75 Great Games that run well on a Cheap Laptop

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John Phoenix

May 14, 2010
75 Great Games that run well on a Cheap Laptop

So you have always been told laptops aren't made for gaming.

I am going to prove that wrong. My laptop has a single core AMD processor and an ATI 4200 HD integrated graphics chip for graphics with 128 MB of dedicated ram, shared up tp 1 gigabyte. This is considered to be a weak graphics chip.

I do consider this rig a Gaming Laptop and I'll tell you why. It may not play all the newest games out there for 2009 and 2010 but there are Hundreds of Great games it will play.. and play nicely. The Xbox is considered a Gaming Console, but It won't play all the higher end games the Xbox 360 will play. Likewise, I can in good conscience think of my rig as a Gaming Laptop.

Most people buy better laptops than this one, and I say if I can have hours of gaming fun with my rig's specs, You can too!
Here is a list of my favorite games that all have good to great graphics that I can run on my cheap 350 dollar laptop. (Bought new this year)
All were tested on Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium with 4 gigabytes of DDR2 ram. All of these games should play well under Windows XP and Vista 32 and 64 bits.

(On many of these games I have added Enhancement Mods to make the games look feel and play better than the originals. If you Google search you can find these. If you don't own the game, sorry I can't help you. You will just have to find a place to purchase the game on your own. With a few exceptions)

1994 - 1999 - These are simply the oldest and best classics that really were the founders of modern gaming. These should run on any laptop that can run XP.

Non Graphical Text Adventure Games - I mention these because they are classic and will run on anything and are tons of fun and very challenging.
ZORK 1, 2 and 3 - 1990 -1993

Heck I love and play all of the Infocom text adventure games and they can all be found free on net due to defunct company. More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zork Get Them HERE: http://www.csd.uwo.ca/Infocom/ Even has a Mac version!

You can download tons of free text adventure games, ( called Interactive Fiction Games) from many places on the web, but I suggest you look at the Infocom Wikipedia page and The Interactive Fiction Archive. ( Infocom even has some great graphical adventures if you can find them)

Classic Shooters: ( All High Settings for these games)

Quake 1 Enhanced - 1996 - new textures and models
Heretic 1 - 1994 - Enhanced new textures and models
Hexen 2 - 1997

Redneck Rampage Collection - 1997 - ( 3 games)
Includes - Redneck Rampage, Redneck Rampage Rides Again: Arkansas and Redneck Rampage: Suckin' Grits on Route 66. Available at GOG.com for only 6 US Dollars. http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/redneck_rampage_collection

System Shock 2 - 1997 Enhanced - New textures and models
Half Life - 1998

Flight/Space Sim:

FreeSpace 1 The Great War - 1998
Freespace 2 - 1999

Non Classic Flight Sim:

HardWar: The Future is Greedy - 1998 + Mods and patches

More Info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardwar_%28video_game%29

This game can be legally downloaded from Captain Zedo's Hardwar site because the company is defunct and no one owns the rights to the game who is still in business. The dev team members even wrote and released patches for the game long after the company went under. Almost no one has heard of this game but it has a very strong cult following. Good graphics and plays well on anything. Get it HERE --> http://zedo.hardwar.org.uk/

Intro Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg34gunxLR4
Gameplay 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9jdw...eature=related
Gameplay 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp_b9...eature=related

2000 - 2003 - Now the graphics start to get a little better. (All High Settings for these games)


Kiss: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child - 2000 - Awesome KISS ( as in the Rock Band) adventure FPS with great KISS music! A real Cult Classic.
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 - 2000 - Another great game from the Metal genre. This time a 3rd person shooter.
Thief: The Dark Project - 1998
Thief: The Metal Age - 2000
Star Trek Deep Space 9 The Fallen - 2000
Deus Ex - 2001 - Enhanced with EBN Series and New Vision Mods + Other new model packs
Return to Castle Wolfe3nstein - 2001
Star Trek Elite Force 1 - 2000
Star Trek Elite Force 2 - 2002
Aliens VS Predator 2 : Primal Hunt - 2002
007 Nightfire - 2002
No One Lives Forever : The Operative - GOTY - 2000
No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.S Way - 2002
Solider of Fortune 2 Double Helix - 2002
Star Wars Jedi Outcast - 2002
Star Wars Jedi Academy - 2003
Devastation - 2003
Max Payne - 2001
Max Payne 2 - 2003
Red Faction - 2001
Red Faction 2 - 2003
Iron Storm - 2002
Postal 2 Share The Pain + Mods and expansions - 2003
Tron 2.0 - 2003 - Epic Game!
Chaser - 2003
Halo - Combat Evovled - 2003


Arx Fatalis - 2002
Morrowind GOTY- 2002 - Enhanced New texture and models

Flight/Space Sim:

Tachyon: The Fringe - 2001 - Awesome humor from Bruce Campbell
Star Wars X-Wing Alliance 2001


Virtual Pool 3

2004 - Present - For most of these the graphics really take off. These I play on medium settings some with a combo of low/medium settings - You just have to find your balance. I have very few games I need only low settings for ( Code of Honor 3 - it's worse than Crysis).


