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The Top 15 PC Games Of All Time 315

Posted by Hemos
from the up-for-discussion-of-course dept.
jerkychew writes: "The UK Web site Gamespot recently released its list of the 15 most influential PC games of all time. It's a pretty extensive and well-prepared list, covering the obvious games, as well as a few I had forgotten about. The article can be found on their Web site."
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The Top 15 PC Games Of All Time

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  • I think that an honorable mention should go to the RTS Gangsters. If nothing else just for concept.
  • >(Plus, you need[ed] a central server for Novell networks...)

    Just a nitpick, but you could play IPX/SPX games without a server. Me and my university roomies did a helluva lot of IPX/SPX Doom at home, no NetWare server at all.

    But yeah, the NICs weren't cheap, and the hubs were outrageous $$$, so it was coax all the way. It still amazes me that I can walk into the mall and buy a cheap hub.
  • Yeah... And Lemmings!



    --

    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • I mean how can Half-Life, Quake and Doom be influential? All of the were improved copies of castle Wolfenstein.

    Games missing:
    Rogue: Ancestor of all turn based role playing games, nethack, diablo....

    Bard's Tale: First great first person role playing game

    Elite: First 3D vector graphics game which combined commerce and battle.

    Infocom's Zork or Adventure: the first adventure games

    Super Mario Brothers: Restored arcade machines

    Way of the exploding fist: One of the first great combat games (Tekken...)

    Mule, Pirates: Action and economy in one game

    Fort Apocalypse,

    Pole Position: First car racer with 3D (sortof) graphics!

    Pong: First coimmercial game

    ARCHON

    The guy who made the list was not a day older than 20, and has absolutely no clue about the old classics from the eighties. I mean Wing Commander was nice and maybe influential, btu it was an Elite rip-off.
  • I credit tetris with popularizing the whole genre of puzzle games. It spawned more clones than any other game I can think of, due to it's simplicity and addictiveness.

    I'm not surprised it didn't make this list. The list wasn't a survey of PC gaming, so much as a subset of PC gaming for the teenage boys who comprise the most avid members.

    Steve

  • I know from playing EverQuest, that this was a hugely addictive game (just ask my ex-wife, ex-boss, ex-friends, j/k). Since it's so recent I don't know if you can say it's one of the "most influential games" of all times, but I think if you look at a similar list 5 years from now, EverQuest will definately be up there.
  • by Fervent (178271) on Friday December 29, 2000 @06:38AM (#1418997)
    Glad to see King's Quest, as it was the first real computer game I played on a friend's Tandy.

    But where's Leisure Suit Larry? :) I mean, come on, I started off with the "classic" adventure games, but Larry got me "gripped", so to speak, on the whole computer gaming scene.

  • Total Annihilation should replace Dune on the list. I know dune started the whole RTS thing but TA has changed it in a way unduped by the creators themselves. TA: Kingdoms sucked and was lacking many of the quality landscapes that TA brought us. I also don't agree with Half-Life. I didn't enjoy that game at all. In fact it made me realize why ID was in the lead for first person shooters. There's no reason for a storyline. What's the point. All the built in levels are just prep for online play.
  • Who moderated that as offtopic? Impossible Mission was the first c64 game with digitized voice, it was a technical marvel for the day and a lot of fun. I remember cranking up the volume on the TV and jumping off platform after platform so I could hear the guy's scream fade off into the bottomless pit.

    AAAAaaaaaaggghhh.....

    AAAAaaaaaaggghhh.....

    AAAAaaaaaaggghhh.....
  • Yeah, I was playing Maze Wars+ on the Macintosh in '88. MW looks like it was a port or an outright rip-off of Midi Maze, at least based on the screen shot from gamecenter. I have never thought about it as a first-person shooter...but of course, it was.

    The thing is, doesn't "influential" mean "people played it"? Being completely honest with myself, I'm not too entirely sure that anybody besides me and my roommate played Maze Wars. Not too sure how influential that makes it.

  • OK, Firstly, the actual article claims its the "15 Most influential games of all time" therefore NOT PC only. Which begs the question, which deserves to be there more... Half-Life or Pac-man? Tomb Raider or Space Invaders?
    I think you can see what I'm getting at...
    I think the most influential games list, would include only a single game from each genre. That single game need not be the "first" in the genre... but instead, the one that gave it a kick-start. (Catacombs 3D was the first FPS, but DOOM, Wolf3D and Quake gave the FPS genre the momentum it has today)

    I'm pretty amazed Tomb Raider made it onto the 15 most influential... I reckon I could think of 15 games not listed that were more influential than Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider's marketing was influential, not the game.
  • Platform games != Console/arcade games

    Platform games == games in which the main character jumps from platform to platform.

    Examples of platform games:

    • Super Mario Bros.
    • Commander Keen
    • Rayman
    • Tomb Raider

    Tomb Raider is on Gamespot's list. It's arguable whether Tomb Raider is a platform game because platformers are usually cartoony whereas Tomb Raider approaches realism, with natural ledges and realistic, though slighty exaggerated, proportions. Some people would say the realism puts it in its own genre, but I consider TR a platform game, because you jump from platform (ledge) to platform (pillar).

    The 3D platformer started, as far as I know, with Mario 64, and the differences between it and Tomb Raider can all be traced to the fact that TR is grounded in the real world. Thus Tomb Raider is not influential because the style broke new ground -- it's on the list simply because it popularized the genre and expanded the audience, allowing great games like Soul Reaver and Indy & the Infernal Machine to exist, and because Lara Croft had such a huge spillover into the mass media -- arguably the biggest ever.

    The reason that no other platformers are mentioned is because the PC hasn't produced any other influential or ground-breaking platform games. Commander Keen and all of Apogee's stuff is great, sure, but you can't say it hadn't been done before. Consoles and arcade machines are the source of ground-breaking platform games. This is part of the reason why people confuse 'platform games' with 'console games.'

  • Hasn't anyone learned yet that gaming magazines have sucked for the past six years? Computer Gaming World was nice before Ziff-Davis bought it up, then down the hole it went!

    This list has some good choices and many bad. Influential is a hard word to pin down: I'd like to believe it means a game that spawned many of the cliches for a genre or outright made one themselves.

