The SDMB PC Game Hall of Fame: The First Round

I was in high school at the time. Before it came out, I found some screenshots of an alpha version on some BBS. No monsters, no gun, no status bar, just a glimpse of a world which appeared to be in glorious 3D, with multiple levels, arbitrary angle walls, etc. I printed the screenshots out on my laser printer and showed them to my classmates. And the actual release version was just as good as I’d anticipated (Though I had to play in a tiny window on my 386. A friend’s 486 was much, much better.).


Yes, yes I would. I would like to strike Dungeon Keeper and replace it with Max Payne.

Having trouble coming up with 10, but I’m not looking at any lists, not here in the thread or elsewhere. Just what I can recall without prompting. Thinking chronologically:

4D Sports Boxing
Star Control 2
Dynamix Football / Front Page Sports Football Pro
Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome
Cities: Skylines

I’m not entirely sure that Cities: Skylines belongs on my list, but the fact that traffic comprises individual citizens going places (work, home, play) instead of just being statistical approximations was, to me, a revelation. As a city simulator it’s okay at best. As a traffic simulator it is truly great.

Ahh, Stunts! That’s a blast from the past. I used to know all the security codes (words from the manual) by heart. It’s actually available online:

I will definitely be checking that out. I loved that game so much.

EDIT: The ironic part of my list is that my most-played game by a huge margin is not on it. Probably well over 3,000 hours played spanning 7 years or so. But that’s the nature of MMORPGs. The one I happened to play was DDO, but I don’t think it was a particularly great MMO. Wasting oceans of time is just what you do in MMOs.

I assume World of Warcraft is actually a better game, but I never played it. And I learned from those thousands of hours in DDO to never play an MMO again. Once it gets its hooks into you, it’s hard to stop.

I loved this game, but it was so damned buggy. I did manage to win eight consecutive Super Bowls, at which point I concluded I’d figured out how to beat it.

I can STILL tell you about my quarterback situations in those imaginary seasons. I had a QB named Steve Mullins who was awfully good but he just couldn’t win the big one in the playoffs so in frustration I traded him away and gave the job to a rookie named Carl Washington, big guy who could throw and run. Washington had a solid rookie season and looked amazing - and suffered a career ending injury in the first game of his sophomore year. By necessity the job went to Carlos Dozier, who had a decent year, though again my seemingly ridiculously talented team didn’t win it all.

The next year, the magic happened. Dozier threw 35 TDs and was picked off only seven times, but it was really the team that made him great, because they went 16-0 and swept everything, beating Atlanta 24-10 in the Super Bowl.

After that, that edition of the team was old, but I rebuilt it, and another QB, Marvin Bell, became the greatest player in NFL history, posting MVP numbers every year, and the eight SB wins happened.

Ha! So good. My buddy and I would actually play head to head on the same keyboard. It was nuts. I always think of it as Dynamix Football, but I think that original version was without NFL player names. The next version (FPS FP) had a license agreement with the NFL so could use player names.

My favorite part was the play editor.

In no particular order:

  • Zork
  • Doom
  • Civilization
  • Mass Effect
  • Portal
  • Escape from Castle Wolfenstein
  • Myst
  • Command & Conquer (although I think maybe Dune might replace this since it invented the form)
  • Skyrim (or maybe a different TES game)
  • Wizardry
  • Ultima
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
  • Diablo
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • XCom
  • Total Annihilation
  • Half Lilfe
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Quake
  • Freespace
  • Terraria

It pleases me to see other Total Annihilation fans!

I should probably have included Zork on my list as well.

Elder Scrolls
Kerbal Space Program
Total War: Warhammer (really, the Total War franchise deserves a mention, but the Warhammer trilogy is a standout)
Supreme Commander
Half Life
Left 4 Dead
Fatshark’s Tide games (Vermintide, Darktide; the evolution of the Left 4 Dead format)

Some personal favorites:
ARK: Survival Evolved

My reason for including ARK on this is simply because of how I play it; I don’t play the sweaty competitive scene, just on my own server, and the visuals of the game are what amazes me. The developers are REALLY into paleontology; I’ve learned about species I had never heard of through this game (not just dinosaurs, but other extinct animals as well). The animals in this are modeled in exquisite detail, and the core gameplay loop is pretty fun as well. Hell, I would pay good money for a game that recreated just the animal husbandry aspects of this game (and if anybody knows of one, let me know!).

