Not everyone can afford a high-end gaming rig -- that's a simple fact of life. There are still many gamers out there who are playing on systems that are over a decade old. If you've got a 10 or even 15 year old desktop or laptop computer, chances are you're feeling left out. But it doesn't have to be that way!
Today we're going to take a look at Steam's library to pick out 15 games you can still play on your old beater PC -- some new, some old, and all great titles! Why 15? Because that's the price of a cheap toaster, and probably how old and possibly how much your PC is worth on resale at this point if you're checking out this article.
So what are you doing still loading this page? Let's get started!
NOTE: All games are listed are in no particular order, and all prices are listed in USD.
Half-Life is one of the staples of first-person shooters, and one that no PC gamer should go without. While I do not believe the original game aged too well, Half-Life: Opposing Force is a game that I must recommend to anyone looking to play the series. This goes doubly for anyone looking to play a great first-person shooter on an old PC system.
While the story is a bit campy nowadays, and the graphics have certainly aged, the game still has solid gameplay and is perfect for those looking for a budget buy on a bare essentials PC.
Look at that all that glorious low-end graphics goodness...
A long time ago, in a decade now far, far away, came a Star Wars game that gave gamers their first chance to really feel like a jedi. That game was Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy.
While there's certainly been a bunch of newer titles that showcase much flashier Star Wars battles, they haven't exactly been the best in the trademark's history. Meanwhile, the Star Wars: Jedi Knight series pulled it off back in the 90s and early 2000s.
Jedi Academy brings the full Star Wars jedi experience, with only a fraction of the power modern Star Wars titles use - and it does it better.
Jedi Academy is one of the best games for someone looking for a first-person shooter Star Wars adventure. In this title players can expect to customize their very own jedi character, learn from Luke Skywalker and various other post-original trilogy cast members, and complete missions with either lightsabers or various other Star Wars weapons. You can even use Light and Dark Side force powers together!
Funnily enough, older computers actually run this game - and other titles in the series - better than newer ones. If you would like to check out this title, find it here for $9.99. You can also get the bundle containing all Dark Forces and Jedi Knight titles here.
I cannot say enough good things about Knights of the Old Republic.
Not to be confused with the sub-par MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic, Knights of the Old Republic is a single player RPG that places the player in the middle of a galactic war. After your ship is destroyed, you and your ship's captain explore the world of Taris in search of a jedi known as Bastila Shan. It is only after narrowly escaping the Sith infested homeworld that you learn that you have a sensitivity to the Force, and it is then that your adventures only just begin.
If you would like to learn more about this game before buying you can check out my Rewind Review from last year. Otherwise, buy it and play it for yourself on the Steam Store for $9.99. I guarantee you will not regret it.
Super Meat Boy is a hardcore platformer title developed by Edmund McMillen, the same guy who brought us The Binding of Issac (which is another title you might want to check out). The game revolves around a boy made out of meat who dies over and over again while trying to save his girlfriend made out of bandages from an evil fetus in a tuxedo wearing jar. The game is as ridiculous as it sounds -- both in concept and in gameplay.
Believe it or not, this is one of the easier levels...
Super Meat Boy is all about pushing the player's limits. If you're not a player who is used to constant punishment by the game, this game probably isn't for you. It is, however, a perfect title to play over and over if you are a fan of time attacks, no-hit runs, and no-mistakes platformers.
It should be noted that this game requires at least pixel shader 3.0. Most graphics cards post-2006 have this ability, but if you are unsure then you should check your graphics card's specs before buying this title. If you have the right card, then you can find the game here for $14.99.
Age of Empires was one of the greatest and well-known RTS series out there. While the games have since fallen into obscurity, Age of Empires II still stands as one of the best RTS games players can get their hands on. The game features over 18 civilizations from the Middle Ages, each with their own unit trees, perks, and more. It also supports up to 8 players online, currently has Steam Workshop support, and new expansion packs with brand new single player campaigns.
Only in my dreams have I created a base as beautiful as this...
Age of Empires II: HD Edition is a great title for anyone looking to play on a budget or beater PC. The single player and standard game modes alone will bring you over 40 hours of gameplay, while multiplayer modes are great if you still have a group of friends willing to play the game. You can find it on the Steam Store for $19.99, and if you'd prefer an ancient mythology spin you can check out Age of Mythology on Steam as well for $29.99. Just remember that since the latter title is a 3D game, it may require a slightly stronger system.
Sticking with the medieval theme, Stronghold HD is a fun castle simulation game for those looking for a title where fully voiced medieval peasants insult you about how poorly you manage your kingdom. I'm not at all kidding about that.
The goal of Stronghold is to build a fortress that will not be overtaken by enemy forces by carefully maintaining the military and economy aspects of castle life. Unlike in Age of Empires, the game has you set in a single location as barbarians attack you. Think of it as a very early version of tower defense, except with units and angry peasants complaining about the rations and taxes.
While Stronghold is by no means an easy game, it doesn't take itself too seriously. The comments made by peasants are on near-Disney's "The Sword in the Stone" level of comedy, albeit with language that is less family friendly.
Stronghold HD can be found on the Steam Store for $5.99.
What can I say about Jet Set Radio? For starters, it's colorful, has a great soundtrack, and is one of the many great Sega Dreamcast titles that never became mainstream series. The game is centered around a group of rollerblading kids looking to take over Tokyo-to by spraying graffiti all over the city. There's also a plot to take over the world by using music, and all sorts of other over-the-top 2000s story weirdness.
Running away from cops, tagging your territory, and pulling off obscure rollerblade tricks are just some of the things you can expect to do in this oddball adventure by SEGA.
