The Very Important List Of PC Games, Part 6/5

It becomes clear that the PC gaming faculty at Rock, Paper, University is going to require a consult from Simulated Professor Stone, who occasionally visits us from his laboratory in the woods. We must thank him for this appendix to our round up of the greatest PC games, just as we must thank Intel and their AppUp Developer Program for sponsoring the whole thing.

And now, to the details of war and sims…

Please note: these games are not ranked according to the fidelity of their Panzers.

Close Combat 2: A Bridge Too Far

Study WW2 aerial images of Normandy, Arnhem or the Ardennes and you won’t see a carpet of giant-sized chicken-wire draping the terrain. You won’t see evenly-spaced houses equidistant from cardinal and ordinal-aligned roads. Close Combat 2 was the first wargame to acknowledge that battlefields are higgledy-piggledy places, the men scurrying over them, frightened, fallible beings. The result was revelatory. Watching from your metaphysical Storch/Auster as soldiers broke and ran, cowered in ditches, or Nicht Schiessen-ed rather than follow orders, it was impossible to remain aloof. Of course there was unscripted courage too, moments when a hundred variables conspired to make a tiny warrior quit the safety of a crater or shell-blasted house and charge a chattering MG. Would Tommy Tompkins or Hans Hartmann succeed? There was no way of  telling. All this exquisite drama was controlled via a gem of UI and given context by an inspired tug-of-war campaign system. The twirly tanks, cramped arenas, and dodgy deployment code were trivial nuisances when viewed against CC2’s grounbreaking accomplishments.

Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord

I haven’t played ‘Chance Encounter’, one of the scenarios in the CMBO demo, in six or seven years, but if you gave me paper and a pencil I could sketch out the location of every house. hollow, and thicket. When you can play a scenario a hundred times without getting bored of it, you know you’re in the presence of greatness. CMBO’s greatness was rooted in its impressive realism and unusual (for a wargame) 3D perspective, but the Fun Gas also seeped from less obvious vents. By forcing players to sit on their hands for sixty-second stretches (orders were issued during enforced pauses at the end of a minute’s action) Battlefront created one of wargaming’s tensest and most resonant control mechanisms. Turns often ended with shells frozen tantalisingly/terrifyingly in mid-flight. Like real commanders, you couldn’t intervene at the drop of a hat, you had to trust and cross-fingers. Without resourceful TacAI, the WeGo structure might have been a disaster. Fortunately, Charles Moylan’s coding skills were up to snuff. If a plan started unravelling in the middle of a turn the unscripted AI usually had enough nous to abandon or amend it. Men sought cover and fled burning buildings unbidden, outgunned tanks withdrew behind veils of smoke. It didn’t matter that every infantry squad was represented with three turnip-headed mannequins, or Sherman suspension wasn’t modelled properly, the battle ebb and flow felt uncannily real.

Falcon 4.0

One of the greatest challenges faced by the busy combat flight sim reviewer these days, is finding new, fresh ways of saying “[insertgamenamehere] does a pretty mean dogfight, but fails to provide an interesting context for that dogfight”. When I grumble about missing dynamic campaigns, I’m usually comparing the drab mission sequence in [insertgamenamehere] with the amazing living, breathing conflicts served-up by the likes of Falcon 4.0. Microprose’s campaign people had the kind of ambition high-flying geese mistake for rivers. When you press the ‘Start New Campaign’ button you’re effectively releasing the brake lever on a giant wargame engine. Tension between North and South Korea suddenly escalates into full-on fisticuffs. The theatre map begins to measle with a rash of unscripted incident icons. Ground forces surge, squadrons scramble, infrastructure nervously eyes skies and horizons. It’s tempting to sit back and watch as this magnificent maelstrom intensifies. Tweaking sorties and fiddling with strategy sliders is improbably rewarding, but as one of the most thoroughly simulated aircraft ever is waiting patiently in the wings, it’s rarely long before you’re clambering into a cockpit and experiencing the mayhem first-hand. Falcon 4.0 is the consummate combat flight sim. It has the realism, the avionic substance, the campaign, the documentation, the scaleability, the de-brief tools … everything you could want from a serious aerial diversion. The fact that’s its still flown and modded by many, is a testament to its unmatched importantitude.

