Deep but lightweight PC games?
September 8, 2006 8:25 AM   Subscribe

I want to install at least 6-12 good games into a 100-150MB space on my six-year-old laptop (WinXP). Besides the limited disk space, other restrictions are: no accelerated graphics and a non-working CD drive. What are the best games you can think of that would fit?

Either free or payware are fine, in all genres. "Lightweight" is a relative term -- Nethack and some interactive fiction come to mind, but I'm also considering Civ II (which I hope can be installed over a network or from a USB key).

Space is obviously at a premium, but if you have a favorite game that weighs in at a bloated 100 megabytes, let me know! The best mix may be one or two larger games and several small ones.
posted by steadystate to Computers & Internet (25 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Don't many of the flash games sites offer downloadable version of their games? Like Bejewelled, etc.

Also, I have a copy of "Treasures of Infocom" on floppy, which doesn't take up a lot of drive space. Can't beat that.
posted by GuyZero at 8:35 AM on September 8, 2006

Dig around Home of the Underdogs. Many of the games listed (and available for download) on that site are really small, like 1-3 MB. My all-time favorite, Dungeon Master, is a paltry 875 KB.
posted by cog_nate at 8:40 AM on September 8, 2006

Try Baf's Guide for plenty of downloadable freeware interactive fiction.

You might also try the Ur-Quan Masters, a modern port of the absolutely classic "Star Control II." I can't tell from the website how much space it takes up, but if you selectively download files (the sound, music, and especially voice files are relatively skippable), you can probably get in under your limits.
posted by Iridic at 8:47 AM on September 8, 2006

don't know about yours, but my copy of civ 2 requires a working cd player to play.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 8:48 AM on September 8, 2006

Maybe not super "deep", but The Adventures of Sam and Max remains one of my favourite classic PC games.
posted by patr1ck at 8:49 AM on September 8, 2006

Last time I checked, Abandonia had a version of Civ 2 that could be downloaded and played without a CD. (Not exactly legal, of course.)
posted by Iridic at 8:53 AM on September 8, 2006

the abandonware sites have copies of master of orion and master of magic ... some have said these are difficult to run on xp, but i've found that if you use a fat32 file system and turn the sound off that it's easy
posted by pyramid termite at 8:57 AM on September 8, 2006

Off the top of my head:

Doom (250k before WAD files)
Duke (weighing only a couple of megs)
Incredible Machine 3 is rather heavy at 40ish megs, but is quite worthwhile. You might try to score an earlier version for something smaller.
N is held in wide regard.
Ultima 4 is my second-favorite Ultima, and it's pretty small.
Star Control 2 is, of course, a classic.

Don't neglect the possibilities that emulators offer, too:
ScummVM is small, and it's up to you to choose how much game data you want.
snes9X and some ROMs would go a long way.
RockNES, too, and the ROMs are smaller.
AppleWin is quite small, and disk images don't take up much space.
Frodo and the arnold archive will go quite a ways, too, and usually the C64 version of a game is better than all others.
posted by majick at 9:06 AM on September 8, 2006

If you are going play some doom, check out JDoom
This brings up the file size of course, but is totally legal assuming you own the wad files already. You don't have to install all of the optional 3d models, but it is worth it for dynamic lighting, mouse look and jumping.
posted by utsutsu at 9:12 AM on September 8, 2006

Warlords 2 - not downloadable for free but I can always e-mail it to you by accident.

Ancient Domains of Mystery - hardest roguelike game ever, but may also be the best one. I was thouroughly addicted to this for months.

And I third Ur-Quan Masters (Star Control 2), it's awesome.
posted by Vindaloo at 9:15 AM on September 8, 2006

You could try some graphic adventures, like Day of the Tentacles, the King's Quest games, or Sam & Max. The first two Monkey Island games are very lightweight, too.

Other game would be Settlers, a classic economical strategy game. Of course, SimCity 2000, Warcraft 2 and Colonization are classics too.

For action, you have Doom and Descent. I think that even Duke Nukem 3D would fit in that space.
posted by Memo at 9:15 AM on September 8, 2006

star control 2/ur quan masters fourthed (?).
other than that, I would go for some snes/gba emulation.
snes roms top out at around 5mb if you keep them zipped.
gba at 24mb zipped, but the vast majority of titles should come in under 15mb zipped.
posted by juv3nal at 9:28 AM on September 8, 2006

Master of Magic. Iy's like an RPG version of civilization. It was on the Undersogs website last I checked.
if you like side-scrolling shooters, I suggest Raptor: Call of the Shadows.
posted by jmd82 at 10:00 AM on September 8, 2006

If the computer is fast enough to emulate C64 or NES, there's always that option (the disk/cart images are only perhaps 64-128k each).
posted by neckro23 at 10:12 AM on September 8, 2006

Pocket Tanks
posted by djb at 10:14 AM on September 8, 2006

Great suggestions all, thank you. (I can't believe I forgot about SC2.) Keep them coming!

LSP: my copy of Civ 2 doesn't require the CD to be in the drive while playing. Of course, that's no guarantee that it can be installed without having the drive in the first place.
posted by steadystate at 10:43 AM on September 8, 2006

Install Civ2 on another machine & copy the files over. Mine never required the CD to be in the drive, but I bought it relatively late.
posted by devilsbrigade at 11:16 AM on September 8, 2006

How about Uplink? I think it's a little over 100MB though, but I love it.
posted by djgh at 11:55 AM on September 8, 2006

For older games, if you have a copy of Win95 or 98 lying around you can install MS Virtual PC 2004 (free!), install 95 or 98 on your virtual PC, and run games from there. Seems to work well. Much easier in some cases than trying to coax old games into working on XP.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:07 PM on September 8, 2006

Yo fellas thanks for the Ur-quan masters link! THat game rocks.
posted by Mister_A at 1:35 PM on September 8, 2006

Another vote for old-skool graphic adventures - download ScummVM and a few games like Monkey Island or Indiana Jones, and lose yourself for a few months.
posted by greycap at 2:36 PM on September 8, 2006

If your computer can run it, I highly recommend Toribash. Otherwise, I'll second N, and also STRONGLY suggest Doukutsu Monogatari/Cave Story.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:55 PM on September 8, 2006

ah. forgot about cave story. yes count me as another vote for cave story.

also, if you're into abstract schmups you could do a lot worse than load up on kenta cho shooters.
mono is quite good too.
posted by juv3nal at 3:06 PM on September 8, 2006

For older games, if you have a copy of Win95 or 98 lying around you can install MS Virtual PC 2004 (free!), install 95 or 98 on your virtual PC, and run games from there.

not in 100-150 megs space ... however, it might be worth trying with DOS
posted by pyramid termite at 9:14 PM on September 8, 2006

Since a few people have bookmarked this thread, I thought I would follow up with some other small games I found and enjoy:

Seiklus is a gentle platformer/adventure game. The graphics are cartoonlike and have a hand-drawn feel, but the main draw is the variety of the different worlds you explore. A good game to relax with.
Akuji the Demon is a "Metroidvania"-style game in the same vein as Cave Story, but shorter.

Strange Adventures in Infinite Space: a space exploration game with combat and trading elements. Games are brief (the average is about ten minutes long), so it's good for short breaks. A demo is available here.
Oasis: I love this. It's like Minesweeper dressed up as a Civ game, with a setting in ancient Egypt. The strategic elements outweigh the player's luck, imho. Individual levels are quick (5 minutes or so), and very addicting. A demo is here.
posted by steadystate at 8:06 AM on September 19, 2006

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