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What PC games started it all for you?

One discussion topic that my friends and I bring up every couple of months when we take a trip down PC gaming memory lane is: The game(s) that really kicked off our interest in PC gaming.

For me, and likely many of us I'm sure, I can date my first adventures into the gaming world with the help of an Atari 2600 or NES system. But I’m talking about PC gaming in particular – the game(s) that might’ve pushed your PC and FPS to the limits and made you think, “maybe it’s time I start looking into building a computer…”

I didn’t seriously start PC gaming until around my early teens. Games like Warcraft 3, Unreal Tournament 2004, and Doom 3 were a few of the games that really kicked off my interest in PC gaming. My uncle even helped build my first PC that had a whopping 4GB of memory, but a generic, integrated GPU. Still, I was over the moon!

You can almost make out what's going on here in Unreal Tournament 2004!You can almost make out what's going on here in Unreal Tournament 2004!


This was also during a time before I knew of any voice chat software, so my friends and I would just call each other on the phone to game together. (Yes, my mom used to yell at us to get off the phone since we had hogged the phone line all day.)

I can remember playing custom games like “Footman Wars” and Tower Defenses in Warcraft 3 that really pushed my frames to the limit (so much FPS lag during larger battles that I would just disconnect from the game; example below), and UT 2004/Doom 3 looking like a bunch of pixels (UT 2004 pictured above / Doom 3 not pictured because it still gives me nightmares 😅).

Example of Footmen Wars in WC III. This kind of scenario would have lagged me until I most likely DC'd, lol.Example of Footmen Wars in WC III. This kind of scenario would have lagged me until I most likely DC'd, lol.

That PC lasted me throughout high school until I got a laptop for college – which essentially became a World of Warcraft machine for years (which also brought back the FPS lag during larger raids, LOL).

I could go on and on about other games that were part of my “PC gaming movement”, but I’d love to hear about your stories of games and PCs that kickstarted your passion as they did for me!

100 Replies

The tomb raider was what got me interested in games but the straw that was missing was when "open world" games appeared after that there is no going back. 😉

Journeyman III

Scram on my Atari 800. Yep, I'm that old. 

Ryzen 7 5800X Radeon 6800 Asus Tuf Gaming X570 wifi
Adept II

For me it’s bioshock infinite. I originally built a pc for my senior project back in highschool with a small budget so all I could afford was an apu build using an a8-7600. Back in 2016ish ryzen hadn’t come out and intel was expensive so I made due. Modern games wouldn’t run so I looked to the 360 era of games and I found bioshock infinite on sale. I played through that whole game straight at 720p medium 40ish fps still one of my favorite games and moments.

Adept II

Some golf game back in the 1980's, all I can really remember about it is that it was golf and everything was green.

The very first video game I've ever played was either Lion King or Aladdin for the DOS (basically played both around the same time honestly), but the first one that really did it for me was either Age of Empires 2 or Heroes of Might and Magic 3 - I can't quite remember which.

It actually makes me so happy knowing that both are still maintained and updated. AoE2 keeps getting updates and patches, as well as new DLCs. HoMM3 is supported heavily by the modding community and is available with an HD remaster on GOG.

電腦 : 5800X3D • Sapphire Pulse 6800XT • 32GB 3600 • B550 Tomahawk • Superflower 850W Gold • Phanteks 400A Digital

AoE is getting a lot of love here. I never played it unfortunately and now it feels like I really missed out on something great! Maybe I'll have to look into AoE 2...

AoE 2 was groundbreaking really, but if you have played AoE3 or 4 it is hard to go back to 2 due to the QoL changes.

However, if you have never played the others then AoE2 will be a lot of fun.

This is why I can NEVER play Diablo 2 again after playing 3, the QoL is just too much to give up.

**Canadian Gamer & Father -** - Live Wed & Fri at 8:00pm PST - Come join!

Thoughts on Diablo 4? 👀

I've actually been a little in the dark about Diablo 4. I know I've seen that information has been trickling out, but I feel like I just ignored it. Might have to take a step back and go read some of the articles.

