Outcast Not At 57 Scandal: PC Gamer Top 100

By Kieron Gillen on December 17th, 2009 at 1:35 pm.

And don't get me started with Thief 2.

The yearly PC Gamer Top 100 has gone live! To actually get any real explanation behind it, you’ll have to buy the new issue, but it’s available here in a just-the-facts-format. It breaks with tradition in a three key ways. Firstly, it was the first in living memory to be comprised not by going down the pub and arguing until everyone hates each other more than usual. Instead, it was done by cold vote-casting democracy. Or, at least, the closest simulacra to cold-vote-casting democracy the ever-mendacious Tom Francis could manage. Secondly, it involved votes from the PC Gamer writers of many nations (i.e. if there’s anything obviously mental, blame the yanks). Thirdly, and most audaciously, the fifthy-seventh greatest game of all time Outcast isn’t at fifty-seven. I’m shocked, shocked I say. Anyway, the readers vote is now open so do go in and RIGHT WRONGS. I admit, it’s the sort of thing which makes me wonder what a RPS readers’ top 100 may look like. Top 100s are odd ones, conceptually speaking. I wrote a little about it over on my workblog a few years ago, which I republish here…

*****
Yesterday I spent in the beer garden of the Boater locked in mortal (er) discussion with the usual suspects. We were trying to compile one of Gamer’s yearly traditions, the Top 100 Best Games Of All Time. It’s always problematic, with the same debates with different spins emerging to be quashed. Do you count a game’s mods when including it? (A: No, because it’s not the developers works. That’s like saying Windows XP is the best game ever as it allows playing everyone else’s games). Can you include mods themselves? (A: Yes, if they’re good enough). Can I include X: Beyond the Frontier? (A: No, don’t be fucking stupid).

A lot of the arguments revolve around how intellectually vague the remit of the exercise is. To this day, I’m not exactly sure what the Top 100 actually *means*.

You see, there’s lots of more coherent approaches to Top 100 games. In terms of magazines who only have done it as a very occasional article, the approach usually taken is “the Greatest games of all time”. In other words, you include not only how good the game is to play, but how innovative and important it is in terms of the development of the form. For example, when Edge did theirs it was very much this model. The problem with that is that if you do one more regularly than once every five years or so, the list calcifies. In terms of overall importance and greatness, that list doesn’t change significantly in a twelve month period. And if it does, it really does undermine the article.

The alternative is “our favourite games” model, which simply selects the Top 100 games which the writers like *right now*. Historical import doesn’t really matter, just your current love. If you were going to play something now, what would it be? This tends towards the gloriously pop mafly nature of games, with lots of turn around as the latest Slightly-better-than-last genre game appears. And that’s not even considering the shifting population of the magazine writers. This is the model Amiga Power seemed to use. Its problem is that if it’s being completely honest, it’s also going to be cheerfully dismissive of a minority of writers (and readers) tastes. You also end up with quirks like Gravity Power at number 2, just because all the writers love it, when in the world outside the magazine’s bounds most gamers couldn’t even name it.

There’s a third method which is a logical extension of the second one. Rather than a Top 100 which is argued for by the staff as a whole, the Top 100 is produced by a opinionated single writer. Only magazine I know who ever did this was Your Sinclair, where Stuart Campbell wrote his gleefully personal take on the history of the Speccy. That it was one man’s work meant that it tended not to be confused with the editorial opinion of the magazine as a whole (despite being labelled the offical YS Top 100) and stressed that it was the start of a dialogue. That is, if Stuart could have his own, then so can everyone else. It’s second strength is that it removes the chance of bland list created by simple compromise. Problem with this is that it too can’t be repeated to often, meaning that Gamer couldn’t use it. Equally, the PC is such a wide and long-existing form, the number of writers who have been around long enough and have expansive enough tastes to perform the role are strictly limited. Of the current Brit game press, only Richard Cobbet comes to mind as someone who mixes both absolutely encyclopedic knowledge with the voliciferous beliefs required to make an entertaining list.

Gamer is quieter, less explicitly controversial and self-indulgent, magazine than Amiga Power, so while the list features a fairly hefty subjective component, it also tends to make tokenistic gestures to genres not many writers like but we consider important. While this is done for the best reasons, it does tend to make Gamer’s lists fall between the two poles. Its number one position will never be held by Doom (as it would if we did a pure List #1 style) or the modern equivalent of GravityPower (if we did it as a pure List #2 style). Afterwards, people seemed more pleased with this list than last one. A better reflection of the PC, is the sort of phrase that people stated.

Which reveals the nature of the PC Gamer Top 100. It’s a mirror of what the magazine thinks the PC is this year, where we are and what we’re going. The list is, essentially, this is what everyone’s playing and this is what everyone’s thinking about. Last year, KOTOR appeared at #3. While a great game, I think it more reflected the tone of last year, where multiformated console games were increasingly part of our idea-space. Genres which were PC only were being bastardised to go on a joypad too, and it was important we recognise while this is happening, it’s better that it happens *well*. This year’s list seems to do a similar reflection of where we are and what we want, but in the considerably altered world of the last twelve months.

