Platform(s): Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox, PS3, Mac OS X, Linux
Year Released: 2004

Valve Corporation is one of the most forward-thinking video game-development companies in the industry, and much of that reputation was initially earned on the strength of Half-Life 2. Released for the PC in 2004, the title earned 39 Game of the Year Awards, and essentially changed the game for both computer and console games with its ground-breaking Source engine. The engine rehauled the audio, visual, and artificial intelligence aspects of past gaming engines to create an FPS experience that far outstripped any other viable competition. Games like Half-Life 2 were a big reason that console games had to take a backseat to PCs for such a long time. Simply put, they just couldn't handle something as beautiful, intricate, and realistic as Half-Life 2. If you had ever needed a reason to upgrade your computer, this game was the excuse you were looking for.