Release year 1999 Last position New entry
Richard For the five people who could actually play it at launch, Outcast was an eye-opening glimpse into the kind of game we now take for granted, years before anyone else could even think about pulling it off. Its sprawling organic 3D worlds made it look like a tech demo, but every bit as much care was given to the action-RPG within. Populated by AI considered revolutionary at the time, this was a real place with a real sense of life; goofy in the classic tradition of French games, but absolutely serious about giving us a Legend of Zelda game to be proud of. And it pulled it off splendidly.
48 ARMA 2
Release year 2009 Last position New entry
Evan Arma's simulation of what it's like to shoot a gun, fly a Harrier, or jog endlessly through the Czech Republic isn't so much about its authenticity, but the way it stimulates unforgettable co-op antics with my friends. I've never been so happy to be in a helicopter when it's hit by an anti-air missile, if only because I get to yell “Eject, eject!” very dramatically.
47 FRONTIER: ELITE II
Release year 1993 Last position New entry
Craig The only reason my words are here is because of Frontier. It made me want to tell people about my adventures in the stars, as I worked from a merchant to a lethal military assassin, and finally struck out to see what the billions of star systems were hiding. I still can't quite believe it existed in 1993.
46 DUKE NUKEM 3D
Release year 1996 Last position New entry
John More than just rude Doom with jetpacks, this was a product of the action-movie industry, referencing the Alien, Terminator and Die Hard films while the Duke himself was equipped with the lines of Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. Brave, vulgar, violent and never forgettable.
Emanuel Duke's juvenile jokes are a distraction from what made it great: its creative, multi-tiered levels and awesome weapons. Design-wise it could teach today's corridor shooters a thing or two.
45 DAY OF THE TENTACLE
Release year 1993 Last position 32
Richard Adventures come in many forms, and DotT is the height of the 'puzzle box' type—an intricate collection of gears that connect so well, you don't even see it happening.
Ian This was the first time I realised that games could be funny. The absurdity and whimsy on display as Purple Tentacle works to outsmart a bunch of teenage misfits is still entertaining two decades later.
Release year 2014 Last position New entry
Tim The whiners will say it's too simple, or too pay-to-win. Both wrong. I'm too ashamed to admit how much money I've dropped on card packs, but suffice to say more Legendaries is no guaranteed path to Hearthstone success. The only sure route is the relentless practice required to understand how cards synergise with each other, which plays are optimal, and how to counter the brutally strong copy/ pasted decks that dominate Ranked play. Short version: it's eaten my life.
Samuel It has a decaying effect on my wellbeing but I somehow still love it. One of the most generous free-to-play games out there.
Release year 2009 Last position 33
Wes Some gamers can play Spelunky exclusively for months, the way others play Counter-Strike or Dota. But Spelunky isn't a competitive game—its enemies, environments and items just work together so well, you can play for hundreds of hours and still discover new things.
Evan I love that it lets me be as agile and risky or clever and careful as I please. Imagine what gaming would be like if a generation had grown up playing this instead of Mario?
42 THE WITCHER 2
Release year 2011 Last position 30
Wes Where the first Witcher was rough but promising, Witcher 2 is polished to a beautiful shine, packed with interesting quests, morally corrupt characters and a fascinating mystery that ties deep into its lore. It's greatest strength is the uncompromising darkness of its world: there's rarely a right or wrong choice, just a hard one.
Richard Gave it an 89% at launch. Stand by that, quite a bit was a mess. But its updates since would easily push it into the 90s. Please let Witcher 3 be great at launch.
41 ARMA 3
Release year 2013 Last position New entry
Evan You haven't shot a gun in a videogame until you've used math, binoculars, map-reading, and a pile of intuition to knock someone down at 1400 meters with a scope. What's more PC than an open-world sandbox that honours your ideas?
Ian It's greatest strength is the freedom it gives you. Altis feels like a real place, and the community constantly surprises me with new things to do.