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5 Great Games for Your “Potato” PC

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I’m not the most hardcore of PC gamers (I say as I brush my 357 Steam games under a rug), but I do have the occasional passing interest in games that are often PC exclusives. This has led to my ownership of several mid-range PCs over the years. It is a real shame that they seem to literally explode within a year of purchase, and one such explosion thoroughly removed my ability to play many of the PC games I once enjoyed.

However, all has not been lost. I am now the proud owner of a 2018 Microsoft Surface Go (read “Touchscreen Potato”), which I will primarily use for work and study. Of course, that means playing PC games, too. Almost immediately upon delivery, I set out to discover which of my 357 steam games played the best on my new 10-inch tablet PC.

The five games I’ve included in this list are the best games I discovered while sifting through my library. Games were tested for performance, as well as playability and fun factor. Each game comes highly recommended, regardless of your PC’s muscle. For reference, these are my computer’s specifications: 8 Gigaspuds of RAM, Intel® Pentium® CPU 4415Y @ 1.6 GHeinz running Windows 10 Home 64 bit.

#5—Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser

This is an excellent horizontal bullet hell-ish shoot-em-up inspired by 1970s super robot anime. At a price point of $4.99, this game is a delightful steal, and it plays perfectly in short bursts. This game features multiple difficulty modes and is very accessible for a game in a genre notorious for its difficulty.

#4—Bejeweled 3

There are two gem matching puzzle games in my steam library, and this this is one I can recommend to players of all ages. Gameplay is quite simple, and yet addicting enough that I want to bother mentioning it. Players clear a board of colored gems by matching them in rows. Simple, inexpensive ($4.99), and quite fun. Huniepop wasn’t the other option, and you definitely shouldn’t check into that game as well.

#3—Crosscode

Crosscode is an excellent action RPG in the spirit of a game like Secret of Mana. This is one of my favorite PC games in recent years, and you should absolutely check it out for a great retro-inspired rpg. $19.99 affords one of the most charming throwbacks to the glory days of 90s RPGs. Excellent sound, visual, and gameplay design make Crosscode easily worth the price of entry, especially to a fan of 90s RPGs.

#2—Duskers

Duskers is a difficult game to explain, and I can’t recall playing anything even remotely like it. The concept places the player as a human locked in the control center of a ship adrift in space. Something has happened to your ship, and the other ships you encounter. You will take control of drones with a command line interface and use them to survey the wreckage for survival essentials. While it doesn’t immediately evoke a sense of fear, this is one of the creepiest games I’ve ever played. There is something in the ship. $19.99 gets you the creepiest simulation game I’ve played yet. Buyer Beware- this game can test the player’s patience with a brutal RNG system.

#1—Ghost Master

Ghost Master is a unique title in which players guide supernatural forces in their haunting conquests of various locations. As Ghost Master, your goal is to drive even the most hardened of sceptics into fleeing into the night from the comforts of their familiar surroundings. Gameplay is a passive system in which players assign roles to ghosts depending on their type, abilities, and the fears of human victims. This game feels very similar to the Sims franchise of games, only this game is not haunted by overpriced DLC. As far as I’m aware, there is nothing else like this game, and for $4.99 it can provide campy, spook-filled fun.

Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed the article! If you’d like to see some related content, and support Exclusively Games in the process, click on our Amazon Affiliate links listed below to find related products. – EG Staff

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  1. This list was kind of disappointing. Depending on how “potato” the PC is there are better options for games to play. With a list like this I can see a lot of people being pretty turned off of PC gaming. Of course the better option is to get a better PC. But if you have to use what you have I guess.

    • Pantsu Hunter on May 8, 2019 at 10:37 pm said

      While list might not be the best one It sure can be a good thing for people who dont own strong PC and dont have much time to do some research. It basically could include like any indie game or just like in case of ghost master any game from a few years back. If this article is 1 time only then its pointless but if it will end up as a serie of articles then it might be usefull for some people.

      • Anthony Morey on May 9, 2019 at 7:42 am said

        I’m a bit baffled by this article.
        I purchased a dell 9010 at work in a silent auction, $40, but you can find them on eBay for $100+.
        Upgrade to Windows 10 $100.
        A ram upgrade to 16gigs $100 or so, new power supply $60, used graphics card off eBay $150, 1080p monitor $100 and this set up will run the hell out of nearly any game at 1080p on old hardware.
        You could even adjust for budget and get by on far less, like say a 1050ti that would not require a power supply upgrade and stick with 8gigs of ram and still get by quite nicely.
        Otherwise why not just stick to a console?

        • Nicholas Kiger on May 9, 2019 at 7:54 pm said

          The PC I am using to test these games is a Windows Surface Go Tablet PC that I primarily use for work. It is certainly easy to build a good PC on a budget, but not everyone can afford to do so depending on their circumstances.