    Going down the list... Wing Commander still has its claws on space sims now: Whilst the storyline has slowly been removed over time, the gameplay style has been the same. This isn't technically a good thing, as any game after WC1 lost strategy and basically got to 'Get the lead indicator in your reticle and shoot.' At least games like Terminus went past that.

    Ultima 3 I can't disagree with, although I think U4 was better about it. Can't disagree with Alone.

    Ultima Online? It was the first 'massive multiplayer' game simply because it had the funding and marketing for it. Otherwise it's essentially a big MUD, and a poorly designed one at that. (That Evercrack is another poorly designed one is of no surprise, so I guess you could say the influence is there.) I cannot disagree too much, but this is another influence I wish we'd get away from.

    Tomb Raider? Yay. It's third person. It's 3d. It had mass market appeal for no apparent reason whatsoever besides topheaviness. It must be influential. Cultural, indeed. Even they state that it had been done before on consoles, they were just the first for the pc.

    Falcon I can't comment on. SimCity is unarguable in its influence, although clones are far and wide, despite its influence towards today's realtime 'strategy' games. (I don't know why that wasn't mentioned there... It's there if you look.)

    HALF-LIFE?!?!?? Uck. Half-Life was Quake with a litshoad of scripting and movie sequences. I guess all I can say about it is that it was one of the first to bring things to mass market appeal; most of what had happened there had been done before and done better under less popular games.

    Can't disagree with Civ.

    Diablo? There have been virtually no spinoffs of Diablo, it hasn't influenced any of the RPGs out there now, and it was a cheap ripoff of nethack (Blizzard admits this) in the first place. This doesn't deserve a spot.

    Dune 2. Yup, and RTSes haven't changed all that much since. KQ4? I thought Lucasart's were better and more influential towards adventure games on the whole, but oh well. Myst is a big'un, but there haven't been many offshoots so much as staking out a genre for itself.

    Doom. Can't argue there; Doom is the one that brought actual levels of 3d (well, 2.5d if you ask me) to games. It was a real eye opener, and all id games following it were the same, only lamer.

    Quake brought multiplayer and scriptability to a new level, as well as the console. You can see every one of these in every FPS since.

    And that's that. It's kind of sad how few genres there really are these days when you look at it. Not many have really been brought to view; I can think of a few games that deserved spots that are still around today. Oh well.. Flame away on my opinions. ;)

  • I got yer name A-n-o-n-y-m-o-u-s C-o-w-a-r-d...
    You think you're so big.
    Oh if I had my mod points now I'd...
    What? I have to wait five days for my mod points? But I'm angry now!

  • I guess they hadn't heard of Commodore or Atari, or the myriad of even older companies.
  • It's too bad Wizardry didn't make it on that list. That was THE defining role playing game for me. Mapping out the levels, building up characters, fighting monsters. That was the first time I've seen that in a game. Fight Fight Fight, Parry Parry Parry...
  • They completley ignored some of the earliest work by Sierra, like Quest for Glory, (originally called Hero's Quest before they were sued by Milton Bradly), one of the first Adventure / Roleplaying game with exportable characters ... and of course it was a hella lotta fun. They also missed the fact that Sierra made the first game with graphics at all (I think it was KQ I)?

    And what about Lucas Arts Monkey Island series ? Or their 1998 Grim Fandango. Every game lucas arts makes is a breakthrough. Monkey Island was a 256 color game in 1989! Not to mention Day of The Tentacle, a full talking game in 93 or 94...

  • Scorched Earth. HELL YES.

    The first thing I'd always do was ...customize the "talk" files. I thought they were a little too tame. ^_^

  • No sports games made it to the top 15 here. Althought Quake/CTF MIGHT be considered a sport since CTF is played in real life.

    Deer Hunter and Test Drive were among the runners up, though no basketball, football, baseball or soccer games, made it in either list.

    Hmmmmmmm. I wonder what this says about the geek community. I for one like it!!
    ========================
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
  • Other AlleyCat players? Wow! That rocks. I love the theme music.
  • I thought Wolfenstein 3D was an Apogee game, not id Software.
  • I definitely think Elite deserves a place in this list. Another game I think worthy is the original Might & Magic. IIRC, it was the first role playing fantasy game with a first person perspective.

    --
  • Oh Grand Prix Legends is THE best racing sim ever. And it's old now.

    The list was "most influential" and while GPL certainly is one of the best racing sims ever, it has had almost ZERO influence on the genre simply because it is too difficult of a sim for the mass-market. Papyrus is just now getting around to using some of the foundation of GPL in another sim (N4), so GPL has had very little influence on other products even from the company that created it. Perhaps when a few of the high-end vaporware sims hit the market this year (World Sports Cars for example) then we'll see some other sims with a physics model close to what GPL offers.

  • Of course the number 1 game of all times is the one I made yesterday bla bla bla... This ain't the subject folks. We need the 15 games which made our gaming world the way it's right now.

    I haven't read anything on UK Gamespot site, so let's see hows my conception of this differs from theirs. Further, I'm putting in numbers, some games you just can compare them to anything.

    Wolfenstein 3D: Everybody, I think, will agree with that: no Wolfie no doomie, no quakie, no unreal no anything... Well, maybe, but Wolfenstein is one of the first succesfull First Person Shooter.

    Dune: I'm not even thinking with this one.

    Civilization: Same as above.

    Ultima Online: I'm not a freak of this game, but hey it got some style other games don't.

    Populous: All I remember from this game is incredible amount of sales it generated for it's time.

    King Quest: That's the reason why i'm a geek. Spy Hunter: That's an old one.

    Prince of Persia: The game deserves the spot.

    Homeworld: This is too ground braking.

    Myst: I'm not stating any reasons.

    Test Drive: That's the first driving game I've played.

    Gato: ha ha remember this one, I played this classic submarine game on my XT.

    Sim City: I think every single "sim" game comes from this one.

    X-Com: for the merc turn based genre, I think this is the first one.

    Flight Simulator: I played that on my commodor 64 back then.

    I think that's it, now let's see that gamespot article...

  • Somebody else pointed out that the inclusion of Doom and the exclusion of Wolfenstein 3D is ridiculous, and I've got to back this up. Additionally, leaving out King's Quest I is most unfortunate. It spawned a whole genre of games, and also brought in a whole new type of gamer.

