What games would you put on a Classic PC?

Star Wars: Dark Forces

LucasArts, 1995

Dark Forces could have just been a weak Doom clone with stormtroopers instead of imps, but you could look up and down. You could look up and down. Also, it was just a generally great game, with excellent level and sound design that let you really feel like you'd stepped into the Star Wars universe. (Boba Fett, the guy defeated by a blind man swinging a stick in the films, was way OP though.) —Chris Livingston 

SimCity 2000

Maxis, 1993

It pretty much set the standard for all city builders to come. It smartly switched to an isometric view rather than the top-down view of the original and added a much deeper financial simulation to let us feel like we were really running a city. Plus, after obsessing over your tiny, gleaming metropolis for days or weeks on end, you could summon a UFO to wipe it out, and then rebuild. —Chris Livingston

Star Wars: TIE Fighter

LucasArts, 1994

After a childhood spent wanting to be the reluctantly heroic Han Solo with a Wookie bestie, I don't think I ever once felt the urge to join the Empire, until TIE Fighter came along and suddenly made me realize that blowing up rebel scum was completely awesome. I guess it's just a matter of perspective, but when you're targeting those plucky rebel pilots and turning their X-Wings into space dust, The Emperor doesn't seem like such a bad guy after all. —Chris Livingston

System Shock

Looking Glass, 1994

An immersive sim hellbent on using every key on the keyboard (and half of them just for moving, leaning, and looking around). Comically complex, perhaps, but get over the control scheme and you could immerse yourself in the labyrinthine hallways of an abandoned space station, full of creepy bad guys, audio logs, cool cyberpunk body mods, and so much other cool shit, it's no wonder developers have basically been making new versions of System Shock for 20 years and counting. —Wes Fenlon

The Oregon Trail, Classic Edition

MECC, 1990

They say it was ‘educational,’ but I was most interested in the hunting minigame and the terrible deaths my friends and I suffered. (I guess I did learn what dysentery was.) But now I see the real genius of Oregon Trail, which was definitely not shooting deer. Its event-by-event format, unpredictability and permanent death—it was a board game, really, with event cards and dice rolls—is still being replicated 27 years later in games like FTL and 80 Days. —Tyler Wilde 

Ultima Underworld

Looking Glass, 1992

Ultima Underworld, to put it bluntly, is the single greatest dungeon crawler ever created. And it wasn't just a technological quantum leap forward: Its subterranean world was multi-layered and complex, with good ghouls and bad humans and a troll who wanted nothing more than a taste of home. It's been a quarter of a century since Ultima Underworld came out, and for all its wrinkles and blemishes (and damn near impenetrable interface), it remains an unsurpassed benchmark of the genre. —Andy Chalk

Ultima VI: The False Prophet

Origin Systems, 1990

No way this list would be complete without Lord British. Richard Garriott and Warren Spector designed one of the best of the Ultimas—top three at least—remembered especially for its story, which brings issues of prejudice into Ultima’s fantasy morality dome. I’ll be honest, it’s been a long time since I’ve played any of these games, but our mini memory trove would surely be incomplete without at least one of these foundational RPGs. —Tyler Wilde

Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness 

Warcraft 2's mines, with their cute interlocking stones and Kinkadian snow-dusted shacks, the slightly lopsided conic trees, and the music, especially the music, have all roosted in my memory like visions and sounds from another world. There’s a Winamp playlist in my head that plays "Job's done!" on repeat. Every click and sound and sprite in Warcraft 2 felt satisfying—even just the sound of chopping wood sticks in my mind. Warcraft 2 is a beautiful, and still fun, showcase for Blizzard’s particular design sense, which we see now in the way Hearthstone boards react to clicks with squishy sounds and rattling ironworks. —Tyler Wilde


I began an unhealthy obsession with the post-apocalypse with Wasteland on a C-64. You actually had to create a copy of the original floppy disk to play, as the game would write updates to the world based on your decisions. (You can still play the game today, as it was given away free on an old magazine at one point and later declared abandonware, though inXile later created a remastered version.)

Using an improved version of Interplay's Bard's Tale engine, only with guns and mutants in place of typical fantasy trope, you're part of the Desert Rangers, looking to restore order to the place. Who can forget the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud, with enigmatic leader Charmaine and her search for the Bloodstaff? Or the evil robots taking over Las Vegas, a city that survived the nuclear devastation because, word is, "the house was betting against a missile landing—and no one wins against the house." The game wouldn't get a proper sequel until late 2014 (Fallout was a 'spiritual successor'), headed up by some of the original developers. Have I mentioned I'm stoked for Wasteland 3? —Jarred Walton

Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger

Origin Systems, 1994

It took four CDs to contain Chris Roberts' aspirations, and a then-record $5 million budget to bring his Hollywood-grade sci-fi adventure to life on PC—how appropriate that this was a stepping stone to the most-crowdfunded thing ever (Star Citizen's $153 million and counting). The 11-minute opening FMV (above) rivals the length of modern intro sequences, and the choices you make throughout the campaign trigger different ending cutscenes where giant Jim Henson cats vaporize Luke Skywalker. Timeless. —Evan Lahti

X-COM: UFO Defense

Mythos Games/MicroProse, 1994

And finally, it wouldn't be a classic gaming PC without the chance to get gunned down by Snakemen before you can even leave your Skyranger. —Evan Lahti 

Evan Lahti
Global Editor-in-Chief

Evan's a hardcore FPS enthusiast who joined PC Gamer in 2008. After an era spent publishing reviews, news, and cover features, he now oversees editorial operations for PC Gamer worldwide, including setting policy, training, and editing stories written by the wider team. His most-played FPSes are CS:GO, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Rainbow Six Siege, and Arma 2. His first multiplayer FPS was Quake 2, played on serial LAN in his uncle's basement, the ideal conditions for instilling a lifelong fondness for fragging. Evan also leads production of the PC Gaming Show, the annual E3 showcase event dedicated to PC gaming.