Favorite all-time game would have to be Starcraft. I admit that part of it is nostalgic, as this was the game that first made me a serious PC gaming fan. The game has great gameplay with three very different factions that are well-balanced. The scenarios are well-written and set within the context of very engaging campaigns. Starcraft also has one of the strongest stories and most memorable characters (Kerrigan: The Queen of Blades) I've ever seen in a game. Finally, the game at times has a truly warped sense of humor. Can't wait for SC2.
Also, I have to mention Elder Scrolls:Oblivion. This Tolkienesque tour-de-force puts all other role-playing adventure games to shame. It's big, deep, incredibly engaging, hundreds of quests, and very opened-ended gameplay that allows your character to pursue all kinds of different paths, not just fighting. It's a gaming world in which you can loose yourself for hours on end.
My favorite PC wargame is a toss up between Uncommon Valor and John Tiller's Dien Bien Phu. Uncommon Valor is a masterpiece in the art of long range planning, with great land-sea-air battles awaiting you as your plan comes to fruition. I held my breath every time the Japanese launched an attack on one of my carriers!!! Concerning Dien Bien Phu, well, I suppose I've written enough about that incredible game on this site.
Sid Meier's Civilization 2 - Should have gone down as the greatest gaming franchise ever. Unfortunately though as some of you have mentioned, Civ3 was bad and Civ4 worse. The lesson I learned from Civ2 though was that you can start off with the noblest of intentions, wanting to build a civilization of peace, art, learning, science, and low taxes! After a while though your neighbors start beating up on you, and before you know it, in defending yourself and exercising realpolitik you end up becoming the worst tyrant since the Fuhrer!!!!
Deus Ex - An early role-playing adventure game that's sort of Blade Runner meets James Bond meets the X-Files meets the Bionic Man. Vandenberg AFB, Paris, Hong Kong, Brooklyn Naval Yard, Area 51...great levels and fantastic story full of leftist politics. "The truth is out there man." lol Also, concerning the sequel (Deus Ex: Invisible War), the game play was even better but the story was not as strong.
I know many of you are going to wince at this, but I loved Red Alert 2. A delightfully over-the-top cheesy alternate history story and video cut scenes featuring plenty of eye candy for the guys tends to obscure the fact that the game play was really good, with very well-written and imaginative scenarios. For example, defending Key West against Russians in Cuba, with the Russians using.....you guessed it.....nukes!!! Or turning the Eiffel Tower into a giant Tesla coil to fry enemy tanks. Alas, concerning last year's sequel Red Alert 3, it has its moments, but doesn't quite capture the magic of RA2.
< Message edited by JRodda -- 10/10/2009 5:47:32 PM >