    -Waldo
  • They forgot American McGee's Alice [ea.com]! I am sorry, it might be a new game, but for anyone who has played it, you can agree with me..... It is one badass game. I have never seen so much creativity put into level details ever. Does anyone else feel the same?

  • Castle Wolfenstein wasn't on there.
    That was my first FPS, I'm also supprised Another World wasn't on thier (come on, you remember it, the game where the guy gets teleported to another planet, and the first level is super hard cause you got to run from this lion thing that chases you.)
    I still play that periodically, its a pretty awsome game, and the graphics aren't too bad on a p2 400 either. I tried to play it on my 386 laptop, but it sucks on that.
    BTW, does anyone know of a Java2 compiler (preferably free), which will work on a 386 sx, and be small enough I could transfer it over on Floppys?
    I want it because I got a book on coding in Java for christmas, but want to be able to work elseweres besides my desk.
  • Er, you mean Wizardry II, III, IV, V, VI, and VII for PC? I think they only released I - III for the Apple. Sir-Tech is only gone in the US, and Sir-Tech Canada is in the process of finding a publisher for Wizardry VIII right now. Info on the series can be found here: Wizardry [tk421.net]

    Death is but a doorway.
  • Don't take this as a troll or flamebait--not my intent. I am honestly curious.

    I only played Thief a little bit and found it boring. I'd be interested, seriously, to know why you find it more influential--whatever that might mean--than, say, Wolf3D or Doom (or whatever you'd take off the list to make room for Thief). What subsequent games has it had an effect on?

  • Global Thermonuclear Warfare

    The only way to win is not to play at all.


    -----
  • Agree. King's Quest was one of the best.
  • Good to see Falcon 3.0 on the list. It's a shame that this is a dying genre. There's simply no real market for realistic flight sims.

  • Allright, alright. First of all, everyone's going to have a different list of games they think are the most influential so bickering isn't necessary.

    I would like to suggest that Rise of the Triad (aka "ROTT") by Apogee has been more influential than a couple of the ones on the top 15 and several on the runners-up list. I would also like to back this up with evidence. There are too many reasons to post here, so just check out this great article written by Kevin Bowen: ROTT in Hell [classicgaming.com].

  • Nice list. I've been infatuated with most of these games at one point or another.

    I am still waiting to join the class action lawsuit against Microprose. I suspect that the diversion of time from productive pursuits to Civilization was the real cause of the 91 recession. I know it affected my productivity. Orson Scott Card wrote that it delayed the release of at least one of his books. If that guy wins his cell phone case, I am going to have give him a call and get the ball rolling.

    I was a little surprised at selecting Dune II over Warcraft. I had never heard of Dune II, but Warcraft was a huge. I guess I have to respect their claims of influence.

    I can only think of one game that held a powerful influence over me that did not make the list, Zork. I don't know anything about gamespot, but is it possible that some of the contributers to the list hadn't been born yet when Zork was released? Does PC mean IBM-PC compatible or does it mean personal computer?

  • I'm on a very slow connect and they want me to load up all their ads and images for each game when all I want is a list... could someone help out a slow brother?
  • I've found a handful of gems at the dollar stores. Unfortunately, Tulsa, OK, really isn't a software mecca, and the good games don't always make it to the dollar stores, since they really didn't get here in the first place.

    BTW, Masters of Orion is very cool, but showing it's age. You may need some skill at getting the old DOS games to work, and I had to mess around with sound drivers, etc. Still, it's nice to see where games like Stars! got their start.
  • System Shock I and II were good games, but not influential. Their genre had already been established.

    What? What games established the RPG FPS before System Shock? What FPS had a full, crowd pleasing plot before System Shock?? What game used sound to establish fear as in System Shock II (it was the sound that made that game scary)?
    Look at Deus Ex (also done by Warren Spector)... what a fantastic game that is! Warren Spector breaks the barriers of game genre's. System shock series combined the action of a FPS, and added the intricate strategy and skills of a RPG. Deus Ex allowed for at least three solutions to every puzzle (because it is another RPG FPS). These games will influence every new FPS that comes out.
    People don't want to play a straight shooter like Quake anymore. They need something else, and I think System Shock broke the barrier for FPS. Because of System Shock, FPS aren't just kill everything in site, and collect keys to get to the next level. Halflife is a great FPS because it had an excellent plot, but SystemShock was the first FPS to have a good solid plot. Look at Counter-Strike, and Unreal Tournament (sure, UT has Deathmatch mode, but it has a bigger population in the other modes).
    System Shocks broke the ground on making a FPS more than just hack and slash.

    --
  • Uhm... They are BARELY in the same genre. Have you played both games? based on your rules, Duke Nukem 3D is in the same genre because you can play against other people.

    UO is a persistant Ultima style world, Everquest is a persistent Player 3d first person (or 3rd person, if you choose) graphical LpMUD.

    Also, EverQuest's attack on PvP set the perfect mark for handling PvP (hey, want to PvP, go on your own server buddy).

    They are both good games, but generally are completely different audiences. UO is an extention of Ultima, Everquest is closer to an extension of Lp/DikuMUDs. Also, EverQuest was the first major MMORPG that required a 3D Accelerator (which some thought would kill the game, obviously it didn't).

    And yes, the reason it's EverCAMP is that they duplicated the concept of static spawns from most LpMUDS, this, in retrospect ended up being a bad decision with 2000 people on, rather than the 30 or so that were usually on LpMUDs. The expansions mostly fixed that issue on the new islands, and they are trying to figure out a way to fix it on the old-world without ticking off all the players. The problem is that most people don't get the item and continue on, they farm them for EBay, or their new level 1 warrior, that can't possibly be played without a Mithril 2 hander. If it was role-played, and you got your own stuff, the camping wouldn't be an issue... sorry, minor rant.


    -- Keith Moore
  • My Commodore 64C has the badge, "Personal Computer" clearly displayed on the case.

    PC does not have to mean IBM PC.

    Fuzzy

  • I'm glad to see the idea of an Angband interview getting modded up. There would be two good results:

    1) We'd actually get to show our appreciation, get some questions answered, and get to see what these programmers are doing now,

    2) Everyone would be reminded how good this old-school stuff is, and some of the younger slashdotters could get hooked.

