There have been expansive lists for the best PC games before. That's nothing new. But the Shacknews' Chatty community is comprised largely of diehard PC gamers that have expoused the virtues of desktop gaming for over decades. So it only seems right that this core group of dedicated users take several weeks to evalute and organize a list of the best of the best in PC games.
This is the fruit of their efforts, led by Chatty's watcherxp. After weeks of tallying votes taken over our Chatty boards and privately channels, this is the list of the Top 100 PC Games of All-Time, starting with #100 through #81 and unfolding throughout the week.
#100 - Descent
The 1994 effort from Parallax Software saw players venture across labyrinthine mines in a first-person 3D setting. Innovative for the time, Descent featured six degrees of movement, something not offered by many of its contemporaries of the period.
"Incredible multiplayer (kali/khan) gut twisting flight model."
"This and Descent II were some of the best times I had PC gaming. Right up there with Doom and Quake but not topping them."
"This FPS space shooter was so cool! I loved the controls, and I would play the hell out of an Oculus port of it!"
-the man with the briefcase
#99 - The Longest Journey
Though point-and-click adventures appeared to be reaching their twilight, The Longest Journey stood out as one of the very best to ever see the light of day. This 1999 effort from Funcom featured interactive puzzles, a pair of magical parallel worlds, and unforgettable characters like April Ryan.
"In my opinion there is no better told story or more endearing characters in all of video games. This isn't just a good story for a game. It would be a fantastic story."
"It's probably strange to rank this one up above the many other incredible games in the adventure genre. I don't care, I'm a sucker for massive narratives and overly detailed fantasy worlds. A handful of terrible puzzles and minor annoyances with the protagonist don't detract from this being the most unique, well-realized and endearing fantasy world that gaming has to offer."
#98 - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
This was the game that set the standard for first-person shooters. In a gaming landscape stuck in World War II, Infinity Ward brought the battle to the modern era. FPS games, for the most part, haven't looked back. Yes, Call of Duty is considered by many to be a shell of its former self nowadays, but for most of that same crowd, Modern Warfare represents the peak of the series.
"You can say what you want about where this series went, but the SP campaign had me white knuckled. Re-playing it makes you wonder where this series could have gone and didn't. Ugh, I'm leaving out so many great titles and this one makes the list. I feel kind of bad about that."
"Infinity Ward accidentally stumbled into making a brilliant game with minimal bullsh*t. No COD game since has come anywhere near as close to being as good."
#97 - Team Fortress Classic
Before the era of Sandviches, entertaining video shorts, and its now-recognizable adult cartoon aesthetic, Team Fortress was as serious as they came. With capture the flag, VIP, and territory control sessions contested with nine classes, TFC set the table for what would eventually become Valve's unstoppable juggernaut.
"I spent way too much time playing this game. I miss concussion-jumping medics and being able to infect people as they leave spawn, and then when they turn around back into their spawn, they infect their teammates."
#96 - Unreal Tournament 2004
Before taking their talents to consoles, Epic Games helped further refine the arena shooter genre by combining their efforts with several other studios to create Unreal Tournament 2004. Not the first of the franchise, but arguably the best, UT2004 featured fast-paced action, on foot and on wheels, across ten game modes and over a hundred maps.
"UT2k4 is in my eyes the peak of arena shooters and best represents mindless shooting glory."
"I debated which Unreal Tournament game to include on this list. I played tons of the original game, and 2003 was an absolutely enormous update to the original game, but 2004 included everything from 2003 and added the sorely missing Assult gametype that was so amazing in the original Unreal Tournament game."
#95 - Dwarf Fortress
Combining exploration with roguelike structure, Dwarf Fortress was the best in minimalistic fun. Even with its simplistic graphics style, creator Tarn Adams still introduced procedurally-generated worlds that led to hours of fun for all.
"One man's insane magnum opus ten years in the making and counting. Endlessly engrossing and absolutely unique."
"This game broke so many barriers in gameplay, despite not having graphics to speak of. Immensely satisfying to play."
"No game could be more of a PC game, it is pure complexity and requires the player bring their all, and in return it holds unlimited riches."
#94 - Counter-Strike: Source
It's no secret that Chatty loves Counter-Strike and 2004's Source took the series into the 21st century, with a graphical upgrade and the same classic gameplay that made the original so great. Even with Global Offensive out there, many have stuck to Source and its classic, simple atmosphere.
"Step one: buy weapons
Step two: kill
Step three: buy better weapons"
#93 - Command & Conquer
One of the very best in real-time strategy games. This was the one that started it all. The 1995 RTS from Westwood Studios saw players gather resources to create buildings, combat units, and new technology to take the first straight to either the Global Defense Initiative or the Brotherhood of Nod. More than that, though, it offered four-player online multiplayer, a rarity for the time period.
