What classics are still worth playing today?

Some of us are more prone to the condition known as ocular hemorrhaging (eye bleeding) when confronted with older games that look bad. But, there are still some old games that are worth playing today. The hard part is how old does something need to be to be considered a classic? I randomly picked 2005, although my gut tells me I should have gone older since Civilization IV makes the cut and doesn’t really look that dated today. Still, that is closing on 10 years old, which is pretty hold in the PC game world.

So, what classics are still worth playing today, despite possible having a dated visual appearance. What great games overcome their dated appearance and are still a great play today?

I offer up a couple choices, what are yours?

  1. Master of Orion 2 (1996)
  2. Imperialism (1997)
  3. Civilization IV (2005)

I have quite a few that I keep going back to. Especially since GoG and Steam came around.

  1. HoMM 3 with expansions
  2. Age of Empires 2 with expansions
  3. Spellforce 1 & 2
  4. Wizardry 8
  5. Divine Divinity

So many more that I go back to once in a while, but these are the more persistent ones in my play list.

  1. Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura (2001)
  2. Fallout 2 (1998)
  3. System Shock (1994)

Impression city builders
Settlers 2
Battle Bugs
World of Warcraft
The Incredible Machine
Rollercoaster Tycoon

In general, bad graphics are a lot easier to deal with than bad UIs.

Anything using the Infinity Engine and a widescreen mod.

With all the new Thief hype I’ve been playing Thief: The Dark Project and it holds remarkably up. There is a community wide screen patch that you want and I believe a texture pack as well. It’s one of my favorite games ever.

For me, I replay these at least every other year:
-Ultima 7/Ultima 7 Part 2 (and the add-on content for both)
-Dark Sun - Shattered Lands (1993!)

Both work like a dream from within DOSBox.
GOG still has U7/U7p2, I broke down and bought it (probably for the 10th time over).
I don’t think I’ve ever found a new place to buy DS.

Magic & Mayhem (1999, fantasy RTS)
Diggles (2001) or one of the Cultures games (2000)
Dungeon Keeper II (1999)
Startopia (2001)




Yeah, Planescape Torment has still never been equalled as a narrative RPG.

Anyway, 2005 seems pretty recent, but here goes. PC/Atari ST only for reasons of brevity:

Any LucasArts adventure game
Beneath A Steel Sky
Broken Sword
Speedball II
Sensible World of Soccer
Civ IV
Half Life 2
Rollercoaster Tycoon 2

King of Dragon Pass
I’ve always admired Entrepreneur.
I would swap Imperialism2 for Imperialism and Moo for Moo2, but that’s a matter of taste.

dang that torment screen shot looks good. …maybe…no. get back to work.

Man, I wish those old SSI games made their way to GoG. Do you play Ultima VII original in doxbox, or the exhult adaptation?

In terms of the original poster’s question - I play many, many games from at least the early 90s and sometimes even the 80s. My views on replayablity:

  • first person perspective games have aged with worst, because of the simplistic environments and low res. 3rd person perspective games (RPGs, or action games like Crusader No Remorse) or wargames/strategy games - all fine
  • flight/space sims that do not have 3D polygonal graphics have aged poorly - anything with true 3D is still perfectly fine. Same goes for most first person perspective games, although none of them have aged well compared to games that had a top down or 3rd person perspective.
  • interfaces on many old games are cumbersome and intrusive.

Bottom line:

  • 3rd person perspective RPGs are fine going back to and including Ultima VII - 1992. Other notables, Fallout series, Infinity engine games, all fine.
  • 1st person perspective RPGs - fine since the 3D era of 2002 and Morrowind
  • Space/flight sims - since since about 1995 - Wing Commander III and the 3D era
  • strategy/war games - go back as far as you like, from the early 80s. Civilization, Master of Orion, SSI wargames etc.
  • action scrollers, other 3rd person perspective games - go back as far as you want, all still replayable, from the early 80s: Miner 2049, Lode Runner

Pressing my “Like” button on this.

I play through U7 with DOSBox, and I would not recommend Exult! The melee combat formula are all totally wrong in Exult. Add to that, extending the viewport past 320x200 seems to cause problems with event scripting. I can tell you I had a play-through of the U7:BG content ruined by this, when visiting Alagner at one point.

It’s a real dream playing U7 in DOSbox and not having to worry about EMM386 and hi/low memory.

Doom 1 and 2 are still some of the best games in existence (imo), and if you lot are allowing “improvement” mods then that means things like Brutal Doom are included. QT3 for doom

Here’s a few I’d throw out there.

Freespace 2
TIE Fighter
Imperium Galactica II
Star Control 2 (Ur Quan Masters)
Independence War 2
Starships Unlimited

All of them? That’s pretty much all my game time. Modern AAA gaming has become like a choice between watching the original Star Wars trilogy or the new prequels, ie no choice at all , always the classics over the new (imho).

Xcom (OpenXcom even!), Elite (Oolite), FFE (FFED3D), Realms of Arkania, Ultima, X-wing/Tie-fighter… the list is nearly endless, and thanks to the better quality Indies and some of the good Kickstarters we are seeing (and some soon to arrive), that ‘quality’ of gaming experience is looking like making a come back. I don’t want to play my Snookie Reality simulator game, i want something deeper, thanks MR Games Industry.

  • flight/space sims that do not have 3D polygonal graphics have aged poorly - anything with true 3D is still perfectly fine.

I’m not sure that’s true. I played dozens if not hundreds of hours of F-19 Stealth Fighter when it came out, but I imagine it would be really painful to return to now.

Been playing a lot of Stronghold and Stronghold Crusader using the new, free HD updates to the GOG versions, and it holds up wonderfully. It stuns me that Firefly hasn’t figured out how to iterate on those first two amazing games to create a series that evolved with tech advances in graphics and processing power…but they’ve never recaptured that magic again. Thankfully, the magic still holds up.

I must agree with Qt3’s own Chris Traegor (I mean Brian Rubin!) that Freespace 2 is LITERALLY still the best starship combat sim ever made. Playing FS Open means it still does decently from a graphics perspective, too.

Baldur’s Gate 1998
Icewind Dale 2000
Divine Divinity 2002

(Almost) every Infocom game. ;)