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Best PC games
With the invention of the first functioning computer by Konrad Zuse in 1941, a new digital form of entertainment was established – PC gaming. The complex computer programs define rules and create virtual worlds in which players can interact interactively on the PC.
PC games evolved due to the technological advances in computer and television technology.
The games started in the 1950s: attempts were made on mainframes to imitate popular board games – such as checkers or Tic Tac Toe.
About 10 years later, thanks to television technology, consoles came onto the market that made video games possible on the home TV screen. With more and more personal computers (PC) in private households, the range of computer games developed rapidly from 1980. Current games are now graphically and in terms of content, significantly more demanding or varied and the demand is still immense.
PC games bring fun, distraction or stimulate playful ambition or competitive spirit. You can promote solution-oriented or strategic thinking or improve memory performance.
A social interaction by computer games is not to be underestimated. Many game variants are designed to allow users need to communicate, for example, the Internet or other networks to certain tasks to most.
Whether you want to be an action hero, a top athlete or a pilot, or if you want to go on an adventure – PC games are available in every conceivable genre.
So, there is the perfect game for almost everyone. To ensure that a game is also especially suitable for children or teenagers, there are appropriate markings.
With the almost overwhelming range of PC games on the market, it is not easy to find the perfect game. Your PC also needs the right technical components or the right software for gaming. Our buying guide for PC games below will give you detailed information and can support you in your selection.
In our guide, we introduce you to the important features of computer games in-detail. With this, you can find the right or an exciting new PC game according to your preferences.
Your selection of the optimal PC game should above all influence the following factors:
The system requirements of your PC
Before you buy a certain PC game, it makes sense to compare its technical requirements with the hardware and software requirements of your PC.
So, the operating system should be compatible. Action and stimulation games in particular often require powerful graphics cards and processors.
PC games have complex actions and game options
Whether action, puzzles, competition, strategy, tactics – choose a suitable genre. It decides the basic content and game structure and you can narrow down your selection accordingly.
The player mode says whether games are suitable for a single user or several users. Depending on the edition, a game also contains extensions or supplements such as maps, soundtracks or T-shirts.
Appropriate age ratings for PC games for minors
Different labels provide information about which PC games are more suitable for children and young people of a certain age and which should only be played by adults.
Matching accessories can increase the fun
Additional hardware such as a steering wheel or virtual reality glasses can make a car racing game much more real.
PC game versions
Computer games are programs or software that are on a data carrier and must, therefore, be played on suitable devices. For this reason, certain games are only published for suitable platforms.
Classic PC games are primarily those variants that are suitable for personal computers (PC) – that is, for desktops or laptops.
PC games are published in different formats and different editions. In addition to the edition and format, the price is largely determined by the genre and the complexity of the game and graphic elements.
PC games by format
PC games can be in the form of a physical disk- so-called boxes – or can be downloaded from the Internet.
Many PC games are offered by manufacturers in physical disks. These are complete packages which, in addition to the PC game, contain a cover, booklet and, if necessary, additional materials on a physical data medium.
The physical disk can be a CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc. Very complex games are more likely to be found in DVD or Blu-Ray format since a lot of game information can be stored on them.
To play the PC game in CD, DVD or Blu-Ray format you need an appropriate drive on your computer.
A PC game can be installed using disks any number of times and quickly and easily on different computers.
The box due to its external appearance alone can be a collector’s item that you can put on the shelf to look at and admire. Boxes sometimes also contain other materials, such as instructions, posters or advertising material.
You need space to store the game as well as some storage space on the PC. PC games in boxes are usually a little more expensive in comparison to games in which you can download.
Optionally equipped with additional accessories
Can be installed as often as required or on any number of PCs
Requires storage space
Longer waiting time when purchasing the game
In addition to the physical disks, PC games are also available as a download file. Purchasing computer games in this way is becoming increasingly popular. You can simply buy the game from online shops and download it directly.
A simple or error-free download of the file is only guaranteed if you have a fast and stable internet connection. So that the download works as smoothly as possible, you should follow the download or installation instructions of the manufacturer exactly.
The download and activation of the game usually work with the help of a product key, often it is a multi-digit character or number code that you have to enter during installation. You cannot use the key as often as you want in some games, ie you cannot use the game indefinitely on different PCs.
