What Windows XP games are must-play?
March 2, 2008 7:26 AM   Subscribe

I've just bought a new dual 2.8 GHz quad-core Xeon Mac Pro, and am planning on running Boot Camp and Windows XP. Having never owned a Windows box before, what games have I missed that are must-play? (I already have the Orange Box, Bioshock, the Hitman trilogy, and Grim Fandango on order.)
posted by rifflesby to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oblivion is a great RPG. Don't even "try" World of Warcraft. It will suck you in like a blackhole. Try the first Half-Life games, they are still fun. For RTS games I enjoy Rise of Rome, Age of Empires and Starcraft. Civ 4 is great too. Plus all those Sim games.
posted by notchristopher at 7:35 AM on March 2, 2008

here ya go

Vice City and San Andreas! With mouse control!

Company of Heroes is unfeasably polished.

I have a deep love of Medieval II: Total War.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:47 AM on March 2, 2008

If you liked Diablo II, then Titan Quest: Gold Edition is a must-own. It has the same mercilessly addictive loot-and-level gameplay, and it fixes everything that you didn't even know was wrong with Diablo II. (One caveat: a number of people who bought the initial pressing of TQ Gold have reported trouble with the online multiplayer due to bad CD keys, but since I'm not playing it online, I don't care.)

Click click click click click click click, and then a monster drops a Murderous Notched Mace of Dexterity, and then you slap a charm on it that converts 8% of attack damage to health. God help, I'm going to boot back into Windows right now.
posted by Prospero at 8:00 AM on March 2, 2008

Neverwinter Nights! (1 not 2) Old game but still absolutely brilliant if you like RPGs. You don't even need a new computer.
posted by katrielalex at 8:00 AM on March 2, 2008

The expansion packs for Neverwinter Nights 1 are particularly bodacious.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:34 AM on March 2, 2008

If you are into RPGs, Baldur's Gate 2, and Neverwinter Nights are very good. Planescape: Torment and Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind (precedes Oblivion) have real depth and are my favorite games.
If you end up liking those, the original Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale (and expansion) are also gold.

Starcraft and Warcraft 3 are a lot of fun, though their multiplayer aspects have died off. Starcraft 2, when it comes out, is a must buy.
posted by Ctrl_Alt_ep at 8:34 AM on March 2, 2008

One thing you should be aware of: the onboard audio is pretty weak, just stereo only, and the Windows drivers suck. I don't like Creative much, but as far as I know, their PCI Express X-Fi is the only PCIe soundcard available.

Alternately, you can pick up a Turtle Beach Audio Advantage SRM, which is a 7.1 soundcard on USB. It works surprisingly well. I used the TBAA when I was gaming on my first-gen Mac Pro, and it worked very nicely.

As far as actual games go: dear God. There's so many. Civ 4 is excellent. Longest Journey, No One Lives Forever 1, Diablo 2, Company of Heroes, Master of Orion 2, Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, Planescape: Torment... god there's just been so many.

DO NOT install World of Warcraft until you're done with your other PC gaming. Your days as a gamer will end abruptly; you will be a WoWer instead.
posted by Malor at 8:43 AM on March 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by neuron at 9:02 AM on March 2, 2008

I've recommended this twice in less than 24 hours, wow. Play Fallout and Fallout 2. Avoid Fallout: Tactics. The third one is coming out later this year (hopefully) and looks to be supremely awesome.

If you like Grim Fandango, the Monkey Island games are an obvious choice (albeit, a little hard to find these days). Sam & Max as well, both the old classic if you can find it and the new episodic series.

And yes, stay away from WoW unless you want it to be the only game you play basically ever. I did it for over two years and believe it, it is fun, but it ain't worth it.
posted by Nelsormensch at 9:17 AM on March 2, 2008

A note: not knocking anyone's recommendations, but many of the games listed above are readily available in Mac versions: Fallout 1 and 2, Civ 4, Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 (though IIRC you need some fan-made software to get BG1 running on an Intel Mac), Neverwinter Nights, Halo, Sims games, and anything by Blizzard. The OP appears to be asking about games that he wouldn't have been able to run without Boot Camp.

That said, it may be the case sometimes that the Mac versions of these games are more expensive, or don't perform as well due to shoddy porting (except for the Blizzard games, where the Win/Mac versions come in the same package). I have had no performance issues with the Mac versions of Fallout 1 and 2, Civ 4, or the Sims games--those are the only ones I can speak about from my list above.
posted by Prospero at 9:30 AM on March 2, 2008

The Total War series is fantastic if you like historical strategy. Laying siege, infantry formations, flanking maneuvers, etc. Superb graphics.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:35 AM on March 2, 2008

System Shock II and Deus Ex are two great fps that really blew my mind when they were released, i'm not sure how they would hold their own now though.
More recently Psychonaut is a lot of fun.
posted by SageLeVoid at 10:54 AM on March 2, 2008

One area that has never made it to the Mac are the Tom Clancy games. I've heard of UBI games having problems with boot-camp macs, but that might have been during the beta. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is, IMHO, the best of the Splinter Cell franchise. R6 Vegas is a good time, and the original Ghost Recon (from way back when) is an outstanding, challenging, adult milsim shooter. The recent GRAW games are good too, but different.

There are great games that are available on the mac, such as Rise of Nations, C&C Generals (with expack), and of course, WoW.

WoW will suck up your life, but it's an excellent, well-made, immersive game that caters very well to people that are more interested in making decisions than using fast-twitch reflexes. Plus it manages to satisfy the pleasure centers involved in making money, shopping, exploring, traveling, socializing, and looking at the clock and having no idea whether it's 5AM or 5PM. But, like an increasing number of games, it's available for the Mac.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 11:50 AM on March 2, 2008

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. This game stole the summer of '99 from me.
posted by Brandon1600 at 2:07 PM on March 2, 2008

I don't have a machine capable of doing the big 3D games justice, but I absolutely love Audiosurf right now.
posted by coach_mcguirk at 2:13 PM on March 2, 2008

Total Annihilation (though it's a bit dated and you may have trouble making it run) and the original Half-Life. If you're into racing games, Colin McRae Rally (don't recall which version, sorry, there are several) is pretty decent.

Since you have a grunty box, try Supreme Commander - it's apparently a worthy successor to TA.
posted by polyglot at 9:49 PM on March 2, 2008

Hey, this is still open. Neat.

So, as far as RPGs go, Neverwinter Nights 1 (plus expansions!), Baldur's Gate 1, and The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind (with or without expansions, but the whole shebang is cheap enough now).

Since you included Grim Fandango, I'm guessing you're looking for older somewhat older (Windows 98-era) games, too. So, if you're remotely into FPS games, do yourself a favor and find Thief: The Dark Project and Thief II: The Metal Age somewhere and play them. They're amazingly atmospheric games.

Also, Gish -- tough, innovative, very fun platformer.
posted by cog_nate at 10:22 PM on August 1, 2008

Also: Oblivion... *shrug*. I just played through it, enjoyed it, don't really regret the $10 I spent on it. It's very pretty, but virtually all the choices you're given as a character are:
1) Yes, I'll kick ass for your cause this very instant; or
2) I'll probably kick ass for your cause, but let me rest up a bit first.

Morrowind is much more fun, and has weirder creatures to boot.
posted by cog_nate at 10:28 PM on August 1, 2008

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