If you are an old-school gamer like me, you surely appreciate those old games that gave us so much fun! In my opinion, the peak of the PC gaming was at the beginning of 21st century, when various gaming genres emerged. In that era, many legendary video games were released, and some of them even have many sequels today. I’m not going to split the games into the genres, but I promise that there will be everything for everyone! So, if you are ready for an overdose of nostalgia, grab your cup of tea and let’s travel back in time. The list of the best old PC games is below.
What are Old Games? A Quick Look
Games from the past period of gaming are generally referred to as “old games” because they were launched many years ago. The precise definition of “old” depends on the person you question and the situation. However, old games typically relate to titles that were launched before the emergence of contemporary gaming technologies or multiple console generations ago.
The specific amount of time that qualifies as “old” can change due to the quick advancement of both the gaming industry and technology. Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Sonic the Hedgehog are some of the few examples of games from the 1980s and 1990s that are widely referred to as classic or retro-style games.
Best Among the Old Games
Bioshock might not be that old game since it’s released in 2007, but it’s a decade ago. Wait… decade? Oh, I’m aging so fast! I remember playing this game and being afraid of those Big Daddy enemies, so I always played with the lights on. This is a great shooting game, with strong elements of RPG in it, so expect many enemies to kill and stuff to buy and upgrade. Its underwater setting is even better! The town of Rapture looks gorgeous, with stunning attention to details and story. If you want, you can try Bioshock Remastered, which is essentially Bioshock with upgraded graphics and sound design.
I’m not talking about Black Mesa here, but the one and only Half-freaking-Life! This shooter emerged at the beginning of the 2000s, and although there were some versions of it before, the full versions came out at that time. The level of details was amazing at the time. Shooting mechanics, story, character animations and great verticality in levels was simply top notch! Valve sure but slowly carved their way into the pillars of gaming with this one, and Half-Life quickly became the most important FPS game of all time. If you are interested in the remastered version, Black Mesa is a great choice, minus the final boss.
3. Counter-Strike 1.6
Before CSGO started its reign, Counter-Strike 1.6 was the king of multiplayer shooters. I mean, do you even need the introduction for this one? If you are a gamer and don’t know about this game, then I don’t know what to tell you! The graphics might be outdated, and the weapons aren’t that accurate, but CS 1.6 is STILL played in my surroundings! It’s so hard to forget a game such as this one, although I recommend CSGO now. If you ever have a gamer child, this is a game that you can tell your stories about. It’s that great!
I don’t know why, but this game was always creepy as hell for me. Hitman emerged at the beginning of the 21st century, and it’s a fantastic stealth game. At the time, there weren’t so many stealth games, and this was a solid refresh. Basically, you are a bald, emotionless killer called Agent 47, who escapes the hospital in which he was stationed and goes on a killing spree! You’ll have a wide variety of weapons, snipers, bombs, knives, and pistols, and your mission is simple- kill the target! Oh, and this one HAS a satisfying ending, when you snap the neck of that twisted doctor; priceless!
5. Quake 4
Oh, boy, did we get to Quake 4 yet? I think we did! And I have lots of memories tied to this game. The graphics might be bad for today’s standards, but this bad boy offers so much fun! It’s an FPS game, but combines a healthy dose of horror in it, being a very similar game to Doom 3, which I’m going to talk about soon. But Quake 4 expanded its gameplay, so you can now use various vehicles, cannons, and other stuff in order to survive. Basically, it’s an advanced version of Doom 3, with slightly more variations in gameplay.
6. Doom 3
Doom 3 is a brutal game, and I’m sorry for gossiping it in the previous section. Doomguy, please forgive me! This FPS shooter kicks ass, and unlike its successor, this one is a little claustrophobic, with more horror elements. Here, you are a marine trapped on a space station on Mars, trying to survive when the demonic invasion begins. You’ll face multiple non-human and human enemies and be able to interact with NPCs in order to find more about the story. It’s not that scary, but it will make your feet cold at some moments. A very mature and precise approach to the game!
