A popular criticism of gaming on the PC is the cost of upgrading your machine to meet the specifications for all the latest games. What people who say this tend to forget, though, is there are plenty of games you can play on your PC without needing a hulking beast of a computer to run.

In an attempt at converting more people to PC gaming, I’ve compiled a few of my favourite games that virtually any computer from the last ten years will be able to run without too much trouble. You’re not going to be running Crysis on your old hunk o’ junk, so why bother? Try one of these fantastic games instead. Chances are, they’re better than Crysis anyway.


I’m sure you’re not surprised to see this here. Fallout (and to a lesser extent, Fallout 2) was, ironically, a haven in a wasteland of linear games. Fallout is famous for being incredibly flexible to the player; most notable is the ability to play through without even using combat, just by interacting with the huge cast of characters. So open was Fallout that people are able to play through the game and see almost nothing that another player might have seen. Sure, there are modern games that use the “open world” dynamic, but Fallout still stands up as one of the biggest and most expansive worlds open to players today.

System Requirements:

DOS: Pentium-90, 32 megs of RAM, 2x CD-ROM drive, SVGA (VESA-compliant), SoundBlaster-compatible.

Win95: Pentium-90, 16 megs of RAM, DirectX 3.0a or 5.0, 2x CD-ROM drive, SVGA, DirectSound compatible sound card.

Mac: PowerMac with 16000k free memory, CD-ROM, System 7.1.2 or higher.

All versions require 10+ megs of hard drive space and a mouse.


It’s not only old games that run on old PCs. Peggle is only two years old, but it has already reached the unofficial title of “most addictive puzzle game ever created”. The game consists of firing a ball at pegs in the hope of clearing all of the orange ones using just ten balls. Simple formula, but the result is an incredibly addicting and absorbing puzzle game. Well, I say puzzle game, but when you really break it down, there’s not much you can control directly other than the first few bounces of the ball. Even so, Peggle has eaten so many hours of my life that it just has to go on the list.

System Requirements:

Win 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista: Pentium III, 700 MHz or faster, 256 MB RAM, DirectX 7.0.

Mac OS 10.3.9 and later: G4,G5 or Intel Core Duo, 256 MB RAM.

15Mb disk space and an Internet connection is required to register both the download and CD-ROM versions of the game.

Grim Fandango

Tim Scafer’s masterpiece Grim Fandango was an obvious choice for this list. The game is undoubtedly one of the wittiest and best written games ever made, and features a cast who, ironically enough, are brought to life with excellent voice acting and a fantastic story. Okay, I might be laying on the praise a bit heavily, but this game really deserves your attention. The adventure genre, often considered a dead art nowadays, reached a peak in Grim Fandango. There’s only one excuse not to play this game: illiteracy. If you’re reading this, you need to play Grim Fandango.

System Requirements:

Windows: 133 MHz processor, 32 MB RAM, 30 MB hard disk space, 4 MB video card.

Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2

Perhaps not the most critically acclaimed game on this list, but certainly one of the best in terms of sheer fun. Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 is a full-on real time strategy game full of preposterous and brilliant units, topped with a helping of self-parody and real-time FMV silliness. In the universe of Red Alert 2, tanks that can become trees face off against soldiers that can mind-control other units, and it makes sense. The expansion pack even added flying saucers. A fine example of an RTS that is pure entertainment from start to finish.

System Requirements:

Windows: 266 MHz Processor, 64 MB RAM, 350 MB HDD space, 4x CD-ROM Drive, 2 MB video card, DirectSound-compatible soundcard.


  1. The gratest game of all time Planescape Torment is missing :(
    System shock 2 should be on the list too, I think it's better then Deus Ex, at least deus ex borrowed a lot from it.
    Other great game that deserve to be on the list: Thief 1 and 2, Myst/Riven,The Neverhood, Abes exoddus/oddysee, Soul Reaver series.

  2. Hey! Those are so great… But you've forgotten “Aliens Vs. Predator”. That one runs in any computer as well…

  3. I completely agree with this list, all of these games are amazing. I would like to have seen Zork Grand Inquisitor on here but there are so many good games they can’t all be in the top 10.

    One question, I went to load Grim Fandango on my Win 7 64bit machine, and it wont load. Any idea as to what to do? Tried running it in compatibility mode and found a guy who made an windows 7 installer for it, but every time I would play it the game would freeze 5 minutes into it. Does anyone here have any ideas?

    • I don’t think this is the best place to ask, really- but I can suggest that you either bust out the old VMWare Win95 install or trawl google until you find someone who has had and fixed the same problem.

  4. You have forgotten some gems: I have also included console games that have made their way onto pc.

    Never winter Nights
    Morrow wind and all the expansions!
    Shadow of the Colossus (EPIC)
    Half-life Opposing force
    If you can get it to play “Interstate 76″(best soundtrack EVER)
    Aliens vs Predator 2
    Serious Sam 1 and 2
    Halo CE <—very low system requirements
    Rainbow Six 3
    Knights of the Old Republic
    Metal Gear Solid

  5. guess people dnt realise low spec means bare minimal a computer will run at some people cant jus go and get a graphics card so they cant play your recomendations

  6. fallout 2 = developers should be jailed. released unfinished game. wasted 80hrs before their required patch deleted my progress.

  7. Well, i have Window’s 7 and i can run ProJect I.G.I and i can run RainBow SIX *1998* just great it’s coool cause when i was younger i used to play them.

  8. Quake III Arena is an exceptional game with extremely low system requirements. Even crappy NetBooks can run it seamlessly. Honestly, try it – f you haven’t played, you haven’t lived.