Breath of the Wild

A Japanese TV Channel took up the task of polling 50,000 Japanese gamers. The poll asked these gamers to name their favorite game of all time. Given the large sample size of polled gamers, the choices listed here represent the current state of Japanese gaming, as far as Japan’s favorite games go.

So let’s do a quick rundown of the list to analyze some of the more surprising choices in contrast to what Americans would have likely chosen on a similar poll.

The Legend of Zelda is King….Surprisingly

Breath of the Wild Screenshot 2

I wouldn’t be surprised if an American poll would have plenty of Zelda (and Grand Theft Auto) entries in its top ten. But I was surprised to see that the Japanese voted The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as their top game of all time with more regularity than other games.

The Legend of Zelda is not quite as big in Japan as other RPG franchises are. Or, as respected by Japanese critics as it is on our shores. You want proof? There are no other The Legend of Zelda entries in the poll’s top ten. By contrast, there are two Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest entries in it.

After Breath of the Wild, Dragon Quest V was chosen as the number two greatest game of all time. That one isn’t surprising, Dragon Quest V (1992) is the most popular Dragon Quest entry in Japan, and in case you didn’t know, Dragon Quest is king of Japan when it comes to sales.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dragon Quest V, the movie based on the property, Dragon Quest: Your Story is actually based on Dragon Quest V’s storyline. To be fair, DQV probably has the best story in the entire series, which is saying a lot, given that the game is nearly 3 decades old.

For those of you curious about it, the next The Legend of Zelda entry on the list is Ocarina of Time, and the legendary game came in at #19.

Final Fantasy VII is the Best Final Fantasy Game According to the Japanese

Aerith praying to Holy in Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII fans will find solace in the fact that the game came in as the #3 greatest game of all time, with Final Fantasy X coming in at #9, as the closest Final Fantasy entry to FFVII.

Again, this isn’t surprising as Final Fantasy VII was a huge and influential game in the 90s. Final Fantasy VI, which might have come in at a higher spot on an American list was ranked third within Final Fantasy games, but at the #33 spot, overall.

Final Fantasy X is somewhat of an odd entry to me, I thought other FF games might have been more popular on the land of the rising sun, but then again, the PS2 was a big system over there, and the Final Fantasy X was a great game that introduced likable characters and voice acting into the series.

In case you want to know, Chrono Trigger came in at #8, thus once again, proving that particular game’s global appeal as one of the greatest games ever made.

JRPG buffs will noticed Suikoden II’s place among the best 20 games in the polls, and that should make them very happy, as the general consensus in Western territories is that Suikoden II is the best game in that series.

Nintendo Remains in Control of Japanese Gaming

The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time Screenshot

Apart from having the absolute top game in the poll’s top ten list, Nintendo also had more entries in the list than any other publisher and developer with entries, including Splatoon 2, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Super Mario Bros. 3.

Given that the other five entries within the top ten are Square Enix titles that were released when both were separate entities, Nintendo has a clear dominance of the listing in this massive poll. This isn’t at all surprising. Nintendo is known for making the greatest games of all time, even if their consoles haven’t been as popular as Sony’s systems.

Missing Surprises

Ghost of Tsushima screen

Nearly every Zelda game made the Top 100, save for Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and a Link to the Past. American gamers seem to prefer A Link to the Past to some of the other entries on the list (Skyward Sword made it somehow) so this was a bit surprising from a westerner perspective.

Ghost of Tsushima (#66) made the list even thought it is not a Japanese game, as believe it or not, Sucker Punch is a western developer. And Shocker! (okay, maybe not so much) most games in the list are a JRPG of some kind (traditional or action-based) though games from other genres also made the cut. The Japanese sure like their RPGs.

Here is the full list:

100. Persona 3
99. Pokémon Platinum
98. Persona 4
97. Super Mario World
96. Romance of the Three Kingdoms
95. Mother
94. Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War
93. Persona 5 Royal
92. Monster Hunter 4G
91. Street Fighter II
90. Final Fantasy VIII
89. Super Mario Galaxy 2
88. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
87. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate
86. Monster Hunter
85. Dragon Quest VI
84. Final Fantasy XI
83. Dragon Quest VII
82. The Legend of Mana
81. Dragon Quest Builders 2
80. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
79. Metal Gear Solid
78. Nobunaga’s Ambition
77. Mario Kart Wii
76. Kirby Air Ride
75. Animal Crossing: Wild World
74. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
73. Gran Turismo 4
72. Kirby Super Star
71. Dr. Mario
70. Monster Hunter World
69. Super Mario RPG
68. Pokémon X/Y
67. Bloodborne
66. Ghost of Tsushima
65. Suikoden
64. Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver
63. Final Fantasy III
62. Xevious
61. Super Smash Bros.
60. Pokémon Black 2 and White 2
59. Dead by Daylight
58. Animal Crossing
57. Super Donkey Kong
56. Super Mario Galaxy
55. Yokai Watch 2
54. Dragon Quest VIII
53. Tales of the Abyss
52. The Legend of Zelda
51. Final Fantasy IV
50. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire
49. Kingdom Hearts
48. Nier: Automata
47. Final Fantasy XIV
46. Dragon Quest II
45. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land
44. Dragon Quest X
43. Xenoblade
42. Persona 5
41. Momotaro Dentetsu: Showa, Heisei, Reiwa mo Teiban!
40. Xenogears
39. Dark Souls III
38. Puyo Puyo
37. Final Fantasy IX
36. Pokémon Gold and Silver
35. Xenoblade 2
34. Final Fantasy V
33. Final Fantasy VI
32. Resident Evil
31. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
30. Apex Legends
29. Okami
28. Mother 2
27. Dragon Quest XI
26. Pokémon Black and White
25. Tetris
24. Pokémon Red and Green
23. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
22. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
21. Splatoon
20. Minecraft
19. Suikoden II
18. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
17. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
16. Kingdom Hearts II
15. Dragon Quest IV
14. Pokémon Sword and Shield
13. Undertale
12. Super Mario Kart
11. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl
10. Super Mario Bros. 3
9. Final Fantasy X
8. Chrono Trigger
7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
6. Dragon Quest III
5. Splatoon 2
4. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
3. Final Fantasy VII
2. Dragon Quest V
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild

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