          I had a gaming PC, but a power surge and a faulty UPS decided to Deus Ex it out of my life.

    • Nicholas Kiger on May 8, 2019 at 10:47 pm said

      These games were tested on a Windows Surface Go Tablet PC. I tried to include games that were lesser known and still worth talking about. I could’ve written about Warcraft 3 and Diablo 2, but everyone that plays PC games already knows about them. I also needed to include only games that I owned and could personally recommend.

      I really doubt my list killed anyone’s interest in PC gaming. There are literally thousands of PC games Pre-2000 that will run on practically anything.

      • I am actually going to get Duskers now. I do agree this list could possibly be a weekly or monthly column that I, and most likely other potato lords, could benefit from.

        • Nicholas Kiger on May 9, 2019 at 7:50 pm said

          It’s good, and unique. Something special in a market dominated with re-skins of the same boring open-world formula.

          Reminds me a lot of the motion detector sequences from the Alien film.

    • I agree. These are basically non mobile mobile games for a tablet PC. In my honest and not needed opinion, I think of a potato PC as a not so good computer or laptop that you can run games like far cry 2 and oblivion and can barely run a PSP emulator. PS2 emu? Don’t make me laugh (I’ve lived through the struggle lol) I was expecting this to be some trick to get even some mid Gen games to run as actually playable on a not so great or older pc. Like duh you can’t play rdr2 on a tablet. Am I alone here in this thought process? Great writing though and am looking forward to reading more of your articles on the future. Type text here…

  2. I would add FTL to this list as well. Good article!

  3. DemDinoBots on May 8, 2019 at 11:23 pm said

    You can also go the older game route and look at something like old 4x games such as Master Of Orion 2. The Worms games are also good. These games (the 4x ones and the Worms mainline series) have the advantage of being turn based, so you don’t have to have a really well-working set of input devices.

    Divekick is also pretty good. It’s simple, fast, almost looks like a gag flash game. It’s a two-button fighter that’s easy to pick up and has actually been described as being a good teaching aid for many of the fundamentals of fighting games, like spacing. The two buttons are “dive” and “kick”. There aren’t even any dedicated movement buttons. Everything plays off of these two buttons, and how long they’re held, or whether they’re combined in a certain order.

    One Finger Death Punch is also even simpler. You’re a stickman, and other stick people are attacking you from the left and right. You click the left button to punch left, and the right mouse button to punch right. It’s much, much better than it sounds. Ever punch FEELS like it has a lot of weight behind it.

    • Nicholas Kiger on May 9, 2019 at 1:25 pm said

      A big problem i’ve run into with many older games is resolution incompatibility. The hardware is strong enough on a technical level, but for one reason or another the display is off. Sometimes inputs fail to register, or the sound won’t work.

      I wanted to include Impossible Creatures, but the mouse cursor wouldn’t show up on screen, so I couldn’t include it. Little problems like this factored in greatly to the selection.

    • Nicholas Kiger on May 9, 2019 at 1:26 pm said

      Also, Worms was my #1 most desired PC game as a kid. I remember being so impressed with the visuals, lmao.

  4. Great article! Although it would be more appreciated if HuniePop wasn’t merely an “honorable mention” ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  5. You guys forgot to mention some of the older games like Deus Ex. There are many older titles which still hold their own in terms of gameplay, but not visuals, and they are very easy on the hardware requirements.

    Deus Ex
    Unreal Tournament
    Age of Empires

    There are many many more.

    • Nicholas Kiger on May 9, 2019 at 1:22 pm said

      This list could’ve consisted of over 200 titles I own, but I chose to include games that wouldn’t be as obvious. If I were to pick the five absolute best games that will run on nearly any PC, with no consideration for the average PC gamer’s already established library, then it would look something like.

      Baldur’s Gate
      Ultimate DooM
      Deus Ex
      Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings + expansion content
      Diablo 2

      The problem with a list like this is that many people already know about these games from their popularity and pop culture relevance. If I could fit 100 games on a list (and had a whole work week to prepare it), even then there would be someone’s favorite game excluded for one reason or another.

  6. OpenRA is a great remake of Tiberian Dawn & Red Alert. Free and runs on a potato.

  7. BrigandBoy on May 9, 2019 at 5:45 pm said

    I agree with Crosscode being on the list, but it isn’t high enough in my opinion. Great game, and works on any potato.

    By that metric, I think any game like Death’s Gambit, Sundered, Dust: An Elysium Tale, or Dead Cells should be considered for the list as well. None of them are particularly taxing to any computer, and all of them are great games.