7. Diablo II
Diablo II is one of my favorite old PC games. Although I’m not a huge fan of the RPG genre, Diablo II is a lot of fun, and it’s hard. Being such a noob in these games, I often found myself killed and returned to the last checkpoint, which made me annoyed sometimes. But, Diablo II is much more than that! You can explore, buy, trade, craft, fight, talk with NPCs and much more. It’s a compelling experience that only the true RPG fans will love and worship.
8. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
As a fan of NFS series, I must say that I’m disappointed where the series is going. All of the racing games should look up to NFS: Most Wanted! It’s a crucial game in the car racing genre, with its satisfying story, great visuals, and racing mechanics. Most Wanted also offers a FULL car customization! Yes, folks, you read it well! And you won’t find such things in modern racing games… no, no! Those real-life cutscene graphics combined with a non-stop action gameplay sequences made me want it even more.
9. Deus Ex
RPG genre got to its peak with Deus Ex. This open-world role-playing game took the earth by storm when it was released. The cyber-punk setting was still a new thing for the time, and Deus Ex helped it to establish itself as a distinctive genre. This game relies more on making decisions and talking with NPCs rather than going guns-blazing on your enemies. You also have to manage your resources and carefully plan your next move here. However, Deus Ex’s story might be complicated overall, making it a not-for-everyone game.
10. Age of Empires II
The classic PC strategy game Age of Empires II continues to captivate fans of the genre today. It was released in 1999 and provides a detailed and immersive experience where you may develop civilizations, harvest resources, and command armies to defeat enemies. Choose among civilizations like the Vikings, Byzantines, and Mongols, each with its own special forces and technologies, in this game that covers several historical eras.
The strategic depth of Age of Empires II is exceptional; it necessitates meticulous planning, resource management, and tactical battle. The limitless hours of competitive gameplay in the multiplayer mode make it a favorite among friends searching for strategic skirmishes. Age of Empires II is still one of the best strategy games available, whether you’re into history or not.
11. SimCity 4
The ultimate city-building simulation, SimCity 4, lets you create and run your own digital metropolis. This game, which was released in 2003, provides an unmatched degree of complexity and detail for building and running a city. Residential, commercial, and industrial areas can be zoned, infrastructure can be built, money can be managed, and you can respond to the requirements of your constituents.
With traffic jams, environmental worries, and the thrill of watching your city prosper, SimCity 4 offers a realistic simulation of urban life. The SimCity 4 game offers fans of strategy and simulation games a thrilling and immersive experience thanks to its open-ended gameplay and limitless creative opportunities.
12. Return to Castle Wolfenstein
This new Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is great and all, but sit down and let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, this great WW2 shooter was released, and it was called Return to Castle Wolfenstein. That creepy game remained one of my favorite games of all time! Shooting Nazis and zombies with MP40 or flamethrower never gets old, and our B.J Blazkowicz is young and strong here! If you want to explore the roots of the war shooting games, then RTCW is for you. It’s still an unbeatable WW2 shooter!
13. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault did something that no other WW2 shooter did at the time. Can you guess what? If no, let me help you! It’s that epic Omaha Beach landing, that’s done so well that I still remember it to this day. Other than that, Allied Assault relies more on a realistic approach, so you’ll kill only Nazis, which I assume is enough for you. This game offers so much fun, and it’s damn hard near the end. For fans of Saving Private Ryan, this game nails it with a big nail, directly to the center!
14. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory marked the return of the stealth genre. It’s a hardcore stealth game that requires you to be STEALTH. No guns blazing, no shooting, no running and no making noise. It’s easily one of the hardest stealth games I’ve ever played, with the enemies being so deadly and their AI always wiping the floor with me. But, this is the Splinter Cell experience that you need to try, and once you get into it, you’ll adore it and brag about being a great spy!