Or that’s the justification I’m sticking to for now.

What the Top 100 really does is actually sell a dream. If you really love games, the idea that people can actually sit around for a day and argue intensively about their merits is a seductive fantasy. What most amazes new writers who turn up for their first time is that this idea isn’t just an image sold through the text. It actually happens. The dream’s real. And that, more than anything, is the Top 100’s greatest triumph. That it happens.

*****

Well, it didn’t happen this year, but we totally had a very angry google-doc full of people being mean to one another.

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207 Comments »

  1. Kast says:

    I’m just glad to see Anchorhead still in the list :) I first heard about it in I think last year’s top 100 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not something many people will have heard about so its inclusion might lead other people to give it a short.

  2. Pags says:

    MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD I was just about to comment asking if Deus Ex was number 2 again. After all the years it’s spent at the number 2 spot and seen other games come and go from the number 1 position, it seems fair that it’s finally receiving it’s due.

  3. Baboonanza says:

    Damn you Gillen, I just posted in the thread not linked to this post. To repeat:
    .
    I think Deus Ex as #1 is a more interesting choice than it appears at first glance. It’s very difficult to compare older games with recent ones, and 2D games age better than those in early 3D. I honestly don’t think I could play it again, and looking back it’s undeniably primitive in many ways besides the graphics.
    .
    I’d be reluctant to put it in my top ten, though it was definitely my #1 when released. If you played them back-to-back I think there are easily 10 games released since then that are ‘better’ even if there is no real successor, rose-tinted glasses aside.
    .
    Oblivion in the top ten is a travesty, though Fallout 3 deserves it’s place IMO.

    • CMaster says:

      @Baboonanza
      People go back and play it every day. I’ve done so countless times in the years since its release.
      It holds up. Yes, the graphics are less than exceptional. But they are clear enough to convey what is needed.
      Yes the voice acting is in parts terrible. “A bomb” and all that.
      Yes, the interface is a bit fiddly – having to select the right tool for a job feels awkward compared to the more context sensitive system used even it its own sequel, never mind any other games.

      However, it is a game that is incredibly verb-rich, has a well told, engaging if somewhat silly story, a spread of interesting characters and believes in player choice and interactivity more than almost any other game out there.

      I think it will start to look old and unplayable one day. That day is when we have left behind the stupid refridgerator box model. Then the cries of “but you can beat it in so many ways” will be met with “but I can’t climb the damn stupid wall even!”. Mirrors Edge and Brink are giving me hope that we will soon leave this model behind, but we’ve had false dawns in this sense before.

      Until then, Deus Ex represents a high point in gaming for me and plenty others. It isn’t flawless and it has aged a little, but there’s nothing about it that makes it inaccessible to current players.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I replayed Deus Ex a few months ago, and I thought it held up really well. Maybe not my #1 of all time (I’d have to lean towards System Shock 2) but still a top 5, easily.

      I’d also put Fallout 3 ahead of Oblivion, and probably in my top 5 as well, although that would be for a full install with all DLC except Anchorage/Zeta.

  4. RagingLion says:

    Wow Arma 2 at 21 – that’s probably what surprised me the most. Otherwise everything is up for argument but seems about right. Of course, I say that having played only a tiny fraction of those games – I’m going off of what others say.

    • Mark O'Brien says:

      @RagingLion

      Agreed. Arma2 was extremely disappointing (I assume you’re not arguing for it to be higher)

      I think it’s probably a very personal thing, in that every person will have had a completely different experience with it.

      For my friend and I, playing the campaign co-op was a bug-ridden, frustrating mess. After overcoming innumerable technical problems and bugs, we finally ended up stuck, having spent hours and hours on what turned out to be an uncompletable mission and abandoned the game altogether.

      If Jim Rossignol had experienced the difficulties we did he probably wouldn’t always be singing its praises.

      We may go back to it once it’s patched up a bit more and there are some good user-made missions.

  5. Jesus says:

    Son, even I know Deux Ex is the best game of all time. Of all time.

    • Rinox says:

      “Yo Jesus, I’m really happy for you, and imma let you finish, but BG2 was the best game of all time. OF ALL TIME!”

      Sorry, couldn’t resist the Kanye meme

  6. phil says:

    So first person shooters are the equivalent of issue movies at the Oscars? A horribly misguided, but incredbily playable, adaption of American Beauty is my bet for the first winner of both.

  7. Clovis says:

    WTF!?! How could X be rated higher than Y! I’m outraged!!!!! Z is not even on the list!!1!!!

    (Can’t see the list from work. Will fill in blanks when I get home.)

  8. Mark O'Brien says:

    I’m very surprised to see Portal as low as 17.

