What Are The Best Classic PC Games Today?

As many of you have probably noticed, we typically focus on console gaming here at racketboy.com.  This isn’t necessarily on purpose, it just happens to go along with the gaming habits of myself and a good chunk of the site’s community.

However, I know that there are many of you out there that love classic PC (or Mac) gaming just as much (if not more).  So here’s your chance to speak your mind…

First of all, I want to take a little vote to gauge how much interest there is in classic PC gaming among the audience here, so please cast your vote in regards to if you play classic PC games.

What Genre Guides Should We Work on Next (Choose 3)

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Next, I’d like to know your opinions on which classic PC titles still hold up the best today regardless of the rapid technology growth we have seen on PCs in the last couple of decades.  So please list your favorites in the comments section below and I’d love to hear the justifications for your choices as well.


91 Comments

bobbynewmarkiii says:

I’ll second nominations for System Shock 2 and Deus Ex. These are both games I would not (and do not) hesitate to recommend to current gamers as imo they represent the pinnacle of their respective sub-genres.

I would also nominate X-Wing Alliance – the X-Wing series is for me the most immersive of all space combat sims, with good control systems, decent radar / targeting interface and excellent micro resource management (shields / guns / engines). I do think that Alliance was the most successful of the series, with best production values and a satisfying story arc.

@ otaku – head over to strangebedfellows.de for a copy of system shock portable – it’s system shock emulated for current gen PC’s, and it’s free.

General Chaos says:

You’re probably going to get a lot of recommendations for classic Lucas Arts adventure games, and maybe even a few Sierra ones (King’s Quest, Police Quest) but in my opinion the Quest For Glory series must be on the list. For myself and many others I think it defined the genre and is stilled re-played over and over today.

A few others I think need to be on the list:

Dungeon Keeper (1 & 2): 2 still looks good and the experience really can’t be found elsewhere.
Myth series (No, not Myst): My friends and I still prefer this to most modern strategy games at lan parties.
Settlers 1&2 (from 3 on they changed for the worse): Still an awesome game and the graphics have held up surprisingly well.
X-com and Terror From the Deep (those are givens, I think): Again, I think it’s obvious.

If you want more adventure genre recommendations you might also want to look at Westwood’s Kyrandia series and Sierra’s Goblin Quest series.

Hatta says:

Oh yes, Quest for Glory is an absolute must. I don’t think any game yet has so successfully blended RPG and adventure gameplay. The world has a rich mythology, conveyed with wit and character. It’s a real joy to experience.

Matt M. says:

I still play all the old ID shooters like

Doom , Doom 2 , Wolf 3d , Hexen , Heretic, Quake sometimes.

Also like early strategy games like Dune 2, CNC, CNC red alert.

A while ago I played through the FPS Blood from 1996ish I think.

Hatta says:

Ok, I thought of a few more:

Ultima Underworld – the first first person RPG, like Oblivion? thank Ultima Underworld. It even predates wolf3d.

Alone in the Dark – the first survival horror game

Civilization II – still the best in the series

Covert Action – Best spy game I’ve ever played

Pirates! Gold – I love Sid Meier.

Starflight – The best hybrid space trading/exploration/rpg I’ve ever played.

Nethack – the ultimate roguelike, and the most difficult game I’ve ever completed.

Jedi Knight (Dark Forces II) – I have to second this one, it has some of the most amazing level design I’ve ever seen in an FPS. I will never forget being tossed around inside the ventilation system of a Star Destroyer.

Every one of these are true AAA, 5 star, classics. If you haven’t played them, you’re truely missing out. I’ll probably be back with more once I shake the cobwebs out of my brain.

Covarr says:

I remember when edutainment was good:
Number Maze
Decimals and Fractions Maze
Reading Maze
Number Maze Challenge
Math Blaster
Treasure Math Storm

Of course, there’s also the non-edutainment:
Jazz Jackrabbit 2
Lode Runner: The Legend Returns
Headrush (pretty sure it’s old enough)
Any of the games built into After Dark 3 and 4
Shockwave: Assault
Humongous Entertainment adventure games (Putt Putt, Spy Fox, Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam, etc).
SimCity 2000
SimTower

Tim says:

Roller Coaster Tycoon, and SimCity 2000

PharmaceuticalCowboy says:

Well I was introduced to Mega Man on DOS… so that might count.

