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36 Classic PC Games From The '90s That Still Hold Up

Updated November 23, 2020 3.3k votes 421 voters 25.3k views36 items

List RulesVote up all your favorite old-school computer games from yesteryear.

In the past, running an older game on a newer PC was often seen as a Herculean task. Having to find the right system patches and download codes was a hassle for most, and simply not worth the effort for some. Thankfully, digital platforms like Steam have made it easier than ever to revisit some of the best retro PC games, giving gamers a new look at old favorites. From RTS epics like Command & Conquer to forgotten adventure gems like Grim Fandango, this list ranks 35 of the best classic '90s PC games that are still worth revisiting today.

While each game was acclaimed and popular during its initial release, some have aged better than others. Still, these classic PC games all offer their own unique sense of nostalgia, especially if you played them growing up. With that in mind, check these 35 nostalgia-inducing titles and vote up all the best '90s PC games, and vote down all the games you'd rather forget about entirely. That way, new gamers can see which classics to revisit next.

  • Photo: id Software

    It's pretty rare to find a game that practically invented a genre and is still fun as heck to play. Although Doom isn't actually the first FPS (that honor probably goes to its predecessor, Wolfenstein 3D), it's the one that put everything together into a completely satisfying experience.

    Ultima 1, or Dune 2 (arguably the first true 'RTS'), or the first King's Quest have their charms, but you have to make allowances for the time they were made to really enjoy them. Not Doom. You can just dive right in. The demons are out there. Are you tough enough to blow them away?

    You can get Doom on gog.com or on Steam.

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    • Photo: Microsoft

      The late 1990s were arguably the golden age of the real-time strategy genre, and one of that age's pinnacles was this fantastic followup to 1997's Age of Empires. The action moves from antiquity to the medieval era, and improved unit AI (check out those sweet marching formations!) makes the battles feel more epic than before.

      Although the prevalence of early rush tactics means some matches end before anyone even builds a castle, other games can blossom into true empire-vs.-empire slugfests. Some of the greatest RTS units of all time live here, from the deadly English Longbowman to the breathtakingly powerful trebuchet.

      The game's available on Steam, in both a modestly updated HD Edition and a new Definitive Edition.

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      • Photo: Blizzard Entertainment

        CRPG fans didn't quite know what to make of Diablo when it released in 1996. It didn't have much story, character customization was minimal, and the gameworld was mostly limited to a town and the dungeon underneath it. But Diablo wasn't trying to be Ultima or Might and Magic. It was its own thing - a Skinner-box fantasia in which you clicked on minions of evil, ended their sad little lives, and scooped up loot in their wake.

        Thus was born the modern action RPG. Diablo was a massive hit, spawning two sequels (with a third on the way) and imitators too numerous to mention. The graphics and interface have dated somewhat, but that old pull remains.

        Diablo (with its expansion, Hellfire) can be purchased on gog.com.

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        • Photo: Electronic Arts

          Before games like Starcraft came and dominated the RTS genre, there was Command & Conquer. This early RTS epic took place in a fictional modern-day setting where the player would take control of one of two factions, the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) or the mysterious Brotherhood of Nod. Players must build a base and a military, launch attacks at their enemy, and defend their base, all in real time.

          While the RTS didn't start here (Dune 2, among others, predated it), Command & Conquer's slick production values and commercial success helped solidify the genre's core gameplay.

          A remastered version of Command & Conquer and its follow up, Red Alert, is set to release in June 2020.

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