Red Baron
IMPORTANCENESS: Fokking important

At some point during the last ten years Flight Simulation forgot how to make small talk, laugh at other people’s jokes, and use soap. When I see it try to mingle these days, I find myself wincing and wanting to rush over with a copy of Red Baron. RB hit the sweetspot between Sim and Game dead-on. The flight models are plausible without being cruel. The hostile AI is just hostile enough to encourage regular six-checking and occasional hasty retreats. The true glory, however, is in the story, or rather the lack of one. Dynamix let us write our own Flying Fury on the fly by providing a campaign built around randomly generated sorties and engaging inter-mission activities. In the lulls between sky skirmishes, medals are dished-out, promotions gained, transfers requested, newspapers read, and (once you’ve made Captain) planes customised. This is a game that understands that meeting the Red Baron amongst the clouds is doubly exciting when that meeting is the result of a personal challenge dropped onto your airfield by Richthofen himself.

Airborne Assault: Red Devils Over Arnhem
IMPORTANCENESS: Unmentioned in dispatches

You won’t find AARDOA in other game lists because a) other game lists smell of fox wee, and b) sometimes making 95% of a genre feel moribund at a stroke, doesn’t earn you respect. Before this little marvel skidded to a halt on the wargaming LZ, most people’s idea of an operational wargame involved acres of hexagons and lots of laborious counter pushing. Australian outfit Panther Games took all these boardgame conventions and stuffed them where the sun don’t shine (Scarborough). They were more interested in simulating war than simulating existing simulations of war. Their counters moved freely on hexless maps, and represented tiny interdependent armylets. Yes you could drag-select the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th  Coys of 8SS Recon Battalion, and send all them swanning towards Ooosterbeek, but doing so would make Panther chief Dave O’Connor cry. The cleverer, slicker option was to click on the HQ of 8SS Recon Battalion, give it a nuanced order, then watch as its tiny invisible CO interpreted, planned and executed the instruction. Every link of the command chain was modelled meaning spectacularly lazy wargamers could just select their biggest cheese, issue an order and sit back and watch as the order rippled downwards and outwards. The enemy AI was as cunning and intertwined as the friendly stuff.  Later instalments of the series beefed up areas such as supply modelling and pathfinding while retaining at their cores the magic mix of ergonomy and truth that made Red Devils so devilishly good.

Battle of Britain II: Wings of Victory
IMPORTANCENESS: Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding

A significant portion of the people currently paid to produce flying games seem to think the fire button is the most important part of a joystick. Pack enough soft targets into a small enough chunk of sky, and, bingo, joy is forthcoming. These people are misguided and dangerous. They need Battle of Britain II in their lives. Based on Rowan Software’s 2001 swansong, BoB2 is a sim that dishes out glory with a teaspoon, and fear, excitement, and failure with a ladle. If you return from a sortie with one Heinkel, Stuka, or Bf 109 under your belt you feel genuinely elated and, probably, utterly exhausted. Thanks to peerless AI code (massaged post-release by a band of official modders) every dogfight is different. Thanks to a campaign approach similar to Falcon 4.0’s, every victory makes Goering that little bit angrier. If the purpose of a combat flight sim is to simulate combat conditions and pilot emotions as well as machinery and flight behaviours, then BoB2 is a strong candidate for genre zenith. Breathless, breathtaking, gritty and gruelling… it will be interesting to see how Cliffs of Dover measures up.

Flight Simulator X

The Flight Simulator series is endearingly modest. That terse moniker doesn’t hint at the riches that reside on the groaning hard-drive of the average MSFS user. 510,072,000 square km of seamless global scenery? CHECK. Accurate recreations of hundreds of different type of machines-that-fly? CHECK. Stress relief more potent than any benzodiazepine? CHECK. In a medium where everyone and their dog is trying to tell us a story, amuse us, scare us, or bury us in steaming viscera, it’s strangely liberating to spend time with a game that simply wants us to leave the ground. The FS user knows why swallows smile, greenfinches grin, and larks lark about. He understands the beatific calm the airliner passenger feels gazing out across frothy cloud tops. Assuming he hasn’t got framerate issues, that is. Predictably, FSX is the neediest of the FS line. It out-importants its predecessors primarily by out-prettying them and outliving them. However the mysterious Microsoft Flight turns out, the tenth FS looks set to endure. The flocks of  plane makers, terra formers, and peace seekers will see to that. The recent wave of gun-free Euro sims can steal Microsoft Flight Simulator’s font, but they’ll never match its majesty.

