PC games to appeal to a 12 year old?
July 11, 2006 5:37 PM   Subscribe

My little brother wants some new pc games to play, any suggestions?

He's almost 12, and he has a Windows XP system that isn't special, but should handle most games. He's hassling Mum to let him use his life savings on a PS2, because there's 'no good games to play on a PC'. He's played and enjoyed stuff like Age of Empires, Baldur's Gate and Sims 2, but basically he's convinced that the only 'fun' games are all M, like GTA and Fallout. What are some good games rated less than M, or some M-rated games that might be ok? (Violence is more likely to get parental approval than sex or GTA-style law-breaking). Should he be ok for Fallout now? I never finished it. He doesn't have much money, so games that just keep being fun would be cool.

A secondary issue (possibly the main one, really) is that he wants to be able to play multiplayer stuff with friends. There is a second computer available, but it's running Windows 98 (and not yet networked - should be fixed soon). What are some multiplayer games that would work across these two, in the same category as before?

I'm going down to visit the family today, so I'll try and clear up any questions later on.
posted by jacalata to Computers & Internet (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am always preaching about how much fun bzflag is. It's not for everyone, but there are some complex worlds available to play in, you can make your own, there are different styles of game play (rabbit hunt, capture the flag, free for all) and it's great fun when you are playing with friends.
posted by chrisroberts at 5:50 PM on July 11, 2006

I don't know much about computer games...in fact I am just thinking about getting back into them (last time i really played any was at least 15 years ago), but I am looking at Sid Meier's Pirates! and thinking heavily about getting the 2004 version as the original Pirates! was entertaining for many hours.
posted by iurodivii at 5:52 PM on July 11, 2006

Here's two possibilities:
Deus Ex and it's sequel are good if he likes adventure/rpg/action games all rolled up into one.
Also, the Myst Franchise is really good.
posted by fvox13 at 5:59 PM on July 11, 2006

What about Warcraft 3? That is a great multiplayer game, and should run on Windows 98. It has strategy, humor, and violence.
posted by Loto at 6:16 PM on July 11, 2006

There's FarCry, the PC port of Halo, and the Unreal Tournament series. The first Fallout's good, but Fallout II gives you the option of becoming a sex worker.

The original UT and the Fallout titles will run fine on 98. Quake III is another oldie but goodie.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:19 PM on July 11, 2006

Surely Doom and Quake of various ilks would be worth it.

Far Cry is really good - it's the most fun I've ever had on an FPS.

Is he into any sports? Quite a few of the sports sim games run on PCs as well as the consoles.

Also, if you're a copyright flexible there are emulators out there and I've heard some ROM images may exist on the net.
posted by sien at 6:31 PM on July 11, 2006

Original counter-strike maybe?
posted by cellphone at 6:55 PM on July 11, 2006

The Curse of Monkey Island was brilliantly written, is terribly fun, and a great adventure game. It's clean, cartoony, and gorgeous. And entirely Win 98 capable, if necessary.
posted by disillusioned at 6:55 PM on July 11, 2006

Neverwinter Nights series

Half-Life is violent and gory, but it's all aliens, soldiers and hapless scientists, not dead hookers and cops

Dungeon Siege series

Diablo II
posted by frogan at 6:55 PM on July 11, 2006

Something like Guild Wars can't be beat for longevity...hundreds upon hundreds of hours for $40.
posted by trevyn at 7:03 PM on July 11, 2006

If he's into strategy games, you might want to try Civilization IV. Or really, anything by Sid Meier or Wil Wright.
posted by magodesky at 7:24 PM on July 11, 2006

I remember a lot of kids were obsessed with Myst when I was in middle school. And you can spend hours and hours and hours playing.