"This is the best RTS I've ever played. I love it to this day. Even the INSTALLER was epic!"
#92 - Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
Of course, if any game could top Command & Conquer, it would be the 2000 sequel to Red Alert. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 had the Allies and the Soviets doing battle during the twilight of the Soviet Union. With two campaigns to play through, players could either wipe them out, once and for all, or bring the Russians back to prominence.
"First RTS series I played. The FMV scenes were silly and fun. Great strategy and cool units and upgrades. Completing the missions was very rewarding."
#91 - Unreal
Before Unreal Tournament, there was Unreal. The 1998 first-person shooter from the future Epic Games (then Epic MegaGames) quickly set the table for its future sequels by not only establishing a manic action-filled world, but also setting the standard for physics engines in an FPS.
"Another groundbreaking FPS. Added large, open areas to the traditional 'hallway' FPS's. Beautiful graphics, cool weapons, and challenging AI."
#90 - Jagged Alliance 2
Freedom of movement means a lot in games nowadays and Jagged Alliance 2 was among the first strategy games to exercise this idea. With non-linear gameplay, characters that interact with one another throughout the game, and a massive variety of weapons available, the 1999 release offered some heavy action, as well as replayability.
"Still ahead of many other games that feature characters interacting with each other. So many guns and so many ways to play out the campaign. Still discovering something new so many years later."
-Sailor of Fortune
"I've purchased this game 5 times and put in so many hundreds of hours"
#89 - Mirror's Edge
The first-person free-running action of Mirror's Edge was unlike anything seen during a time of FPS after FPS after FPS. Faith's 2008 adventure is still considered one of DICE's major triumphs and, eventually, fans clamored hard enough that publisher Electronic Arts finally has a sequel in the works.
"2007-2008 was a hell of a time for first person. This game has plenty of faults. The story feels a bit half-baked. The difficulty could be aggravating and that tutorial was pure frustration, but it felt like it was one of the few titles that stood out and offered promise for the first person format. We need more of that."
"Best game evah"
#88 - Mechwarrior 2
Before Titanfall, there was Mechwarrior and Activision's 1995 mech-based shooter stands out among the best there ever was. Not only did it blend together first-person combat and tactical simulation, but it also had an amazing electronic soundtrack.
"Badass soundtrack. Best intro to a video game ever! Piloting giant stompy robots has never been so badass!"
"Father of all PC sims."
"I LOVE giant mechs, and this was the first game I played that let me control one. Missions were challenging and obtaining new mechs and building them out was a blast."
#87 - Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss
The Ultima games stand as one of the best RPG series ever made. But there were also a few spinoffs of Richard Garriott's great tale. This one combined the great talents of Bethesda and Id Software to create one of the first instances of first-person action on a 3D map. It may not be a main Ultima entry, but it's still one of the greatest.
"To say this is the best dungeon game we've ever played is quite an understatement"
#86 - Wolfenstein 3D
Ah, the classic take on the fight against the Nazis. Castle Wolfenstein started it all, but Wolfenstein 3D brought the series into a golden age and proudly stands alongside Doom and Quake as a staple of PC gaming in the mid-90s. Unsurprisingly, it still resonates with anyone that's ever played it.
"This game has to be on the list. It created a genre that dominated my life as an adolescent and has continued to have a huge impact into my adult life. I was young when it came out but I played it and loved it."
"Following close on the heels on Castle Adventure was Wolfenstein, the 2nd game I can remember playing ever. It was the game that really got me into games, the game that got me into shooters, and the game that got me in PC’s. Also I’m Jewish and I remember my mom walking into the office in our house and asking what I was playing. I told her what it was and that “I was a good guy because I was killing Nazi’s” she laughed and walked out. My parents were great about a lot of stuff haha."
#85 - Myst
The original 1993 adventure game that wasn't about to hold your hand. Myst didn't just encourage blind exploration, it simply expected it, setting you right in a vast world with no instructions, objectives, or tutorials. It may not have been everyone's flavor, but there's no denying that Myst's influence still resonates, with games like Device 6 not hesitating to throw players right into the fire.
"Adventure games were probably my first (or one of the first) PC gaming experiences and this is the one that sticks out most to me. Admittedly never beat it as I was less than 10 years old when I first played it. The puzzles were so hard to figure out but it was so cool to wander around and so satisfying when you finally did figure something out."
"While its game play is simplistic by today's standards, this game basically sold CD-Roms to 1000s of gamers and pushed hardware forward."
#84 - Heroes of Might and Magic III
Creator Jon Van Caneghem released Heroes of Might and Magic III in 1999 and though it played close to its predecessors, it was considered to have improved upon them in every way. With eight different town and castle types to explore and conquer, players quickly got lost in the fantasy of not just the monsters that lay before them, but also of the mythical legends that fought by their side.
