I played Battlefield 1942 for over 3 years, all the maps are perfectly designed and balanced, and the active mod community added some great maps and prolonged the life of this game considerably. It's still being played today, 7 years after its release.
Sid Meyer's Civilization was a landmark game, it allows the user to lead a small tribe from the ancient time and became a leading civlization, Civ 2 improved upon the first game in almost every aspect, and this game stayed on my hard drive for years.
This game pretty much invented the Real-Time Strategy genre as we know it today. When it came out in 1992, it was revolutionary in every way, most of the strategy games in that era were turned-based, and the few real-time strategy games (Ancient Art of War) were very simplistic. Dune II was able to create a deep strategic experience and in the same time get your adrenaline pumping with its fast action, probably one of the most influential games of all time.
It is difficult to classify Star Control II in any one genre, it has an epic story and character interactions like a RPG, and space exploration and resource gathering like a strategy game, and a ship to ship combat like a arcade shooter, and it excels in all of them, one of the greatest game ever created.
This game is probably the least known game on this list, but it is definitely one of the best game I played. This game combined elements of RPG and Strategy games into one, set in a fantasy setting, you lead a small kingdom and try to beat every other kingdoms, and while battling trolls and dragons, this game was released in 1989 and is way ahead of its time.
Who knew building trains and tracks can be so much fun? From the legendary game designer, Sid Meyer, Railroad Tycoon combines track laying with a deep economic simulation and resource management, one of the most addictive games ever.
The original Arcade and NES Ninja Gaiden games were probably some of the most difficult games ever created, when Team Ninja rebooted the franchise on the XBox, they kept the tradition going, it is probably one of the most difficult action game ever created, but it is skilled based, so when you die, you don't ever feel like the computer is cheating, and you'd just try to get better at the game.
See the full review, "Best action game on any system, bar none!".
The Real-Time Strategy games before Starcraft usually features multiple sides the player can pick, but they usually just had different skin, and each side plays pretty much the same. Starcraft features 3 completely distinct races and yet it is perfectly balanced, and it has a single player structure that also revolutionized how stories are told in a RTS. It would have been higher on my list if I didn't always get my ass kicked on Battle.net.
"Ya ya ya ya ya", after playing Crazy Taxi, I had the Offspring song stuck in my head for months, and every time I saw a car transport truck parked on the side of the road, I'd have the urge of jumping from its ramp!