15. Fallout 2
The past games from Fallout series were very different from the newer ones, like Fallout 4. In the beginning, Fallout was a top-down role-playing game where your mission was only to survive. Fallout 2 is such game, and the focus here is on exploring the post-apocalyptic world, find resources and fight versus the enemies to survive. The game breathes that dark feeling of depression and loneliness as you venture through the unforgivable levels. Fallout 2 is a criminally underrated game available for PC, and it’s super duper awesome!
16. System Shock 2
Thank God I listed this game here, or otherwise I couldn’t save myself from the angry gamers. System Shock 2 is a compelling, spooky and intense RPG experience that made me pee my pants when I was a kid. It’s a forerunner of this genre, and even some big games like Deus Ex took an influence from System Shock 2. It’s a game set in a spaceship, where you manage your resources, hack and kill the enemies in order to survive. I heard that there is a System Shock 2 remasted in development, and if that happens… well, I’ll give my liver to play it if needed!
Crysis has released a decade ago, but I bet it can still fry your GPU. Are you a badass now, huh? Crysis is a phenomenal shooting game set in a huge, open world filled with vegetation and a great-looking water. The graphics are amazing, even by today’s standards. Those godrays, water, plants and character models are something unseen at the time. Crysis served as a demonstration for CryEngine, but don’t look at it like that. This game is amazing even after several playthroughs.
18. Max Payne
When you say “bullet-time” you probably think about Max Payne first. Not only that Max Payne invented such a badass feature, but it’s also one of the greatest third-person shooters. Its dark and depressive story is accompanied by the even more depressive protagonist, creating a very intense atmosphere. The shootouts and action in this game are amazing, and the story is told in form of comics that are well-done, and voice-acted.
19. Pro Evolution Soccer 6
Back in the time, Fifa wasn’t that big deal. Everyone liked PES because it was so simple, yet so satisfying to play. PES 6 is on this list simply because it’s the best and the last game featuring a more arcade approach to the football genre. The later games in the series started to be more simulation games, and I want my football game to be not that realistic. PES 6 doesn’t offer all of the licensed teams, but it offers a Master League which I often played. Also, you can buy various stadiums, equipment, and even legendary players, thus creating your own unique team. It’s such an enjoyable title!
20. No One Lives Forever
No One Lives Forever isn’t a realistic game, but its message is true. If you aren’t careful enough, neither you will live forever! This game is such a classic, especially because of that female protagonist, that is equally badass as the male would be. The game reminds me a lot of James Bond movies, with its characters, settings, and story. No One Lives Forever does a great job of melding the stealth genre with the intense shooting sections, and the game isn’t that short for the time. You’ll have a hard time beating those stealth sections, but that’s what old-school gaming is; ruthless, unforgiving and satisfying.
21. Rise of Nations
Rise of Nations marked a very important moment in the strategy genre. Being a more than 15 years old game Rise of Nations had some serious potential at the time. It’s a great strategy game that challenges their players even if they have an excessive amount of experience. For me, this game represents the meat-and-potato of the genre, bringing that old-school strategy gameplay and war. As its name says, Rise of Nations will let you raise your nation and be a leading force, or let it drown and fall into oblivion- it’s your choice!
To this date, I can’t find a game that better encapsulates the mafia story. The game’s graphics are outdated, but Mafia manages to bring a fantastic story, full of plot twists and surprising sequences. You’ll feel like a real Mafia member, as you indulge in intense shootouts, high-speed car chases, doing an alcohol delivery, or rob a bank. All of this culminates as the ending approaches, and let me warn you… you’ll shed some tears!
Which is your Favorite Old Game?
What are your favorite old games? Did you play the computer when you were a kid? Sure, in those times the games were just beginning to emerge, and not everyone has a chance to play them, but those who did, enjoyed it, including me. If you are in a dire need of those times, you can let me help you with your game choice. Whether you go for the action game, shooting game, racing game or a horror game, I want you to enjoy it to the max! So, what game will you buy? And if you buy some of those game, please let me know. I’m more than eager to find out!