Please note that this post is but one fragment of a larger list, which in total covers over 100 of what RPS feels is the PC’s most important games (but not all of them). You can find the other parts to date here.

This feature has been kindly sponsored by:


  1. MadTinkerer says:

    No Deus Ex?

    EDIT: Sorry, I’m so sorry…

  2. Wizardry says:

    No Wizardry? It’s a pen & paper RPG simulator.

  3. Novotny says:

    General Stone, I must take umbrage. BOB WOV But not IL-2? The others make sense, but I cannot condone this position. I am sad.

  4. Kaira- says:

    Aha! I knew there would be more of these.
    But still no Myst.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      Also no Cave Story! Sort of dismaying, even though I’ll admit that as the translator I’m not the most objective judge.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      I too had been hoping for Cave Story, and I had nothing to do with it.
      Also Nox, but I can kind of see why it’s not there.

  5. MrThingy says:

    Carrier Command (MS-DOS)? :)

    Or is that a bit old-school, even for old-school?

  6. AbyssUK says:

    Clearly sir there has been some sort of horrible error you appear to have missplaced Tornado, Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat and the entire F-15 Strike Eagle series.

    Edit: however your words on Falcon 4.0 are spot on, I am a happy pigeon

  7. Gnurf says:

    How about Crimson Skies ? I found that one funny enough…

  8. popabawa says:

    Flight sims but no racing sims? Boo!

  9. Mungrul says:


  10. Jake says:

    Close Combat was so great played head to head, nothing better than springing a heavy MG42 ambush on your friend’s unsuspecting infantry as they crossed an innocent looking street. I also liked the way you bought and deployed your army – something that would go down well in a new THQ 40k RTS perhaps. I used to play it before Company of Heroes and it felt like a natural progression – similar cover ratings for terrain for example.

    • The Army of None says:

      Totally agree, Jake. God but did I put in a lot of hours against my dad in this game. That and many hours fighting my bloody way through all the campaigns in which you were hugely outnumbered and every single man was a precious thing to be conserved

    • Zephro says:

      I dunno Company of Heroes feels to light weight, micro managing skills and base buildery for me to enjoy it like Close Combat.

    • Afro says:

      Only played CC once multiplayer. I remember I understood he was going for a flanking attack and I barely managed to rush an assault team to a heavy cover building that opened up on his crawling infantry for general slaughter, then it crashed. I enjoyed the series tremendously in singleplayer tho.
      I agree that Company of Heroes felt to RTSy and micromanagy for my taste compared to CC.
      Strangly enough MoW is the WW2 game of choice for me after CC.

  11. tka says:

    Oh yeah! These are definitely worthy additions to the list.

  12. msarge says:

    I have played zero of the games on this list.

    Well, actually, I did play Flight Simulator, but a really old one.

    Never been into sim games that much.

  13. Hoaxfish says:

    I know I’m being lazy… but could we have a compiled list of all the titles mentioned, I can’t remember if there are any not in that I think should be in.

    ah heck, I’ll do it myself:

    part 1:
    Half-Life 2
    System Shock
    Unreal Tournament 2004
    Quake 3: Arena
    Arma 2
    Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl
    Left 4 Dead 2
    Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines
    Battlefield 2
    Team Fortress 2
    Tribes 2
    Hidden & Dangerous
    Frontier: Elite 2
    Hitman: Blood Money
    TIE Fighter
    Neverwinter Nights
    Eve Online
    The Typing of the Dead

    part 2:
    Dragon Age: Origins
    Duke Nukem 3D
    Call Of Duty
    World Of Goo
    Sim City 2000
    City Of Heroes
    Beyond Good & Evil
    Burnout Paradise
    Day Of The Tentacle
    Tomb Raider: Legend
    TrackMania Sunrise
    The Longest Journey
    Thief: The Dark Project
    Knights Of The Old Republic
    Mafia: The City Of Lost Heaven
    Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge
    Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time
    Jedi Knight: Mysteries Of The Sith
    The Operative: No One Lives Forever

