The gaming realm is populated with amazing titles. Modern games are a dime a dozen; they’re laden with sophisticated gameplay and cutting-edge functionality. High-end multimedia audio-visuals and blistering technology make these the must-play attractions for today’s player. However, there’s an equally lively market for throwback video games. These old-school attractions paved the way for the multi-billion-dollar gaming market of today. Sadly, many of these games from the 1980s and 1990s are not kitted out for iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones and tablets. From Space Invaders to Pac Man, from Super Mario Bros to Battle Tanks and Street Fighter, old school video games are lots of fun to play. Now, let’s check out the top 15 classic video games that people love to play.
- Pac-Man brings a smile to everyone’s face. This yellow little munchkin is perhaps the most iconic of all the classic video games. Luckily, Pac-Man is now available on iOS devices and he’s been upgraded with some pretty nifty in-game elements and features. Get ready to eat your heart out – or should we say eat up those digital cookies and otherworldly elements…
- RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 is everything it’s cracked out to be. This game fits snugly between the first and third instalments of the series and it’s a blinding game. It’s every thrill seeker’s dream-come-true and its packed with creative flair. In RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, you’re buying up empty lots of land and you’re building an amusement park. You pick and choose what you want, the rest is just a jaw-dropping, adrenaline-loaded adventure of barreling twists and turns.
- Final Fantasy goes way back to 1987 when Squaresoft released this video game wunderkind. Various installments of this universally-popular game were remade for iOS and they are reinvigorating interest in the power of the Kraken and old-school RPG action. Final Fantasy games span well over a dozen versions and players can now learn how it all began with the original version on iOS and Android devices. As its namesake suggests, it’s about sci-fi and fantasy. Each new version of the game maintains old school plot and thematic elements. This one’s a keeper!
- Space Invaders was the finest outer-space themed adventure for video games on Atari back in the 1980’s. This classic allows players to shoot down enemy aircraft with effortless ease. Now, Space Invaders is available on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets and it’s making a big splash as the preferred retro alien battle game. Players assume the role of a fighter pilot tasked with shooting down alien spacecraft. It’s a battle royale which quickly assumes epic proportions. Prepare for photon blasts and cosmic firepower.
- Sonic the Hedgehog is arguably the hippest Nintendo cartoon character of all time. The pint-sized blue hedgehog comes with all the fanfare you can imagine. He’s an acrobat par excellence and he is adept at climbing, running, powering up and blasting through his opponents. Sonic the Hedgehog is a must-play attraction on any retro gamer’s list.
- Street Fighter is everything a martial arts video game should be. It’s got swag, it’s got attitude, and it’s certainly got Nintendo fans raving with excitement. This age-old classic video game brings the likes of E Honda, Chun Li, Blanka, Ryu, Ken and others to the scene. It did for martial arts video games what Bruce Lee did for martial arts. This game spawned an entire generation of martial arts sequels in the Street Fighter series. It’s an action-packed ensemble of world-class karate, ninjutsu and taekwondo.
- Duke Nukem 3D takes players back to 1996. This first-person shooter game was crafted by 3D Realms and it brings Duke Nukem to the fore. He’s the combat veteran tasked with stopping the alien invasion of our planet. Anyone who enjoys first-person shooter games will love the awesome appeal of Duke Nukem 3D. PS: it’s a little controversial and it may offend sensitive players.
- Far Cry 2 was released in 2008 and this game is much better than newer releases of the game. For starters, the retro game of 11 years ago is perhaps the best exponent of perfect symmetry. It balances geopolitics with chaotic open-world play. It’s a tough storyline and one which will certainly address hard topics like the impact of colonialism in Africa and the effect of weapons on the local populace.
- Texas Hold’em Poker is a game that needs no introduction to poker fans. Hold’em has been around for ages, but it never loses its appeal. This strategy-based game packs a wallop with affordable buy-ins, rapidly increasing blinds, competitive gameplay and a gaming platform par excellence. It’s the same game played at the WSOP Main Event and it resonates with players the world over. The retro version of the game is available for iOS and Android devices too. This is a great game to counter the senseless mayhem of 90’s shooter games.
- Castle of Illusion has evolved dramatically over time and many players agree that the latest iteration is nothing like the original. But this decades-old video game is now available on Android smartphones and tablets and iOS devices too. Castle of Illusion stars the inimitable Mickey Mouse and it’s an exciting game with lots to play for.
- Half-Life 2 was released back in 2004. This game won praise from players the world over as it featured incredible tactical action. This game packs plenty of punch with tremendous firepower and an incredibly exciting story as an alien invasion wreaks havoc on planet Earth. Prepare to meet up with Alyx Vance and Gordon Freeman in a blistering game of action-packed mayhem.
- Chrono Trigger is another terrific Japanese video game. It’s great for Super Nintendo and is now readily available to players on iPhone and iPad devices. As its namesake suggests, it’s about time travel. The game winds the clocks back to 1995 and your challenge is to save the world from certain ruin. Can you do it? Find out with this fast-paced game with rudimentary animation and 2D gameplay.
- MEGA MAN X is a game that took root back in 1994. Designed with cool animation, this combat game allows players to move up levels while acquiring different abilities. This Japanese manga game by Capcom became a spectacular success and it’s now available on PC, Mac and mobile devices. It’s filled with space-age tech and an apocalyptic theme. Save the planet from Sigma and prevent his diabolical plot from unfolding.
- System Shock 2 is macabre and wildly entertaining. True, the first version of the series was a little too complex but System Shock 2 made the transition to first-person shooter game with effortless ease. Plus, it’s a horror game with really nasty artificial intelligence trying to take over. Players get to level up, as they blast their way through combative elements and really wicked technological mayhem.
- Doom is quite possibly one of the most iconic retro video games of all time. It was the ultimate PC game in its day and it checks all the boxes as far as interactive video games go. If you’re into FPS (First Person Shooter) games, Doom is it. Be advised that this horror game will have you on the edge of your seat and it’s in 3D too. The violence is out of this world, but so too are the characters. If you can handle blood and guts, mayhem and non-stop firepower, get locked and loaded with Doom.
Personally, I still like to go back and replay Half Life 2 (plus the two episodes) every couple years, in the hope that someday Half Life 3 will grace us all (Gabe Newell!!!!!). It’s more likely that I’ll be old and gray before that comes to fruition, but it’s still fun to revisit one of my favorite franchises from when I was a teenager.
Let us know what your favorite old school game was… and do you still play it to this day? Did we forget any retro titles that you think should have made the list? Let us know in the comment section below.