50 Most Memorable Moments in Video Game History

We count down those gaming moments you'll never forget.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

30. The T-Rex – Tomb Raider

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The great thing about the battle with the T-Rex in Tomb Raider was that it was so surprising. You weren’t required to defeat the prehistoric beast in order to advance through the story, but rather it was placed at the end of a series of hidden tunnels by developers Core Design, who intended it to be found by only the most skilled of adventurers.

When discovered, the T-Rex makes for a formidable foe, only succumbing after what seems like an infinite number of pistol rounds. While we’re not entirely sure whether a lover of history such as Lara Croft should’ve really been so gung-ho about killing the last remaining dinosaur on the face of the earth, it was still a cool hidden little Easter Egg that gained almost as much notoriety as the ‘naked Lara’ rumour.

29. Deleting All of Your Saved Data – Eternal Darkness

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Eternal Darkness’ sanity effects kept gamers constantly on their toes. Whether it was spontaneous combustion, an impromptu error message popping up on the screen or the ghostly apparition of a woman in a bathtub filled with blood, you never felt at ease while playing it. The greatest example of this was the message that informed gamers that all of their saved data had been deleted. This wasn’t the case, of course, but it didn’t prevent many from screaming at their TVs in horror, before realising that they’d been duped and wiping their brow in relief.

28. “Wait – Samus is a Woman?!” – Metroid

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Back in 1986, female characters in video games were solely damsels in distress or romantic interests. While the gaming industry has still got a lot of work to do in that area, Metroid’s Samus Aran certainly paved the way for many more women in games. It’s rather shameful to consider that the finale of Metroid, which reveals Samus the ass-kicking bounty hunter to be a woman, was so overwhelmingly shocking, but that was unfortunately the case.

Samus would go on to become one of the most beloved Nintendo characters of all time, leaving her ludicrous space-bikini behind her.

27. Blowing up Megaton – Fallout 3

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Few games are as emotionally involving as Fallout 3, and the moral dilemma of whether or not to blow up Megaton is a prime example of this. On one hand, you had already ingratiated yourself with the people of Megaton, and as the first community you’d encountered since leaving the Vault, you shared a certain affinity with them. On the other, you could bag yourself a place at the plush Tenpenny Tower, and feed your curiosity by detonating the bomb placed precariously in the centre of the town.

26. Seeing Peach’s Castle in 3D – Super Mario 64

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It’s odd to think that there was a point when we were doubting that video games could successfully make the transition into 3D, but that was once the case. However, Nintendo rid us of our fears completely with Super Mario 64, introducing us to a platformer than not only worked on a 3D plane, but worked well

Being introduced to the hub world of Peach’s Castle for the first time and jumping around its grassy surroundings, climbing its trees and trying desperately to clamber on top of its roof was an eye-opening experience, showing us what could be accomplished with this new technology and helping us to let go of the 2D worlds we had so tightly help in our grasp.

25. Zombie Dog Jumps through the Window – Resident Evil

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If there’s one thing that’s more unsettling than being cornered by a zombie, it’s being cornered by a zombie dog, and Resident Evil was the first game to show us this. Although it’s just a jump scare, the moment when that zombie dog jumps through that window was enough to make many promptly turn off their PlayStation, put their copy of the game back on the shelf and slowly back out of the room.

24. Batman’s Hallucination – Batman: Arkham Asylum

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Those who watched as heavy rain began falling inside Arkham Asylum’s walls may have thought it was a graphical error at first. But then, as the Asylum’s floor began morphing into the cracked pavement of Gotham City, it became obvious that this was something other than an odd glitch. Culminating with a young Bruce Wayne slumped hopelessly beside his dead parents’ fallen bodies, it turns out that Batman had fallen victim to Scarecrow’s fear gas and what he was envisioning was nothing more than a hallucination. The most memorable moment in a game filled with them.

23. Fighting Mike Tyson – Punch Out!

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Punch Out! is a difficult game, and that’s before you get to the fight with Mike Tyson. Iron Mike deals out a gruelling amount of punishment, hitting Little Mac with one-hit KOs and devastating hooks until you reach that inevitable Game Over screen. The boss battle with Tyson is now a video game legend, with many still unable to defeat him after all of these years.

22. No Russian – Modern Warfare 2

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The ‘No Russian’ mission in Modern Warfare 2 was shameless attention-grabbing on behalf of developers Infinity Ward but, for better or for worse, it was the most memorable moment in a series that has been defined by its elaborate set-pieces. Acting as an undercover agent alongside the evil terrorist Makarov, the ‘No Russian’ mission gives you two options: either you help Makarov and his comrades gun down innocent civilians in an airport, or you stand by and watch them do so. It makes no sense (why couldn’t you just kill Makarov there and then?) but, much like Duke Nukem Forever’s poo-slinging, that doesn’t prevent it from being memorable.

21. Act 4 – Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

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For long-time fans of the series, the opening of Metal Gear Solid 4’s fourth act was a surprising blast from the past. Returning to Shadow Moses forces Old Snake to dream about his time spent there in the original MGS, with the player reliving the opening scene from the PlayStation classic. The blocky graphics, the old map, the sleeping guard – it’s all there, just as it was back in 1998, and playing through it again evokes surprising emotions.

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