What's the oldest game you still play?

by John Stapel

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Quake
(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Think of the hardy videogame perennials you keep installed to pop back into when the mood strikes you, or replay every year or two like a personal ritual. Which one of them dates back the furthest? I've got Pool of Radiance, a downright ancient DD RPG from 1988, on the go at the moment—a game I restart on the regular without ever finishing it as I try again and again to find the perfect party balance of elven fighter/thief and elven fighter/mages.

What's the oldest game you still play?

Here are our answers, plus some from our forum.

Lauren Aitken, Deputy Guides Editor: We have Halo Hogmanay, where we play coop Halo 2. Have done for 6 years now, v fun way to spend it. XCOM 2 and The Witcher 3 will also never be uninstalled, alongside Oblivion. A nice eclectic mix to remind me why I love games.

Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: Confession: I didn't play Quake when it was new,  back in 1996. Heck, I didn't even play it when it was old in 2006, or 2016. I really dug into it for the first time in 2020 (opens in new tab) , and damn did it hold up well. I've kept it installed since then and go back to play something new every few months. First it was the two original expansions, and next up is MachineGames' anniversary episode from last year (opens in new tab) , which I'm very excited to play. 

At some point later this year I expect I'll get the urge for more, and I'll probably play The Forgotten Sepulcher (opens in new tab) . I can't claim to have kept Quake installed for years and years like Jody has with Pool of Radiance, but I have a feeling it's going to be on this SSD until it turns to dust.

The Adoring Fan

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Chris Livingston, Features Producer: At this point it's mainly due to trying out mods, but I still occasionally jump into The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. And once I'm done with whatever mod I'm checking out, I usually stay a while. It's definitely long in the tooth when it comes to looks and it feels weirdly empty (unless the mod I'm trying adds extra NPCs) but it's such a comfortable world to revisit having spent roughly 400 hours in it all those years ago. 

From our forum

ZedClampet: Every now and then I'll play an older game, but the only older games that I repeatedly return to are RE4 and the Roller Coaster Tycoon games. However, all of these have had new editions released since the original games. I think the oldest one is RE4 HD from 2014.

Colif: Torchlight 2: 2012 - although I do play a modded version now, as I have gone back to it on 2 newer computers now and stock game gets predictable after a while.

I recall Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 broke my mouse once (that or mouse died while playing game which made it hard to exit game since its all run from mouse (and/or I didn't know hot keys).

Red Alert's Tanya

(Image credit: EA)

Brian Boru: Are remasters allowed? If yes, then the Command Conquer remaster of the 1995-97 games + expansions will be an annual replay for me. If not, Command Conquer Generals Zero Hour from 2003 is the oldest I have installed. Other regulars from the 00s are Civ4 and the original Crysis pair.

Alm: Apparently Hearthstone is a 2014 game. That's the oldest game I still regularly play.

Frindis: Lotro online. At least once a year I go back to it so I can experience Bree and Shire. Maybe I'll pop inside the housing area and see if there are some lovely house decorations or run one of the race tracks. Last time I played it I took my nephew on a journey to a faraway land. We never did manage to get to that land, but we had fun trying while aggroing just about anything we ran past. It's just a great world to visit. Me on my horse at Bree:

(Image credit: Frindis)

Ryzengang: Hmm, I'm not totally sure, but I think it's probably Oblivion and Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, which are both 2006 games. I had the physical version of Dark Crusade back in the day, and I played it a ton both solo and with my (still) good friend. I still return to it every now and again, it has the additional benefit of being able to run on a toaster, so I can play it on my laptop as well. As for Oblivion, it is my favorite Bethesda game and one that I have a lot of good memories with. For this question it might be a slight stretch, though, because I don't return to it super often.

DXCHASE: I have emulators that are ready to go, I have arcade 1ups in the house with classics ready to go, but as for PC, the oldest game I play/installed is original Doom and other originals like that (Quake, Serious Sam, Hexen etc.)

baldur's gate

(Image credit: Atari)

mainer: I play more older games that new every year, so my library of older games is fairly large. Many of those are re-purchases of older "boxed" versions in digital format, so if I want to play them, they're much easier to install. A lot of those I haven't played in well over 10 years (but, hey, they're there if I want to!). There's also a select group that I go back and play consistently.

As to your question, much would depend upon whether you're accepting remasters or enhanced editions. If yes, then it would be Baldur's Gate 1 (1998 release), but I actually play the enhanced version released in 2013. Same game, but slightly better graphics as well as many other improvements.

If no, then the oldest game that I keep installed and play occasionally would be Half-Life 2 (2002). There's just something about the atmosphere and flow that I've never seen or felt in any other games, regardless of genre. HL2 was way ahead of its time.

Raspberry Pi

(Image credit: Future)

WoodenSaucer: I don't play old games very often. Technically, the oldest for me right now would be some old arcade classics. I build my own arcade cabinet (from a nice kit) a while back and fitted it with a Raspberry Pi with RetroPie on it. It runs a lot of the really old arcade games. I don't play on it much, though.

Frag Maniac: Regarding remasters, well, technically a remake in this one, I played Mafia Definitive Edition not too long ago. At first it brought back that good old feeling from the original, with much better graphics, but when I got to the hardest mode, it was a bit of a let down. The enemies are not nearly as hard to kill on the hardest mode in the remake, and they cannot kill you as easily either. So I never went through panicked moments like I did in the original worrying about dying or running out of ammo. It just wasn't as immersive a game as the original.

Doom

(Image credit: id Software)

ZER0: I have a good amount of retro fps games that I re-play every few years or so (Half Life, Duke Nukem 3d, Unreal Tournament, Quake etc) but the oldest one I return to has to be the original Doom. It's still such a great game in its vanilla state, nevermind the infinite amount of mods and user content that's been produced over the years. It's a classic for a reason.

Johnway: I still very much play retro games on my raspberry pi. Just today I finished the legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the Snes. But the oldest game I play with any consistency is Doom 2, or the community wads to be exact. The work that comes from the modding community is truly outstanding and kept me entertained every weekend when I play for an hour or 2.

Jody Macgregor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was published in 2015, he edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and actually did play every Warhammer videogame.