"Ultimately, the rewards of Heroes of Might and Magic III far outweigh its few drawbacks. Hopefully most of those shortcomings will be patched, but even as it stands now HOMMIII is a game that strategy fans should absolutely be playing."
-Robert Coffey (CGW)
#83 - Total Annihilation
This 1997 RTS from Cavedog took the genre into the future, taking players out into the cosmos for galactic combat with robots, vehicles, hovercrafts, and other space age units. Total Annihilation was one of the first RTS games to feature the gradual buildup of resources, something not seen at the time. Total Annihilation's resource system would prove to be a major influence on the future of the genre, with games like Company of Heroes adopting it for their own.
"One of the best RTS ever designed. The Resource management was unique, and intuitive, and the fact they released free units over time, for free."
"Epic massive battles with appropriately epic music."
-Sailor of Fortune
#82 - Saints Row: The Third
While the 3rd Street Saints took Stilwater by storm in the first two games of the series, it was the third game in the trilogy that saw the gang expand their reach nationwide. This was also the point that developer Volition hit their stride, finally coming out of the Grand Theft Auto shadow to become a monster franchise in its own right.
"I didn't play the first two Saints games but The Third didn't seem to care! So much fun."
#81 - Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
There's a reason that everyone looks to Max Payne's second adventure as one of his best. That reason is bullet time, with Rockstar implementing the technique as well as it possibly could in a video game setting. Max Payne 2's success in 2003 was a big step forward for Rockstar, further carving out a bright future for the studio.
"Film Noir meets The Matrix. It's hard to explain why I like the early MP games so much, no single element of them really stands out as incredible (except maybe that Poets of the Fall song, god damn do I love that band), but the graphics, gameplay, story, characters and world are all solid and tied together with a good emotional core that makes the experience memorable."
#80 - Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
Wolfenstein 3D may have helped define the 90s, but Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory helped bring a new multiplayer experience to the series in 2003. Though the full retail release never saw the light of day, the multiplayer component was released as freeware and thousands of Wolfenstein fans eagerly ate up the character classes and the six-map campaigns. The source code was released a year after the game's release and continues to thrive today, thanks to a dedicated modding community.
"At one point Wolfenstein 3D was my favorite game of all time. WolfET was the first team / role based shooter I played and I loved it. Many a night was spent on this game and it may be the game I have spent to most hours playing."
"The only multiplayer game I played in a clan setting and even released a map for (as part of a mapping contest) The amount of time I sunk into this game dwarfs most other games on this list."
"I'm not big on class based shooters. It's the lingering sense that you can easily disappoint others by not re-spawning on top of them. ET came along before that feeling washed over multiplayer gaming. It was also tight and excellently stylized."
The remainder of the Top 100 will be released throughout the week. To see the Chatty community discuss the ongoing list, be sure to check out the original Chatty thread for their reactions. Special thanks to watcherxp and the rest of the Chatty community for voting. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the next 20 games on the list!
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Shacknews Chatty Community's Top 100 PC Games of All-Time: #100-81.
After weeks of tabulating the votes, the Shacknews Chatty community has come up with their Top 100 PC Games of All-Time! Today, we count down #100 through #81!
Haha, glad you left my whole story in there.
Awesome. I'm so glad this is getting decent a front-page treatment. I was going to do it eventually if this didn't happen. ;D
Glad W:ET is in there, forgot to vote for it. "I'm a Medic!"
I'm a soldat
Morrowind better be number 1 or I'm reenabling AdBlock on Shacknews.
Man, that's crazy. #1 blows my mind.
Wow, there is a lot on here that I would have thought would be much further down the line.
Makes me think what could fill the other 80.
One thing fills the remaining 80: Controversy.
Oooo, this is cool! If there only was a way to integrate it with watcherxp's threads....
What a glorious list, I want to play every one of those games again now. Psyched for the rest.
Somebody should fix that Max Payne article and fast.
Remedy made Max Payne 2. Rockstar only did the horrible 3rd game. Remedy was the one who perfected bullet time with the first two Max Payne games.
Rockstar was only a publisher company for the first two games.
There's a reason that everyone looks to Max Payne's second adventure as one of his best. That reason is bullet time, with Remedy improving the technique as well as it possibly could in a video game setting. Max Payne 2's success in 2003 was a big step forward for Remedy, further carving out a bright future for the studio.
That's how the Max Payne 2 part should be written in the article above.
Hah, so Shack will just leave it as it is and not fix it.
Looks to be the same as the promised good feature that was supposed to be implemented back to the new design that was in the old design. The previous and next article links at the bottom of the article.
Saints Row The Third? Couldn't disagree more...