Continuing a tradition that has been going for as long as the Magazine, the September 2001 issue (Issue 100, as it happened) of the UK publication featured the top 100 list of PC games so far, according to the critical decisions of the judges (aka the magazine staff). This year the criteria were significantly changed from usual - review scores no longer mattered (games were effectly re-reviewed to today's expectations) and add on packs and sequels were no longer allowed to be included with a game in one slot. The days of Quake and Quake II jointly occupying the number 2 slot are over...
The theme for this Top 100 (there is always a theme to allow the team to dress up and look stupid) is that the gang of Resevoir Dogs style miscreants titled the "Games Preservation Society" were getting together for one last job, to raid the PC Gamer vault for the 100 finest titles known. "If all went well we'd be playing Counter-Strike on a tax-free LAN on the Casta before anyone knew we'd even booted up." quoth Matt "Mr Chafe" Pierce, and who are we to argue with him? There was a bunch of photos of the team looking stupid in Mission Impossible style get ups, as well as the whole lot piled into a red mini (license plate PCG4M3R) which was notable because the right headlight had a truly scary reflection which resembled, in no small way, the Scream mask. Yes, that one. Check it out if you don't believe me...
The judges for this Top 100 were:
Damn. I can't figure out how to do a HTML ordered list in reverse order. Oh well, from the best down, the games were... (Format: Game, Publisher, Year, Previous position,)
- Half-Life, Havas, 1998, 1st.
- Deus Ex, Eidos, 2000, NE.
- Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, Interplay, 2001, NE.
- Shogun: Total War The Mongol Invasion, Electronic Arts, 2000, NE.
- Counter-Strike, Havas, 1999, NE.
- Civilisation II, Microprose, 1996, 3rd.
- Quake III: Arena, Activision, 1999, 2nd.
- Grim Fandango, LucasArts, 1998, 34th.
- Championship Manager 00/01, Eidos, 2000, 25th.
- System Shock, Electronic Arts, 1994, 5th.
- Thief II, Eidos, 2000, 10th.
- Jedi Knight, LucasArts, 1997, 16th.
- Ground Control, Havas, 2000, NE.
- Black & White, Electronic Arts, 2001, NE.
- Freespace 2, Interplay, 2001, 9th.
- Age of Empires II: Age of Kings, Microsoft, 1999, 11th.
- Midtown Madness, Microsoft, 1999, 8th.
- Sacrifice, Interplay, 2000, NE.
- Hostile Waters, Rage, 2001, NE.
- Doom, Id Software, 1994, 52nd.
- Grand Prix 3, Infogrames, 2000, NE.
- Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, LucasArts, 1994, 18th.
- Operatoni Flashpoint, Codemasters, 2001, NE.
- Elite+, Rainbird, 1991, RE.
- Falcon 4.0, Hasbro, 1998, 32nd.
- Planescape Torment, Interplay, 2000, 55th.
- Giants: Citizen Kabuto, Interplay, 2001, NE.
- Serious Sam, Take 2, 2001, NE.
- No-one Lives Forever, Fox Interactive, 2001, NE.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, Electronic Arts, 2000, NE.
- Hidden and Dangerous, Take 2, 1999, 6th.
- Tie-Fighter, LucasArts, 1994, 21st.
- System Shock 2, Electronic Arts, 2000, 5th.
- Magic Carpet, Electronic Arts, 1995, 90th.
- Micro-Machines V3, Codemasters, 1998, 84th.
- Rally Championship, Actualize, 2000, 14th.
- Aliens Vs. Predator, GT, 1999, 19th.
- The Sims, Electronic Arts, 2000, NE.
- Ultimate Race Pro, Microprose, 1997, RE.
- Unreal Tournament, Infogrames, 1999, 4th.
- Mig Alley, Empire, 1999, 20th.
- Startopia, Eidos, 2001, NE.
- Homeworld, Sierra, 1999, 31st.
- Total Annihilation, Infogrames, 1997, 36th.
- Star Trek: Elite Force, Acitivision, 2000, NE.
- Sim City 2000, Maxis, 1995, 29th.
- Sam 'N' Max Hit the Road, LucasArts, 1993, 59th.
- Privateer 2, Origin, 1997, NE.
- Urban Chaos, Eidos, 1999, 47th.
- Syndicate, Electronic Arts, 1993, 80th.
- Caesar III, Havas, 1998, 53rd.
- Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis, LucasArts, 1993, 45th.
- Independence War II, Infogrames, 2001, NE.
- Ultima Underworld II, Origin, 1994, 85th.
- Rollercoaster Tycoon, Hasbro, 1999, 13th.
- Quake, Activision, 19896, 2nd.
- Outcast, Infogrames, 1999, 27th.
- Flight Unlimited III, Eidos, 2000, 33rd.
- Mechwarrior IV, Microsoft, 2001, NE.
- Superbike 2000, Electronic Arts, 2000, 46th.
- Heroes of Might and Magic III, 3DO, 1998, NE.
- Tomb Raider, Eidos, 1996, 62nd.
- Duke Nukem 3D, Apogee, 1996, 65th.
- Warcraft 2, Zablac, 1996, 61st.
- MDK, Interplay, 1996, 92nd.
- Ecstatica 2, Psygnosis, 1997, NE.
- Ultima VII, Origin, 1992, RE.
- Battlezone, Activision, 1998, 24th.
- Star Wars Episode 1 Racer, LucasArts, 1999, 72nd.
- Little Big Adventure, Electronic Arts, 1994, 78th.
- Driver, Infogrames, 2000, 48th.
- Worms World Party, Virgin, 2001, NE.
- Links 2000, Microsoft, 2000, 54th.
- Z: Steel Soldiers, Eon Digital Entertainment, 2001, NE.
- Starcraft, Sierra, 1998, 87th.
- Warzone 2100, Eidos, 1999, 56th.
- Toca 2, Codemasters, 1999, 17th.
- Lemmings, Psygnosis, 1991, RE.
- Virus, Firebird, 1988, RE.
- Hired Guns, Psygnosis, 1995, NE.
- Tempest 2000, Atari, 1994, NE.
- Everquest, Sony, 1999, NE.
- Descent, Interplay, 1995, RE.
- X-Com: UFO Enemy Unknown, Hasbro, 1994, 43rd.
- Grand Theft Auto 2, Take 2, 2000, 28th.
- Fifa 2001, Electronic Arts, 2001, NE.
- Nethack, N/A, 1985, NE.
- Bioforge, Origin, 1995, NE.
- Combat Mission, Big Time Software, 2000, NE.
- Fallout 2, Interplay, 1999, RE.
- Total Air War, Infogrames, 1998, 44th.
- Another World, Delphine, 1991, NE.
- Terra Nova, Interplay, 1996, 67th.
- Mr Driller, Midas, 2001, NE.
- The Longest Journey, Empire, 2000, NE.
- Sudden Strike, CDV, 2000, NE.
- Grand Prix Legends, Havas, 1998, 75th.
- Dungeon Keeper, Electronic Arts, 1997, 35th.
- Crimson Skies, Microsoft, 2000, NE.
- Blade Runner, Virgin, 1997, 88th.
This year's charts featured a completely different system to decide whether games were good enough from the previous ones, so it is no surprise to see some very old games come into the chart for the first time - Bioforge and Hired Guns for example. There were also a fair few games that appeared to be in on the recommendation of just one staff member - Kieron Gillen was responsible for getting Nethack in the list for the first time, although the rest of the time aren't so keen. To cope with the fact that Half-Life was once again the number one game (even though many people on the PC Gamer forum believed that Deus Ex was better) a "Half-Life is still number one because...." box was written explaining why the game was still at the top spot. Apparently, "Deus Ex might have been more intelligent and Baldur's Gate II a bigger and richer game world, but Half-Life is immediate, perfect in it's simplicity, and engrossing for even the most inexperienced players", and I have to say I agree.
A few notable games dropped out of the charts this year - while vanilla Quake and Quake III Arena held their places, Quake II, a former number 1 game no less, was dropped completely, as was Soldier of Fortune and Alpha Centauri, amongst others. Probably the biggest shock of the chart (according to the PCG forum afterwards) was that Unreal Tournament had dropped 36 places down to number 40, wherase Quake III had only dropped 5 places. Many, myself included, prefer the more comprehensive option based blasting of UT (while still accepting Q3 as an excellent game) and the forum was rife with posts declaring that PCG didn't have a clue what they were talking about. However, as the beginning of the chart noted, this is now more down to the team's preferences than high review scores, and so due to the fact that the team as a whole don't go for UT that much, it was dropped a huge amount.
PC Gamer issue 100.
Reading the PCG forum.