    For me, at least, it’s number 1. It’s a game that is perfect in its quality and brevity. I think perhaps only this brevity is what counted against it? What do other RPSers think?

    Personally, I’m beginning to really see the advantages of games that are short and sweet. Far too many force you to engage in repetetive gameplay just to fill up some minimum quota of hours.

    I really appreciated that when Portal had done all it set out to do, it ended. And it ended beautifully!

    • Bhazor says:

      The problem with Portal for me was that it was a great adventure with perfect pitch black humour but that is not what I wanted from watching the trailers. Instead of escalating in difficulty it held your hand the whole way through so that by the end I was still waiting for the proper game to start. As far as puzzle games go WoG has it beat in almost all regards in terms of escalation, variety and breadth of possible solutions. As an adventure/platformer the PoP games and later Tomb Raiders are still better just because Portal inherits the same jumping mechanics as HL2. Portal with the same ledge grabbing, skid stops and ability to see your own feet would have been a big step up and if had come with 30 new challenge rooms, rather than the 5 lazy reruns, then I agree it could be considered for number 1.

      Also that bit where you jump on moving platform in a twisty corridor can fuck off.

    • Mark O'Brien says:

      @Bhazor

      I’m glad you mentioned World of Goo. I really loved that too, and you could be right that it had better puzzles and difficulty curve. Those two are probably my two favourite games overall.

      I think what made Portal so special for me was the writing, and the ending, and the fact that you were never repeating yourself.

      Not every single level in World of Goo was really that novel or confusing, but I felt the difficulty curve in Portal was brilliant. It felt like every new level had something new for you to try or to figure out.

      I know what you mean about the occasionally dodgy platforming though, and I agree with you that perhaps the gameplay could have been better overall.

  9. AndrewC says:

    Sod the list, give us the googledoc. As you wrote, it’s the arguing that is fun. Also I would never be able to resist filling the list with those games that would wind up the angrymen. Mad props for Oblivion in the top ten.

  10. Jonas says:

    This year’s list is a clear improvement over all the previous years when Deus Ex has been number 2. I approve. I strongly approve.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      If that is true, I would love to know what has changed that makes Deus Ex a better game. ;)

    • invisiblejesus says:

      @jsutcliffe

      What changed is the people writing the list stopped being wrong. Deus Ex at #1, and TF2 the highest ranking multiplayer FPS (I’m assuming HL2 Deathmatch wasn’t a factor). Justice tastes like the tears of demomen. Sweet like candy. :D

  11. RuySan says:

    Is the real article anywhere as good as Amiga Power top 100? I never bought PC Gamer

    List seemed good: Ultima Underworld, Gothic 2, Rainbow Islands, Another World,….only to be wasted by Oblivion at 6

    • Baboonanza says:

      I’d have the Amiga Power top 100 at #1 place in my ‘Top 100 Top 100 Games Features’

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Baboonanza: Have you actually written that? I always wanted to do one.

      KG

    • Baboonanza says:

      Hell, no. Tell you what though, you print/cut out all the relevant features and I’ll meet you at the pub to argue about it. I’ll argue about anything when I’m drinking!

    • Tom Camfield says:

      @ RuySan

      I’ve had a rant about Underworld later in the thread, but really, if anyone knows of some way to get this to work that doesn’t make it play like horse, please tell me. I’m a big RPG fan, but having tracked both Ultima Underworld II and Ultima 7 down I’ve found both almost totally unplayable. Sure they load, but the controls, the mechanics, it’s just impossible to be bothered. I feel really annoyed when these games are lauded and I can’t even begin them because they feel so broken. I feel someone must have the key to unlocking their potential but is withholding it from me. Please withhold no more!

  12. Knark says:

    Even as a avid ArmA 2 fan I must say it does not deserve to be at position 21. It really doesn’t, it should be behind Baldur’s Gate 2 at the very least. I know it’s a subjective thing, but still.

  13. Smee says:

    Carmageddon at 64? I mean, it’s one of my favourite games, but…really?

  14. bleeters says:

    Predictable top five is predictable.

  15. Derf says:

    The entire list is pretty much an abomination.

  16. Martin Coxall says:

    I think at least 70 of our top 100 places will be occupied by Planescape: Torment, with the rest being shared out equally between Valve games, something with Skaven in it, and the adventure games John slips in when nobody’s looking.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Martin: Believe it or not, I was the only RPS member who remembered to vote for Planescape. Bad Alec and John.

      (They had to do theirs in a rush and it slipped their minds. So they did kick themselves. Not as much as I would have kicked them, admittedly)

      KG

  17. SharkSkinMan says:

    The ages of the games in the top 10 are interesting – average age 7 years or so, only one from this year, and none from last year. So does that mean that games are slowly growing up, and we don’t need to look at just the latest releases? Or does it mean that PC gaming is going downhill, and we can only look back to better days?

