Which DOS games do you have on your Topsters 25 list?

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  • jefklak

    Hi all,

    I’ve been obsessed lately with browsing others’ top 25 GOAT lists, usually created with something like https://topsters.org/
    E.g. https://www.hitmanforum.com/t/the-25-games-to-get-to-know-me-chart-top-25/19728/2

    My own list is attached! I have three DOS games on there:
    – Goblins 3
    – Monkey Island 2 (I’d dare to swap this for Day of the Tentacle)
    – Duke Nukem 3D (I think Blood could be the better fit?)

    It surprised me that so little of my much beloved Apogee games made the cut. I know, top25 of all time is hard, but it seems that, to me, SNES platformers superseded the basic ones we had on DOS back then.

    Do you have many DOS games on there that persist, or are they mostly pushed aside for better ones?

    (Yes, this is just an excuse to post your top25 chart!)



    Oooh, nice one! I’ll have to have a think about this. Surely some DOS games are going to make my cut, but likely most of them will not be actually. For as much as I love DOS games, most of the games I play are not if anyone can believe that!


    I can usually only get to about 10 items in a GOAT list before I start just listing games that I played through once and kinda liked… not necessarily “greatest of all time” games.

    That said, I think a good half of my GOAT games would be DOS games. A few that would definitely make the cut:
    Ultima VI, Hexen, Commander Keen IV, Day of the Tentacle, Prince of Persia, Another World.
    Honourable mentions to Doom, Lemmings, Wolfenstein 3D, Keen I-III, Legend of Kyrandia, Duke Nukem, Duke Nukem 3D, Catacomb Abyss and probably a few others I can’t think of right now.


    For me I guess it depends how exactly we define DOS game. If we mean games where DOS was the initial or primary release platform, then I think only DOOM would make my cut of best games ever. If we include anything that merely had a DOS version, then Lemmings would be in there too.

    I think the reason so few games make the cut for me is also the reason the platform is so interesting. It was a highly experimental wild-west where new and strange things were constantly being tried, many of which either didn’t work, or needed further refinements to really shine. Console games tended more to focus on established formulas and iteratively refining them, which is why the “best of the best” exemplars tend to be found there.

    EDIT: And just to clarify, I interpreted this more in an objective “what games achieve the highest quality” sense, rather than just a list of my favorite games. Many of my favorite games are deeply flawed in some way, and several more DOS games would be included in that case, such as Descent, Hexen, many Sierra adventures, etc.


    For me such a top25 is highly personal, of course it makes sense to include deeply flawed games (objectively speaking). It’s a subjective list! It should contain games you enjoyed the most. Most topx lists from IGN, Edge, Eurogamer, … are just rubbish precisely because of that: everyone played different games and has different experiences.

    I noticed that most of my entries are from release year < 2007 when I started working so there’s plenty of nostalgia bias present. I’ll try making a new list with recent ones, although that’s going to be more difficult since I stopped playing on PC!


    I struggle with the notion of “flawed” and “great/perfect” games in general.
    The way I see it, every game is the perfect example of… whatever specific thing it ended up being. And whatever combination of features it’s made of, hypothetically there is someone out there for whom that mix describes the perfect game.

    Take Ultima VI for example. It’s often criticised for having a tedious system for interacting with objects and your inventory. But it’s precisely that “busywork” that I feel provides me with a lot of the immersion – sifting through each item, selecting it individually, moving it from here to there etc. forces me to delve into the world on an up close, granular level that makes it feel all the more real and alive.

    I get a similar experience from lots of things that are generally considered objective “flaws”. Things like forced backtracking, cheap traps you have to memorise, slow character movement, unconventional control schemes, the list goes on. For each of those, I can name you a game I absolutely love precisely because of that feature.

    And of course there are plenty of games I can’t get invested in for exactly the reason most people love them. (Practically every online game for example)

    Everybody’s yuck is someone else’s yum, and to my mind there is no such thing as an objectively “great” game.

    Apart from Portal. That game is perfect.


    A lot of my favourite games are from the DOS era. I can’t get as attached to new games as those I spent hours with back then. There is too much choice to spend that sort of time with one game these days is half the problem.

    Ultima Underworld & X-Wing would be my top 2 choices, quite possibly my favourite games of all time. Both are games I had to learn to love through spending hours with them back when games were a precious commodity. That’s especially true of X-Wing which was brutally hard to learn but so satisfying when you eventually get there. Tie Fighter was a bit of a let-down after all the hours I’d spent on X-Wing. You probably had to be there at the time with Underworld. The actual game design is superb but you won’t get the same immersion from the 3D world as a modern gamer. Really hoping to see these on the podcast one of these years.

    I also love the Tex Murphy games so would probably throw Pandora Directive in there. Wing Commander also, so perhaps chuck Wing Commander 4 in there or possibly Privateer. After that, I’m struggling more. Maybe Gabriel Knight, Fate Of Atlantis, Monkey Island would make the cut. The choice gets a bit arbitrary after the top handful and could change on any given day.

    Out of the games we’ve played on DGC, I really liked Starflight when that was picked for DGC some years back. If I’d played it back then, I could have seen that being on the list. Would never have discovered it without the club. Simon The Sorcerer was up there as well. I already knew it well but was it was one of those rarities that was better than I remembered. If only that series hadn’t been forced to go 3D.


    What fun is this?

    Nice Top 25 @jefklak! I see your console versions, makes sense they superseded the DOS versions – some games are just better with a game controller.

    I see we have quite a few in common @TigerQuoll 🙂

    I never gravitated toward the flight sims @Pix, but I totally understand the appeal of them! Now the adventure games I get completely.

    My top 25 just so happens to contain mostly DOS games. These are in no particular order.

    If there was one game I would be stranded with for the rest of time, it would have to be DooM – the original 1993 and it’s sequel the following year.

    1. Doom
    2. Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
    3. The Secret of Monkey Island
    4. Stunts
    5. Prince of Persia
    6. Heretic
    7. Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty
    8. The Legend of Kyrandia
    9. Grim Fandango
    10. Lost Pig (And Place Under Ground)
    11. Wolfenstein 3D
    12. Dune
    13. Bio Menace
    14. Duke Nukem I
    15. Carmageddon
    16. King ‘s Quest I: Quest for the Crown
    17. Simon the Sorcerer
    18. Beneath a Steel Sky
    19. Diablo I
    20. Quake I
    21. Police Quest I: In Pursuit of the Death Angel
    22. Sid Meier’s Civilization I
    23. Monster Bash
    24. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?


    Excellent list, thanks for sharing!

    If you would ask the 28 year younger version of myself to compile such a list, Bio Menace, the original Duke Nukum and Monster Bash would also be on that list. But now that I played the platformers on the NES, SNES, and MegaDrive that inspired these games, I just can’t overlook the fact that these are just much better. And that’s not because of the controller.

    But of course each list is subjective, that’s why it’s so much fun to share with others I think.


    for my top 25

    Heroes of Might and Magic II is the top contender amongst DOS games.

    That thing is timeless for me. Art design, music, gameplay – all of it.

    Sid Meier’s Civilization maybe, especially the second part (if we count a Win 3.1 game as a DOS game ))


    Last I’ve done one, I’ve included UFO – Enemy Unknown, Death Rally, Prince of Persia, Quest for Glory collection (it would be between 1 and 4) and Cryo’s Dune.

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