Although every year sees the release of tons of games, none of them were made in a vacuum, the one thing nature truly abhors. As we are given new vistas and new exciting cinematic trailers for top-shelf games and creative revamps of classics, it’s not a bad idea to take a look at the classics themselves.

With that in mind we’ve assembled a list of a few classic PC games from the 90s and early 2000s which are still playable, still fun, and still worth checking out, because they don’t make them like they used to anymore. The graphics may have gotten old, and the interfaces might be unwieldy, but there is greatness which inspired many successors.

Any game that’s 20 years old or even older qualifies, so we want to apologize in advance to everybody who feels ancient because of games which have aged enough to appear on the list..

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Master Collection 2006-01-01 Strategy Relic Entertainment
Sacred Gold 2006-08-14 RPG Ascaron
Fallout Classic Collection 1997-11-01 Adventure Interplay Inc.
Fable Anniversary 2014-09-12 RPG Lionhead Studios
Homeworld Remastered Collection 2015-02-25 Adventure Gearbox Software
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2004-11-16 Adventure Troika Games
The Longest Journey 2000-11-17 RPG Funcom
System Shock 2 1999-08-11 RPG Irrational Games
STAR WARS: Knights of the Old Republic 2003-11-19 RPG BioWare
Warcraft 3 Reign of Chaos 2002-07-03 Strategy Blizzard Entertainment
Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast 2003-09-16 Adventure Vicarious Visions
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind GOTY 2002-04-29 RPG Bethesda Game Studios
Worms Armageddon 1999-05-31 Action & Shooter Infogrames
Max Payne 3 2012-05-31 Adventure Rockstar Vancouver
RollerCoaster Tycoon 2: Triple Thrill Pack 2002-10-15 Strategy Chris Sawyer Productions
Grand Theft Auto III 2002-05-21 Adventure DMA Design
Theme Hospital 1997-03-28 Simulation Bullfrog
Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition 2017-04-11 Strategy Beamdog
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition 2009-07-15 Adventure LucasArts
Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura 2001-08-22 RPG Troika Games
Grim Fandango Remastered 2015-01-26 Adventure Double Fine Productions
Day of the Tentacle Remastered 2016-03-21 Adventure Double Fine Productions
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition 2013-01-16 RPG Overhaul Games
CHRONO TRIGGER 1995-03-11 RPG Square
Deus Ex: GOTY 2000-06-22 RPG Ion Storm
Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction 2001-06-27 RPG Blizzard Entertainment
Disciples II: Gallean's Return 2006-07-06 Strategy Strategy First
Fallout 2 1998-12-01 Adventure Black Isle Studios
Thief 2014-02-27 Action Eidos Montréal
X-COM: UFO Defense 1993-12-31 Strategy Mythos Games
Heroes of Might & Magic 3: Complete 1999-03-03 Strategy New World Computing
System Shock 2 1999-08-11 RPG Irrational Games
Stronghold Crusader HD 2002-07-31 Simulation FireFly Studios
Doom Classic Complete 1995-04-30 Action & Shooter
Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2001-11-20 Horror Gray Matter Interactive
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil 1998-12-10 Action & Shooter Iguana Entertainment
RollerCoaster Tycoon: Deluxe 1999-03-31 Economy Chris Sawyer
Commandos Pack 2002-08-30 Strategy Pyro Studios
QUAKE II 1997-11-11 Action & Shooter id Software
STAR WARS Galactic Battlegrounds 2001-11-09 Strategy LucasArts

Dawn of War

Release date:2006-01-01
Developer:Relic Entertainment

Dawn of War 1 launched towards the end of real-time strategies’ glory days, but it proved the genre still has a lot to offer.

It also did a great job adapting the famous Warhammer 40k universe to RTS mechanics, resulting in a fantastic and satisfying gameplay. It emphasized claiming rare control points on the map, which provided generalized resources for construction and thus: unit recruitment.

