Top 10 High Score Based Video Games
Top 10 High Score Based Video Games

Top 10 High Score Based Video Games

VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
Before there were epic storylines, branching quests and deep character development, video games had one goal and one goal alone: get the highest number. From arcade classics like Galaga to portable time sink's like Temple Run, we showcase the best games where the objective is clear, to rack up as many points as you can. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 High-Score based video games.

Script written by Nick Williams.

Top 10 High-Score Based Video Games

Before there were epic storylines, branching quests and deep character development, video games had one goal and one goal alone: get the biggest number. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 High-Score based video games.

For this list we’ve picked the 10 best games where your MAIN objective is to rack up the highest score humanly possible.

#10: “Fruit Ninja” (2010)

“Fruit Ninja” is deceptively simple, but isn’t that what makes mobile games so much fun? Armed with a razor-shape katana, also known as your finger, the player is tasked with chopping and slicing as many fruit as possible in the allotted time. Because if there’s one thing that any ninja worth their salt hates, it’s apples, kiwis, watermelons and pineapples! Score-multiplying combos can be achieved by swiping multiple fruit at once – but avoid those bombs because they’ll end your round. “Fruit Ninja” is addictive and simple, and the perfect example of a fun mobile distraction.

#9: “Dance Dance Revolution” series (1998-)

“Dance Dance Revolution” is one of the most iconic modern arcade franchises, and for the longest time, you couldn’t head to an arcade without seeing some dude sweating buckets, frantically pounding his feet in trying to achieve a perfect score. The gameplay is pretty simple – arrows move their way to the top of the screen in sync with crazy techno music, and you have to step on the corresponding dance pad in time. “DDR” went on to influence games from “Just Dance” to “Guitar Hero,” and basically singled-handedly popularized the concept of rhythm-based music games.

#8: “Geometry Wars” series (2003-)

What started out a simple easter egg in Project Gotham Racing 2 soon became a indie phenomenon. The “Geometry Wars” franchise took the classic formula seen in games like “Asteroids” and made it hip again. By combining twitchy arcade shooting with modernized graphics, “Geometry Wars” managed to capture all of the elements that had kids dumping quarter after quarter into arcade machines in the 80s. The premise is deceptively simple: navigate your ship across a square grid while blasting alien ships and racking up points – but there’s something that’s SO satisfying about weaving through clouds of enemies. Hell, they called it “Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved” for a reason!

#7: “Galaga” (1981)

There’s a reason why “Galaga” can still be found in many arcades around the world, and why it has been ported to just about every console imaginable – it’s probably the most fun old-school score-attack shooting game ever created. “Galaga” took the formula popularized by “Space Invaders” and improved on it with enemy AI, graphics, gameplay and sound that was way ahead of its time. “Galaga” manages the impressive feat of still holding up as a fun and challenging score-attack game decades after its release.

#6: “Temple Run” series (2011)

There are hundreds of ‘endless runner’ games on mobile devices, but none captured the adoration of both casual and hardcore gamers like “Temple Run.” For months, you couldn’t enter a subway or bus without seeing someone frantically swiping their smartphone, trying to collect coins and jump over pits. The combination of insanely fast gameplay, challenging platforming, and ridiculously addictive score multiplying made “Temple Run” a huge hit. Also, who didn’t spend hour after hour collecting coins to try and unlock the football player?

#5: “Donkey Kong” (1981)

“Donkey Kong” is often remembered as the game that introduced the world to two of Nintendo’s most iconic characters, Mario and Donkey Kong. Yes, “Donkey Kong” is one of the most important historical documents in gaming, but it also stands on its own as one of the best and most addictive arcade games ever created. It’s very difficult to get Mari…I mean… “Jumpman” past that constant barrage of barrels and flames, but it’s oh so satisfying to reach the top of the stage and give that giant Monkey his comeuppance.

#4: “Guitar Hero” series (2005-)

“Rock Band” may have taken the formula established by “Guitar Hero,” added more instruments, and turned a kick-ass guitar solo into an epic 4-person jamfest, but the “Guitar Hero” franchise is the more significant series because it was the pioneer of the plastic axe. Combining an amazing set list with addictive score-based gameplay, a bad-ass guitar peripheral, fun storyline, and cool graphics - “Guitar Hero” was a total must-own when it was released.

#3: “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2” (2000)

Sure, the original was plenty fun, but nobody was quite ready for the megaton bomb that was “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2”. Neversoft found the perfect storm of gameplay, attitude, graphics, soundtrack, level design – EVERYTHING, and created a near-perfect game. One of the major additions was the ability to manual, allowing players to put together almost endless strings of tricks. Suddenly, beating all of those missions to a back seat to finally hitting that perfect combo and beating your best friend’s top score.

#2: “Ms. Pacman” (1982)

“Pacman” is the most famous arcade game ever created, but its sequel “Ms. Pacman” basically improved on the original in every way. Whereas the original “Pacman” only had one map, “Ms. Pacman” has several. That, combined with some basic story screens and a small ribbon on Ms. Pacman’s head are basically the only improvements, but they were enough. Escaping those ghosts while eating pellets and navigating the maze-like map is so simple, yet, is there anything more satisfying than grabbing a power-pellet and gobbling down all of the ghosts at once?

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Asteroids” (1979)

“Space Invaders” (1978)

“Dig Dug” (1982)

“Frogger” (1981)

#1: “Tetris” (1989)

What started as a pet project for Soviet programmer Alexey Pajitnov became one of the most beloved video games ever, and it mostly started when Nintendo ported “Tetris” to the original Game Boy. Who could predict that the perfectly addictive design of “Tetris” would go together with portable gaming like peanut butter and jam? Tetris ultimately founded the ‘puzzle game’ genre, and it’s still amazingly satisfying to rack up a high score by erasing line after line of squares with a perfectly placed block. Just watch out for those damn zigzag pieces.

Agree with our list? Did we forget any legendary high-score based video games? For more high-scoring top 10’s published daily, be sure to subscribe to