Good games, like good movies and good music, are good regardless of how old they are. As far as video games are concerned, it is the underlying gameplay mechanics that have them endure the test of time. All of the games mentioned in this list have profoundly influenced the video game industry, often setting standards and creating concepts which we see in the games we play today.
It can be difficult to narrow things down to a list of 5, but the intention here is not to state which are the ‘5 best retro games’ or the ‘5 most fun retro games’. Many more could have been included here. So, here we go:
The glory days of the late 80s saw the rise of local multiplayer. Suddenly, every kid wanted a console or wished to visit their friends who had one. Contra was a game that inspired such fanaticism. Brutally difficult, exceptionally fun multiplayer and inventive design, the game spawned many clones. For the same reasons, it still holds up today against the very best modern 2D shoot-em-ups.
Pac-Man was a real breakthrough. It was a game that could be played by anyone – men and women, the old and the young. It was challenging, but if you got good enough, you could very well beat your friends high score and wipe the smirk of his or face. If nothing else, video games give you that pleasure.
You might know Mario, the red plumber in overalls. Before his incarnation as Mario, he was ‘Jumpman’, the intrepid hero who saved the damsel in distress from a giant ape in Donkey Kong. Gaming systems had limited capabilities at the time and it is remarkable what Nintendo did with just a few different inputs. The game, like all other games of the time, is extremely challenging. Hats off to you if you can conquer it today!
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
A two player sensation at the time it was released, this version of Sonic was a fantastic 2 player game that had many a kids try to ingratiate themselves with the kid in the neighborhood who had a console. The frantic pace and excellent boss battles were unmatched at the time, and though many games have come and gone since then, it is no less of an experience than it was back then.
If you’d like to know how you can play these games or where you can get the systems to play it, Retropool is as good a site as any for that information.