Long before listicles were a thing, video game websites loved to publish their top game lists. Some of these truly were simple rankings of a hundred games, so the modern format with a bit of text for each entry potentially represents a slightly deeper take. PC Gamer has posted a new article this week about the 20 best space sims on PC. It's an interesting subject for a major publication to take up in 2015 as it shows how far we've come from the space sim barren '00s. This would have been a pretty unusual sight in 2009, but not so much today. Two-thirds of the picks do come from the last 5 years, which highlights the positive resurgence we're in, but it also remains to be seen if most of these recent releases will withstand the test of time.
The oldest game on the list, one of just four titles older than 10 years, is Wing Commander Privateer. The author says that Priv is their preference due to the game's edgy atmosphere and sandbox freedom. It may be worth noting that upon its release in 1994, Wing Commander 3 garnered PC Gamer's highest review score in history until it was surpassed by Half-Life in 1998. Later in the early 2000s, WC3 again ranked 19th and then 48th best game of all time of any genre, which illustrates how all such lists are usually quite temporally biased. That makes this week's acknowledgement of Privateer all the more special. I wonder if the reviewer was even born when it was released! Check out the full feature here. Thanks to Delance for the tip.
Wing Commander: Privateer
Developer: Origin Systems
Fans of the series will argue endlessly about which Wing Commander is the best, but we love Privateer’s darker feel. It’s a rich sandbox in which you can be a mercenary, a pirate, a merchant, or a mix of all three. You jump between systems looking for bounties to hunt and ships to rob, and the first-person dogfights are a thrill. There’s a linear story, but the real joy lies in doing your own thing.
More: Richard Cobbett explains why this one's brilliant in this Privateer retrospective.