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What is the Holy Grail of all PC games?
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Sure, Wolf 3D was an important game, because it popularized the FPS genre... But it wasn't the first FPS, wasn't the first VGA game, had a very limited engine (specially compared to the earlier Ultima Underworld)... And wasn't a REALLY fun game overall.
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There's a few that stand out..
Unreal 1 - This was one of the first games to introduce Atmospheric/ambient lighting.
Half-Life - This took storytelling to a whole new medium, most games were just doom-style corridor shooters before half-life. It made cut-scenes an interactive experience by extensive use of scripted sequences.
Fallout 1 - A videogame where you could not only talk your way through the ENTIRE GAME, but also play as a disabled hero of the waste, complete with speech impediment, and STILL WIN.
Torment - Redefined story telling in a time when the genre was beginning to lack substance, it harkened back to days when graphics didn't make a game, but merely the experience. RIP BLACK ISLE
Unreal Tournament - One of the FIRST games that centered and catered to the multiplayer online gaming community, you have this game to thank for all the online-centric modern FPS's. Cliffy B started his career here, making maps for the game.
Sim Theme Park - One of the first popular sim games to really streamline the "pc-sim" genre where it was once full of mostly serious hardcore indepth gems, this game helped usher in a new wave of game design where it was okay to not take itself so seriously. RIP BULLFROG STUDIOS.
Counter-Strike - This game is responsible for bringing MODs into the mainstream, before it became the worldwide hit it is today, this game was just a mod developed by a small team. True fans of the series will remember the short lived VIP, and ESCAPE modes, they weren't afraid to experiment, and showed the industry that even indie devs could accomplish something great, if anyone is to thank for the indie dev era of gaming, it's the guys who made this. (They once thought about adding a slot machine game to their casino level for dead players to gamble with their earnings, they removed it RIGHT before the patch however, because they feared the gamers would intentionally die to play slots.)
I could think of a few more, but really, there's plenty that should be mentioned, deus ex for instance.
Notes for if I do more later: Deus Ex(localized damage, genre blending, social commentary), Tomb Raider(female protag), Duke Nukem (censorship), MDK (the original 3-d action platformer), Postal (censorship), descent (first twitch based shooter?), Carmegeddon (censorship),Thief (they couldn't just label these types of games as "first person shooters" after this game, it helped push the genre).
Starcraft, Quake and Everquest IMO.
I don't know if there is one holy grail of PC games. There are a number of them that stand out in my mind, even ones I haven't played but have heard so much about.
Heroes of Might and Magic
I'm sure there are some others, but I'm drawing a blank right now. For me, Diablo 2 is my all time favorite PC game. Diablo 1 is a second, and Wing Commander 3 is third.
New genre, I agree. However, since then, it seems 90% of games are just another first person shooter. Creativity has gone out the door since then. They're all the same now just with a different coat of paint.
The modern shooter owes everything to it.
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Other games that compare with them in the genre are just lacking.