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Can You Game on an Old Computer?

If you’re a power user or someone who enjoys playing the latest games on your machine, you will need the latest hardware, like an Intel Core i9-13900K, to keep up with the growing demands of today’s software. 

So while an Intel Core 2 CPU and 2 GB of memory were more than enough for getting your work done 15 years ago, a modern Windows installation would struggle even booting with those specs. 

Four cores and 8 GB are a minimum for most users today. Still, you’ll want to double that (or use four cores with hyperthreading) if you multitask or use resource-intensive applications like Photoshop. You’ll likely want even more if you want to turn the settings up on a brand-new computer game. 

But this constant upgrading means you probably have a stack of old laptops and a box of old computer parts collecting dust somewhere in your home. Plenty of guides can give you suggestions on how to repurpose them, but what if you want to play games? Is that possible?

Browser-Based Games

Today, many games can be run from your web browser. This removes the need to install any special software to run locally. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean every single one of these games can be played on an older computer, but many can. This ranges from smaller casual games like Microsoft’s Bejeweled to MMORPG titles like Runescape. Despite being incredibly detailed, the latter can be run from some web browsers and requires just 4 GB of RAM and integrated Intel HD 4x graphics. 

If you have some browser-based games you’d like to play and an old computer to repurpose, this might make the perfect match. 

You may want to install a lightweight operating system like Lubuntu or Mint Linux to free up as much memory and CPU usage for your games. 

Casino Games

It’s been possible to enjoy the traditional card, table, and slot games on a computer for much of the last 30 years.

Over that time, they have evolved at pace, keeping up with technological advancements and the exponential rise in internet speeds. The result is that today’s casino games are often bigger, provide more bonus features, and have better graphics.

Slot games, in particular, are much more advanced. They can pack in thousands of pay lines at a time thanks to the Megaways function found in titles like Dia Mariachi, 8 Golden Skulls of Holly Roger, and Cash Riches.

Despite all the extra number crunching required, these casino games can still run on just about any computer made within the last decade or more, provided it has an internet connection and a modern web browser. Therefore, your old laptop could be repurposed for playing casino games.

Retro Games

Modern AAA games are fun and exciting, but they don’t have a monopoly on these properties. 

Older games may not look as detailed or realistic due to the graphics limitations of their respective eras, but the things that made them fun can make them fun now. 

The great thing about computers is that they have much more backward compatibility than most other formats. This means that, with little or no effort, you can run games from 10, 20, 30, or even 40 years ago on a relatively modern computer. 

And because these games were made at the same time or before your old computer, their system requirements shouldn’t be an issue. 

If you have old games lying around in their boxes, you may need a USB adapter to get a CD or a floppy drive. However, you can buy old titles from sites like Good Old Games for low prices. 

If some of your old games don’t work instantly, a free application called DOSBox should be able to help. It emulates the x86 architecture and replicates a DOS-based OS inside your computer. 

Its website has a long list of compatible games that runs into the thousands, and the dedicated community of developers is constantly working on improving this further.