Top 10 games with low system requirements

Gaming on a PC is normally seen as a way of playing the latest games with the best graphics. However, PC gaming is not only about offering top visuals, but also the most accessible platform. PC gaming offers the biggest library of games, from AAA titles to indie games. Despite popular belief you do not need a gaming computer to game. We are not even talking about Solitaire here neither. If you want a game that can keep you playing for hours at a time then even a modest computer will be more than adequate.

 

To make this list, the games in question must meet the following criteria:

– Achieve at least 30 frames per second

– Run the way the developer designed it to run, i.e. no emulation or changes required to get the game to work

– Run from the computer in question and not streamed from the internet.

– Most importantly, be fun!

 

So let’s begin in no particular order, the top 10 games that you can play that have low system requirements:

10. Quake 3 Arena

Quake-III-Arena

Quake III Arena

Quake 3 Arena is a game that you can play on a computer within the last 10+ years without any problems at all. The game is still an absolute joy to play. All features of the game we tested still work, unfortunately that includes the less than mediocre expansion, Team Arena. The audio still sounds great, the game still looks good. Getting networking games is as easy as ever so you an your friends can LAN this game without any issues at all.

Alternatives: Alien Arena; Unreal Tournament, Tribes 2

Quake 3 System Requirements:

CPU: Pentium II processor/AMD K6-2 processor
CPU Speed: Intel 266 MHz/ AMD 350 MHz
RAM: 64 MB
OS: Windows XP/Vista
Video Card: 4 MB Video Card
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 70 MB

9. Don’t Starve

Don't Starve

Don’t Starve

Don’t Starve is a game that drops you into a game world with no direction but near endless possibilities. This game may come across simple, but is actually surprisingly detailed and deep in terms of the world around you. A world that changes with the seasons and gradually becomes more dangerous. With those dangers however comes great reward. This game will run on most computers of the last 7 or so years quite easily. Furthermore, 2-player Co-op is in the works which makes it an even better purchase.

Alternatives: Minecraft; Terraria, Starbound

Don’t Starve System Requirements:

CPU Speed: 1.7+ GHz or better
RAM: 1 GB
OS: Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8
Video Card: Radeon HD 5450 or better; 256 MB or higher (or GeForce 6600 GT)
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 500 MB

8. DEFCON

DEFCON

DEFCON

DEFCON is a game that pits you against up to six other AI or human players. If you have ever seen the movie WarGames, then I highly recommend you play DEFCON as it is, in my opinion, an unofficial movie tie-in that is actually good. This game is superb for LAN games as it is simple to get a game going, simple to learn but hard to master. It is also one that is good for in the workplace, it has an “Office Mode” button that means you can quickly double tap the Escape key to minimise the game with notifications while you carry on working.

Alternatives: Total Domination; Perimeter

DEFCON System Requirements:

CPU Speed: Pentium III 600 Mhz or better
RAM: 128 MB
OS: Windows 98 or newer
Video Card: NVIDIA Geforce 2 or better
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 60 MB

7. Killing Floor

Killing Floor

Killing Floor

Killing Floor is a superb zombie survival game that is great fun when playing with others either online or over LAN. This game has very low system requirements thanks to the Unreal Engine 2.5 that powers it. Computers from the past 10 years should be able to run Killing Floor without any problems. The other good thing with this older engine means a super smooth, high framerate.

Alternatives: Left 4 Dead; Alien Arena, Natural Selection 2

Killing Floor System Requirements:

CPU Speed: 1.2 GHz
RAM: 1 GB
OS: Windows XP/Vista
Video Card: 64 MB DX9 Compliant
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 2 GB

6. FTL: Faster Than Light

FTL: Faster Than Light

FTL: Faster Than Light

Any fan of Star Trek will really appreciate FTL, or anyone who wishes to captain a spaceship. FTL puts you in charge of your own ship and gives you the mission of traversing the universe to defeat a pursuing enemy. This game features lots of micro-management and tense space battles that really will make you think twice about how immersive 2D games can be.

