PC PowerPlay's 100 Classic PC Games (2000)
In 2000, back when I was still buying paper gaming magazines, the Australian magazine "PC Powerplay" included a little booklet one month, with what they considered to be the "most influential games in history". Or at least, the most influential games that weren't only released on consoles or handhelds.
I thought it was pretty neat and held on to it.
Now, 14 years later (with the magazine still running, mind you), it's still interesting to look back at them and see how many of the choices stand up to scrutiny, and how many new games would really deserve a slot.
The games are presented in reverse order in the booklet, and I'm following that here, so the number one game will be #100, and so on. Before getting to that, the magazine has a few other features worth adding:
- During a "history of PC gaming" article, the author tries to predict the future: voice recognition will be a great boon "for space combat/mech sims in particular", VR will never make a comeback, force feedback gloves and mice will be popular, and puzzle solving and quests "as found in Ultima 7" will be the standard.
- Great Heroes of PC gaming: Lara Croft, Leisure Suit Larry, Duke Nukem, Sam & Max, and The Avatar (the one from Ultima, not the other one.)
- Great Villains: Diablo, Shodan, Cyberdemon, The Guardian (these editors had a real hard-on for Ultima games, huh?) , The Nameless One
"We all remember those frightening, horrific days when CD-ROMs first hit the mass market PC world... when games too execrable to describe filled our senses with dread and made us think that maybe new technology wasn't so cool after all. The memory of those abominations is too painful to recall, but you know. YOU KNOW. They must never be forgotten or we are doomed to repeat the tragedy again and again."Great Turkeys of PC Gaming
- Great "Turkeys" - i.e. the most underwhelming, disappointing games ever: Ultima IX, SiN, Descent to Undermountain, Battle Spire (can't even find this one on the wiki), and... Every On-Rails Full Motion Video Game Ever Made
- Alternatively, Forgotten Classics: Archimedean Dynasty, Terra Nova, Jagged Alliance (huh? It already had two sequels by 2000), Grim Fandango, Blade Runner
- Best games in specific genres (kind of a spoiler for the below list, but these aren't in the same order):
- Combat: Quake, Deus Ex, Half-Life, Doom, Thief Series
- Strategy: Civilisation, Age of Empires, Sim City, Starcraft, Ground Control... now I'm sad.
- RPG/Adventure: Ultima, Monkey Island, Planescape: Torment, System Shock, Alone In The Dark
- Sport: Links Series, Toca Series, Motocross Madness Series, GP 500, Grand Prix Legends
- Flight Sims: X Wing/TIE Fighter, F22 Total War, Aces Over Europe, Falcon Series, F 19 Stealthfighter
Finally, there's a section on "Developer's Favourites", which is the only part of the magazine that really acknowledges other platforms exist. Most of the developers also added reasons for their choices, which I'm not including here.
- Warren Spector (Ion Storm/Deus Ex): Diablo, Half-Life, Legend of Oasis, Legend of Zelda, Mario 64, Suikoden, System Shock, Ultima IV, Ultima Underworld, Warcraft II
- Doug Church (Looking Glass/Thief 2): NHL Hockey, The Incredible Machine, Ultima IV, Wing Commander I, Monkey Island 2, Wizardry I, Sim City, Chrono Trigger, Lode Runner, Warlords, Enchanter
- Jonathan Chey (Irrational Games/System Shock 2): Civilisation 2, X-Com, Doom, Ultima Underworld, Half-Life, Myth, Thief, Close Combat 2, Dungeon Master, Speedball 2
- Ricardo Bare (Ion Storm/Deus Ex): Bard's Tale Series, Darklands, Doom, X-com, Pirates, Diablo, Half-Life, Warcraft, Myth, Ultima Online
- Larry Holland (Totally Games/X-Wing series): Sim City 3000, Civilization, Starcraft, Half-Life, C&C, X-wing Alliance, Age of Empries, Quake 3, Tetris, Seahaven Towers (?????)
Whew! If you haven't given up already, let's get to the actual list. Remember, reverse order! Tetris is not the top game. Games that weren't on PC (by 2000) couldn't get on the list. I didn't personally make the choices. And it's "most influential", not "best".