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The Greatest PC Games of All Time


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The original x-wing, and I think tie fighter too, ran in glorious high def at 320x240....

Just had a quick search and 640x480 was one of the improvements of TIE Fighter over X-Wing. Simpler days, eh. Didn't even need a 3D card, in fact which were the first games that really made use of them? I only remember pairing up a 4MB Orchid Righteous 3D card with my Matrox Millennium 2D card to play FFVII and to make Half-Life look not shit (the software 3D mode was awful), must've been something that absolutely required a 3D card before that though.

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I'm not the biggest PC gamer -- in the last 10 years I have usually preferred consoles for their ease of use. My current computer can't even play "this generation" games, so this list probably isn't very informed.

Also, I know the rule is that multiplatform games are allowed, but I kind of think they should only be allowed if the PC version was the lead platform, or if the PC version is the most commonly-remembered.

1) Half Life 2 (plus Episodes 1 and 2)

2) Portal 2

3) Minecraft

4) Doom / Doom II

5) Quake II

6) Portal

7) Frontier: Elite II

8. Dragon Age: Origins

9) The Secret of Monkey Island

10) The Binding of Isaac

Other notables:

- Deus Ex

- Half-Life


- X-Wing / TIE Fighter

- Minesweeper

- Sim City / 2000

- The Sims

- Doom 3

- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

PC games I never played but should have:

- System Shock 2

- Thief 2

- Civ games

- Fallout 1 and 2

- World of Warcraft

- Grim Fandango (tried once, incompatibility problems, seemed to want Windows 98 only!)

Never had an interest in RTS games or multiplayer shooters.

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It's a tricky one, for example I've got great memories of TIE Fighter, but has it aged? What was it, 640x480? Some things still look and play great, but I've ruined enough memories on other platforms to wonder whether to go back. And without going back, I don't think it'd be fair to base a list just on nostalgia.

Go with your gut, man! These are meant to be opinions - don't worry about your choices being subjective! If you remember TIE Fighter being one of the best games ever, then it is - even if you wouldn't be able to go back to it now.

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This is a tricky one for me, as I struggle to distinguish between "greatest" and "most important". For example, Quake is clearly one of the most important PC games, but it isn't really the "best" by any stretch. Still, if I had to choose...

1 - World of Warcraft - and I'm not even a fan. The numbers don't lie.

2 - Planetside 2 - And the first one. Massive in scale, just impossibly epic. The second one gets better each passing month.

3 - Civilisation 2 - You could pick any of them, really, even the less official ones and spinoffs like CivNet. I'd go with 2, though, because 2 is arguably the one which codified all of the elements we generally expect Civ to have (1 was more simplistic).

4 - Tribes 2 - Not just a personal tilt. Tribes 2 is (I believe, along with its prequel) a vital part of the evolution of multiplayer shooters. It has class-based equipment, vehicles, recharging shields, community features via an in-built browser, and large battlefields several kilometres across. Games like Battlefield 1942 and Halo Reach owe a lot to it. I played it solid for 18 months.

5 - League of Legends - Same reason. Some would say DOTA2 and that's fair, but worldwide LoL still has a lot more players (China counts for a LOT).

6 - Team Fortress 2 - Probably the best implementation of class based multiplayer I've ever seen when there's more than a handful of classes. The balance is excellent and the game has evolved so much. It also really shows what can be done with a disruptive art style in a genre of me-too's.

7 - Jedi Knight - Personal tilt again. Whilst Quake and its ilk were superb multiplayer shooters, I've always felt that Jedi Knight doesn't get enough credit, considering how its level design took the player through a story-based FPS adventure. Given, it's a genre that some would regard as created by Half-Life, but I thought Jedi Knight was a superb game in that it made you "think" like a Jedi Knight in order to get through some levels.

8 - Mechwarrior 2 - Sadly, a series that started off really well, got a bit better, then (IMO) tanked and has never returned to its former glory, though every few years they try. I loved MW2 on release.

9 - Shogun: Total War - The original and, in some ways, still the best.

10 - Guild Wars - I did have Deus Ex here, but it has plenty of other votes so it'll get in - so I'm going to say Guild Wars. Probably my most played PC game ever.

Surprised to see votes for Age of Empires 1&2. Whilst I enjoyed them at the time, weren't they a bit of a clone of Warcraft 2? (I've never played WC2 btw, it's just something I've read).

