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12.06.2022 16:36

Retro PC games: list of TOP classics


This article, like a time machine, will remind you of old computer games that now have a cult-like following. Let’s take a look at the best games many of us played more than 20 years ago.

The list was created on the basis of subjective feelings, but if you think that something is missing – let us know in the comments! And now, without further delay, we invite you to our list – the best old computer games.

Quake (1996)

1996 was undoubtedly a good time for gamers. At a time when strategy fans were bringing their civilization to the top of its power, fans of the joyful shooting received one of the first fully 3D shooters. In addition to the insane for its time audiovisual setting Quake also offered an addictive multiplayer mode. It’s hard to say what the fate of online shooters would have turned out to be if not for the first Quake.

Half-Life (1998)

Half-Life was Valve’s first production – but Newell’s studio started with a high C. The First Half-Life is considered to be one of the best FPS games in history. Half-Life has become a trendsetter for FPS games at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. The game has moved away from the joyful destruction known from Quake for a deeper story that will engage the unfamiliar player even today. Mods for the game also won the hearts of fans – immensely popular Counter-Strike started as a mod for this game.

Half Life was the first title created by Valve and turned out to be a huge success

Grim Fandango (1998)

This game – as one of the best PC classic adventures – can’t be missing from any best-of retro list. One of the best-rated games of this type is the work of the legendary LucasArts. Inspired by Mexican folklore, the production takes us to the kingdom of death, where we have to solve extremely unusual puzzles. The whole thing was enriched with great dialogues and dark humor.

Planescape: Torment (1999)

For many, this is the best RPG ever made. The work of Black Isle Studios is an outstanding game, which when it comes to the story it tells – sets the bar extremely high. For fans of the game, 22 years have passed since its premiere, no other title has managed to dethrone Torment as the most immersive video game story. Our list could not miss a game that is more of an experience than a simple form of entertainment. The maturity of this title is timeless, if you haven’t played it – I suggest you make time and do it.

retro games: Planescape
The game that many recognize as RPG of all time looks inconspicuous, but its depth is huge

Heroes of Might and Magic III (1999)

The third part of the HoM&M was popular world wide. All in all, it is a mistake to use the past tense here – there are certainly still many computers that have this crown pearl created by Jon Van Caneghem installed on the hard drive. Even more than two decades have passed since its premiere, Heroes 3 can suck you in for many hours, effectively awakening the syndrome of one more turn in the player.


In addition to a long (and quite difficult) campaign, there are also many maps created by the community. Quite a large number of current titles could envy Heroes 3 so many devoted fans who are still active after such a long time after the premiere. In my opinion it is a legendary game of which I have vivid memories of long games with my cousins ​​in hot seat mode.

The Settlers II (1996)

The second entry in the Settlers series was quite a surprise in 1996. The game decided to challenge Warcraft and break with the usual patterns of strategy games. What mattered about Settlers II was the economic aspect. The power of your village was built by a strong economy, which, although easy to digest on paper, could cause many problems in its implementation.

The unique route mechanics were completely new for those years. We were not concerned with assigning our settlers to specific activities, it was AI that was responsible for their travel between buildings, along with materials. If you like the economic aspect in your strategy games, then the second part of the Settlers will surely appeal to you.

Settlers II
Settlers II and the famous path system between buildings

WarCraft III (2002)

The series of games WarCraft went down in history as one of the most influential titles in the RTS genre, but it was the third that managed to convince the largest number of players. The game is addictive for long hours and defeating subsequent missions was extremely satisfying (I remember how difficult it was to complete the last mission of the undead campaign …).

WarCraft III had virtually no weaknesses, a veritable Blizzard magnum opus (Diablo may disagree!), which was a testimony to the high level of the studio and secured its place among the best game developers. Totally deserved, because Warcraft 3 is playable even after 20 years – and no, I’m not talking about the Reforged fiasco.

Mafia (2002)

Mature plot, great graphics, addictive gameplay and this specific driving model – this is how many players remember the game by the Czech studio Illusion Softworks. On the other hand, those who have gone all the way will surely remember the fantastic plot twist at the end (those 20 years ago it caused players’ jaws to drop). Let me make a private statement and mention that on one mission, when we saw a close-up of Tommy’s face smoking a cigarette, I thought that we had reached the pinnacle in terms of computer graphics, and nothing better will come after this.

Apart from the fact that I was wrong (so very wrong), Mafia then blew everyone away in terms of visuals and soundtrack that was pleasant to listen to even outside the game. Basically only what I couldn’t forgive the Mafia, it is a memorable race that brought the tears of despair to my eyes. Everything else is wonderful about it – a classic with a capital C.

retro games: Mafia
The famous racing mission – many dreamed at night… as a nightmare (including me)

Related: Sons of the Forest – what do we know about The Forest 2?

