Oldest PC Games

8 of the Oldest PC Games Ever Created

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If you’re a product of the 1980s or 1990s, congrats – you grew up in the era of PC games!

While computer games had technically been around for decades before this window of time, the last several years of the 20th century brought with them a surge in computer game production and sales. As more and more people purchased PCs, gaming became popular and accessible from the comfort of one’s home, no longer involving a trip to the local arcade.

Ready to take a stroll down memory lane, or just to learn more about the earliest PC games? You’ve come to the right place! …Just don’t be too disappointed when you discover that your favorite computer game hasn’t had a production run in 15 years.

8. Minecraft

Production year: 2009
Current popularity/availability: High
Audience: General
Platforms: Microsoft Windows; macOS; Linux

Minecraftphoto source: Wikipedia

Minecraft has been a major success for developers Mojang Studios since its birth in 2009. Since that time, the game has been adapted for a variety of gaming platforms, and went on to be purchased by Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion (yes, you read that right)!

The premise of Minecraft is simple. In fact, there are no specific goals to accomplish as a gamer. Rather, the game is all about world-building and navigation. Using a variety of 3D objects that the player can harvest – such as dirt, stone, and even water and lava – they move through the Minecraft universe, placing these objects in a way that allows them to build things.

In September, 2019, The Guardian named Minecraft “the best…game of the 21st century.”

Did You Know?

Minecraft has received countless awards over the years. A few of them include “the fourth-best game to play at work” (PC Gamer), “Best Downloadable Game of 2010” (Good Game), and “Game of the Year” (PC Gamer UK).


7. Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower

Production year: 2001
Current popularity/availability: Low
Audience: General
Platforms: Microsoft Windows

Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Towerphoto source: Wikipedia

Though the game has long been retired, the Nancy Drew PC game series was quite popular when it launched in 1998. The fourth game in the series, “Treasure in the Royal Tower,” was produced in 2001, bringing with it tens of thousands of sales in just the first few months.

As a whole, the Nancy Drew series reached a combined 2.1 million sales in the United States alone by 2006. The games were based loosely off of the famous Nancy Drew books, making them instantly recognizable to fans of the series.

With a gorgeously-animated world and true-to-life characters, the Nancy Drew PC games were bestsellers for their time.

Did You Know?

The New York Times once called the Nancy Drew PC series “The Un-Barbie of computer games,” thanks to the game’s clever, career-driven female main character.


6. The Sims

Production year: 2000
Current popularity/availability: High
Audience: Teens
Platforms: PlayStation 2; Microsoft Windows; Mac OS; Mac OS X; GameCube; Xbox

The Simsphoto source: Wikipedia

A true classic when it comes to PC games, The Sims launched in 2000 as a life simulation game, where users could design their own characters and build their own homes and lives. To date, The Sims franchise has sold around 200 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling computer games of all time.

With their Sim characters, users could start families, build careers, and perform a wide range of daily activities. The original Sims computer game became foundational for several successful expansion packs, such as “The Sims Hot Date,” “The Sims Livin’ Large,” and “The Sims Vacation,” to name just a few.

Today, the Sims franchise includes 4 different versions and multiple expansion packs. It is still widely-played, and has crossed over into the video game realm in recent years.

Did You Know?

In July, 2020, a TV show premiered on TBS called The Sims Spark’d. The show followed 12 contestants who regularly played The Sims on their online gaming channels as they created new games and stories with The Sims 4. The contestants’ Sims games were judged by a panel, and the winner took home a $100,000 prize.


5. Laura’s Happy Adventures

Production year: 1998
Current popularity/availability: None
Audience: Children
Platforms: PlayStation; Microsoft Windows

Laura’s Happy Adventuresphoto source: Wikipedia

Who was a fan of Playmobil back in the day?

Laura’s Happy Adventures was produced in 1998 for fans of the Lego-like hobby. The game was built around a real-life Playmobil piece, dubbed “Laura,” whom players navigated around a small town, doing good deeds for the many people she encountered.

