The Sims (PC)
Who knew that controlling little computer people would be so ridiculously popular and provide a boon to Maxis just in time to offset their fading SimCity series? Sure, the original Sims aren't nearly as expansive and autonomous as the independent and chic Sims of today, but this is where the groundwork was laid.
The Sims sucked up far more hours than I care to admit, particularly for a game that is anything but en vogue for "serious" gamers to admit to liking.
Personal Highlight: Drowning Sims in the pool after removing the ladders, preventing them from escaping. What can I say, I'm a bit morbid. Don't pretend you didn't do it yourself either.
Diablo II (PC)
Is Diablo II really less than a decade old? Notable for its uber-addictive gameplay, Diablo II expanded on the original tenfold. Five classes, unique skill trees, countless armor and weapon types, improved graphics, expanded multiplayer, varied environments… Diablo II offered a heck of a bang for the buck. With Diablo III on the horizon, reportedly with modest system requirements t'boot, it won't be long before we get the chance to step back into the saddle and battle the forces of evil once again.
Personal Highlight: Slaying hordes of monsters with friends as a cohesive unit hearing the ever-so-distinctive ting. At that moment, IT… WAS… ON - a mad dash to find the dropped gem or ring, no matter the cost. The cause for countless arguments with friends who claimed they did "all the work" and "deserved it". Yeah, sure you did buddy... My inventory says differently.