The Top 7... Coolest video game islands


1. Yoshi's Island

Yoshi's Island - 1995

Is this the last of the great islands? Before all the soldiers turned up with their guns and their smokescreens? Yoshi's Island is a gaming paradise. Not just in terms of the weather - everything here is classicly, brilliantly Nintendo. The game is subtitled 'Super Mario World 2' in the West, although the gameplay has been augmented to the point that it's barely recognisable as a Mario game. And the truth is, it was never supposed to be 'Super Mario World 2' anyway - that was tacked on to make sure it sold over here. Bah.

Above: There it is - the best island ever (and it's shameless sub-moniker)

That said, in some ways this is more deserving of being the console's flagship Mario title than Super Mario World. Blasphemy, maybe, but technically, the game does so much more with the SNES' abilities.

Above: Sorry to Dave H, this is way more impressive than SMW's bosses

And even looking beyond the extra familiarity with the SNES' architecture, the imagination on display here is way beyond anything seen in Super Mario World. And it's all because the island is a haven for imagination.

Above: This hasn't aged in the slightest. Looks beautiful, eh?

Look at the scenery. The island looks like it was scribbled down with crayons – a flow of consciousness from the brain of a genius. Few games have such a defined art style, and it's because you feel like you're looking at doodles, even the most outlandish bosses look totally at home within the context of the island.

Other coolness of note
Nintendo reportedly asked Miyamoto to make the game look like Donkey Kong Country. But he wasn't a massive fan of that game, so he instead pitched the island as the beautiful hand-drawn paradise we know and love today. Kudos to him.

Anything wrong?
The N64 sequel, Yoshi's Story, turns the whole island into a storybook. But that game isn't that similar at all to the original, so we're going to stick with the Yoshi's Island of the SNES game and its excellent DS counterpart, which is practically perfect in every way. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner.

Obviously we didn't mention the first island that sprung to your mind, so tell us why we're wrong (or possibly absolutely right anyways)  in the comments.

09 Jul, 2010


Top 7

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  • wiigamer024 - August 9, 2010 5:34 p.m.

    Angel Island, FTW! :D
  • erenelliekush - July 28, 2010 11:55 a.m.

    aw no koholint :( for shame, technically yoshi's island was the starting "world" on Super Mario World, you know, the one that has a bridge connecting it to the rest of dinosuar land although seeing how Yoshi's Island is a prequel, it is the first chronological appearance
  • DarkWeavel - July 20, 2010 4:38 p.m.

    first island i thought of was Crysis...
  • TheWebSwinger - July 19, 2010 5:08 p.m.

    You just KNOW that volcano on Zack Island is a metaphor for ejaculation
  • santaclouse37 - July 16, 2010 9:48 p.m.

    Shadow Moses is sadly missing. But great Top 7 regardless.
  • 4fromK - July 16, 2010 1:08 p.m.

    "Nintendo reportedly asked Miyamoto to make the game look like Donkey Kong Country. But he wasn't a massive fan of that game" didn't miyamato dispell this myth, when he actually directly adressed this question and said he didn't know where that rumour came from?
  • HonestGuy - July 15, 2010 1:33 p.m.

    thank heavens for JC2 and Panau, 'nuff said! :)
  • SausageLozenge - July 15, 2010 11:25 a.m.

    I really liked Sunshine. The music in Delfino Square was great.
  • t3rry747 - July 15, 2010 1:13 a.m.

    r u kidding me not even a whisper of wind waker (shame
  • OneWithWaves - July 14, 2010 9:16 p.m.

    I can't believe no one ever mentioned LEGO Island! Not any of the revisions in Island 2 or 3, no; the ORIGINAL LEGO Island. Nothing looked better on a PC in 98 and you really felt it was alive. There was always something going on and so many secrets to find! Not to mention you could customize the whole place to your liking.
  • ThePrivateer - July 14, 2010 6:03 p.m.

  • JosefMotley - July 14, 2010 5:41 p.m.

    how you can say isle "delphino" (it's delfino) is in any way good or celebrate anything about mario sunshine at all is beyond me
  • CARDYKEV - July 14, 2010 12:01 p.m.

    Ooops forget what i said
  • CARDYKEV - July 14, 2010 noon

    Lol whats wrong with an island in the shape of a monkey or a skull being called monkey island? Surely thats an obvious choice? A rock in Devon in the shape of a poodle is called Poodles rock, fail or just unimaginative locals?!
  • Bravo315 - July 13, 2010 6:25 p.m.

    I'm guessing you didn't count city-only islands like Liberty City, Empire City and Pacific City :D Thought San Andreas should've been there though. Purely because of the way you can reach Macros Bistro/Saint Mark's in LC if you fly too far East.
  • gatornation1254 - July 13, 2010 3:11 p.m.

    I always wondered why Monkey Island wasn't shaped like a monkey.
  • philipshaw - July 13, 2010 9:41 a.m.

    Akrham Ayslum is on a Island so if you can count that, it should be on the list
  • Gnome - July 13, 2010 7:15 a.m.

    I for one actually quite enjoyed Yoshi's Story I liked the storybook twist on it.
  • Nanook - July 13, 2010 6:40 a.m.

    Koholint!!!! And as long as we're Zelda representing, while all the island hoping and boat travelling got quite tedious by the time one finished Wind Waker, Dragon Roost Island is an Island triumph. Awesome, welcome-to-the-quest theme music that made you feel like you were truly adventuring swelled as the impossibly, incredibly tall island rose up over the horizon. Plus there's an awesome dungeon inside and a dragon on top! Also, you should be doing a worst islands list as well. Start with Bikanel Island from FFX and go from there.
  • redrum253 - July 13, 2010 6:04 a.m.

    wheres my vvardenfell?

Showing 1-20 of 78 comments

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