Deus Ex: Invisible War - 2004 - Medium Settings
Halo 2 - 2004 - Medium Settings
Half Life 2 - Episodes 1, 2 and 3 - 2004 - This engine really runs well on my card. I use medium to high settings. For all the eye candy it gives it doesn't seem to be that demanding on hardware.

Half Life 1 Source Enhanced - 1998/2004 - It's Half Life 1 on Half Life 2's Source engine with enhanced texture and model mods! I can use all high settings on this one.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2004 - Uses Source engine - medium to high settings
Thief: Deadly Shadows - 2004 - Medium Settings
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay - 2004 - Medium Settings
Far Cry - 2004- Medium Settings
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - 2004 - Medium Settings
Doom 3 - 2004 - Medium settings
Project Snowblind - 2005 - Medium Settings
Pariah - 2005 - Medium Settings
Prey - 2006 - Uses an enhanced Doom 3 engine - Medium Settings
Fallout 3 - Medium settings

Crysis - 2007

People find it hard to believe that I can play Crysis on medium settings with smooth play. It has low system requirements for Direct X 9. "Intel Pentium 4 (2.8GHZ for XP ; 3.0GHZ for Vista) 1 GB RAM for XP ; 2 GB RAM for Vista. DirectX 9.0c Compatible Graphics card with 256 MB VRAM" If I do turn down some settings to Low they are; Shadows, Water, and Volumetric Effects Quality. You can hardly tell the difference and you have saved yourself loads of extra processing power. All other settings on medium. But I only have to do this if my PC has been running for a while. The game still looks Great for playing on a laptop.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl - 2007 - Medium settings
Alpha Prime - 2007- Medium settings
Turok - 2007 - Medium settings
Portal - 2007- Non Steam version - Medium to highg settings
Code of Honor 3 - 2009 (Low settings)
Dark Salvation - 2009 - Uses the idTech 3 engine, so all High settings.
Hunting Unlimited 2010 - Actually I can run all the Hunting Unlimited games on high settings because they all use a very old engine. There are 7 games in the series but I only own 5 of them.


Gothic 3 - 2006 Enhanced with community patches, new textures and models. Medium settings.
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic - 2006 - Uses the Source Engine, but has textures with a little more detail. I can play on medium settings in this epic game.
Oblivion - 2006 - Medium settings.
Two Worlds - 2007 - Patched with community patches for bug fixes. Medium Settings.

Google Earth - Not a game but worth mentioning that it runs great.

I will add more games as I test them.

I live in New Orleans. If we have a hurricane this summer and I have to evacuate, I will be Good to Go !

There are tons more games that will play well on a cheap laptop, but these are just the ones I own that I have tested. Please feel free to add your favorites below.

Thank You for reading my humble post.


Aug 19, 2008
On my low spec machines I've played:

Warcraft III
Red Alert 2
Darklands (1988? - brilliant Microprose RPG)
Amiga Emulator for The Settlers, Speedball II (original sooo much better than remake etc etc etc)
MAME Arcade emulator
Vice City
Half-Life 2
Carmageddon I / II
X-COM series
Bloodrayne I / II
The Secret of Monkey Island
Counter Strike / CS:S

John Phoenix

May 14, 2010

I have many Valve - Source Engine games in that list and I can play them on medium to high settings.

Just a Note: All games in my list are tested with the single player campaign. I haven't tried any multiplayer.


Sep 8, 2006
well I am playing Call Of Duty 4 Modern Warfare @ medium settings and get about 40Fps avg on my wife's laptop, an Acer Aspire 5517 with a 1.2Ghz dualcore AMD Cpu and a Radeon 3200 with 256Mb dedicated and 1.5Gb shared, has 4 Gb ram, runs older games nice.


Well I have an XP SP3 AMD dual Core 5.6ghz CPU with 4GB ram and an ATI 4850 1GB videocard and I STILL love playing mos of the games listed here!

When you think DOSBox has had over 5,000,000 downloads, there must be lots of people playing 80's/90's PC games on the low, medium AND high end PC's!

After all, it's not just about the low requirements for older games, it's about the older games having more gameplay, better stories and being less politically correct! :)

So no good luck needed with your low end PC's/Laptops, as there are 100's if not 1,000's of great games you can play from the pre 'multiformat' market (around 2004) that are deep rather than 'multiformat shallow' and with ton of gameplay versus 'multformat graphics over gameplay'!
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