Memories possess great power, so much so that we love returning to familiar places, books, movies, and activities from the past. It is not surprising this trend applies to retro gaming as well.

2024 brings plenty of new AAA and indie titles destined to conquer the world. But it does not mean retro games faded into oblivion. On the contrary, they charm with the magic of nostalgia and longing for past times.

The further into the future, the more we miss them, wanting to make the world around us less complicated. Sometimes, the simpler, the better, and following this rule, we will explore classic PC games to find out what to play in 2024.

The Allure of Retro PC Gaming

Games are technology, so if tech is about advancement and improving stuff, why would you want to play retro games? The modern and sophisticated titles we get today are much better than the pixelated options of yesteryear. But the same question could apply to music, books, or movies, right? So maybe it’s not the nostalgia that appeals, but their undeniable quality and the promise of pure fun.

Omnipresent social media, news, demanding tasks, and everyday problems overstimulate. Retro titles belong to an entirely separate category, a different world, unraveling the value of simple and thrilling entertainment. Some modern developers noticed this factor, combining advanced solutions with pixel art, simple gameplay mechanics, or chiptune music.

Dead Cells, Stardew Valley, and Undertale look like they came out in the 80s or 90s! But they did not, and that shows how powerfully retro influences today’s gaming. Below, you will discover the best games that impacted the entire industry while remaining relevant in 2024.

DOOM (1993)

Release date:2019-07-26

That may come as a surprise, but the first-person shooter genre boomed with the revolutionary Wolfenstein 3D and then our hero – Doom.

Striking brutality, hordes of enemies, fast-paced gameplay, and challenging levels of the latter set the direction in which FPS games could begin to develop. The game’s gigantic success helped shooters advance to the mainstream.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert (1996)

Release date (remastered edition):2020-06-05

1996 saw an entirely new approach to strategic gameplay.

Red Alert follows Albert Einstein changing the course of history to prevent World War II, but his plan fails.

There’s time travel, Hitler, and the Soviet Empire involved, so you probably get the picture. But that’s not all, as the creators of this game invested a considerable amount of time in the visuals, story, and an exciting combat system with tons of explosives – guaranteed fun for strategy enthusiasts.

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

Release date:2010-07-07

When the first Monkey Island game launched in 1990, the adventure genre looked much different than today.

The title introduced an innovative approach to familiar gameplay by modifying only one thing – the humor.

Before this, most adventure games had a rather exalted tone, but the initial ideas later developed in LeChuck’s Revenge made this series surprisingly light and hilarious. This feature, paired with deep NPC personalities, complex puzzles, and fascinating conversations, changed the genre forever.

SimCity 2000

Release date:

It’s one of those games that did better on PC than consoles, but overall, SimCity 2000 sold 4.23 million times. Quite a lot!

The game inspired many following city builders and never failed in terms of colorful graphics and the unique character of each metropolis. And random accidents only made each playthrough more exciting!

Diablo II

Release date:2000-06-29

With Elden Ring and The Witcher III out, imagining a world without a decent action RPG seems impossible.

But such a time was a thing until the big release of cult classic Diablo II from Blizzard Entertainment. This innocent title introduced faster progress, extensive exploration, omnipresent monsters, talent trees, and a satisfying death-development balance. Quite a lot for a single game!

Fallout (1997)

Release date:1997-11-01

For a long time, tabletop RPGs revolved around fantasy worlds.

Fallout changed this state of affairs by introducing a unique computer gameplay based on the GURPS-style (Generic Universal Role Playing System) skill point system adapted to post-apocalyptic realities.

Players could freely develop their character, experience a dangerous adventure, and decide what happens next. Moreover, the game world responded adequately, adapting to the playable character’s build to deliver a unique experience every time.

Myst (1993)

Release date:2021-08-26

In this game, players travel to the mysterious island of Myst to discover its ancient secrets.

Following instructions left by Atrus, they find their way to the other Ages, gradually uncovering this extraordinary place’s history.

Before The Sims from 2000, Myst was the best-selling title of all time and popularized CD-ROM as a video game medium. The 2020 remake of Myst is now one of the most popular video games among fans of complex puzzles.

Alone in the Dark (1992)

Release date:2008-11-18

There wouldn’t be a Resident Evil series without Alone in the Dark, as the latter greatly influenced the former.

Inspired by the H. P. Lovecraft works, the game reinforced the survival horror genre by introducing atmospheric sound design, a sense of endless terror, and surprising (for its time) cinematic scenes. And the upcoming 2024 means the release of a reboot promising quite a terrifying experience!

Theme Hospital

Release date:

It is a strategic recommendation focusing on hospital management. Sounds simple?

Theme Hospital posed quite a challenge for an inexperienced player, featuring random events, employee stats, crucial investments, and unexpected budget issues. But it was also a satire of the classic simulation oozing with dark humor that made you want to beat it.

Conclusion

Retro games are like a ticket to simpler times. They feel complete, cohesive, cheaper, and do not require a subscription. The unique joy and nostalgia associated with retro PC gaming promise a moment of relaxation in a world that often seems overly demanding.

Feel free to check out these golden gems to see how they influenced the industry as we know it today. And don’t forget to share your retro gaming experiences and which games are your absolute top picks for the upcoming 2024!