To stave off boredom and perhaps even loneliness, WHO recommends gaming. However, not everyone has a souped-up gaming rig just lying around but that should not preclude you from partaking in the fun. You can pick up the following modern classic pc games to play under quarantine and know that they will run on practically anything you’ve got lying around.
This list – the entire site, really – is for 30 plus-year-old gamers (all the way up to 122 years, the longest anyone has ever lived) who have either fallen out of touch with gaming or are just new to it.
1. Crysis – Best FPS Solo game
Back in 2007, people only asked one question of computer manufacturers, “Can it run Crysis?” That game was a real-world benchmark for system performance for years. Still is in some cases.
It wasn’t lack of optimization either, it was just a demanding game. However, people overlook the fact that it was a good game on top of all that.
Developed by Crytek, the people behind the Far Cry franchise, Crysis puts you in the body of a Nano-Suit donned Soldier sent to an island to solve a conflict in Korea and things go south, fast. South as in bad, not South Korea, it is definitely not a traveling simulator.
Even though Crysis’ storyline isn’t exactly written by Tarantino, it is still compelling. Think Arnold’s Predator movie, but you’re the one with the fancy gizmos. The Nano-suit makes you temporarily bulletproof, invisible, stronger, and/or faster. How you combine these powers to get through a mission paints how you experience each level. You could dive in head-first into the foray, or approach it stealthily or run a combination of the two. You can also collect upgrades for your weapons as the game progresses, turning a simple assault rifle into a dangerous sniper rifle.
Despite being 13-years old now, the game looks good. Not as good as any modern game, of course, but still quite good.
The fact that you can conquer a once-legendary game with whatever laptop you have lying around (assuming you dispose of tech that’s more than 5-years old) should be ample motivation to give this solo title a shot.
Edit: 16/04/2020 – While we referred to this game as a modern classic as “once legendary” assuming it had earned its retirement. EA was reconsidering that stance and did this. Prepare to cuss at your 2080Ti for it too will falter (maybe).
2. Call of Duty Modern Warfare trilogy – Best FPS franchise
Modern Warfare is what put both Activision and Infinity Ward on the map. With the exception of Black Ops, the Call of Duty franchise has yet to deliver a gaming experience with story and gameplay this engaging.
Even today, Activision is reselling what is essentially this same game with better graphics coupled with some minor incremental changes. Save yourself the heartache and money, and just get the original trilogy.
If the single-player mode with its plot twists and long-range sniping mission in Chernobyl doesn’t float your boat, the multiplayer mode is pretty engaging as well. In the early 2000’s Medal of Honor – Allied Assault was the multiplayer game to play as it could run on a potato and was fun. Modern Warfare knocked mohaa (that was the name of its exe file) off its multiplayer dominance perch with an upgraded claim to the same potato powered dominance. The multiplayer on Modern Warfare has active servers to this day and there is no pay-to-win feature, you just have to, as they say, “git gud”.
Disclaimer: We’re not calling your system a Potato, if anything, we’re saying it’s better than a potato.
3. Heroes of Might and Magic III – Best Turn-based strategy
Heroes of Might and Magic III is a high-fantasy D&D style turn-based epic strategy game where you can play as one of 8 factions vying to eradicate your enemies, discover the holy grail, survive the longest, defeat a certain creature, or one many possible victory conditions, and emerge as a victor.
You command a fledgling fort that you must upgrade into a thriving castle. You do this by hiring heroes, giving them armies and taking them out to the world to conquer resources, defeat creatures and enemies, and win.
This might not look as visually enhanced as some of its more recent iterations like Heroes V, VI or VII, we can assure you that visual superiority is hardly this game’s selling point.
There is a story mode that takes its sweet time to complete because of the epic nature of the game. Even if you fly past it in a few weeks, that’s not the best part. Due to the turn-based nature of the HoMM III, you can play with upto 8 friends in hot-seat mode, where each gets a turn on the same system.
So, if you are quarantined with a few people, then you only need to gather around a computer and take turns building your armies and play until only one stands.
With more players, it is not all-consuming. If someone else is taking a turn you can go away and handle some work until it is your turn again.
What makes things even better is the supplementary map-editor that lets you create custom maps to create your own adventure.
We recommend this specific title due to how it can run on literally anything (even an old Nokia N900) while still being a massive game.
We could also recommend the Civ franchise, which is not that different from this one, but high-fantasy offers better replay value, we feel.
4. Hitman Blood Money – Best Single-Player game
It is no secret that we here at AgedGamer gush at this game almost vehemently. It’s rather disturbing if we’re being honest. But that’s par for the course when you’re playing as 47, a genetically engineered hitman who is given a target and must do everything in his power to get the kill.
The game puts you in a relatively open-world environment where you must make your way to the target, ideally without being seen, or making unnecessary kills.
There is a story behind each mission that builds towards a funeral promised in the opening menu. Though its presence does not affect the experience one iota.
The fact that you are in a suburban neighborhood intent on taking out a mob informant does not need to factor in any underlying motivations. It is what it is and the game lets you maintain your choice of distance from the storyline by giving you the same experience whether or not you watch the cutscenes.
At the end of each mission, your gameplay is summarized in the form of a newspaper article that massages your post-game ego and carries through to the next mission. If you are spotted on CCTV being a sloppy assassin, the newspaper will publish your face and people in future missions will recognize you and either run away or open fire.
The unlockables coupled with all the unique ways you can approach each mission adds so much to the overall experience that you can enjoy the game repeatedly over multiple playthroughs and still get something new out of it.
