Several of GameSpy's editors have contributed to a new feature that counts down their 25 favorite PC games from the 1990's. Notable mentions include EverQuest, Diablo, The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, Baldur's Gate, and System Shock 2.
When gamers hear the name BioWare these days, they most likely think of deep, high-quality role-playing games -- but that wasn't always the case. The company's first game, Shattered Steel, was a mech game whose biggest claim to fame was the fact that it had "deformable terrain." Not exactly an auspicious debut for the company, but it more than made up for it with its sophomore effort, an RPG that not only put the developer on the proverbial map, but paved the road for just about every BioWare game that followed.
For many players, the game's biggest draw was the fact that it was crafted to utilize the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition rules, and while it wasn't the first game to do this, it was certainly the one most universally praised by AD&D fans. The game's heavy emphasis (some might say "overly heavy") on dialogue and character development was also a huge selling point, as one could spend dozens of hours just interacting with NPCs in an effort to flesh out the game world.
If the folks at BioWare hadn't made Baldur's Gate, would they have slipped into oblivion, doomed to making more mediocre mech games? It's impossible to say, but we're glad we'll never find out.