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17 Titles Every Gamer Should Play At Least Once

Updated on July 19, 2018

The gaming universe is vast and diverse – so many adventures await for us, so many feats have to be performed… Every gamer may find something interesting especially for themselves, and so we do, getting to our collections games of those genres and styles we like the most. Still, there are some fundamental pillars, which support the whole gaming culture, titles every gamer should at least try for expanding their horizons. Maybe, there are something you never experienced, but it’s able to turn your worldviews (or rather gaming views) upside down!

Here is a list of such fundamental games, based on 25 years of my personal gaming experience. Check it out! Have you tried all of them?


This game may seem to be too simple according to modern technical standards – it has no many-shades graphics, a tricky plot, or deep music. Still, it carries a brilliant idea, that is able to structure our mind in a way, to let us think differently. Tetris is one of the most successful games of our civilization, it has no time and age limitations, it’s ever-attracting for all generations of gamers. Have you tried it?

The gameplay here is based on falling blocks of different shapes (they always have four squares – that’s why the game is called Tetris, from the Greek numeral prefix “tetra”). Blocks fall, and players should make lines of them, which disappear and clear space on the screen. Keep the screen clear is the only goal of this game.

First, Tetris was created in 1984. Since then, the game has been released for many consoles (almost all the existing). It is also available for Windows and Mac computers. Here is the official game site, where you can play Tetris online for free.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

The shooting genre is one of the most popular in the gaming industry – it has millions of fans, many professional Esports tournaments, and lots of decent titles. Maybe, Counter-Strike is the best shooting game series! It’s a genre classic, and it’s developing for many years already. The Global Offensive game is an essence of the previous installments with the fresh spirit of modern technologies.

There are two teams in CS:GO: terrorists and counter-terrorists. Players control their characters in multiplayer battles on different closed locations. They try to plant or defuse bombs, keep or save hostages… The goal depends on the game mode, and attempts to achieve it is a super exciting experience! Here is a nice explanation of the CS:GO gameplay.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is available for Windows and Mac computers through the Steam Store.

Super Mario Bros.

This guy is one of the most recognizable faces in the gaming world. Small children know him, adult gamers know him, and both love games with him. Super Mario Bros. is a classic 2D platformer, classic in many meaning – it’s like a source of bright ideas and inspiration for many other games, a source of joy and happiness for many gamers.

Mario lives in a fairy Mushroom Kingdom. There is beautiful Princess Peach, adored by every citizen and especially by Mario. And there is evil Bowser that kidnapped Peach to make her marry him. Mario rushes to rescue the girl from the Bowser’s castle. He jumps over platforms, he smashes dangerous creatures, he collects precious artifacts… The game has the whole set of a platformer’s features. They are made on the excellent level of professionalism and talent.

The game Super Mario Bros. has three installments, and all are worth of your attention. They were released for NES consoles and are available on the modern Nintendo consoles. For example, on the device NES classic.


Grand Theft Auto III

While most of the other games propose becoming a hero and performing noble feats, the series Grand Theft Auto makes gangsters the main characters and allows players to commit any crime they want to, without regards of the normal morality.

All the GTA games have this attractive core of criminal freedom (better in the virtuality than in real life). GTA III is the first one in the series with the third-person perspective. Players may freely walk around the open world, use vehicles and weapons. The main character is a silent guy, who looks for troubles and creates troubles for others in the virtual Liberty City. The game propose not only various criminal adventures but also an interesting storyline.

GTA III may have no so beautiful graphics as GTA V – but it’s a classic of the series, it really expands your gaming experience and allows perceiving the GTA installments and other games differently.

GTA III is available for PC and Mac on Steam, for PS3 and PS4, for Xbox 360.


This game is a unique phenomenon! It gives no storyline at all, it has rather poor graphics, and still, it is one of the most popular and successful titles in the world. Freedom in actions and vast possibilities in creativity make up the game’s attractiveness. Don’t forget about the multiplayer feature, where players meet each other in common virtual locations to communicate, to create, to battle.

The world of Minecraft is made of virtual blocks of different materials. All of them have their own qualities, they can be collected or used in new structures. In the default survival mode, the main character appears in the randomly generated world. He needs to survive during dangerous nights when aggressive mobs appear all around the location, to collect blocks for building and crafting materials. In the creative mode, Minecraft players have anything they want and can concentrate strictly on the creation process. There are lots and lots other features in the game – feel the spirit of explorations!