Jonas says:

Jagged Alliance Series
Monkey Island Series
Indiana Jones Series

Tancred says:

Fallout 1 + 2
nuff said!

Caleb says:

Doom

Quest for Glory series

Ultima (there is a special program called exult that allows Ultima 7 to run on a modern machine)

Deus Ex

Wizardry (Mostly 7 and 8)

Secret of Monkey Island

Sam and Max hit the road

Blood

Caleb says:

Oh and Starcraft is a no-brainer.

A lot of people I know play that.

It came out in 1998 and is still going strong.

Mike says:

I’m playing through Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight again right now. The acting isn’t great, but i really liked it compared to some of the new CG “acting” on the newer games. Plus it is just fun. Man, the level, where the ship is tumbling through space towards the surface and the gravity is flipping constantly, is crazy!

I love the original Half Life, and it’s expansion packs, Blue Shift, and Opposing Force!

Going a little farther back now, i have to mention Commander Keen!

For the longest time growing up, my family didn’t have any consoles, but we had a pc, and i loved commander keen! (who’s mario anyway:) lol

Anyways, these are just a few of the memories that i revisit from time to time on my pc.

Thermoptic says:

When it comes to gaming I think console is always the best way to play a game. Today new games are always released on both console and Pc. The difference is that when you want to play in on a Pc you always have to have the right hardware and software, upgrades and money.. etc. but with a console its just insert and play! no problems! So I think the consoles win!… except! with FPS games!

FPS games are meant to be played with a trackball.. that means a keyboard and a mouse. So to answer Racketboys question on what classic PC games that still is worth playing and works with today’s modern games.. Quake! Id Software where many year ahead when they made this game. It was released 12 years ago and its still lives! And not many FPS games have succeeded to even get close to this great engine. There are many good old PC games but i think Quake is the best choice in this question.

Harvey says:

Warcraft 2 is one of my all-time favorite games.

ott0bot says:

The Neverhood is one of my all time favorites for about 70 reasons. I played it about 3 years ago all the way through. The puzzles are truly challanging and it’s hilarious. The first person scenes are a bit choppy, but all in all it’s still a solid title.

Sid Mier’s Civilization series is also great. Especially 2 and 3.

Grim Fandango is a blast too.

SmartOne says:

Reader Rabbit ( 😛 )
Reader Rabbit Reading Journey
The Playroom
Treasure Mathstorm
Treasure Galaxy
Math Blaster

Hyper Studio (… not a game)
Power Pete

Microsoft Bob (…)
Dangerous Creatures (…)

Fury 3
Mechwarrior 2
Civilization II Multiplayer Gold
3D Ultra Pinball
Sim City 2000
*Gahan Wilson’s The Ultimate Haunted House* GREAT!

Roller Coaster Tycoon (+ expansions and sequel)
The Sims (great original music)

SmartOne says:

Goosebumps: Escape from Horrorland

Kevin says:

You misspelled something. When after you vote, it says, Yes, All Time Time. Just helping! Love your site too.

Kevin says:

One must fall and Jazz the jack rabbit. I love playing Duke Nukem 3D!

Ryan says:

I generally play Command and Conquer on my IBM as well as Marathon 2: Durandal on my Mac Performa 550. My favorites are still Doom, Quake, C&C, and other micelaneous strategy games (the lost world comes to mind)

Only Eyes says:

A few no one else listed:
Sanitarium
Syberia
I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream
SimLife (Spore without all the shiny stuff!)

And I just want to second/third/whatever these:
The Longest Journey
Fallout 1 + 2
Commander Keen
The original Quake
Grim Fandango
The Indiana Jones series
Dungeon Keeper (oh, to be evil)
Treasure Mountain/Math Blaster/Reader Rabbit/Number Munchers/etc. (oh, to be in third grade again)

And I’m probably alone on:
Oregon Trail (oh, to….die of..dysentery…again?)

John says:

If you want to go into the world of classic mac games try Spaceward HO!

arcadegamer says:

Starcraft
Red Alert 1&2
Emperor Battle for Dune
C&C TS
AOE

zaphod4007 says:

mmm…
I know it’s been said a lot but:
System Shock 2, honestly, if you haven’t played it you’re missing one of the minor masterpieces of 20th century PC gaming history.

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