PC gaming has been renowned for pushing boundaries and setting the bar for what’s possible, ever since ID Software and John Carmack put their mastery over the 486 processors of old to work with Doom in 1993. Console technology of the time just couldn’t compete in terms of graphical fidelity, and while technically impressive PC games existed beforehand, this trend of PC gaming being the absolute technical forefront of home gaming continued for the years to come.
This association with PC gaming, technical superiority and innovation has continued ever since.
Remember Unreal, and the introduction with the camera flying through the castle showcasing the lighting and reflection technology?
This masterpiece, in all its ridiculously good looking, hardware accelerated goodness, was released 5 months before Turok 2 on the N64. Try looking at that nowadays on original hardware…
Now we’re talking 4K displays, ultra-high refresh rates, gaming at 144 frames per second (and above), real-time ray tracing, fidelity that most likely still won’t be matched by next generation consoles (let alone current generation!), and games geared towards stunning graphical showcases.
“But why are you talking about this, what’s this got to do with the article title?” I hear you say, waiting for us to get to the point.
The point is, this association is unfortunate for developers creating stunning games that don’t have massive development teams, or match graphical / technical expectations. There’s a massive segment of the PC gaming audience that are going to overlook stunning games solely because it doesn’t look like the shiniest 4K experience on the planet, and while graphical fidelity has its place, there’s something to be said for removing this association, taking a step back and looking for the diamonds in the rough.
With that said, we wanted to cover some of the most addictive, brilliant experiences that forego the technically impressive exterior, in favour of some of the most involving gameplay you’ll find on any gaming hardware. Remove that mental association, broaden your horizons, and learn a little more about our thoughts on the games you should be playing right now:
An incredibly highly reviewed online game for between 4 and 10 players and accurately described by one Steam reviewer as "destroying more friendships than UNO", Among Us is a game that puts a crew of players together with the objective of repairing your spaceship and getting it prepared for departure. There's one drawback however, as one of the players among you all is an imposter, who has a secret secondary objective - To kill the crew and get away with it.
As a crew member, it's up to you to win either by preparing the ship and successfully taking off, or successfully finding who the imposter(s) is/are, and ejecting them from the ship.
As the imposter, you can tinker with ship's systems and sabotage their repairs, trying to blend in while assassinating them all one by one, while trying to frame the rest of the crew. It gets ridiculously fun if you're in a discord group or even in person playing together, pulling your best poker face trying not to give things away.
It's cheap, and with friends, it's up there with the best multiplayer experiences with friends on PC.
Self described as a sci-fi colony sim driven by an intelligent AI storyteller, Rimworld is basically a game that functions as a story generator, and the depth and possibility of what can happen is immense.
Playing like a top-down strategy game, you control a group of colonists under completely random conditions, and it's up to you to help them survive, manage their moods, keep them entertained, healthy and prosperous on this planet they've found themselves upon. Build a base, get supplies to survive, and what you choose to do from there is entirely up to you.
Your colonists can develop relationships and get married, they can get involved in combat, lose limps, and get them replaced with bionics, they can develop drug dependencies and fall ill, struggle with emotional problems, the amount to keep on top of is unreal and your first few colonies will almost assuredly fall apart completely, but that's half the fun! Things are going to happen and it's going to throw some STRANGE things your way, and it's up to you to try and deal with it all and keep your colonists running.
Written description does not do this game justice, it needs to be played, and it needs to be experienced in full. Your story is going to be completely different to everyone else.
Streets of Rogue
Just in-case you've wondered what Deus Ex would be like as a pixel based top-down rogue-like, Streets of Rogue is an incredible game playable either solo, locally in co-op, or online. You're dumped into a world with an objective, a mission and an exit, and the means of which you achieve this are left completely up to you. The options available, both in terms of gameplay and character creation are absolutely stunning, and give massive room for experimentation.
To give just a few examples, you can create a comedian who's primary ability is to tell jokes that are either so amazingly good you instantly make everyone your loyal friend and companion, or are so horrifically offensive they quite literally want to kill you. Tell the right joke at the right time, and get yourself a henchman you can send in to do your dirty work for you.
Offend someone in a shop however, and good luck getting anything out of the shopkeeper without taking him out.
How about playing around with the various amounts of consumables and powerups, such as the giant pill that'll make you so huge you can stomp through walls and punch people into orbit? Why even take it yourself? Crush it, put it into a water gun, and shoot it at your friend to make them huge and charge through everything in their way.
Why not put an enrage potion in the building's air ventilation system making them all attack each other?
The creative ways you can play make this almost infinitely replayable, and well worth a slot on this list.
Build your own medieval siege engine from scratch! What could possibly go wrong?
You're given multiple different things to destroy, and it's up to you to create a medieval weapon capable of destroying the armies, and fortifications, put in your path. All the pieces are yours to do with exactly as you please.
Some absolutely hilarious creations have been made, from helicopters spitting flames that just shouldn't possibly function, to... transforming mechs?
It's basically Lego for people that like to build a dream death machine, and it'll keep you grinning for literally hours.
Budget Gaming PCs from UKGC
These 5 games are literally just the tip of the iceberg. Indie games like Fall Guys are reaching a concurrent 125,000 players on PC alone, and massive AAA games like Valorant by Riot Games are built specifically for low end machines, proving you don't need to spend a fortune to get a ton out of your budget gaming PC.
If you're looking for a gaming rig that won't break the bank, take a look at UKGC's selection of budget machines, ready for upgrade when you are.