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. Today, we continue the countdown with #40 through #31.
We'd also like to take a moment to recognize Chatty's watcherxp and sincerely thank him for his efforts in compiling this list. The staff tips its hat to you.
Catch up with the previous games on the list:
The Shacknews Chatty Community's Top 100 PC Games of All-Time #100 through #80
The Shacknews Chatty Community's Top 100 PC Games of All-Time #79 through #61
The Shacknews Chatty Community's Top 100 PC Games of All-Time #60 through #41
#40 - Max Payne
The original Max Payne was one of gaming's first introductions to bullet time. It was the dark, gritty action-filled world of a man that sought to avenge the brutal murder of his family. Max Payne showed just what Remedy was capable of and the studio has only blossomed since their 2001, honing their storytelling craft and growing from there.
"I usually don't play FPS for the story, but Max Payne was a gritty story with interesting characters and solid one-liners. The action was brilliant at the time, by slowing time and a smooth animation to give you some amazing control and power while still staying in the realish realm of shooters. It was enjoyable to go into every fire fight from beginning to the end. The use of items was innovative and fit the difficulty very well. Each boss had some challenge and fun trick and I loved the feeling of being Max Payne."
"BULLET MOTHERF***ING TIME.
Plus, you know, a really fucking great noir story with fantastic voice acting and setting."
"It's like the Matrix!"
#39 - Dark Souls
From Software cemented itself as a legendary developer with this masochistic adventure. It was difficulty personified, yet it never felt unfair. Dark Souls had nailed down the intangible element that would keep players coming back after every single YOU DIED that popped up in front of them. It's a test of player will, perseverance, and determination. It's in a class of its own.
"Immersion via relentlessly demanding your effort, focus, and attention. No other game really makes you feel accomplished like this does."
"Worst port ever of the best game ever!"
#38 - Homeworld
There was a time when Relic once sailed through the cosmos, rather than in the trenches of World War II. In 2000, the studio created Homeworld, the first 3D RTS to grace PC. Not only did it break new ground in the RTS genre, but it also scratched the itch for anyone looking for strategy set in outer space. It's a true classic from a studio well versed in real-time strategy.
"I pretty much only played racing and first person shooters before this game"
"Unique take on the RTS game. Beautiful graphics, excellent strategy, units were diverse and fun. There was nothing like it at the time."
"I love space games and I love RTS games. This is both. Great story and music."
"Totally blew my mind when it came out. And my poor 2 MB ATi GPU. 3Dfx card to the rescue!"
-Sailor of Fortune
"The opening scene alone makes this game worthy of admission."
"Space RTS with a fantastic story and fierce tactical battles. the third dimension not being as important as straight line tactics take the fore, but the greater scales and freedom give you more time to mourn the incoming losses of your hard earned fleet. The motivation to find home after being surprise attacked is felt even more as you are being beaten about the galaxy."
#37 - Left 4 Dead
Once upon a time, zombies in video games was a fresh idea. Nobody grasped the appeal of zombies quite like Valve and Turtle Rock Studios, who parlayed the Source engine into a co-op classic. Left 4 Dead mixed precision FPS mechanics with the tension of avoiding several different zombie types. The result was pure undead bliss.
"This is one of those games where I just could not stop playing for months at a time. Sometimes, it's the simplicity of a game that makes it work so well, and versus mode added so much more fun and variety to what was out on the market at the time."
"#1 game to play with dognose"
"An innovative and fresh take on multiplayer gaming. The feeling of pulling off a perfectly coordinated team wipe as the infected is hard to top in any game."
"SO many great evenings with friends in this game. Well balanced, great soundscape and auditory cues, several excellent mechanics to accommodate those who are as likely to shoot themselves or their teammates as the zombies."
"I think this will be a defining game for a genre not yet fleshed out. A little of rocket arena/counterstrike popularity in the round based game but with a whole lot more teamwork. A lot of improvements can be made to this type of game but some serious fun is to be had battling away with your friends against the unending horde with dwindling health."
#36 - Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
While Civilization was based on real-world history, Firaxis had some bold ideas for a spin-off that would center around the future. Instead of playing the past that was, players would now play the future as we imagined it would become. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri brought 4X gameplay to a galactic world influenced by some of the very best in science fiction. It was unlike anything done before and it's a big part of the reason why fans are so pumped for the upcoming spiritual successor known as Civilization: Beyond Earth.
"So far, the pinnacle of the TBS genre in my mind. It took everything I loved about Civ 2, and brought in alien weirdness. I'm excited for the upcoming Civ game, but I'm not sure it'll ever match this."
