3 | Minecraft
Minecraft is a continually evolving game that, technically, still hasn't left beta. But that hasn't stopped a hardcore community from springing up around this do-it-yourself world-creation tool. You can make your own dungeons, share your blocky with friends, or just mess around with the game's tools to create music videos or unique mods.
There are enemies to fight and resource to harvest on a daily basis, which feeds into the addictive quality that makes MMOs and RPGs so popular. But the game's constant growth is what ensures that it will keep garnering more and more fans. With every new patch, there's more to do and more to explore in Minecraft.
2 | Portal 2
When Valve’s original first-person puzzler hit PCs back in 2007, it was one of the year’s unexpected successes. A wickedly incisive puzzle game with an outstanding sense of humor, it was the standout entry in the already excellent Orange Box, and one of the most talked-about games of the year for many, many reasons. Portal 2, released earlier this year, is everything that made the original Portal great, but amplified tenfold.
Portal 2 introduces some noteworthy new elements to the traditional Portal formula, and with the addition of a cooperative mode that sees two partners problem-solve together (with the integration of PC-to-PS3 cross-platform Steamworks, no less) and an extended cast of hilarious characters. All in all, it improves on everything that made its predecessor great. Plain and simple, Portal 2 is a must-own for any PC gamer.
1 | Team Fortress 2
First released in 2007 for the PC, Team Fortress 2 is actually a sequel to the 1999 Half-Life mod Team Fortress Classic. After nearly 10 years of development, the game went from being a gritty war simulator to an interactive Pixar movie that’s coming to kill you.
But don’t let Team Fortress 2’s unique cartoonish graphical style fool you: this is one intense game. Team Fortress 2 is a team-based first-person shooter pitting two groups of mercenaries against each other. Each map has different objectives like capturing the flag, or holding territory, or delivering a mine cart full of explosives towards an enemy’s base.
The free game has frequent updates, lots of player customization, and a fixation on hats. It’s one of the best (and most popular) PC games out there.