Monday, August 15, 2005

The Best PC Games of All Time

OK, it's actually my personal favorite PC games of all time. All the ones I've enjoyed playing the most from childhood to adulthood. Here are the top twelve:

12. Kingdom of Kroz
Probably one of the most addictive games of all time. It showcased what you could do with ASCII text graphics. The whole game was in text mode. You control your little ascii character, the smily face (ASCII '001' I believe), and go through the dungeons solving puzzles and avoiding traps. I'd like to play this again.

11. Leisure Suit Larry III
Great soundtrack for this one. Every single scene had background music. I used this game to showcase the capabilities of my new Adlib sound card. It was during this time that graphics, music, and story were starting to be combined in a single gameplaying experience. This was one of the funnier Larry games made and my favorite of the series.

10. Hero's Quest (aka Quest for Glory I)
Sierra created this unique adventure/RPG. Good story and you can finish the game in many different ways depending on whether you play as a Fighter, Magic User, or Thief. I played this as a Thief and I robbed houses, joined the Thieves' Guild, and sneaked past enemies instead of fighting them. Pure fun.

9. The Sims
Game Designer Will Wright creates another fun hit game. In The Sims, you control one character's life. You have to eat, sleep, clean the house, get a job, get some recreation, and even invite other Sim characters over for dinner. Very addictive game. My character, a single computer programmer, eventually became Corporate Overlord, bought the most expensive mansion available in the game, and scored with my female neighbor KimP (who was actually my brother's character). Now if only it was real life...

8. Space Quest IV
I love Roger Wilco in Space Quest and I consider this to be the darkest one in the series. Very interesting time travel storyline. Roger starts out in a post nuclear holocaust world which is a glimpse of the future "Space Quest XII". He then travels through past and future Space Quest games, even making an appearance in Space Quest I with old school EGA graphics where aliens make fun of you for being in VGA. I was surprisingly moved by the unexpected dramatic ending, good one Sierra.

7. Lakers versus Celtics (aka 'bball')
This game was huge back in college. My friends and I would play bball every chance we got. It was pretty revolutionary at the time, being the first 5-on-5 basketball game for the PC. Kareem was the most unique player because he had his unblockable sky hook. Worthy and Bird had a unique look too so you could distinguish them on the court. But the rest of the players looked and played very similar. For instance, Michael Jordan had no special skills because this was the 80's and the focus were on the Lakers and Celtics. Hector once beat me with a last second three point shot from the backcourt! Lots of good memories with this one.

6. Space Quest III
The music on this one was unbelievable, particularly the opening music and Fester's Theme. It was also the first (and only?) Space Quest game with a nonlinear map, you could go to any of the two planets and Monolith Burger after you escape the janitor ship. Monolith Burger was my favorite section of the game, you can hang out, order and eat food. Just avoid the Big Belcher combo unless you want to see Roger throw up.

5. King's Quest III
Storyline: An evil wizard, a wicket pet cat, and a servant boy unaware of his true identity. This had me hooked from the very beginning. In the first part, you have to escape the clutches of Mannanan the Wizard. In the second part, you have to find a way back to Daventry. And in the last part, rescue the princess, restore order to the kingdom and uncover your real identity. Fantastic story and my favorite Sierra game of all time.

4. Phantasie
A simple and easy to play party-based RPG game. Free the land from the Black Knights and the Evil Nicodemus. Retrieve the rings from the dungeon inhabited by J.R.R. Trollkin. Assemble your party, fight monsters, level up your characters. But wait, the story is actually quite good. I've played several RPGs since, but none were as good or as fun as this one. Phantasie III was good too. And it's too bad they never ported Phantasie II to the PC.

3. Star Control 2
This was a fantastic epic game that blew me away. You were born away from earth, returning to find it is now in control of the Ur-Quan Overlords. So you and your crew travel around the galaxy, fighting and befriending different alien races, expanding your fleet until you are eventually strong enough to defeat the Ur-Quan Masters. Along the way you will unravel the massive history of the galaxy races. You'll learn how the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah are destined to be locked in a titanic civil war which will result in the destruction of the known galaxy. This simply put is the best story ever put in a game. Finishing it gave me the most satisfying sense of accomplishment I've ever had on the PC.

2. SimCity 2000
You're the Mayor of a city. Your task is to design and build roads, schools, power plants, industrial, commercial, and residential zones, and do it in a way to keep the residents happy. It's up to you what you want your city to be like. You can design it to be a huge Metropolis filled with pollution or crime, or you may want a smaller one with fewer jobs and residents. This is a wonderful open-ended game where you have to deal with many decisions that will affect your city. Raise taxes? Lower taxes? More schools and museums? Build a new stadium? Legalize gambling? Build a new highway? It's tough too because there are so many tradeoffs and you need to keep your city economically viable. I was hugely addicted to this, foregoing sleep and food just to make my city a little better.

1. Civilization
Simply put, the best computer game of all time. More addictive than heroin or crack. Spans the entire history of man. Start at 4000 BC with a wandering tribe. Discover technologies like The Wheel, and The Alphabet. Build up your armies and upgrade them as you get better military knowledge. Encounter rival tribes and nations. Engage them in diplomacy or go to war, it's up to you. Play through to the middle ages, industrial revolution, up to the present time where you can develop nuclear weapons and even use them against your enemies (resulting in accelerated global warming). Then you can even build a spaceship and send it to Alpha Centauri. Sid Meier remains as one of the greatest game designers ever. The amount of decisions and possibilities you have in this game is mind blowing. You can play this thousands of times without getting tired of it. Many nights in the past, I've seen the sun rise while playing 'just one more turn'.

The last game I got into was The Sims back in 2002. The year before, I got interested in Black and White, which had its flaws, but a very unique experience. The last original PC game idea I believe was Black and White. Nowadays the industry is littered with First Person Shooters, Real-time strategy (warcraft, etc.), and MMORPGS. I notice a lack of innovation. Understandably, game development companies want to play it safe and ship products they are sure to sell, rather than gamble with new ideas.

There is some good news, Peter Molyneux (creator of Black and White) plans to release a new original game called 'The Movies' where you control a movie studio. Civilization 4 is also due out late this year. I'm also threshing out ideas for a new simple and easy RPG that I can code in my spare time. Happy playing!


rmacapobre said...

im actually not that much interested in pc games anymore. bad sign .. :((

Matt said...

If you liked King's Quest III, you'll want to check out this page:

Some fans have joined together to try to save a King's Quest fan game that Vivendi just shut down. It looked really impressive for a fan game.