20 – Mass Effect
I have never understood the appeal of Star Wars, at least not until I played Mass Effect. The complete immersion into a world a universe that Star Wars fans feel is what experienced after my first two missions.
19 – Minecraft
Yeah, someone’s trying to recreate Game of Thrones continent of Westeros in Minecraft. Yes, someone else made a to-scale replica of starship Enterprise, but I think there’s more fun in making a more humble thing in your private or shared world.
18 – Half-Life
Half Life 2 managed to both create the blueprint for the modern single player shooter and be the genre’s high water mark. It was first and, arguably, still is the best at what it does.
17- Half Life 2: Episode 2
Episode 2 just does everything perfectly. You have an adventure in a mining complex with a hilariously tame Vortigaunt companion, a frantic last-stand against hordes of antlions, an ambush where Combine troops destroy a mansion around you, and finely a battle with a legion of Striders.
16 – BioShock
To this day, horror games remain little more than jump scares and sudden sound blasts, Bioshock’s submerged tomb of forgotten dreams and broken promises consistently cranks out an ambiance far more discomforting than any blood-drenched wall or hulked-out zombie could ever hope for.
15 – Diablo II
I love Diablo II’s esthetic, which makes me feel like I’m living in a miniature model world like the kind once used to create film effects.
14 – Portal 2
It’s funnier and even more endearing than its predecessor, and invests several new types of puzzle that make the Porta gun seem even more amazing.
13 – Quake
Quake isn’t, it’s a phenomenon. Without it, TF2 wouldn’t exist. Perforating Fields with Nine-Inch nails and blasting Shamblers with quad-rockets is every bit as fun now as it was in ’96.
12 – Mass Effect
It’s been two years, and still cannot hear Shakerspeare’s name or any reference to his work without the voice of an Elcor reciting the most moving lines in hamlet popping into my head.
11- Counter-Strike: Source
It’s one of the few modern multiplayer shooters that doesn’t jangle with bells and whistles when it walks-there’s no cover system, iron-sights, kill-streak rewards, air-strikes, vehicles, or unlockable anything-just you, some ballistic weapons, level geometry, and a few grenades.
10 – Star Craft II: Wings of Liberty
The way armies animate and express players’ intentions shows Blizzard’s careful thinking and Frankensteinian craftsman-ship; they imbue life and true personality into unit models. Without 5C2’s ease-of-spectat-ing, it’d simply be a game, not a rising culture that anyone can participate in.
9 – Civilization 4
. It remains the pinnacle, and it is every bit as good today thanks to two things: several satisfying paths to victory, and the moddability that gave us gems like Fall From Heaven. As Civilization V proved, Firaxis broke the mold after making this one.
8 – Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead
What’s more PC than an open sandbox that honors your ideas? Arma loves freedom as much as Minecraft, demands more synchronized teamwork than Classic Rainbow Six, and-with a native mission editor-is more moddable than Half-Life.
7 – Elder Scrolls IV
There’re those that boast about freedom and player choice, and then there’s Oblivion. Freedom” is putting it too lightly. Wanna ignore the main quest and butcher every single person in Cyrodill? Go for it. Wanna spend 300 hours collecting Daedric weaponry to display in your corpse-rugged mansion? No problem.
6 – World of Warcraft
There was a time, during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, where raiding was the most fun you could have in any game, ever. Delving into Ulduar-still the best dungeon the WoW team have created, was an adventure you looked forward to all week. The fights felt hard but the mechanics understandable. One had you split your team-half to hold a gladiator’s arena, the other to run a gauntlet of baddies to knock a boss off his pedestal.
5 – Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age took all the clichéd fantasy motifs and twisted them up delight-fully. Instead of beautiful castles filled with nobles, we got filthy, racist cities populated by selfish elves and morally corrupted dwarves-and it was amazing. Each of your party’s companions had their own agenda and motivations, and I’d often field opposing characters just to hear them banter and prod each other.
4 – Fallout 3
Most people watch the puppet show, but all I see are the strings. Fallout 3 put the magic back in games for me It gave me this giant, personality-packed universe to just live in. I still go back and wander the landscape when I need an escape. Most importantly, though, it taught me a very valuable life lesson: Tunnel Snakes rule.
3 – Team Fortress 2
TF2 is Valve’s invincible lab rat. It launched as an expensive reboot. Since then, valve has made it free, quintupled the game’s armory, added item crafting and trading, opened it up to community-designed items, hosted two Australian Christmases and updated it an astonishing 267 times.
2 – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim is a role player paradise. My corrent character kind of insane, and loves punishing NPCs. I love the way Skyrim feels like a collaboration in immersion between me and the world.
1 – Portal
Many games can be described as having “innovative puzzles” but Portal’s clever mechanics aren’t the crux of its greatness. It exploits the unique qualities of interactive media to tell a perfectly-paced story with an original aesthetic and a nuanced mix of humor and gravity.