    part 3:
    Far Cry 2
    GTA 4
    StarCraft 2
    Red Orchestra
    SWAT 4
    Max Payne 2
    Rome: Total War
    Ground Control
    Giants: Citizen Kabuto
    Amnesia: The Dark Descent
    System Shock 2
    MechWarrior 2
    Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2
    Jagged Alliance 2
    Master of Orion 2: Battle at Antares
    Uplink: Hacker Elite
    Sid Meier’s Civilization II
    Nethack / Angband / ZangbandTK

    part 4:
    Aliens versus Predator (original)
    Blade Runner
    Colonization (original)
    Command & Conquer (series)
    Deus Ex
    Diablo 2
    Dune 2
    Dungeon Keeper
    The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
    Fallout 1 & 2
    Grim Fandango
    King’s Bounty: The Legend
    Mass Effect 2
    Planescape: Torment
    The Sims
    Total Annihilation / Supreme Commander
    Ultima 7
    Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness
    Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
    World of Warcraft
    X-COM: UFO Defense ( a.k.a UFO: Enemy Unknown)

    part 5:
    Guild Wars
    Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss
    Terra Nova
    Sensible Soccer
    Football Manager (Championship Manager)
    Company Of Heroes
    Galactic Civilizations 2
    Freespace 2
    Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings
    Urban Chaos
    Dwarf Fortress
    In Memoriam

    part 6 (this article):
    Close Combat 2: A Bridge Too Far
    Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord
    Falcon 4.0
    Red Baron
    Airborne Assault: Red Devils Over Arnhem
    Battle of Britain 2: Wings of Victory
    Flight Simulator X

  14. Phydaux says:

    While these lists cannot be exhaustive, there are a few games I feel are missing:
    Theme Hospital
    Theme Park/Roller Coaster Tycoon
    Transport Tycoon (Deluxe)/OTTD
    Black & White
    Heroes of Might & Magic (Series)
    Geoff Crammond’s GP (series)
    I was going to mention even more older titles… but I don’t know if you would consider them influential in the PC side of things. Stuff like Dizzy, Rampart (arguably the pre-cursor to tower defence games), Jazz Jackrabbit, Commander Keen, etc.

    • Wizardry says:

      Heroes of Might & Magic but no Might & Magic?

    • Jake says:

      I’m with you on the Rollercoaster Tycoon games, for my money RCT3 is the best sim/builder type game around, even today. Perfect for OCD types.

    • Vando says:

      You’d have to say Indy 500 was more important than Crammond’s series, as F1GP is basically dead but the Papyrus line evolved into iRacing, which is definitely a unique beast.

    • Urael says:

      I hereby start the petition to have lists banned from RPS. The readership are clearly too critical of them to enjoy their content.

      Folks, I’m sure the RPS Hive Mind have better things to do with their precious time than spend months putting together an exhaustive list of every possibly important game from the very first moment some assembled hardware was called a PC onwards. This week’s articles has been awesome, and I care not that any of my beloved Myst games didn’t make the list or that game X has been included that shouldn’t have been. What’s mattered has been the WHY, not the WHAT. A lovely little romp through our history, sponsored by the people who helped make it happen. More, please!

    • Faldrath says:

      Can’t we be critical *and* enjoy the content? I thoroughly enjoyed reading the lists, but everyone will have different opinions. I don’t think people are berating RPS, it’s more that “wouldn’t it be cool to know what they’d say about game X” thing.

      So, yeah. For me, the list missed GP2, the original Test Drive, and Europa Universalis II. There!

    • Jake says:

      I’ve loved these lists, I love lists in general. Even better are lists with rankings, but then I would rank my shopping list if it was up to me. I hope RPS don’t mind people mentioning their own favourite games – surely it’s OK to comment so long as it’s not phrased like ‘you forgot…’ or ‘where the hell is…’

    • frymaster says:

      the papyrus games, especially nascar, also had the most phenomenal netcode ever, which let my brother drive on US servers on DIALUP and still drive inches behind people’s bumpers

    • Zephro says:

      I don’t think people are being critical, just name checking games they love.

      If you don’t like people posting things under lists either don’t read them or we should just abandon the comment system surely? Lists have been scrutinised since times immemorial. I remember arguing about the PC Gamer top 100’s at school every year.

    • Bureaucrat says:

      If you’re going to add “Tycoon”-type games to a list based on “importance,” you should probably start with Sid Meier’s original “Railroad Tycoon.”

