I am a hardcore gamer and have been seriously playing both computer and console games for as long as I can remember. Here are a few of my all time favorites.
Also, here are my posts relating to games.
X-Com: UFO defense
Even after all of these years nobody has managed to come up with a game that hits the right balance to knock X-Com off it’s pedestal. It is still the sci-fi tactical, squad-based combat game, even though the resolution and interface have aged poorly. It’s a combination of the Geoscape realtime strategy base building and research half, and the Battlescape turn based tactical combat half.
It’s a very difficult and unforgiving game, but that makes it even more satisfying when everything manages to come together. Fortunately, it runs well under DOSBox now, which makes it much less prone to crashes than the hacked together windows versions.
Sword of The Stars
This is a combination 4X and RTS space game. It takes the path of making the world building and economy fairly simple, while focusing on custom ship building and the real time combat. Most of your time ends up spent in combat late game, which is a big departure from the other classic games in the genre like MOO2 and the Cvilizations.
The space combat is where the game really shines. All projectile, missile, and beam paths and collisions are calculated in 3D, so what you are seeing is what’s actually happening, not just a graphical representation of dice rolls like most strategy games use. You can destroy individual ship sections and even individual weapons.
It’s definitely a game for a certain niche of people, but it fills that nice perfectly. It also has a very accessable development team that regularly posts to the official forums. It’s not often that you can debate game mechanics with the CEO of the game’s company.