Gaming has a long, illustrious history. From forgotten gems to timeless classics, they all helped paved the way for where the medium is today. Not all of them have aged gracefully, however. Unfortunately, that is just the way the medium works; many games once considered revolutionary are now hard to grasp by modern standards.
Another unfortunate fact about the hobby is how costly it is. Games range anywhere between thirty and sixty dollars, and that doesn't say anything about the cost of the machines on which they run. The lowest price one can get a modern console for is the Xbox One S, which can still be over two hundred bucks. For premium experiences, one needs four hundred dollars. And then there is the PC gaming space, where things get even more expensive and complicated. Not only does one have to shell out some serious dough for up-to-date hardware, but they have to know which products are the best bang for their buck.
Fortunately, solutions exist for those short on cash. With a modest computer, numerous classic games are available at the click of a mouse. The following list will present ten classic games that are just waiting patiently for gamers to download, all from legitimate sources.
10 Elder Scrolls: Arena & Daggerfall
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is available on just about every console imaginable. The classics that started the whole series have yet to jump to consoles, but Bethesda has been kind enough to make them easily accessible for all computer owners. Both games are brutally difficult, and not always for the fairest of reasons. Game breaking bugs are still present, and modern conveniences like waypoints were not yet commonplace.
If one can acclimate to the old way of playing and exploring, then the worlds provide hundreds of hours of gameplay. If the archaic systems prove too much to handle, they are still worth trying out as a curiosity. You can find Arena available for download here and Daggerfall here.
9 Shadow Warrior
The original Shadow Warrior was an ambitious project built on the same engine that ran Duke Nukem 3D. It did not quite reach the same level of popularity as Duke, but Lo Wang's adventure achieved a cult following.
A reboot came out in 2014, but those looking for the classic first-person shooting gameplay can access the first release for free through gog.com.
8 Ultima IV
To modern gamers, playing an old western RPG from the 1980s is like learning a whole new language. The systems are often confusing, and the game gives players no time to adjust before throwing them into grueling battles. But the challenge is always fun to take on!
If someone really wants to test their mettle against one of these old fashion titles, then Ultima IV is up for grabs on GOG. Don't say we didn't warn you, though.
The Tribes games were a part of the late '90s wave of 3D first-person shooters that dominated the market. These were the games that console owners looked at in envy, knowing their PS1 and N64 could never run them.
For those who never got the chance to play them back in their heyday, most of the series is now available for free from tribesuniverse.com.
6 Command & Conquer
The Real-Time Strategy (RTS) genre isn't as dominant in the PC gaming space as it once was, with MOBAs and Auto-Chess games taking all the thunder, but the genre was a king in the '90s, and Command & Conquer was one of the best of the best.
The premiere title in the franchise was a huge influence on other RTS games that would follow later on. In 2007, EA released the game for free to celebrate the series' twelfth anniversary.
5 Beneath A Steel Sky
Cyberpunk and gaming go hand in hand. The science-fiction sub-genre deals with bleeding-edge technology, and video gaming often is or uses bleeding-edge technology. What was once cutting edge and expensive eventually becomes cheap and obsolete. That doesn't mean it is completely worthless, though.
Beneath a Steel Sky may not be as impressive as it was in the mid-'90s, but it still delivers a gripping narrative and challenging gameplay through a point-and-click adventure style. Today it can be enjoyed entirely for free.
Everquest dominated the MMO space in the late '90s and early aughts. Square studied the game for countless months when preparing their own MMO, Final Fantasy XI. All kings lose the throne eventually, however, and the once-thriving MMO declined as players favored new releases.
The game still marches on, however, and is now available to play without a subscription or any purchase. The sequel is also free to play. Like any MMO, it is constantly growing and changing, but playing it should still give one an idea of how far the genre has come.
3 Marathon Trilogy
Before Halo, Bungie made the classic Marathon Trilogy. These sci-fi first-person shooters weren't as ambitious as their future projects, but the studio's genius still shines through.
Unlike its peers in the genre, Marathon focuses heavily on story and atmosphere. If one wants to try them out, the whole trilogy is available for free here.
2 Team Fortress 2
The Orange Box was one of the best deals one could get in 2007: five games, three of which were new, put together in one sixty-dollar package. The game's multiplayer component, Team Fortress 2, has since gone free-to-play on Steam.
It has also seen many other changes since it launched more than ten years ago. Some prefer the cartoonish squad-based shooter's original incarnation, in which case they can access that on the PS3 or Xbox 360.
StarCraft often ranks on greatest games of all time lists, and not without good reason. It makes the often complex RTS genre easy to understand but provides enough depth for veterans.
The game was recently remastered, and the original versions were made free by Blizzard. It is a perfect option for those wanting some nostalgia or anybody curious about getting into the RTS genre as a whole.