    • Novotny says:

      Indeed: I play-acted a little outrage over IL-2 not having been mentioned, but I can’t believe anyone thought I was seriously moaning. As far as racing games go: everywhere on the planet but America would be more interested in F1 than American Indy; so from a global perspective, that would be of more relevance. But no matter.

      I’m sure these lists are more about celebrating some of the great things we have enjoyed than deriving some sort of exacting definition of what mattered and what did not.

    • Phydaux says:

      @Wizardry, to my shame I didn’t realise there was a Might and Magic. :|

      @Urael, I loved these lists. I like talking about lists. I certainly don’t feel that the RPS guys got it wrong. I wanted to add some games too, and I tried to pick areas that I felt were under reported in the RPS guys lists.

      @Bureaucrat, you’re right of course. But I wanted to throw Chris Sawyer some love as Sid already has some of his creations in the list.

    • Wulf says:

      I still think the lists are being misunderstood too, though.

      It seems that a lot of people are taking the lists as the objective truth as to which games were important to the history of games for everyone, but that’s nonsense, no one could write that! Instead, it’s just what games were important to them throughout their development into the fully fledged games journalists that they are now, and each list is personal to them.

      See Mr. Stone’s list above, entirely personal to Mr. Stone. It’s like Gaming Made Me: Round Two.

    • Urthman says:

      I think it’s a testament to the breadth of PC gaming that not even these five six fine fellows have hearts collectively big enough to embrace every great game in every genre.

    • Metonymy says:

      People who were playing attention (me I guess?) noticed that Warcraft 3 was nearly a straight ripoff of HoMM. There was way too much overlap for it to be a coincidence. I mean, I’m glad Blizzard gets things right, but the amount of stealing they do lowers my opinion of them.

      Now that I see how much ‘homage’ they pay in WoW, I go back and find I greatly prefer the original Warhammer40k to Blizzard’s ‘adaptation’ in SC.

  15. McDan says:

    I see what you did there…

  16. Perjoss says:

    I dont see Fiendish Freddie’s Big Top of Fun on any of the lists, ok it might not be all that important, but worth a mention?

  17. johann tor says:

    Guys, guys!

    Surely F18 Interceptor must belong in this IMPORTANTINGNESS list!

  18. Colthor says:


  19. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    People, you have your lists prepared, don’t you?

  20. Zephro says:

    I hate to add more as it’s so predictable:
    Take Command : Second Manasses, it has a wonderful system very similar to Airborne Assault. But with muskets! (ok many would be rifled rather than smoothbore but don’t get all anal.)
    Sid Meier’s Gettysburg.

    Still Close Combat and Combat Mission get a loud 21 gun salute!

    • Jad says:

      Gettysburg! Holy crap yes!

      I suddenly wonder … have there been any games kind of like that one (with that strong emphasis on formations) since it? I haven’t paid as much attention to the strategy field in the past decade …

    • Zephro says:

      Take Command, it’s very similar but attempts to add in the idea of being an Army/Corp/Division/Brigade general and sending orders to your immediate subordinates only, via dispatch rider. It’s fantastic.
      Note that you can micromanage every single regiment if you wish, but the scale forces you to give large formations general orders like “advance on that hill” while you micro manage the crunch point.
      Still I reckon all the Total War games owe a lot to Gettysburg and it also shows what Empire should have done to get the battles right.

      Did anyone ever try play the full Gettysburg 2 day scenario in one sitting? We played it co-op on a LAN once each taking a third of the union army. It was beautiful.

  21. pottzilla says:

    first off i lol hard on the 6/5

    but what happened to to strike commander / commanche ???

  22. Zephro says:

    Oh and Fields of Glory (1993) by Microprose. God I miss Microprose.

    Oh and Silent Hunter 3!

    • Rinox says:

      God yes Silent Hunter 3.

    • X_kot says:

      I, too, am saddened by the absence of the Silent Hunter series. Perhaps General Stone hasn’t got his sea legs yet?

    • Tim Stone says:

      The RPS Significometer rated both SH3 and Command: Aces of the Deep at exactly 8.71114. I couldn’t include both so, in the end, reluctantly included neither.
      It was a similar story with Sid Meier’s Gettysburg and Microprose’s Fields of Glory (8.45699 for the record).