DoW was so good that it spawned several impressive follow-up ups, including Dark Crusade with its multifactional strategy layer, and Winter Assault, which focused on the Imperial Guard specifically. Despite its age and outdated graphics, DoW is still a great RTS, which perhaps won’t excite fans of turtling, but might strike a chord with fans of Relic’s other series, Company of Heroes.

Key features
  • A fantastic story-based campaign
  • Gameplay focused on capturing control points and claiming their resources
  • Set in the WH40k universe
  • Excellent stand-alone expansions and a fantastic sequel, Dawn of War 2


Release date:2006-08-14

As there is usually a lengthy waiting time between Diablo instalments, it’s a great time for other games in the genre to have their time in the spotlight.

In 2004 it was time for Sacred, a fantasy hack’n’slash from Ascaron. It had all the best stuff: isometric camera, manageable yet exciting hordes of enemies, several distinct classes, and plenty of loot, including handy ability runes.

It even had a powerful combo system, allowing you to create devastating combinations of your Combat Arts deployed in quick succession, like a customizable ultimate ability. It also had a pretty large map with several biomes and satisfying enemy diversity. Sacred was fantastic back in the day, and even now, twenty years later, it’s still satisfying.

Key features
  • Deep progression through level-ups, equipment, and multi-purpose runes
  • Several distinct characters/classes
  • You can assemble powerful combos out of available abilities
  • Sacred 2 is also fun, but a fair bit different in many ways


Release date:2014-09-12
Developer:Lionhead Studios

Fable wasn’t quite what it promised before the release, but despite this it was still a really good action RPG in its own right.

It took you on a heroic journey from a child orphaned in a bandit attack to a hero who would save the land… or a villain, who would drive it deeper into darkness. One of Fable’s coolest features was that your character’s appearance would gradually change with stat increases.

As your magical abilities grew, you’d get shimmering mana veins showing on your skin, while investing in strength would give you a muscular, athletic figure. There was also a combo-oriented combat system, fun-to-use magic, a smallish, and a good sense of humor. The map wasn’t huge, but it was filled with puzzles and secrets, so exploration was still worthwhile.

Key features
  • See yourself grow from an orphaned child to a heroic adult
  • Interesting progression based on three types of experience
  • Combo-based combat
  • A reliable remaster, Fable Anniversary

Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines

Release date:2004-11-16
Developer:Troika Games

We can guarantee that there are people in the world who decided to reinstall this game in the time between reading the title above and reading this paragraph.

Such is the power of VtM: Bloodlines, a game about becoming a newly embraced vampire who has to figure how to survive in Los Angeles divided by agendas and ambition of conflicting vampiric factions.

While it’s presented via a third-/-first-person perspective, it’s an RPG through and through, with complex webs of choices resulting in potentially wildly different playthroughs each time. It for the twenty years of its existence it’s also had a healthy modding community bringing to light cut material, patching bugs, and keeping the game alive. It is an excellent, weird, and often dark game.

Key features
  • Enough divergent storylines for multiple playthroughs
  • Flexible progression: you can spend XP on anything you can afford
  • Several vampiric clans acting as loose classes; the choice also influences dialogues
  • Based on the famous Vampire: the Masquerade tabletop roleplaying game


Release date:2024 / 2021-03-03 (remastered)

Scrapland is one of these games that went forgotten for years only to get an pleasant, if unexpected, remastered edition a few years ago. Which is great, because Scrapland is good fun.

It’s set on a planet populated completely by robots, and puts you in the shoes in a literally self-made-man, a humanoid robot named D-Tritus Debris, a newcomer to the planet who gets tangled up in a nefarious plot.

Despite the central murder plot, Scrapland is nowhere close to serious. It’s full of cheesy humor, exaggerated animations, and a cartoonish art style which wouldn’t be out of place in an afternoon cartoon. But is also has great exploration with tons of secrets, cool ideas such as possessing other robots to get into places unopposed, and even modular ship-building.

