Games Listed by Release Year

If you're like me, you can easily forget when a particular game was released. Or you are building a system for a specific time period, and want to know what games would have made use of such hardware. Either way, I hope this page helps you in your quest - it's far from an exhaustive list - just some of the more prominent ones - let me know if you think of a game that's missing and deserves to be in here!

Any titles that have a link take you to a page dedicated to that particular game with manuals, copy protection details, advice on how to get the game running and more.

Here a shortcut to each year:

1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000

1985

IBM PC or XT-based system is sufficient. Games require either Hercules mono, CGA or EGA graphics. No sound card support unless you count the Tandy 3-voice.

Bard's Tale, The (Electronic Arts)
Beyond Castle Wolfenstein (Muse Software)
Crusade in Europe (MicroProse)
F-15 Strike Eagle (MicroProse)
Jet (subLOGIC)
King's Quest 1 (Sierra On-Line)
King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne (Sierra On-Line)
Temple of Apshai Trilogy (Epyx)
Ultima III: Exodus (ORIGIN Systems)
Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (ORIGIN Systems)
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (Brøderbund Software)

1986

IBM PC or XT-based system is sufficient. Games require either Hercules mono, CGA or EGA graphics. No sound card support unless you count the Tandy 3-voice.

221b Baker Street (Datasoft)
Chessmaster 2000, The (Software Toolworks)
Conflict in Vietnam (MicroProse)
Gunship (MicroProse)
Karateka (Brøderbund Software)
King's Quest III: To Heir is Human (Sierra On-Line)
Leather Goddesses of Phobos (Infocom)
Pawn, The (Rainbird)
Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter (Sierra On-Line)
Starglider (Rainbird)
Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? (Brøderbund Software)

1987

IBM PC-AT (80286) 12 MHz is recommended. Games may use the new MCGA or VGA graphics standards. Most are backward-compatible with Hercules mono, CGA or EGA graphics. Sound-wise, an Ad Lib, Roland MT-32 or Tandy 3-voice is a good choice.

3-D Helicopter Simulator (Sierra On-Line)
Ancient Art of War at Sea, The (Brøderbund Software)
Arctic Fox (Electronic Arts)
Bureaucracy (Infocom)
Elite (Firebird)
Falcon (Spectrum Holobyte)
Gnome Ranger (Level 9 Computing)
Guild of Thieves, The (Rainbird)
King of Chicago (Cinemaware)
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (Sierra On-Line)
Lords of Conquest (Electronic Arts)
Maniac Mansion (LucasArts)
Might and Magic: Secret of the Inner Sanctum (New World Computing)
Pirates! [Sid Meier's] (MicroProse)
Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel (Sierra On-Line)
Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge (Sierra On-Line)
Test Drive (Electronic Arts)
Wizard's Crown (Strategic Simulations)
Zeliard (Sierra On-Line)

1988

IBM PC-AT (80286) 12 MHz is recommended. MCGA or VGA graphics standards are ideal but not mandatory with Hercules mono, CGA or EGA graphics to fall back on. Sound-wise, an Ad Lib, Roland MT-32 or Tandy 3-voice is a good choice.

Bard's Tale 2: The Destiny Knight (Electronic Arts)
Battlehawks 1942 (LucasArts)
Battletech: The Crescent Hawks' Inception (Infocom)
Double Dragon (Arcadia Systems)
F-19 Stealth Fighter (MicroProse)
Flight Simulator 3.0 (Microsoft)
Gold Rush (Sierra On-Line)
Grand Prix Circuit (Accolade)
King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella - AGI version (Sierra On-Line)
King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella - SCI version (Sierra On-Line)
Leisure Suit Larry 2: Goes Looking for Love [in Several Wrong Places] (Sierra On-Line)
Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World (New World Computing)
Police Quest 2: The Vengeance (Sierra On-Line)
Pool of Radiance (Strategic Simulations)
Rocket Ranger (Cinemaware)
Silpheed (Sierra On-Line)
Sinbad and the Throne of the Falcon (Cinemaware)
Speedball (Spotlight Software)
Starquake (Sharedata)
Stellar Crusade (Strategic Simulations)
Times of Lore (ORIGIN Systems)
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny (ORIGIN Systems)
Where in the Europe is Carmen Sandiego? (Brøderbund Software)
Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders (LucasArts)

1989

An 80386 would be incredible, but most games run perfectly well on a 12 MHz 80286. MCGA or VGA graphics standards are ideal but not mandatory with Hercules mono, CGA or EGA graphics to fall back on. Sound-wise, a Sound Blaster or Roland MT-32 are ideal, but Ad Lib or Tandy 3-voice is still fine.