  18. StompJoe says:

    RPS staff Top 100 please

  19. ChaK_ says:

    Flame me if you want, but I didn’t like deus ex that much.
    I’m playing since quite some times now, 10/12 years maybe, but a lot of my favorite games way more actual than those.

    Perhaps nostalgy play too much into tops 100.
    But don’t get me wrong, I still think games like BG or planescape have a well deserved place in there

    • Larington says:

      Thing is, there seem to be rather a lot of people for whom Deus Ex is their most replayed game, as it is in my case, followed by Anachronox & System Shock 2… Then, I think Startopia, maybe?
      Frankly, Deus Ex handled the illusion of choice in games far better than anything else I can think of thus far and thats why it deserves the number one spot.
      Of course, its not going to be a game that everyone can appreciate, but I guess thats just the way the cookie crumbles.

    • [dandan] says:

      @ Larrington
      Startopia is absolutley amazing. A brilliant and tragically overlooked game. The first two Discworld point and clickers are rather brilliant too, and have great casts.

  20. Magrippinho says:

    I especially love it when the list falls victim to executive meddling, and the commentating editors are all like “I’m appalled this made it to the Top X” (see: Eurogamer).

    This list is a fun read, I think it’s interesting that no recently released game made the top-20 (Although WoW & Team Fortress 2 could be argued to be exceptions, with their constant radical updates).

  21. Gap Gen says:

    Interesting that it’s been said that Infinity Ward and Valve are the kings of the linear shooter, but HL2 is second from the top and CoD4 is second from the bottom.

  22. DMJ says:

    Well, that was interesting. Most of those entries gave me warm fuzzy feelings.

    World of Goo wuz robbed, though.

    • Mark O'Brien says:

      I would have liked to see WoG placed higher too, but it was always an outsider. It’s an indie game that wasn’t excessively marketed or played by huge numbers of people, which would probably count against it being up in a “mainstream” top 10 as it was under the radar for a lot of gamers.

      It is certainly extremely good, however.

  23. Tei says:

    Quality != Popularity = Quantity

    Popularity = Quantity

    Quantity != Quality

    I am still to see ONE of these “Top $something” that is informative. Wen I open one, I already know by hand everything I will read, the only “new information” is the order, that often is crazy and outlandish.

  24. GibletHead2000 says:

    Well, XBTF is still in *my* top 100, even if that is Being Fucking Stupid. ;-)

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      GibletHead2000: Don’t worry. You’re not alone. I suspect X would have been in there if Craig wasn’t allowed to vote for Elite 2: Frontier. Which is terrible too.

      KG

  25. yutt says:

    Fallout 3 in the top 10? Eww. Morrowind was more revolutionary, appreciated, and respected by far.

    I won’t debate the quality of most of the top 10, but it could have used more variety. The majority of the titles are Bethesda/Black Isle or Valve. No RTSes in the top 20? Silly.

    Clearly the list was made by a bunch of FPS/RPG fans. Really need to find a wider range of opinions next time around.

    • yutt says:

      Rome: Total War is on the top 10, you fool.

    • Forscythe says:

      replying to yutt:

      Rome:TW don’t cut it. The list is seriously tilted against the most PCest of genres, RTS.

      Seriously, a top 100 PC game list that doesn’t have Total Annihilation?

      This has got to be rigged. You expect me to believe that actual PC gamers, voting freely, chose Street Fighter IV and Star Trek TNG: A Final Unity, but not Age of Empires/Mythology (!), Company of Heroes(!!), Warcraft 2, Rise of Nations, Sins of a Solar Empire, World in Conflict, or Homeworld?

      On the other hand: oh yes, Deus Ex is still the one. Also glad to see the reputation of STALKER:SoC is still growing.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Forscythe

      Company of Heroes was in the list (#34). Also in last year’s public/reader’s vote (where people can vote for as many RTS as they want) five of your others were ranked: Warcraft 3 #24, Company of Heroes #40, Age of Empires 2 #41, Total Annihilation #64, Homeworld #95.

      Only Rise of Nations, Sins of a Solar Empire & World in Conflict were not placed in last year’s public vote.

  26. Azazel says:

    Yeah, they’re good for young wide-eyed slips of chaps and chapettes to flick through and wonder at. Also good for whenever a seasoned gamer becomes bored and feels the need for the warm and fuzzy; or they have a new beard which they long to stroke, nodding sagely.

    I actually like the idea of the personalised list best. It’s nice to read these from people you respect or whose opinions you are interested in. Not essential though – whenever a readers top 100 comes around, I find it quite enjoyable reading the personal Top 10′s that people post along with their enthusiastic reasonings.

  27. Misnomer says:

    I think the FPS genre is pretty messed up on there as a whole. Yes I know that it gets far more glory than it deserves, but as the Kieron said…this is a clearly a manifestation of what the voters wish and not reality.

