We tallied up the votes from our in-house staff, called our favorite developers, crunched the numbers, fought, argued, cursed each other, and finally calculated our list of gaming's best.
By - The GameSpy Staff
10. Legend of Zelda
1986 -- Nintendo
Matthew Ford, Microsoft Games: "It's hard to put into words why I admire this game so much. I finished it and now my 6-year-old son is playing it and both experiences lead me to abject admiration of the game's elegance, variety of action, and attraction of the story and characters. It boils an RPG down to its essence. I recognize it's not a pure RPG in that there is basically a linear growth path, but it's more than an adventure game: it very cleverly redefines your progress not in terms of mere statistics but rather as your abilities' extension through the expansion of your inventory. At the game's midpoint, the emotional effect of re-entering the assaulted world moved me in a way no game had ever done before."
Richard Garriott, Destination Games: "A classic example of great game play lessons we in the US can learn from Asia."
1998 -- Blizzard Entertainment
Geoffrey Zatkin, Verant Interactive: "StarCraft was a beautiful game, both visually and with all of its elements of game play. It was simple to learn, yet had depth, strategy, humor and good single and multiplayer elements. Oh yea - and it was fun."
Brian Chapman, Microsoft Games: "Age of Empires may be a better balanced, more "real" game, Warcraft may be the original RTS, but I found StarCraft the most interesting and fun. It tells a story, There are characters, and the different races are really different. Also, there is nothing like marching across the map with 16 Siege Tanks, in staggered ranks!"
Mark Grimm, Microsoft Games: "3 completely developed tech trees is incredible. Beautiful art and UI."
Mark Asher, freelance writer: "The best ever RTS game and one of the most engaging stories to boot."
8. Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss
1992 -- Origin & Blue Sky Productions
And as if that wasn't enough of a challenge in 1992, they decided to add an RPG layer as well. You had inventory to manage, puzzles to solve, and stats to improve. Not every creature was there for the killing. There were also many NPC's inhabiting the Stygian Abyss willing to offer aid if you took the time to chat with them. At the time there truly was no other game like it in the marketplace.
Steve Gilmour, BioWare: "The very first PC game I ever laid hands on. I had bought a computer off a geek at UBC, and of course the box came with 4 or 5 games. I remeber playing a few, then I got UU going. 8 hours later I remembered to empty my bladder. It was suddenly night, and I had no idea where I was. All I knew was that I had to get those runes."
Rich Carlson, independent developer: "The Underworlds are, for me, the only CRPGs that actually capture the experience of a good old fashioned AD&D megadungeon. Check this out: Non-linear 3D levels oozing with creepiness....individual NPCs and "monsters;" bridges; underground rivers (with currents); lava pools; slippery ice; sloped floors; doors that swing open and shut (and can be locked/unlocked or bashed); "3D" furniture; item enchantment; items with multiple functions; a clever combat system; skills; an early physics model; swimming; an automap with text input; conversations; undocumented features; fishing poles; snowballs; popcorn; artifacts....and on and on. This was 1992 (!) and I was totally KO'd. I still am."
Cliff Bleszinski, Epic Games: "It was so ambitious and ahead of its time."
Richard Garriott, Destination Games: "Ultima Underworld proved sophisticated RPG's can also exist in POV."
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