If you’re a PC gamer, there’s a very strong chance you love spaceships. It just comes with the territory. And in the long, storied history of PC gaming, we’ve flown and served on a huge variety of amazing imaginary spacecraft. Space is the final frontier, and in reality we’ve yet to conquer its terrifying, infinite blackness. But in videogames we are its masters, striding across the stars in fantastic ships like lords of the cosmos. So, to celebrate this, here are some of our favourite spaceships from PC games.
Normandy SR-2, Mass Effect 2
The Normandy served as Commander Shepard’s ship across all three Mass Effect games, and came in a variety of flavours. Our favourite version is the SR-2 from Mass Effect 2, which saw the military-grade ship getting a Cerberus makeover. Moody orange lighting, a bar, an observation deck, and an office for Miranda were among the improvements that the Systems Alliance definitely wouldn’t approve of. No matter how chaotic things got, returning to the Normandy in its various guises always felt like coming home.
USG Ishimura, Dead Space
After stripping the Earth of all its resources and risking their own extinction, the human race spreads out into space to look for other planets to harvest. This results in the invention of the Planet Crackers, a class of giant mining ship that splits planets in half. The USG Ishimura is the first of its kind: a vast floating city that might have been a nice place to live if it wasn’t for all the blood and terrifying mutants. Before things went bad, the crew would entertain themselves by playing zero-gravity basketball.
USCSS Torrens, Alien: Isolation
The Torrens is a commercial transport that brings Amanda Ripley to Sevastopol, a starport that has a serious bug infestation. Like many ships in the Alien series, the name Torrens is related to author Joseph Conrad: in this instance a real-life ship he served on before becoming a writer. The Torrens is a refitted towing ship: the same model, in fact, that Amanda’s mother, Ripley, served on in the 1979 film: the USCSS Nostromo. That explains the similar layout inside, including the famous crew dining area.
Ebon Hawk, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Crime lord and scoundrel Davik Kang, former owner of the Ebon Hawk, describes it as “the fastest ship in the Outer Rim.” A familiar story indeed. The ship, a Dynamic-class freighter designed by the Republic Navy, becomes the personal vessel of the hero (or villain, depending on how you play) of Knights of the Old Republic. Even though it’s a bit of a rust-bucket, the ship is instrumental in the discovery of the Star Forge superweapon, ultimately saving the galaxy. Not bad for an old smuggler’s ship.
Sidewinder, Elite Dangerous
There are far better ships in Elite, of course, but we have a soft spot for the trusty old Sidewinder. This robust, reliable all-rounder is the starting ship of any new pilot looking to make a name for themselves in the Milky Way. It can hold its own in a fight, although most players will trade it in as soon as they get the chance. It’s cheap—free, in fact—but it’s still one of the best ships in the game in terms of maneuverability. It can out-turn most ships, although its weak hull and slow speed ultimately let it down.
Kushan Mothership, Homeworld
The desert planet of Kharak is destroyed by the Taiidan Empire, robbing the Kushan of their homeworld. The survivors escape in this vast mothership, and protecting it becomes your responsibility. The ship is designed to carry 600,000 cryogenically frozen Kushan, and requires a large crew of 50,000 to operate. It’s basically a colossal man-made planet, and the last hope for the people who live aboard her. It took the Kushan 60 years to build the mothership, which is a dizzying 25 kilometres long.
Ragnarok, Final Fantasy VIII
While most of the starships in this article are of the blocky, hard sci-fi, gunmetal grey variety, Final Fantasy VIII’s Ragnarok is an absurd red thing that could only have come from the wild mind of designer Tetsuya Nomura. It’s described in the game as a ‘Super High Mobility Flying Ship’, but let’s just call it a spaceship. The Ragnarok is VIII’s equivalent of the classic Final Fantasy airship, and you can use it in the later stages of the game to fly freely around the world map as this uplifting music plays.
Coercer, EVE Online
This choice will undoubtedly annoy some EVE players, but the number and variety of ships in the game is so great that anything we pick would. We’ve always loved the gold metal and smooth lines of the Amarr ships in EVE, and the Coercer is a personal favourite. Designed to hunt and destroy fast-moving frigates, it’s a slender, elegant thing that you can stick bloody loads of turrets to. There’s something very appealing about its unique shape, even if it is, by EVE standards, a pretty low-class ship.
UNSC Pillar of Autumn
The Pillar of Autumn is a legendary ship in the Halo universe. It’s where, in the first game, we’re introduced to John-117, better known as Master Chief, and was instrumental in the events of Halo: Reach. In the first game the Pillar of Autumn was responsible for the destruction of Halo, a superweapon that threatened to wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy. The ship crashed on the ringworld and Master Chief and Cortana worked together to detonate its fusion reactors and destroy the weapon.
Mothership, StarCraft II
“With its ability to warp the fabric of space and time itself,” says Wings of Liberty hero Jim Raynor. “This monster of a ship really is a weapon without equal." An appropriately dramatic description for this Protoss capital ship, which uses a colossal khaydarin crystal to channel psionic energy and crack the very fabric of space-time. Its primary weapon is a so-called purifier beam, which can wipe out squadrons of enemy ships in the blink of an eye. Motherships are powerful, but take a long time to build as a result.