    That being said, do you think there would be a measurable effect on the economy if all the techies started playing Angband / Moria / Rogue-like games all at once? Maybe Greenspan would start talking about Binary Download indicators, and their effect on productivity, blah blah.
  • They also missed the fact that Sierra made the first game with graphics at all (I think it was KQ I)?

    The first ADVENTURE game with graphics (if my memory serves). And it was Mystery House, not KQ I (which was also ground-breaking in its own way).

  • OK, Midi Maze was on the Atari ST, but we're talking about the 15 most influential games, not most influential DOS/Windows games.

    In fact the article states "15 most influential PC games". If this weren't the case, I'd be jumping in with dozens of more important 8 and 16 bit games, as well as many console games.

    I think this may explain the absence of Lemmings, since it was ported from the Amiga (?). The same may go for Monkey Island.

    I think nowadays 'PC' is taken to mean x86 IBM PC descendants, and not the more general "personal computer" which could include everything from the Spectrum, through Atari ST, to a modern PowerPC Macintosh...
    --
  • Well, it is "PC Games"...
  • by jms (11418)
    A couple of early Apple II games that sort of got forgotten ...

    Eamon -- a text adventure game designed to be extendable. Lots of people wrote lots of game modules for this one. Anyone remember it? Guess it wasn't so influential ...

    Castle Wolfenstein (the overhead-shooter game, not the first person shooter) -- ACHTUNG! AAAHHHGGGH!!

    And ... the original Ultima for the Apple II, which was the first really big explore-the-landscape game. Ultima also, if I remember correctly, was the first game to implement a 3d first person shooter perspective, although it wasn't in real time.

  • Actually, Wizardry I: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord was the first first person role-playing game, released in 1981, while Might and Magic I was released in 1986.
    And without Wizardry there wouldn't be a CRPG industry; I cannot fathom why they left it off the list entirely. Oh, yeah, it was released before 1990, wasn't it?

    Death is but a doorway.
  • I think if they felt they could include both Doom and Quake, then they should have included both Dune II and Command and Conquer. Personally, I think C&C was much more than a more popular version of Dune II. It wasn't simply a question of popularity versus precedence.

    The innovations that improved C&C over Dune II were colossal. First, they did all the obvious stuff. Improve the graphics, the sound, the animations. Second, they added more variety in terms of objectives (in the single player levels). Finally (and I think this is the most important), they improved the user interface.

    Requiring three clicks to issue a single command to individual units (select unit; select command; select target) was tremendously cumbersome. Reducing it to two and allowing the selection of multiple units (and in the process, allowing the player to keep the mouse pointer on the playing field at all times), made game play so much better, that I consider C&C and Dune II to be completely different games. In addition, they had user-definable hotkeys, and a much improved button bar.

    Red Alert, on the other hand, was hardly any improvement at all over C&C.

    You might argue that C&C's innovations are fairly obvious after having played Dune II. But you can't deny that Westwood was right on the ball, being the first one to release the much improved version, whose user interface set the standard for all the RTS games that followed.

    --

  • by dasunt (249686) on Friday December 29, 2000 @08:46AM (#1419072)
    You give the impression that nethack is not under active developement, version 3.3.1 came out rather recently. It can be found at http://www.nethack.org [nethack.org]. Other roguelikes worth mentioning are ADOM [www.adom.de] (don't worry, he's better at designing a game then a website), and Angband [phial.com]. There are several derivatives of Angband and Nethack, while ADOM is closed source. A good list of other roguelike games (with links) is available at http://www.skoardy.demon.co.uk/rlnews/links.html [demon.co.uk]. All of the popular roguelikes and most of the rest have linux binaries, and the source code is often available too! Nethack is even released under the GPL license.

    The other side of text-based gaming are text-based MUDs, a nice list of them can be found at The Mud Connector [mudconnect.com].

    The article also fails to mention that there is a free version of civilization that will run on Linux and has multi-player capability. Check out www.freeciv.org [freeciv.org] for information and downloads.
  • The list is almost painfully incomplete without Worms, Tetris and Magic Carpet. Wolfenstein belonged where Doom is, and like it or not - Windows Solitaire belongs up there as well.
  • I, too, spent a lot of time trying to guess why they didn't include Advent (Colossal Cave, Adventure, whatever name you want to give it) and all I can assume is that it was a list of "PC" games. By the time the PC had arrived, graphical games were already possible on other platforms.

    All that said, however, Advent/Zork was still far more influential than Diablo ( a mere graphic derivative ), IMHO. That reflects the biggest problem with "Top X Important Things" lists: they're always VERY subjective. I find myself wasting too much time worrying about other people's misguided opinions. (Slashdot included :-)

    John

  • I think that Zork had a tremendous influence in its day... but, sadly, that entire lineage is now dead.

    Zork spawned games like 'Wizard and the Princess' and 'King's Quest', games which added graphics to the text. All of these were more like interactive novels than video games; they were stories which unfolded around you if you were clever enough to find your way through them. They weren't quite role-playing games in the traditional sense, since they didn't involve hit points or levelling up. These works of interactive fiction were a distinct genre of their own.

    Unfortunately, aside from work being done by fans to keep the genre alive, I don't think there have been any interactive fiction games of this sort released in the past several years. Myst and Riven pale by comparison; next to Zork's clever parser, those two games are mere slideshows.

    I think modern gamers just don't like having to type -- or maybe kids these days just can't spell. ;-)

  • That's a reasonable list, as far as it goes. But I'd have to add another game or two, based on one type of game that's omitted. None of the games listed were pioneers in creating characters that people truly love, characters for which they play and continue to play the game(s), time and again. By and large, computer games have nameless non-individuals for the player to live through--a grunt, a soldier, an alien, etc. Tomb Raider is on the list and has Lara Croft, sure, but people didn't play the game because of her character's personality or alluring history--she's just a hot CG chick with large polygons, no one actually cares about her life and character traits that much.

