For all the gamers out there, the future promises much in the form of innovation. With the increased development of VR as well as various AR projects, gaming technology is about to get an overhaul and expand its horizons significantly. Before this new era is ushered in, however, we thought it would be a good idea to put on our rose-tinted goggles and pay homage to some of the classics which have stood the test of time. The best part is that all these classics have low system requirements, so any modern PC should be able to run these. Even if you're not a gamer, try out a few of the games here- we promise you won't regret it.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Genre: Action, role playing
Before Skyrim became a cash-cow for Bethesda, there was Morrowind—and boy, was it good. This is regarded by many as the best Elder Scrolls game, for a variety of reasons.
For one, the gigantic world of Vvardenfell was a joy to explore. Even though the graphics haven't aged very well, each in-game city's unique architectural style—from the disorienting Cantons of Vivec to the almost steampunk Dunmer ruins make the perfect setting for the elaborate yet engaging plot. And if the main quest isn't enough, you can put that on the backburner and complete as many side-quests as you want, ranging from everyday guild work to quelling/inciting a rebellion. Factor in the intricate magic system, and it takes the game to a whole new level. Go easy on the Sujamma, though.
Genre: First person shooter, role playing
Step into the shoes of JC Denton, one the coolest FPS protagonists of all time. The dated graphics of Deus Ex are its only flaw, as the rest of the experience remains near-perfect, even today.
Set in a dystopian world where you have to deal with terrorists, gangs, the Illuminati and uncooperative co-workers, the story is refreshingly unique. It has impactful choices, humour, and snark, three things that work extremely well together. The way the game combines role-playing elements like skill trees with an honest-to-god shooter mechanic is also remarkable, fitting in with the large, open level design. Don't forget about the cyberpunk aspect of the game, which allows you to hack and make use of anything electrical, essentially becoming a superhuman stealth monster. Move aside, Sam Fisher.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Set in the eeriest castle of all time, this game brought horror to a whole new level. The monsters in here are unrelenting and completely terrifying, in a unique blend of unease and jumpscares that works so well.
The inclusion of a sanity system meant you had to balance staying in the light and keeping sane, without drawing the attention of the monsters. And did I mention how the game made you completely powerless, where your only mode of defence was to run and hide? The sheer feeling of helplessness was accentuated by the brilliant sound effects, ambience and fittingly dark lighting style. Without further ado, turn out the lights and prepare to wet yourself.
Resident Evil 4
Genre: Third person survival horror
Perhaps the best Resident Evil title ever made, RE:4 was a complete overhaul of the old games. The introduction of the third-person camera in place of fixed camera angles, the Las Plagas which made for unnervingly human-esque zombies, and the openness of the locations all contributed some much-needed flavour to the franchise.
Most importantly, the feeling of always being outnumbered, of always lacking in munitions and being only a couple of hits away from death helped this game walk the fine line between horror and action.
The story is entertaining, the characters feel unique and interesting (not you, Ashley), and it features some of our favourite video game enemies: the chainsaw men and women.
Valve really struck gold with the original Portal. With strong doubts of a sequel living up to the original, sceptics were surprised when Portal 2 took everything Portal had and improved on it. The addition of a co-op (both local and online) only enhances the experience, and with the Steam community adding user-made maps, it is the perfect game to brainstorm and solve with a friend, gaining a new experience each time.
Add to it a great blend of dark humour and a charming soundtrack with one of the catchiest ending credits songs penned by Jonathan Coulton, Portal 2's brilliant game design of solving puzzles using portals still holds up as a pillar in the puzzle-platform genre.
Mass Effect 2
Genre: Role playing game
BioWare proved with ME2 that RPGs don't have to be just dependent on how many story choices you have. Opting for a bigger focus on characters, ME2's climactic final mission (one of the most iconic game experiences ever) depended on how you interacted with the crew you assembled throughout the story.
Focusing on Commander Shepard's continuing struggle against the Reapers from last game, ME2 also allowed your save to be imported forward, meaning all your choices, and Shepard's appearance and personality would forward to this game as well, making the experience all the more immersive; coupled with the gameplay transition to a shooter-focused RPG, instead of the RPG grind that happens to involve shooting, made ME2 much more fun.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Genre: First person shooter
Arguably the peak of the franchise (only rivaled by its sequel), this game came out at a time when story wasn't second fiddle to multiplayer. The campaign made two initially seemingly unrelated series of missions eventually intertwine into a brilliant story that makes you recall war is indeed haunting, no matter the scope.
And of course, that's nothing to say for brilliant level design. 'All Ghillied Up' remains one of the greatest missions ever in any shooter, I'm pretty sure anyone's who played it recalls the adrenaline rush that mission brought.
If it wasn't enough, a remaster released recently, so you can re-experience this in full HD graphics. Now to wait for MW2 to get the same treatment.
MW still makes for a wonderful multiplayer experience if you're still into LAN parties. Killhouse is a classic.
Age of Empires II: Age of Kings
Genre: Real time strategy
Remember playing this as a kid and just spamming cheats to win? The definitive ideal of RTS games still holds up in the modern era, especially with fans pushing so hard for their own content to become part of the game the fans ended up reviving the game with an HD remake that includes a lot of new content, including 3 expansions, with the latest coming in 2016. Not bad for something that came out in 1999.
With all these new changes, it's worth picking up, especially if you can play multiplayer. Mastering the strategies of each Civilization may be hard at first, but once you get it, you'll spend hours on it. Wolololo, convert and appreciate the great trebuchet, ender of sieges everywhere.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Genre: Role playing game
Another BioWare classic, and one of the reasons Star Wars fans have extremely high fanboy standards for a Star Wars game, KoTOR made use of a DnD-esque turn based combat system (actually a modified version of the d20 Star Wars RPG) that played out in real time. An alignment system also meant whether you sided with Jedi or Sith, which was based on your actions and dialogue choices.
To say nothing for the plot which expands greatly on Star Wars lore, with an antagonist who makes Vader look a little boring at times, this is the quintessential game for a Star Wars fan to play. Oh, and need we mention it's hiding one of the greatest plot twists ever. Play this unspoiled, you won't regret it.
Fallout: New Vegas
Genre: Role playing game, Third person shooter
The retro feeling of the Fallout world embracing the Vegas scene made for a great setting for the Courier's journey. Obsidian took everything Bethesda failed at with 3 and made an amazing game with incredible depth to it. The Fallout world's charm never ceases even when faced with death, I mean the game opens with you being shot in the head by someone voiced by Chandler from Friends.
And New Vegas has some of the greatest DLC made, starting from the challenging horror fest that was Dead Money, to a love letter to old sci-fi B-movies in Old World Blues, and a very personal story in Lonesome Road. Oh, and if all of this wasn't worth it, just play to get that sweet NCR Ranger armour on the cover. It looks cool.
Ultra HD 4K graphics and ultra-realistic gun physics don't always enhance the gaming experience, but true innovation in gameplay, that holds up even today, does add to the experience. All the games we present to you have been truly unique for their time, and still stand out today as part of many gamers' go-to recommendations lists. Nostalgia or not, games like these come along only ever so often, and remain forever cherished in any gamer's hearts.