Okay. So you can’t afford a new Nvidia video card because you are a broke college kid and the computer your parents got for you when you were in Junior High is still the same computer you’re using right now and it’s barely running. Not to worry! There are many old PC games out there that are still waiting to be discovered. Many of them are even better than the current crop of games out in terms of gameplay. They might not have the graphics of Crysis, but who cares, Crysis isn’t that fun anyway (actually it is) Here is a list of games that will work on your old computer and your old video card. The requirements for these games are very minimal. If you have a Geforce 2 computer graphics card and 256 megs of SDRAM, you should be able to run all of them without a hitch.
Let’s start with the obvious.
Many will tell you this game is more superior to its successor, Counter-Strike Source. CS is one of those rare shooters where you need to have both speed and intelligence to win over your opponent. And teamwork is essential if you want your team to win. Counter-strike 1.6 is a tactical 1st person shooter, pitting terrorists against counter-terrorists in different objectives with the bomb plant/defuse scenario being the most popular. The game is mainly played online with and against other players. Counter-strike was originally a mod for Half-Life and it became so popular in the gaming community that the game went on to sell on its own in retail. The original CS is over several years old yet it is still being played today around the world and is still being played in competitive gaming tournaments. Its longevity comes from the fact that it is one of the most addicting games to ever come out. The hardware requirements for this CS 1.6 are so minimal especially right now that even some of the newer built-in graphics accelerators on motherboards can handle this game fluidly. You will, however, need a high-speed internet connection if you want to compete against the other players online. There are many CS 1.6 servers with communities still thriving and they are a blast to play in.
Natural Selection is a strategy/action game played from a 1st personal perspective This game is also a mod that was developed from the old Half-Life engine and requires very minimal specs like Counter-strike. Natural Selection or NS, is a fun online multiplayer game where players get to choose sides between space marines and a morphing alien species. Each side plays totally different from the other. The marines revolve around a captain who commands the other marine players. The captain gives orders on where to build weapons such as gun turrets and also gives out health packs and firearms to the team accordingly. There are no captains on the alien side, and while teamwork is involved, the aliens tend to be more individualistic. They can “morph” to upgrade their attack strengths and abilities where else the Marines are more dependent on the captain to give them the guns and armor needed. The game has some very nice environments to play in, most of it looking like an abandoned space station from a sci-fi movie. There is also a very loyal fan base for this game, who have developed new maps and add ons for Natural selection. NS requires even more teamwork than Counter-strike and a microphone is recommended to coordinate with your teammates. After a player dies in the game, the player spawns back pretty quick, so typing is seldom used unlike in CS. This is a terrific game and it is the second most popular Half-Life mod to come after the original Counter-strike. If you have a half-life or the retail version of the original CS, then you can download this game for free.
This game was pretty revolutionary for its time. Max Payne combines film noir with the Matrix. You play as Max Payne, a good cop who returns home one night to find his wife and child murdered in cold blood. Max gets framed and he goes on a mission seeking to clear his name while taking out the scum occupying the city. Max Payne is a shooter but it is played from a 3rd party perspective. The story slowly unfolds with the gritty voice of Max narrating the cut scenes. The cut scenes themselves are designed to look like old pulp comics which adds to the noir atmosphere. How is this like the Matrix, you ask? This is one of the first PC games where you can slow down time and shoot. You can actually see individual bullets coming at you or from your own gunfire when you slow time. It gives you an advantage over your enemies, but you are only allowed a certain amount of this slow-mo feature. Use it up and you will have to wait for it to charge up again. There is an assortment of weapons you can pick up in the game to wreak havoc with besides your regular side-arm. There are uzis, grenades, shotguns, dual handguns, and even a bat to hit a bad guy upside the head with. The graphics for this game was very good when it was released with breakable environments and highly detailed textures for its time. This is not a game for the very young though since it contains adult subject matters, drug use, and the overall body count from beginning to end. Max Payne is an overall good game that won’t put a strain on your graphics card and is recommended to gamers who want a story with their shooters. And if you’re a fan of Revenge stories such as the Death Wish movies, this is up to your alley.
While Max Payne has a story behind it, this is a 1st person shooter has none. You are Serious Sam and you kill everything in sight. Ironically, with a name like Serious Sam, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a parody of first-person shooters. The enemies are all weird looking like a headless body running with a bomb and one-eyed rock creatures. The thing that stands out the most about Serious Sam compared to other shooters is that the enemies come at you in herds and the relentless pacing never stops to let you breathe. Think of Smash TV where you are surrounded by an insane amount of enemies. It’s like that but it’s in 3D and from your own perspective. Like any good shoot ’em ups, you are given a wide variety of weapons such as a shotgun, a lasers cannon, a quadruple missile launcher, a chain gun, and even an old fashion Tommy gun. The game engine that was designed for Serious Sam is brilliant from a technical standpoint and has not gotten the accolades it should have received. The staggering amount of enemies on screen charging after you in wide-open environments did not slow the gameplay down and the graphics were first-rate (at the time). Serious Sam has one of the most impressive end bosses in the history of PC game end bosses which needs to be seen by anyone who wants a jaw-dropping experience. The end boss was impressive then and it is impressive now. The bull-like monster is around 20 stories tall in the game compared to you, destroying everything in its path before you dual it head-on in the showdown. Amazingly, this PC game is playable on a Graphics card with only 32 megs of ram with no slowdown.