  23. squareking says:


  24. FriendlyFire says:

    RPS is officially evil. By releasing a 6th list, they’ve effectively shown us they can add anything to the list at any time and say that it was coming anyways and that we’re big whiners.

    They’ve made this list impossible to be wrong or incomplete, even for games not released yet!

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      THE RPS WAY.


    • AndrewC says:

      Godel’s theorem states that any axiomatic system must be necessarily incomplete or self-contradictory, thus undermining the entire Modernist project of Objective Truth Through Reason. Bertrand Russell was reported to have been ‘very pissed off’.
      But, seemingly without effort, RPS have managed to solve this intractable problem by creating a list that can neither be wrong nor incomplete. It shall be the basis of all human knowledge as a new Age Of Importancy is ushered in. Kieron Gillen was reported to have been ‘drunk’.

  25. El_MUERkO says:

    I was playing Men of War yesterday and trying to remember the 2d game I loved years ago that it reminded me of, and the very next day you link it on here, good work fella!

  26. afarrell says:

    Hmm, it feels like 6/5 to me, in that I don’t know any of them and don’t really feel bad that I don’t. Is it reasonable to say that sims don’t have a breakout “Even if you think you hate the genre you’ll like this” game? Is this unique to sims? The other ones that come to mind are hardcore jrpgs and fighting games, but they’re not so much PC genres.

    • Faldrath says:

      If you don’t like Red Baron, you have no soul. It’s scientifically proven.

    • Jad says:

      I dislike sims, but I enjoyed Red Baron, so I can add a datapoint to that scientific study.

      As for fighting games, I feel like the Super Smash Brothers games kinda fulfill that category. Maybe. As for JRPGs, perhaps Recettear could be an okay entrypoint? Although, frankly, the only JRPG you need to play is Chrono Trigger. Don’t worry about the rest.

    • Tim Stone says:

      A couple of farmers living on the edge of Exmoor have reported sightings of a person that dislikes Crimson Skies, but I don’t believe a word of it.

    • Zenicetus says:

      A barrier to entry for enjoying flight sims is the joystick, which not that many people own any more. It used to be a standard accessory for PC games, back in the days of things like Red Baron and the original Gunship (and why isn’t Gunship on the list!… oh, never mind).

      There is just a completely different feel when flying with a joystick compared to keyboard and mouse. It gets even better if you go whole-hog with a throttle control and rudder pedals, but the joystick is the essential gateway drug. And once you own a good joystick (a CH Fighterstick, for example), you’ll start looking for more excuses to use it. So there’s something of a snowballing effect for interest in flight sims and cockpit-level space sims, once you get one. The other tactical platform simulation genres like subs, tanks, army guys, can all work just fine with keyboard and mouse control.

  27. TheGameSquid says:

    Falcon 4.0 is worth owning for the manual alone. That thing used to be toilet literature for me.

  28. Gepetto says:

    No Hearts of Iron?

    Clearly some mistake.

    • Zephro says:

      Well it is unique….

      But so much more flawed than say Combat Mission.

  29. Om says:

    No Paradox love?

  30. kyrieee says:

    Falcon 4 is such an amazing sim. Despite all its shortcomings and stability issues I still prefer it over any other combat flightsim, because no other game after it has ever attempted to do what Falcon 4 did. The difference between the campaign in F4 vs scripted missions is like playing a light gun game vs playing battlefield online.

  31. Daniel Klein says:

    Always preferred Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe over Red Baron, but loved both to pieces.

  32. Basilicus says:

    RPS have disappointed me by not including the game I like in their list they didn’t have to give me that I wasn’t expecting but now directly oppose due to the inclusion of opinions not my own. How dare they! Reprehend them!

  33. J-Han says:

    Oh thank God for this last list. I had almost thought RPS completely forgot about wargamers. That would have been a shocking oversight.

  34. Phillip Culliton says:

    Took me something like 5 tries to actually log in this morning.


    Clearly I’m not totally objective, but Combat Mission truly was a great game. For people interested in their theaters, CM:Beyond Overlord’s sequels – Combat Mission: Afrika Korps and Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin – are VERY detailed treatments thereof and well worth a look. All the original Combat Mission games are still on sale (and have demos!), too, so you can pick them up and support the original developer if you like them.

    That said, Close Combat 2 was a revelation. I pined after the original for months before I was able to save up enough cash to buy it, and when I did I hyperventilated for a while before I realized it had no campaign to speak of.

