PC gaming is, in my humble opinion, the greatest platform for video games.  The following 5 games are what have defined my 12 year venture into PC gaming.  No matter what your favorite genre, you owe it to yourself as a gamer to play through each of these games at least once. 

Please be aware that these are my opinions.

5. Freespace 2

Freepsace 2 is a space combat simulation game, and even though I lean towards the strategy and RPG genres, this game is fantastic.  Never has a game so out of my comfort zone impressed me the way Freespace 2 did.  The controls are intuitive, the story is fantastic, and the graphics, at the time, were impressive.   As cliché as it sounds, you truly feel like you are a space fighter pilot, maneuvering around the galaxy with your squadron and battling capital ships for space supremacy.  Many fighter pilot combat situation games feel like a chore to play, with clunky controls and a messy HUD, but  Freespace 2 makes controlling your ship intuitive and fun.  I have tried to find a fighter sim that could recreate my experience with Freespace 2, but game has come close.  Freespace 2 is an absolute gem, and if you haven’t tried a game in this genre, you will enjoy this one.

4. Half-Life

If you haven’t played Half-Life, you are not a PC gamer.  This game is the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the PC.  I will never forget my first time arriving at the Black Mesa Research Facility as Gordon Freeman, gasping at the awe-inspiring setting while riding on the tram system.  From the beginning, Half-Life is an experience.  Fighting through Black Mesa and all the various settings and creatures you come across is one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I have had on the PC.  The story is also memorable and put into the game seamlessly.  Although its predecessor was a great game, it would be hard for Valve, yet alone any other gaming developer, to capture the magic of the original Half-Life.  There is no excuse for not having had at least a couple runs through this remarkable game.

3. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Morrowind is, in my opinion, the greatest sandbox game of all time.  The sequels, Oblivion and Skyrim, quite simply do not compare to Morrowind.   I have never been so immersed into the world of a game like I have been with this game.  The story is so powerful and well done that I cannot help but read the books in the library, discovering more about the game’s intricate landscapes.  You can levitate, own a mansion, and basically take over the entire world if you wish.  Morrowind makes you feel in control, as you are not forced along a linear storyline, but you can create your own story.  This game is what any RPG aspires to be, with so much variety and potential discovery, this game is one you can dump 200 hours in and still have much left to explore.   An absolute must have for PC gamers, and my third choice for best single player PC game of all time.

2. Deus Ex

Deus Ex is a game that mixes RPG and FPS elements flawlessly, and no other game has come close the way Deus Ex had fused these two genres.  Combine that with an amazing storyline, Deus Ex is an indication of what PC games are capable of.  There is a reason one who has played the game and reads of its name again feels prompted to re-install and play through it again.  The gritty, futuristic setting, the different types of augmentations you can install on your character and the superhero like element of the game make it an exciting experience.  This game is an inspiration, one that makes you excited to game on the PC.  Say what you want about the sequels, but the original Deus Ex is one of the greatest video games of all time, period.  I yearn for the day that a game like this is produced with today’s technology.  The 2nd best single player PC game of all time.

1. X-Com: UFO Defense

This game does not have a story half as good as the others.   Even its graphics have aged horribly.  However, X-Com: UFO Defense is the greatest single player PC game of all time.  Its gameplay is so much fun that I rank it above any of the other games.  I have enjoyed this game more than any other game I have played simply because of the gameplay.  There is something about alien invasions and creating a HQ of futuristic soldiers that is so captivating to a gamer.  You can research new technologies, steal alien weaponry, build bases all over the globe, and eventually take the fight away from earth to the alien invaders.  You feel an attachment to every mission in this game, and losing a great soldier hurts you.   I have never had such a feeling with any other game.  X-Com: UFO Defense is truly one of a kind, and by far the most enjoyable PC game that I have ever played.  It is without a doubt that this is my choice for the greatest single player PC game of all time.