The List: Your Suggestions


We don’t end up forging many list features here at Castle Shotgun, but we figured that we should do one, and make a big deal about it. This list that we are planning, The List, as I am currently calling it, is a big deal. It will be the Hivemind’s ultimate acknowledgment of the greatest PC games of all time. The essential, must-play, genre-defining, superlative-defying, consciousness-calibrating masterpieces that are the foundation of our interest. We’re not even sure how many such games there will be. I mean, sure, you could make a list of 10, 50, or 100 such games, but how many genuinely great games are there really? That is what we will decide.

However, you need to help us not miss anything. What we want from you today are your suggestions, and your arguments for, those games that need to go in that might not otherwise have an advocate. Telling us to put Deus Ex in there is probably going to be a bit redundant, but perhaps we might overlook the value of something else. Or perhaps you want to argue against something? Do you really hate Outcast and want to see it knocked out of the classics lists forever? Have your say, here, now.

SPEAK!

967 Comments

  1. Kieron Gillen says:

    Outcast is the 57th greatest game of all time. Only a fool would deny it.

    KG

    • phuzz says:

      I have never heard of Outcast until today, why is that?

    • KBKarma says:

      It’s an old game, really only honoured in PCGamer and other review sites. As I recall, it got excellent reviews, then sold poorly.

      Now available on GoG!

    • Doeke says:

      Neither have I. The problem I have with a list like this is that most of these games are ancient. Or at least they are to me. Either way, my list of best games every would be entirely different from everything mentioned here. Just like my parents wouldn’t agree with my list of best music albums ever. (No I’m not calling everyone here old, but the games you grow up aren’t the games I grew up with).

    • KBKarma says:

      Don’t look at me, the first actual non-edutainment game I played was Worms 2. Every other game passed me by, really.

      The only reason I know about old games is that I got annoyed that all these LEGENDARY games passed me by, so I started getting them to see what all the fuss was about.

    • James McNeill says:

      So glad to see Outcast mentioned straight away, Kieron. It stands a good chance of being my most-replayed game.

      I am a sucker for any game that lays the atmosphere on thick. Outcast accomplishes this with its incredibly detailed world-building. The soundtrack ably assists as well with its “epic pulp” orchestra and choir arrangements.

      My “Wot I Think” on Outcast: link to playtechs.blogspot.com

    • HeavyStorm says:

      Why only 57th? :)

    • StenL says:

      For a website that basically started out as PC Gamer UK: THE BLOG, surprisingly few people have actually read the magazine. For people who don’t get it, Outcast was always 57 on every PC Gamer UK best PC games ever list. I think it was even 57 on the 100 Greatest PC Gaming moments list.

    • RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

      Outcast still means Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast, to me, which was a great game as well. I’ll have to find out what Outcast is like.

    • WiPa says:

      CAVE STORY.
      Sorry for the hijack, but it HAS to be on the list somewhere.

    • Premium User Badge

      Waltorious says:

      I must add my voice to those praising Outcast. For those of you who are whining about it being old, I played it for the first time just last year, and it was possibly the best game I played that year. Seriously, it’s that good. But more than just being good, it struck me with how unique it is. It has a really interesting graphical style which may or may not be due to using voxels (people seem to argue about this technicailty) that I found to be very beautiful despite being low-res. And the gameplay isn’t really like any other game I’ve ever played. Honestly, it seems like the kind of game that us PC games players used to envision the future would hold, where there wouldn’t really be strict “genres” anymore, we’d just have games where you could, you know, do stuff, without being limited to “action game” activities or “adventure game” activities.

      Anyone who hasn’t tried this game, you should seriously consider getting it from GOG. It’s only $5.99, so even if you somehow hate it, that’s what, a lunch?

      I would also like to add my vote for the original System Shock, which I actually enjoyed more than the second one. Am I a heretic for thinking that? I hope not. Anyway, that’s another game I played for the first time recently, and it grabbed me more than any other game has in a long time. I think it’s a great, early example of the potential games have in providing a unique experience that’s not possible in other media.

    • Lambchops says:

      i feel it is fitting that this is the first comment. As this is exactly what I was going to say.

      And, so it doesn’t get lost on the 7 billionth page, the second thing I was going to say was Little Big Adventure 2.

      That is all.

      Good day!

    • Dao Jones says:

      Though Outcast has the best soundtrack of the _______! :)

  2. panther says:

    I’m glad you are not picking some arbitrary number to frame your list around! Now time to think of some games

  3. Skurmedel says:

    Must play I would say Fallout, Baldur’s Gate, Half-Life. I’d say Doom (or maybe Quake) as well, it was pretty genre-defining :)

  4. DictionaryBoy says:

    Although I’m sure it’ll be on the list already, I have to put my voice being Planescape: Torment, simple the best CRPG ever made, the ability to solve almost all quests without having to resort to combat made this a great game.

    And Team Fortress 2 needs some list love, it’s simply put one of the greatest war themed hat simulators available today.

    • Janxer says:

      While being able to solve quests without combat is cool, that is not really where the greatness of Torment lies.
      The greatness of Torment is in it’s world and characters. The world of Planescape seems so utterly alien and mad, but yet is so finely crafted that it feels real on a deeper level than most other games even today.
      Solving quests without fighting lets you in on a lot of the backstory, and I do feel you miss out if you play it agressively.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Oh I disagree. I have been doing it as talky as possible, but then when I’m done with those characters I generally slaughter them. It’s usually best to talk your way through the game, but some of the fights are actually quite good I think.

    • Bioptic says:

      Planescape: Torment is particularly deserving of a mention because, in addition to being fantastically written and having a level of worldbuilding and characterisation that puts most RPGs to shame a decade later, it’s actually both easy and entertaining to play *right now*.