    And then CC2 came… oh my. I’m fairly certain I had some friends before CC2 came out, that I didn’t have after I’d spent a few months playing. Sorry I ignored you, guys.

    And the Panther games’ AI are simply inspiring. In my opinion they’re the pinnacle of operational AI.

  35. arioch says:

    Pff.. you clearly forgot the best flight sim of all time – Disney’s Stunt island.

  36. somnolentsurfer says:

    No train simulators? The Steam storefront suggests their must be at least one important one…

  37. Archonsod says:

    A few noticable omissions to be fair.

    Nothing by SSI for example. Fantasy General still echoes in modern fantasy wargames, and I’m pretty sure Imperialism contributed some DNA to Europa Universalis. Then there was the Wargame Construction Set, which I suspect deserves an award for being one of the first games to rely on user-generated content. In a world where the internets was still done with tin cans and string to boot.

    And Sierra’s Birthright : The Gorgon’s Alliance which in 1996 was doing what everyone lauded Shogun : Total War for doing four years later.

    Then there’s Sid Meier’s Gettysburg, which I think was instrumental in bringing real time to the traditional wargame.

    And of course Talonsoft’s Battleground series, which I think single handedly kept the non-WW II hex based wargame flag flying throughout the nineties.

    • Tim Stone says:

      Noticable omissions from your noticable omissions:

      The Operational Art Of War
      Panzer General 2
      Steel Panthers
      Peter Turcan’s Waterloo

    • tigershuffle says:

      had Waterloo on Amiga…………and that was the first strat game to amaze me with 3d battlefield :)

      though i do remember having some hex games on C64 …….CSS ? Arnhem rings a bell

  38. Duke of Chutney says:

    i love flight sims but totally suck at them. I can usually take off, I rarely fly to where im supposed to go, landing, ive done it once or twice. I only ever shoot something down if its either my wingman, or im playing IL2 storm in a skirmish and deck out my plane with extra guns, with realism settings all off. Ive got the ‘swansong’ battle of britian game, but never got anywhere with it.

    Played alot of space sims tho

    and Combat missions COMBAT MISSIONS, best strategy bar none

  39. Pijama says:

    Field Marshall Stone would be more appropriate than “professor”. PAH

  40. Dwarden says:

    i think the list is still lacking too many genre or industry shaping titles :) (part 255 of 5)

    so let’s drink on that the PC stays for long future still the platform of innovation and joy for millions of gamers ;)

  41. Megadyptes says:

    The original Red Baron was one of my earliest flight sims and is still one of my favourites. I even rigged up a profile using Xpadder recently to control is all completely with my HOTAS. Fun times. One of the best things about it was the atmosphere, the menus and music really put you there back in WW1. Many modern sims feel way too sterile for my liking.

  42. Reddin says:

    I’m still unclear about the whole Intel sponsoring thing. They just payed you to make a list of great games and make sure to mention their name? Because that seems like an odd deal..
    Although I guess it has worked on some level because at least I went to the AppUp site, if only to confirm my suspicions that it doesn’t concern me.

    Can I sponsor you to make more game diaries? Or at least to continue the AI War one?
    And plaster my name all over the site of course :)

  43. Urthman says:

    I love the way RPS did these lists. This entry in particular really highlights how silly something like a Top 100 list is.

    I consider myself a hardcore PC gamer, but I have zero interest in at least a third of all PC game genres. So to me it’s absurd to try to rank games in different genres. Quick, which is better?

    Tetris or Planescape: Torment?
    Minecraft or Starcraft?
    Portal or Freespace 2?
    TF2 or Civ 4?
    Spelunky or World of Goo?
    Eve Online or Ultima Underworld?
    Flight Simulator X or Plants vs. Zombies?
    System Shock 2? or Grim Fandango?

    I refuse to believe that there is anyone who has sufficiently equal love for all game genres to make anything like an objective choice in any of those pairings.

    • Basilicus says:

      Planescape: Torment; Starcraft; Freespace 2; TF2; World of Goo; dunno let’s say Ultima Underworld; Plants vs. Zombies; System Shock 2. (You’re welcome!)

    • Urthman says:

      Ha! See! You proved my point by getting four of them wrong.