    So, there are two games I'd include on the list, for pioneering memorable characters whose lives are important to the game. *The* pioneer here would be the young Commander Keen, 8-year-old boy wonder who built a rocketship out of old soup cans and dons his football helmet to become Commander Keen, defender of Earth and galactic hero. Much of the allure of the Keen games is the character's personality--he's the kid in all of us, and the uber-geek to boot, in a game that's full of his kitschy and quirky predicaments. Without Keen and his character as revealed in numerous text screens, the Keen games wouldn't be as likable and successful. They were clearly character-driven.

    Second would be an all-time favourite, Duke Nukem 3D. An immersive 3D world, but inhabited by 2D characters and sprites, the game is technically inferior to many of its contemporaries, including of course the original Quake. Resolutions are low, adding to the game's technical inferiority. And yet, many people continue to play Duke Nukem 3D to this day, and new mods, user levels, and total conversions continue to be made all the time. There are arguably more mods, user levels, and TCs floating around for Duke Nukem 3D than there are for Quake. Why? Because Duke Nukem is an awesome character. Just as Commander Keen is the kid, and the uber-geek, in all of us, Duke Nukem is the swaggering and macho male in all of us. Babes in bikinis, strippers, and posters for adult films litter every Duke level, and Duke is heard to say "shake it, baby!" and give strippers wads of cash. The user mods and TCs have become an integral part of the Duke Nukem community, allowing Duke's macho lewdness to be taken further than the game company itself could, even though the mods are hosted on their servers. Basic mods for DN3D take the clothes off the strippers, while more advanced and very popular TCs like the Vixens and Vixens 2 packages add more female characters, more sexist scenarios, and the ability to screw the strippers for health points instead of just giving them cash to "shake it." Penthouse Magazine commissioned and sponsored a special map. Some user levels are almost insanely elaborate, and impossible to play without using cheat codes there are so many enemies--such as the 666 TC. Whether you love Duke's sexist machismo for the playfulness it really is, or whether you hate it because you take it too seriously, Duke Nukem is a very character-driven game which has remained popular solely on the strength of its character and the user community's support of him through mods and TCs to a technically inferior game. Its publisher has largely abandoned the PC for creating console Duke Nukem games, and stated that Duke Nukem 3D will never benefit from the enhancements made to its textures and sprites for the console versions. But many PC gamers have yet to abandon Duke Nukem 3D, because of Duke's character.

    I think those are the two best examples of character driven games, games whose attractive main personalities have earned them a place in gaming history. Just MHO.

  • by kniedzw (65484) on Friday December 29, 2000 @07:18AM (#1419097)

    Gamespot's list seems to be heavily skewed toward titles which sold very well and managed in the same breath to be influential. All of the games are personal computer games, meaning that console and stand-up arcade games are completely ignored. Because of the factor of sales, they are of course going to be limited to the last decade, by and large, since the computer gaming industry didn't really become a huge playing field until then.

    All the same, they do give a nod to the 80's with "SimCity" and "Ultima III." By both of their apparent criteria, they wouldn't really be able to avoid these games.

    They completely ignore some of the biggest genres of the past, however. Some are because they were primarily console games, but they completely ignore some of the most influential titles in favor of flashier, more recent games.

    Text adventure games, from the simple "Hunt the Wumpus" to "ADVENT" to "Zork" and Infocom's entire line are given the shaft, despite their contribution in showing the possibility of translating a rich world (and in many cases, complex plot) into a computer game. To my knowledge, no game company has developed a text parser which even comes close to matching the sophistication of Infocom's earliest engines.

    They also ignore the hybrid text-adventure games pioneered by Sierra, such as the early "King's Quest" line and such classics as "Leisure Suit Larry" (which showed the viability of an adult-only game).

    Early turn-based strategy games, such as the ASCII "Starbase" and its clones are likewise ignored, along with "Rogue," "Nethack," and its (still maintained) successors in the "Angband" line.

    Early first-person adventure games, such as "Wizardry" and "Bards Tale" were left off completely, as were their predecessors in the table-top RPG world ("Tunnels and Trolls," "AD&D," and the like).

    The shareware craze of the late-80s and early-90s is also left off, despite the fact that folks like Apogee and id Software brought the entire gaming industry kicking and screaming into the world of "this demo is more than a guided walkthrough for the first five minutes of the game; it's actually the first quarter of the game, uncut." What game reviewer worth their salt could ignore this craze?

    They also completely ignore ganes which were influential in their development on the computer, such as ChessMaster, its predecessors, and its successors. The AIs developed for chess have shaped our perception of Man vs. Machine indelibly, especially recently, with the defeat of Kasparov.

    All these (and many other genres) aside, of the list they selected, there are many games I would have chosen from other deveopers. They give - in my opinion - sufficient props to id Software for Doom and Quake, but they seem to ignore other game developers that deserve kudos. Blizzard they credit only with Diablo, and they don't mention Looking Glass at all. While Dune II might have been the formative stages for real-time strategy games, Blizzard's XxxxCraft line defined it.

    I could go on, but it has been better covered in other posts, and I have to do some actual work today. :)

  • I might even do this if I get a bit of free time (meaning...when I get bored enough to bother :).

    Draw a chart showing what games or other concepts each game was based on. Something similar to the
    unix chart displaying all the different flavors of unix and what they were derived from. Almost every video game in existance is based in one way or another on some previous game, even though it might not be directly derived from a computer based game.

    For instance, Myst might have been an influential game, but consider the fact that Myst is really an overglorified Mystery House with a different theme. KQ1 (which influenced most of the Sierra games after it) was influenced from the text based adventure games and had a graphical element added to it.

    Wolfenstien 3D was definitely influenced by Castle Wolfenstein and possibly Ultima Underworld, and it in turn influenced Doom, which influenced Hexen, Quake and Duke 3D (influenced by Duke 2D as well)... And so on and so forth.

    Like I said.. when I get around to it, it might be a fun project.

    -Restil
  • Just a note about dying. Diablo2 has a hardcore mode where if you die, you are DEAD.

    It is possible to ressurrect your dead guy in the single player hardcore mode, but if you play hardcore on the secure battle.net servers--dying is permanent.

    I had a level 20 Barbarian a couple nights ago due to a firewall spell from the Summoner, a mage boss.