Key features
  • Become a reporter hunting down a gruesome story in a robotic megalopolis
  • Distinctly cartoonish aesthetic and cheesy sense of humor
  • Satisfying exploration with many secrets to discover
  • You can build your own vehicle as long as you have the cash and blueprints


Release date:03-04-2003
Genre:Combat simulator
Developer:Digital Anvil

Being on your own in the uncaring vastness of space isn’t easy, but for Freelancer’s protagonist Edison Trent it’s just Tuesday.

You have your customizable ship, a never-ending array of various jobs to do, and woven between them, also a plot which can provide you with a sense of momentum when you get slightly tired of collecting funds for a new ship or a better cannon for your vessel.

Freelancer 2023

Freelancer isn’t as expansive as Elite Dangerous, nor as deeply detailed as Star Citizen, but if you want a fun, engaging space sim with big battles, pesky bandits, and a pleasant catalog of customizable ships, you could do a whole lot worse this this game. These days it can be a bit difficult to get a copy, but if you’d like an old-school space sim, you should definitely get searching.

Key features
  • Plenty of fighter and freighter ships to fly
  • Quite detailed, but not overwhelmingly so
  • There is a story you can engage with in-between making a living
  • Simple, but satisfying flight controls, adjusted for mouse and keyboard rather than a joystick

Homeworld 2

Release date:2015-02-25
Developer:Gearbox Software

Homeworld 2 might well e one of the most beloved real-time strategies in genre history. It certainly has great ideas, and even today it’s rare to have a truly 3D space strategy.

In addition to that, the weight of your tactical choices can be felt across missions, as the forces you have at the end of one mission are also the forces you have ready to go at the beginning of the next one.

Homeworld 2 is also very accessible as a product thanks to the Homeworld Remastered Collection, which includes Homeworld 1 and 2 in both classic and refreshed versions. In the long years since its release, the series has also lived to see a prequel. Deserts of Kharak, and a sequel, Homeworld 3 which has spent a long time in development before its 2024 release.

Key features
  • 3D space battles
  • Excellent, weighty campaign
  • Pyrrhic victories can sink your chances of winning the next mission
  • Got a great Remastered edition bundled with the first Homeworld for good measure

The Longest Journey

Release date:2000-11-17

The Longest Journey is a story-driven point-and-click adventure game released in 1999.

It puts you in the shoes of one April Ryan, a young woman from a heavily industrialized world of Stark. One fateful night she learned, in a rather dramatic fashion, that she can travel between her native reality and a magical world called Arcadia, an ability crucial to save the balance between them.

The plot of The Longest Journey is complex, engaging, and steeped in magic realism, as April interacts with both the mundane and the fantastical. Before you see the ending to this story, you’ll have to solve many increasingly complicated puzzles, and you’ll get to hold many conversations with people in both worlds, some crucial to the game, some providing some amazing flavor.

Key features
  • Amazing setting, or two settings, actually: industrial Stark and magical Arcadia
  • A classical point-and-click
  • Engaging plot throwing a young art student into a mystic mess
  • Two sequels under the Dreamfall label

System Shock 2

Release date:1999-08-11
Developer:Irrational Games

Although the original System Shock remains a classic (and has recently received a remake), System Shock 2 is one of the most influential games of all time, one of the original immersive sims.

As a soldier awakened on a spaceship infested by psychic parasites which turned much of the crew into dangerous mutants, you’ll have to form an uneasy alliance with a scheming AI to survive.

System Shock 2 is a first-person perspective mix of a survival horror, shooter, and action role-playing, which sounds clumsy, but work extremely well. Your character starts with a preset skills depending on chosen class, but you’re free to ignore that and develop in any direction you see fit. You also get to install cybernetic augmentations which drastically expand your toolset.

Key features
  • The spiritual ancestor of Deus Ex, Bioshock, and 2018’s Prey
  • Flexible character progression
  • Great cyberpunk plot and a survival horror gameplay
  • Immersive setting

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Release date:2003-11-19

Although Jedi Survivor is still fresh and going strong, let’s go twenty years back, to a game by many still held as the best SW game of all time.