Nothing needs to be said about this game but we will try. This game by Blizzard Entertainment changed the gaming industry like no other PC game before it. When Starcraft was first showcased in beta, it was deemed as unimpressive so the developers got to retooling it. They must have given it their all because when it was released, it went on to become one of the greatest games of all time, picking up numerous awards. To this day, it is being played by players around the world, especially those in South Korea where the game has turned into a national pastime. Professional Korean players are idols in their homeland and there are a couple of channels in South Korea dedicated to this legendary game. Starcraft is a Sci-fi RTS game that is situated in parts of deep space. Three different factions are involved; the Terrans, who are descendants of Human outcasts from Earth; the hive mind | arthropodal | Zerg; and the psionic humanoid Protoss warriors. The game is extremely well balanced for competitive gaming and the story campaign is as engaging as any other. Starcraft is a game older than even Half-Life so the resources needed for this Starcraft is extremely puny and can be played on even Pentium 1 computers.
One of those hidden sleepers, Sim Tower is wonderfully addicting as any Sim game ever made. There are many different types of Sim games that have been released over the last years, and some of them, especially the newer ones, are extremely complicated to play and are more likely to give you a headache than entertain you. Not so with Sim Tower. This game came out in 1994 and was developed by a Japanese company and published under Maxis. It is one of the most underrated Sim games out there and is probably unknown to most people. This simulation game has you building a skyscraper and keeping your tenants happy. The more successful you are, the more people will want to move into your building, and the taller your skyscraper will grow. It is a rather easy game to figure out compared to the other Sim games with a learning curve of under 1 hour. The graphics are simple yet detailed at the same time as you can see the inside of your building transform from empty spaces into offices, eateries, reception halls, etc. You will gain the same wonderful feeling of accomplishment when your tower starts to grow, just like when you first played the original Sim City. This is a very old game and adding to the fact it is a simulation game, it requires fewer resources than action games so Sim Tower is very playable on older computers that were made before the first Pentium. You don’t even need a video card for this terrific game. If your computer can’t play Sim Tower then your computer shouldn’t be able to get online to read this article in the first place.
Before there was Gunbound, there was Scorched Earth. This is a relatively unknown PC shareware game that was released in the early ’90s and requires computer specs so minimal that you need a microscope to find them. Scorched Earth is perfectly playable on even a 286 computer running at 12 MHZ. The key elements in this game are basically the same as Gunbound, It is a turn-based strategy game where you play as a tank trying to annihilate other tanks by blowing them up directly or blowing them off the cliff they are occupying, causing them to fall to oblivion. The angle and power you shoot at determine where your shot is going to land. The tanks can be equipped with a wide range of weapons, which is unheard of for a shareware game at the time. Along with weapons that have the power of mini-nukes, you can buy shields for defense and parachutes so your tank won’t take any damage if it falls from a high point. You can play against the computer or a group of friends, each taking a turn. Scorched Earth came out way before Gunbound did, so you can pretty much figure out who copied who. Scorched Earth is one of the best PC shareware games of the early ’90s, right up there with Wolfenstein 3-D. If you happen to find an old dusty computer sitting in the attic without any use, you can load up Scorched Earth from DOS and it will play without the need for Windows.
A very well-crafted RTS game from Blizzard released in 2002, Warcraft III is one of the last good RTS games that did not require shaders for its graphics, which makes it very playable and pretty to look at on many of the old video cards dating back from the late ’90s and early 2000s. The single-player campaign mode is quite long and story-driven and it is divided into four campaigns with each one focusing on a different race. There are the humans, the orcs, the undead, and the night elves each having their own abilities and powers. The campaign mode is solid but the meat of Warcraft III is the multiplayer mode, where players choose one race to do battle online against other players or team up with friends in matches. Warcraft III is still being played in tournaments and an expansion pack has been released for the game, Warcraft III: The frozen throne.
Defense of Ancients is quite arguably one of the hottest multi-player games to date and you’re missing out if you haven’t played it. Following in the footsteps of Counter-Strike, DOTA is a mod that became as big of a hit as the game the mod was developed from. DOTA came from the Warcraft III engine and any person who had purchased Warcraft III and its expansion pack, Frozen Throne, can download DOTA and play the current version for free. There are two teams in the game and the objective is to destroy the opponents’ base using one’s own Hero along with allied heroes and allied AI-controlled fighters called “creeps”. Sharing concepts with role-playing games, the player levels up their hero and uses gold to buy equipment to eliminate the opposing team. There were many variations of DOTA early in its development, but the most popular one of all is called DOTA All-Stars and it is played around the world and played in competitive PC gaming leagues. DOTA has become so huge that it has unseated Counter-Strike in many areas of the world as the number one multi-player game.