A-10 Tank Killer (Dynamix)
Battle Chess (InterPlay)
Budokan: The Martial Spirit (Electronic Arts)
Carrier Command (Rainbird)
Codename: ICEMAN (Sierra On-Line)
The Colonel's Bequest [Laura Bow] (Sierra On-Line)
Curse of the Azure Bonds (Strategic Simulations)
F-15 Strike Eagle II (MicroProse)
Hillsfar (Strategic Simulations)
Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (Lucasfilm Games)
Indianapolis 500: The Simulation (Papyrus)
It Came From the Desert (Cinemaware)
Kings of the Beach (Electronic Arts)
Leisure Suit Larry 1 - VGA (Sierra On-Line)
Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals (Sierra On-Line)
Manhunter 2: San Francisco (Sierra On-Line)
Populous (Electronic Arts)
Prince of Persia (Brøderbund Software)
Quest for Glory: So You Want to be a Hero (Sierra On-Line)
Rick Dangerous (Microplay)
Sim City (Maxis)
Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon (Sierra On-Line)
Test Drive II: The Duel (Accolade)
Their Finest Hour: Battle of Britain (Lucasfilm Games)
Xenon 2: Megablast (Image Works)

1990

An 80386DX-20 with 2 MB of RAM is perfect for games like Wing Commander, but most games released this year will run just great on a 12 MHz 80286 with 640 KB. MCGA or VGA graphics standards are preferred to get the most out of these games. EGA graphics is still supported by most though. For audio, a General MIDI solution is ideal for music, or Roland MT-32 still almost universally supported. For effects, a Sound Blaster Pro is great, but Ad Lib and Tandy are still accepted. Some support for Advanced Gravis.

4D Sports Driving, aka Stunts (Brøderbund Software)
Bard's Tale 3: Thief of Fate (Electronic Arts)
Battletech: The Crescent Hawks' Revenge (Infocom)
Castlevania (Konami)
Centurion: Defender of Rome (Electronic Arts)
Champions of Krynn (Strategic Simulations)
Commander Keen 1: Marooned on Mars (Apogee)
Conquests of Camelot: The Search for the Grail (Sierra On-Line)
Covert Action [Sid Meier's] (MicroProse)
Day of the Tentacle: Maniac Mansion 2 (LucasArts)
Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters (Domark)
F-29 Retaliator (Ocean Software)
Hard Drivin' (Domark)
Ivan 'Iron Man' Stewart's Super Off Road (Virgin Interactive)
Jetfighter II: Advanced Tactical Fighter (Velocity)
King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! (Sierra On-Line)
Knights of the Sky (MicroProse)
LHX Attack Chopper (Electronic Arts)
Links: The Challenge of Golf (Access Software)
Loom (Lucasfilm Games)
MegaTraveller 1: The Zhodani Conspiracy (Paragon Software)
Midwinter (Rainbird)
PGA Tour Golf (Electronic Arts)
Quest for Glory 2: Trial by Fire (Sierra On-Line)
Railroad Tycoon [Sid Meier's] (MicroProse)
Red Baron (Dynamix)
Rick Dangerous 2 (Microstyle)
Rise of the Dragon (Sierra On-Line)
Secret of Monkey Island, The (Lucasfilm Games)
Secret of the Silver Blades (Strategic Simulations)
Stormovik: SU-25 Soviet Attack Fighter (Electronic Arts)
Test Drive III: The Passion (Accolade)
Ultima VI: The False Prophet (ORIGIN Systems)
Wing Commander (ORIGIN Systems)


1991

Fast-moving games like flight sims will need a fast 386 running at 25 or 33 MHz or a 486, and get 2 MB RAM for these along with VGA graphics. More static games will still support EGA and some, even CGA. For these you can still get away with just an 8088 or 8086 with 640 KB. For sound, Roland MT-32 is still widely supported, but also General MIDI is starting to come in - both are great. Sound Blaster Pro for digital effects.