Alternatives: Star Command; Weird World’s: Return to Infinite Space, Infested Planet

FTL: Faster Than Light System Requirements:

CPU Speed: 2 GHz
RAM: 1 GB
OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7
Video Card: OpenGL 2.0 Support, and recommended dedicated graphics card with 128 MB of RAM(Some integrated Intel HD graphics cards have been known to work but are not officially supported.)
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 175 MB

 5. Braid

Braid

Braid

Braid was one of the top break out indie games and was one of the sparks that started the explosion of indie titles. Braid features a time mechanic similar to that in Prince of Persia allowing you to rewind time. You gather up pieces of a puzzle to try and finish an out of sequence story. The game world is very beautifully presented and has a charm of its own.

Alternatives: LIMBO; FEZ,  Machinarium

Braid System Requirements:

CPU Speed: 1.4 GHz or faster
RAM: 768 MB
OS: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / 7
Video Card: Pixel Shader 2.0
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 200 MB

4. Theme Hospital

Theme Hospital

Theme Hospital

I remember in the mid 90’s getting my first computer, shortly after getting this computer I was given Theme Hospital by my parents. What followed was one of the best games of my childhood. Don’t get me wrong I loved Doom, Quake, Age of Empires etc but Theme Hospital is a game I still occasionally go back to and hold close to my heart. This management game puts a comedic spin on the subject of running a hospital and gives the player a challenging but by no means unfairly hard task of running various hospitals with increasingly harder objectives and scenarios. This game can be purchased on GoG.com and is well worth picking up.

Alternatives: Theme Park; Rollercoaster Tycoon, Prison Architect

Theme Hospital System Requirements:

CPU Speed: 66 Mhz or faster
RAM: 8 MB
OS: Microsoft Windows 95 or newer
Video Card: SVGA
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 20 MB

3. Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2

C&C Red Alert 2

C&C Red Alert 2

Out of all of the Command and Conquer games, my favourite is most likely going to be Red Alert 2. The original Red Alert was quite a hard act to follow but RA2 improved in almost every way. The soundtrack, the map design, the gameplay, units and tech trees were all fantastic. Red Alert 2 is quite easily better than most if not all of the newer C&C games. Base building, tactics and all out warfare is offered by this gem of a game.

Alternatives: Age of Empires II; Dungeon Keeper 2, A.R.S.E.N.A.L

Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 System Requirements:

CPU Speed: Pentium II 266 or better
RAM: 64 MB
OS: Microsoft Windows 95 or newer
Video Card: 2 MB of Video RAM. 3D Hardware recommended
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 200 MB

2. Diablo II

Diablo 2

Diablo 2

Most gaming websites rate Diablo II as one of the best PC games of all time and it is easy to see why. Such a massive sprawing game with huge amounts of content that was presented in its time with superb visuals. Not many younger games are likely to pick this game up but they will likely play games that were directly or indirectly inspired by Diablo.

Alternatives: NOX; Dungeon Siege, Torchlight

DIablo II System Requirements:

CPU Speed: Pentium 233 or equivalent
RAM: 32 MB
OS: Microsoft Windows 2000 or newer
Video Card: DirectX compatible supporting VGA or higher resolution
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 650 MB

 

1. World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

Very few games keep players hooked beyond mere hundreds of hours, but thousands of hours. Many Warcraft and ex-Warcraft players I know have thousands of hours in WoW and many continue to play today. Unfortunately as of writing the player number has dropped to 6.8m subscribers, this is mostly due to a mixture of people being burnt out on the MMO scene and wanting a more story driven single player experience but also by Blizzard treading all over the Warcraft lore that people logged into WoW for. Cataclysm first, then Mists of Pandaria decided to go all the way down silly avenue. Warlords of Dreanor looks to potentially go back to the games roots and be friends with the lore of the games pre-WoW.

Alternatives: Star Trek Online; Runescape, Guild Wars II

World of Warcraft System Requirements:

CPU: Intel Pentium D or AMD Athlon 64 X2
OS: Windows XP/Vista/7 with latest service pack
RAM: 2 GB RAM (1 GB Windows XP)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6800 or ATI Radeon X1600 Pro
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 25 GB

There are many other great games out there that can run on older computers. Too many to list. Please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comment box below.

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