The 100 best PC games of all time

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90. Mirror's Edge

Release Date: 2009
Last year: 99

Tom: I only have to be mildly drunk before I start swearing this is the best game ever. It's not, but between the fights there's something absolutely unparalleled about the rough and tumble of scrambling around these rooftops and offices. You see yourself roll with every fall, feel every clamber, hear every breath and footfall, and at the same time you have a sense of how quiet and small it all is. Next to this vast, stingingly bright, bleach-clean city, you're completely insignificant. Apparently that's something I want to feel.

Rich: I ended up playing Mirror’s Edge on its hardest setting for no real reason. There, Faith feels as fragile as she looks: her tiny frame falling to two bullets. My awareness of her mortality bled into jumping sessions, and I’d find myself wincing as she smacked her ribs into white concrete. It also made running away into an artform: my feet and heart racing as I dodged sniper fire.

Graham: It has its problems, but what strikes me is that none of them feel like they’re the result of negligence. DICE didn’t make a single lazy assumption in designing their free-running shooter; they considered everything, from how interior design can help guide the player, to what Faith’s shoes should look like. Although not everything worked, that’s smart design. And hey, a lot of it did work. There’s no place in gaming I’d rather be than the gleaming city of Mirror’s Edge.

Tom S: Even Mirror's Edge's sewer level was a playground of primary colours interesting level design. There's a huge underground room full of huge green and white pillars and a tiny door at the very top. After ten minutes of breathless scrambling and death defying leaps the guards appear. Cue the frantic escape in a hail of gun fire. In it's best moments Mirror's Edge truly captures the thrill of the chase. Running away like a coward has never been so exciting.

89. Gothic 2

Release Date: 2002
Last year: New entry

Desslock: A spiritual successor to the Ultima series, Gothic II was the first open-world RPG in the 3D age to feature NPCs that weren’t static, quest-doling kiosks. These inhabitants had their own chores and agendas, such as luring gullible do-gooders into a mugging and smoking from bongs. No cute pet dog in this one.

88. Dungeon Siege

Release Date: 2002
Last year: New entry

Josh: My friends and I spent an entire weekend at one house bashing our way through Dungeon Siege’s zombies, spiders and other ickies. Party combat systems, the ability to pause combat, and 3D graphics were welcome additions to the frantic clicking and character progression of Diablo. Man, that pack mule could kick some serious skeleton ass when it needed to.

87. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

Release Date: 2006
Last year: New entry

Tony: That frantic, fumbling escape from your hotel room is reason enough to include this. There are other great, scary set-pieces, and behind the bugs and clunkiness, a genuine and admirable attempt to make a horror-adventure that’s both fun to play and true to the spirit of Call of Cthulhu.

86. StarCraft

Release Date: 1998
Last year: New entry

Rich: I only know of StarCraft in retrospect. My utter obsession with GomTV’s Global StarCraft II League means I spend hours listening to SC1 ex-players Tasteless and Artosis. For my own selfish needs, their eleven-year experience with the game makes my viewing experience immeasurably better; on another level, I realise that for a game to captivate a swathe of humanity like StarCraft did for a decade and a bit, it has to be special.

Dan: The quintessential edge-of-your-seat, fast-paced RTS. Mastering command of each of StarCraft's three wildly diverse, yet intricately balanced races is a challenge that few will ever achieve, but it's sure fun to try.

85. Sins of A Solar Empire

Release Date: 2008
Last year: New entry

Dan: Bombarding a planet from orbit, killing all its inhabitants and recolonizing it with your own people is a pretty good sin, I’d say.

Rich: Sometimes, when I was colonising space and sending vast capital ships to do ponderous combat against an agonisingly beautiful backdrop, I’d read the title of the game as “Bins of a Solar Empire” and laugh for ages.

Tom: Good one Rich.

84. Silent Hunter 3

Release Date: 2005
Last year: New entry

Andy: The sub sim genre really needed this one. After the disappointment of SH2, Ubisoft brought in an entirely new Romanian team to redefine the WWII submariner experience and boy did they nail it. I experienced real fear the first time I crash-dove my U-boat to escape the depth charges of a relentless British destroyer and that terror didn’t diminish one iota in the ensuing 40-minute cat-and-mouse struggle. Even Das Boot The Director’s Cut didn’t move me like this.

Tim S: The secret of SH3's sublimity is right there in the title. Unlike 98% of combat games, this one doesn't serve-up prey on silver platters. You must *hunt* for those rusty toilers of the sea, and the long hours of zigzagging and hopeful horizon-scanning ensure engagements, when they come, are sweatier than a stoker's y-fronts. Thank God Ubisoft postponed the release in order to implement freelance-friendly campaigns.

83. The Curse of Monkey Island

Release Date: 1997
Last year: New entry

Josh: Technology finally caught up to the genius emerging from the Monkey Island franchise, allowing the devs and artists to craft a perfectly-fitting cartoon world brought to life by voice actors and fueled with the same off-the-wall humor and irreverent plot lines. And who can forget Murray, the demonic talking skull?

82. MechCommander

Release Date: 1998
Last year: 66

Evan: Match all this stuff together: the personal attachment you feel for your soldiers in X-COM; MechWarrior’s intense robot customization; Diablo’s easy loot; an RTS’ pace. MechCommander isn’t simply a tactical take on MechWarrior--it’s an incredible single-player process of salvaging robot parts and amassing a team of deathbots and skilled pilots, and it plays truer to the board game roots of the franchise than FASA’s first-person version.

81. Kings Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

Release Date: 1992
Last year: New entry

Josh: Shipwrecked on a beach; a nightingale singing in a tree; battling a minotaur in the labyrinth. If none of those spark a deeply-rooted memory in your game upbringing, you’ve got grounds for suing your parents for neglect. KQVI was a pillar in early adventure games.