      I picked the game up from GoG a few weeks back for the first time, and it’s been just perfect to quickly dip into whenever I fancy something different. I can’t overstate how much the resolution/widescreen and interface mods add to the attractiveness of the game – you have these wonderful handpainted backgrounds occupying nearly every pixel of a sharp and vivid 1920*1080 display, and it makes reading the huge blocks of text so much easier.

      Also, if you want to play the game primarily for the story, you can wade through what little combat the game has by turning the difficulty down to ‘easy’ and enabling ‘rest anywhere’ in near-mandatory fanpatch. And if you want to experience all the story the game has to offer, your best bet is to be a mage with high wisdom and intelligence, and moderate charisma.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I have it modded to give me high resolutions, but where are these UI and rest anywhere mods of which you speak?

  5. Dean says:

    Hostile Waters – fairly unique take on the asymmetrical RTS, with a plot by Warren Ellis and voiceover by Tom Baker. The mechanics were transparent enough that you could see the effect of manning a vehicle yourself and sneaking it behind enemy lines to halt production.

    • Matthew says:

      Also featuring several of the cast of Blake’s 7!

      It was a great game.

    • Maxheadroom says:

      Heh, I always wondered why they didnt mention that on the box (it was a selling point for me) but then i just figured ?I was the only one geeky enough for it to appeal to. Glad I’m not alone :-)

    • jaheira says:

      My name is Ransom …

    • TimA says:

      I agree!

    • MadMatty says:

      Agreed.

      Also, Little Big Adventure 1
      Dune 1
      Planetside

      Obvious ones:
      Counterstrike
      Diablo 2
      WoW

      AND SO NOT CALL OF DUTY

  6. Anghell says:

    Commander Keen 4
    Prince of Persia 1

    That would be all

  7. Jockie says:

    I will just go ahead and say despite RPS’s general ambivalence towards foot-to-ball any list of PC games needs to recognise one entry of the Football Manager/Championship Manager (when SI did it) series. It’s has given me untold hours of joy through the years and no other game is capable of making me swear so loud or fist-punch with joy on such a consistant basis.

    • Freudian Trip says:

      As a poster on the biggest/2nd biggest (depending on opinion) Football Manager based forum for something like 6 years I’d have to say that general consensus rules either Championship Manager 00/01 or 97/98 as the peak. Probably 00/01

    • Moth Bones says:

      I think the whole series should get an entry personally. There are a lot of different opinions on which one is definitive – most people I know would say 01/02. Personally I love FM2010 and think it’s as good as any of them.

  8. P7uen says:

    If Dungeon Keeper isn’t #65 and Battlezone #54 I’ll eat all your hats.

    Also: Minecraft.

    • KBKarma says:

      … cannot, unfortunately, be considered, as it is still in alpha.

      I think. The harsh but firm but fair-headed RPS Hivemind may think differently.

    • P7uen says:

      Well Fallout: New Vegas is in alpha but people will still consider that.

      Arf arf!

    • KBKarma says:

      Oh, well played, sir/madam.

    • amishmonster says:

      I’d second Minecraft, premature though it may be.

    • Masked Dave says:

      You can play Minecraft, therefore it counts.

  9. KBKarma says:

    OK, here we go.

    PSYCHONAUTS! – An innovative game that stood on it’s own merits, rather than being an adaptation.

    Outcast – An absolutely gorgeous game, with an incredible soundtrack and a fucking huge rocket launcher as a weapon.

    Guild Wars – A new kind of MMO that lead the pack for years, and allowed for casual gamers to get into online gaming.

    Tribes 2 – the first FPS to allow 64-player multiplayer, and the first to require players to act as teams, or else get blown away.

    Portal – I really hope I don’t have to explain this.

    Finally, I really hope that ul tags don’t work here. Otherwise, I’ll feel a bit annoyed about deleting all of mine…

    • KBKarma says:

      Oh, and now I feel silly. I forgot two.

      Morrowind – one of the most impressive sprawling RPGs I’ve ever played. Eschewed the traditional deciduous-forests-and-bears setting of most RPGs, and instead threw flying jellyfish and top-heavy bipedal crocodiles at us with great abandon.

      Planescape: Torment – a unique RPG where fighting is not always the answer, set in a world where good and evil are never so clear-cut, and belief shapes the universe.

    • CraigT says:

      Sorry to be picky, but Tribes 2 wasn’t the first 64-player multipler fps. Quake 2 had 64-player deathmatch maps released for it back in 1998, and that may not have been the first. Otherwise, good list :)

    • KBKarma says:

      Huh. I did not know that. My English teacher lent me Quake 2 once, but I never got a chance to play it. Thanks for the correction.

      I’ll revise that to “… first FPS to allow 64-player multiplayer that I’ve played…”, as I never played Quake 2, and I’ve played Battlefield 2. And I’m pedantic like that. :D

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Outcast didn’t have a rocket launcher. Also no weapons that could be described as “fucking huge”.

    • KBKarma says:

      The HAWK-MK8 fills the rocket-launcher part, if not the huge part. It’s one of my favourite weapons. Not on the same level as the LN-DUO 500, but close.

    • DrazharLn says:

      Posting in support of Psychonauts and Portal.

  10. X2-Eliah says:

    Grand Theft Auto: 3 (possibly Vice city and San Andreas too);
    Galactic Civilizations 2
    X2:The Threat <— DO NOT FORGET THIS!!!!
    Monstrous Regiment.. Oh wait, that's not a game. Oopsie.

    • KBKarma says:

      Heh. Nearly happened to me as well: my bookshelf is on my left, and my gameshelves are on my right, and I can’t see what’s in them, so I was just about to list Naomi Novik novels. :D

    • Urael says:

      GalCiv 2 seconded until the cows come home, and even while they’re sleeping. X2….no. Just no.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      Im arguing against X2: The Threat.
      It is easily one of the worst games I have ever wasted over 40 hours on.
      Imagine a game with the pacing of hard scifi, but with the interest equivalent to watching big brother, with the house and the people and everything removed.

