It suddenly dawned on me that there are two potential reasons for a list like this. First, to acknowledge artistic greatness, sort of like the American Film Institute's list of all time greatest movies (see www.afi.com/tvevents/100years/movies.aspx).
Note that there are a lot of old movies on this list, going back to 1915. Or second, to help newer folks find games they might like. I suspect that a lot of the old hands already know what they like and probably have them. It doesn't matter how great a game is if you can't get it. So I'm modifying my approach some this year. I looked over some of my favorite sources and picked out some of my favorites that are still available commercially. Every one of these games is on my Top 15 list or pretty close. Let me emphasize that I am in no way associated with www.cdaccess.com
If you haven't played these games, get them while the getting is good.
Broken Sword: Circle of Blood CdAccess $20
Byzantine: The Betrayal CdAccess $20
Diskworld Noir CdAccess $20
Gabriel Knight 3 CdAccess $20
The Longest Journey CdAccess $20 a little bawdy, but epic
The Riddle of Master Lu CdAccess $20 caveat: tough game to run
Syberia lots of places
The Dig CDROMshop $24
OK, here's a couple of commercial games that the developers have generously released for free. You can get the ScummVM emulator software and the games here: www.scummvm.org/downloads.php
Beneath a Steel Sky By the folks that did Broken Sword
Flight of the Amazon Queen Very Monkey Islandish
Then finally, here are the ones near and dear to my heart that I have room left to list. These will be more difficult to find, but if you ever run across them don't hesitate.
The Secret of Monkey Island
Tex Murphy: Under A Killing Moon
Tex Murphy: The Pandora Directive
Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within
Zork Grand Inquisitor