The download file requires storage space on the PC, but no additional storage space on the shelf. Since a PC game in the form of a download does not contain any outer packaging or other accessories, it is usually somewhat cheaper than a box.
A PC game in the form of a download is particularly suitable for you if you want to play new PC games promptly. Some manufacturers also provide versions that you can test in advance, so-called pre-versions or beta keys.
Quick access to the game
No delivery times
Beta testing possible
No collector’s item to put down
No accessories included
Cannot be installed any number of times
PC games by edition
Manufacturers or so-called publishers publish their PC games in different editions. Often, the format in which you can buy the game also differs.
Most of the time, there are 3 types of publication:
- Standard editionsare the basic versions of a game that contain all the basic game elements.
- Special editionsare partially limited versions or versions of a game published at a certain time, which in addition to the standard game also offer add-ons and / or may contain additional cards, download codes or advertising information.
- Add-on editionsare extensions for the basic version of the PC game. For example, they contain additional levels or characters. They are often offered as downloads.
The standard edition of a PC game is the most common or, depending on the game, the only published variant.
It is often also referred to as a full version or main game and contains all the basic game elements. Depending on the genre and game structure, this basic version can already be very complex.
Standard editions are often still published in-game boxes in which a booklet and, if necessary, additional material is enclosed. However, the trend is gradually shifting towards the download file.
Many PC games are also available as special editions. It is the basic game, which is equipped with various extensions and / or accessories. Extensions can be additional levels or levels of difficulty, other worlds, and characters. Accessories or gimmicks include T-shirts, posters, art books, action figures, soundtracks or USB sticks with exclusive activation codes for additional game elements.
Special editions are often published in boxes in which the corresponding bonus material fits. You can recognize these variants by different names that can refer to certain features of the edition.
The most common variants are:
Day One Edition
Many PC games are published as a special edition in the first edition. This usually has special codes, activations, additional characters or just another cover and is usually also limited.
This version serves as a collector’s item. The edition often differs in the appearance of the data carrier, which means that it is usually published in a specially designed box. A Collector’s Edition also usually contains high-quality booklets or materials for fans, but may also have software extensions.
This edition, also called GOTY-Edition for short, usually contains, in addition to the basic version, all add-ons published in addition to the game.
This version of a PC game is only produced and launched in a certain number.
The packaging of an edition can also be specially designed: Steelbook editions do not have a plastic box, but stainless steel.
Because of the extras, special editions are often significantly more expensive than average PC games. Also, they are not available for every game.
Add-on editions are expansion packs for a PC game. It is additional content for the main game such as items, levels, multiplayer cards, additional characters, new game options, worlds or new stories that fit into the theme world of the Standard Edition.
You can only install and use add-ons if you already own the main game.
Add-ons are often referred to as DLC. The abbreviation stands for “downloadable content”, ie content that can be downloaded from the Internet and then installed.
This name has become established because the extension packages are less common as physical disks, but are mostly download files. Compared to the standard edition, the files are often smaller and usually also cheaper.
PC games are published in different genres, i.e. different content categories.
The genre identifies and determines the following factors of a game:
The genre is primarily responsible for the basic content and strategic direction of the game – it defines how the game is structured and what typical game elements -figures, and rules or time limits it contains.
Many genres each work with a certain perspective, i.e. the perspective from which the player sees and can control the characters. If the player can change the perspective, he usually has more freedom of movement.
The genre can also define the typical number of players who can take part in a PC game at the same time.
Many games are fundamentally geared towards single players, while others are much more fun when played online or in networks with other real players, for example, or against each other.
Many games combine elements of different genres so that the boundaries between these categories cannot always be drawn. Some games even contain a specific mix of genres, so they combine many different aspects to ensure a complex and very demanding game quality.
Below we explain the main features of the most common PC game genres:
- Action games
- Adventure games
- Brain and board games
- Jump and run games
- Simulation games
- Sports and racing games
- Strategy games
In an action game, you usually slip into the virtual skin, which has the task to save the world from doom or to solve certain tasks.
To do this, your character must conquer a wide variety of opponents, collect vital items or activate certain mechanisms.
