Let off a little Steam with these gems
3 Counter-Strike (PC – 2000)
Half-Life became a hugely popular game within the modding community, and Valve had an eye for nabbing the best talent and bringing them into the fold. Counter-Strike is one outstanding example: a popular mod that was brought in-house by Valve and led to one of the defining multiplayer shooters of the era, thanks to snappy gunplay and iconic maps.
1 Half-Life (PC – 1998)
Valve’s debut game was a shot in the arm for the games industry, a clever, exhilarating ripping up of the rule books that transformed first-person shooters – and was later outdone by its own sequel. For mute scientist Gordon Freeman, a bad day at the office quickly evolved into Doomsday, as alien creatures from the Xen dimension poured through a wormhole created at Black Mesa Research Facility.
4 The Orange Box (PC, PS3, 360 – 2007)
Including this is a slight cheat as a third of it is covered as our 58th Legend Of Gaming, but the greatest deal in games gave you (deep breath) Half-Life 2, plus follow-ups Episode One and Two, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. All classics that hugely influenced their genres (Overwatch especially owes a debt to TF2), the only sour note was a slightly-bum-at-launch PS3 version.
2 Left 4 Dead (PC, 360 – 2008)
In yet another instance of Valve operating in a different league to most, this zombie massacre simulator was a near-perfect co-op shooter that had an AI ‘director’ which would dynamically change levels as you played. The quick turnaround of the sequel caught the ire of the internet for essentially existing too soon, but both offered some of the best-paced multiplayer action in the genre.
5 Dota 2 (PC – 2013)
Yep, Valve gets ahead of the game once again with its last released game, which helped to hugely popularise MOBAs. Two teams of five battle it out to destroy their opponent’s Ancient (basically their base) through a mix of real-time strategy and shouting at their teammates to be better. As if that weren’t enough, it’s also one of the largest esports in the world.