Further improvements to game artwork and audio were made possible with the introduction of FM synthesis sound. A Koei executive claimed that "Nintendo's success has destroyed the [computer] software entertainment market". Without question, Nintendo's success has eroded software sales. Players found modifying CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files for memory management cumbersome and confusing, and each game needed a different configuration. Id Software went on to develop Wolfenstein 3D in 1992, which helped to popularize the genre, kick-starting a genre that would become one of the highest-selling in modern times. The game was originally distributed through the shareware distribution model, allowing players to try a limited part of the game for free but requiring payment to play the rest, and represented one of the first uses of texture mapping graphics in a popular game, along with Ultima Underworld.
As with second-generation video game consoles at the time, early home computer game companies capitalized on successful arcade games at the time with ports or clones of popular arcade games. By 1982, the top-selling games for the Atari 400 were ports of Frogger and Centipede, while the top-selling game for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A was the Space Invaders clone TI Invaders. That same year, Pac-Man was ported to the Atari 800, while Donkey Kong was licensed for the Coleco Adam. In late 1981, Atari attempted to take legal action against unauthorized clones, particularly Pac-Man clones, despite some of these predating Atari's exclusive rights to the home versions of Namco's game. 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. 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.
Tomb Raider in 1996 was one of the first 3D third-person shooter games and was praised for its revolutionary graphics. 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. 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 the end of 1989, however, most publishers moved to at supporting at least 320×200 MCGA, a subset of VGA. VGA gave the PC graphics that outmatched the Commodore Amiga. There's been a much greater falling off of disk sales than anyone anticipated." A third attributed the end of growth in sales of the Commodore 64 to the console, and Trip Hawkins called Nintendo "the last hurrah of the 8-bit world". Another pioneer computer game was developed in 1961, when MIT students Martin Graetz and Alan Kotok, with MIT student Steve Russell, developed Spacewar! on a PDP-1 mainframe computer used for statistical calculations. As 3D graphics libraries such as DirectX and OpenGL matured and knocked proprietary interfaces out of the market, these platforms gained greater acceptance in the market, particularly with their demonstrated benefits in games such as Unreal. However, major changes to the Microsoft Windows operating system, by then the market leader, made many older DOS-based games unplayable on Windows NT, and later, Windows XP (without using an emulator, such as DOSbox). PC gaming currently tends strongly toward improvements in 3D graphics.. 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.