    BF2 is on the list. BF 1943 is not. While many can argue that BF2 is better, the mods for it are weaker and it took a very long time to become a good stable game. 1943 was pioneering, well executed and all those things that got HL1 up in the stats (except perhaps the story).

    Crysis being well above COD4. I am as sick of COD as the next guy but are you seriously telling me a game with a crap multiplayer and 2 nearly unplayable SP levels is somehow that much better than COD4? I’m sorry, but any FPS fan who plays the COD4 singleplayer will probably enjoy it. Multiplayer I am not going to make blanket comments about, but while it has had many many failings I have personally grown to hate, it is definitely better than Crysis MP.

    Also in the COD department….only COD4? COD2′s SP? CoD 1 for being revolutionary? CoD:UO for one of the best MP experiences other than 1943 on the market at the time? Call of Duty hate is very trendy right now, but voters looking at gaming history should keep in mind the times when the Call of Duty series was one of the pinnacles of the PC gaming experience.

    That being said I think L4D is a little overrated. It was revolutionary in many ways, but not an outright good game. Probably fits where it is for now…but Valve got a cakewalk in this list and L4D is one of the low points of all things Valve even according to the Hammer Legion.

    Oh and counterstrike is not an adventure game.

    As others have said, ArmA 2 being 21 is just plain laughable. It is obvious they had a fair number of voters in the poll (quite likely the reason for COD being shamed). For it to make the list when BF1943 does not and for it to be at 21 is just shameful to the gamers who voted in this poll.

    And would someone from the racing world please show up to comment? I saw mention of Carmaggedon being overrated, but seriously this list looks ridiculous for the sports and racing genres. Where is GTR2? Where is Trackmania?

    Lastly. I think Roller Coaster Tycoon got screwed once again. Love it or hate it, shelves still show signs of the tycoon mania it created.

    • ChaK_ says:

      It’s 1942 actually. 43 is their latest money-ripping BF machine

    • Backov says:

      I assume you mean BF1942, not BF1943?

    • Phinor says:

      The lack of racing games is very annoying but understandable. Serious racers are always in the minority and this list includes exactly 0 of the best racing games ever made. That is, it doesn’t have iRacing (current king of track world), it doesn’t have Richard Burns Rally (without a doubt the best rally game ever made.. the fact that it is without a doubt the best rally game ever made should easily put it into the top100 but it just doesn’t seem to work like that), Grand Prix 2 (for years, the best F1 game) or any of the other best-during-their-prime (sim) racing games. But that’s fine. This list is just another top100 popularity contest no matter how you look at it. Arcade racing games did rather well because arcade is more popular.

      Outside of racing games, I was extremely surprised to see Angband variant on the list. Ok, it was ZangbandTK which I have never played, but I’m a huge fan of both Angband and Zangband. Makes me wonder how that got into the list when.. cough.. iRacing didn’t. But it is what it is. Niche genres just can’t survive in these queries.

    • Misnomer says:

      Try this again. Yes I meant 1942.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      COD4′s single-player game is weak, predictable and short. The AI is feeble and the infinitely respawning enemies something I thought we’d left behind in the 1990s. COD4′s SP is indeed let down by comparison to COD and COD2. The multiplayer is okay, but overall it is simply not that great a game.

      CRYSIS has its (many) problems, but the single-player is decent and enjoyable, even if the mp sucks. But to be honest, FAR CRY has a far better SP game than either.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Phinor

      It isn’t massively surprising that NASCAR games don’t appear in a UK list, but you are right about this year’s list being light on driving games, compared with previous years:

      2009
      Burnout Paradise #75

      2008
      Trackmania United #48
      Race Driver GRID #77

      (Reader’s Vote: Race Driver GRID #97)

      2007
      Test Drive Unlimited #71
      Richard Burns Rally #73
      Colin McRae #77
      Trackmania United #91
      Outrun 2006 #93

      2006
      Richard Burns Rally #35
      GT Legends #49
      Trackmania Sunrise #75
      TOCA Race Driver 3 #79

      To me this supports the case for having future ‘grand lists’ broken up into genres, otherwise some genres get completely crowded out or end up with just a token appearance.

  28. Trubka says:

    As long as Deus Ex is #1 everything else is irrelevant.

  29. Rinox says:

    Dragon Age deserved more than a 47th place. Imho.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Rinox: Worth remembering this was done a couple of months back (i..e Before anyone other than 2 members of the mag would have played DA).

      KG

    • Jeremy says:

      It’s weird to me though, because that was my initial reaction as well… but I don’t feel like Dragon Age is going to be one of those games that really sticks with me for The Ages. It does a lot of things right, but when I was halfway through my second play, the world seemed… colder, more distant. In comparison, when I played Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 for the first times (and the 20th time), I knew that it would be a game by which all others were referenced (genre restrictions apply), and a game that I would talk about for years to come. World of Goo, Spelunky, Fallout 3, Diablo, Homeworld, Sins… these are all games that have stuck with me, and have impacted me for various reasons.

