Top 100 PC Games in 1996 – PC Gamer

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Top 100 games lists are always fun (even if only to disagree with) so I thought today I would have a browse through PC Gamer’s Top 100 PC games of all time and see how Origin fared. This is from the June 1996 issue so will probably have been put together around March of that year. Believe it or not, the publishers saw the need to seal this section of the magazine with 2 stickers to stop people reading it in the newsagent’s without buying it.

The PC Gamer panel had a noticeable bias toward modern games with a deliberate emphasis on titles they saw as being the best “right here, right now”. The result is not a single pre-1990 game with no room for early classics like Wasteland. The likes of Infocom can forget it. This does lead to a slightly skewed list especially looking back at it with 15 years of hindsight. So how did Origin titles get on?

  • Wing Commander gets the whole series bundled together in at #88 with the usual complaints any regular reader of this blog should expect from PC Gamer. Privateer never gets a mention at all…
  • Shadow Caster gets an unexpected place at #82. It’s not an awful game but I doubt it would have got anywhere near my own top 100.
  • Crusader No Remorse is at #52 and described as having the best name ever but lacking the gameplay to back it up.
  • Strike Commander is at #39. Wings Of Glory is a lot more fun to play if you ask me but I did like the cut-scenes and general ambience of Strike Commander.
  • Ultima 8 is at #34 with the rest of the main series not getting a mention.
  • Underworld 1 & 2 are at a criminally low #21.
  • Looking Glass’ Terra Nova gets a very surprising #16.
  • System Shock gets the highest place with a #9 spot

Most of Origin’s major 90’s releases are represented, so considering the magazine I think they came out of it fairly well. They certainly did better than Sierra who didn’t get a single game in the entire list. I did think Bioforge would have made it and curiously it was on the 2001 list at #88.

Oddities (Fade To Black at 13???) and omissions aside, it’s not actually that bad a list. Aside from an urge to replay Dune for the first time in 15 years, the main thing I got out of it is that I really ought to find the time to give Civilisation a go one of these days:-

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2 thoughts on “Top 100 PC Games in 1996 – PC Gamer

  1. What??? This list sucks Pix!

    First, “Quake Test” isn’t even a game. How could it possibly be at number 2?

    Second, grouping games into series doesn’t make much sense. What if one game in the series sucked, and yet it is rated on par with all the others?

    Third, they violate their own rule by listing Falcon 3 on its own, without the inclusion of the original game in the series. The same goes for Speedball 2 and Spellcasting. So much for consistency.

    Pretty poor job if you ask me!

    • My own list would certainly be very different. I did go into this with low expectations as I’m never going to see eye to eye with a magazine that hates Wing Commander 4 and loves Ultima 8.

      The way I see it, this sort of list is always fairly meaningless and just personal opinion so I fully expected to disagree with it. I liked the way they ignore older classics in favour of what they saw as being good at the time so it isn’t entirely the same old games. It dates it horribly but makes it far more fun to look back at now.

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