5. Command and Conquer 3/Red Alert 3 – Best RTS
Command and Conquer was the given prefix to all RTS games developed by the now-defunct Westwood Studios. This included Command and Conquer, Command and Conquer Red Alert, Command and Conquer Generals, etc.
These are two real-time strategy games listed as one. That is because these are two really good RTS games, but they are not different enough to warrant separate entries. The core concept is that you pick an army, build it from the ground-up and destroy everyone else until yours is the last team standing.
Both these games are built on the SAGE engine, which is why they play very similarly.
The Tiberium series, of which Command and Conquer 3 was the penultimate foray (nobody in their right mind recommends C&C 4 anyway) was about a battle between NOD and GDI vying for control of a precious ore called Tiberium (hence the Tiberium series). The games weave a thematic thread through the series with a consistent tone and story about how one faction is right and the other is not. Pretty deep political commentary for a game, actually.
Command and Conquer Red Alert is almost the same, US vs Russia (called Allies vs the Soviet Union) was about an alternative timeline in which Germany never rose to power leaving The Soviet Unioin and the US to collide with each other. Each sequel adds a new time-traveling twist to the equation and the games keep building on that premise. It’s all a bit tongue-in-cheek, so don’t judge it for the overacting and cringeworthy cutscenes.
There was an era in the mid-to-late-90’s when you couldn’t run into a PC owner who hadn’t played either Red Alert, the Tiberium series, or both.
Both games have a nice storyline, amazing skirmishes and if you have people in the house, awesome multiplayer experiences.
6. Unreal Tournament 3 – Best Multiplayer Game
Note: There is a free to play pre-alpha build of Unreal Tournament built on Unreal Engine 4 that you can access from the Epic Game store. It has its share of bugs and a handful of maps, if you want to just check it out from a distance, that would be the way to do it.
Unreal Engine 3 was behind some of late 2000’s finest game releases including Gears of War, Batman Arkham franchise, Stranglehold (we’ll be coming to that in just a moment), Mass Effect franchise, Borderlands, Medal of Honor and SO many epic games (pun violently intended).
Unreal Engine 3 came along at a time when visuals were fast becoming photo-realistic and games were becoming more immersive with features including interactive physics (the precursor to Nvidia’s PhysX engine). The idea was simple, you control a human, alien, or robot race and compete with other teams in typical multiplayer games.
The game itself might not sound groundbreaking by today’s standards, but back then innovation came through getting more mileage out of a smaller space. This was done by having creative weapons, new game modes and just traditionally more fun content by throwing together new ways of fragging n00bs (oh yeah, we’re going full 00’s on this slang).
If you have some people sitting around, with nothing better to do, UT3 will be just fantastic.
7. Fallout New Vegas – Best RPG
As all Fallout games, the world is recovering from a nuclear apocalypse that happened somewhere in the 1980s – judging from the technology that gets left behind. People were forced to live in fallout shelters (hence the name).
The game puts you in the body of a courier who makes deliveries across the Mojave wasteland. Upon making a delivery your character is shot by Matthew Perry – the character’s real name is Benny, but Chandler takes precedence. A part of the game is you getting your revenge and the rest is about taking control of the Wasteland by joining or taking over certain factions.
What makes this game so enjoyable is the incredibly layered story and in-depth exploration of the Mojave wasteland. This game is designed to be enjoyed through various endings and you will likely replay this game many times as each ending gets better and better.
Upon completing the game, a narrator (voiced by Ron Perlman) sums up your life covering each quest and side-quest you started and how you ended it, if at all. That is always nice, even though you don’t really enjoy being told off by Ron Perlman for leaving side-quests incomplete.
HOW DARE HE OVERLOOK SKYRIM?! We hear you pondering aggressively. That is because you don’t need someone on the internet to tell you to play Skyrim, a 5-year old child can make that recommendation, it is unavoidably everywhere. That’s good too if you want to play that.
8. Lego Series, let’s say Batman – Best Split-Screen Co-op game
That wishy-washy title might not inspire a lot of confidence, but there is a solid reason for that. Any franchise that gets Lego-ized automatically becomes fun. The puzzles are creative, the stories are fun and actually have some depth (I said some, don’t @ me).
Lego Batman 3, despite its name is’t a standalone Batman game, it is a Justice League game with a focus on Batman. It is the only game franchise where you can play as most of the major characters in DC. There are fun puzzles to solve, some powers to experience, boss battles are engaging. It is everything one wants from a game. If you have kids around the house, you can even play split-screen co-op.
The reason for the title on this entry being indecisive is because if we say Lego Star Wars, or Lego Marvel, Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter, et al, it would be a great experience but you would be reliving the original movies as interpreted by Lego, whether that is awesome or not, We leave to your discretion.
Lego Batman 3, however, has its original storyline. Don’t expect anything gritty or dark, but do expect ample fun.
9. Stranglehold – Best game directed by John Woo
Okay, the only game directed by John Woo. The man behind Hard Target, Broken Arrow, Face/Off, Mission Impossible II, called up actor Chow Yun Fat and said (disclaimer: may not have actually happened), “you want to make another movie together?”, to which he replied “Nah man, I’m good, I don’t do Hong Kong-style action movies anymore, I got mad emotion game now” to which John Woo replied, “In a game huh? Okay done”.
Powered by the UE3 engine, it is everything you would expect from John Woo movies, slow-motion action sequences, gunfire while slowly riding down a banister (that’s a fancy handrail), a ludicrous amount of doves and an actual storyline – that last one took us by surprise as well.
Quite honestly. no amount of words will do this game any justice, you just have to play it to experience it.