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June 25, 2019 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Please suggest some games I can run on my very antique laptop.

I have a Sony Vaio from 2008 (now running Windows 7 Pro) that serves as a "read email, watch YouTube, and read Metafilter" machine in our living room.

I would also like to play some casual games on this machine as well, but I'm having trouble finding anything that will run. Basically the video card is the issue. Can you suggest games that I can play on this machine? I had high hopes for Hearthstone, but I can't get it to install.

Games I enjoy on other machines: Minecraft, Diablo, Undertale, Monument Valley, Splatoon, Hearthstone.
Games I want to play but don't have a machine for right now: Hollow Knight, Cuphead (which I would suck at), Kenshi. I would also be ok with some e-versions of board games like Carcassonne or Seven Wonders provided that there was a robust community to play against.

Specs: 3 GB RAM, Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 CPU, 2 GHz, Mobile Intel(R) 4 Series Express Chipset Family Video Card (I assume this last thing is the issue, generally, but I can't change it)

Any suggestions?
posted by anastasiav to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
The Blackwell Legacy series is minimally demanding but a fantastic story-based point and click. Point and clicks in general may be your best bet--try also The Dark Eye and Night of the Rabbit. Double check on Can You Run It first tho.
posted by brook horse at 2:18 PM on June 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I can't recommend West of Loathing enough. Hilarious great fun.

I expect it will work as it is not graphics intensive, featuring "lush hand-drawn black and white graphics".

Steam's Minimum System Requirements for it are:
OS: Windows XP SP2+
Processor: 2.8 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo or better
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: 512 MB
Storage: 4 GB available space
posted by zinon at 2:22 PM on June 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'll ditto the Blackwell Legacy series. They're fantastic.
posted by juv3nal at 2:43 PM on June 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Most of these games probably won't tax your system:

Software Library MS DOS games
posted by Julnyes at 2:45 PM on June 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

A little searching suggests this video card is also known as the Intel GMA 4500MHD, which was an entry-level GPU even when it was released in 2008. Notebookcheck.com has a page full of benchmarks and FPS scores for various games; the performance is pretty abysmal, but here are some titles it can run tolerably well:

Sims 3 (low)
Trackmania Nations Forever (low)
F.E.A.R. (low)
Quake 3 Arena (high)

It has marginally playable FPS scores for other titles, but most of them say "The benchmarks indicate that the game is not playable in the tested settings," which suggests to me there were other issues.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:04 PM on June 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed the Guild of Dungeoneering which has pretty simple graphics.

Also Darkest Dungeon
posted by vespertinism at 3:11 PM on June 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

tagpro is a browser-based coop capture the flag game that's easy to learn but takes years to master.
posted by noloveforned at 5:18 PM on June 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

I played Fez with no problem on a very underpowered MacBook Air (but with 8 GB of RAM) so you may be able to do that but I’m not sure.
posted by rustcellar at 8:36 PM on June 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Maybe Rogue Legacy? It's a challenging, cheeky roguelike platformer with pixel graphics. Every time you die (and you'll die a lot), you spend whatever gold you collected on upgrades, and you choose which of your player character's descendants will take up your quest. Each heir has unique attributes, which affect gameplay – tall, short, color-blind, fast-moving, dyslexic, forgetful, etc. And the castle is different every time, which keeps gameplay varied. As you progress through the upgrade tree, across many generations, you'll be able to penetrate deeper into the castle. It's fun.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:31 AM on June 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

If it can run Sims3, it should be able to run the original Tropico, and possibly Tropico 2.
posted by somanyamys at 5:57 AM on June 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Torchlight is a great Diablo-alike and has a lot of options for adjusting the graphics to improve performance. I think Runic had machines like yours in mind when they released it initially (in 2009). One of my favorite games!
posted by aparrish at 6:46 AM on June 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Spelunky (either the original, or Spelunky HD would probably be fine.) Jasper's Journeys. Cave Story. FTL. PixelJunk Shooter. Any Amanita game (Samorost etc.) Voxatron.
posted by snarfois at 7:05 AM on June 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Check out the brilliant and atmospheric platformers by Nifflas. Within a Deep Forest and Knytt series are really nice and don't require new hardware. The developer's website is a little weird at the moment, but check out this wiki for some info.
posted by msbrauer at 1:36 PM on June 26, 2019

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