      I loved Dragon Age, but I’m not certain I’ll be talking about it in 5 years.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      re: Dragon Age’s #47 place

      Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I’m feeling like Dragon Age is distinctly overrated. I’ve been in the dwarf areas for about ten hours (half my play time), and am barely closer to achieving what I entered the dwarf area for in the first place (convincing them to help fight the Blight). Its pace is truly glacial, and I’m more than tired of the combat banter.

      I’m still enjoying it, though — I just think that it could have used some editing. To channel Quinns, I don’t think it’s tight.

  30. Larington says:

    Other random notes/comments:
    1. I still think Baldurs Gate 1 is a bit better than its sequel, because I felt like I really got to explore the game world bit by bit, whereas in the sequel its mostly the main city and then a few scatter locations across the rest of Ahmn or whatever the nation is called.
    2. Nice to see Planetside up there, despite the faults it picked up over subsequent years of development.
    3. Slightly bewildered by the positioning of Fallout 3/Oblivion – The combat in Obvlivion was pretty weak in a, I’m just gonna run backwards firing off fireballs sort of way, unless we’re talking about a modded Oblivion.
    4. Which leads to another question, as to how much modability plays into this top 100.
    5. Amused to see that Modern Warfare 2 isn’t on this list at all, but whilst I can see a MechCommander title wheres MechWarrior? ‘twould appear that we need a definitive MechWarrior title to go in this list.
    6. Valve appears to be the winner of the top 10 list here.

  31. Arathain says:

    I’ve always loved the PCG Top 100, for lots of reasons. I think they’re a great perspective on the current state of the form, with an eye to looking backward, rather than the forward looking nature of most ‘state of play’ articles.

    I always love to read the words of talented, passionate folk talking about the games they love.

    I enjoy the ‘Game X was robbed! Game Y sucks!’ pointless arguments, as they are also passionate folk talking about games they love.

    I also get a geeky thrill; oo, I played that! It was great! Lastly, it’s a pretty good buyers’ guide, as I get a list of great games I haven’t played that may well be pretty cheap.

  32. Pod says:

    Anyway, the readers vote is now open so do go in and RIGHT WRONGS. I admit, it’s the sort of thing which makes me wonder what a RPS readers’ top 100 may look like.

    I entered this last year. The buggers didn’t publish the results online, so I have no idea if everyone else believes that Cannon Fodder is indeed the fourth best game of all time. (or whatever game I put.)

  33. Sam Bigos says:

    I never played Deus Ex when it first came out, is there any reason I should play it now?

    • Larington says:

      It’s the only game I know of where you can get told off for walking into the ladies toilets. ;-)

      Sadly the graphics haven’t dated too well, but it none-the-less makes a good case for some of the unexplored potential in computer games purely from a standpoint of – We set the challenge and give you a variety of ways in which to solve it.

  34. Lacero says:

    @Sam Bigos

    You should play Deus Ex as if your life depended on it.

  35. Zyrxil says:

    Can’t feel too angry about Oblivion and Fallout 3 (NOT an RPG. A sandbox action game whose ‘witty’ dialogue writers should be shot) up there, as they had 3 of my 5 in the top 10- Fallout, Thief 2, and Planescape.

    It was hard to decide between Fallout 1 and 2 and Thief 1 and 2 though. The sequels weren’t so massively improved in each case that you would clearly give it to them and not select the Original for being original and not just a slight evolution. I guess they had the same idea I had then – Fallout 1 for being more focused, Thief 2 for not having any goddamn zombies.

  36. Jeremy says:

    I know a lot of people love Peggle, and I know it’s one of the major casual titles, but it’s really hard for me to believe that games of that nature deserve a solid spot in the top 50. At the same time… World of Goo absolutely deserves it’s spot… and of course its all subjective. I also seriously love Spelunky, so what it really boils down to is, I guess I’m not a huge fan of Peggle :)

  37. Jad says:

    Interesting that Fallout 3 is a “First Person Shooter” and Deus Ex is a “Role Playing Game”. I think both butt up hard against the limitations of labels, but if forced to chose one genre I would have swapped them on that.

    Fallout 3 was shit as a FPS, but still good because that’s not what it was trying to do. Deus Ex was okay as a pure FPS, but the genre label could go either way. Maybe they chose RPG so the top four wouldn’t all be FPSs.

  38. Berzee says:

    to long dident reda

  39. alseT says:

    Peggle higher than diablo 2. What.

  40. Brulleks says:

    88th?! 88th?!

    88th?!?!

    I go cry now.

    You made Cutter Slade cry too.

  41. leeder_krenon says:

    i’m only interested in the british perspective on things like this, shame it’s tained by those blasted foreigners.

  42. jsutcliffe says:

    I don’t understand why Morrowind isn’t ranked higher than Oblivion. However, I’m just pleased that Frontier is in the list, and relatively high too.

