Recommend some games with low computer requirements.
April 27, 2007 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Recommend a computer game that will work smoothly on my computer.

I have a pretty low power IBM laptop (integrated graphics card, but alright RAM and processor), but I want some good games to play.

I tend to like strategy and RTS. Shadow President, Capitalism Plus, Civilization 2, C&C Red Alert are among my favorites.
posted by dkleinst to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (32 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
What's "pretty low power"? (CPU speed? Laptop model?)
posted by mendel at 8:44 PM on April 27, 2007

I'd just play the truly great classic games. Ever tried Starcraft?
posted by krark at 8:50 PM on April 27, 2007

Open TTD. Bonus: If you can, uh 'find' the .GRF and SAMPLE.CAT file from an original Microprose Transport Tycoon Delux game, it's free. TTD is now 'abandonware'.
posted by SpecialK at 9:02 PM on April 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Half life runs on crap hardware. It's quite possibly the greatest FPS ever, and certainly defined much of the genre. Deus Ex is another good one that doesn't require much hardware
posted by cosmicbandito at 9:02 PM on April 27, 2007

nethack is THE game for minimal computer usage.
posted by philomathoholic at 9:20 PM on April 27, 2007

Civ III can run on pretty basic hardware and is not 3d accelerated. Same with all the old Sierra citybuilder games like Caesar, Pharaoh, etc.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:22 PM on April 27, 2007

Response by poster: 1.8 ghz dual core processor, 512 MB RAM
posted by dkleinst at 9:27 PM on April 27, 2007

Your idea of "low power" is... different than everyone else's so far, at least. All the answers so far look to have figured that your laptop was at least several years old.

(As is my knowledge of computer gaming, alas, but my guess would be that only the most cutting-edge games would present problems, and even those would be tunable for lower graphics performance. But people that know better can answer better than I can!)
posted by mendel at 9:39 PM on April 27, 2007

Heh. That's not a low-powered computer. At all. Play anything... you might have some issues with 3d accelerated ray-traced games, but just set the graphics lower and rawk.

As an alternative, raid the $5 bin at your local used games store. You'll be able to run anything in that bin.
posted by SpecialK at 9:44 PM on April 27, 2007

* Have you tried the Heroes of Might & Magic series? HOMM5 is out, but the graphics requirements might be a bit much for a laptop. HOMM4 would probably run fine, if you can find it.
* Age of Empires III
* And of course, to second philomatoholic, nethack is the greatest computer game ever made. And it runs on anything.
posted by molybdenum at 9:48 PM on April 27, 2007

How about anything from the (excellent turn-based strategy) Master of Orion series? Even Master of Orion III, which came out in the last few years, will run on a low-spec system.
posted by gaiamark at 9:48 PM on April 27, 2007

It can probably handle Civ4, if you scale the graphic details back, and maybe settle for a 'small' planet, unless you're willing to tolerate a low framerate (not so important in a turn-based game).

FreeCiv is a pretty viable alternative to the Microprose games.

And of course there's 'abandonware' (like Colonization, which will probably never be re-released).

Emulating a Playstation or Super Nintendo can be amusing for awhile, too, if they weren't the dominant platforms of your console-gaming golden age.
posted by unmake at 9:58 PM on April 27, 2007

Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 and the expansions should run very well. That's a truly great game.

The Gametap service is full of classic games; it would be an excellent choice as well.
posted by Malor at 10:00 PM on April 27, 2007

Galactic Civilizations.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:22 PM on April 27, 2007

Since you mentioned RTS, I second Starcraft if you haven't played it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:30 PM on April 27, 2007

Second Galactic Civilizations II.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:31 PM on April 27, 2007

Oh, second Heroes of Might and Magic also. HOMM5 will NOT run on that laptop, don't even try it, it chugs on my radeon x800 desktop. Don't try 4 either, it's a waste and the redhaired stepchild of the series. Get Heroes 3 complete, it's by far the pinicle of the series and has minimal graphic requirement. Its down to like $20 too with 3 expansion packs.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:35 PM on April 27, 2007

If you like turn based strategy, I would recommend Dominions 3

The graphics are dated (which good for you), but the gameplay is great and the vastness of the game is amazing. The game models just about everything that has ever appeared in a fantasy book, from LoTR to Camelot to Beowulf to Lovecraft to the Three Kingdoms to The Black Company. All it is lacking is cat-people, and that's probably a good thing.
posted by Balna Watya at 10:52 PM on April 27, 2007

I have a 2.4 Ghz, 1 Gig of RAM, and a (rather weak) 128 meg graphics card. Your graphics card is key. 128 is the bare minimum for a lot of newish games, and anything higher is better.

Some of the newest games I try don't work at all or are very sluggish. But some games run surprisingly well. I have an nVidia card, and some games are made to run best with that brand. FarCry and Half-Life 2 ran perfectly on my machine, but Doom 3 was sluggish as hell.
posted by zardoz at 2:31 AM on April 28, 2007

Dungeon Keeper 2 is great, but might be too old...
posted by Martin E. at 3:41 AM on April 28, 2007

Total Annihilation is a) a ground-breaking RTS that's a hell of a lot of fun, and b) pretty old and ran on a Pentium 600 with no graphics card if I recall correctly.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:59 AM on April 28, 2007

Definitely seconding Total Annihilation. You can get it very cheap, and if you look around there are still plenty of free add ons available for download.
posted by tomble at 5:22 AM on April 28, 2007

Get into emulating old game consoles/computers. The emulators don't require a powerful machine, but the games are still very playable today.
posted by humblepigeon at 5:35 AM on April 28, 2007

Total Annihilation:Spring is an open-source recreation of Total Annihilation. Unfortunately, single-player just isn't really there yet, and it focuses on multiplayer, but it is a lot of fun.
posted by kdar at 7:54 AM on April 28, 2007

Worms2 is a late nineties turn-based strategy game that meets your requirements.
posted by Jeff Howard at 8:16 AM on April 28, 2007 This site might help, it scans your computer to see what games it will run.
posted by Cookie Monster at 10:42 AM on April 28, 2007

A bit older, but the original Medieval: Total War's minimum system requirements are:

- 3D Hardware Accelerator Card - 100% DirectX8.1 compatible 16MB video card
- PII 350
- 128MB RAM

Your onboard GPU should be sufficient.

UFO: Aftermath's requirements are:

- PIV 2GHz
- 64MB nVidia GeForce 4MX/ATI Radeon 9300
- 256MB RAM

Which you might be able to meet.
posted by porpoise at 12:14 PM on April 28, 2007

Might seem an obvious suggestion seeing as how you play the original, but Red Alert 2 is such a fun game. It is quite possibly unbestable for pure RTS multiplayer gameplay. It compares very favourable to the newly released C&C3 and will run on really old hardware because it's an old game.

Just don't expect multiplayer gaming over the internet to work easily Hamachi or no Hamachi. I recommend Kali for that!
posted by dance at 2:12 PM on April 28, 2007

Deus Ex
posted by fvox13 at 2:58 PM on April 28, 2007

The Age of Empires and Empire Earth games are RTS with a hint of Civilization. They seem to be a perfect fit for you.
posted by hAndrew at 8:41 PM on April 28, 2007

Ok, it's not really an isometric strategy type game...but as far as I'm concerned it's one of the greatest multiplayer games I've ever played: Soldat.
posted by 6am at 6:53 AM on April 29, 2007

AGD Interactive has remixes of the first two King's Quest games available for free. Highly recommended.
posted by phaded at 10:23 AM on May 2, 2007

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