The Classic PC Games You Must Play

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There are many reasons one could argue that the PC is the best way to play video games: Better visuals, cheaper and more interesting games, a wide-open platform, and so on. But one of the best arguments for PC gaming is simple: The massive back-catalogue.


No other gaming platform can field a game library that can compete with PC's in terms of sheer volume. The PC boasts more than 20 years' worth of video games, most of which are still playable on modern PCs, given a tweak or two. Now, it's time to put all of the best classic PC games in one place.

Rather than approach this like a Kotaku Bests list, I thought we'd try something different—turn it over to you, as well as our other Kotaku editors, to create one superlist to unite them all.

First, a few ground rules. I'd love to make this into a list that reflects the taste of the Kotaku readership in the best, most readable way possible, so let's all follow the same format. In addition, you can find general tips and techniques for Kotaku commenting here.


1. Only games from 2003 and earlier. The last ten years is still too current to qualify for a "classics" list. Hey, we had to draw the line somewhere!

2. Please don't leave non-entry, direct comments on this post. They'll just get pushed down. Save your comments for others' submissions.

3. All entries must be legally purchasable. We'd prefer you include games that are easily available digitally, but if you must include a game that is difficult to find, link to the eBay and pages (or similar sites) to help people find cheap used copies. Any comments linking to torrent/piracy sites will be removed.


4. Avoid dupes. If someone's beaten you to your favorite classic game, please avoid making a second entry for it. Instead, chime in beneath their comment to add your own take on the game, your own images, your own memories and videos. It's true that this approach will favor those who read and act quickly, but it's also the best way to get a list that is easily scannable and doesn't have 12 entries for Deus Ex. (Which I actually already wrote up. Heh. Sorry.)

5. Follow this format for your entries, including bold text:

IMAGE [preferably at 970x546]

[Game Name]

Why: Explain why the game is great. Make your case! Try to keep it to a single paragraph, maybe two. Feel free to include a video example, if that helps.

Where you can get it: Put all the places you can get a copy, with a link if possible. eBay,, other places for used copies of games that aren't available digitally.

Tips for modern machines: Lots of classic games have a few tweaks that'll make them run better on modern machines. Include those here, along with any links to forum posts summing up which patches to include. Links to HD mods, other user-created fixes and content are also great!


When in doubt, check the entries that our writers have done. They should all be in the proper format.

If we get some good entries, we might break them out and run them as their own posts on Kotaku. (No promises, though.)


Okay, let's make a megalist for the ages. What are the classic PC games everyone must play?

UPDATE: For a complete alphabetical directory of all the entries on this list, go here.



Richard Eisenbeis

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Why: Knights of the Old Republic is not only one of the greatest Star Wars games ever made, but also one of the greatest Star Wars tales in the entire media spanning franchise.

Taking place 4000 years before the original trilogy, this Bioware epic has everything you could want in your Star Wars: Jedi, Sith, lightsaber battles, plucky companions, galactic spanning adventures, romance, philosophy, and even a plot twist on par with Empire’s “I am your father.” It also has a psychotic assassination droid and the greatest definition of love ever uttered.

Where you can get it: Right now, the easiest place to grab Knights of the Old Republic is on Steam. The sequel is also available there as well (but don’t play it without downloading the restoration pack first).

Tips for modern machines: It should work perfectly fine on XP, Vista, and Windows 7, but if you are having any troubles, here are a few quick tricks you can try to get it up and running.