Minecraft is available for the all the main consoles, for PC and Mac.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

The Battle Royale genre has become so popular that almost every multiplayer game has added this mode – not to miss the hype of popularity. Still, this game stands out among all the others. It was PUBG that created the fuss of Battle Royale. And it is PUBG that demonstrates the level of perfection in the genre (regardless of many bugs and high demands to hardware).

One hundred of players appear in large but limited locations. First, they have nothing to battle with, except their fists. They search for loot in the houses and get firearms, armor, other items. Only one man or one team will survive till the end and will become a winner (that eats chicken dinner, of course). The safe zone on the map narrows with time, making players face each other and fight. Someone choose an aggressive style and kill everyone around. Someone tries to hide from dangers. There are so many gaming styles in PUBG that surviving in this game has become a kind of art! Here is a nice PUBG survival guide for beginners.

PUBG gives very realistic experience – as if this happens in the real world (God forbid). The game is available for PC and Xbox One consoles. There also is the PUBG Mobile version, for Android and iOS devices.

Pokémon Red/Blue

It is hard not to know about Pokémon in the modern world – even if you never play video games! Thanks to the game Pokémon Go, these fantastic creatures are well known and highly recognizable. Still, the modern games fade in comparison to the gaming power of the original installment – Pokémon Red/Blue. It is an excellent example of a role-playing game with turn-based battles.

Players control Ash, a young Pokémon trainer. He explores a large virtual world and collects Pokémon. These creatures fight each other – players choose attacks to decrease the opponent’s energy or activate protective moves to save their Pokémon. Defeated Pokémon can be caught in Poke balls. The game contains 151 Pokémon (Generation I) of many types. They have different abilities, which should be considered in battles.

Pokémon Red/Blue are in fact two games – the Blue version has a bit improved art and changed dialogues. Both were made for GameBoy handheld consoles. Now, they are available on modern devices Nintendo 2/3DS through the program Virtual Console. Pokémon Red/Green, and Pokémon FireRed/LeafGreen are the remastered version of the original game, released in different times.


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Video games are about all sorts of adventures… This game is a classic adventure, with explorations of a vast virtual world, with fighting against various fantasy creatures, with a fascinating plot. Witcher 3 is a very beautiful game, so players may be lost in it for many, many hours.

Here we have a story of Geralt, a fictional character from the books by Andrzej Sapkowski. The guy clears his world from evil monsters and experience lots of exciting events on his way. Players may feel like that warrior and magician, feel the freedom to do whatever they want to do in the virtuality, taste the sweetest piece of Geralt’s life.

Witcher 3 is an open world action RPG. It is a real classic of the gaming culture, and it’s available for computers, PS4 and Xbox One consoles.

Doom II: Hell on Earth

At those faraway times, when computers just began to conquer the world, the appearance of this first-person shooter has become a sensation, has started the very genre of battling against virtual evil monsters.

Doom II doesn’t explain its plot – you just appear in the virtuality, full of aggressive monsters. Your character has a gun, and he smashes each and everyone around with deadly bullets. He gets a better weapon, he meets more powerful enemies, he looks for the final boss in the tricky environment… You may discover from external sources, that he saves the Earth from creatures of another dimension, but in fact, this has no influence on the process.

Doom II: Hell on Earth is poor in graphics, but playing it is just a great experience. Try it on Windows computers – the game is available in Steam.


Dota 2

The MOBA genre is one of the most popular among gamers of different levels. Someone enjoys controlling fantastic creatures, fighting powerful opponents and destroying their strongholds just for fun. Someone made this the work of their life and earns millions of dollars, enjoys the world fame.

DOTA 2 is rather complicated but immensely attractive. It proposes a huge variety of heroes with even more different items to use. The heroes create many combinations of teams. Items propose many game tactics. Just look at those heroes and items on the official site!

In multiplayer battles, there are two teams of five heroes. They try to destroy the Ancient of each other (large structures – the name of the game is “Defense of the Ancients 2”). Learning the game became a kind of gaming art, which caught hearts of many, for many years…

Dota 2 is an essence of the MOBA genre. It’s a free game for PC and Mac.

For a similar, but much simpler title, have a look at Heroes of the Storm.

Forza Horizon 3

Racing games are not the most significant part of gaming culture but they stably attract attention of many gamers, it’s like a formed sub-culture. Are you familiar with it? There are powerful titles among them, which compete for the biggest cars collection, for the perfection of virtual tracks. Forza Horizon 3 is one of the best racing games ever made. It’s a fair speedy competition with many autos, realistic weather conditions, a nice set of roads.

Here we enter the open world of Australia with many different locations and various events. Rules are quite standard, as in the racing genre itself – take a car and try to finish the first, to overcome all the competitors. The multiplayer coop-mode for up to four players is one of the most exciting features of the game.

