We're all partial to a little nostalgia blindness when it comes to games from our childhood. However, as much as you may have loved Superman 64 when you were a kid, it's hard to make a compelling argument for why the game is still good in 2022 compared to some of the massive open-world games currently filling our screens.
Then, there are other classic titles that are, in fact, still a joy to play through decades after their initial release. In some cases, these old-school games are better than some of the soulless cash grabs being released today!
From collect-a-thon platformers to sprawling RPGs, we're here today to look back on those games from yesteryear that you can still pick up and enjoy today.
Best Retro Games - How To Stand The Test Of Time
Naturally, for a game to be able to stand the test of time, it likely has to be ahead of its time when released. There is no shortage of classic games that, for the time they were released, were miles ahead of anything the gaming world had ever seen before.
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Whether it be unpredictable leaps in technology or cementing a list of characteristics that would come to define a genre, these are games that went above and beyond. While graphics are an integral part of gaming as a whole nowadays, this list will not take into account the graphical limitations of older hardware.
A fresh coat of paint is all some of these games need, and now that we live in the age of remastering and remakes, there is likely a "definitive" version of most old-school classics already out there.
The original Halo, released in 2001, is one of the most revolutionary first-person-shooter games of all time. The title played a huge role in the success of the Space Marine genre as a whole while also laying the foundation for the many sequels to come.
Halo 2 and Xbox Live, as well, are some of the key contributors to how we experience online gaming today. Master Chief has become a gaming icon, instantly recognizable to people across the world.
The recent Master Chief Collection manages to recapture the magic of the original Halo trilogy while touching up the graphics and adding a few quality-of-life improvements. It also allows players to play these titles online and play with friends globally.
Say what you want about Tetris, there is no denying the mark it left on gaming culture as a whole. This deceptively simple puzzle game is incredibly addictive, and hours can be spent trying to attain a higher score.
While the base version of Tetris is enjoyable in and of itself, there are so many variations of Tetris to keep players occupied. Tetris Attack, Dr. Mario, and Pokémon Puzzle League are all variations of the basic Tetris formula.
Most recently, Tetris 99 took the world by storm by pitting a player's skill versus 99 other players in a Battle Royale-style multiplayer experience.
Tetris is one of the highest-grossing and most-played video games of all time and that doesn't look to be changing anytime soon.
3. Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 revolutionized the 3D platforming genre, and we have the polygonal plumber to thank for many advancements made in games today. Mario has always been at the forefront of gaming revolutions, and his debut on the Nintendo 64 was no different.
Super Mario 64 managed to effortlessly blend an enticing gameplay loop and unique worlds with some of the tightest controls ever. There is a reason Super Mario 64, to this day, has one of the largest speedrunning communities in all of gaming.
The formula was mastered from the very outset giving Mario the ability to run, long-jump, side-jump, and triple jump. Never has Mario felt as buttery smooth to control as in Super Mario 64 (aside from arguably Super Mario Sunshine).
Super Mario 64 is readily available on Nintendo Switch Online or by picking up a copy of Super Mario 3D All-Stars.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
When it comes to classic Zelda titles, usually, three games will be in contention for number one. Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past, and Majora's Mask. The general consensus is that Ocarina of Time is not only one of the greatest Zelda games ever created but one of the greatest games of all time.
However, The Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask is such an oddity, such a standout, and such a unique piece of art that we can't help but recommend it over its predecessor. All Zelda games that came after Ocarina of Time play out in relatively the same way as the Nintendo 64 title. However, never again would a Zelda game manage to capture such a dark tone and include so many unique mechanics as Majora's Mask.
Not only does Majora's Mask take players on a genuinely exciting adventure, but it tugs on your heartstrings more than any other Zelda game. That isn't to say that a compelling narrative is the only thing going for Majora's Mask by any means. Making sidequests the primary content source is a very interesting idea that pays off massively here.
If Super Mario 64 set the standard for what makes a good 3D platformer, Banjo-Kazooie perfected it. Excellent worldbuilding, creative mechanics, unique worlds, beautiful music, and hilarious writing are all present in this wonderful game.
There is a reason Banjo-Kazooie were added to Super Smash Brothers Ultimate decades after their last release on a Nintendo platform. Despite having only two mainline games, the bear and bird left such an impact on fans that it continues to persist until this day.
Seemingly disparate worlds come together in Banjo-Kazooie's overworld and never once feel out of place or shoehorned in. Music will adapt to your surroundings, slowing in tempo when underwater or entering a cave. There are tons of unique moves to learn, minigames to play, and transformations to adopt.
And, we couldn't talk about Banjo-Kazooie without discussing the dry wit of the writers. Kazooie and Gruntilda, in particular, are joys to listen to from beginning to end.
Banjo-Kazooie is the pinnacle of 3D platformers and has finally made its way back to Nintendo consoles thanks to Nintendo Switch Online. The only question that remains is, how long will it be until Banjo-Tooie is made available on Switch?!
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Featured image courtesy of 343 Industries / Splash Damage / Ruffian Games / Bungie / Saber Interactive / Xbox.