30 RISING STORM
Release year 2013 Last position 66
Tyler A multiplayer shooter where I can press a unique key to bolt my rifle is something special. It's not a sim, but the fidelity makes it fun even when I miss a 100-metre Springfield shot and eat artillery.
Evan The best case ever made for asymmetry. No one does weapon handling better than Tripwire.
29 PAPERS, PLEASE
Release year 2013 Last position New entry
Philippa This dystopian document thriller is not so much 'fun' as it is 'challenging', 'unnerving' and 'bleak'. As a border guard for a communist state your job starts simple but events soon lead to tighter entry requirements. Some visitors' stories lead you to bend the rules but every one you take pity on means less money for your starving family.
28 FALLOUT 3
Release year 2008 Last position 63
Samuel The Capital Wasteland is bleak and wonderful—it's Bethesda's most evocative environment to date. I love the way it naturally draws the player toward new landmarks. Crossing this decaying, postapocalyptic Washington DC while John Henry Eden reels off pro-Enclave propaganda from my Pip Boy is Fallout 3, to me—even though I'm aware New Vegas was tonally more in line with what fans of Fallout 1 and 2 were hoping for.
Release year 1998 Last position 43
Cory It's the Barons of Hell that made me love Doom. E1M9, when the floors around me shook and sank, unleashing two horrible demons that wanted to swallow my soul. I dodged, weaved, and eventually made them eat some rockets. It was the best.
Richard How many pioneering games are still this much fun 20 years later? Wolf 3D? Quake? Please. Doom still holds up, from its iconic monsters to the sly cleverness of its maps and the splatter of that rocket launcher.
John Beyond it simply being years ahead of its time when released, Doom somehow achieved fantastic level design too—despite the restriction of not being able to overlap rooms. Keying in IDDQD, IDFA and running loops round the monsters until they killed each other is one of those cherished childhood memories.
26 DIABLO III
Release year 2012 Last position 96
Tom Diablo is about the purity of endless monster killing and fast character-building. The series was created for fans of RPG combat who don't want to sit through reams of quest text, who'd rather kill hundreds of monsters and be crowned a hero at the end. Action-RPGs are about combat systems, not stories, and Diablo III has the best of the lot. I've lost hundreds of hours experimenting with its vast collection of skill combinations.
25 CIVILIZATION V
Release year 2010 Last position 20
Phil Civ V's one-more-turn addictiveness is technically a cheat born of overlapping busywork. But over the course of a campaign, its strategic versatility results in some compelling 4X decision-making.
Samuel I could play Civ forever, and V was my favourite since II. The add-ons combat the repetition that eventually sets-in, too.
Tyler Steam Workshop has also been great for Civ V, with mods that add everything from new civs to better unit graphics. I play as Canada.
24 BALDUR'S GATE II: SHADOWS OF AMN
Release year 2000 Last position 27
Andy The first proper RPG I ever played, and it consumed my life.
Cory I should have been playing real D&D in 2000, as is the right of all college freshmen. Instead I explored Amn, and I don't really regret any butt-kicking for goodness.
Phil After the first game's slow progression towards its titular metropolis, Baldur's Gate II is (almost) instantly generous in its design. Amn is huge, vibrant, seedy and packed with things to do. It's the yardstick by which I've measured all subsequent RPG cities.
23 ALPHA CENTAURI
Release year 1999 Last position 38
Tom Mind worms, futuristic units and evocative faction leaders make Alpha Centauri's campaigns more memorable than historical Civ. It presents a moody vision of our future, in which humanity responds to hardship by shattering into extremist fragments. It's fascinating to watch those factions clash, ideologically and on the battlefield.
Richard And nothing is more satisfying than destroying Sister Miriam. Again and again and...
22 SYSTEM SHOCK 2
Release year 1999 Last position 39
Cory Shodan is my favourite villain of all time, and that's largely because she spends so much of my time on the Von Braun as my ally. She's not only evil, but arrogant, and every stab she makes at my humanity makes me want to reboot her that much faster.
Richard Shodan vs GLaDOS. Make it happen, someone.
21 GRIM FANDANGO
Release year 1998 Last position 28
Philippa A charming love story, great characters and the best noirmeets- Day-of-the-Dead art direction I've ever seen in a game.
Tom The controls were horrible and the fire swamp was ass, but Grim is so warm, funny and smart its flaws just melt away into gooey nostalgia.
Andy Inspired art, brilliant voice acting, and one of the best soundtracks in PC gaming history.