During the early 2000s, when I was at high school and the first few years of university, I struggled to keep pace with contemporary gaming. I didn’t really “have my shit together” as you might say — like many young people, I was fairly irresponsible with the meagre funds I had available to me, and I just couldn’t afford to upgrade my PC hardware. However, games being the great passion that they are for me, I found a way to overcome my PC hardware limitations.

One of the outcomes of my situation was that I relied on internet cafes for my modern gaming fix (a topic that deserves an article in its own right). Another outcome, and the topic of this article, is that I began to look to the classics of the past for my gaming fix. In hindsight, this is probably one of the most important and formative stages of my life in games. …


Over the past few months, I’ve spent some time highlighting my top 100 games, as well as a few that just missed out. Obviously, everyone’s top 100 will be different, and list like this are likely to say a lot about a person as a gamer; these sorts of lists will also tell us a lot about the state of the industry over the years.

In this article, I’m going to look back at my top 100, and see what my choice of games says about me — as a gamer and as a person. I’m also going to look at what my list says about the industry over the years. In looking at these stats, I’ve decided to include the “honorable mentions” from my previous article — these games have had enough influence over me that they are worth considering. …


Over the past couple of months, I’ve attempted to capture my top 100 PC games of all time. As I mentioned at the beginning of this journey, I made no attempt to rank these games — I simply don’t believe it is possible and is ultimately a meaningless affair. Even for myself, what I consider to be “number 1” can change from week to week depending on what sort of mood I’m in.

One thing I’ve learnt, from a writer’s perspective, is to plan ahead when doing these sorts of articles, and this is something I did not do. I had a rough outline of the games I wanted to include, but as I wrote these articles over several months, I started to remember a few games I’d forgotten to include. This had the effect of bumping a few of my previous picks off the list — something that is very hard to do when you are emotionally invested in these games due to the impact they’ve had on your life. …


See the previous parts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

10. Unreal Tournament (Epic Games, Digital Extremes, 1999)

Unreal Tournament remains, to this day, the undefeated gold standard for multiplayer arena shooters. There is simply no game since that has nailed the polished design, diversity of levels, weapons and gameplay, well executed graphics and overall balance like Cliff Bleszinki’s Unreal Tournament. UT was the big challenger for FPS supremacy against the veterans at id Software with their multiplayer shooter Quake III Arena, and they nailed it.

I received UT as a Christmas present in 1999, and I could not put this game down. The modding scene kept the game alive for many years, and the ability to play against highly-configurable and intelligent bots meant that limited access to the internet was not an obstacle to enjoying this game. To this day I still play UT, and prefer it over all of its sequels — even the highly regarded Unreal Tournament 2004. UT is, for me, a perfect game in every sense of the word. …


I know I said that this list isn’t ranked, but I’ve definitely saved some of my favourites for the top 20. Enjoy!

See the previous parts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8.

20. World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment, 2004)

The biggest online game of all time hardly needs any introduction. Blizzard’s first foray into the increasingly popular MMO genre was a huge success, and that largely boiled down to having a thorough understanding of what gamers wanted. World of Warcraft was the ideal blend of complexity and approachability. …


Alright, so we’re getting in to the real “meat and potatoes” of this Top 100 now. I know that I said there was no particular order, but I have been holding back when it comes to a few favourites.

See the previous parts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

30. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Bethesda, 2002)

The Elder Scrolls series is one of the games industry’s longest running and most beloved series — with a projected release date for the upcoming TES6 sitting somewhere in the vicinity of 2022, that would mark almost 30 years since the series began in 1994 with The Elder Scrolls: Arena. …


See the previous parts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

Edit: This article has been updated with Montezuma’s Return because I’m a big stupid-head and wrote about a game twice. Whoops!

40. Age of Empires II (Ensemble Studios, 1999)

1997’s Age of Empires was released at the height of the RTS craze, and is well deserving of its reputation as one of the best strategy games ever made. Together with StarCraft, Total Annihilation and the Command & Conquer games, it is one of the genre’s defining titles. So it goes without saying that expectations were pretty high for Age of Empires II. …


There we are, over the halfway mark. Here’s the previous parts:

Now, time to gather your party and venture forth…

50. Empire: Total War (Creative Assembly, 2009)

For me, one of the most fascinating periods in history is the Age of Enlightenment from the early 1700s into the early 1800s. Rapid modernisation and technological advancement led to sweeping societal, political and military upheaval. Empire is the fifth title in the Total War series, and it was the first game set in this period.

The scope of the campaign was massive — depending on who they chose to play as, the player would have to manage colonies in the New World, defend trade routes in Asia, and play a delicate game of politics and military posturing in Europe. The Total War series is brilliant, but it was Empire that really gripped me, and inspired me to learn more about this fascinating time in history. …


Almost halfway there! You can see the previous parts below:

On with the countdown…

60. G-Police (Psygnosis, 1997)

G-Police is a truly one-of-a-kind game. It is a fiendishly difficult action flight sim in a unique cyberpunk setting, and nothing quite like it has been made since. Psygnosis sunk a significant amount of money, time and love into G-Police, and it shows. However, despite a reasonably successful critical and commercial response, the 1999 sequel never caught on, and the series ended there.

G-Police was ahead of its time, and if it had been released ten or twenty years later, I can imagine the response would have been noticeably different. Sadly, like so many Windows 95/98 based titles of the late 1990s, G-Police has fallen victim to technological change, and it is quite difficult to get running on modern PCs. …


Welcome to Part 4 of my 100 best PC games. Check out the previous parts here:

70. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal, 2011)

Deus Ex is, rightfully so, widely regarded as one of the greatest games ever made, one of the last titles in the prestigious career of auteur game designer Warren Spector. Eleven years after Deus Ex, Eidos Montreal released Human Revolution, and it was this worthy sequel that had probably the greatest influence on me.

What stood out to me so much about Deus Ex: Human Revolution was the incredible depth of detail in the world-building. Eidos Montreal contracted fashion designers, artists and architects to imagine a believable future influenced by the Renaissance and traditional cyberpunk aesthetics, while making subtle commentary on the current and future socio-economic inequality. It is one of the first games that made me truly appreciate art within games. …

About

Gavin Annand

At some point in about 1989 I played my first videogames on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. This was the beginning of a lifetime obsession with games...

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