      The game may have been big, but it was so boring. Escape velocity, or elite or freelancer are all better games.

      Infact, Im going to advocate Escape Velocity, cant really decide what number. Ambrosia released it for macintosh, which means much of its audience doesnt know about it.

      But it gave an open world, multiple stories and ships, economic trading, taking over ships as a pirate, taking over systems as a war lord, and much more.

    • DarkNoghri says:

      I always did think Escape Velocity (and sequels) were rather awesome, but the only reason I’ve even heard of them is because my cousin had a Mac growing up.

      I still check every once in a while to see if EV:Nova has had a price drop in the decade it’s been out, but as of last week, not yet. I refuse to pay 30$ for a game that old on principle. Unless I suddenly come into a lot of money. But still….

    • Rich says:

      EV: Nova was indeed lovely. I actually did pay for it when it first came out and played it heavily on my iMac. Unfortunately I’ve since lost the code, so had to be a naughty boy and download it in order to install it on my PC.

    • Duncan says:

      Yes X2:The Threat is quite possibly one of the best games ever.

    • Ozzie says:

      The X series really seems to divide people.
      I also don’t care much for it either, but I know some who do.
      I was intrigued by the introduction of the first X, because it seemed like it wanted to tell a great story, but all the story threads stopped to be woven after you started trading.
      I bought X2 together with a friend, and I hoped that they learned from their past mistakes and made the story engrossing that time around. Turned out that they just dropped every pretence from the start that you could play it also for a story. So, yeah, didn’t play it more than half an hour. The start may not have been as slow as in the first game, but still too much. Oh, and the interface…what an unwieldy mess!

  11. Urael says:

    How far back can we go? How are you defining “PC Game”? Does that simply mean “is on PC” or does it have to be unique to the PC? For example, Elite 2: Frontier was multi-platform (I believe first Encounters was PC only), but is one of the all-time great games.

    I want to be the first to mention Thief, though. The absolute classic that started a genre.

    • Colthor says:

      @Urael

      Definitely First Encounters. Frontier gets all the love, but as its sequel was basically the same with more stuff and prettier graphics there’s no reason not to rate it higher. It even added a story, which, brilliantly, would happen regardless of what you did, and you could read about it in the papers as you shuttled Robots from Barnard’s Star if you didn’t want to/didn’t know how to be the hero.

      Admittedly, it was broken on release – but it was fixed fifteen years ago, you can’t really hold that against it any more. And I enjoyed bolting a 1MW beam laser on the starting ship and hunting freelance wealth-redistributors whilst waiting for GameTek to post me the patch.

      Most importantly: A decade and a half on, and nobody’s done it better.

    • Urael says:

      Frontier gets all the love because it’s the trailblazer. FFE was simply “standing on the shoulders of giants”. :) I do prefer FFE to play, though. It’s slightly more refined, as well as for all the other points you mention.

      If you’re interested, take a peek at Alpha 6 of modern remake, Pioneer. The terrain engine alone is worth the download:

      link to pioneerspacesim.net

  12. mondomau says:

    And then some numbers.

    Predictable, but I would like to see Planescape: Torment, Syndicate, Dungeon keeper, Diablo, Dark Forces, Fallout 1&2 and X-Wing vs Tie Fighter.

    Maybe even a little Mass Effect 1/2? I honestly feel it’s one of the only truly great scifi games to be released in recent years that isn’t simply grizzly space marines being grizzly. Also, you get to punch that snarky reporter in the face. IN THE FACE.

    • Spatvark says:

      Honestly, I think TIE-Fighter was superior to X-Wing vs. TIE-Fighter, but not by much. The entire series was awesome fun.

      Also, Sensible World of Soccer! Another World! Diablo 2! Cave Story! Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic! Warcraft 2!

    • Monchberter says:

      Yes, TIE Fighter was a stronger game from a story perspective. But it didn’t have the fantastic online support and huge range of tactical online gameplay that was way before it’s time in 1997. Even the lobby system was set up well for it.

      I really REALLY want a remake.

    • DarkNoghri says:

      In 2, I actually ended up punching that reporter in the face. But I couldn’t for the life of me remember why…. It was kind of awkward.

      Excuse me, ma’am, but do you have any idea why I would want to punch you in the face? Oh, thanks.

    • Soundofvictory says:

      I would have to go with X-Wing: Alliance over X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. It had the strongest storyline execution of the entire series plus the online system pioneered by XvT (and better visuals).

      The entire series should be an entry in the list. X-Wing was one of my earliest gaming memories and holds a special place in my personal history of games.

    • Solcry says:

      Yeah I’m going to second the X-Wing Alliance. Absolutely loved the game, and the game still has fans upgrading the visuals and whatnot (or did two years ago, I haven’t checked back in lately)

  13. X2-Eliah says:

    Also, Oblivion. Yes, I am not of the ‘let’s bash it becuase it’s oh so elite to do it’.

    It’s one of THE modern-RPGs to know.

    • Urael says:

      Webash it because it’s a broken shadow of its illustrious forefather, not because we’re trying to be part of some fictitious club – Morrowind is the classic from that series, easily five times the game Oblivion is.

    • Om says:

      Ah, the Elder Scrolls… the series that good writing forgot. I’m going to veto these grind-fests in the hope that future developers will actually start populating their vast sandbox worlds

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      And again, I have to argue against Oblov, especially with Morrowind as an alternative.
      Oblibion was good, but Morrowind is incredible.
      The world is much more open, not in terms of choice, but in terms of adventure.

