So you invested your hard earned money into a new budget gaming laptop, but you just didn’t have the cash to drop thousands of dollars on a high-end system. So now you are worried if there are games out there that you can play. Don’t worry. There are more than enough amazing games out there that you can easily enjoy on your budget gaming laptop.
Today we will examine five classic PC games you can play on a budget gaming laptop with relative ease. All of these games cover almost all of the most popular gaming genres today and will give you hours upon hours of fun and amazing gaming without the need for a high-end system. Are you ready to check out the list? Let’s get started…
In my experience, real-time strategy games are not only one of the best type of games for budget machines, as their graphics requirements are far lower compared to modern first-person shooters, but they are also some of the most fun. Now I realize this is just my opinion, but I do stand by it. Now any self respecting fan of real-time strategy games will be very familiar with this title. Originally released in 1999, this classic title got an HD upgrade back in 2013, and it’s still going strong on Steam today.
With a unique and challenging combination of resource and unit management, battle strategies, and even multiplayer gameplay, Age of Empires 2 HD is one of the most complete real-time strategy games available and is truly a classic. Personally, I’ve spent hours upon hours enjoying this game, both back in the day (yes, I’m old) and in the last few years after its upgrade and re-release. If you enjoy strategy games, and enjoy the faster pace offered by real-time strategy, this is definitely a title you must add to your Steam library.
So many real-time strategy games use the middle ages, or the first civilizations as the backdrop for their gameplay. But, for sci-fi fans, Strarcraft truly shines. Designed by Blizzard, the RTS masters behind Warcraft, Stracraft gives players a more modern and even futuristic take on real-time strategy. With interesting building and vehicles of futuristic war, you can plot and plan the destruction of your opponents.
With Starcraft Remastered, you can again enjoy this amazing title in truly brilliant fashion. Blizzard painstakingly gave the game a complete graphic overhaul, along with many improvements to the interface along with compatibility for modern systems. Still, they managed to keep what made Starcraft so much fun and special intact. In true Blizzard fashion, this game will run quite well on most budget systems, although those with high-end systems will see the biggest improvement. Still, if your system was purchased on a budget, then this is one that you can easily enjoy, whether you are playing it for the first time, or reliving your youth.
3. Civilization IV
If there is one game that is synonymous with strategy, it’s Civilization. Since the early 1990’s this franchise has been going strong. While my personal favorite is probably Civilization II, I still hold a special place in my gaming heart for Civilization IV. If anything, it provides everything that is great about those early titles while evolving the series with better AI, more building options, and great graphics.
For some, Civilization IV is one of the best of the series, eclipsing many of the other releases, which were all strong titles in their own right. Originally released in 2009, this game continues to sport a huge following, despite new releases of the franchise. On Steam, you can pick up the complete edition that features all the different expansions. Whether you like single player, competitive multiplayer, or if you like building your own challenges, you can do it in this game. On top of that, it’s beautiful, and your budget gaming laptop should handle the graphics with little trouble.
4. Quake III Arena
Did you think I was forgetting about first person shooter fans out there? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Beginning with the true classic Wolfenstein 3D and then Doom, first person shooters have dominated computer gaming for decades now. One of the best titles I personally have ever played has to be Quake III Arena. This first person shooter was first released just before Christmas way back in 1999, and at the time it was considered revolutionary.
Today, Quake III Arena is still at the top of its game. While the graphics may look a little dated by 2018 standards, they still hold up rather nicely and are perfect for budget gaming laptops. On top of that, the gameplay is simply superb, and the community even today is highly competitive and very active, giving you a first person multiplayer experience that is second to none. If you enjoy competitive first person play, but your gaming laptop is of the budget variety, this is a great title for you to enjoy.
5. Deus Ex
In the RPG world, there is a sub-genre known as shooter-RPGs. These games take elements from both the role playing genre and the first person shooter category and mush them together to form a completely different type of game. One of the first to do that, was Deus Ex, first released in 2000. With it’s compelling story, interesting gameplay, and challenging problems to solve, it went on to being one of the best games released that year.
Fast forward to today, and this game has really become the model for all other games like it. But, as always, there is nothing like playing the original. Thanks to Steam, you can easily grab a copy of it and add it to your library. Now, the graphics today will look dated, but the game will run amazingly well on any budget gaming rig, laptop or desktop. If the graphics stil bug you, there is an upgrade you can grab on Steam to improve the graphics, although you may take a performance hit based on the specs of your laptop. Still, it may be worth a shot if you want to enjoy amazing graphics alongside a truly amazing title.
Honorable Mention: World of Warcraft
While this is technically not a “classic” game, I still felt that this massively multiplayer online role playing game was worth mentioning. Originally released way back in 2004, World of Warcraft, or WoW as it came to be known, has always been budget PC friendly. Over the years it has received several expansions and even graphic overhauls, but it still stays true to this design philosophy.
At the height of its popularity, millions of players from the around the world signed on to adventure in Azeroth, and while it’s popularity has most definitely declined over the years, millions still flock to the game to enjoy the next expansion released by Blizzard. While it has received a bit of a graphics upgrade, it is still very easy to run and enjoy on even a budget gaming laptop. If you love role playing games, this is one of the best. Just remember, they still use the monthly subscription model, so it will cost you something per month to enjoy.
Now this by no means a be all, end all list of great games you can enjoy on a budget laptop. In fact, there are so many, your choices really are boundless. Gaming brands such as mFortune even build their own online slots games which can be played on even the most basic gaming laptops. Still, I think this list represents some of the best games going back over twenty years. By playing these games, you will not only enjoy a piece of gaming history, but they will provide you with hours upon hours of fun, and you don’t have to drop thousands of dollars on a high-end gaming laptop to do it.
About the author
Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.