Five Games I Discovered on My First Computer in 1993


Oh boy, this article certainly brings on the nostalgia train. My first family computer was a Hewlett Packard Bell 386 waaaay back in the early 1990s, which had the old trustworthy Windows 3.1 as the operating system along with sporting a whopping 8 megabytes of RAM and 50 megabytes of storage under the hood. A pretty sweet rig, huh? My dad bought this beast through work since it was important for him to have a computer due to the nature of his job at the time.  He paid a dumbfounded $3000 for something that is literally worthless now! This was a few years before the Internet became mainstream (though we got dial-up a year later) so my curious pre-teen self-taught myself how to use it without the aid of the world wide web.

While learning, I searched every nook and cranny until I found something interesting or fun on this novel thing they called a desktop computer. To my still-developing, puny brain’s delight, I found some hidden entertainment (no, not porn!) in the form of games! Before this moment, I believed that video games only existed on my Nintendo or GameBoy, so the thought of having them hidden on this hunkin’ machine–used by my Dad no less–was pretty surreal. Gaming was a big part of my life back then (and I guess it still is, since I have my own not-so-serious gaming YouTube Channel), so this was pretty great at the time.

In retrospect, I have no idea how they actually got on my computer since there’s no way in hell my Dad would have put them there or even known how to. Nonetheless, for whatever reason, the following games were secretly installed on my first desktop computer and boy did I ever play the crap out of them.

Commander Keen (1990)


I don’t remember if I played all the way through this game, but I do remember that was incredibly fun! You got a teenage dude with a purple shirt and a yellow football helmet fighting a food baddies including giant potato named King Boobus Tuber.  I remember telling all my friends about this discovery, so the very few friends who had a computer at the time got me to copy-and-paste it on a 3.5 inch disk for them.  This also led to the discovery of the first Duke Nukem, which was basically the same thing as Commander Keen, only you played as the great Duke.

Check out some gameplay here!

Stunts (1990)


Oh man, this game was so great! It was the first pseudo-3D racing game I had ever played and it blew my pint-size mind. “Computers are so cool!” reached my lips many times while loading this baby up. I remember also copying it on a disk and taking it to my best friend’s place during the summer where we both eventually discovered that it had simplistic level-editor that even we could understand! Immediately, we exploited the primitive physics engine and made a loop-de-loop that shot us 1000s of feet in the air. Oh yea.

Check out some gameplay here!

King’s Quest I (Remastered 1990 Version)


While I was getting used to the folder structure of the first iteration of Windows, I recall stumbling upon a folder in the Windows directory called KQ. It had a bunch of executable files that I wildly double-clicked (that’s how I learned how to use computers, carelessly doing stuff and suffering all consequences). Up pops this DOS game titled Kings Quest (the remastered version from 1990; the original was released in 1984). “Cool! Sounds adventurey!” I was immediately intrigued because it was the first time I played a game where I could roam around freely; I also remember really enjoying the cool pixel art and the sweet MIDI music. It took me awhile to figure out how to play because all actions were command-based, which required typing stuff like “get bucket” or something along those lines. I know I wasn’t able to finish Kings Quest because it got a little too complicated for my age. I think I was stuck at a part where I had to sneak by a sleeping guard/giant in the sky? Damn him. Regardless, I loved that game and played the sequels (2 through 6) as a result.

Check out some gameplay here!

4D Sports Boxing (1991)


I loved this game! I don’t remember how or where I found 4D Boxing on my computer, but I do recall it being very innovative and I had a great time with it. You could create your character and then plunge yourself into a basic season mode where you would just fight your way up a ladder: if you won, you took their place in the standings and opponents got more difficult as you progressed. The controls were incredibly tight and my pubescent brain loved smacking the crap out of those polygonal dudes. I’m not sure how long it kept my interest, but I’m tempted to check it out again.

Check out some gameplay here!

Scorched Earth (1991)


Hah! This game was hilarious! I’m sure most of you guys and gals around my age have played or heard of Scorched Earth. There have been a few–more recent–remakes, but none of them captured the fantastically simplistic and fun gameplay that made the original so appealing.  I vividly remember finding this in a directory called SCORCHED because one of my friends also had this game in a similar folder. One of my favorite memories happened when said friend and I found a .BAT file, which was basically a text file containing all of the one-liners the tanks exclaimed just before they fired their weapons as well as just before they blew up into shrapnel. And, well, we discovered that it could be edited, which led to a lot of hilariously juvenile lines like “hasta la vista #@$$ head” or “eat poop butthanger.” Along with the innovative weapons and the entertaining multiplayer via a dial up modem, Scorched Earth holds a special place in my gaming history. Good times.

Check out some gameplay here!

So, what are some of your favorite PC games from the early 90s?

– Lyle


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  1. We bought our first computer in 1998 and I must say I started out my computer game collection with pretty good games.
    Diablo, Age of Empires, Worms 2, Colin McRae Rally and Grim Fandango were the first few games I bought 🙂

  2. I played the crap out of stunts. I built massive tracks that defied any sense or logic and probably physics. My buddy fell in love with one of the cars and when he was much older (2 years ago) He ended up buying that very car a 1990 quatro.

  3. I’m too old. I got my first computer (TI-994A) back in 1984. The games were pretty bad (Hunt the Wumpus comes to mind.) I remember getting an upgrade(?) to the Atari 800XL. I think the coolest game I had was ‘Rescue on Fractulas.’ Loved that one.

  4. Dude, Scorched Earth was an epidemic in my high school. The first year we got PC’s in the classrooms, it seems like everybody had a pirated copy. Anytime the teacher sat at their desk or was otherwise occupied, the dueling commenced. Thanks for dredging up some great memories for me.

  5. Holy shit I loved Commander Keen and Scorched Earth (although me and my bro just called it “Scorch”). While all my friends were playing Mario bros and Sonic the Hedgehog, I was constantly leaving Keen motionless just to see him get impatient and whip out his book so me and my brother could both laugh our asses off at the sight.

    And don’t forget TMNT. That was a gem back in the day.

  6. – Anything by Apogee/Epic Megagames: Secret Agent, Crystal Caves, Commander Keen, Jill of the Jungle, God of Thunder, Traffic Department 2192, Elf-land, Biomenace, Captain Comic.

    – Space Quest: Much better than King’s Quest (/Police Quest/Leisure Suit Larry)

    – Any of the LucasArts adventure games (with the possible exception of Zak McKraken, that I could never quite figure out)

    – Rogue.

    – Lemmings.

    – X-COM

    Those last three hold a special place in my heart as being games that were the pinnacle of their genre, and that every subsequent version basically replicated to some extent.

  7. Wow! This article brought back a ton of memories I remember playing all those games back in the day. Of course, before the “internet” we had to get them from friends or our local BBS. Those were the days. I remember that any game more than 100K was generally a good one. Of course, with a 14.4 modem things still took a while to download.

    I miss the more simpler times. I don’t have as much time to devote to gaming as I used to, but I enjoy your site immensely. Keep up the great work.

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