Knights of the Old Republic was developed by BioWare, at the time already established as excellent cRPG developers, and rather than throwing us at the Trilogies or whatever happened after Episode 6, it took us 4000 years back.

With a customizable character powered by an adaptation of the D20 TTRPG system, we’ll take on the Sith, recover our memories, and decide the fate of the Old Republic. Along the way we’ll meet amazing companions, do tons of quests, and explore several planets in search of plot-fueling artifacts. In other words: do all the things great cRPGs have been doing for decades, but with lightsabers.

Key features
  • Three military classes and three Jedi classes
  • A fascinating trip to the distant past of the Galaxy Far Away
  • One of the finest RPGs of the era, and it still holds up amazingly well
  • A great sequel with a much darker tone

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos

Release date:03-07-2002
Developer:Blizzard Entertainment

The first two Warcraft games were great in their own right, but it’s Warcraft III that made the biggest splash.

The epic-scale, dramatic plot, the distinctive aesthetic, the multiplayer and moddability which led to the creation of a completely new game genre. There’s a lot going on for WC3 on its own without even talking about World of Warcraft, its never-ending sequel.

But epic stories and vibrant characters aside, Warcraft III is first and foremost an excellent real-time strategy with distinct factions, satisfying progression, and awesome maps to fight over against foes put before you by the plot or matchmaking. If you want to get the original experience, look for Warcraft 3 Gold, but there’s also a somewhat contentious remake, named Reforged.

Key features
  • One of the finest fantasy RTS games in history
  • Vibrant, evocative aesthetic
  • Epic-scale plot told from the perspective of several distinct factions
  • Amazing multiplayer

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

Release date:2003-09-16
Developer:Vicarious Visions

Coming back to the Galaxy Far Away, let’s talk about the time when Raven Software made one of the best FPP/TPP Star Wars games ever.

Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast II is set eight years after the defeat of the Empire, and stars a mercenary with complicated past, Kyle Katarn who discovers remnants of the Empire while investigating a remote outpost. Things quickly start getting complicated.

It doesn’t take long before the excellent shooter turns into an excellent hack and slash, because Kyle isn’t just a mercenary: he’s also a former Jedi, and the game quickly gives him back the access to Force powers and a lightsaber, and Raven-made gameplay makes the world’s famous flashlight feel incredible and lethal. The sequel, Jedi Academy was great, but Jedi Outcast II is a real gem.

Key features
  • Kyle Katarn is a fantastic protagonist for a post-RotJ Star Wars game
  • Amazing lightsaber implementation
  • Mixed shooter/slasher gameplay
  • Solid sequel: Jedi Academy, starring a new character in the leading role

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Release date:2002-04-29
Developer:Bethesda Game Studios

The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind is one of the most fondly remembered games of its time, and it remains very playable today, especially if you slap some mods onto it.

One of the best features of the game is the freedom is gives to the player. You’re not bound to any class, and while you can follow the main quest and seek your destiny, you can absolutely say “no” to that and brew potions instead.

Or you could become a vampire, join a fighters’ guild, and try to invent a spell that makes Cliff Racers avoid you. Once you get used to unconventional dialogue system you’ll also bite deep into the story, which is as weird as The Elder Scrolls get, but also fascinating, complex and featuring multiple endings. There’s also a hefty, wintry expansion Bloodmoon, which allows you to become a werewolf.

Key features
  • Your skills improve as you use them
  • The entire island is your playground
  • Interesting story
  • Rich lore


Release date:1999-10-31
Developer:Impressions Games, BreakAway Games

A successor to the Caesar trilogy, Pharaoh takes your city-building endeavors from ancient Rome to an even more ancient Egypt.

While it might not have the graphical pizzaz of modern city-builders, it is a very satisfying, and often rather challenging simulation of running an ancient Egyptian settlement, expanding it from a few rickety huts to a sprawling metropolis with gleaming monuments.