      There are no arrows telling you where to go, maybe just a description, and someone to ask.
      There is no boring combat that involves waiting for someone to hit your block so you can attack for a few seconds.
      There is also a much better sense of progression. After a while, if you play it smart, you can start enchanting weppons with all the effects you want, and it is incredible.

      A simple story: Im level two, in the capital city. I use my daily invisibility to sneak into a bank. After much hard work, i get into the vault.
      There is a gaurd, and he wont stop looking at me.
      Talk to guard: presuade. I dont try to get him to like me, but to hate me. Once i do this, he tries to stay as far away from me as he can.

      This means he can no longer see half the vault. I rob everything in one half of the vault, with a clear line where his vision extends. Im level 2 with glass armour, and need a fence bad. :P
      Brilliant stuff.

    • KBKarma says:

      Vivec, you mean? If so, I know exactly which vault you mean, cause I robbed it as well.

      My method was a bit different. Get the guard to notice me, so his back is to the door. Wait until no-one notices me… then Skeleton Key the door. Sneak in, grab everything not nailed down, then leave. Sell all my loot, and profit.

      Such a shame that my save games weren’t backed up. ;_;

      Also, I have a slight problem with Morrowind’s quest system. While it’s wonderful having the freedom to go everywhere, some quests are remarkably vague about where you need to go. Such as “go to X”, and you’ve forgotten where X actually is. If, perhaps, each NPC entry in your logbook had the name of the city afterwards in parentheses (ie Balen Andrano (Vivec)). Often, I’ll load a game, and find myself in the middle of a swamp, with no idea what I’m doing there. Admittedly, it does add some fun to the game, as I try to piece together my motivations, say “to hell with it”, head for the nearest cave, and realise that’s what I was going to do already.

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      Oblivion had one section worthy of praise: the Dark Brotherhood quests and no more

  14. Tonsko says:

    Eye of the Beholder (1&2)
    Railroad Tycoon
    Doom
    Xcom: Enemy Unknown

    • DrazharLn says:

      Posting in support of X-COM, though the hivemind are hardly going to leave it off.

  15. Rinox says:

    Psychonauts
    Realms of the Haunting
    Arcanum
    Arx Fatalis

    • Rinox says:

      Omg thanks to Lewie:

      ALPHA CENTAURI

      can’t believe I forgot it at first

    • Urael says:

      Massive props for Realms of the Haunting! My mate and I used to play that game together, trying to solve the puzzles and taking turns at the combat. While the FMV reeks of period-specific-cheese the overall story is fantastic, as is the setting. If you haven’t played it, get on to eBay now!

      Perfect GOG fodder, this. Get to it, CD Projekt!

    • Rinox says:

      Man if GoG picked this up I’d be all over it again.

      I loved how it incorporated all the occultism and pseudo-occultism into a game that made sense. And the letters in the study! R.J. – Rebecca Jane! Aelf! The entire super creepy part of the game at your dad’s old Parish! The Tower with the partial whispers that were lost in time! Also, Arqua and Raquia.

      …too much awesomeness. A dearly underrated game that blended FPS, RPG and a puzzle adventure. I probably should mail GoG about putting it on sale now.

    • Ozzie says:

      Too bad it has no mouselook. Makes it kinda unwieldy to play. I’d love to play it, but this miss makes it hard to get into.

  16. Bozzley says:

    Company of Heroes. The only RTS game I’ve ever liked.
    World of Warcraft. A chat room with a huge engaging world around it.
    Doom. The one that started it all.

  17. AndrewC says:

    This is a trap of some sort, surely?

  18. nine says:

    homeworld. I thought 2 was better, but I’d understand if you put the original as #1 instead of it.

  19. Lewie Procter says:

    Alpha Centauri is certainly a favourite of mine that seems to be oft forgotten.

    • Rich says:

      It beats Civ in my opinion.

    • Rinox says:

      Yeah. Best TBS game ever for me. Still quite a few notches above most new TBS games today and always good for an ‘omg it’s 4 AM already?!’ replay once in a while.

    • Rich says:

      “omg it’s 4 AM already?!” is exactly how I feel about Sword of the Stars at the moment. It’s a definite “just one more turn” kind of game. The problem comes when that “just one more turn” triggers combat, which means up to 10 minutes extra you have to play.

    • DrazharLn says:

      I was browsing through here to add it myself, should it be absent.

      Alpha Centauri was, I think, only the second TBS game I played (the other being Civ I or II); it had me entranced from the start. The combination of a superb science fiction setting carried off with such exquisite style and deep, interesting mechanics means it remains a favourite to this day.

      The last time I played this game was this morning, and the first time a few months after release, ten years ago.

      Omission would be a tragedy.

      IMO, the strongest living Alpha Centauri community lives at http://www.weplayciv.com (The SMAC section was so important, we actually have a redirect of our own: http://www.weplaysmac.com).

  20. Om says:

    This could be a big ask. In no order and only including games that I would go back and play today:

    Doom
    Half-Life
    Baldur’s Gate
    Planescape: Torment
    Europa Universalis III
    Red Alert
    Civilisation II
    Grand Theft Auto
    Day of the Tentacle
    Monkey Island II
    Indiana Jones & the Fate of Atlantis

  21. Jonas says:

    okay but seriously, Deus Ex. The redundancy is justified.

    I’m guess mentioning Thief and Torment would also be redundant? If nothing else then because other comments have mentioned them.

    Somebody else above me said Minecraft, I’ll second that.

    Nobody has said BioShock yet, so I’ll add that to the nominations list. Along with Stalker, though I assume you already put that there, Jim. I guess I just really like FPS games with RPG elements. In fact I’ll go ahead and add Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines while I’m at it.

    And finally, something completely unrelated: Worms 2.

    • Jonas says:

      Oh and you know what? Lemmings. There, I’ll stop now.

