasonable system and a large herd of beasts.

  • Hmm – tricky.

    No particular order but mainly with longevity in mind :

    1) Elite – long treck through the stars
    2) Game Dev Story – simple with large random element to make it fun to dream what game dev is like… back in the real world
    3) Drop 7 – i was going to say tetris, but Drop7 is just insane fun. Hardcore mode is incredible
    4) WoW – yeah yeah, i know – but thing is it could last for a damned long time!
    5) DDP DOJ or Mushihime Futari – i’d need a shooter of somesort and either of these would fit that gap. DDP DOJ might see me actually get my full on chain going
    6) Wipeout HD with Fury – fills the racing category, Zeus’ing Zone and getting all golds on hard AI should keep me covered.
    7) Halo – which ever one has the best online. Yes i know there are “betteR” online shooters, but Halo clicked with me whilst others didn’t. I could live with Bloodgulch online (if the remake rumours are true!)
    8) Super Mario World – need a platformer so might as well go with the cream !

  • Ahmed Zaman Khan

    1) Okami (PS2)
    2) Godhand (PS2)
    3) Street fighter 2 turbo (SNES)
    4) F-Zero (SNES)
    5) Black (PS2)
    6) back up copy of Okami (PS2)
    7) PacMan (Arcade)
    8) GTA 3 (PS2)

  • hah! Ahmed, laughing at 6) you must really like Okami! Must admit I’ve not played it yet.

  • Pingback: Desert Island Video Games | Paul Randall()

  • I’ve just added my contribution on my website:

    1) Sonic the Hedgehog (Mega Drive)
    2) Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time (N64)
    3) 007 GoldenEye (N64)
    4) Gran Turismo 4 (PS2)
    5) GTA IV (Xbox 360)

  • This game calls for 8, Paul, not 5 ;)

  • OK, 8 it is ;-) I’ve added:

    6) Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 (PS2)
    7) Any FIFA game (various)
    8) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360)

  • 1. Civilization (any edition – they all rock)
    2. Rainbow Islands
    3. Secret of Monkey Island
    4. Ico
    5. Minecraft
    6. Dungeon Keeper (1 or 2)
    7. Tony Hawks 3 (my best mate and me lost months to score beating in this)
    8. Tetris DX

    Gah. Too many choices. So many games that I’ve loved over the years. What about Castlevania, Metroid, God of War, Mario, Sonic, Another World/Out of this World, Flashback, Prince of Persia, Cannon Fodder, Chaos Engine, Syndicate, Just Cause 2 (love that sandbox), the Lego games, GTA, Call of Duty, Halo, Football games, Tennis games, Madden games, Zelda, Ratchet and Clank, Sly Raccoon… argh…

  • 1. Eve Online (27″ iMac) – have to have an Elite-type game
    2. Lords of Midnight / Doomdark’s Revenge (ZX Spectrum)
    3. SimCity 3000 (PC)
    4. Morrowind (PC)
    5. Head over Heels (ZX Spectrum)
    6. Bubble Bobble (Arcade)
    7. Starglider (Atari ST)
    8. GTA IV (never played it)

    And a software tools to create new maps / hack around with the above title, especially Lords of Midnight, and Head over Heels.

    Squeezed out of the list were: Dan Dare (Spectrum), Alien 8 (Spectrum), Baldur’s Gate (PC), Assassins Creed (Xbox), Heartland (Spectrum), Saboteur (Spectrum), Driller (Spectrum), Dark Sceptre (Spectrum), and some Footie Management title.

  • Gorsefan

    Tough! In no particular order;
    1) Jet Set Willy (ZX Spectrum) – time enough to patch it so is finishable and get good enough to actually see most of the game!
    2) Elite (any variant) – can dock manually if feeling sexy.
    3) Modern Warfare 2 (360) – best shooter soz.
    4) Civ 1 (PC) – just pips Alpha Centauri for long-term play.
    5) +1 for Dungeon Keeper 2 (PC) – do want evil.
    6) Atari Star Wars (sit down arcade cabinet) – you never forget your first time.
    7) GTA San Andreas (360) – sandbox, BMX, tractor-jacking, snoop ’em up.
    8) so many games I have lost days to but would never replay, this is tough, err Left 4 Dead (1, 360, if Valve bothered fixing it).
    Great post thanks!

  • I finally gave this challenge a go, but I also wrote a pretty hefty blog post explaining my choices which can be found on my new home; Panic Stations: Games to keep me company on a desert island.

    Here’s the list though:

    1) Transport Tycoon Deluxe
    2) Final Fantasy Tactics
    3) Operation Flashpoint

    * Civilization 2
    * StarCraft 2
    * Grim Fandango
    * Baldur’s Gate 2
    * Ultima Online

  • Crawford

    Ignore any typos as I’m multi tasking (playing BF3MP)

    In no particular order.

    #1 Black Tiger -Arcade
    #2 Strider -Arcade
    #3 Streetfghter 2 Turbo – Arcade
    #4 Virtual Fighter 2 -Arcade
    #5 Super Metroid – SFC
    #6 Streetfighter Zero 2 – Sega Saturn (with ASCII fighting stick)
    #7 Super Mario 64 – N64
    #8 Quake 3 Arena ( with lots of n00bs to frag)

    Wow that was tough but this has a few solids that I wouldn’t change ;-)

  • Dan

    Not spent long thinking about this, but off the top of my head in no particular order:

    1. Kick Off With Extra Time Add On – Atari ST (for 2 players. You could score from practically anywhere in the opponents half, so you’d end up with scores of 31-30. Fun, not accurate.)