You’ll be in control of pretty much every high-level aspect of the city. You’ll trace streets, lay out foundations for houses, build farms, set trade policies, and have a few soldiers on stand-by to fend off aggressive hippos. The Nile, true to form, tends to flood, creating extra-fertile fields. You’ll also have to deal with fires, diseases, and other factors affecting the happiness of your citizens.

Key features
  • Build a prosperous ancient Egyptian city
  • Lovely 2D graphics
  • There’s a very similar 2023 spiritual successor called Pharaoh: A New Era
  • Watching a monument being built is a very satisfying affair

Planescape: Torment

Release date:2017-04-11

Planescape: Torment is often brought up on lists of the best role-playing games of all time, and it’s not hard to see why.

Where Baldur’s Gate balances storytelling with dungeons and combat, P:T goes all in on storytelling, pushing combat almost completely off to the side. You’re playing as a seemingly immortal man who woke up in a mortuary, surrounded by servitor zombies.

What follows is a fascinating journey through a weird universe where belief and conviction have power easily comparable to any spell and blade. There are hundreds of pages of conversations and narrative text. Some of the most poignant moments are presented through text. If you dislike reading a lot, it might not be a game for you, otherwise: get the Enhanced Edition and jump in.

Key features
  • One of the most famous RPGs of all time
  • Your companions are a unique collection of weirdos
  • Fascinating setting
  • The Enhanced Edition makes it easier to launch on modern machines

The Monkey Island series

Release date:1990 (The Secret of Monkey Island)
Developer:LucasArts (1990–2010)

If you aren’t opposed to comedy, cartoonish style, and combining things that probably should be combines, the Monkey Island series can be right up your alley.

Created originally between 1990 and 2000 these are the absolute classics of the adventure genre. Not action-adventure. Just adventure. You know, walking around, clicking on things, solving puzzles, and enjoying jokes both clever and silly.

There are four classic entries created by LucasArts, and two of them, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Monkey Island 2 were remade in 2010 to lower the barrier of entry, both visual and technological. That said, the originals still look great, if you can get past low resolution. Either way, if you’d like to immerse yourself in a world of silly pirates where wit is mightier than a sword, check this series out.

Key features
  • True legends of the adventure genre
  • Great sense of humor
  • The first two games received refreshed graphics
  • There’s also a 2009 spin-off by Telltale Games, and a 2022 sequel Return to Monkey Island

Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura

Release date:2001-08-22
Developer:Troika Games

Although it’s been a bit forgotten in the flurry of Baldur’s Gate’s spiritual successors.

Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick obscura remains a fascinating, excellent role-playing game which celebrated its 20th birthday in August of 2021. While it can be a bit tricky to make it run on modern systems, if you do you’ll be thrown into a steampunk world where magic and technology are in conflict.

Quite literally, too. If you decide to specialise towards one, the other’s effects will be diminished. If you stay neutral…you’ll miss out on advanced stuff. Of course, the quests allow you to solve them both through combat (turn-based or real-time, your choice), or peacefully — through conversation skills and making clever choices. It’s a really underappreciated, unsung RPG worth giving a shot.

Key features
  • Several playable fantasy species
  • The technology vs magic conflict is integrated into the mechanics
  • You can switch between real-time and turn-based combat on the fly
  • Handles role-playing elements really well

Grim Fandango

Release date:2015-01-26
Developer:Double Fine Productions

Grim Fandango, another of LucasArts’ classic adventure games, is a noir story taking place in the Land of the Dead.

As a grim reaper travel agent Manny Calavera you’ll uncover a nefarious plot robbing souls of the afterlife they deserve. The game is heavily, and very obviously inspired by the Mexican culture, especially the calaca figurines which serve as the basis for the characters’ appearances.