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Having two main stints - one during my childhood, and one from 2010 onward - might have skewed the results:

1. Unreal Tournament
2. Diablo II
3. Quake III: Arena
4. Fallout: New Vegas
5: Portal 2
6. Path of Exile
7. Command and Conquer: Red Alert
8. Borderlands 2
9. Worms: Armageddon
10. Solitaire

Also-rans, if you want to replace number 10: Phantasy Star Online 2, Fallout 3, Civilization V, Hotline Miami, Tribes: Ascend, Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst (SCHTHACK), Warframe, Uplink, Simple Wrestling Simulator (Shut up, we spent hours in this as kids), and whatever version of Doom/Quake we played on the school Intranet on the sly instead of Homework Club.

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I have no doubt I'll change my mind a dozen times over the next few days, but hey. I generally just put the series down for most of them because I can't be bothered to create a list thread within a list thread by ranking them.

Rollercoaster Tycoon

Counter Strike

Half Life

Warcraft (including World of Warcraft)


Diablo (preferred the first)

Stonekeep (I doubt it holds up but it was one of the first games I played and it seriously freaked me out. Those goblins terrified me). By the same logic I'm tempted to include Superfrog.

C&C (didn't like generals)

Baldur's Gate 2

Quake 3 Arena (never got on with Doom)

Dota 2 (please nobody say LoL)

Deus Ex

Battlefield 1942 (specifically this one as I didn't get on with the others).

Witcher 2 (didn't like the first as much).

Age of Empires 2 (fuck the rest)

Unreal Tournament

Left 4 Dead

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (excellent RPG in it's own right but I thought it was a great indicator of the power the Star Wars lore/license has and put George Lucas to shame)

Games I'd include given their reputations but haven't personally played enough of:



System Shock 2

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1 - Fallout New Vegas



4 - Fallout 1

5 - Skyrim

6 - The Witcher

7 - Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

8 - Sam & Max: Hit the Road

9 - Bioshock 2

10 - Full Throttle

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Go with your gut, man! These are meant to be opinions - don't worry about your choices being subjective! If you remember TIE Fighter being one of the best games ever, then it is - even if you wouldn't be able to go back to it now.

If that's the case I might as well put down a list of the ten first games I played or something just because they wowed me at the time. I think that's bollocks reasoning, but really good games remain really good games whatever. It's just a lot of the really old PC stuff is stuff that's often harder to find and play in the first place, so never tends to be retried often if at all.

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Bloody hell this is a tough one, I've been a PC gamer since the 80's, that's 5 generations of consoles.

1 - Tie Fighter

2 - Doom

3 - Monkey Island 2

4 - System Shock 2

5 - Civilisation

6 - Ultima Underworld

7 - Ultima 7 + Ultima 7 Part Two.

8 - Diablo 2

9 - FF:XI

10 - Wing Commander 4 (I'd include the entire series, but if I have to choose just one..)

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1. Half Life 2

2. Wolf 3D

3. Doom 1/2

4. Rise Of The Triad

5. Duke 3D

6. Far Cry 2


8. Stalker Shadow Of Chernobyl

9. No One Lives Forever 1/2

10. Flashback

EDIT - I LOVE Soldier Of Fortune but sorry, gotta make room for NOLF.

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Purely in terms of how much enjoyment I got out of them

1. Quake

2. Half Life 2

3. Tie Fighter

4. Counter Strike (only the versions on the Goldsource engine)

5. Team Fortress 2

6. Doom

7. Command & Conquer

8. Half Life

9. Beneath a Steel Sky (still replay it every couple of years!)

10. IL2 Sturmovik (to this day I haven't completed a single mission in this game, but sticking a podcast on and just flying around in it is bliss)

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If that's the case I might as well put down a list of the ten first games I played or something just because they wowed me at the time. I think that's bollocks reasoning, but really good games remain really good games whatever. It's just a lot of the really old PC stuff is stuff that's often harder to find and play in the first place, so never tends to be retried often if at all.

If that's the case for you, then, well, I wish I had the exciting childhood you did/I'm glad I'm not having the dreary experience you now find gaming to be! Still, it's up to you how you choose to fill your own list up. I'll just be considering the games for mine on the merit of "how much did I enjoy this game when I played it?". Speaking of which, I guess I should actually put my list together. Back in a bit.

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In the end, it wasn't that difficult. Well, apart from the bit where the initial list was far too large, and the heart-wrenching culling that followed...

