The best of the best. The 100 games you must play. Our favorites. The greatest. We love lists. We love arranging things in order of excellence. Some might say our entire reason for existing is to attach a declarative number of quality to the hard work of thousands of game developers. On with the show!
100. IL-2 (2001)
We got really excited when we played IL-2 Sturmovik for the first time purely because we could use our Track-IR head-tracking thingy to glance at the map sewn into our virtual pilots knees. And then work out where we were by comparing it to the scenery outside the cockpit.
99. Mirrors Edge (2009)
It lets you be an urban ninja, which is reason enough to love it, but its the citys polished dystopia that keeps it so firmly in our minds.
98. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
Big, brash, and questionable in its ethics, it should be an easy game to hate. But its just so slick, so planned, it demands everlasting, if grudging, respect. Bumping it up to Veteran difficulty and plowing ahead is one of gamings great trials of strength.
97. Anchorhead (1998)
Atmospheric and absorbing, but nevertheless a game with puzzles to solve, this is everything thats great about interactive fiction.
96. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (2005)
Is it the exquisitely designed single-player game, or the hilarious co-op? Screw it: both are great. Outside of Thief, this is the best stealth game ever made.
95. Jagged Alliance 2 (1999)
Managing your own A-Team of international mercenaries, each with his own specialities and unique personality, makes for some of the best tactical strategy combat this side of the X-COM series.
94. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II (2009)
Space Marines are the finest action figures PC gaming has ever had. DoW2s cover mechanics and loot/leveling create a fine environment for paper doll play, picking out what jump pack or power sword to put in their hands. The star, though, is the free Last Stand mode, in which you and two friends face increasingly dangerous waves of malevolent beasties. Avoid falling over to get the high-score. Its that mode, despite being so simple, despite being so cut down, that has hooked us. It is the Dawn of War equivalent of tower defense, and it proves, as ever, that the real-time-strategy game still has places to go, and new mechanics to explore. You should try it.
93. Far Cry 2 (2008)
Take its idiosyncrasies as a given, relegate the respawning enemies to the back of your mind youll find theres not much to match the thrill of the best laid plans of mercs and men going awry. Explosively awry!
92. Audiosurf (2008)
Screensaver, MP3 player, game, giant willy-waving scoreboard. Audiosurf is all of these things mashed together to create something thats totally its own, and something that really infuriates people who only enjoy music superficially.