    You want a challenge? Go play Diablo2 in hardcore mode.
  • wow. another case of moderaters with out a clue.
  • The Underdogs [theunderdogs.org] provides downloads and reviews of the best underrated games for PCs and other platforms. Particularly relevant is their Hall of Belated Fame [theunderdogs.org].
  • For the true geek, writing programs is the best and most enduring entertainment that a PC has to offer.

    --
  • Thank you, I wasn't about to click fifteen times to get "the list" when they just string it out to the point that it isn't a list, more like a psychology test.

    I will admit that I have only played a couple of them and have not heard of a few. Actually I have only played Doom, Quake, Wing Commander, Sim City and maybe Mechwarrior II.

    Are any of these combat overhead view strategy games like WarCraft, Command & Conquer or Total Annihilation? Sorry I don't know the 'lingo', but I really liked this style game.
  • by waterbiscuit (241198) <milly@janeteclark.bti n t e r n et.com> on Friday December 29, 2000 @05:31AM (#1419113) Journal
    I'm sorry, but this game just has to be mentioned. It surely is the most addictive of games, and you just have to keep on trying. Minesweeper is so simple, but completely addictive because of its simplicity. And then when you get down to the very last bomb, and you have to guess between two, and you guess wrong...

    Aaaaah!

    And you have to start all over again until you get it.

    And then you get within one second of your best score... noooo!

    And then, your dear sister goes and beats your best score...

    I'm sorry, but this game must have wasted more hours of people's lives than any other.

  • I agree, Wolfenstein 3d knocked my socks off. I played that game well into the dawn on many occasions. Doom was just a better Wolfenstein. For me, Wolfenstein is the first great first-person shooter.

    I loved the article though :)

    dynamo

  • I'm very surprised they left Wolfenstein 3d off their list. Their top two entries, Doom and Quake owe their existance to it. Wolfenstien 3d is crude by current standards, but it was influential, and controversial. It was banned in Germany for obvious reasons... Mein Leiben!
  • They might as well have called it "what we think are the best games that we have played since being in business on computers" Where is Wolfenstein? Isn't that what MADE Quake/Halflife/Doom what they are. Yes, I know Teminator2064 was kindof a FPS too, but noone payed attention to it, making Wolfenstein more INFLUENTIAL. Where was Monopoly? There is no doubt that Sim City and Civilization could not have been produced without that well known game. Where was The Colossal Cave? It spawned Alone in the Dark, Tomb Raider, the first Ultimas, etc. Where was LIZA? The first attempt at simulated AI I thought /. was news where I didnt have to read about pop BS.

    Often wrong but never in doubt.
    I am Jack9.
  • I would have said 7th guest and 11th hour where influenced by myth. At least the puzzle solving with some flashy graphics.
  • ha! i wish I had some mode points for your post :)

    Scorched Earth rocks and I /still/ play it.

    gorilla.bas you could always turn to in a pinch, if you were off somewhere using someone elses pc or at work and happened across a machine. good stuff.
  • by bjb (3050)
    What about AlleyCat? C'mon, it was a PC only game that STILL has my attention 18 years after I first played it.

    Ok, so it might not be influential, but it certainly is a blast to play and it is a PC game (it even says it's written for the IBM PC in the title screen).

    --

  • Garriott's response was that he didn't think there would be a market for networked games (he didn't think that gamers would be willing to invest in networking equipment for games :)

    That's hard to believe. I remember frequent conversations at Origin as early as 1987-1988 about how insanely cool it would be to build a "Multima" product. We knew exactly what we wanted to do way back then; UO is a pretty faithful incarnation of what was being discussed. I was no longer working there in '92 but I'm fairly sure there was an active R&D effort on Multima by then (as in, at least one programmer actually tinkering with code.)

    Richard wasn't always right about the direction the market would take, but he called this one a good 10 years before it happened.
  • Doom was a breakthrough and major step forward from Wolfenstein 3D because it had network play, plus it looked very much more 3D. And it had excellent weapon balance. I must have played a couple hundred hours of Doom in my third year of university...

    Quake was another huge step forward because it was true 3D. Also, quake was incredibly influential because it (and the 3Dfx Voodoo) hotwired the whole 3D acceleration industry.

    IIRC, all first person shooters after Quake supported 3D hardware acceleration. That's influential!

    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • by Juln (41313) on Friday December 29, 2000 @05:34AM (#1419150) Homepage Journal
    Some people think it this is some sort of internal, hardware based program that is the reason their employers bought them that 900 Mhz PIII.
  • the ultimate dungeon crawler - Dungeon Master? And my FAVORITE game of all time, the Sundog for the Atari ST by the same group, FTL. Anybody that hasn't played Sundog is missing out. Of course the list wouldn't be complete without Civilization II and Homeworld.
  • Not a single text-based game made the list, not even Zork! And I was disappointed to see that the old BBS Door games (like LoRD) also got the shaft. I've blown more time in LoRD than I care to admit to. I was even playing LoRD back in the DOOM days. The recent web-port of LoRD just doesn't have the same mystery as the BBS variant.

    When will people compiling these lists realize that sales isn't everything? They seem to think that sales=influential, simply due to the fact that the more eyes that see your game, the more influential it will be towards others.

    Well, DUH!

    Still, there are a lot of games out there that didn't sell boatloads, but are arguably more influential than, say, Falcon 3.0. M.U.L.E?


  • More people played bought and played Diablo, but I have yet to find an Angband player that preferred Diablo.

    Bear in mind that Angband does not have flashy graphics, does not have a major amount of marketing, did not get every games magazine on the planet raving about it - it just casually sucked up the lives of pretty much everybody I knew at university, and quite a few since.

    Angband provides depth and gameplay I still haven't come across in commercial games. I'm still playing Zangband (disclaimer : I helped introduce one of the Zangband maintainers to Angband in the first place) and yet even Baldur's Gate 2 (infinitely better than Diablo/2) only had 3-4 months of longevity. I have been playing Angband (and its variants) since 1992, and can still get so hooked into a session that I forget to go to bed.

    I do agree that Diablo gained more success; given the introduction to Angband I suspect that most (non online) Diablo gamers would love the game and forgive its primitive graphics. (Although I don't even see them now - D is an ancient dragon, no matter what you claim! :)

    Having said that, and to stay on topic, Angband is a 'roguelike' game. As is Nethack, and even Moria. Rogue is truly one of the most influential games I've even known.