I want to add:

  • Myth: The Fallen Lords

(that game was so good)

I didn’t play that one, but I played Myth II: Soulblighter and it was indeed, so good.

Yes, but do you know what that stands for?

Both were great.

That Dev also made Halo. Then Microsoft bought them and that was the end of a great studio.

I have to admit that I’ve forgotten the full acronym, except that “Smashing Pumpkins” is in there. I only learned it years after first playing the game, so it’s not quite as burned into my memory.

“…into small piles of putrid debris”.

I asked ChatGPT for a list:

It is difficult to say definitively what the top 20 games ever released for a home computer are, as personal preference plays a large role in determining which games are considered the best. However, some games that are often considered among the greatest of all time for home computers include:

  1. Minecraft
  2. Tetris
  3. Super Mario Bros.
  4. Doom
  5. Grand Theft Auto V
  6. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  7. World of Warcraft
  8. The Sims
  9. Half-Life 2
  10. Diablo II
  11. Civilization IV
  12. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  13. Portal 2
  14. Starcraft II
  15. Fallout 3
  16. Bioshock
  17. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  18. The Orange Box
  19. Deus Ex
  20. Mass Effect 2

Please note that the above list of games are popular and critically acclaimed but it’s not a comprehensive list and it’s based on my knowledge cutoff.

It’s a pretty good list, but I noted that SMB and TLoZ weren’t computer games. It replied:

I apologize, you are correct that Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild were not released for home computers. Here are two alternative games that could be considered for the list:

  1. Civilization IV
  2. Doom

Civilization IV is a popular turn-based strategy game that tasks players with building and managing a civilization throughout history. Doom is a classic first-person shooter game that is widely considered to be one of the most important and influential games of all time.

Again, this is not a comprehensive list and personal preferences play a role in determining which games are considered the best.

It got confused and repeated two items, so I asked again, and it added:

I apologize for the confusion. Here are two additional games that could be considered among the greatest ever released for home computers:

  1. The Secret of Monkey Island
  2. Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar

The Secret of Monkey Island is a classic point-and-click adventure game that is known for its witty humor and memorable characters. Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar is a fantasy role-playing game that is considered a landmark title in the genre for its emphasis on moral choices and player freedom.

Please note that the above list is not a comprehensive list and there are many other games that could also be considered among the greatest ever released for home computers.

So the complete ChatGPT list is:
Grand Theft Auto V
World of Warcraft
The Sims
Half-Life 2
Diablo II
Civilization IV
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Portal 2
Starcraft II
Fallout 3
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
The Orange Box
Deus Ex
Mass Effect 2
The Secret of Monkey Island
Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar

Not a bad selection, though The Orange Box is a bit of a cheat.

How Many people really think of Tetris as a PC Game though? I could be wrong but nearly everyone I knows Remembers Tetris a a Gameboy game, or Apple/c64 game in school. It was there of course, but it doesn’t feel like a PC game to me.

A few things:

  • The OP explicitly includes Commodores, Apples, etc. The thread is actually about home computers, not just modern PCs
  • Any game that’s been ported to PC counts. I definitely think of GTA5 as a console game, but it saw a PC release and so counts
  • Despite the popularity on consoles, the first port (after the initial version on a proprietary Soviet computer) was in fact on an IBM PC

So I’d say it fits based on any of these merits.

Especially because the list also includes Half Life 2 which was the anchor game of the Orange Box.

Though, much to Valve’s pleasant surprise, it was Portal that became the most talked about game from that collection even thought it was considered experimental by Valve at the time. They relied on the Half Life games and Counter Strike to be what drew people to purchase the collection.