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From Wing Commander to Crysis

Gaming Special: The biggest hardware devourers of their times

Almost every year a game is released that gets any PC to its knees and forces ambitioned gamers to upgrade their system. PCGH introduces the games that match this description.
1990: Wing Commander (Sometimes it even paid off to upgrade the EMS memory for Wing Commander.)
 
1990: Wing Commander (Sometimes it even paid off to upgrade the EMS memory for Wing Commander.) [Source: view picture gallery]
2000: Ultima IX: Ascension (You could only “lag” through the nice 3D environment and the wide landscape. The Glide version was running much faster than the D3D version.)
 
2000: Ultima IX: Ascension (You could only “lag” through the nice 3D environment and the wide landscape. The Glide version was running much faster than the D3D version.) [Source: view picture gallery]
Everyone knows a situation like this: You think your PC will be able to handle all the games for some months or even years. But right then a game is released that you have been anxiously waiting for - and it brings your system to its knees. If overclocking or individual upgrades cannot help, you need a new PC.

In the history of PC games there have been several extraordinary titles, because of which people upgraded their system to be able to play them. PCGH tries to list those games that earned the title "hardware devourer”. It doesn't matter if the game was poorly programmed or just way ahead of its time.

Have fun with the 26 games we put into this gallery.


--
Author: Thilo Bayer (Sep 11, 2008)






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Comments (10)

Comments 7 to 10  Read all comments here!
pcghx_thilo Re: Gaming Special: The biggest hardware devourers of their times
Administrator
13.09.2008 23:06
Doom and Wolfenstein is more a problem of our servers sitting in Germany - and these games are banned here ;-)

But thanks again for the useful addendum.
Bo_Fox Re: Gaming Special: The biggest hardware devourers of their times
Junior Member
13.09.2008 22:38
Quote: (Originally Posted by pcghx_thilo)
Some great ideas for part 2, thanks a lot!


One of the first DX10 games released was Call of Juarez. It was virtually unplayable in DX10 mode with all the options turned on. Of course, Crysis got all the attention but Crysis came like 1 year later. Call of Juarez really made DX10 look bad compared to DX9 (due to horrible performance) that it made many of us just hold off on upgrading.

Quake1 was probably the biggest video card "killer app" of all time..., only to be intensified with Quake2 (with its native OpenGL support).

How can we not mention Doom? And Wolfenstein 3D?!? Doom 1 was the reason that many people did a complete overhaul of their mobo's/CPU's, in order to turn it from a slide-show to a fluid experience. Basically, Doom is what started it all. Then we were able to play Sim City 2000, etc.. all thanks to Doom.. LOL!

Given the huge popularity of Half Life and its Counter Strike, everybody were quickly ditching their computers from the K6/Pentium1 era to the Pentium3/Athlon era. Right around the year 2000 was the probably the biggest and most rapid change in the computer hardware requirements. Most games started requiring 64MB instead of 8MB memory--an 8x increase within 1 year! Now, we're not seeing anything that rapid in computer tech... not even Crysis is increasing the memory requirements any more than 2x than what a 2+ year old game needed.
pcghx_thilo Re: Gaming Special: The biggest hardware devourers of their times
Administrator
13.09.2008 20:35
Quote: (Originally Posted by jamesm)
Even earlier than the games mentioned here were some of the Sierra On-line games of the mid 1980's. They ushered in more than a simple hardware upgrade, but a complete change in the thought about PC gaming hardware! King's Quest (PC version of 1985) made people consider a sound card (vs. none) and lead people to abandon MGA or CGA graphics in favor of EGA and then VGA.

Nice list! Thanks!


Some great ideas for part 2, thanks a lot!

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