It’s not hard to see why Grim Fandango is one of the legends: a game with an interesting premise, an easily identifiable aesthetic, and a stylish, interesting story. As a result, like the Monkey Island, Grim Fandango enjoys a remastered version released in 2015 for several platforms. Old school adventure games don’t get much better than this and if they do, they likely came from LucasArts as well.

Key features
  • Heavily inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead
  • Looks great
  • Remastered in 2015
  • Great story

Half Life

Release date:1998-11-08
Genre:Action & Shooter

These days it’s in the shadow of its successor, Half-Life 2, but there’s no denying that Half-Life made an impact on the industry, and while very old-school by shooter standards.

It remains a great science-fiction adventure in the shoes of Morgan Freeman, a physicist who happened to witness an alien invasion and had to deal with the aftermath, usually with a gun and a crowbar.

With a great level design and a story more interesting than you’d see in most shooters from 1998, Half-Life is still a worthy pick for any fan of older games. And if you’re somehow determined not to play a 1998 shooter, and still enjoy the story and the level design: there’s a way out. You could check out Black Mesa, a fan remake which received the blessing of Valve and launched in 2019.

Key features
  • Features the original appearances of Gordon Freeman and G-Man
  • Spawned several excellent projects, including Counter Strike
  • A great fan remake looking much more modern
  • Pretty cool science fiction story

Day of the Tentacle Remastered

Release date:2016-03-21
Developer:Double Fine Productions

Another classic LucasArts adventure game on the list. It turns out they’ve made plenty of classics of the genre.

Day of the Tentacle tells the story of Bernard Bernoulli and friends trying to thwart the evil plans of Purple Tentacle, who is exactly what the name suggests. What follows is a time travelling adventure and a lot of silly sense of humor.

It’s very obviously an old-school point-and-click adventure game with a list of verb commands as well as the inventory you’ll be trying to apply to the environment in various interesting and/or funny ways. Since the game focuses so heavily on time travel, you can also expect some changes to the past affecting the future, which plays into many puzzles. It also got remastered in 2016, by the way.

Key features
  • A sequel to Maniac Mansion
  • Lots of time travel hijinks
  • A very cartoonish art style and silly humor
  • A remaster by Double Fine productions launched in 2016

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Release date:2002-10-29
Developer:Rockstar North

Coming up right after grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City was a trip to the mid-1980s.

Taking place in the titular city, heavily inspired by Miami, GTA:VC has disco, rock, colorful shirts, crime families, and tributes to classics like Scarface and Miami Vice. Although after twenty years the luster is a bit faded, the game still oozes personality and the style popularly associated with the period in question.

The story’s protagonist is Tommy Vercetti, an ex-con who screwed up a major deal by little fault of his own and has a debt to work off. The story is engaging, dramatic, and a great excuse to explore the city’s every nook and cranny. Even outside of the story you can spend time on various side activities, which include driving people around in a taxi and delivering pizza for an extra buck.

Key features
  • Several well-known actors in the cast, including Ray Liotta in the leading role
  • A large (for the time) city inspired by Miami of the 1980s
  • Several side jobs to do for fun and profit
  • Cinematic storyline

Baldur’s Gate II

Release date:2013-11-15
Developer:Overhaul Games

The Baldur’s Gate series, particularly BG2: Shadows of Amn is one of the all-time classics, a series which defined the course of video game RPGs for years to come.

Both of BioWare Baldur’s Gate games use an isometric camera giving players a good view of detailed, pre-generated maps on which your party of intrepid adventurers move and confront their enemies. And then there’s the story itself!

The games tell the story of a character known as Gorion’s Ward, whose unpleasant heritage plays a key role in the story of both BG games. In BGII it also draws the attention of powerful Jon Irenicus, who has his own plans and ambitions. It’s a great D&D adventure full of fantastical creatures, epic battles, and a few appearances from characters from deeper Dungeons & Dragons lore.