    • noobnob says:

      Your mod (The Nameless Mod) should be included in the list of best PC games of all time.

      Yes, even though it’s a mod. It’s that good.

    • Jonas says:

      No that would be cheating, even I wouldn’t suggest that ;-)

      But thanks!

    • Ted says:

      STALKER moreso than bioshock, because bio *is* a multiplatform game, and IMO not as good as STALKER

    • DrazharLn says:

      Posting in support of Vampire.

  22. Mooglepies says:

    Are we talking games that have been on PC at some point, games that were first on PC then got ported out, or games that have only been on the PC?

    I’d expect to see Doom, one of the older C&Cs (it’ll probably end up being Red Alert 2, even if I’d prefer RA1 to be there). Things like Dwarf Fort and Minecraft (sandbox-survival’em-ups) also represent everything that its unique in PC gaming, I’d like to see them referenced at some point.

    Are you going to be predictable and put either HL2 or Deus Ex will be at the top of the list? It seems to be standard like Zelda Ocarina of Time being at the top of any Edge “Best Games Ever” list.

  23. Nighthood says:

    Stalker and Vampire: Bloodlines are two classics which I think everyone in the world should play at least once.

    As a more personal suggestion, I’d say Mirror’s Edge. The combat was awful and the story a little dodgy, but the sheer experience of running along a futuristic rooftop in it is awe-inspiring. It’s the only game that I feel accurately gives an impression of how the future might turn out to be, especially in the architectural sense. It is also, I’d say, the best looking game ever. Feel free to disagree on the last point.

    • Failx says:

      I completely agree about Mirror’s Edge, this game made me feel vertigo in most of the games I’ve played since. And the poor combat is nothing but a design choice to me, which makes the game even better because you focus on the run! I loved this game. I wouldn’t say it’s the best looking game ever though, the unreal engine has some very apparent defaults to me, but it was good looking enough for sure.

      And I agree about Stalker and Bloodlines. You are a man of taste mister.

    • Ed says:

      Yes! Definitely Mirror’s Edge.

      For a The List like this, I’d personally prefer to see a discussion of ‘ground-breaking’ rather than ‘great’ games. F’rinstance, with Mirror’s Edge, the insipid narrative and lacklustre combat make it less than ‘great’, in my opinion. But I’ve been disappointed with every first person game I’ve played since, because they lack such a brilliantly immersive, moment-to-moment sense of having a body. Look at Bioshock / 2, for example: great games, but strangely unimmersive when it comes to the simple act of walking / running around. This might just be a personal thing, but the Bioshocks are 2 of the worst games, for me, when it comes to feeling like a disembodied hand, floating round levels, rather than a truly corporeal entity.

      This is why I’m very much looking forward to Brink.

      Anyway, point being: I would suggest that, in order to appear on a The List, you should be able to say of a game: ‘after game x, it is unacceptable for other games not to include y’ – so you could say, ‘after mirror’s edge, it is unacceptable for other first person games not to try and give me a real sense of corporeal ownership’. Or, to take a classic example from the fps genre, ‘after half life, it’s unacceptable for first person games to include pre-rendered cutscenes’. These statements aren’t inarguable facts, of course, but they’re legitimate positions that could be taken if you were in a particularly hyperbolic mood.

      And I think that’s what makes a game worthy of being Listed in a List: it’s the first game that showed us that x was possible. Mirror’s Edge is very good, but not great, and not one of my faves of all times, but it’s definitely one of the most important games I’ve played in the last couple of years.

    • Nick says:

      Stalker and bloodlines absolutely. I loved mirrors edge, but I’m not sure it is notable enough to make the cut in my onion.

  24. Ravious says:

    Vindictus could use a post-launch look. I have nothing else, and I tried so hard it hurt one of my orifices. Keep up the great work!

  25. Drug Crazed Dropkick says:

    What’s this Deus Ex thing?

    Also, if you forget Minesweeper then there’s something wrong with you.

    I’ll throw DK into the pile as well, and also suggest Hitman Blood Money. Most fun I’ve ever had killing people. And in the game.

    • Filthslayer says:

      Posting in support of Blood Money. I’ve beaten that game many, many times. I don’t know that there are that many “shooters”, if you can call it that, that offer so many options to complete the mission in various degrees of subtlety and mass-murder. (I haven’t played Deus Ex, but I hear good things!)

  26. panther says:

    System Shock 2
    X-COM

    Neither have been mentioned.

    Also some of the highly successful esports games should be considered, like CS and quake

    • DrazharLn says:

      Actually, X-COM was mentioned above, but they misspelled it.

  27. P7uen says:

    Wait, Theme Hospital, did anyone say ‘Theme Hospital’?

    If no-one has said ‘Theme Hospital’ I’m going to say Theme Hospital.

    Theme Hospital.

    • GraveyardJimmy says:

      We apologise for the amount of litter.

    • Urael says:

      Theme Hospital?

    • Skurmedel says:

      Theme Hospital was great :)

      Another forgotten classic, Sim Tower.

    • KBKarma says:

      Theme Hospital.

      (which I’ve never played, DON’T TELL P7uen!)

    • Mooglepies says:

      There is no rat level.

    • P7uen says:

      Go and play it now!

      You’re not a PC Gamer until you’ve had your first vomit wave (and in the game).

    • Mungrul says:

      I’ll see your Theme Hospital and raise you a Startopia :)

      Oh and while I’m here, Return to Castle Wolfenstein’s multiplayer was probably my favourite FPS multiplayer ever. Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Enemy Territory: Quakewars tried to improve on it, but ended up breaking what was good about it.

      One of my favourite games ever can be played for free now: Dungeon Master. Get it at http://dmweb.free.fr
      Seriously, Dungeon Master and Chaos Strikes Back are still incredibly good games, and noticeably hard as nails.

