Believe me, you're not the only one up in arms about our Top 200 Games of All Time list from issue #200. From calls from my brothers to Facebook messages from dudes I went to high school with, I've been hearing about it from all quarters. Every time, my response is the same:

"I hear you. You think I didn't fight those battles before we published?"

I'm not trying to present myself as some selfless martyr for the more discriminating gamer. Everyone on staff has their own issues. I'm sure Joe wanted Vagrant Story or some garbage on the list, Miller wouldn't say no to like every freaking music game ever made. Ben...well, fill in your own ridiculous assertion for Ben. The point is that the list is a compromise; for every Heroes of Might & Magic III there, I have to suck up a Punch-Out.

Today, though, it's my blog and I don't have to compromise on nuthin'. I present to you the most egregious snubs I can think of.

Master of Orion, Master of Orion II, and Master of Magic

These old Microprose 4X titles probably crush Civilization and World of Warcraft combined when it comes to the amount of time I've spent with them. They each have their own special place in my heart. MOO updated the old Reach for the Stars formula and provided a great macro-level space sandbox to build an empire in. MOO II introduced me to the hilarity of overpowered ship designs (you think you can front on autofire phasers, but you would be wrong. You haven't lived until you've blown up the entire Antaran home fleet with a half-dozen cruiser-class ships). MoM is still my favorite concept for a strategy game ever, with heroes who level up and massive, world-breaking magical spells at players' disposal grafted onto a solid 4X core. Hilariously broken and imbalanced, of course, but good enough nonetheless to inspire me to win with just about every starting position imaginable. I really, really hope that Stardock does its legacy proud with Elemental.

Deus Ex

Yeah, it's on the list, but nowhere near high enough. Deus Ex might be my favorite game of all time; I can never decide between it, Baldur's Gate II, and whatever 4X I'm currently obsessed with. I haven't seen a gameworld crafted that even comes close to the fascinating fiction of Deus Ex. I don't care if the textures are dated and the character models embarrassing in their low polygon counts nowadays. Everyone should still go back and play this masterpiece. Twice. It's that good.


Empire is more or less the original strategy game. Cities pop up on a randomly generated map. Each turn, they can work toward producing one unit. When that's done, the unit is ready for use. Players take turns moving their pieces, taking over more cities to produce more armies to conquer more territory. It's like Advance Wars, but in some ways better -- and it was released in 1983. There's a great history written by the game's author here; I suggest you check it out.


Rogue is to RPGs what Empire is to strategy games. The first computerized implementation of a system similar-to-but-legally-distinct-from Dungeons & Dragons, Rogue had me diving into the Dungeon (there was just the one) late into the night as a kid. The "roguelike" genre still exists, as evidenced by Japanese console releases like Chocobo Mystery Dungeon and Shiren the Wanderer. More importantly, there's a fantastic game called Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup that you should totally play because it's free and awesome. It's kinda sad, but I've been neglecting Dragon Age for Crawl lately. It's that good. Just don't freak out at the permadeath; it's part of the game.

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord

Whatever Rogue didn't do for RPGs, Wizardry did. This party-based dungeon crawl is still cited by developers from the U.S., Japan, and Europe as a primary inspiration. It's still reasonably playable, though the lack of an automap is rough. You could check out The Dark Spire instead, which is a reasonably recent DS ode to Wizardry. Don't come crying to me when you die, though. It's meant to be hard.


Seriously. Myst. I'll let someone else write the paeans to its glory since adventure games make me want to chug Drain-O, but c'mon. Freakin' Myst. Sigh.

Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon

Still the best business sim ever. I can go back and play this thing for hours, even today. I learned more than anyone should ever know about the minor cities that dot the U.S. countryside from it, too. Decatur's a gold mine if you exploit it properly.

And there you have it. Yes, they're all PC games. That's because PC games are awesome, and all y'all need to respect your roots. Besides, I was conquering galaxies and buying out rival corporations while console suckers were stuck having to pretend that learning a rote button-pressing rhythmin Punch-Out!! was the pinnacle of gameplay.