Key features
  • Many classes and species to pick for you character, with lots of customisation
  • Sweeping, epic story rooted in the history of D&D’s Forgotten Realms
  • Enhanced Editions from Beamdog ensuring these 90s PC RPGs run well on modern systems
  • One of the most famous RPGs in video gaming history


Release date:2018-02-27

Chrono Trigger is one of the jRPG classics, with some world-famous talent behind it, such as Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball, or Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy.

The result is a game which remains playable in the cool future we live in despite being made back in the ancient past of 1995. It has complex mechanics, many endings, and a score co-written by Nobuo Uematsu.

Chrono Trigger’s story relies heavily on time travel, which will take you on a journey through different eras of the game’s world, including even the prehistory. All of that is supported by animated cutscenes from Toei animation. The Steam version comes with a slew of upgrades to graphics, and even new bits of content, to make the already playable classic even more enticing.

Key features
  • Visuals designed by Dragon Ball’s creator Akira Toriyama
  • Time-hopping story
  • It was developed by the Dream Team
  • Characters can combo their abilities in battle for enhanced effects
  • Classical JRPG game available on Steam

Deus Ex

Release date:2017-01-06

Deus Ex is one of the all-time great games. It’s set in a cyberpunk dystopian world, ruled by corporations and hiding numerous grand conspiracies such as the Majestic 12.

You’re playing as J.C. Denton, an operative of an agency called UNATCO, whose nanotechnological augmentations give him abilities beyond those of regular humans. He’s going to need every upgrade he can find to survive.

Deus Ex gave a lof of freedom to the players in the way they can approach any given problem. Stealth was just as valid and going in guns blazing, or using technology to dispose of obstacles. There are skills, unlocked with dynamically assigned experience, and augmentations found in the world, to help with any playstyle. Despite the years gone by, it’s still an immersive and interesting game to try out.

Key features
  • You get to see cyberpunk Hong Kong and Paris.
  • You can play as stealthily or as aggressively as you want to
  • Story full of conspiracies
  • Multiple solutions to any given mission

Diablo 2 & Lord of Destruction (DLC)

Release date:2001
Developer:Blizzard North

Diablo II, more than the first game in the series, became a codifier of what a good hack’n’slash should be like.

There are five character classes in the base game and two more which arrived with the Lord of Destruction expansion, and each not only plays in a unique manner, but can also be customised within their skillsets thanks to ability trees and bonuses from loot you discover.

There’s still a lot to enjoy about Diablo II. It has dark, crisp aesthetic, and the locations provide a great backdrop for all the monster-slaying you’re going to be doing. The game is also great in multiplayer, capable of handling up to eight players online or over LAN, which makes for a powerful adventuring party and paves the way for more challenging encounters as the game adjusts.

Key features
  • The hack’n’slash game which defined the genre
  • Diabolically good fun for up to eight players
  • Many ways you can built your character
  • A fresh sequel developed in similar tone and style: Diablo IV

Disciples 2: Gallean's Return

Release date:2006-07-06
Developer:Strategy First

Disciples 2 didn’t reach the fame of Heroes of Might and Magic, but it should have, because it’s a great turn-based strategy game with RPG elements.

The campaign, no matter which faction you pick, is a series of scenarios in which you usually need to expand from your single city by claiming resources and capturing castles from opposing factions through turn-based battles.

Each faction is very different, such as the Legions of the Damned and their massive units, or the resilient Mountain Clans and their powerful support spells. Battles are static in style, waged between two teams, each with six slots worth of units (large units take two spots), taking turns to act based on their initiative. There’s also map editor, individual scenarios, and multiplayer!

Key features
  • Several factions with very different playstyles and themes
  • A dark fantasy setting with interesting history
  • There are individual and custom scenarios in addition to each faction’s story campaign
  • Great art style

Fallout 2

Release date:1998-12-01
Developer:Black Isle Studios

Fallout 2 is a very successful sequel to Fallout 1, itself a spiritual successor to Wasteland.

