The best old games on PC

Some games are so good that their quality endures and they continue to influence game design no matter how old they get. If you’re after a quick history lesson or fancy checking out a classic game these are the ones you should play.

Half-Life

We’ll never forget that first train ride through the Black Mesa Research Facility.

Nothing came close to matching Valve’s remarkable FPS in 1998 and it still holds up today due to its excellent storytelling and believable world.

Fallout 2

Sure, later Fallout games are prettier and have more action, but many fans long for the days of the narrative depth and freedom of the pre-Bethesda entries to the series.

Bad decisions can have grave consequences and Fallout 2’s factions system is one of the best around.

Theme Hospital

For the most part, hospitals are scary, sad places full of illness and ailments. A management game should reflect that - but not Theme Hospital.

This classic inspired Two Point Hospital and features the whimsical afflictions of Bloaty Head and Hairyitis. Its charm and emergent chaos keep us coming back.

Quake

Why choose Quake over Doom? This is the best realisation of id Software’s vision of a high-intensity corridor shooter full of ugly demons.

Doom has the most recognisable monsters but it’s Quake that endures for its arsenal of heavy, over-the-top guns, and breakneck speed.

System Shock 2

System Shock 2 is a first-person RPG that’s often compared to BioShock but it has unique qualities worth remembering.

It boasts an unforgettable atmosphere brimming with psychological horror that plays host to a dark, lonesome story.

Diablo II

Diablo II’s appeal has more than stood the test of time.

Punchy pixel art and intense RPG mechanics combine in an experience that many have imitated but few have improved on. This intoxicating nightmare of unrelenting demon slaying is a loot lover’s dream.

Baldur’s Gate II

While there’s been a renaissance of isometric Infinity Engine CRPGs we’ll always find time for the classic that is Baldur’s Gate II.

The slow combat and glut of dialogue might put off modern players but those who persist will find a richly designed world that lives long in the memory.

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri

Many grand strategy games are about competing for global domination. But Alpha Centauri is different. It asks you to conquer an alien planet.

You battle or learn from the foreign life forms as part of a deep, layered story. Alpha Centauri is what mastery of the 4X formula looks like.