Ubi Soft Montreal, the producer of the game, only developed Laura’s Happy Adventures for Windows PC, and later for Game Boy Color (which was renamed Laura). It was well-received when it came out by both critics and players alike, and was particularly widely-played in Europe.

Did You Know?

After the successful completion of Laura’s Happy Adventures, Ubi Soft Montreal produced two more Playmobil-themed games: Alex Builds His Farm (1999) and Hype: The Time Quest (1999).


4. Frogger!

Production year: 1997
Current popularity/availability: Moderate
Audience: General
Platforms: PlayStation; Microsoft Windows

Froggerphoto source: Wikipedia

Though the original Frogger was a classic 1980s arcade game, the PC version made its debut in ’97, selling almost one million copies in less than four months. By August, 2006 – less than a decade later – the PC version of the game alone had earned $4.3 million.

The premise of Frogger is simple: players must find five different-colored frogs within a certain amount of time; otherwise, the player will lose a life. There are also obstacles, traps, and other hazards which a player must avoid to continue the game. There are 33 single-player levels, which are won by collecting all of the frogs in each level.

In September, 2000, Hasbro Interactive published Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge, which was only moderately successful compared to the original.

Did You Know?

The Frogger arcade game was originally rejected for being a “women’s and children’s game,” deemed too “cute” for boys to spend their quarters on in an arcade.

Elizabeth Falconer, Market Researcher at Sega at the time, convinced her bosses that Frogger deserved a chance because the same executives who rejected it were the same who originally rejected the iconic Pac-Man. Thus, Sega developed the game and enjoyed substantial success from the decision.


3. SimCity

Production year: 1989
Current popularity/availability: Low
Audience: General
Platforms: iOS; Microsoft Windows; Linux

photo source: Wikipedia

How does it sound to a) build your own city, and b) rip it apart with natural disasters?

Sim City by Maxis allowed users to build and design whole cities, complete with electricity, transportation, commercial and industrial zones, and neighborhoods, as well as public institutions such as churches and hospitals for Sim residents. Players acted as the “mayor” of their city, whom residents appealed to in order to pass ordinances and legislation. Cities failed or blossomed depending on poverty, pollution, bad laws, or the elements, to name a few.

The original Sim City was designed and proposed in 1985 by Will Wright, but the game wouldn’t see daylight until 1989. It started out as a two-dimensional version before becoming more advanced in the late 90s.

Did You Know?

Sim City was the recipient of countless awards, including “Best Entertainment Program,” “Best Educational Program,” “Best PC Game,” and dozens of others.


2. Oregon Trail

Production year: 1971
Current popularity/availability: Low
Audience: General
Platforms: Microsoft Windows; Apple II

Oregon Trailphoto source: imdb

The Oregon Trail was developed as an educational game for users to learn more about pioneer life, and the great migration to the American West. It was one of the earliest PC games to be created.

The idea for the game was sparked by a class assignment at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Don Rawitsch, a student teacher at the time, was teaching an 8th grade history class, and enlisted the help of his friends to develop an educational computer program that would help his students better retain the material.

In December, 1971, The Oregon Trail was born from this endeavor. The game was popular until the mid-2000s, and inspired several spin-off games, such as The Amazon Trail and The Yukon Trail.

Did You Know?

More recently, a newer version of The Oregon Trail was released via Facebook (2011). It was removed when Blue Fang Games closed. That same year, another new version of the game was released for Wii and 3DS, but never gained traction after receiving a negative response.


1. Pong

Production year: 1975 (PC home edition)
Current popularity/availability: Low
Audience: General
Platforms: Arcade, PC

Pongphoto source: Wikipedia

Pong is the oldest game ever made for the home (personal) computer.

Starting out in arcades only but migrating to PC adaptation, Pong simulates the classic table tennis game, providing users with two paddles and a ball. Players aim to hit the ball every time, just as they would in real-life table tennis.

Pong may be played with two players, or a single player can play against a computer-controlled opponent. It is one of the most well-known and popular arcade, video, and computer games to date.

Did You Know?

When Pong originally hit arcades as a new game, its production company, Atari, couldn’t keep up with the game’s success. Sears began selling it in stores for public distribution by 1975, which was when Pong officially became a PC game.


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