    • RuySan says:

      I just don’t understand how Oblivion is there at all, and in the top places. It’s absolute rubbish and unplayable without mods.

  43. Wulf says:

    I can think of many games to hold the #1 spot, but I can’t really see that Deus Ex was one of them. Sure, it refined a lot of things, it was a technical marvel at the time, it had a decent (if not spectacular in any way) storyline, and, and… ?

    I’ve recently played it again, I picked it up on Steam, and I found it completely underwhelming, just reaffirming how I felt about it. The inventory system, the upgrades system, all the elements I encountered had been done better elsewhere, before or hence. I even found System Shock II to be a more compelling experience, overall. I suppose it’s just because of nostalgia and nothing else.

    I just wonder when PC gaming as a whole is stop going to stop buzzing around the foetid, aged, rotting mass of nostalgia like flies. For me, Deus Ex hasn’t stood the test of time at all, and I feel that’s important for a #1: How well has it stood the test of time? Beyond Good and Evil has stood that test better, Uru has, even Anachronox, a game that’s just as old, has. In fact, I recently played Anachronox again and found that its humour and character-based storytelling were just as compelling as when I originally played the game.

    And this is why I can never take Top X of EVAR lists seriously, because nostalgia’s going to get in the way, and no one’s going to want to try their personal #1 again to see if it really has stood the test of time as much in reality as it has in their heads.

    In my Top 100 or whatnot, Deus Ex lingers at around the 30′s, just as recognition for a game that refined a lot of concepts really nicely into a solid game, if nothing else.

    • CMaster says:

      @Wulf it suprises you can sit there and say that, while completely failing to discuss the main reason Deus Ex was so remarkable that has been brought up in this thread several times already. The multidude of different ways you can solve pretty much every problem. You haven’t responded to the many people saying that they have recentley replayed Deus Ex and found that for them it really does hold up. A friend of mine played it for the first time this year and found it a very, very impressive and good game (he wasn’t so much a fan of DX:IW though).

      This isn’t to say that it doesn’t deserve a 30s or worse position in terms of its meaning for you. It just seems odd to argue that it flat out can’t be no.1 for anybody while ignoring all the key points made for it acheiving that position.

    • Vandelay says:

      @Wulf
      Agree completely. I came to Deus Ex only about 3 years after its release and was left somewhat underwhelmed. That has only increased with time and each attempt to replay. It is far from a bad game, it is an excellent game, but it is most definitely not the number one game of all time. The problems it has are to ingrained to get past. The AI, the UI, the weapons, the animations, the art style, the voice acting; all things that may not be important on their own, but altogether they show a game that has too main problems to deserve the accolades it constantly receives.

      As CMaster says, the multitude of choice and the level design that makes these alternate paths seem natural (unlike the sequel, which just dumped vents right next to a hackable door,) are what lift the game above the mediocrity it would otherwise be. All games designers should be thinking of Deus Ex whenever the are creating a new game and it is a pity that very few in the industry seem to be able to acknowledge this fact. But it shouldn’t be called the greatest game of all time.

  44. MarkN says:

    Hurray for Space Giraffe getting a well-earned place. Boo for no mention of Dwarf Fortress.

    • Jeremy says:

      It’s hard to imagine an in-progress game with the worst controls of all time getting a spot on this list.

  45. Pidesco says:

    Let’s go apeshit, then :D

    Jagged Alliance 2 at 95???

    Oblivion is a not good RPG, game thing, never mind better than freaking Fallout or System Shock or Thief 2 or getting kicked in the ‘nads.

    Jagged Alliance 2 at 95???

    “It’s the best story in gaming.” Get out.

    No One Lives Forever is unequivocally better than both Half Lifes, but gets in at 67th. What’s up with that?

    Jagged Alliance 2 at 95??? Are you people insane?

    Yeah, opinions.

    • Urthman says:

      “We don’t want to make a bigger deal of this than it deserves, but No One Lives Forever is a Lithtech powered game by Monolith that – in a whole bunch of non-trivial ways – is better than Half Life.” – Old Man Murray (creators of Half Life 2 and Portal, more or less)

    • Clovis says:

      Including the nostalgia factore, I think JA2 may be my favorite game EVAR. I jokingingly wrote above about X being abvove Y, but yeah, that’s pretty crazy. I guess most people just think of X-Com (that’s on there higher, right?) for this type of game. But I played JA2 first, and couldn’t statnd X-Com when I tried to play it. Is anyone aware of any recent game that is better than JA2 in that genre?

    • Pidesco says:

      Nope, no X-Com.

    • TeeJay says:

      X-COM is ranked #11 under “UFO: Enemy Unknown”

      UFO: Enemy Unknown (UK )
      X-COM: UFO Defense (North American markets)
      X-COM: Enemy Unknown (non-UK european markets & australia)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UFO:_Enemy_Unknown

  46. Dysplastic says:

    I’m sad Vampire: The Masquerade didn’t make it anywhere. Top 50 game for me. Sure it was unplayable at the time, but with all the fan-patches currently availabe, I had ridiculous amounts of fun with it this year. Which raises a good question – when considering a buggy/broken game, do you have to consider it in its initial state or its current, much improved state?