    ~Cederic
  • Trying to load that site reminds me of CmdrTaco's all-time favourite PC game (and what a fun one it is):

    SLASHDOT THE BASTARDS!(tm)

  • btw, re: interview. Why not Geoff Hill or Sean (eek, forgotten his surname) who did so much work to prepare Angband for its first wide release (2.4.frogknows).

    ~Cederic
  • Except that Diablo doesn't have the Keystone Kops!

    Tom
  • Games before VGA:

    - Ultima III: Exodus (CGA: 320x200x4c)
    - SimCity (64K EGA: 640x350x16c)
    - King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella (64K EGA: 320x200x16c)
    - Test Drive (EGA: 320x200x16c)
    --
  • I've never heard of that either. I always thought of consoles to be platforms (ps2, sega, nintendo, etc), not the type of game (side scroller as in mario, crash bandicoot, sonic, etc), but doing a quick google search comes up with this page [about.com] at about.com which seems to list 'platform' games as the original poster describes. I guess I learn something everyday I read /.
  • by hiryuu (125210) on Friday December 29, 2000 @05:38AM (#1419198)

    On the offhand chance someone else hasn't done it:

    • Wing Commander
    • Ultima III: Exodus
    • Alone in the Dark
    • Ultima Online
    • Tomb Raider
    • Falcon 3.0
    • SimCity
    • Half-Life
    • Civilization
    • Diablo
    • Dune II: Battle for Arrakis
    • King's Quest IV: Perils of Rosella
    • Myst
    • Doom
    • Quake

    And the top-ten runners-up were:

    • The Seventh Guest
    • WarBirds
    • Pool of Radiance
    • Ultima Underworld: the Stygian Abyss
    • Deer Hunter
    • X-COM: UFO Defense
    • Populous
    • Myth: the Fallen Lords
    • Test Drive
    • Mechwarrior II
  • Well, of course. Nevertheless a good choice in terms of influence after all.

    However, I think in shoot-em-up category there's probably Castle Wolfenstein - actually a predecessor of doom - which introduced the 3D scenario into gaming. Also Duke Nukem should probably be on the list.

    What I missed is the best game ever crafted:

    The Castles of Dr. Creep

    Broderbund

    That sucker merged adventure into arcade into role playing. And - it was proof that frizzy graphics and dorky sound effects are not really essential as opposed to the actual scenario of a really great game.

  • >Platform games == games in which the main character jumps from platform to platform.

    Well, nintendogen.com [nintendogen.com] has a slightly different definition:

    GENRE - PLATFORM DEFINITION - A hybrid of adventure and puzzle elements. A character explores a free roaming environment while seeking out hidden items or solving conspicuous objectives.

    Still, quite a bit different than what I had always assumed was meant by 'platform'.

  • Looking Glass Studios' games weren't even mentioned.

    These people mentioned Half-Life, a 1998 game but didn't mention System Shock I, published much earlier (1994?), with similar graphics (even though it lacked OpenGL/Direct3D support and was a DOS game) and a MUCH better plot/gameplay/engine.

    I agree that perhaps Counter-Strike should've been mentioned, as its counterpart, Rainbow 6, is pretty weak, but there is _no way_ that Half-Life is better than System Shock I.

    And there's also Flight Unlimited, which defined the standard regarding photographic landscapes and non-military flight models.

    And what about Thief?

    I'm outraged.

    Flavio
  • I love those old WWIV BBS gamez!

    Tradewars
    Leech
    Piss Wars
    Dick Wars
    Sex Wars
  • Oh my God !

    EMM386, MSCDEX, sound & mouse drivers !

    Memmaker was my favourite game... I once did a very good score of 614 Ko with all drivers loaded (on a 486 : on a PI, my best score was only 592 Ko IIRC).

    I had forgotten memmaker. I really miss memmaker. Sure. Really.

    Stéphane
  • by Tet (2721) <slashdot@NoSPAm.astradyne.co.uk> on Friday December 29, 2000 @05:42AM (#1419231) Homepage Journal
    What on earth is Diablo doing in the list? It's a half-hearted rip-off of Angband (or any of the other rogue-like games), but with all the gameplay removed and replaced with flashy graphics. The game has *no* depth to it at all, and I can't see me still playing it in a few years. In fact, I don't play it any more now. In contrast, I'm still playing Moria (in it's Angband form) over a decade after I first played it. That's the mark of a true classic...
  • this is really rubbing it in. When most of these games were released I was hacking away on a C-64 and the UNIX boxen I could connect to with my 1200/75 baud modem. I occasionally got to play on a PC at a user group or a friend's house (a friend of mine actually owned a computer shop but we weren't allowed to play games on the PC's). When I finally did get a PC (why parents sold the family home and splashed out to buy me one) I was utterly suprised to find that I could program in C on it. Luckily the first game I got on my new PC was Another World. A truely revolutionary game, both in it's graphics and story line and in the fact that it was put together by one man (ok ok, and a musician).
  • Ultima III wasn't really the Ultima that kicked off the series. Ultima IV was. Ultima III was just an enhanced version of ultima II. It WAS an improvement, don't get me wrong. But U3 didn't yet have the depth that U4 did.

    The ironic thing is U4 and U3 had almost the exact same engine, but U4's subtle yet powerful background theme is what made it such a great game and it set the stage for all the games to follow in that series. It set up the system of virtues and strayed from the old hack&slash mentality of the first 3 games. You HAD to be virtuous or you couldn't win the game. However, nothing in the documentation implied this. You had to discover it for yourself through gameplay.

    They managed to maintain this level of gameplay through Ultima VII. After that something went wrong. I'm not exactly sure, but it couldn't be only a coincidence that Origin was bought out by EA at approximately the same time the powerful story in the series took a nosedive and instead arcade gaming style, 3D graphics, and multiplayer revenue streams took priority.

    Pity.

    -Restil
  • This must be a list of the favorite games of the reviewer. How could they leave out Midi Maze [gamecenter.com] as one of the first, if not the first, networked first-person shooter? Deathmatch and only deathmatch, against smiley faces no less. It predates Wolfenstein by 5 years! It does not even show up on their list of games that pre-date Doom [3dgamers.com]!

