You’d be mistaken to think that playing video games on your computer or laptop requires a dedicated graphics card. While it certainly opens up the number of titles you can play, there are plenty of games that will run just fine without one, and some of the biggest titles in the world can be played on your system’s integrated graphics. Here are five of the best games available right now that can be played on almost any computer system.
It would be wrong not to top off any list like this with any game other than Mojang’s Minecraft. It’s been in our lives for more than 10 years now, starting from the humble beginnings of a one-man project from Swedish game developer Markus Persson to the giant beast it is today. There’s a good chance you’ve already played Minecraft, but if you haven’t played it in a few years, now is an excellent time to go back and visit it. The game gets frequent content updates and Mojang very engaged with its players via the annual Minecon event.
The game has two editions for PC, the original Java version and a newer Bedrock Edition. If your computer specifications are on the lower side, the Bedrock edition plays much better than the Java one does, but it doesn’t have any support for modding, which infinitely extends the depth and playability of the game, and even the most affordable gaming laptops will handle the Java version perfectly well, so it’s our recommendation between the two.
If you like your games with a very steep difficulty, then you’ll love Cuphead. It’s a side-scrolling action game with beautifully hand-drawn and detailed level design and a pleasing original jazz soundtrack. Don’t let this charming game design catch you off-guard though, because the gameplay itself is brutally difficult. The titular Cuphead needs to, under your control, battle his way across detailed and fast-paced levels and defeat whatever manner of level boss awaits at the end of each, where the real challenge of the game lies.
Cuphead is certainly not a game for everyone, but if you have lightning-fast reflexes and enjoy a hefty challenge, Cuphead is a game well worth a look, even if only to appreciate the polish and visuals of that this game achieves without the need for a standalone graphics card.
Stardew Valley came out at exactly the right time to ride the wave of indie retro-style video games and gave players a new depth to the genre. At its core, it’s a base-building time and resource management game, but it adds so much more to that core concept. When your grandfather passes away, he leaves you his farm in Stardew Valley and you decide to leave the bustling and mind-numbing city life for the allure of the fresh air. When you get there, you’ll have to tend to your new farm and help the inhabitants of the nearby town rebuild their beloved community centre. You do this by building relationships with the townspeople, all of whom have different personalities and mini-quest lines for you to follow.
If you’ve played games like Harvest Moon, you’ll have no trouble at all finding your feet in this joyful and surprisingly deep title, which is perfectly playable on even very low-end computers.
Another game that relies on the retro-pixel style graphics that actually suit it quite well, and which also makes it playable on just about any computer, is Papers, Please. The game is set in a dystopian future where you work at a border post in a fictitious European country and are responsible for ensuring everyone entering the country has the correct paperwork. The core gameplay loop has you checking over each potential entrant’s paperwork and passports before either approving or declining their entry. It sounds simple, but it’s anything but. As the game goes on, it will add more datapoints for you to check and soon it becomes quite a challenging prospect.
League of Legends
Unless you’re completely disengaged from the world of video gaming, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the world’s biggest competitive gaming title, League of Legends. It’s by far the biggest game in a genre called the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), thanks to its generally lower learning curve than other games in the genre, and its ability to run on low-end hardware.
The game is a 5 versus 5 multiplayer experience, which sees you control a single character, called a champion, with a set of unique skills in a team of five. Your team aims to destroy the main building of the opposing team while they attempt to do the same to you. It’s fast paced and while it’s easy to play, it has an almost infinite skill-ceiling.
There are hundreds of titles that can be played on your computer, even if it only has onboard graphics, so go and explore the digital video game stores and find your new favourite.