  47. Butler` says:

    seems such a surprisingly two dimensional list :\

  48. Nick says:

    The readers top 100 is pointless since it became open to non readers so easily, its just whichever MMO/AAA title has the most rabid fanbase. It used to be an interesting way to see how the opinions of the actual readership differed from the PCG official one (which, now it is no longer just the PCGUK one, is also pointless to me).

    Well, apart from that little uplink vote fixing thing, which was pretty neat at the time.

    • TeeJay says:

      After you have mentally filtered out the 3 MMOs (EVE/WoW/LOTR) and 4 mutliplayers (CoD4/TF2/Starcraft/Diablo2) at or near the top of the list, then the top games = HL2, portal, HL, DX, Oblivion, Bioshock, BG2.

      Fallout 1 and Planescape beat Mass Effect. Fallout 2 beat GTA:SA. The list is packed with good solid classic games and no real ‘oddball’ choices. Dwarf Fortress managed to get into the top 100.

      The 30,000 readership and other “hardcore” PC gamers will be the most likely to vote and having MMO communities getting interested is only really going to impact on the specific games involved. There might be a slight uplift in all RPGs due to MMORPG-ers and AAA FPS games due to CoD4 fans, but looking at the results this isn’t what jumps out at me.

      See last year’s results here:
      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/12/15/best-2008-ever-july/comment-page-1/#comment-371688

    • Nick says:

      TeeJay: It doesn’t jump out at you that the top 5 is full of games that asked their worldwide communities to vote?

    • TeeJay says:

      Yes. The ‘public top 100′ had 10 or so MMORPGs (Eve, LOTRO, WoW, Guild Wars, Ultima, Everquest 1 & 2, Conan, DAoC, Star Wars Galaxies, City of Heroes) and at least 8 or 9 popular online multiplayers (CoD4, TF2, Starcraft, Diablo 2, CS:S, BF2, Red Orchestra, BF1942).

      Of these 19 games only these 5 haven’t appeared in the Official/editorial PCG Top 100 lists (06-09):

      Conan, DAoC, Everquest, Red Orchestra, Ultima Online,

      But 9 other games have also never appeared in (06-09) either:

      AoE II, The Witcher, Worms, FIFA, Garry’s Mod, Dwarf Fortress, Final Fantasy VII and VIII, HoM&Magic 3.

      A *far* bigger issue wich prevents the Editors 100 being compared with the public vote is that the public vote was not ‘filtered’ by series, like the official one was, namely:

      The public vote people voted for:

      …2 fallouts, 2 everquests, 2 baldur’s gates, 3 battlefields, 3 C&Cs, 3 call of dutys, 3 civs, 2 counter-strikes, 2 diablos, 2 dooms, 2 elder scrolls, 2 final fantasies, 3 GTAs, 2 guild wars, 4 half-lifes, 2 max paynes, 2 quakes, 2 KOTORs, 2 total wars, 2 UTs and 2 Dawn of Wars (the only games PCG actually bothered to bundle together into a “series” were the football manager ones)…

      …which by my calculation means that about 28 or so other games were kept out of the top 100. This is IMO the single biggest drawback in comparing the official and public top 100, and could have been avoided with more effort put into the polling and to the data analysis afterwards (they didn’t even bother to publish the results online).

      Apart from 10 or so MMORPGs appearing in the top 100 (which is maybe double what you’d expect?) the and their being ranked higher than they would normally, it’s worth asking if the influx of all these MMORPGers also influenced the results for loads of single player games – for example I’d guess that extra CoD4 players voting meant that Halo and Gears of war also placed higher and that the extra fantasy MMORPGers are why Final Fantasy VII and VIII also made the list.

      However it’s worth noting that ’06-’09 PCG haver always included Ultima Underworld II and Ultima VII in their top 100 but have have never listed Ultima Online. Contrast this with the ’08 public poll which only ranks Ultima Online and doesn’t list UUII or UVII. Either Ultima MMORPGers *didn’t* simply spam all the Ultima games or UUII and UVII were part of the ‘long tail’ that got chopped off prematurely/bumped. Which brings me back to the biggest problem with comparing the list is not being open, but insufficient data crunching to group games-series together and onl award one place to the top ranked game within each series, like they did for the official 100. Even better in future they could separate out MMORPGs and other genres at either the voting or the analysis stage.

  49. BobbleHat says:

    Not bought the mag yet, but did Trespasser make the list?

    No, seriously.

  50. diebroken says:

    Strange System Shock 2 isn’t at least in the top 10, but Elder Scrolls IV: Oblvion and it’s mod (read: Fallout 3) is. Oh well; it’s not my list. ;)