Fallout 2 expanded on the original in every manner, adding more settlements, more stories, more freedom. Taking place eighty years after FO1 it follows a Chosen One, picked to find the Garden of Eden Creation Kit in order to save their village from drought. But the journey goes to weirder places…

Once your character leaves their village, technically there is nothing to stop them from going almost anywhere, and do whatever they want, like becoming a boxing star who cheats by using plated gloves. The clock to deliver G.E.C.K. is ticking, however, and if you stall to much, your village WILL die. It’s just one of the arcs you can pursue, however, and doesn’t mean a Game Over at all.

Key features
  • One of the best role-playing games in history
  • Turn-based tactical battle on a hexagonal grid
  • Low intelligence characters get unique dialogue options
  • Immersive world


Release date:1999-12-05
Developer:id Software

Quake III Arena stands in the annals of FPS history alongside games like Tribe and Unreal Tournament as a legendary multiplayer first-person shooter.

Q3A multilayer is all shades of PvP playing out in the stone corridors and rooms of a space-age Gothic castles, with a gallery of weird individuals serving as player avatars. The flipside is that there’s no singleplayer story campaign, it’s all multiplayer.

Even if you play by yourself, the only singleplayer content is fighting on MP maps with bots. In either case, you’ll find deadly, often explosive, weapons, power-ups, and various ways to outmaneuver your enemies and get a good shot in. The multiplayer can handle up to 16 players in deathmatch, which results in a fantastic chaos of weirdos, bullets and rockets going every which way. It’s glorious.

Key features
  • Memorable, evocative player avatars
  • Quake III Arena’s Deathmatch still is extremely fun
  • Great maps and hundreds of mods
  • Even the singleplayer prepares you for the multiplayer


Release date:2017-08-14
Developer:Blizzard Entertainment

StarCraft hardly needs introducing. It effectively became a new definition of how a real-time strategy should work when it launched, and it’s overwhelming popularity among Korean gamers is now stuff of legends. There’s no denying that the science fiction counterpart to Warcraft is an important game. And, especially thanks to the 2017 Remastered version, it remains very much playable even today.

The game depicts a conflict between Terrans (humans) with their technological focus, insectoid Zerg working as a hivemind, and psionically gifted Protoss. True to the best RTS ideas, each faction plays differently, and the storyline of their conflict is quite interesting, and later expanded very well in StarCraft 2 and it’s several expansions. The original SC is still a fantastic, crunchy must-play RTS.

Starcraft 1 is free to play game

Key features
  • Cool science fiction-themed counterpart to Warcraft
  • Evocative, very different factions
  • The origin of “Zerg rush”
  • Great sequel

X-COM: UFO Defense/UFO: Enemy Unknown

Release date:1993-12-31
Developer:Mythos Games

The original X-COM, an ancestor of Firaxis’ 2012 reboot, and one of the oldest games on the list.

X-COM Enemy Unknown puts you in control of a paramilitary organisation devoted to defending Earth from invading aliens. The game, like its spiritual successors operates on two levels: the strategic view of the world, and the tactical, turn-based missions taking place in discrete locations.

Between mission you will assign research goals, buy and distribute equipment, manage military and civilian staff. You will also have to decide where to send your forces, and where to establish bases. During mission you’ll be managing your soldiers as they go about eliminating the alien threat. It’s quite a complex game, and scoring a perfect deployment is very satisfying.

Key features
  • Permadeath for all soldiers who perished during a mission
  • Complex tactical and strategic gameplay
  • If you want to you can give your soldiers the names of people you know
  • Phoenix Point, launched in 2019, shares X-COM/UFO’s creator and many ideas

Old, but gold

That’s just a few of worthwhile classic PC games worth playing, but there are scores of them out there from many genres. Classic first-person shooters that new FPSs want to emulate, even older dungeon crawling RPGs which inspired Legend of Grimrock, and real-time strategies which acted on ideas of Dune II.

Some of them you might be nostalgic for, having played them on your first computer, others might have flown under your radar. Either way, you can make up for the lost time now.