The games on this list are all great PC games. But of all the platforms in our collection of The Bests, the PC has been around the longest and therefore has the largest back catalogue. There are decades of fantastic PC games to choose from, and if you own a PC you’d be remiss if you didn’t go through the classics and play the best ones. Thankfully, we’ve got two lists to help you out. In 2013 our readers helped us make an exhaustive megalist of the best classic PC games of all time. Then in 2015, we made our own list of the 24 best classic PC games.
How has this list changed? Read back through our update history:
Update 10/20/2022: Total Warhammer II makes way for Total Warhammer III, Minecraft has been put back in, and we’ve added 2022’s break-out hit Vampire Survivors, alongside stellar narrative adventure, Scarlet Hollow.
Update 9/16/2021: Gone is the 12-game limit! To that end, we’ve re-adding one of the greats (Total War: Warhammer II) alongside some newcomers: Hitman 3, Disco Elysium, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon. No cuts save for Hitman 2, which basically exists inside Hitman 3 anyway.
Update 10/5/2020: Crusader Kings II steps aside to make room for its smarter, younger sibling, Crusader Kings III, while Total War: Warhammer II forgoes its spot for Hades.
Update 6/10/2020: We’ve given Overwatch and Return of the Obra Dinn the boot to make room for two modern classics: The Sims 4 and Cities: Skylines.
Update 12/2/2019: We’ve added Outer Wilds and removed XCOM 2.
Update 11/30/2018: We’ve added Return of the Obra Dinn and Hitman 2 in place of The Witness and Hitman.
Update 11/10/2017: Another update to our trickiest list: we’ve added Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Total War: Warhammer II while removing Doom and Inside.
Update 12/2/2016: Big changes come to the PC list! We’ve added DOOM, Inside, Hitman, and Civilization VI while removing MGSV, StarCraft 2, Divinity: Original Sin and Civilization V.
Update 6/24/2016: Crusader Kings II and Overwatch make it onto the list, while Total War: Shogun 2 and Portal 2 exit. Rest easy, Wheatley. You had a good run.
Update 2/22/2016: We’ve added XCOM 2 and The Witness and removed Heroes of the Storm and XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
Update 10/29/2015: The list gets another shake-up. We’ve added Metal Gear Solid V, Undertale, and Divinity: Original Sin: Enhanced Edition in the place of Counter-Strike GO, Minecraft, and Pillars of Eternity.
Update 7/22/2015: We’ve shaken the list up with three new entries: Pillars of Eternity, The Witcher 3 and Heroes of the Storm take the place of Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and DOTA 2.
Update 11/25/2014: Fall 2014 brings with it a single swap: Dragon Age: Inquisition knocks off its predecessor Dragon Age: Origins. (Though you should still probably play Origins if you haven’t, because it’s really good.)
Update 8/6/2014: The list gets a shake-up: say goodbye to Half Life 2, Titanfall and Gone Home and hello to Dota 2, Counter-Strike: GO and Kentucky Route Zero. We’ve also reset the comments to allow for new debate and discussion.
Update 4/10/14: We’ve called in an orbital drop and replaced Battlefield 3 with Titanfall.
Update 12/9/13: At the end of the year comes a sizable update to the PC bests list. Gone are FTL, The Witcher 2, Team Fortress 2 and Far Cry 3 and in their place are Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Dragon Age: Origins, Gone Home and Portal 2.
Update 07/24/13: It’s a long overdue update for the PC platform, with four games leaving and four coming onto the list. Skyrim—which was out when this list debuted—jumps onto the Bests because of the post-release addition of Steam Workshop, which lets you seamlessly access and install hundreds of the awesome mods available for the game. It’s joined by XCOM: Enemy Unknown, FTL and Far Cry 3. Wave good-bye to Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Dirt 2, Mass Effect 2 and Bejeweled 3.
Want more of the best games on each system? Check out our complete directory:
The Best PC Games • The Best PS4 Games • The 12 Best Games On PS Now • The Best Xbox One Games • The 12 Best Games On Xbox Game Pass • The Best Nintendo Switch Games • The Best Wii U Games • The Best 3DS Games • The Best PS Vita Games • The Best Xbox 360 Games • The Best PS3 Games • The Best Wii Games • The Best iPhone Games • The Best iPad Games • The Best Android Games • The Best PSP Games • The Best Facebook Games • The Best DS Games • The Best Mac Games • The Best Browser Games • The Best PC Mods
Note: While all of these games are available through some digital service or other, if you buy any of them through the retail links in this post, our parent company may get a small share of the sale through the retailers’ affiliates program.