Classics that stand the test of time

I’ve only gotten into gaming around 2-3 years ago and have been enjoying it immensely. But I feel like I’ve missed out on years of classics. Every time someone mentions and recounts their enjoyment of Morrowind, or Fallout, or System Shock, or Starcraft, or Baldur’s Gate, the discussion completely goes over the top of my head. Just a big chunk of gaming history that I was too late to the party to enjoy.

I only played the original Half-life after being enthralled by Half-life 2, and despite the dated graphics (which didn’t bother me much since I had played Counter-strike often at LAN parties) thought it transcended Half-life 2 in some respects such as the AI, and you can tell why the game was such a milestone back when it was released.

I keep popping in Red Alert 2 for fun every now and then. Not a gorgeous RTS but just one that I’ve enjoyed immensely ever since I bought it, even after playing Generals and Act of War.

So I was wondering if there were any classics you could vouch for that are still worth playing today and remain enjoyable and worth the time spent in playing them after these years.

As a start I bought a very cheap pack which included Diablo II, Warcraft II + the expansion, and Starcraft + the expansion, but haven’t tried any of them yet. Any other suggestions for games that are still worth it after all this time?

Fallout is. I’ve replayed it twice over the years (the last time fairly recently), and it’s just as good now as it was then.

Fallout 1 or 2?

Star Control 2, or more specifically, the free remake. Someone has to say it every time the game comes up, so I’ll just go ahead: Ignore the low version number (looks like they’re at 0.5 right now). It’s actually been totally complete for a long time, and they’ve just been adding features that were not present in the original version (but are good). No idea why they don’t just call it 1.0 already and go from there.

Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape, and their sequels/expansion packs. If you’re only going to play one, make it Planescape. Unless you’re DUMB!

System Shock 2. I think System Shock 1 might be a bit TOO old, especially being essentially an FPS.

I bet nobody else will mention Alien Legacy, and maybe with good reason, but I really, really liked it a lot, and have dug it out to play again a few times over the years.

Also, I hope it’s ok to mention Home of the Underdogs. Their Hall of Fame is pretty good and has loads of classics.

I second the suggestions here so far. Also, if you a really willing to go way back…

Ultima 4-7 (personally I never dug 6, but there are people out there who really love it)
Wasteland
Bard’s Tale series (although you might just want to play 3 since it has a lot of technical enhancements and you get the basic point)
X Wing/Tie Fighter/X Wing Alliance
Operation Flashpoint
Darklands

… and for my money, just to reinforce it, definitely go with the previous suggestions of the baldur’s gate series, the icewind dale series, and planecape torment. The fallouts are also really good.

Yes, try all of the ones you mentioned. (Especially Fallout!) Then, get thyself a SNES emulator and a bushel of ROMs. (The various Final Fantasies, Chrono Trigger, Zelda, Super Metroid…) Top it off with the first Red Alert (which I still maintain has one of the best single-player RTS campaigns EVAR, although it has some issues with modern OSes). Sprinkle liberally with Total Annihilation, just 'cause. Garnish with Civ2 and Master of Orion 2.

Oh, and Descent, though that’s another old DOS one that needs smacking around to work on Windows. Descent 3 is nifty, but was designed for 3dfx cards and can get graphically wonky on anything modern.

I’d recommend Mechwarrior 2 and Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries (which are both old favorites), but they also have issues with modern OSes, so you’ll have to make do with the also-excellent Mechwarrior 3. (4 suffered from a most horrendous control scheme that I could never get past, and just wasn’t as good.)

Homeworld is fun, and is also an RTS with a great campaign. (Persistant units from mission to mission! Yay!) I also enjoyed the sequel, though it is somewhat different and others did not.

Deus Ex. Deus Ex.

Suggestions for SNES emulators and ROM locations then :D ?

(Unless that is objectionable by royal decree from the Entity…)

Doom 2
HoMM 3

I still enjoy both of those quite a bit.

Not-to-be-missed PC games released more than 3 years ago: Deus Ex, Curse of Monkey Island, Max Payne 2, Day of the Tentacle, System Shock 2
Not-to-be-missed console games released more than 3 years ago: Super Mario 64, Ico, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, GTA: Vice City

The two major SNES emulators are ZSNES and SNES9x. They are both excellent, and both are very mature, having been under active development for about a decade. Since both (I believe) are open-source, they have largely the same feature-set, though they have slightly different interfaces. Use whichever one you please.

OHHH how could I forget that! Every single adventure game LucasArts made is worth playing. The Monkey Island series is the best overall, but they’re all good except for maybe The Dig, which was just “decent”. Grim Fandango’s another good one.

Find anything and everything made or published by Looking Glass Studios. Play them over and over. This’ll include Terra Nova: SFC, the Thief series, the System Shock Series, and other genre-creating works that all stand up well.

I’ll second the HOMM series. HOMM 2 is an all-time classic, and as good as HOMM 3 is, Succession Wars is even better.

If you can get X-Com: Terror From The Deep or Jagged Alliance to run on your machine, do. You can’t have a proper discussion about squad-level tactical turn-based games without having played them.

X-Com and Master of Magic.

Both, actually. I’d recommend playing them in order.

If you don’t mind the graphics, Master of Magic is it. I still play it from time to time. I LOVE that game…my all-time favorite game for any system and any genre.

Since you said 2-3 years ago, you are talking about everything. Have you played Diablo2’s expansion? I would go ahead and get it. YOu don’t need to play D2 first.

Looking Glass needs to bust out a Greatest Hits DVD or summat.

I’m all for the Baldur’s Gate sags, but you must download the tutu mod that runs BG1 on BG2’s engine. Totally groovy.

I replayed Ultima V a year or two ago and found it held up pretty well. There are a lot of interface issues and whatnot, of course. But it had a hell of a lot of content and was enjoyable to play.

I still play Unreal regularly. Graphics have dated quite a bit, but there is simply no other videogame I know that captures quite that atmosphere.

I also find myself coming back to Age of Empires I. It’s not a gameplay thing so much as a tone/feel thing. The maps feel unusually alive and yet tranquil. Lions chasing gazelles and whatnot.

Jedi Knight (Dark Forces 2) is still a great game, with some really amazing levels in terms of their vertiginous scope. I don’t think the force powers were handled as well as they were in Jedi Outcast but the levels were great fun to explore. Graphics have dated badly, though.

Baldur’s Gate II and all the Infinity games are still worth playing, and in some ways the graphics still look quite good since it’s all pre rendered 2D art.

Half Life 1 is still my favorite single player shooter. Nothing else has reached its level, including HL2, though it’s a good game.

Bill’s right, the tutu mod is the only way to play Baldur’s Gate 1. Gordon had some really great suggestions as well.

I’d like to add Freespace 2, Starlancer, Privateer (there is a remake project out there), and the early Wing Commanders to the space sim entries.

Joust.

Asteroids and Ms. Pac Man hold up well too.

Also 2600 Warlords with 4 players. They should just release one of those “one shot” 2600-plug-into-your-TV dealies with just Warlords and 4 paddles. I’d buy it.