Valve celebrates 20 years of Steam with the top releases of every year, assembling an airtight list of some of the best games in every genre

 Gordon Freeman
Gordon Freeman

Steam is officially 20 years old, and that means PC gamers everywhere are actively crumbling into dust as the weight of this realization shakes their very core. Why not take the edge off with Valve's list of the top Steam releases for every year, which doubles as one of the best collections of must-play games ever assembled?

Along with a nostalgic, army green makeover for the storefront, Valve's released a fascinating timeline for Steam's greatest hits. 2003 was more of a practice run, so the list of games doesn't start until 2004 with Half-Life, Counter-Strike, and Half-Life 2.

There's an argument to be made that we should just stop the list here because nothing will ever hold up to these three icons, but that argument is rose-colored nonsense. 2023 alone is on track to be arguably the best year for games ever, and the real value of this timeline is its ability to cut the industry open and count the stone-cold bangers of every genre like they're rings on a tree. It's not entirely clear how Valve's defined its top games here, but there's no doubt it's chosen some classics.

You can view the full list of games on Valve's handy timeline. There are hundreds of them, and I'm not gonna list them all again here for no reason. Even if you don't care about the historical significance (you monster), you should still check out the list to see if any of the discounts jump out at you. There isn't a big 20 Years of Steam sale going on or anything, but games are always on sale in Valve world, and some of them helped define the year they came out. Standout modern releases on sale include Resident Evil Village, Mass Effect Legendary Edition, Remnant: From the Ashes, and Valheim. Code Vein also gets a special shoutout from me because it's good anime vampire jank.

You should also watch this brief clip from Valve. It ends with the whiteboard draft of a "sexy Steam deck dating sim," which frankly ought to be a real thing.

The Steam Deck 2 is looking great