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7 Retro Video Games Still Worth Playing Today

7 retro video games still worth playing today

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Over the last few years, retro gaming has seen a resurgence in popularity. Nostalgia is a funny thing though and sometimes our memories make us think certain titles were more fun and better looking than they actually are today.

Some video games just haven’t stood the test of time very well. We might have a nostalgic connection with the title but, often after only a few minutes of stepping into that time machine, the game just isn’t as fun as it was that carefree Saturday morning when you were 8 years old.

On the other side of the spectrum, certain trail blazing retro titles are still a blast to play. Whether it’s because they were ahead of their time, had addictive multiplayer or visually have somehow just managed to still look awesome, all of the titles below still offer up a solid gaming experience.

A lot of gamers will probably disagree with this list but keep in mind that I tried to include titles some people might not know very much about.

1. Zombies Ate My Neighbours (1993 Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis)

zombies ate my neighbors

It’s Zombies Ate My Neighbors quirkyness that makes it still fun today.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors, developed by the now defunct developer LucasArts, was ahead of it’s time. Whether it’s the game’s amusing campy representation of classic horror movies or its wacky power-ups, there’s still something entertaining about Zombies Ate My Neighbours.

Taking out zombies with a water gun? This doesn’t make sense, yet it’s awesome. The game’s cooperative mode was also ahead of its time and whether you’re fighting vampires, werewolves, huge demonic babies or aliens, team work is a requirement if you want to make it through the game’s 48 challenging stages.

Its password system is still as annoying as it was back in 1993, especially if you have barely legible hand writing like me. On numerous occasions I lost my game progress simply because I couldn’t read my own password.

While the game is available for download on the Wii’s Virtual Console, it’s the kind of title prime for an HD remake of some sort.

2. Triple Action (1981, Intellivision)

Triple Action Biplanes

Triple Action might be old, but it’s still fun.

This game might come as a surprise because usually titles this old aren’t very much fun today unless you have some sort of nostalgic connection with the game.

Triple action is three games in one: Battle Tanks, Car Racing and Biplanes. In Battle Tanks players move around an on-screen tank on a battlefield while trying to take out a human opponent. The twist here is that shots ricochet off obstacles. The game’s interesting physics add another level of strategy to it as well.

Biplanes is also still a ton of fun to play because of its unique physics engine. While it’s a little hard to catch onto at first, once you finally get the hang of things, you’ll be flying loops around your friends like a pro. For an added challenge, try only smashing into your opponent’s plane and not shooting them down. This is extremely difficult and will probably lead to an intense battle.

The Car Racing portion of the title isn’t much fun and is rather generic unfortunately. Basically the player drives up a never ending street while dodging traffic. Two out of of three titles being great in a game that’s 31 years old really isn’t that bad when you think about it though.

Getting your hands on this game might be a little difficult because of the game’s age and the rarity of some Intellivision titles these days. Luckily a simple Google search will help you find an emulator and ROM, letting you play Triple Action on a modern computer.

3. Final Fantasy VI (1994, Super Nintendo as Final Fantasy III)

final fantasy 6

Most gamers would cite Final Fantasy 7 as the most influential Final Fantasy title of the 90s, but 6 has always been my game.

Most gamers probably revere Final Fantasy VII as the title that popularized Square Enix’s popular role-playing series. This might be true, but Final Fantasy VI was one of the first titles to show video games could actually tell a compelling story.

The game’s main character, Terra,was fascinating and who could forget when the world ended halfway through the game. Then there’s Kefka, a character who is still one of gaming’s most despicable enemies.

While its graphics might be a little dated by today’s high-resolution 2D standards, Final Fantasy’s pixelated sprites still have a certain retro appeal to them.

Sometimes I pop Final Fantasy VI in and play it for a bit just to remind myself there was a time when the Final Fantasy series didn’t suck. Final Fantasy VI is available on a variety of platforms including the Super Nintendo, as III, and on the PlayStation, Gameboy Advance, Wii Virtual Console and PlayStation Network as VI.

4. Micro Machines  (1991, Nintendo Entertainment System)

Do you see any violence in this game? Well, I guess you can smash cars into one another and drive off desks.

Do you see any violence in this game? Well, I guess you can smash cars into one another and drive off desks.

Micro Machines was the first video game that was truly mine. I played a lot of video games growing up but until this title, every game belonged to my brothers and I was just lucky enough to “borrow” them for a short period of time.

Micro Machines adopts a top down perspective and has players racing pint sized micro cars across breakfast tables littered with cheerios and desks full of books and pencils.

Micro Machines is unforgiving, difficult and takes a significant amount of time to learn every track. Still, it’s one of my favourite video games of all time.

Interestingly, Micro Machines is an unlicensed Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) title. Since this game was unlicensed, don’t expect it to make its way to Nintendo’s Virtual Console anytime soon. Emulators and ROMs are probably your only option if you want to experience this gem today.

5. ToeJam & Earl (1991, Sega Genesis)

Toejam & Earl

Just like Zombies Ate My Neighbours, Toejam & Earl’s coop mode is part of what makes it still so much fun today.

ToeJam & Earl, much like Zombies Ate My Neighbours, is still fun today mainly because of its solid cooperative mode. ToeJam & Earl takes place in a top-down 2D game world and tasks two hip hop-infused aliens with finding the pieces of their crashed space ship.

The games numerous islands are randomly generated and the player needs to find all 10 spaceship pieces to complete the game. Presents are found around the game’s world and can be used to help you destroy and navigate around the game’s pesky earthling enemies.

Thankfully, ToeJam & Earl is available on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and Virtual Console.

Players also have the ability to save their progress in the virtual version of the game, a feature that was unfortunately not included in the original version. This remake also includes an awesome online co-op mode on some platforms as well. More companies should probably take advantage of online capabilities when re-releasing retro titles.

6. Super Bomberman (1993, Super Nintend0)

super bomberman

Super Bomberman’s multiplayer mode is still a blast (yes, pun intended).

There are a ton of Bomberman games out there, but the best by far is Super Bomberman. The game’s single player mode is generic and boring but like a lot of titles in this list, it’s the multiplayer that makes title fun today.

Each player starts from a different corner of the game’s map and has to blast their way though objects in order to take out their enemies. The only problem with the game is playing with four players requires a multi-tap device since the Super Nintendo (SNES) natively only has two controller ports.

7. Pokemon Red/Blue (1998, GameBoy)

Pokemon Red/Blue

Even though the black and white graphics look primitive by today’s standards, Red and Blue was a great looking game for its time.

The fact that the Pokemon franchise is still going strong today is a true testament to the series ridiculous staying power. When you break the series down to its bare mechanics, it’s hard to deny how genius Pokemon really is.

It takes the turn-based combat of traditional Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) like Final Fantasy and mixes in the insane collecting of a franchise like Monster Hunter. Add a virtual pet-centric levelling up system and animal fighting for good measure; then throw it into video game form. This is the Pokemon franchise in its purest form.

While the series now has countless monsters to collect, Pokemon Red and Blue was where the series first began. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but the Red and Blue’s Pocket Monsters seem to be far more memorable than the current generation of Pokemon.

I probably never want to know the countless childhood hours I spent trying to catch all 150 Pokemon. I think the closet I got was 130 though. I guess I’ll never become a Pokemon Master.

Follow me on Twitter: @Patrick_ORourke.

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