Elite wasn't just the first 3D space game; it was one of the first games to use wireframe 3D graphics, period. It also featured trading amidst a procedurally generated galaxy. That was in 1984. It was double-plus good.
Fast forward to 2014. Still in its early beta stages, Elite: Dangerous has the same spirit as the original only, this time, it's wrapped in jaw-dropping immersive graphics, which include a heads-down, not up, display that has been optimized for those lucky enough to have an Oculus Rift.
E:D is an expansive sandbox/shared universe with a complete model of the Milky Way, all 400 billion stars of it, including accurate representations of all the nearest stars. Human space will be a tiny part of it, and the rest unknown...until someone actually travels there.
This space sim has an intriguing approach to single vs. multiplayer: You'll be able to play full-on multiplayer, co-op multiplayer with your friends, or single-player offline or online. I say "single player online" because, as the multiplayer game progresses, blockades will be erected, dignitaries will be assassinated, and systems will be annexed. The balance of power will shift from faction to faction based on players' actions in the multiplayer game. So, if you sync with the servers, you'll bring that state of affairs, and its economic impact, to your solo or co-op adventures, along with anything else developer Frontier drops in.
Best for: Privateer/Freelancer fans, 2001 fans, and galactic explorers.
Release date: 2014. Procedurally generated. Oculus Rift support. Single-player and multiplayer. PC and Mac.