I’ve been an on-again, off-again PC gamer. My background is heavy into first-person shooters (FPS) from Doom 1 until FEAR. I think I spent half my college years playing Quake and UT. It’s amazing I actually got the grades I did and even graduated…I know too many people who dropped out due to their playing habits.
Here are some games I would highly recommend you play if you do any PC gaming at all. Some of these are classics that no one should be able to say they’ve not experienced.
Doom 1 and 2 – There is still no FPS PC game the has been able to recapture the hectic, hellish feel of the originals. Doom 2 is still so challenging to this day to me, that I continually play it every few months to advance a few more levels in my spare time (I strive for 100% secrets and kills when actually possible). I still have the original floppies…
Quake – Quake grabbed the baton from Doom and ran with it, propelling PC sales, bandwidth demands, and PC gaming as we know it today. Nothing ever will capture the feel of anonymously running around levels throwing out rockets and fragging fellow geeks into the late hours of the night. This was Internet gaming in its innocent infancy, and it still makes my cheeks tingle with memories. Must be experienced not just single-player, but LAN-borne with friends. Sound effects and most of the background music mixed by NIN make for an excellent backdrop as well.
Serious Sam I – The first Serious Sam had a lot of gimmicks, but one of the best things about this game is how it harkened back to the hectic pace from the original Doom games. No game has come closer to the single-player experience of Doom as this game as it throws hordes and hordes of enemies at the player and usually not enough ammo to feel comfortable. One of the only games I’ve ever actually heard the sound effects for when trying to sleep (those damned hooves…noo…always behind me…!)
Unreal Tournament – I really don’t think any game before or after has looked or sounded quite as good as this one while also being as purely fun in multi-player mode. The excellent electronica music alone is worth the ride. Sadly, if you do get on FFA games these days on the net, chances are you’ll be playing with people who have played for nearly ten years now. It won’t be pretty, but it can still be very fun! Perfect LAN party fodder as it won’t tax systems these days!
Warcraft II – Basically the father (albeit not the grandfather) of all RTS games today, Warcraft II had a perfect chemisty of fun and challenge. I still play this game through single-player mode every few years. The expansion pack is also a must.
Starcraft – The follow-up to Warcraft II is maybe even more perfect with upgraded graphics, deeper complexity in units and builds, and one of the most compelling story lines I’ve played through in a PC game. I also play this and the expansion pack regularly every few years.
Wing Commander II and III – I loved these games. I’m not a flight sim guy, so these games met my needs just right with complex, but not too complex of controls. I loved the changing experience depending on how you complete missions and the special names enemies with their own challenges and quirks. WC III particularly perfected the sense of isolation for a space fighter pilot.