Games that every PC gamer should try
Dwarf fortress (2006)
We're starting this list off with a uniquely PC game, Dwarf Fortress. This is a single-player fantasy game in which you control a dwarven outpost or an intrepid adventurer in an incredibly complex, randomly generated and persistent world filled with civilizations that have rich and detailed history that can span centuries. Command your dwarves as you make a settlement deep in the heart of an unforgiving mountain, maintain their happiness and well being as you protect them from hostile civilizations, wild life, and the creatures of the night...Dwarf Fortress is free on the developers website bay12games.com.
If you didn't play spore as a kid you were probably raised by wolves, in this game you start as a single cell organism and evolve all the way up to an intergalactic empire. Spore probably features the best and most in depth customization ever, allowing you to have full control over your species and design something truly unique. Once you have your species created you try survive and hopefully thrive on a hostile planet filled with other players species. Spore is available on Steam for $19.99 though I've seen it go on sale for $2
Arma 3 (2013)
Bohemia interactive have been making realistic military sandbox games for almost 15 years and all that experience shows in their latest installment of the Arma franchise. It's not uncommon to see players with over 1,000 hours in this game and for good reason, realistic combat, detailed load out customization, over 20 vehicles, 40 guns, and all on a map that's roughly 290 km²... this game will keep you busy. You can experience war like never before for $29.99 on Steam.
We all knew that this game would make an appearance on this list at some point, even though Minecraft is now available on practically everything with a screen I believe that it is still best played where it all started, on a PC. with tens of thousands of mods, texture packs, and shaders, you can change every single aspect of Minecraft if you wanted to, you can even build a rocket ship and conquer the galaxy in GalacticCraft, or automate all the pesky mining with a giant quarry with BuildCraft. While minecrafts base game play is incredibly fun and will keeping coming back for more, its simply a whole other beast on PC. Available for $26.95 on Minecraft.net
Mount & blade 2: Bannerlord (2020)
If you're a fan of Game of Thrones than you will probably fall in love with this game.
Bannerlord is open world medieval RPG with Total War like combat in which you lead up to 1000 men into battle. This game will allow you to do pretty much whatever you want, you can be a warmongering tyrant that takes kingdoms by force and rules with an iron fist or a gentle diplomat that deals more with sanctions, taxes, and negotiations to get what they want, you can even forgo the whole royal life and instead opt for a life of selling cheese and butter if you really want to. Available on Steam for $49.99
Civilization V (2010)
In Sid Meier's: Civilization V you choose between one of forty three different civilizations and assume the role of their iconic leader as you found cities, manage trade routes with neighbors city-states, and play against up to 8 of your friends or AI rivals. You begin around the year 4000BCE with sticks and stones and as you play you'll begin to progress through the years and discover more and more sophisticated technological advancements. Before you know it you'll be dropping nuclear bombs on neighboring civilizations who dared to exist on the same continent as you, or achieve a diplomatic victory by developing a world congress and getting elected world leader. You can also win though scientific means (i.e. building a space ship and colonizing the Alpha Centauri system) or you could take the game with a cultural victory by building a bunch of different real world monuments and drawing in the most tourism.
Civ V is available on Steam for $29.99 though it regularly goes on sale for less than $10.
Garry's mod (2006)
The birthplace of many popular game modes that took the internet by storm such as Prophunt, Trouble in Terrorist Town, Muder, Deathrun, etc. Garry's mod was one of the first games I got on PC and even after putting almost three hundred hours into it I'll still occasionally feel the urge to play it even more. Simply put Gmod is one of the best sandbox games ever made, fourteen years after its initial release Garry's mod still boasts an impressive 40,000 players a day on average.
for just $9.99 on Steam this game will give you hundreds of hours of entertainment.
Half-life 2 (2004)
You might have noticed a strange lack of Valve games on this list so far and that's not because I think their games are bad, on the contrary, I think they're all amazing and you should play them ASAP but I didn't want this list to be mostly Valve games so I instead chose what I think to be Valves best game, Half-Life 2. It took the foundation that its predecessor laid and built a giant golden monolith on it, this game is jam packed with great pacing, story, characters, world building, and beautiful graphics that hold up even to this day. Not to mention its revolutionary physics, to say that Half-Life 2 is a must play for any new comer to PC gaming would be a massive understatement. Half-Life 2 is available on steam for $9.99.
You probably saw this one coming...you may or may not agree with Doom's placement on this list but I think we can all agree on the absolutely colossal effect that it had on the game industry. id Software not only pushed the technological boundaries but the social ones as well and I'm not just talking about the hellish response it got from politicians and parents alike, no I'm talking about how it brought players together like never before, for the first time ever you could kick little Timmy's ass without even having to ride your bike down to his house. And let's not forget that without Doom pioneering the online first-person shooter genre, we most likely would not have gotten games like Halo, Call of duty, Counter-Strike, Rainbow Six: Siege, hell even Fortnite. And even after All that Doom's game play holds up incredibly well and is still fun to this day and at just $4.99 on Steam its a no brainer.
Disco Elysium (2019)
Disco Elysium is probably the best video game that I have ever played. Its mesmerizing art style is a beautiful pretext to its mind bending and stomach churning story that covers topics such as; Mental health, alcoholism, PTSD, rape, murder, racism, fascism, and a slew of other things. This game will take you on an emotional roller coaster over the course of its 60+ hour campaign but its clever and some times out right goofy writing (i.e. talking to a mail box) paired with its amazing soundtrack will make the entire experience feel like a matter of minutes. Even after you finish Disco Elysium you'll probably want to play through the entire thing again anyway thanks to its deep RPG elements and character customization, replaying the game with different stats will allow you to experience it from a whole new perspective, take on new quests or do ones that you did last time in a completely different way. Honestly this game is so amazing that I really cant do it justice with just this paragraph, Disco Elysium is available on Steam for $39.99 and is exclusively on PC. (Console ports are planned but have no release date)