      Does RebelStar count? I know it was a Speccy game, but it forever gave me a love of turn-based strategy, influencing purchases of other fantastic games such as XCOM, Fallout and Silent Storm.

      And I don’t care if it’s still alpha, Dwarf Fortress is the deepest game I’ve ever played, and therefore one of my favourites.

    • dysphemism says:

      SimTower: The world’s most groundbreaking elevator simulator. I’d say nix this and replace with SimAnt, the world’s first Edutainment addiction for adolescent boys.

      I’m looking around and nobody seems to have mentioned (likely by virtue of over-obviosity) SimCity here… which version will be crowned king?

      Also, ThemeHospital over ThemePark? I dunno, you guys. There’s nothing quite like watching a Bouncy Castle catch fire and explode.

    • DrazharLn says:

      Another vote for Startopia over Theme Hospital (though Theme Hospital is pretty neat too)

  28. GraveyardJimmy says:

    As long as men of war is higher than company of heroes I’ll be happy.

    IL2 1946 has to be in there as well.

  29. Will says:

    Starcraft? Anyone?

  30. Rinox says:

    Another one I forgot, Vampire: Bloodlines (thanks to those who mentioned it and reminded me)

  31. sredni says:

    Age of Empires 2

    Also, despite not yet being released, CODBLOPS.

    hehe. Codblops.

    • P7uen says:

      I don’t like COD, so I don’t support your entry, but I do want to say CODBLOPS.

    • sredni says:

      Yeah i’m not a fan of the series. I really just wanted an excuse to write it. Try saying it out loud. It sounds like a poo splashing.

    • P7uen says:

      I agree, maybe it was AndrewC saying it’s a tarp, but to me CODBLOPS sounds like Admiral Ackbar doing a poo

    • Rich says:

      A bad case of the cod-blops.

  32. Lord Byte says:

    X-Com (UFO Enemy Unknown)
    Master of Orion II
    Counter-Strike
    Age of Empires II
    Operation Flashpoint

    • H says:

      Lord Byte: Our tastes appear very, very similar. Certainly I’d agree with OpFlash, MOO2 and UFO.

      I’d have to add Minecraft, I really would. Haven’t seen a game grip the world this much in ages.

  33. Jockie says:

    Trying to rack my brains for the not-so-obvious,

    Jagged Alliance 2
    Ultima VII
    Uplink
    Morrowind
    Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis ( I could argue a case for half of the old Lucasrts Adventure games really, but I’m sure John will have that covered)
    Freedom Force
    Jedi Knight II
    Max Payne

    Then all the obvious stuff like System Shock 2 etc!

    • Jockie says:

      I think I meant Dark Forces II : Jedi Knight..

    • Emu says:

      Amen to Ultima 7. It is hands down one of my favorite games. I still remember breaking into a bakery late at night (in the game) and mixing water and flour to bake bread only because you could do it.

    • Nick says:

      Jagged Alliance 2, YES.

  34. Kriskid says:

    genre-defining eh?
    Mine would be…

    Cave Story (indie!),
    Gears of War (Cover!),
    Zork (Text Adventure!),
    Quake/Doom (FPS!),
    FF7 (JRPG!),
    Baldur’s Gate (WRPG!*),
    N (Normal Platforming!),
    StarCraft 1 (RTS!)
    and that all i can think of.

    yes some of these aren’t just on PC and aren’t even the best in their genre, but i was just thinking of games that could be held up as representing their genre.

  35. delusionsofnoir says:

    Solium Infernum.
    Company of Heroes.
    Minecraft.

    -I’m aware two are this year but I think they’re both very special.

  36. bob says:

    Privateer, please! Great game that I spent countless hours on. Yeah, Elite was first but somehow it does not hold the same place in my heart.

    And some more…
    Tie Fighter
    Syndicate
    Unreal (yeah, the first one)
    Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis
    Morrowind
    System Shock 2
    Thief

    Some of these are as obvious as Deus Ex, I know.

    • Demon Beaver says:

      Yes yes yes yes! I heartily agree with your list, especially with Unreal 1, as it captured like no other the feeling of alienation when landing on a strange planet…

      I daresay Thief 2 deserves to be on the list even more than 1, as it’s progressed a lot in terms of mission design. Not too many monsters, and some very very good levels (Life of the Party comes to mind…)

    • bob says:

      Exactly, that’s what Unreal did so very well! It was not the most coherent of games but it had more than enough atmosphere to make up for such minor shortcomings. Crashing-on-alien-worlds-and-going-on -an-epic-journey-in-order-to-escape didn’t get any better than this. Even today I fondly remember Unreal’s beautiful sights (Harobed Village, Bluff Eversmoking, Sunspire, NaPali Haven,….) and music. Too bad Epic messed up with Unreal II and never tried again. GoW, nah thanks.

      And Thief: Life of the Party FTW!
      Converning improved sequels, I find the System Shock and Thief series quite similar in this respect as they both started out with great first games that got even better when their second parts came around.
      Oh, and while I’m at it. Some more for the list:
      The Secret of Monkey Island
      Tribes 2
      Battlefield 2

  37. Olli T. says:

    Some old names that came to mind (specifically talking about the PC versions where applicable):
    Colonisation
    Alpha Centauri
    Master of Orion I & II
    Heroes of Might and Magic II
    Jagged Alliance 2
    Nahlakh
    Ultima IV, V, VII
    System Shock 1 & 2

  38. SLeigher says:

    Not exactly genre defining but for me they’re 2 of my favourite games of all time: the Age of Empires and Worms series

    • KBKarma says:

      Which Worms game?

      Answer directly.
      “Aye, and briefly.”
      “Aye, and wisely.”
      “Aye, and truly, you were best.”

