The present gaming community is a sordid site filled with botched half-baked launches and predatory cash-grab mechanics. Besides a few decent titles, most games are focused on emptying the wallets of fellow gamers.
Back in the retro days, developers put thought and effort into their games to make them more challenging and enjoyable. The reason more and more gamers are returning to retro titles is that they miss that sense of wonder and joy.
Previously, a sequel to a game meant a lot, but now, it’s only content that needs to be consumed and discarded, leaving the audience hungry and wanting more. Let’s take a peek at some of the golden classics and discuss what we’ve missed out on over the years.
1. Doom (1993)
Doom ushered in a new era of gaming. It used to be the only decent first-person shooter at the time of its release. Other games with a similar mechanic were simply referred to as “Doom clones,” which proves its influence in the gaming scene.
Doom single-handedly altered the world’s viewpoint on 3D gaming and showed the viability of a PC as a gaming platform. Combined with superb level design and a wide assortment of weapons, Doom became one of the most iconic video games of the 90s and laid the groundwork for all its future sequels that we still play today.
2. Tomb Raider (1996)
Every gamer who has played a Tomb Raider game must have had a crush on Lara at some point in their lives. She may not have been the first female character in video games. However, the posh aristocrat with a knack for adventure and hunting ancient artifacts had a ring to it.
Tomb Raider was the first game that gave players their first taste of true adventure. It’s truly amazing to see how such blocky graphics can instill such a potent sense of adventure in the players, compelling them to explore every inch of the world.
3. Resident Evil 4 (2005)
Resident Evil 4, like Doom, is another pioneer in its field. The game established the all-so-familiar European setting that was later adopted by famous IPs like Uncharted, Gears of War, etc.
It also laid the groundwork for one of the most famous franchises in the entertainment industry. Resident Evil games, movies, and animated series are still being produced today. And let’s not forget the numerous zombie-themed games that look up to it for inspiration. But all of it started way back in 2005 when the classic Resident Evil 4 made its debut.
4. Duck Hunt (1994)
Duck Hut used to be the VR equivalent of the 90s. Back then, nobody ever dreamed of such technology, and we were happily blasting virtual ducks from the sky. However, it is the precursor of modern VR shooting games.
The satisfaction of aiming a gun at your television or computer and simply zapping away is a memory many gamers cherish to this day. In spite of the realism offered by modern games, retro lovers will never forget the fun of shooting that sly grin off that dog’s face.
5. Metal Gear Solid (1998)
Video games are an art, and Metal Gear Solid is one of the best pieces ever created. No matter how good your imagination is, 8-bit graphics can only entertain you for so long. Metal Gear Solid had the right mix of cinematics, gameplay mechanics, expositions, a great story, and remarkable voice acting that breathed life into the characters themselves.
Hideo Kojima vigorously experimented with the game, all of which turned out to be a great success. Like Doom, Metal Gear is also a trendsetter and became one of the best games in the entire series.
6. Final Fantasy 7 (1997)
Final Fantasy 7 is one of the most iconic games of all time in the RPG genre. Some critics commented that it borrows heavily from overused tropes, but the game’s storytelling more than makes up for it.
The rich group of likable, well-constructed characters and terrifying villains made Final Fantasy even more attractive than other games of that time. It even implemented a few cyberpunk features that were unheard of in a 90s-era game. But Final Fantasy 7 pulled it off and established itself in the retro gaming hall of fame.
7. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
GTA 5 may be the best open-world multiplayer game that’s currently being played; however, it all started with Vice City. There were few IPs that had offered such elaborate mission structures, open-world freedom, and violence in their games.
Vice City wasn’t a game, but it was a throwback to the Eighties with stunning visuals and memorable soundtracks. The fact that the entire voice cast consisted of personalities such as Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, and Ray Liotta made it even more irresistible.
8. Klondike Solitaire (1990)
Klondike Solitaire is the most well-known card game in the solitaire family. The fact that it has the lowest win rates doesn’t tarnish its popularity in the slightest. The game initially appeared on an early version of Windows and spread like wildfire. Although Microsoft removed the game from Windows 8.0 and onwards, its legacy lives on in the numerous copies that you can find on the internet.
9. Mahjong Solitaire (1981)
According to Brodie Lockard, who is the original creator of the game, Mahjong Solitaire was based on a centuries-old Chinese game known as “The Turtle.” However, the game became popular once Activision released Sanghai on the Commodore Amiga, IBM Personal Computer, Apple IIgs, Atari ST, and Macintosh. Since then, the game has sold countless copies and been ported to numerous other platforms.
10. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997)
Castlevania debuted at the height of 3D technology and made an impact despite being a 2D platformer. The developers achieved their goal by creating a completely different kind of platformer. Director Toru Hagihara and Castlevania’s lead, Koji Igarashi, stuck to the side-scrolling nature of the game. However, players were now dropped into a non-linear castle with inverted walls and tons of explorable rooms.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was the first example of a Metroidvania game and went on to become one of the most successful retro games of all time. Popular contemporary games such as Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, Rogue Legacy 2, etc., are all inspired by Castelvania in some way.