The 1993 release of Doom on the PC was a breakthrough in 3D graphics, and was soon ported to various game consoles in a general shift toward greater realism. 51% of IBM or compatible had 386 or faster CPUs. By 1992 DOS games such as Links supported Super VGA graphics. While leading Sega and Nintendo console systems kept their CPU speed at 3–7 MHz, the 486 PC processor ran much faster, allowing it to perform many more calculations per second. Tomb Raider in 1996 was one of the first 3D third-person shooter games and was praised for its revolutionary graphics. Electronic Arts reported that customers used computers for games more than one fifth of the time whether or not they purchased them for work at home. By 1993 PC games required much more memory than other software, often consuming all of conventional memory, while peripheral device drivers could go into upper memory with DOS memory managers.
To enhance the immersive experience with their unrealistic graphics and electronic sound, early PC games included extras such as the peril-sensitive sunglasses that shipped with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or the science fiction novella included with Elite. While many companies used the additional storage to release poor-quality shovelware collections of older software, or "enhanced" versions of existing ones, new games such as Myst included many more assets for a richer game experience. From the mid-90s onwards, PC games lost mass-market traction to console games before enjoying a resurgence in the mid-2000s through digital distribution. The uncoordinated nature of the PC game market and its lack of physical media make precisely assessing its size difficult.
Players found modifying CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files for memory management cumbersome and confusing, and each game needed a different configuration. By 1993 PC games required much more memory than other software, often consuming all of conventional memory, while peripheral device drivers could go into upper memory with DOS memory managers. These publications provided game code that could be typed into a computer and played, encouraging readers to submit their own software to competitions. Microchess was one of the first games for microcomputers which was sold to the public. During this time, the improvements introduced with products such as ATI's Radeon R300 and NVidia's GeForce 6 Series have allowed developers to increase the complexity of modern game engines. The first generation of computer games were often text adventures or interactive fiction, in which the player communicated with the computer by entering commands through a keyboard. By 1989 Computer Gaming World reported that "the industry is moving toward heavy use of VGA graphics". While some games were advertised with VGA support at the start of the year, they usually supported EGA graphics through VGA cards. However, the rise of the Creative Labs Sound Blaster card, released in 1989, which featured much higher sound quality due to the inclusion of a PCM channel and digital signal processor, led AdLib to file for bankruptcy by 1992. In December 1992 Computer Gaming World reported that DOS accounted for 82% of computer-game sales in 1991, compared to Macintosh's 8% and Amiga's 5%. Also in 1989, the FM Towns computer included built-in PCM sound, in addition to a CD-ROM drive and 24-bit color graphics.