If you’re wanting to indulge your love of gaming but would prefer not to splash out several hundred bucks on a console or even more money on a high-end gaming PC, you’re not alone. If all you have to work with is the battered old laptop that you have faithfully been using for little more than emails and browsing Facebook for the past few years, don’t worry.
With a few tweaks, a little bit of finesse, and realistic expectations, you can transform your old laptop into a device that you can play a wide range of video games on that are a hell of a lot more entertaining than solitaire. Here’s your step-by-step guide on how to play games with your old, low-end laptop.
1. Find Out What the Absolute Limit of Your Machine Is
The first step is to find out exactly what you have to work with. Your laptop might be ten-years-old and running on fumes, but you might be pleasantly surprised at what the specs allow for.
There are a number of easy ways to instantly check what games you can safely run on your laptop. For a start, you can consult the online tool Speccy to get an exact run-down of all of your laptop’s specifications – all you need to do is enter the model and make it into the search bar.
After this, head over to the gaming specs site CanIRunIt, a site that provides a full list of all of the games your computer can handle. Once you have entered your computer details, you can even search specific game titles, and the site will tell you how well your laptop will be able to handle it.
2. Lower the Graphics Settings
Even if your game or games of choice are not cooperating with your rusty old laptop, there is still hope. The first thing you should do is boot up the game and lower all of the graphics settings to the absolute lowest level they will go.
This means reducing the resolution to rock bottom, switching the fame rate, and clicking the big fat ‘NO’ button on all of those fancy, unnecessary features such as shadow textures and water detail. You will likely be surprised at just how dramatic a difference this will make for you.
Although the game may look a little bit dated, you should still be able to enjoy it. If you’re not too picky about how your game looks, all the better.
3. Hack the Config Files of Your Games
If your laptop is so battered that even reducing the graphics settings does not allow for a functional gameplay experience, it’s time to go deeper.
You can bring things down even further by entering the configuration files for the games you have installed on your computer. Simply enter the relevant folders on your drive and look for files with names like ‘graphics’, ‘distance view’, and ‘run speed’.
Here, you can go beyond the game settings to crank down the game specs even further. If this seems like a lot of effort, you can use free software such as Low Spec Experience to automatically hack the config files in this way.
4. Prioritize Online Games
One of the most sure-fire ways to enjoy seamless gaming on an old-school device is to opt for online gaming experiences. Online games typically run on a high-end server on their end, meaning that your device does not need to bear the brunt of the game.
When choosing online games, opt for platforms that provide lots of variety rather than just one or two titles. Large platforms such as Vegas Slots Online offer free-to-play versions of hundreds of slot titles, as well as poker, blackjack, roulette, and baccarat, all of which run easily on even the most worn down laptops. You can also opt for game streaming platforms such as GeForce Now or ParSec for the same effect.
5. Low for Classic, Old School Titles and Indie Releases
One of the easiest steps you can take towards gaming on your old laptop is to focus on the kinds of titles that have very low requirements, even at their highest settings. This means starting with classic, old school titles from your younger days. Think Ocarina of Time, Doom 3, Fallout 2, or Mafia.
All of these games may be old, but they are among the most critically acclaimed in history for a reason. In addition, modern indie titles with quite basic functionality, such as Papers Please, Gone Home, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture will work excellently.
With these simple tricks, you will be able to convert your battered old laptop into a gaming device that will keep you entertained for countless hours.