1. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
This game has by far the best single player of any RTS game. Strong cast of characters, excellent story, fun missions and Blizzards trademark CGI cutscenes were a sight to behold. What more can you ask for? How about a fantastic multiplayer component to go with it? Not only was the basic multiplayer addicting and challenging but the mod tools released along with the game added hundreds of new maps and modes. The Warcraft 3 mod tools went onto create not one but two new genres; Tower Defense and the RPG/RTS hybrid DOTA-style. The game had one expansion and in true Blizzard style made the game bigger and better and making me lose many more hours to this game.
2. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
While being the third title in the Elder Scroll series this was the game that really started to launch it into popularity. The game featured a massive, imaginative world that was jam packed full of places to explore. A lore that could fill a book. A fantastic soundtrack. And an epic story that can take 100 hours to finish, and that is just the main story. Don't forget the dozens of side-quests and exploring you can do. Some people have sunk in 500 hours and still haven't seen everything the game has to offer.
A strong modding community had provided a wealth of mods over the years. You can now add hundreds of new items and creatures to popular your game. Even making new textures that help make the game look a lot better.
The game wasn't without its flaws though. The combat was clunky and downright frustrating at the start of the game when you could barely hit a single creature until your stats went up a bit. The game also contained one of the worst enemies ever. Cliffracer's. I still remember casually walking along and all of a sudden start getting beaten the hell out of by 5 Cliffracer's that came out of no where. Argh!
The first time I heard of this game was in a magazine. It got 98/100 and was called one of the best games of all time. From that alone I wanted to get the game but I didn't for quite a while. Finally I rented it. I was not prepared for how amazing this game would truly be. I had just never experienced anything like it. Amazing AI, locations, sound(I bet you still remember all the little HEV suit noises) and a story mixed with mystery. It didn't feel like any other game before it...or after it, either.
The online was great but the best thing about it was...yep, the mods. Some becoming so popular they spawned their own series of games such as Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat and Team Fortress. However, there were many, many other lesser known mods that were brilliant too. One of my favorites were the Rats maps where you were the size of a rat fighting in a single room such as a kitchen, bedroom or office. The game is such a classic that dedicated modders are even recreating the original in the source engine, scene for scene. Now what other game could inspire THAT kind of thing? Not many. The game that launched Valve into the giant PC ruling company it is today and the game that made people realize FPS games didn't need to be dumb and lacking story.
4. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Before this game came out I have reservations on how it would turn out. I'm really not a fan of Turn-Based RPG's aside from one or two and from what I had read the combat didn't sound too great. I was however, completely and utterly wrong.
The game from the moment it starts had me gripped. The combat was partly turn based but flowed well enough that it wasn't an issue for me.
The characters were some of the best in the ever expanding universe of Star Wars. Darth Malak was an excellent villain and would have fitted nicely alongside Darth Vader. Your team members each had there own interesting backstory and personality with a few notable characters such as Bastila, Carth and of course the loveable, meat bag hating, HK-47. The story was interesting throughout the entire game. I loved that you didn't even start becoming a Jedi until a couple of hours into the game. This made the game feel like the original movie where Luke started off as just a farm boy and turned into a hero by the end. Lets not forget the twist which had a million voices cry out at once and changed the entire way you viewed the game and its characters.
5. Super Mario World
The first console game I never owned so it holds a special place in my heart. The game consisted of 96 levels, 9 boss battles, and a theme I still hum to this day. The game was much less linear than many other Mario games with lots of secret/alternate paths and areas to play through. It also had Star Road. A special set of incredibly hard levels that you could reach through several secret paths on the main hub. I still haven't beaten the Star Road levels but the game is still fun enough that I pull this game out every year or so and give it another shot.
6. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
I've been a fan of GTA since the very original but this is by far my favorite. Now don't get me wrong, Vice City was a great game San Andreas topped it. What really made me love this game is its original setting. The 90's getto feel was really good and helped mix the whole thing up a little. And this time we didn't just get one city to play in. No, we got three! Plus the areas all around them. This game might look tiny next to Just Cause 2 or Red Dead Redemption in size but for its day it was HUGE. I just loved walking around and taking in the amazing atmosphere of the city. Rockstar really nailed it. Combine all this with a lengthy, over the top story, funny characters and a killer soundtrack and mister, you got yourself a classic video game!
7. Battlefield 1942
From the moment you started this game up and heard it's awesome theme music you knew you were in for a treat. The series that is your go to for large-scale warfare. 64 players running around gigantic maps full of tanks, half-tracks, fighter planes, bombers, jeeps, mounted guns, submarines, battleships and even aircraft carriers! Holy cow! Oh yeah, you could also pick several classes of infantry as well.
The game was huge in every sense of the word and the series has helped form the multiplayer in many games we see today. Half the fun was the crazy antics you could get up to. Can't get a seat in the plane? No problem. Just sit on the wing of the plane! But be careful or you'll slip right off. The game came with modding tools which started a massive modding community and created the incredibly popular Desert Combat mod which turned the game into Modern Warfare(something that was actually fairly new back then!).
A classic game that started one of the best franchises in gaming.
8. Chrono Trigger
What? A turn-based JRPG game on MY list? Well, okay. Not ALL turn-based games were bad. But most JRPG's are. I find the characters annoying, the dialog is terrible, and the pacing is down right awful. Chrono Trigger though is a different story.
I only played this game a few years ago for the first time and went in not expecting much. But this game is not any normal JRPG. It's a mutant. An abnormality of the best kind. The characters were good, the story was good, the gameplay was fun and the music was some of the best I've ever heard in a game. When I started playing this I couldn't stop! I had to keep playing and see the next part of the story. The one thing this game got right out of everything else was the pacing. It didn't need to take several hours to pick up or have huge dead spots through out the game. It was constantly interesting and throwing the next piece of story at you at the right moments. Your got to hand it to a game when 15 years on and it's still the best of its genre. Or maybe that is the genres fault?
9. Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo these days is nothing special in my eyes. To me, Halo 2 was a gross disappointment and a massive step down from the first. Halo 3 was better but was already pretty samey and nothing spectacular. The multiplayer at that point felt old and stale to me. But lets go back all the way to 2001 and the launch of the original Xbox. Halo was a special game for two reasons. It helped give the Xbox the start it needed into the console race. And secondly, it made people realize that PC wasn't the be all end all system for FPS games anymore. Halo was truly a marvel for its time. The game looked STUNNING. Not only did it have every tiny little bit of detail put into it, it did things that I had never really seen in a game. You could read all the text in the game. I could read the text off ammo boxes and even the bullet shells that came out of my gun. The AI was just as impressive being able to take cover, flank and attack more realistically than almost any game at that time. The controls were near perfect for a console shoot and whether you wanted to play single player, co-op or multiplayer, this game covered it all and each one just as good as the next. The pinnacle of the series and an important game in general.
10. Deus Ex
As the saying goes: Every time Deus Ex is mentioned, someone reinstalls it. A mixture of RPG and FPS styles this really was a rare kind of game. It felt like a role playing game but it was first person with guns, what is this madness? It gave you much more freedom than most games. You didn't just have to run in guns blazing...but you could if you wanted to. You could sneak in and take the enemies out with a silenced weapon. You could tamper with some sentry guns and make them hostile again the enemy. There were many ways to complete an area, never just one. With a deep, complex story that kept you going, plus a few twists along the way it was a game that sucked you in for both its gameplay and story. It felt a head of its time when it was released but in reality it still kind of is.
While the sequel was what fans called the most disappointing sequel of all-time, we can only hope the third game in the series is truer to the original and brings this series back from the pit it got itself into.