1984 - Spectrum Holobyte
The first PC-based submarine simulator focused on WWII GATO-class which saw operations in the Pacific Theatre. The game's task was to destroy Japanese shipping. Islands were randomly generated and not based on real-world geography. It was praised on both gameplay and strategy.
1985 - Sid Meier / MicroProse
Released on many platforms (Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Amiga, Commodore 64, IBM PC and Apple II), this Sid Meier WWII Pacific-operations submarine simulator won many design awards and was a huge success. The game was designed into compartments, each dealing with unique tasks at hand.
1987 - Epyx
For its day, a very detailed subsim, with three German U-boats and three US-class subs to choose, along with huge variety of ships of all classes. The WWII missions focused on both Pacific and Atlantic operations.
Special note: Mike Jones, one of the game's designers, went on to create the legendary Aces of the Deep in 1994.
1988 - John W. Ratcliff / Electronic Arts
Probably the greatest of the early subsims, 688 left its WWII rivals in the dust and focused on USSN-Los Angeles class and the USSR Alpha class nuclear attack subs. This simulator featured realistic thermal layers, many sonar options, and wire-guided torpedoes. A lot of strategy went into tracking down your prey and evading and hiding from your pursuers. And another great addition was the first subsim use of multi-player feature, thru modem connect. It spawned two sequels, SSN-21 Seawolf and Jane's 688(I) Hunter/Killer.
1990 - MicroProse
The classic Silent Service gers a make-over, complete with great new graphics and improvements in every aspect of this classic submarine simulator. Re-live real naval engagements from WWII Pacific theatre.
1990 - Artech / Three-Sixty
Loosely based on the movie of the same name, this subsim was unique in its usage of 3D polygonal graphics, something better suited for fast-action flight simulators than slow-paced submarine warfare, but since Das Boot is more action than simulation, it works well.
1990 - NovaLogic / Broderbund
Not well known but highly praised among its fans is this U-boat simulator from NovaLogic, who are best known for their Comanche helicopter simulator series. But the lack of a career mode and only 12 scenarios limit its replay value.
1994 - Dynamix
The last of the 'Aces' installments by Dynamix, you are placed in command of a German U-Boat in WWII, with task of destroying as much Allied shipping possible. There's also historical mission where you can re-enact the role of some of the greatest German U-boat captains.
1994 - John W. Ratcliff / Electronic Arts
The sequel to the classic hit 688 Attack Sub puts players in charge of the latest of the US subs - the USS Seawolf attack sub, as you square off against USSR's finest, Alfa and Akula class nuclear subs.
1995 - Tsunami
This interactive adventure game relies on live-action cinematic clips and places you as captain of a nuclear submarine on a routine patrol, when a crisis unfolds. The choices you make throughout the story will determine the outcome of events.
Mar. 1996 - Aeon / SSI
The first in the most popular submarine simulation series, Silent Hunter puts you in charge of US subs in the Pacific Ocean during WWII, as you take out as much Japanese shipping as possible. Realism and historical accuracy are highly stressed in this sim.
Nov. 1996 - Clancy Interactive
A simulation of the LA-class 688 Attack nuclear submarine, based around a hypothetical small-scale with China. Controls, especially sonar, were simplified, and player controlled the sub from a third-person external view.
1996 - Sonalysts / Sierra
Another classic submarine simulation of the 688i nuclear attack sub, it was not very popular compared to its rivals, but it was Sonalysts first sub simulator and laid down the ground work for their future ultra-realistic sims.
Jun. 1997 - Sonalysts / Electronic Arts
In the tradition of other Jane's Combat Simulations, 688(I) is an all-out simulator, very comlex and full-featured. It is also a quasi-sequel to 688 Attack Sub and SSN-21 Seawolf. There are very detailed training missions, and scenarios take place all over the globe.
Oct. 2001 - Sonalysts / Electronic Arts
After Jane's departure from the PC gaming market, EA and Sonalysts released the follow-up to the 688(I) game which allows the player to command a 688 sub, a Seawolf-class, or the Russian Akula & Akula-II attack subs. The realism is almost excessive, as evident by its 232-page manual, and detailed models of over 250 ships, subs and planes.
Dec. 2001 - Ultimation / UbiSoft
The sequel to Silent Hunter switches to the European theatre of WWII, putting you in charge of German U-Boats. It was originally developed by Aeon, the makers of Silent Hunter, but after many delays and termination of Aeon, Ultimation Inc. finished the game and released it in late 2001. It gained points for its on-line gameplay and ability to link up with UbiSoft's Destroyer Command to have players battle out sub vs destroyer.
Feb. 2005 - Sonalysts
Electronic Arts withdrew from the subsim market, but developer Sonalysts released this game as a direct successor to their Sub Command, improving gameplay in many ways, along with refined acoustics and sonar simulation.
Mar. 2005 - UbiSoft Romania
UbiSoft wanted to regain faith of the Silent Hunter fans and sought to address all user complains raised in SHII, specifically the lack of a dynamic campaign. It also featured a fully 3D control room, and ability to see and interact with all U-boat crew members. It was a critical hit, getiing 8.9/10 on GameSpot, 8.8 on IGN, and 5 out of 5 on GameSpy.
Mar. 2007 - UbiSoft Romania
The latest in the best-selling submarine series brings incredible next-gen graphics and exhilarating action to the Pacific theater of WWII, placing the player in charge of US subs. The game is fully customizable, allowing almost all functions automated for the novice player, or going full manual for one of the most authentic realistic experiences of submarine warfare.
Aug. 2007 - Strategy First
This most recent submarine simulator wasn't even noticed by subsim fans, yet offers up a uniquely fresh offering to the genre by simulating something not done before: submarine warfare from World War 1.
Mar. 2008 - UbiSoft
The first official expansion for Silent Hunter 4 brings all new subs and scenarios revolving around Germany's assignment of a U-Boat squadron to the Indian Ocean during WWII to help Japan study and copy their naval tactics.