**Canadian Gamer & Father -** - Live Wed & Fri at 8:00pm PST - Come join!
Not applicable

Did not play diablo but I did play Torchlight II same guys did work on that game and game is good.

Torchlight (I and II) was loads of fun for sure!

Not applicable

Did you try Fields of Glory Empires? I love that type of strategy game.

Fields of Glory Kingdoms will come soon and I am very excited.

I think I played Torchlight II a bit, that was indeed a fun game!

**Canadian Gamer & Father -** - Live Wed & Fri at 8:00pm PST - Come join!
Not applicable

I played AoE 3 online but problem is with unit balance. Maybe AoE 2 is most played AoE game because of best balance when you play online. I dare say and I must say Age of Mythology and Age of Empires are same game. Only difference are myth units like pegasus, minotaur, hydra, medusa etc.

Yes again I talk about Age of Mythology. Same as you I want to try Age of Empires 2 but I still did not because of old graphics and did not play it when I was kid like Age of Mythology yes I said it again.

Age of Empires 2 only if you want to play competitive and if you are casual player better go for newest and that is Age of Empires 4 but it will cost most. If you want to try you can go with cheapest because all aoe games and aom have same system. You can try aoe 2 aoe 3 and aom for free on gameranger online. Some steam players did play Age of Empires 3 on gameranger.

Not applicable

My mistake wanted to reply one post above

no discount for AoE now but AoM is on big discount on steam.

I follow this page for free games I got For Honor on steam for free.

Good looking out! I'm always happy to find free things... 😂

Adept II

Used to play Doom, Duke Nukem on friends' computers

My first build was a Duron 600 Mhz with an ATI all in wonder Rage 128 pro.

Started with Command & Conquer 2, Quake III, F16, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, MOHAA, F16 etc.

Wolfenstein 3D was the main one then Doom!

I'm loving all the Doom in here. One of my favorites!

Duke Nukem is a throwback! I was definitely too young to be playing that game... well, as with most of those games... hahaha

Duke nukem! what a great game!


Well, if I have to stick to PC (I go back to the Intellivision console) then I'd have to say it was splitting my time between F-19 Stealth Fighter and Wolfenstein 3D (before Mouse & Keyboard controls) on a 386 PC. My first foray into online gaming was Quake, back when CD-ROM drives were just starting to become a commonplace thing and the 5.25" floppy drive was pretty much dead. Back then, Quake was Shareware. You did the full install of the game off the CD, and passed it on to a buddy who did the same, rinse and repeat. That was back in the day of the Pentium 133/166 being kings of the heap (Pre-MMX, no less) and dialup internet speeds of 28.8 Kbps. I was the first kid on the block to get a high speed internet connection (Dad was pretty choked at the long distance bill after the 50 free hours of AOL) and it was all downhill from there.

My first build was a P233MMX overclocked to something insane like 300 MHz... all before CPU cooling became a thing. Then came the K6-III+ and I've been on AMD builds ever since. Heck, I still remember when ATI was a Canadian firm, and made the All-In-Wonder... one of the first times I ever dropped something into an expansion slot on a motherboard. Back then, no one paid attention to nVidia. It was either an AIW, or a 3DFX Voodoo card for your graphics.

And ever since that fateful evening in early 1997 when I went online for the first time to play Multiplayer Quake and learned that the arrow keys were gonna get me killed, regardless of my sub-100 ping times to the servers, I learned to play Mouse & Keyboard and haven't looked back. It's a small miracle I don't have Carpal Tunnel.

Performance over Pretty.

If Mouse + Keyboard combinations controls were not options when I first started gaming then I highly doubt I would've been interested in playing video games because I can't use Controllers.

Adept III

Wolfenstein 3D - I was 5, slightly emotionally scarred after, but hey. I turned alright, kinda.

Did you play it on Nightmare mode? That's when stuff got REALLY fun!

Performance over Pretty.
Journeyman III

halflife, I played it for years without knowing anything about resolution, so I played it pixellated for a good years hAHA

Volunteer Moderator

So how did you learn to adjust the settings in a game?  Did someone show you or did you get curious?