    OK, Midi Maze was on the Atari ST, but we're talking about the 15 most influential games, not most influential DOS/Windows games. If you want a good list, use CNet's Hall of Game Innovation list [gamecenter.com].

  • If you want to get technical... Mystery house was the first adventure game with graphics, while KQ1 was the first adventure game with solid graphics. MH was all line drawings.

    -Restil
  • Jumpman.. no doubt and IK+.. god I love that game.. at least once a year I download a C64 emulator and IK+ and have a few games. It's just not the same without the Atari joysticks though.

  • Of the 15 most influential PC games of all time, the oldest is SimCity? Give me a break! Yeah, I'm sure Ultima Online really broke new ground with the whole concept of "massively multiplayer." Not like there were any MUDs before it. Hell, DIKU wasn't even the first, but I'd wager it was itself a major influence in even convincing anyone that wide-area multiplay was a viable route.

    I know it's not a PC game, but if you want influential, check out the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man. Horrible game, but you can't watch a movie or TV character play a video game these days without hearing the "death" sound from it.

    -- ShadyG

  • Most influential games of all time? Most of those games are in the last decade. In fact many of them were after I stopped playing games in every minute of my spare time, so I've never seen them. I don't suppose the writers at Gamespot remember text adventures like Zork, or wire frame space arcade/sims like Star Wars, scrolling shoot em ups like Space Invaders (Xenon II Megablast!), or the old days of platform games, or ...
  • by mirko (198274) on Friday December 29, 2000 @05:54AM (#1419270) Journal
    Why are there no platform games ???
    Where are "Manic Miner", "Commander Keen 4", "Prince Of Persia", "Lemmings", "Flashback" ? Also, what about all time favorites like "Bratacas, "Breakout",, "Asteroids", "Space Invaders" , "Pac Man"?
    Come on, let an older journalist write such articles !
    --
  • What an off-kilter list! First of all, Diablo was nothing more than a straight dungeon crawl, believe it.

    Secondly, they negate all the arcade classics... Spyhunter, pacman, Pong! Where the hell are these "influential games?" Every single one of these earlier games did a lot more influencing than these new-age brethren.

    And QUake is nothing more than an extension of doom, incorporating both is both lazy and idiotic. By the way, they missed all Sid Meier games, Rise of the Triad, Duke 3D, and Solitaire
  • It seems very odd to me that there isn't a *single* point & click adventure in there -- no Maniac Mansion, no Monkey Island, no Sam'n'Max, no Day of the Tentacle.

    These games are influential both in the sense that they were hugely popular, and in the sense that they influenced the games of today -- Monkey Island 4 is just out and selling well.
    --
  • by dave-fu (86011) on Friday December 29, 2000 @06:14AM (#1419278) Homepage Journal
    Hi? Greatest game ever made? Ringing any bells here? 12-odd years since I first laid eyes on it and I'm still engrossed by it. Dungeon-based RPGs, ah... hell. 90% of FPS games take place in a dungeon, so there's no mistaking the influence this one had; the rogue(like)/variants are superinfluential badboys. Also, Myst? Huh? Honestly now. What games did it influence? Riven? Anything else? I mean, the game was gorgeous and were it not for the COP OUT ending, I'd have bought RealMyst already. But come on. Also, totally not getting the Cult of Half-Life. The game was good, but not mind-blowingly so...
  • Absolutely... Falcon 3.0 had flaws but it was the attempt to be realistic that's noteworthy. (Okay... there were some obvious failures.)

    I can't recall realistic flight models being a selling point before Falcon 3.0. Maybe Chuck Yeager's Air Combat is worth noting.

    I don't think any of the "realistic" sims have hit the mark, but there are a few that have come close.... Jane's F-15, Jane's Longbow II, Microprose's Falcon 4.0.

    IMHO, Falcon 4.0 has probably hit closer to the mark than any other sim. It's a shame that Hasbro bought Microprose, released a faulty sim and then promptly killed further development. Hell, Hasbro does not offer support for Falcon 4.0 at all. No patches... nothing anymore. It's a shame. The continuing work of ad-hoc organizations have made Falcon 4.0 more stable, more realistic and more complete. The Realism Patch Group [falcon40.com] is an excellent example of open source success. Without their work and the work of iBeta [ibeta.com], Falcon 4.0 wouldn't be as good as it is.

  • In a similar vein, if part of what makes a game "influential" is the number of people that play it, then I bet solitare is one of the most influential games ever.

    Really, it's a revolutionary idea. It helps to teach people the incredible utility of a PC when they realize they can finally get rid of their playing cards.
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Friday December 29, 2000 @06:05AM (#1419286) Homepage Journal
    havn't you heard? There were no games before 1990.. just like there were no operating systems before 1980. This is the computer industry, we're a community of children who fail to study the past.
  • Perhaps in a few years time we will see some sort of free game released that never would have been developed because it just wouldn't sell.
  • by SnapShot (171582) on Friday December 29, 2000 @07:31AM (#1419290)

    Here is my list of the games that have consumed the most hours, days, and weeks of my life. All of them were good games. The one thing most had in common, they all had a "just one more level/planet/room/battle" mindset.

    15. Tetris (we had it installed at my work-study job in college)

    14. Total Annihilation

    13. Outlaws (a lucasarts western FPS)

    12. Zork (and a few other infocom games)

    11. Privateer and Privateer II (really cool Wing Commander spin offs but I still haven't finished either...)

    10. StarCraft (thanks to battle.net)

    9. WarCraft (especially once we got two computers connected on a null-modem)

    8. Diablo

    7. Baldur's Gate

    6. SimCity and SC II (days)

    5. XCOM (days)

    4. Master of Magic (days/weeks)

    3. Master of Orion (days/weeks)

    2. Civilization and Civ II (weeks, months?)

    1. NetHack,Rogue,zangband,moria, etc. etc.

    Probably spent more time on these than all the others combined. Can download quickly onto any computer, can play at work without anybody noticing, always interesting, and very, very hard to break away from...

  • Interesting, how there was nothing influential before VGA.

    I guess we were all stuck playing text-based solitaire... and not enjoying it.

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