  39. Yghtgd says:

    I’m going to go with Helbreath, The Fourth Coming and Magestorm just because I bet nobody ever heard of those except me, and yet I spent and enjoyed spending hundreds (*cough* thousands *cough*) of hours in each of these games. :-)

    As for a more predictable answer, Doom, Planescape Torment, Baldur’s Gate, Minecraft, Starcraft, Diablo. City of Heroes, Far Cry, Crysis, FEAR and Riddick were really good too.

    • jarvoll says:

      Man, Far Cry. It’s just so pretty, and what I like about its prettiness is not that it’s super-realistic (though it seemed it at the time, as all graphics-pushing games do) but that, as it ages and becomes more obviously fake, it loses none of its charm because it’s still bright and pleasant and clear and runs stably. The game itself I found incredibly fun on Realistic difficulty – very punishing of mistakes, but totally *fair* about it. I thought the core mechanics of scouting an area, tagging all the enemies in radar, and then using the basic principles of “realistic” gunplay (crouch, use cover, don’t move while shooting, headshots are instakills) to remove them one by one were very well polished. I even enjoyed the mutants.

    • jaheira says:

      Riddick! Yes, good call. Weird game. You never knew what the hell was gonna happen next. Also, Vin Diesel’s best performance by a long way.

    • Rinox says:

      Props on Riddick from me too. I bought it in the Xmas sale last year and played it a while ago – blew me away. Never thought a game based on a cult movie could be such a worthy, well, game in itself. And yeah, Diesel’s voice acting was pimp.

    • Soundofvictory says:

      @jarvall I completely agree. The original Serious Sam evokes the same feeling whenever I go back. It does not look nearly as lush as Far Cry, but it is still bright and colorful unlike so many other FPSs. You know what, I nominate Serious Sam for The List. It brought back the classic Doom formula (some might say even improved upon it) during a time when shooters were moving towards more serious, story-driven experiences.

      When will developers get it? When I play a shooter, all I want to do is SHOOT THINGS IN A SATISFACTORY MANNER. Serious Sam at least got that right.

  40. CMaster says:

    Deus Ex. I know, what you said, but you can’t ask about “greatest games ever” then expect me not to mention that.

    Other than that, things that you might not consider:
    Homeworld
    Whizzkid
    Master of Orion
    Railroad Tycoon (possibly 2?)
    Alpha Centauri
    Sensible Soccer
    XCOM (I like TFTD, but pick and choose0

    Then there’s the funny ones, the ones that only mean something in context.
    I mean, Darwinina is a fantastic game, that I’d like to mention – but really, most of what makes it great is tied to having been into games and computers since a young age. It riffs on Sensible Software games and demoscene funkiness.
    Doom (not actually to my tastes) is most notable for what it really kicked off, rather than being that fantastic now.
    Battlezone/Hostile waters for showing us what RTS could have become.

    • Supraliminal says:

      But DooM is still fantastic.

      There has been many occasions when I have been playing a modern FPS and suddenly come to a conclusion “Damn, this is lousy. I want to play Doom again”

    • CMaster says:

      I guess I’m kinda poorly equipped to judge, really – I don’t like any of id’s post-keen output.

    • jarvoll says:

      Having played all three for the first time recently, I can say that I didn’t enjoy Quake 1 much at all, but I thought Doom 1 and 2 were a blast. I found Quake to be all grimdark and depressing, loveless muddy gloom, but Doom to have a simple atmosphere of FUNFUNFUN.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      Ooo! Sensible Soccer! The only foot-to-ball game to have ever actually been fun. Lemmings with balls!

  41. Dean says:

    Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer. Often overlooked as it was an expansion pack, but vastly improved on the original game. One of the few truely great 3D RPGs

  42. Supraliminal says:

    NetHack

    • Wizlah says:

      I second nethack. I have lost too much time in my life to that game. breaking into gnome vaults and sacrificing FTW.

    • disperse says:

      You see here a scroll scroll labeled PRATYAVAYAH.
      i – a scroll labeled PRATYAVAYAH.
      What do you want to read? [ijklm or ?* ] i
      As you read the scroll, it disappears.
      This post glows silver for a moment.

      (+1)

  43. Dastompinata says:

    I have to put one in for Morrowind, which is just such a brilliant (and very grey) world. It does a far better job of immersion than Oblivion I think.

    Also, if no one is gonna say it, I guess I will. STARCRAFT
    Its success is undeniable, and for good reason.

    Also
    Doom, its still fun, I can’t believe its still fun but its true
    Baldur’s Gate (of course)
    Dwarf Fortress, sure its almost entirely inaccessible without outside content like youtube guides, but my dwarves just trained a war jaguar and war grizzly bear, so…

    • Dastompinata says:

      I forgot to say

      Knytt, Knytt times a thousand, its so damn good, and beautiful, I mean this was the first time i ever saw a game that resembled art, and I played it all in one sitting even though I had a problem set due cause its so damn awsome

    • disperse says:

      Knytt Stories and Dwarf Fortress are both amazing in completely different ways.

    • DrazharLn says:

      Downloading Knytt to see what the fuss is about :)

  44. Philip L says:

    Just writing to say: GRIM FANDANGO! Let us not forget this. Do so at your peril!

    • Niels Walta says:

      I’m surprised it took that long for someone to mention Grim Fandango, as despite all its clunkiness in my humble opinion it deserves to be included!

      Further also echo’ing Minecraft (despite its alphaness), Dwarf Fortress (despite its relentlessness) and the Jazz Jackrabbit-series (despite his Cliffness).

    • Crusoe says:

      I hear that. My favourite adventure game of all time, it’s storytelling, atmosphere and writing are second to none.

    • Nikolaj says:

      Glad to see someone mention this. Grim Fandango should definitely be on the list.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      Good point. Well made.