Sid Meier’s Civilization II (1996)

Another time devourer on our list, the legendary Civilization by Sid Meier. The highest rated part of the series is the second one in the series, which expanded and improved on the revolutionary mechanisms of the first part of Civilization, released in 1991. The game allows us to play the role of the leader of a selected community and lead it from ancient times to the present – the era of space flights.

Fallout 1 & 2 (1997, 1998)

How beautiful can the end of a world destroyed by nuclear bomb warheads be, right? It was proven by the first two Fallouts that started the brand that continues to this day. A brand that brings together many players, although most agree that Fallout 1 and 2 are the best of all released. Both have iconic status and there are many voices that returning to the isometric projection would be a return to the true spirit of Fallout. Neither of the games have been easy, both had extensive RPG aspects, and the survival itself could be difficult for players. Although I have never been a fan of the series, I have to admit – both of the first Fallouts on this list are a must.

Fallout 1
Fallout 1 is a classic of postapo games today

Age of Empires (1997)

The first AoE was a commercial success and found its way to the hearts of many RTS fans. The fact is, Microsoft’s publishing assistance was invaluable – thanks to this, Age of Empires received a strong promotional campaign, also outside the US. However, this does not change the fact that the title from Ensemble Studios would have defended itself without it. The classic form of RTS at its best, which started a well-known series of games. Even though the game has been out for years – she can still bring a smile to players’ faces.

System Shock 2 (1999)

A somewhat forgotten title (although it may change with the release of the remake) is a combination of action RPG, FPS and horror. While the game turned out to be a commercial flop shortly after its release (not enough copies were sold), the SS2 was ahead of its time in many respects. It was especially praised for its innovative approach to combining FPS with RPG elements, the implementation of many interesting mechanics, an intriguing story and atmosphere. I have to admit that the second System Shock had an immensely harsh climate, the player genuinely felt hopelessly hounded and the music greatly helped to build this feeling. It’s a great game that provides a lot of entertainment even today – in one moment it can require quick decisions to force the player to be more tactical in the next location. Well, Bioshock might have been great, but System Shock was the best.

System Shock 2
System Shock 2 was able to scare the biggest dodger!

Tomb Raider (1996)

The great series about the adventures of archaeologist Lara Croft started relatively long ago. Core Design, however, has created a fantastic game that is unfortunately often overlooked in articles about legendary titles. The first TR was a precursor to action games with a TPS perspective – there was some risk to it, remember that 1996 was dominated by strategies and FPS. The British, however, took a risk and… it paid off! Tomb Raider has been very well received by critics and players. The animations, the intuitive controls and the new perspective were praised in reviews. It was this game that was to lift Eidos Interactive to success. The first TR , however, has grown old graphically, but it still needs to be remembered that 26 years ago Lara Croft took a large piece of the gaming market for herself.

Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines (1998)

The first Commandos certainly belong to the games that were able to terrify the player with their difficulty level. However, if you were able to take up the challenge, the game provided tons of entertainment. Two-dimensional graphics in isometric projection were associated with Fallout, but here you had to work a lot with your head. The enemy AI was demanding, the maps looked great (both visually and in terms of design) and the idea itself was something completely new. Someone once neatly compared that Commandos was new to the strategy, just as Rainbow Six was something new among FPS. And there is no exaggeration in it, and the warm reception of Shadow Tactics proved that there is still a demand for games with a tactical flair.

old retro games: Commandos: BEL
Playing in Commandos around 2000, I was sure that AI was cheating! At least, I explained my incompetence in this game

How to run old computer games on Windows 10?

The biggest obstacle for players who want to play old computer games is to run them on the latest machines, which most often have the Windows 10 operating system. Most of the old school productions were prepared with computers with older software in mind. Current operating systems are 64-bit and do not support all applications for the earlier OS.

Fortunately, there are many ways to run the oldest productions on a modern computer. The first is to install an appropriate emulator of this system, which is, for example, DOSBox – with its help you will be able to run any title written for this operating system. 


Another problem is games designed for Windows XP – in this case also problems related to the launch. In such a situation, you can use the application to be launched in the compatibility mode with the appropriate Windows version. 

Related: What are the ranks in CS: GO and how do they work?

Yet another option is to create a virtual computer for your system that will allow you to install an old game on your computer. Some older titles can be run from the browser, you just need to have all the source files and go to the appropriate website, as is the case with the first Diablo game. 

The last option is to buy a game in the store with the client prepared in advance, which will run in the new operating system. The problem is not how to run games on Windows 10, as there are many possibilities – the obstacle may be the place from which you can legally download them.



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