"A turn based strategy game with more setting and story than most RPGs. This is easily my favorite strategy game and one of the most believable sci-fi settings in a game ever."
"I didn't get this game when it came out. I picked it up for a couple of dollars at a garage sale one day. It turned out to be one of the best random purchases I ever made. I would spend countless hours building customized prototypes of weapons to crush my enemies, always hitting the end turn button, always saying, 'just one more turn...'"
"As much as I am excite for Beyond Earth, I don't think it'll ever touch this masterpiece."
-Sailor of Fortune
"For me, a perfect mixing of Civ gameplay in a modern/future setting. Be right back, the drones need me."
#35 - The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
The Elder Scrolls had begun to hit its stride, thanks to this epic adventure that encouraged exploration in a vast, living world. It had an emphasis on freedom to complement its rich narrative. More than that, though, it also fully supported mods, allowing users to create whole new worlds based around The Elder Scrolls. It was a triumph for both RPGs and fans of user-generated content.
"Before hand holding took over the gaming community, this game was the pinnacle of epic adventures. It was sometimes rough around the edges, but the story, scope, soundtrack, graphics, and gameplay easily made up for it."
"Although less polished than later iterations, no other Elder Scrolls game has had a more interesting and varied world as Morrowind. It really feels like you were in an alien world. This was before the age of heavy polish and balancing. It was a game that embraced the fact that it was unbalanced and highly exploitable by letting the clever or dedicated player become powerful to the level of godlike. Seriously, I killed a god in this game, one I was never supposed to even fight."
"Morrowind was actually the first Elder Scrolls game I played. I don’t know what about it hooked me, but it was another one that was almost instantaneous. Maybe it was the ability to create your own spells that would make you virtually invincible, maybe it was the klepto nature of stealing everything in sight, or maybe it was just a fantastically made RPG. They have only gotten better since."
"My favorite from the Elder Scrolls series so far. Skyrim was balls out amazing, but the otherworldly setting of Morrowind helps clinch it for me."
#34 - Minecraft
What can you say about the monster that Notch has created? In a gaming landscape that emphasized shooting and destruction, Minecraft was a game that truly emphasized creation. It's biggest criticism is that it's essentially a LEGO-inspired world, but that's literally the game's greatest strength. Its simplicity, freedom, and endless possibilities have captivated an entire generation and its influence will be felt for decades to come. It may very well be worth every penny of the $2.5 billion that Microsoft is paying.
"Others tried building this before (Blockland came out in 2005), but Notch managed to capture lightning in a bottle by adding monsters to the formula. I'm a little bummed that the innovation seen in the early builds seems to have slowed, but it's still a super fun game."
"Accidentally transcendent. The greatest gaming gateway drug of perhaps all time. Capable of evoking raw emotion among gamers young and old."
"Second time I've ever had that fluttery feeling in my stomach when my first world was laid before me, raw, beautiful."
"While I personally haven't gotten into Minecraft, its impact on PC gaming can not be understated. At a time when consoles are growing in prominence, Minecraft introduced an entire generation to PC gaming. Setting up servers, installing mods, playing with both friends and strangers, Minecraft is this generation's Quake."
"My only regrets with this game are not trying it sooner and the hypothetical hours played over all of the versions that I thankfully will never able to even guess at unlike on Steam and WoW"
"I probably have more hours into this game than all the rest on this list."
"The most sold PC game, launched an entire genre, started quite a few YouTube careers and is even used in the classroom. Yes, this game belongs in the first place."
"This really is just digital LEGOs. I don't know what about his game makes me keep coming back to it, and every time I do I find something enjoyable about it that will hook me back in for quite a few months. Maybe it's the OCD nature of clearing out a massive mine shaft perfectly or just the crazy stuff you can do in it when you really get deep but Minecraft is an amazing game that everyone should play. Well designed and simple for anyone. Shackhype sold me on the game three years ago and I have loved every minute of it."
#33 - Battlefield 1942
In terms of Shacknews history, it's hard to overlook Battlefield 1942. With its capability to hold up to 64 players, its five classes and dozens of vehicles helped make it the perfect Shackbattle game and it would become a weekly mainstay for many years. At the end of the day, it became a casualty of the Gamespy shutdown, but it's a classic that's not forgotten by anyone that ever experienced it.
"Dun dun dun DUN DUN DUN! Dun dun dun DUN DUN DUN DUN!"
