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. By 1990 DOS comprised 65% of the computer-game market, with the Amiga at 10%; all other computers, including the Apple Macintosh, were below 10% and declining. Increasing adoption of the computer mouse, driven partially by the success of adventure games such as the highly successful King's Quest series, and high resolution bitmap displays allowed the industry to include increasingly high-quality graphical interfaces in new releases. PC games, also known as computer games or personal computer games, are video games played on a personal computer rather than a dedicated video game console or arcade machine. With the EGA video card, an inexpensive clone was better for games than the Commodore 64 or Apple II, and the Tandy 1000's enhanced graphics, sound, and built-in joystick ports made it the best platform for IBM PC-compatible games before the VGA era.
By 1988, the enormous popularity of the Nintendo Entertainment System had greatly affected the computer-game industry. A Mindscape executive agreed, saying that "Unfortunately, its effect has been extremely negative. 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.
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. By the late 1970s to early 1980s, games were developed and distributed through hobbyist groups and gaming magazines, such as Creative Computing and later Computer Gaming World. Players found modifying CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files for memory management cumbersome and confusing, and each game needed a different configuration. First sold in 1977, Microchess eventually sold over 50,000 copies on cassette tape. OXO, an adaptation of tic-tac-toe for the EDSAC, debuted in 1952. 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. 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. 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). Their defining characteristics include a lack of any centralized controlling authority, a greater degree of user control over the video-gaming hardware and software used and a generally greater capacity in input, processing, and output.