The essential features of an action game at a glance:
Emphasis on the real-time aspect
The player usually has to react to a certain event within a given time frame. With a strong emphasis on the real-time aspect, there is also the challenge of reacting skillfully and quickly to certain events.
Because players are exposed to many sensations in which they have to make decisions quickly, the responsiveness is trained.
The character is usually constantly threatened and also mortal, so that unscathed survival is one of the most basic requirements of an action game.
War and scenarios
As a rule, the character is in war scenarios and therefore usually has to fight, shoot or even flee.
The story often refers to different historical epochs in which there was war, but violent fantasy, horror, comic or science fiction settings are also typical.
Classic action games are Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, Tomb Raider or Resident Evil.
In a first-person shooter, also known as a first-person shooter, you control your character from the first-person perspective.
A first-person shooter has the following features:
You always fight against different opponents with the help of various firearms.
The aspect of violence is clearly in the foreground in a first-person shooter. Therefore, these PC games are usually only released for use from the age of 18.
Medium freedom of movement
You can move freely or move the figure through a freely accessible three-dimensional world. However, you always experience the world only in the direct field of vision of the character, whose movement frame is mostly limited to running and shooting movements.
Game mode freely selectable
In a first-person shooter, you can usually choose between a single-player or multiplayer mode. In multiplayer mode, you have the opportunity not only to fight alone against computer-controlled opponents but also against real online players. A large fan base has formed for many first-person shooters, who jointly contest online competitions.
Typical first-person shooters are Battlefield, Call of Duty, Counter-Strike or Doom.
In a third-person shooter, you see your character from the perspective which is directly behind or slightly above the figure.
The following elements await you in a third-person shooter:
Since it is also a shooting game, the focus is on the use of weapons and ranged combat in a third-person shooter.
So, there are many gunfights between your character and their enemies.
Options unlike in a first-person shooter, you have a larger field of vision because you can easily look at the figure and the field from above.
Also, this enables more or different movements, e.g. B. climbing or jumping and also driving in vehicles.
Pronounced plot or narrative level
It is typical for these shooters that they have a more complex plot in which you have a greater scope of interaction.
For example, you often have to solve additional puzzles or complete special missions.
Single-player mode: Most third-person shooters are designed for single players.
Well-known third-person shooters include Max Payne, Mafia and Freedom Fighters.
In a shoot, ’em up your character has the task of fighting a large number of enemy units in a two-dimensional world.
Shoot ’em up means “shoot them”. The games are colloquially referred to as shooting games.
Shoot ’em ups include Blue Max, Defender, Spacewar! or Sine Mora.
Beat ’em up
Beat ’em ups are fighting games in which physical violence is used against one or more opponents. Beat ’em up games, translated, “Beat them up!” Are often called thrashing games.
Typical games of the genre Beat ’em up are Mortal Kombat, Injustice, Street Fighter and Tekken.
In these games, you play one or more characters who go through an adventure within a well-thought-out story.
The following aspects are in the foreground:
Solving puzzles and tasks
The focus is on exploring areas while solving tasks and often tricky puzzles.
Action and violence generally play no or only a minor role.
The levels usually do not have to be completed within a certain time, so you have the peace of mind to devote yourself entirely to solving a problem.
The complex storyline with dialogues
In most adventure games, your character can talk to other characters. The dialogue partners pose tasks or puzzles that your character accomplishes or solves.
This way you reach the next level and this also drives the mostly very complex plot or story.
Point & Click
Many adventure games are designed according to the principle of point & click, ie the user clicks on the objects, paths or people to choose from and action follows.
In contrast to many other games, distances are covered after a click is specified.
Adventures are usually designed for single players.
Well-known adventure games are Baphomets Curse, Deponia, Minecraft or Monkey Island.
Brain and board games
Brain and board games belong to the oldest type of game. Many of these classic games are also available for the PC.
It is mostly board, card or dice games. Also, there are newer quiz variants or extensive card games, for example with fantastic characters.
The following elements usually show brain and board games for the PC:
Brain and board games have very firm rules within which you can act. Depending on the version, it depends on general knowledge, skill, luck or strategic thinking.
In mind games, in particular, you are not under time pressure when solving a problem.
