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Top 8 Computer Games That Defined Your Childhood

For those of us who grew up in a time when personal computers (PCs) were the "in" thing, computer games played a significant role in our childhoods. Many of us would spend hours shooting aliens, questing for lost jewels, or solving mind-boggling puzzles. As the Internet was introduced and used widely, MMORPGs were born giving gamers the chance to play with others across the world. From the time we were young all through our teenage years, computer games defined who we were — geeks dying to turn our passion into real life. Game programmer heaven. And we are proud of our geek heritage.

Here are the top eight computer games that defined the childhoods of gamers:

1. Neverwinter Nights

Developed by Stormfront Studios, SSI, TSR, and AOL, Neverwinter Nights was the first multiplayer online game to display graphics, It was popular from 1991 to 1997. Neverwinter Nights was a precursor to popular games of today including World of Warcraft. In fact, in 2008 Neverwinter Nights was honored at the Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for its role in advancing MMORPG games.

2. Sid Meier's Civilization

Released in 1991, you begin this game with a civilization placed in 4000 BC with the object of building a civilization that can withstand the test of time. Since its release, four more versions have followed, including Civilization V in September 2010.

3. Baldur's Gate

Along with Diablo, Baldur's Gate revitalized the computer role-playing game genre. Successfully using Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition rules, this computer game sold over 2 million copies.

4. Command and Conquer: Red Alert

In an alternate universe inadvertently created by Albert Einstein, C&C: Red Alert takes place in the 1950s. Einstein eliminates Hitler back in 1926, thus preventing World War II. This causes the USSR to become stronger and try to take over China and Eastern Europe. C&C: Red Alert is now available as freeware.

5. Wolfenstein

This game is often credited for making the first-person shooter genre popular and is often used as the archetype for first-person shooter games that have been released since.

6. EverQuest

Another MMORPG that was popular at the end of the '90s was EverQuest, a game inspired by role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. Winning GameSpot's Game of the Year in 1999, this computer game is still being developed with new expansions. It is games like this that have inspired many youngster to choose careers as game programmers.

7. The Sims

Who didn't love pretending to be a god by controlling the lives of other people in The Sims? With 16 million copies sold, it's the best selling computer game in history.

8. Diablo

Released in 1996 by Blizzard Entertainment (most notably the creators of World of Warcraft), Diablo is a computer role-playing game, also called a point-and-click action RPG, that has a high level of replayability.

These games are the top games in their respective genres, but what makes them stand out is how they've influenced games that have been developed since.

What were your favorite games as a child?

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