Forza Horizon 3 is available for Xbox One and Windows computers with the support of cross-platform play – one world for all the players.

This game is just an excellent way to feel the spirit of virtual racing. If you like it, you may try different racing style – Need for Speed series (illegal street racing), Project Cars 2 (sports competitions), Dirt Rally…

Age of Empires Definitive Edition

Controlling only one hero is not a challenge for Emperors of virtuality. They need many villagers to get food and make buildings, an army of warriors to protect the territory and conquer new lands. And all these units will be under player’s control at the same time.

Age of Empires is a great real-time strategy game, which created the basis for the whole genre. Despite some totally unrealistic and even fun moments (like burning building after hitting them by swords), the game gives an amazing feeling of developing your virtual civilization, of taking care about many aspects at the same time.

The original Age of Empires was released in 1997. That old version has been remastered for modern devices in 2017 as the Definitive Edition. It’s available for Windows computers in Microsoft Store.

Portal 2

This title may become a gem in any gaming collection. It proposes an interesting situation to delve into and lots of unique puzzles, which always are challenging but never – too hard to solve.

You play as a robot and look at the virtual world from the first-person perspective. Your character has a gun, and it should jump over platforms. But this is neither a shooting game nor a platformer. The gun creates two portals, which can be put in almost any place you wish to – anything that enters one portal exits from the other. With these portals, players should find a way to the main boss and, of course, to defeat it. Also, the game proposes a cooperative multiplayer.

Portal 2 is available for Windows and Mac computers through Steam.


Long before the first computer appeared in the world, people played cards. And we continue playing them now – in reality and in virtuality. Here is a remarkable card game that invites players into the World of Warcraft universe.

At the start, you get a deck with basic cards. The goal of any match here is to defeat the opponent by decreasing the energy of their cards/heroes. For victories, you have to know how to use abilities of heroes, cards of minions. The game practice allows coming up with successful tactics. The game rewards with gold for completing daily quests. This currency allows getting new packs with random cards. There also are other ways to increase your card collection – for example, participating in paid matches on Arena, where skilled players gather to play.

Hearthstone is a free game for computers and mobile devices. Have a look at its official site here.

Ratchet & Clank

This is an excellent platformer with elements of a shooter. Ratchet & Clank gives an understanding of that moment when the gaming culture jumped from 2D to 3D virtuality. First, try Super Mario Bros. Then open this game and feel the difference!

Ratchet is a fantastic creature lombax, working as a mechanic on the planet Veldin. Once, he meets Clank, a defected robot from the evil army of Chairman Drek. The pair of them starts an important mission of saving the galaxy from Drek, Doctor Nefarious, and their minions.

Players lead Ratchet through many planets, battle many robots, look for hidden objects… The unique feature of this game is the availability of different weapons, which Ratchet collects during his explorations. They activate various effects, so players should choose the best gun for their style and for current situations.

The original Ratchet & Clank game was released for PS2, PS3, and PS Vita. In 2016, gamers got an improved version for PlayStation 4, with the much more beautiful world, the possibility to upgrade the weapons, and a bit changed plot.


This game appeared in 1983 and since that time remains popular among gamers – we can find its new version on modern devices. It is a classic arcade, which is especially exciting in its multiplayer mode.

A few characters walk around the virtual maze, putting bombs here and there. The primary goal for them is to blow up all the competitors and remain the only one in the location. Different power-ups and new weapons are hidden in walls, so game heroes slowly destroy the maze by bombs to get those items and to clear the way towards opponents.

The installment Super Bomberman R is available for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC.

The Legend of Zelda

This game opens the way to the action RPG genre with explorations of virtual dungeons. There are so many such games nowadays, but The Legend of Zelda has put the basis for them, and it still is a brilliant masterpiece. Also, this is an entrance to the legendary series, a symbol of romantic adventures in the gaming virtuality.

You play as a guy named Link. He explores quite a big world, fights evil monsters, enters creepy dungeons, and collects pieces of a magic artifact.

The very first game of the Zelda series can’t impress by its graphics. But it definitely impresses by the bright ideas in the gameplay. The game was released for the NES consoles, and now it is available on modern Nintendo devices: 2/3DS, Wii U, Switch, NES Classic.


Getting deep experience in the gaming culture is a long process with the essential attribute of internal satisfaction from the process. It’s better to enjoy games with no hurry, step by step, than set the goal to try every title in a limited time. This list is just a guideline – it’s up to you, how far it will lead your gaming life.

© 2018 Alexx Miller


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