Single or multiplayer mode
Many of these games require one or more opponents. The opponent can often be simply the computer.
Board games, in particular, can also be played well with friends, for example against online opponents, and thus bring even more fun.
Simulation games on the PC enable you as a player to put yourself in certain situations and understand them virtually.
The selection of games is very diverse: You can drive a truck, fly an airplane, control a spaceship, run a farm or do different jobs and leisure activities.
These games have three main features:
The games reproduce technical functions, every day or dangerous situations in a realistic way, so they imitate both the processes and the consequences of your actions or decisions.
You can playfully test actual situations and developments. The game perspective is mostly based on which situation is simulated.
Training empathy and understanding
Simulators traditionally promote understanding and understanding of the different processes or situations.
These games are usually designed for single players.
Common simulation games are Flight Simulator, Farming Simulator or Sims.
Sports and racing games
In sports and racing games, you as a player have a precisely defined, sporty competition goal in mind. Score as many goals as possible or be the first to finish.
The following attributes are typical for this type of game:
Clear framework conditions
The respective course of the game corresponds to common sporting rules.
As in real competitions, you can either emerge from around as the winner or the loser. The duration of a round, game or tournament is generally limited in time
Different game perspectives are depending on the type of game. It can also change within the game if this is necessary or helpful for the performance of the sporting activity.
You usually play football games from a bird’s eye view, but you can often switch to the first-person perspective for a shot or throw-in.
Different game mode
You can play sports or racing games alone, but also with several users.
Racing games come in different variations. In addition to the classic and popular car race, there are also races with a moped, monster truck, motorcycle, mountain bike, tractor or quad.
A racing game for the PC is commercially available with almost all imaginable vehicles. In a racing game, you usually have the option of freely selecting both the transmission and the look of a vehicle and the racetrack.
Depending on the race track chosen, the outside atmosphere and surroundings vary. Racing games with real locations and places are available on the market.
The field of sports games is also very diverse.
From boxing, darts and ice hockey to soccer, golf, billiards and riding to motocross or snowboarding, almost every sport imaginable is now available as a PC game in stores.
Well-known sports and racing games are FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer, Dirt Rally or F1.
In strategy games, you carry out actions over long periods, for example building civilizations, armies or cities or pursuing a specific goal.
These games focus on the following aspects:
The plot usually extends, for example, over several epochs or is about certain wars, but also several periods in science fiction or fantasy worlds are typical.
Therefore, you often need a lot of patience and persistence for these games.
Simultaneous control of several processes
Unlike in other games, you can oversee several units, processes, battles or situations at the same time.
Therefore, good planning, multitasking and forward-looking action are required during the game.
As a rule, you look at what is happening on the screen from a bird’s eye view or the so-called Overwatch perspective, to be able to have a good overview of the related units.
The characteristics of strategy games can differ greatly, especially concerning the playing time.
There are two basic strategy game variants:
Real-time strategy games
In a real-time strategy game, you as a player perform your interactive actions in real-time. The aim of the game is, therefore, to make the right decision in every situation and to take the resulting measures at the right place at the right time.
So-called MOBA games (multiple online battle areas) are becoming increasingly popular, in which you usually strategically control only a certain army or a thematically related structure from several game units.
These are mostly multiplayer versions. In a real-time strategy game, good responsiveness and skill are particularly important.
Turn-based strategy games
As a player in a turn-based strategy game, you carry out your interactive actions in individual game rounds; such PC games have an unlimited time frame.
A turn-based strategy game is characterized by a complex structure and profound connections. It aims at your planning ability and clear thinking.
Typical strategy games are Anno, Civilization, Dota, Heroes of the Storm or Starcraft.
Computer games differ in how demanding the graphics or how complex the processes and correspondingly complex calculation steps are.
For a game to run smoothly or smoothly, your PC should have the necessary system requirements, i.e. suitable hardware and software components.
3D games, in particular, are very demanding in this context.
Manufacturers generally point out the system requirements in detail in the product description or on the game packaging. On certain platforms, you can also check whether your PC has the necessary gaming hardware or software.
When choosing the game, pay attention to the following aspects concerning the system requirements:
PC games usually only run on Windows operating systems.