4D Sports Boxing (Mindscape)
Another World (InterPlay)
Cadaver (Bitmap Brothers)
Castles (InterPlay)
Civilization [Sid Meier's] (MicroProse)
Commander Keen 4 (Apogee)
Cruise for a Corpse (Delphine Software)
D/Generation (Mindscape)
Death Knights of Krynn (Strategic Simulations)
Duke Nukem (Apogee)
Eye of the Beholder (Strategic Simulations)
Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon (Strategic Simulations)
Falcon 3.0 (Spectrum Holobyte)
F-117A Nighthawk: Stealth Fighter 2.0 (MicroProse)
Falcon 3.0 (Spectrum Holobyte)
Gobliiins (Coktelvision)
Gods (Konami)
Gunship 2000 (MicroProse)
Heart of China (Dynamix)
HeroQuest (Gremlin Graphics)
Jones in the Fast Lane (Sierra On-Line)
Leisure Suit Larry 5 (Sierra On-Line)
Lemmings (Psygnosis)
MiG-29 Fulcrum (Domark Software)
Might and Magic 3 (New World Computing)
Monkey Island 2: Lechuck's Revenge (Lucasfilm Games)

Police Quest 3 (Sierra On-Line)

Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe (LucasFilm Games)

Space Quest I: Roger Wilco in the Sarien Encounter (Sierra On-Line)
Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi (Origin Systems)
Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers (Sierra On-Line)
Speedball II: Brutal Deluxe (Konami)

1992

Get a low-speed CD-ROM (1x or 2x) from this year onwards. Fast-moving or animated games will support a 286 but get a fast 386DX 33 or 40 MHz, or better still, a 486DX-25 or 33. 2 MB RAM minimum, though I'd recommend 4 MB for these games. For adventure games, an XT will likely still run them with VGA graphics, but recommend a minimum of a 286-16 and really a 386 will be more fluid. Audio-wise you can still get widespread support for the MT-32, but also Pro Audio Spectrum, General MIDI, and of course Sound Blaster and Ad Lib.

Aces of the Pacific (Sierra On-Line)
Alone in the Dark (Infogrames)
AV-8B Harrier Assault (Domark Software)
B-17 Flying Fortress (MicroProse)
Car and Driver (Electronic Arts)
Comanche: Maximum Overkill (NovaLogic)
Dagger of Amon Ra, The [Laura Bow 2] (Sierra On-Line)
Dune (Virgin Games)
F-15 Strike Eagle III (MicroProse)
Formula One Grand Prix (MicroProse)
Grand Prix Unlimited [Road & Track Presents] (Accolade)
Indiana Jones & the Fate of Atlantis (LucasArts)
King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow (Sierra On-Line)
Legend of Kyrandia: Book One/Fables & Fiends (Westwood Studios)
Links 386 Pro (Access Software)
Star Trek: 25th Anniversary (InterPlay)
Ultima VII: The Black Gate (ORIGIN Systems)
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (ORIGIN Systems)
Wolfenstein 3D (Apogee)

1993

Use a 2x or 4x CD-ROM, and definitely run VGA graphics. An 80286 at 16 MHz may play a game, but it won't be much fun. More anything more demanding such as Doom, X-Wing or Wing Command III you should be running a 486SX-25 with 4 MB RAM as a minimum spec to make it more enjoyable. For the best spec, get a 486DX2-50 or DX2-66 running alongside a fast VESA Local Bus graphics card and 4 or 8 MB RAM.

Alone in the Dark 2 (Infogrames)
Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (Apogee Software)
Doom (id Software)
Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist (Sierra On-Line)
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (Sierra On-Line)
Incredible Machine, The (Sierra On-Line)
IndyCar Racing (Papyrus)
Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos (Virgin Games)
Legend of Kyrandia: Book Two/Hand of Fate (Westwood Studios)
Leisure Suit Larry 6 (Sierra On-Line)
Lost Vikings, The (InterPlay)
Pirates! Gold (MicroProse)
Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & The Flame (Brøderbund Software)
Sam & Max Hit the Road (LucasArts)
Settlers, aka Serf City: Life is Feudal (Strategic Simulations)
Simon the Sorcerer (Adventure Soft)
Solar Winds: Galaxy (Epic MegaGames)
Space Quest V: The Next Mutation (Sierra On-Line)
Star Wars: X-Wing (LucasArts)
Strike Commander (ORIGIN Systems)
Syndicate (Bullfrog)
TFX (Ocean Software)
Tornado (Spectrum Holobyte)
Ultima Underworld 2: Labyrinth of Worlds (ORIGIN Systems)
Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger (ORIGIN Systems)
Wing Commander: Privateer (ORIGIN Systems)

