There was something magical about the turn of the century.

The early 2000s were, for me, the pinnacle of childhood and tweenagedom. It was a time where PlayStation and GameCube reigned supreme. It was when I first got my hands on The Sims 2 and had my first experience kicking alien butt on Halo on the original Xbox.

But even then, I was a PC gamer at heart. I loved going to my grandmother’s house on the weekends because I knew I’d be able to play on the computer for an unlimited about of time, unlike during the week when I was at school all day and had far too many important things to do (like play PlayStation).

Recently, I’ve loved exploring older games because there’s just something about their energy I don’t feel as often when I play modern titles. Maybe it’s the fact that nowadays more emphasis seems to be placed on visuals than story, or that my own user experience has been inadvertently influenced by our digital age’s need for immediate gratification. Whatever the reason, the early 2000s were a time that launched what would become some of the gaming world’s most popular and beloved titles, as well as plenty of others that now collect dusts on shelves and second-hand shops. But I say it’s time to blow the dust off those bulky hard cases or whip out your credit card and head on over to Amazon because these are 3 early 2000s games that you should absolutely be playing.

No One Lives Forever

This first-person shooter launched in November 2000 and is beloved by so many players for everything from its killer plot-twists to its vibrant cast of characters. Who wouldn’t want to run around as a 1960s spy who looks like she should be singing backup for Dee-Lite?

cate archer no one lives forever sequel

The game’s sequel was released two years later, and it’s phenomenal to witness the progression of graphics over such a short period. The storyline is just as great, the adventure just as engrossing. If you want a double throwback, then the No One Lives Forever set will do the trick.

Zoo Tycoon

This game is bananas. Monkey pun intended. Everyone I’ve met has some childhood memory related to this game. Letting lions loose on unsuspecting patrons. Filling the park with water and releasing a frenzy of hungry Great Whites into the visitor buffet. Great times. And now you can relive that action again with the Complete Collection of Zoo Tycoon that includes both the original series and its two expansions, Marine Mania and Dinosaur Digs.

As an adult, you’ll still be able to release your favorite beasts into your zoo to give guests an experience they’ll never forget. Your zoos will just look a lot classier now that you aren’t 10. And the best part is that when you play Zoo Tycoon as an adult, you actually get to realize how awesome the dozens of campaigns are. They’re sure to keep you entertained and provide a nice, relaxing gaming experience.

It also had a fantastic TV commercial you need to watch.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

This game was awesome. I don’t know how many hours I spent randomly carousing on my board through obstacle courses and crashing terrifically, wondering what type of physical damage an actual person would have sustained.  There are hundreds of tricks you can perform and play as one of 12 players, including the legend himself. (Remember when Tony Hawk was still a thing?)

The game is fun, casual and also has that killer early 2000s punk rock soundtrack sure to open the floodgates for a million middle/high school memories.

tony hawk pro skater 2 pc

The early 2000s were special. The games were  were certainly some of the craziest, most memorable titles of our time; rare jewels from our youth that we can look back on and not cringe about having loved. And the greatest thing of all is that we can still go back and relive the magic. As long as we run in compatibility mode, of course.