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Despite what the marketing departments of many of the world’s biggest video games publishers will have you believe, the best games don’t need to have realistic graphics, open worlds, and large multiplayer online functionality.
Of course, these features can certainly add to the playing experience, which is why new machines like the PlayStation 5 have been designed to display graphics in 8K – but they definitely don’t hold a monopoly over fun. Many older games remain some of the best and most fun titles of all time, which is why there is a thriving market for both remastered games and hardware that can be used to emulate older consoles.
Of all the legendary retro games that are now available to play on modern machines, here are the ones that should be at the top of your list.
Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 was a game-changer when it first went on sale in 1996. It took the platformer genre to a whole new dimension, with the mustachioed plumber able to jump around in three-dimensional space for the first time.
As with many Nintendo games, the graphics were not going to rival titles on the Sony PlayStation, but Super Mario 64 has retained a timeless charm that it shares with most other Mario games.
The game has been re-released on the Nintendo DS and is still available on the Nintendo Switch by buying the Super Mario 3D All-Stars bundle. The only thing to note here is that Nintendo is no longer manufacturing this, so stocks are limited and you’ll need to hurry. If you already own the game for Nintendo 64, then you may be able to run the game on one of the myriad of N64 emulators that are available for PCs.
Casino games are some of the oldest retro titles that can be enjoyed on your computer, tablet or smartphone. The most popular online casino game is the video slot, a digital version of the classic fruit machines that began life in the late 19th century. These “remastered” online casino versions include many more paylines, music and sound effects, video and animations, and bonus features that make them much more engaging. Players usually have hundreds or even thousands of games to choose from, depending on the casino they choose to join.
Table games like roulette, blackjack, and baccarat are also available in digital form and often come in a number of different flavors, each adding a different twist to the classic rules.
Grand Theft Auto Vice City
The 19-year old Grand Theft Auto Vice City now firmly falls into retro territory. It isn’t the oldest of the 3D-era GTA titles, but it added many new elements that Grand Theft Auto III didn’t have, and many argue it’s the best title in the series.
Vice City was set in a fictional version of 1980s Miami, featuring a killer 80s soundtrack, glorious neon colors, and characters wearing bright garments that reflected the fashions of the era. It’s available on most modern devices, including consoles, smartphones, tablets, and PCs and looks even better through modern displays.
Doom was one of the earliest first-person shooters to ever be created and it helped to popularize the genre. The graphics look objectively poor compared to many modern equivalents, but this doesn’t stop it from being fun.
“Will it run Doom” has become a popular meme in recent years, with hobbyists working to make the game run on all kinds of odd hardware. Of all the weirdest devices that have been made to play Doom, a pregnancy test is probably at the top of the list, although it did require some modifications to the test stick to make it possible. Other more “practical” devices include the Apple Watch, a printer, a graphics calculator, and even an ATM.
Of course, the best way to play Doom is on a computer or console, since this will offer a much better experience. Thankfully, DOSBox can be used to emulate the DOS environment on modern computers, or you can find the modern re-releases of the original title.