Pay attention to the correct version of the operating system, as not every game is compatible with every version.
Windows 7 is often the minimum requirements for complex, newer games.
The entire memory of the computer used by the graphics hardware is particularly important for high-performance graphics playback. This can be the main memory or a special memory module.
Manufacturers usually state how much space is recommended, and the values can be between 2–2,048 MB (megabytes). Some also indicate which graphics card models are suitable.
For 3D games, you usually need a powerful system and working memory with 1–2 GB (gigabytes) each, a suitable graphics card as well as a 3D-capable screen and additionally 3D glasses.
If you buy the game in the disk, you will receive it in CD, DVD or Blu-Ray.
Your PC should, therefore, have a suitable drive for playing the data carrier.
For some games, especially multiplayer online games, Internet access from the PC is required.
Since the necessary game data must be downloaded from servers to your PC via the Internet.
The central processing unit of your PC has to be particularly powerful for some games. Optimal cooperation between the processor, chipset, several processor cores and the main memory is essential for the performance.
Processors that have multiple processor cores and a higher processor clock frequency are often very powerful.
Manufacturers often state which clock frequency is optimal for a game, which can be between 700-2,500 MHz (megahertz). Particularly high processor performance is recommended for 3D displays.
In many role-playing games, great importance is attached to the look. They usually captivate with visually stunning and opulent graphics, which is why you often require a powerful computing system.
Action games often have to deal with powerful graphics and click processes.
Many adventures, simulation, jump-and-run and thinking games, on the other hand, usually have fewer demanding graphics or do not have to process a lot of new data in the shortest possible time and therefore manage with less processor and graphics performance.
You can control most games using the mouse and keyboard. Additional elements such as a controller or a steering wheel usually support a quick implementation of the inputs in the game.
A 3D mouse or a so-called fly stick is often necessary for 3D games.
PC games are not only enjoyed by adults, but also by children and especially young people. To ensure that the content of the game is suitable for minors, PC games usually have an age rating.
The age marking refers to the regulations of the legal protection of minors. This is nothing about the level of difficulty of a game or its educational suitability. Rather, it is about protecting minors from inappropriate content, for example from extreme violence or immense brutality.
Games that have not received a label, as well as games that are only approved for those aged 18 and over, may only be sold to adults.
Some games have been developed specifically for children and are mainly used for family-friendly entertainment or playfully to promote memory or dexterity and thus prepare children for kindergarten or school.
You will usually find the following age markings on PC games:
The test centre for the age rating of computer and video games in Europe is called PEGI (Pan-European Game Information).
These are small rectangles on different coloured backgrounds with large-format numbers that indicate the minimum age.
You will find additional symbols on the front and back of the packaging of a PC game. The marks show whether violence, vulgar language, fear, drugs, sex, or discrimination occur and whether it is gambling and online gaming with other players.
3 years old: Suitable for all age groups, fantasy creatures, representations of violence at most in comic style, no frightening noises, an appropriate language without vulgar content
From 7 years old: Games that are already a bit scary, but could otherwise be released from the age of 3
12 years old: More extensive violence against fantasy or human-like beings, low nudity, light vulgar language
From 16 years of Violent or sexual acts, which can also exist in real life, stronger vulgar language, the consumption of stimulants and intoxicants is discussed
18 years old: Exclusive recommendation for adults, strong cruelty that can usually provoke disgust at the viewer
There are extensive accessories for PC games that usually make a game even more realistic or entertaining or simplify operation.
Typical accessories are for example:
Controllers, also called joypads, are small, handy remote controls with buttons and possibly small levers for controlling characters.
These are particularly advantageous in beat ’em ups since many attack techniques can be coordinated faster and better with the combination of different keys.
Especially for those who want to communicate with other users during an online game, a headset consisting of headphones and a microphone is worthwhile.
Typical gaming headsets allow suitable programs on the PC to exchange strategies or tactics in a running game.
Steering wheel and pedals
The steering wheel and accelerator or brake pedals make virtual racing much more exciting.
The components are often offered in a set and can be connected to the PC via common interfaces.
Virtual Reality Glasses
With so-called VR glasses, you perceive the game world almost like reality. These glasses allow a large field of vision because individual images are created and displayed from different perspectives.