"Spawned the weekly, large scale Shackbattle. The best multiplayer gathering for quite a few years."
"I still remember this taking over the Quakecon BYOC one PC at a time one year when the original demo was released. By Saturday night everyone was playing it - constant crashes and all."
"Seriously, how much fun did you have doing stupid tricks with the physics? Many hours of online play."
"Also helped with my addiction to Q3. My first LAN party, 15 of us played the demo. I was instantly taken by how versatile the gameplay could be. One of my favorite gaming moments also came out of this game, but that's a long story."
#32 - Portal 2
One of the breakout hits of The Orange Box was a little experimental 3D puzzle platformer called Portal. Portal 2 was a full-on expansion of the concept, adding whole new puzzles and an expanded narrative that helped introduce some unforgettable new characters like Wheatley and Cave Johnson. Also, GLaDOS would further cement her place as one of the best characters in all of modern gaming. This is all without even mentioning the addition of co-op play, which would allow friends the opportunity to collaborate on finding puzzle solutions. It was every bit as phenomenal a puzzle game as its predecessor.
"Building off the amazing proof of concept that was Portal 1, Portal 2 mixes action, puzzle solving, humor, and platforming in with little references to the Half-Life universe. One of the funniest games I have ever played. It did an excellent job finding the balance between puzzles being too easy and frustratingly hard."
"Another great Valve game loved the progression of the game and the puzzle difficulty balance well enough that I never slowed down too much"
"The puzzles are difficult, the art direction is incredible, and some voice tells you things like 'Well done. Here come the test results: 'You are a horrible person.' That's what it says: a horrible person. We weren't even testing for that,' you know it's over the top."
"If Valve never releases another story-based experience, they can still point to Portal 2. If Valve never releases another co-op puzzle game, they can point to Portal 2 co-op."
#31 - Deus Ex: Human Revolution
The Deus Ex franchise had been painfully absent from the gaming world for years, meaning expectations for the next installment were through the roof. Eidos Montreal proved more than up for the challenge and exceeded just about all of those expectations with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Crafting a fully realized cyberpunk world that capably blended FPS action with RPG progression and dialogue choices, Human Revolution was the Deus Ex experience that everyone hoped for. The few flaws it had were later addressed in the Director's Cut, making DX:HR arguably one of the best instalments in the series.
"Rarely does a game that is anticipated for so long, deliver so fully. DX:HR was a masterpiece!"
"The most compelling aspect of the Deus Ex series (excluding Invisible War) is how it manages to capitalize on our contemporary fears of trans/post-humanism. These games are close enough to the present that the games' social commentary have the capacity to resonate deeply for the audience, and that's more than you can say for most games! Despite my abiding love of the series, there is one standout title that bears mentioning: Deus Ex: Human Revolution. If there is one thing to say about DX:HR, it is that everything about the game is well designed. Their modern execution of story meshed with renewed gameplay elements from the original game really speaks volumes about the skill of the Eidos Montreal studio. As well, the game has a beautiful neo-Renaissance aesthetic that is incredibly unique and surprisingly stylish; it has one of the most impactful aesthetics from a visual standpoint that I have seen in a game. Not only does DX:HR excel visually, but their audio choices are so spot-on. Michael McCann's soundtrack has a hopeful but dystopian feel that meshes perfectly with the game. Elias Toufexis' raspy but gruff voice is iconic as Adam Jensen, as is Stephen Shellen's David Sarif. Overall, this game is a complete package. The Director's Cut tightens up nearly every flaw in the game, to the point where this game borders on perfection."
"I never asked for this"
"My first 'modern' PC game choice, one of my favorite games of the last generation. An engaging and intricate story with a badass protagonist, so much customization of your gameplay style, and amazing cyberpunk designs. The aesthetics and soundtrack of this game fit the theme so perfectly."
"DX:HR is a monument to art direction. Despite the less than bleeding edge game engine, the dev team managed to create a world that is tonally consistent and is in many locations mind-blowingly beautiful. It's subtle philosophies towards how to handle the players agency of deciding whether to use lethal force or not lead to in my eyes, a level of player/character agency that is unparalleled. I've written more about this game on the shack than probably anyone else on the site. I could write entire essays about this game."
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 10 games on the list!
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Shacknews Chatty Community's Top 100 PC Games of All-Time: #40-31.
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 #40 through #31!
Morrowind only #36? Blasphemy.
Dark Souls better than some of the stuff already on this list? Bold claim.
Don't get me wrong, I like Dark Souls but the Prepare to Die Edition was not what I would call a model port.