Jet Set Radio comes along the same wave of thought that SEGA titles such as Crazy Taxi and Space Channel 5 came from, so it's not exactly a game for everybody. Regardless, it's a great title for anyone looking for something unique to play on a low-end system. You can find the game on the Steam Store for $7.99.
To be completely honest, this feels like a copout, but only because this is such a great game! Telltale Games's game that takes place in the universe of The Walking Dead is by far the best game to play involving the beloved zombie apocalypse series.
In this game every choice you make affects the outcome, and none of them are all sunshine and rainbows...
While I can't say much more about the game without spoiling the story, I will say that the plot is well worth the price tag. The characters are likable, the situations are more or less believable, and there are guaranteed to be at least a few heartbreaks before the end of the game.
If you feel like going on a feels trip, and looking for a story-oriented game then pick up The Walking Dead on Steam for $24.99.
A near perfect replacement for the long-time running Harvest Moon series, Stardew Valley is a farming simulator with an RPG twist. This indie title had -- and to a great extent still has -- a great following on the Internet, and is generally considered better than the games that inspired its creation.
Stardew Valley sets you up in a fashion very similar to the Harvest Moon series. You inherit your family farm, and with little to no farming experience you decide to turn the uncared for land around the family roost into a thriving farmland full of life. You can also interact with the locals, take part in various festivals, and even fight off monsters in underground caverns.
DISCLAIMER: Your farm might never look as good as this, but you can dream...
If you want to settle for a quieter game, then check out Stardew Valley on Steam and pick it up for $14.99. You won't regret it.
Someone out there knew this game would be on this list...
Another of those games that I recommend to anyone who has masochistic tendencies, Five Nights at Freddy's is a jumpscare title that sets you up as the nighttime security guard of Fazbear's Pizza. Your job? Not get stuffed into a Freddy suit by night's end.
"I'm watching you, you giant chicken!"
While this sounds silly and all (it really does) the game is truly a terrifying game to play with headphones, a dark room, and a little more weariness than you have any business playing a game with. Even if you decide not to pick up the entire series - which saves you about a dollar a game - it's certainly worth checking out if you like horror games.
You ready for Freddy? Pick up this title on Steam for $4.99.
While it is one of the higher system specs games on this list, Terraria is much more than meets the eye. While many people instantly call it a 2D clone of Minecraft, the truth of the matter is that Terraria has a much stronger focus on RPG and adventure elements than Minecraft does.
Players of Terraria can expect to toy with a whole bunch of different features from building, to weapons, magic, and more. The diversity of gameplay that the game has is only compounded by multiplayer modes, creator modes, and more. This plays to its benefit as the building adventure formula is pushed to limits that honestly make Minecraft look like utter garbage beside it.
And that's saying something...
Terraria is likely to cause side scrolling RPG flashbacks to many who play it for the first time... and in a good way.
Terraria can be found on the Steam Store for $9.99.
A game whose title is easier said than done, Don't Starve is a game in which the title aptly states what the game is all about. Set in a gothic-style world, Don't Starve is a survival game in which players will have to navigate randomly generated worlds in an attempt to not only survive as long as possible, but to thrive. Once players get better at the game they might just stand a chance of solving the mysteries involving the strange land it takes place in.
In Don't Starve everything is out to kill you, be it the weather, monsters, or simple starvation or loss of sanity.
When I first heard about Undertale, I couldn't recommend it. I didn't understand the concept, and I had an even harder time trying to get into it. After much reluctance, however, I can safely say without hesitation or regret that Undertale is perhaps one of the most memorable games I've played.
Undertale is a game that throws conventional RPG elements upside down, and tells a story that is truly heartwarming -- depending on the route you choose. Choices matter in Undertale, and every monster you fight or spare will affect the game's outcome. Gameplay is a mix between a timing-based combat RPG, a dating simulator, and bullet hell nonsense. While none of this makes sense at first, it's something that somehow works when you actually play the game.
Don't take my word for it though. Check it out for yourself.
Everything filling you with determination is bound to eventually fill you with determination... and a lot of save reloads if you're determined to save everyone. Now that's determination!
Audiosurf is the ultimate time waster if you're on a budget PC. While Audiosurf 2 has its own improvements, the game simply doesn't add enough to warrant the extra processing power needed, or the higher price tag.
The concept of Audiosurf is simple. Ride along a highway designed by the game based off of any song you open, and avoid or collect different colored blocks depending on the mode you select. It's simple fun that can't be beat.
There are two truths about The Elder Scrolls titles. First is that they are perhaps some of the greatest Western RPG titles out there. The second is that you will likely never finish everything there is to do in the game without looking up every possibility, and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is no exception.
Interestingly enough, The Elder Scrolls IV actually passes the under 2.0 Ghz test, making it completely playable on older systems. While this might leave you with less than favorable frame rates on some systems, the fact remains that Oblivion is perhaps one of the best deals on Steam for players on beater PCs.
While Oblivion is not as grand in scale as Skyrim, the game has plenty to do in the vast world it contains.
Steam only sells Game of the Year editions of Oblivion now, and sell for about $19.99 upward depending on the version you want. Considering the amount of content you get, you could certainly do a lot worse on a last decade system.
Hopefully this list helps you pick out some great titles for your old toaster-computer hybrid. There's plenty more out there on Steam if you look, and remember to check your system's specifications before buying or installing anything. Remember that not all computers are built equally, and you could risk having a useless game if your computer isn't up to the task.
That, and I don't want to be held responsible if your computer ends up looking like the one in the picture above. Do send videos if it happens though!
Are there any games you'd like to recommend to players with older computers? Leave your opinions in the comments section below!