  8. darkmage0707077 on May 9, 2019 at 9:28 pm said

    One Finger Death Punch, One Way Heroics and Pony Island are also excellent games that can run with crap PC specs.

  9. Amazing list! lol I really needed this as I do in fact, have a potato PC 😀

  10. A “potato” PC in my book is one that can only run League of Legends.

  11. The rise in indie titles certainly helps. You don’t have to go with old titles or scale things down anymore like the 90s or early 2000s. There are titles coming out for all levels of PCs every week. Supergiant games for example are pretty timeless and not very demanding.

  12. This list is pretty lacking, there are far better options of games to play in old toasters, I hope this is not a one time only list, make more lists of games such as these, you will find many more that we can play with low end desktops.

  13. You guys should have added Stardew Valley, Graveyard Keeper, Endless Sky, Fell Seal, TIS-100, Silent Storm, Splinter Cell, and so many others.

  14. Absolutely amazing list. I’ll try Duskers because command line is kinda what I do on a daily. Thanks for the wonderful recommendations!!

  15. Dreadjaws on May 11, 2019 at 1:54 am said

    HuniePop is easily the superior match-3 game. And I don’t mean just to Bejeweled, but to pretty much every other game in the genre. Unlike the others, it doesn’t depend on luck, there’s actual strategy in it. And it doesn’t try to win you over merely with flashing numbers and explosions like Bejeweled does. Bejeweled gets boring to me after a few minutes, while HuniePop can hold my attention for hours.

    The downside is that, as you mention, it cannot be recommended to all ages. I wish more games adopted this style rather than endlessly aping the Bejeweled/Candy Crush formula. There’s another game around called “Mirrors” that also uses some similar strategy for the gameplay, but alas, it’s also 18+.

    It strikes me as weird that hentai developers are the best ones at making these casual games that should be available to everyone. I’ve been avoiding these kinds of games for years, thinking they were exclusively about the titillation, but it turns out there’s some great design ideas here, so now I occasionally dig deeper into games I was avoiding before, searching for new gems like this one.

    • Nicholas Kiger on May 14, 2019 at 8:51 pm said

      I think that hentai developers make well refined simple games because they know that they need to keep things simple. Started playing it for the memes and 2D girls, and stayed for surprisingly good gameplay.

  16. JAC3D G33K on May 11, 2019 at 1:59 am said

    On potato PCs and modded consoles you can never go wrong with Doom 1 and 2 along with the insane number of wads and mods that are out there including Alien Vs. Predator, Sonic Robo Blast, Brutal Doom etc. Not to mention Duke Nukem 3D along with it’s mods. There were also some decent Sega Genesis/Mega Drive ports as well.

  17. Pillixen17 on May 11, 2019 at 2:11 am said

    lol, these games are also potatoes

  18. Try Hotline Miami thats a pretty cool game or Papers please

  19. Risk of Rain 2 is also amazing for a low end pc!

  20. Kevin Harrelson on May 13, 2019 at 4:08 pm said

    Note that the top three are also available on GOG.com. Same price, 100% less DRM.

  21. DarkKakashi7 on May 14, 2019 at 7:43 pm said

    I’d add the original Plants Vs. Zombies to this list, it’s just a timeless fun game. Shame EA went with mobile only for the sequel.

  22. I really enjoy articles like this that help you outline what is still worthwhile purchasing on a lower end machine

  23. This article was worth the read just for the inclusion of Crosscode. I find my laptop less and less capable of running games (WoW has always been fine but with the new xpac, I am no longer able to run it on a decent graphics setting) and am nowhere close to buying a new one, so, at $20, Crosscode is an easy bet.

    As for the other inclusions, I think I’ll pass, but not every game is for every person 🙂

  24. Type text here…For me personally the list should include Diablo 1 and 2 – I have ran it on a broken/unsoldered gpu in a laptop that would artifact with 1024×768 resolution but 800×600 was perfectly fine and smooth. Also, Morrowind is one of the best 3d rpg games that was running SMOOTH 1024×768 for me on a GeForce2 MX400 64MB

    What is more, a nifty game called Lumino City also ran for me easily on the broken laptop 🙂

  25. GermanyKun on May 15, 2019 at 8:11 pm said

    Well, this list was perhaps a bit underwhelming.

    I was also expecting some classics other users mentioned above.
    Hell, even some free to play game would have been great, too.

    But then again I like how you tried to perhaps direct our attention to more “unknown” games.

  26. My wife loves Bejewled, I will have to turn her on to Hunniepop. Crosscode looks interesting though! Duskers looks like a game I programmed out of a book back in the early 90’s. I think the programming was more fun than the game but, you know. Interesting list though, you certainly hit the mark of more obscure outside of Bejewled…

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