    • Lambchops says:

      Ooh, ooh let me play!

      Planescape: Torment (letting my heart rule idle hours played with that one)
      Minecraft, easy.
      Ummmm . . . Portal though I hate you for making me choose and it pretty much directly condrdicts my rational for choosing Planescape over Tetris.
      Civ 4, easy.
      Spelunky of Goo. What?!
      I’d rather listen to a Justin Bieber album frankly.
      Plants vs. Zombies, easy.
      Again I hate you but it has to be Grim Fandango. What with it being my favourite game of all time on a Wednesday and System Shock 2 merely being in the top 5 whenever the north star is in my eyeline.

      (you can slip me a tenner later for helping prove your point!)

    • MD says:

      Hah, I decided to make my own selections for the fun of it, and ended up disagreeing with Basilicus on all but one, being PvZ which I don’t actually like that much. (Tetris, Minecraft, Portal, Civ 4, Spelunky, Eve, PvZ, Grim Fandango.)

      Given that he was wrong, I guess that makes me right!

    • Basilard says:

      Actually, Basilicus put five wrong! O_o

    • Wizardry says:


      You’d prefer to listen to Justin Bieber than play Ultima Underworld? Why?

  44. Basilicus says:

    May as well jump in. If you’re talking about important games, I fail to see why Myst isn’t somewhere on here. If you’re talking about truly great games, then Riven should take its place representing the entire subgenre.

    The other most obvious omissions from the MultiLists thus far are:

    Europa Universalis
    Plants vs. Zombies
    and a personal plea for Clive Barker’s Undying

  45. Kevin says:

    Really, the only REAL list for this series of “Very Important List of PC Games.”

    So do you have an ETA on your Wot I Think of DCS: A-10C, Tim? Or are you still grappling with the EGI navigation suite?

  46. Jacques says:

    Hoorah, a Close Combat game gets on the list.

    I preferred CC4 myself, but had a lot of fun as a kid with the demo. I even bought the game, but my grandfather made me return it, as I was apparently too young for pixelated war :(

    Flamethrowers were far too much fun, I used to try to set up the perfect barbeque ambush for enemy tanks.

  47. _michal says:

    One question. Where are Steel Beasts.

    • bascule42 says:

      Another: Where is, (or have I missed it) B17 Flying Fortress?

    • _michal says:

      The Mighty 8th was a great game, but flight simulators on the list are very important, and if the list contain four games, then I can live without B17, all categories of flight sims are there, WWI, WWII, modern combat and civilian. But tank sims list without Steel Beasts is incomplete.

    • Tim Stone says:

      Both Steel Beasts and Panzer Elite are in the list, but being hull-down and festooned with branches, they’re extremely hard to spot.

  48. Dances to Podcasts says:

    That’s a surprising amount of Arnhem in there. Is it really that fun to have your paras squashed by two panzer divisions?

  49. BobsLawnService says:

    Please sir, may I ask why PanzerGeneral never made the list? Afterall, it is the only wargame to ever have achieved true rockstar status in the history of PC gaming. It made WW2 cool and way an early adopter of the nurture and upgrade your units through the length of a campain model that is popular today. Also many spinoffs and sequels were forthcoming.

  50. Keith Nemitz says:

    A game I didn’t care for, but have great respect for how it transformed PC gaming, similarly to Farmville.

    Deer Hunter

    BobsLawnService beat me to mentioning Panzer General. So, SECONDED!

    • Tim Stone says:

      The handful of games included in my little section are, of course, the tip of a vast Importanceness Iceberg. For the narked narwhals and outraged orcas amongst you:
      * Close Combat 2
      * Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord
      * Falcon 4.0
      * Red Baron
      * Airborne Assault: RDOA
      * Battle of Britain II: Wings of Victory
      * Flight Simulator X
      * Il-2
      * Grand Prix Legends
      * Silent Hunter 3
      * Air Warrior
      * Waterloo (Peter Turcan)
      * Sid Meier’s Gettysburg
      * Secret Weapons Of The Luftwaffe
      * The Operational Art Of War
      * Steel Beasts
      * Jane’s Longbow 2
      * Europa Universalis
      * Crimson Skies
      * Panzer General
      * World War II Online
      * Microsoft Train Simulator
      * Deer Hunter
      * Richard Burns Rally
      * MX Simulator
      * etc.