The 100 best PC games of all time
60. Counter-Strike: Source
Release Date: 2004
Last year: 13
Craig: When it came out, it felt so clean and precise, my first glimpse of the Source engine in full flow, Valve showing off that they could still pull off a hardcore shooter whenever they wanted to. I’m fickle, so having it in a new engine instantly elevated it over it’s older brother. Sharper headshots, sickening blood splats and the amazing ragdoll deaths.
Evan: God, that ragdoll. The greatest possible reward for blasting a counter-terrorist with my AK is watching him tumble over a guard rail and crumple into a pile of limbs.
Cooper: Besides Counter-Strike, what other game could cause mass debates with the naming of a weapon? Seriously, walk into a LAN center and say “AWP” and watch the chairs go flying. Counter-Strike: Source is a near-flawless transition of classic CS to the modern(ish) era, and contains some of the most addictive, pick-up and play combat of any online shooter.
Release Date: 2001
Last year: 61
Tony: There’s ‘unique’, and then there’s Anachronox - a ramshackle game that doesn’t know whether it’s film-noir, sci-fi comedy, a JRPG or a superhero comic. Your gun has 250 million different settings. One planet you visit gets cut in half, another shrinks and becomes your team-mate. Why aren’t there more games like this?
58. Day of The Tentacle
Release Date: 1993
Last year: 38
John: Monkey Island 2 can suck my tentacle. This is the best comedy adventure of all time. Constantly inventive and hilarious, the puzzles are better than anything previously or since. There should be some sort of law in place that says all games should feature fake barf and wooden teeth.
57. Dungeon Keeper
Release Date: 1997
Last year: 55
Tom S: Where to begin? There was the dark sense of humour, and the OCD pleasure of organising my dungeon and carving it out of the rock. Then there were the units themselves. Those squiggly sprites held more personality than most RPG characters I've met. They were selfish, spoiled little brats, but they were my brats. when I saw my Bile demons obliterate a host of Elves in a cloud of noxious farts, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of pride. Go get 'em, lads.
56. Wurm Online
Release Date: 2006
Last year: New entry
Graham: Wurm Online is all about context-sensitive menus, with 20 clicks to build a wall and 40 to mine some rock, but over a single month and a hundred hours of play, I helped settle a fantasy world frontier. I built my own house, assisted in building a huge underground tunnel, and watched as my fellow villages started creating 3D models to plan a proposed village re-build. Play it with a good community and take down some bears, and clicking is always rewarded.
Ed: I lived in a hut with Jaz, protecting trees from overlogging. When Jaz’s wife started playing, I helped make her a nice cosy house next door to ours. Me and Jaz still lived together afterwards though. It was best not to ask.
55. Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
Release Date: 2003
Last year: 69
Rich: Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory was never about the shooting. I played the medic class like a guardian angel, skipping through rivulets of bullets to reach shot-up team-mates and nurse them back to health. These days, clever team play is as important to online FPSes as lethal mouse-skills - so I’m pinning the rise of objective-based shooters squarely on Enemy Territory’s proud Allied/evil Nazi chest.
54. Thief II: The Metal Age
Release Date: 2000
Last year: 9
Craig: Garret is a private eye in a Steampunk world. Back when there were new genres to explore, Thief birthed the stealth game. I love the first, but Thief 2 has more thievery in it, rooftops to explore, tortuously difficult mansions to vanish in. It’s the game that’s informed the way I play pretty every other game since: sitting in the dark, scoping for opportunity, making decisive movements.
53. System Shock
Release Date: 1994
Last year: New entry
Richard: Its engines haven’t dated well, but the System Shock series doesn’t need high technology to impress. It only needs SHODAN, its unforgettable villain, whose pitch-perfect voicework will chill your spine as you poke around her deep-space mausoleums to find out just what the hell happened. You pitiful insect, you…
52. Star Control 2
Release Date: 1990
Last year: 54
Desslock: A true hybrid, Star Control 2 was an open-ended, interstellar adventure with combat ripped out of Asteriods. You could easily actually lose if you were tardy in unraveling its universe’s mysteries, and yet the prospect of finding a precious rainbow world or being berated by new race of witty blobs tempted you to meander.
51. Quake 3
Release Date: 1999
Last year: 22
Graham: The finest deathmatch and capture the flag game ever made. Yeah, I’ve played Unreal Tournament, and I enjoy it, and I know it’s higher placed in the Top 100 this year, but those losers are wrong. Quake 3 is multiplayer gaming distilled into its purest form. Its power-ups are perfectly balanced, its levels reward experience and allow for wondrous aerobic feats of death, and its weapons are the most satisfying in gaming. Fuck Facing Worlds.