    • Man Raised By Puffins says:

      I hear that. My favourite adventure game of all time, it’s storytelling, atmosphere and writing are second to none.

      This.

      Wonky controls, badly dated graphics, occassionally questionable puzzling, but that scarcely matters because the game is simply FABULOUS (with a capital FABULOUS).

    • Wizlah says:

      I also second this. Only advanture game in donkeys years that I played through in one night (with occasional cheaty look up bits).

    • mihor_fego says:

      Ah… I thought I’d have to be the first to post this…

      Adventure games suffer from most gamer’s scorn due to their usually stupid puzzles and failed attempts at deep storytelling. Grim Fandango might not have the best puzzles ever designed, but the story, setting and atmosphere is unique. Good humor and the best “coming-of-age” story a game ever featured. The transformation of the protagonist from sympathetic loser to daring hero is so subtle that he feels like a real person despite the totally surreal environment. It’s so many years after this was released and apart from a couple of good adventures, like The Longest Story which is really not coming that close, the genre is always coming short of fulfilling my expectations…

      and since we were to post suggestions for a list, add Thief.

    • Premium User Badge

      Waltorious says:

      Oh man, I can’t believe I forgot Grim Fandango too. That game just oozes style. Definitely my favorite adventure game. While I’m on the subject of Tim Schafer, I’ll add another vote for Psychonauts too.

    • Ozzie says:

      Grim Fandango: Great story, stuck in a not so stellar game. For me, the controls were much too clunky (oh, the many times I ran against a wall…) and many puzzles too obtuse. There was barely any fun in exploring the world and solving the puzzles for me.
      I enjoyed more watching a Longplay of it than playing it. Grim Fandango as an animated series, now that’s something I’d get behind!

      For me, Grim Fandango as a game fails. But as a story, there’s nothing better!

  45. Azarea says:

    Did someone tell you to put Deus Ex in there already ? You should.
    HL seems a pretty obvious pick in the murder simulator genre too, and maybe STALKER too (Call of Pripyat if I had to chose one). I’d agree Mass Effect deserves its place in here, as well as Psychonauts…
    Rayman and Black and White would be good entries too.
    I might add other as they cross my mind later, that’s all for now…

  46. Bornemannen says:

    I still have some of my all time favorite games in their original boxes next to my computer (PC, I should add, the amiga games are safely tucked away.. ;) ).

    In addition to what has been mentioned above I would like to add:

    System Shock 1&2 – the first one completely blew me away, the sequel was excellent as well.

    Syndicate Wars – loved this as well, for me Syndicate will always be an Amiga game

    Ascendancy – one of the first 4X strategy games I played, I actually still play this sometimes, really really great game. It’s due out on Iphone btw

    Operation Flashpoint – this was the answer to all my dreams, freaking excellent

    Diablo 1&2 – Excellent excellent games.

    Civ IV with expansions – for me, the best and most enjoyable Civ game to date

    • Anonymousity says:

      I remember playing the demo of system shock 1 on a disc that came with some silly mag (pc gamer) and going out and buying it later that week.

  47. SLeigher says:

    someone’s already said it but GTA San Andreas and Vice City were both incredible games, you can go and play gta IV and sa and vc are still way more fun, along with worms, the 2 gta 3 spinoffs were easily the most fun i’ve had gaming

  48. panther says:

    I absolutely loved Sam & Max hit the road and a load of other lucasarts adventure games. Monkey Island as well.

  49. Olli T. says:

    Oh and how about motherfucking Dune 2 for inventing the RTS genre.

    • Unaco says:

      I think you mean Herzog 2 invented the RTS genre… Or, to give it its correct title, Herzog Zwei. That was a Mega-Drive game though, so can’t be in the list.

    • Hippo says:

      Common misconception. Herzog Zwei was far from the first real time strategy game. Though if you are talking about the genre as it is today, then it would be correct to say that Dune 2 (not Herzog Zwei or any of the other earlier real time strategy games) invented it.

    • Unaco says:

      Herzog Zwei was the first game to have all of the mechanics and concepts that would come to define the RTS genre… it introduced the conventions of the genre. Earlier games may have been Real-Time and had strategy, but not in the same way or on the same scale that Herzog Zwei did, and the RTS genre had. Dune 2 popularised the genre, but it wasn’t the first… And I’m not the only one that thinks this…

      link to gamespot.com

      link to 1up.com

  50. PhilJC says:

    Well I’ve lost countless hours to the following games:

    Elite
    Baldur’s Gate
    X-wing vs Tie Fighter
    Fallout
    Nethack
    Mega Traveller 2

    (And appreciate they aren’t strictly PC games but Magnetic Scrolls: Jinxter and Lords of Midnight should also get a mention.)

    • PhilJC says:

      Oh and Mechwarrior (II/Mercenaries/3) :)

    • disperse says:

      Yes! Mechwarrior II gets two (big robot) thumbs up.

    • disperse says:

      @PhilJC

      How have I never heard of Mega Traveller 2 before, I love the Traveller RPG system and “MT2 is a very faithful adaptation of the Traveller role-playing game with over 100 fully explorable planets (most with multiple cities and each with it’s own sub-quests) and a non-linear story line.” sounds like my kind of game to a T.

      How has it stood the test of time? Is it still enjoyable played today?

    • PhilJC says:

      @disperse

      Personally I think it’s stood the test of time though the sound effects are a little grating nowadays. The combat was great fun – you could be minding your own business and five minutes later you’re the last one standing in a town full of red splatters. There is a ton of quests to keep you occupied in between fire fights as well.

      Worth checking out if you have a spare afternoon/weekend. :-)

    • disperse says:

      @PhilJC

      I definitely will. It’s going on the “list of games I will play when I have time, dammit!”