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
Volunteer Moderator

Did I post here already?  I don't see it.  Anyway, Pong was the first game that got me excited about video games.  But as for PC games, I think it was either Quake II or Unreal.  My favorite PC game has been Serious Sam.  Why?  Because I don't die right away.  I'm not the best gamer around you see.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".

Pong, I miss that simple thing.

I really need to buy an ATARI Flashback for this XMAS!

The Englishman
Adept III

Visually Warcraft 3, when I was watching the Frozen Throne cinematics I felt the need to get better graphics experience.
Technically GTA was the first game that pushed my early PC specs limit being an open world game.
The Need for Speed series also kept me on the edge to improve responsiveness and smoothness of gameplay on my PC.

Ryzen 7 5800x (Desktop), Ryzen 7 6800H (Laptop)

Blizzard really did have some of the best cinematics...

Adept III

My First Computer games were - Zork and Sierra classics such as King's Quest, Hero's Quest/Quest for Glory and Space Quest.

But Loved XWing/TieFighter, Wing Commander Series and Ultima VI and Ultima VII and Ultima Online

Adept I

That's a long time ago. 😄 Prince of Persia. With a 80286 cpu at 12MHz.

Ryzen 5 5600 X / MSI MECH2x RX 6750 XT / MSI B550 Gaming Plus / 32 GB DDR4 @3200 MHz

Before any real 3D FPS games existed, I knew I wanted to play a game where I could move inside somewhere the same way you move when you walk and to this day, I still like FPS view the most.

My first PC game was 

The first one that made we just stare it was Unreal. The graphics right from the intro/menu were something never seen before and I was lucky to own a 3Dfx Voodoo 2 which actually made it possible to run it at 1024x768 (which was the dream resolution not many could play at at that time) and get what was considered a smooth fraterate. Can't remember how many fps, but smooth - I did have Voodoo2 SLI at one point, but can't remember anymore if I already had that. I still kind of wish they made the first Unreal again. Just keep the original idea and basic story and built upon it with a new engine, more in-depth story and graphics at a level never seen before.


What a great idea and a great response.  Thanks for the opportunity and the trip down memory lane.  So many things and games I have forgotten.  That is until yesterday when my wife pulled that box of user manuals out of the basement.  It was filled with 50-60 manuals, a lot of Commodore and some MS-DOS.  From Machine Language to gamming.

Famous last words of a RedNeck "Hey Ya'll, WATCH THIS"
Adept I

pour moi c'était le jeu Diablo.


Descent.   old school

Journeyman III

gonna show some age here...

Jill of the Jungle
Wolfenstein and Spear of Destiny
Tie Fighter
Prince of Persia (the original)
Countless other free games that came on shareware/freeware CDs and floppys

Ryzen 9 7900X | Radeon 7900XTX
Adept III

Atari Warlords, but the game i played the most 'back in the day' Commodore 64 Bards Tale III Thief of Fate.

My Archmage alone was 100lvls each of Conjurer, Magician, Sorcerer, Wizard; so basically a 500 lvl spellcater with all spells in the game except Chrono and Geo. My Chromancer was duplicate save character of my 100 lvl Archmage.  Then I raised said Chronomancer to 120...that is 620 total levels worth of spellcasters.

My party was a max lvl Paladin, Monk, Rogue, Bard, Geomancer, 2 Archmages, and a Chronomancer. 

If there was achievements for this game, I definitely would have 100% of all of them.  I literally had to buy a new disc drive to play the game.  This game also let me know without doubt RPG's are my Favorite Genre ever, and Spellcasters are my first choice.


First actual pc game, I do not remember,  but first pc game with alot of invested hours Civilization 0.83 i think the version was.  Next notable invested hours...Diablo II DEMO, I played the demo to death...raised my demo character to over lvl70 (that is a crazy long time) Then I actually bought the game and expansion. I beat the game and expansion with every class... and then omg I discovered Mod's. I would have to sort through the list of them to tell you which ones I played.

Michael Alan Horton
Adept II

oh man ... Sim City, Sim Tower, Diablo and NES emulators !