1994

Use a 2x or 4x CD-ROM, and definitely run VGA graphics. An 80286 at 16 MHz may play a game, but it won't be much fun. Anything more demanding such as Doom, X-Wing or Wing Commander III and you should be running a 486SX-25 with 4 MB RAM as a minimum spec to make it more enjoyable, though a 486DX2-66 is ideal along with 8 MB RAM and a decent PCI "accelerator" graphics card. For sound, you will see most games supporting General MIDI as the top-end choice, but many will still offer MT-32. For digital effects and other music options, Sound Blaster Pro/16/AWE, GUS and PAS are common.

Beneath a Steel Sky (Virgin Interactive)
Cannon Fodder (Virgin Interactive)
Descent (Interplay)
Doom II (id Software)
Heretic (id Software)
King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride (Sierra On-Line)
Legend of Kyrandia: Book Three/Malcolm's Revenge (Westwood Studios)
NASCAR Racing (Papyrus)
Raptor: Call of the Shadows (Apogee Software)
Star Wars: TIE Fighter (LucasArts)
System Shock (Electronic Arts)
Theme Park (Electronic Arts)
Transport Tycoon (MicroProse)
UFO: Enemy Unknown (MicroProse)
Wing Commander Armada (ORIGIN Systems)

1995

Get a 486 DX2-66 as a minimum, though a clock-tripled 486 (75 or 100) or Pentium 75 or 100 is top-end. Obviously SVGA graphics but if you want to play anything 3D you will need one of the brand new 3D accelerators on the market, and minimum 8 MB RAM. Sound-wise General MIDI is the way to go, along with a Sound Blaster 16 for digital effects if running in Windows - otherwise a SB Pro is fine.

Command & Conquer (Electronic Arts)
Dig, The (LucasArts)
EF2000 (Ocean Software)
Flight of the Amazon Queen (Warner Interactive)
Full Throttle (LucasArts)
Gabriel Knight II: The Beast Within (Sierra On-Line)
IndyCar Racing II (Papyrus Design)
Space Quest VI: Roger Wilco in the Spinal Frontier (Sierra On-Line)
Star Wars: Dark Forces (LucasArts)

1996

We're really into Pentium territory at this point, so don't bother with anything less. Get 8 MB of RAM and a fast 3D-capable PCI graphics card.

Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (Virgin Interactive)
Duke Nukem 3D (GT Interactive)
Quake (id Software)
[Wing Commander] Privateer 2: The Darkening (Origin Systems)

1997

For fast-moving graphics games, you should run a Pentium 100 as a minimum, and really 8 MB RAM minimum, but I'd go for 16 MB and a Pentium 133 or get a Super Socket 7 board and run an AMD K6. Graphics card are a huge deal these days, so choose carefully! nVidia Riva 128 is a solid choice. For audio, we're well into Windows audio by 1997, so General MIDI it is, though you can opt for a Sound Blaster AWE64.

Age of Empires (Microsoft)
Blade Runner (Virgin Interactive)
Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror (Virgin Interactive)
Carmageddon (Interplay)
Curse of Monkey Island (LucasArts)
Fallout (InterPlay)
Grand Theft Auto (BMG Interactive)
Lands of Lore 2: Guardians of Destiny (Virgin Interactive)
MDK (Playmates Interactive)
Need for Speed II (Electronic Arts)
Need for Speed II SE (Electronic Arts)
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee (GT Interactive)
Quake II (id Software)
Star Trek: Generations (MicroProse)
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (LucasArts)
Star Wars: X-Wing vs TIE Fighter (LucasArts)
Tomb Raider II (Eidos Interactive)
Worms 2: Armageddon (MicroProse)

1998

Baldur's Gate (Interplay)

1999

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (Microsoft)
Alpha Centauri (Electronic Arts)

2000

Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000)