Dare I mention educational games? Games like Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego can be played for a long time (never could locate that bitch!) and are pretty damn cheap nowadays.
posted by radioamy at 8:24 PM on July 11, 2006

Diablo II was great fun to play over a LAN. Quake 3 & UT are the other classic LAN games. All *should* work on 98.
posted by devilsbrigade at 8:38 PM on July 11, 2006

Roller Coaster Tycoon & Zoo Tycoon - both are for all ages, but are difficult enough to appeal to an experienced pc gamer (imo). Unfortunately, neither is multi-player though.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:45 PM on July 11, 2006

He definitely has to play Half Life and Half Life 2 if he hasn't. The original HL deathmatch is fun and he could play that multiplayer with his friends, although these days it might take a tiny bit of trickery to avoid having to buy two copies, but not much. (As far as I know my little brother is still using my Steam account from another computer far away and all that happens is I have to re-enter my password sometimes.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:06 PM on July 11, 2006

Warcraft and starcraft are good, and Command & Conquer (the latest one) is very good too.

I've been playing Flat Out with a moderate obsession level recently, and it supports multi player. It's a nice racing game with the added fun of having the driver ejected from the vehicle in terrible crashes. I picked it up for $10.00 new.
posted by tomble at 9:22 PM on July 11, 2006

Survival Project, Maple Story, and Flyff are what the cool kids are playing in my neck of the woods. All of these games can either be played in multi-player mode or alone.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 9:30 PM on July 11, 2006

I don't play multiplayer, so no help there. Unless KoL counts.

My favorite PC game is the Elder Scrolls series (Morrowind, Blood Moon, Tribunal, etc.)
posted by Julnyes at 9:36 PM on July 11, 2006

Grim Fandango is the greatest game ever made. That's just an obvious fact. It will definitely play on a 98 box, not sure about XP (hmm...).

I don't play too many multiplayer-type games, but as I understand it, Counterstrike is still reasonably popular and should still be available for 98.

The System Shock (I've only played SS2) and the Thief series are also the greatest games ever made.

Half-Life is also the greatest game ever made.

I also second Deus Ex.

Myst is also great, but my favorite (Myst III [It has Brad Dourif]) might be a bit much for a 98 machine, and a 12-year-old might find the original dated graphically.

And Curse of Monkey Island is the second greatest game ever made (Really, going cell-style animation was genious. I wish they did that for Escape From...).

Of course, the question is can you find these games?
posted by dirigibleman at 10:37 PM on July 11, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions: a lot I wouldn't have thought of for him, but that sound good. I'll go hunting for them and try and let him pick :)

(more suggestions are welcome: I'll be coming back to it as a reference)
posted by jacalata at 3:17 AM on July 12, 2006

Definitely Warcraft III. In terms of challenge, strategy and just plain fun, I'd rank it near the top of the best games ever made for PC.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:53 AM on July 12, 2006

I'm going to second the new Pirates! It is fun and easy to learn.

Definitely attempt to *cough* acquire collections of old console roms. A collections of SNES games that he can play on his PC (with a gamepad preferably) provides for at least 5 minutes of fun :)

As for multiplayer games, I have had loads of fun with LAN RTS games. So, starcraft, command and conquer generals (with expansion pack, it's not an option :p ), warcraft 3, that sort of thing. I'm going to go against what Faint of Butt said and say that I didn't enjoy warcraft 3 at all, but lots of people seem to.

There are a billion multiplayer FPS games out there, you just need to find one that the parents approve. Counter Strike is a good choice. Enemy Territory (stand alone game based on RTCW) is nice and free. The Ship was just release over Steam and it seems to be a unique and kid-friendly game.
posted by utsutsu at 8:13 AM on July 12, 2006

I amazed no-one has suggested Civilization II. Undeniably the awesomest sim/strategy/management game ever. And you get to learn all about history and technology and stuff, sort of. I never got around to trying Civ IV, but I hear its pretty neat, though may demand I decent PC. [on re-reading the thread I see Civ 4 was indeed suggested, but civ 2 is still great!]

While people are suggesting Monkey Island, I may as well go the whole hog and recommend pretty much any Lucas Arts classic of that ilk - Sam and Max, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and not forgetting my favourite, the unfathombly cool and enjoyable Day of The Tentacle.

Also, you may want to take a look into emulation and general abandonware, if he enjoys old school fun. There is a lot of fantasic free stuff out there.
posted by MetaMonkey at 9:16 AM on July 12, 2006

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