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10 DOS Games That Defined the Era

A lot of times, when people think of retro gaming, they think of early Nintendo or Sega consoles. But there are many of us who grew up playing games on x86 MS-DOS computers!

Some spectacular games were released for DOS PCs well into the late 90s. Many times, the gameplay, graphics, and sound topped what was available on home consoles at the time. Here are ten legendary DOS games that we remember playing back in the day. How many did you play?

10. Day of the Tentacle

Day of the Tentacle

First released on floppy disk and CD-ROM in 1993, Day of the Tentacle is a graphic adventure game that’s the sequel to Maniac Mansion. You play as a trio of teenagers out to prevent an evil purple tentacle from taking over the world. Filled with challenging puzzles, interactivity, twisted artwork, and entertaining humor.

9. Command & Conquer: Red Alert

Command & Conquer: Red Alert
Westwood Studios

Released for PC in 1996, Command & Conquer: Red Alert is a real-time strategy game. It’s a prequel to the original. Here’s the premise: Albert Einstein has traveled back in time to kill Hitler. Unfortunately, the Soviet Union stepped into Germany’s shoes. The story, graphics, and addictive gameplay make for an excellent online multiplayer experience.

8. Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss

Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss
Blue Sky Productions

Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss from 1992 is unlike any first-person RPG before. It was the first to allow players to move freely in any direction as they engaged in exploration and real-time combat. He was also the first to provide pseudo-3D depth via a 2.5D environment. It was praised for its nonlinear and emergent gameplay.

7. Blood

Monolith Productions

Blood is a 3D first-person shooter first released as shareware in 1997. It’s set amid occult and horror themes. The player controls an undead early 20th-century gunslinger who’s out for revenge against a demon. The game features lots of graphic violence, a large arsenal of sometimes bizarre weapons, and numerous enemies and bosses.

6. Ultima VI: The False Prophet

Ultima VI: The False Prophet
Origin Systems

The fantasy tale is rich in 1990’s Ultima VI: The False Prophet. Players explore the immense virtual world of Britannia. The goal is to liberate the shrines of virtue from invading gargoyles. The game begins with a fight against gargoyles, but then a major reveal changes everything. In a unique touch, the player can take, move, and use nearly every visible object.

5. SimCity


SimCity was considered more of a software toy when first released in 1989. But this city-building simulation game became one of the most successful game franchises of all time. With no set goals, players simply create and experiment as they build their own city and manage it. The addictiveness came in watching your unique creation evolve as you went along.

4. X-Com: UFO Defense

X-Com: UFO Defense
Mythos Games

The 1994 Science Fiction strategy game X-Com: UFO Defense is considered one of the best PC games of all time. The game pits the player against an invading alien force. However, the appeal comes in developing custom-built soldiers. The game is high in replay value thanks to randomly generated maps that provide seemingly endless combinations of technology and equipment.

3. Scorched Earth

Scorched Earth
Wendell Hicken

Released as shareware in 1991, the gameplay of the artillery simulation game Scorched Earth perfected the genre. A huge part of the appeal is its numerous settings, its impressive variety of entertaining power-ups, and its computer AI. It’s one of the best party games ever devised as well, allowing up to 10 players.

2. Sid Meier’s Civilization

Sid Meier's Civilization

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more addictively fun and endlessly re-playable game than 1991’s Sid Meier’s Civilization. In this turn-based strategy game, the player must lead an entire human civilization over the course of several millennia. The player controls all the crucial elements of civilization. Its realistic take on historical relationships makes it one of the greatest games ever.

Read More: The 10 Best LucasArts Games

1. Doom

Doom 1993
Id Software

Doom is a pioneering 1993 first-person shooter game that spawned a massive franchise. It’s notable for introducing 3D graphics, player-created modifications, and network multiplayer gaming. Its high graphic violence led to controversy. Nonetheless, it’s considered one of the best and most influential video games of all time.

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