Particularly powerful variants don’t even show picture edges anymore, so you have the feeling that you are actually in the computer world and moving.
Frequently asked questions
Why are computer games played?
Computer games, as well as classic games, are played for pleasure and relaxation. PC games, in particular, create a virtual world so that a user can easily escape from reality.
In contrast to television, a player is not passive in front of the PC screen but interacts. This promotes other skills: Games improve both cognitive and motor development.
In computer games there are often tricky processes or missions to be completed, puzzles and complex tasks to be solved or there are stories and actions in which the user is immersed.
This trains the grey matter or memory and expands understanding. Using the PC game improves hand-eye coordination, responsiveness and dexterity.
They can also promote multitasking and orientation skills, as many different visual impressions are processed during the game and different inputs have to be made during the game.
Also, success achieved can promote self-esteem. Games in which several real players interact also promote social skills.
What are computer games?
PC games are programs that run on computer systems and define certain rules according to which one or more players act interactively.
Since processes are visualized, video games are often mentioned, but the term computer games are mainly used for those variants that can be played on a PC.
How did computer games develop?
The history of computer games begins in the late 1940s and is closely linked to the development of video games.
The first games were developed for tube or mainframe computers and were mostly simple replicas of well-known thinking or board games. After various games on mainframes worked, small and simple logic chips came onto the market in the 1970s, which made it possible to play games on public slot machines.
The game Pong, which resembles a simplified, two-dimensional form of table tennis, is very well known.
The manufacturer “Atari” created a computer that had an integrated hard disk in the keyboard. Floppy disks, on which computer games were stored and from which data could be called up, could be inserted on the side of the keyboard. As the interactive game from home became more popular over time, the demand rose steadily.
The first game consoles came onto the market in the 1980s, with the manufacturer “Nintendo ” making a name for itself.
At the same time, PC games developed rapidly, as more and more computers moved into private households in the 1980s. In the 1990s, the floppy disc withdrew, and larger data carriers such as CDs and DVDs came onto the market. This allowed more complex PC games to be developed.
Computer games are now a very popular pastime. Games for mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, in particular, are being played by an increasing number of people of all ages.
Many countries have their industry for the development of new computer games, the profits of which are significantly larger than those of the respective film industry.
How do I recognize a good computer game?
Different aspects can influence which game meets your requirements.
So it depends on the genre whether you like the chosen game structure and how challenging the game can be in terms of plot, task or even visually.
What are PC simulation games?
Everyday situations, economic processes or technical functions are virtually represented in simulation games.
In this way, different actions and decisions on devices or in different living environments can be tested.
What should I consider before buying a PC game?
You should pay particular attention to the following aspects before buying a PC game:
Check whether your PC meets the requirements of the computer game. This can be, for example, the correct operating system version, a suitable drive and powerful graphics and processor components or Internet access.
Before buying a PC game, pay attention to the corresponding USK or PEGI markings.
These give you information about which PC game is suitable for your child or yourself or is even suitable for purchase.
The genre determines the theme and game structure. Each of these can have more or less challenge or entertainment value for you.
Depending on whether you buy a game online or on a data carrier, delivery time and system requirements may differ.
There are also various editions that either contain a complete game, only extensions or extensive encores. The edition often also decides on the price of the respective game.
Why are PC games cheaper than console games?
A PC game is cheaper than a game for the console. The reason for this is often discussed on various platforms and in various Internet forums.
The main reason for the higher prices of console games is often the license fees of the manufacturers, which they allegedly have to pay to the manufacturers of the hardware.
In this context, it is sometimes wildly speculated whether the license fee is payable per game or even per data carrier.
However, there is no guaranteed answer to the question of why games for the console are more expensive than PC games.
Since the background and correlations cannot be proven and there is no concrete information on this topic, it remains controversial.
Are computer games addictive?
Frequent play, in particular, can lead to this, but the type of play also influences a possible risk of addiction. Online role-playing games, in particular, can be played 24 hours a day and cannot be played to the end – on the contrary, there are always new goals and opportunities for further development.
The more you play, the better your character, with which the player can reward himself at any time. The many positive feedbacks let the player easily forget the time.