Still, top 10:

1. Deus Ex - give me choice give me choice give me choice give me choice give me choice give me choice give me choice. Damn the rest of the development community for never quite reaching Deus Ex's levels of flexibility in gameplay approaches. The fact that it can rise above a relatively basic stealth engine, clunky combat and comedy voice acting is testament to the strength of its design. Developers: give me a sense of freedom, of cutting my own path through a game in both mechanical and narrative terms, and I will be yours. Forever.
2. Dragon Age: Origins - a shame that the sequel was so bloody awful. I surprised myself when I realised quite how much I rate DA:O, but it's simply the game I've spent the most time with, replaying it over and over. It's not all that pretty, it suffers from Bioware's penchant for clichés, but my god if it doesn't weave a satisfying narrative, and place you at the helm. Vastly divergent openings and endings, team-mates with minds of their own who require more than just sycophantic bleating to satisfy, it's a mini-epic that packs a punch. The fact that the combat engine is genuinely tactically challenging marks it as a cut above other modern party-based RPGs, too.
3. Fallout 2 - still the most flexible RPG I've played in terms of character role customisation. Hyper-intelligent scientist with a penchant for laser weapons? Go for it. Blind martial-artist with a thief's touch? Why not. Moron who can only speak in grunts, likes hitting things with hammers and has a drug problem? Great idea! Act as you wish, and the world shall accommodate you. Just watch out for the radscorpions.
4. Alpha Protocol - best. Conversations. Ever. In terms of the system used to take part in them, in terms of the writing within them, and in terms of the reactions to them (in conversation and in plot), there's nothing that even approaches Alpha Protocol. A damned shame that the action/stealth gameplay was... clunky at best, and the game went on to die a critical and commercial death.
5. Planescape: Torment - frankly, I don't think I need to explain why.
6. Little Big Adventure 2 - to be honest, the music alone gets the Little Big Adventure series a place in the top 10; everything else is just frosting. Okay, maybe that's underplaying the quality of the game which led me to forever associate its dreamy music with hours of bliss just a tad. Little Big Adventure 2 is just the finest action adventure I've had the pleasure of playing - not even Outcast or Beyond Good & Evil can compete. Also happens to show just how unimaginative and dull the Zelda series became - this is how you do a whopping great heroic adventure. No hand-holding, just fantastic worlds to explore, challenging puzzles to outwit, and bastard enemies to fight, combined with a typically off-its-rocker Gallic style. I want to visit Twinsun as Twinsen anew :(
7. System Shock 2 - well, y'know, I could hardly leave this out, could I? I can't actually play this any more as, in my advancing years, it terrifies me too much, ageing graphics be damned. The greatest survival horror game of all time.
8. Hitman: Blood Money - I didn't go into this expecting Blood Money to appear in my list. But then, as soon as I thought of the game, I realised there was no chance it could be left out. It's offered me endless entertainment playing through and replaying its levels, finding new and entertaining ways to off my targets with as little (or as much) commotion as possible. The greatest sandbox game by far, one that understands that making a massive city filled with people and then allowing you only the most basic levels of interaction is far less satisfying than a small area packed with things to do and characters to have react to you. Murderous fun, it's a tragedy that it looks to be the last of its breed.
9. Day of the Tentacle - the only point and click adventure on my list, which came as a surprise to me. Nevertheless, this is my favourite adventure game of all time, inching out the sublime The Longest Journey and the brilliant Blade Runner, and hammering ahead of stablemates Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Sam & Max Hit the Road and the Monkey Islands. Still hilarious, still gorgeous, still packed with great puzzles - just the perfect example of its genre.
10. Portal - fine, I guess Valve aren't all that bad.
And, for anyone interested, the 53 games I had to cull from the list, in alphabetical order:
(this is where all the stealth and strategy games are hiding, people-who-thought-I-liked-those-genres. And no, Hitman: Blood Money is not a stealth game, before you ask)

Another World
Beneath a Steel Sky
Beyond Good & Evil
Binary Domain
Blade Runner
Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars
Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord
Conflict: Freespace
Dawn Patrol
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Dune II
Dungeon Keeper
Full Throttle
Grim Fandango
Ground Control
Indiana jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Knights of the Old Republic II
Little Big Adventure
Lure of the Temptress
Mark of the Ninja
Mass Effect
Mass Effect 2
Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck's Revenge
Myth: The Fallen Lords
Sam and Max Hit the Road
Secret of Monkey Island
Sim City 2000
Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels
Syndicate Wars
System Shock
Theme Park
The Longest Journey
The Settlers II
The Witcher 2
Thief II
Thief: Deadly Shadows
TIE Fighter
To The Moon
UFO - Enemy Unknown
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
Warhammer: Dark Omen
XCOM - Enemy Unknown

Christ but the PC has been host to some amazing games.

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It's a hard list to create. Those games up there in my list I do genuinely love to bits but there's so many more I could replace them with. Blood just came to mind as well. AAAAAAHHHH, choices, and I can't believe I forgot Quake 1. Fuck.

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