    2. Super Mario 1 – NES

    3. Defender – Arcade

    4. Frostbite – Atari 2600

    5. Unchartered 2 – PS3

    6. Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2 – Xbox 360

    7. Mariokart – Gamecube

    8. Archon – Atari 800XL (2 players)

  • Wow tough one, in no particular order:

    1. Monkey Island 2 -PC
    2. Football Manager (any) -PC
    3. Street Fighter 2 – Megadrive
    4. Gunstar Heroes – Megadrive
    5. Streets Of Rage 3 – Megadrive
    6. Mario Kart – SNES
    7. R-Type – PC Engine
    8. FIFA (any) – XBOX 360

    This list probably changes day today in my head, but these games I put some serious hours in!

  • Ric

    tough call this but here goes :

    1: Super Mario World / SNES
    2. COD4 / 360
    3. Quake 3 / PC
    4. Outrun / Arcade
    5. Ghost and Goblins / Arcade ( this alone would keep me going forever )
    6. Rock Band 3 & Instruments and all my downloaded tracks / 360
    7. Super Street Fighter 2 ( sit down arcade )
    8. Galaga / Arcade

  • Crikey, 8..?! I desperately want to take Tetris with me, but figured if I have Made in Wario, I could just about live without it. In no order, then:

    – Bakuretsu Muteki Bangaioh (N64)
    – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)
    – GoldenEye 007 (N64)
    – Made In Wario (GBA)
    – Street Fighter II Champion Edition (Coin-Op)
    – Super Mario 64 (N64)
    – Super Monkey Ball (NGC)
    – The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (N64)

  • My list changes every time I think about this:

    – Mischief Makers (N64)
    – The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (SNES)
    – Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA)
    – Star Fox 64 (N64)
    – GoldenEye 007 (N64)
    – Final Fantasy 8 (PS1)
    – Contra (NES)
    – MegaMan 2 (NES)

  • Hmm, as it’s a desert island, I’m going to pick some games that require time to complete and perfect. Not necessarily games that are in my top 10. I’m also assuming I can’t connect to the internet!

    -Mushimesama Futari – 360
    -Grand Theft Auto Vice City – Xbox (play m’own cds)
    -Monopoly Streets -360
    -Future Cop LAPD – PS1
    -Tekken 2 – PS1
    -Donkey Kong – Arcade
    -Wii Sports – Wii
    -Zombies! ate my Neighbors – SNES

    Ask me tomorrow, and this will of changed.

  • Tom

    oooof, where to start…

    1) Zelda – Ocarina of Time
    2) Zelda – Windwaker
    3) Hitman II Silent Assassin
    4) Mario Kart 64
    5) Championship Manager 2000/2001
    6) GTA San Andreas
    7) Monkey Island II
    8) GoldenEye (n64)

  • Tough one, but think these would be a close to final list:

    1) Zelda: Twilight Princess
    2: Zelda: Majora’s Mask
    3) Half-Life 2
    4) Baten Kaitos
    5) Perfect Dark
    6) Sonic 3 & Knuckles
    7) Lylat Wars (Starfox 64)
    8) Pokemon Gold

  • Already hit you up with these on Twitter but here goes again, plus some. No particular order, again:

    1. Grand Theft Auto IIIb: Vice City
    2. Sonic 3 + Knuckles (Mega Drive)
    3. Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
    4. Beneath a Steel Sky (CD32 version but running on A1200HD; long story)
    5. Red Dead Redemption (PS3)
    6. Katamari Damacy (PS2)
    7. Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2x (Xbox 1)
    8. Fahrenheit (Xbox 1)

    But I want to go on to the rest of my Top 20, since some great ones couldn’t quite sneak into the Top 8.

    9. Super Mario World (SNES)
    10. One of the Fight Night games (can’t decide which)
    11. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PS3)
    12. Super Mario Kart (SNES)
    13. Pokemon Blue (Game Boy)
    14. Batman: Arkham City (PS3)
    15. Golden Axe (Mega Drive)
    16. The Revenge Of Shinobi (Mega Drive)
    17. Smackdown 2 (PS1)
    18. Resident Evil 3 (PS1)
    19. God Of War I (PS2)
    20. Bully (PS2)

    Even then, if I thought about it for longer some of those would be further down the list. There have been so many great games across so many decades and formats it would take me a month or more to create a definitive Top 20.

  • DC

    Tough one, but:

    1. Monkey island 2 (mac)
    2. Zombies ate my neighbours (snes)
    3. SimCity 2000 (mac)
    4. Starcraft II (mac)
    5. Super Mario World (snes)
    6. Super Mario Galaxy (wii)
    7. Mario Kart (wii)
    8. Portal 2 (mac)
    9. Citadel (BBC)
    10. Halo (xbox)

  • Impossible Mission (C64), California Games (Lynx), Tetris (GB), Double Dragon (arcade), Mario Kart 64, SMW (SNES), Truxton (SMD) and lucky number 8 is a tie: SMB (NES) / R-Type (PC-Engine). No RPGs for this gamer ;)