Everything goes in and out of fashion. Clothes, music, cars, even popular holiday destinations all become fashionable and then see interest in them wane as something new and more exciting comes along.
The same is true for games. One will get released, fans will flock to buy it in excitement and play it for a while. Then gradually, they’ll turn their attention elsewhere, often to a newly released title that offers more novelty than the one they’ve owned for several months or years.
However, just as with clothes and music, fashions in gaming are often cyclical with older games becoming popular again years after release. And just like with these other items, the word “retro” gets thrown about a lot to refer to them. Not all retro games are created equally though, some are much better and much more popular than others. Here are some of the best.
Pac-Man was one of the earliest video games and it garnered a lot of attention back in the day. In fact, the game was so popular that it has spawned a long list of sequels, including Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man Plus.
After Pac-Mania was released for arcade machines in 1987, no new versions of the game were created for almost a decade. The game came back into vogue though and new variants have been appearing every few years since, including odd titles like Pac-Man World Rally and Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, which brought Pac-Man into a 3D environment and away from his traditional maze setting.
Pac-Man is a retro game that looks like it will never go out of fashion. Players can find versions of the game on practically every platform ever released, including obscure ones like Symbian, the CD-i, and Intellivision.
Card games are some of the oldest games that are still played today. Playing cards themselves go back more than 1,000 years to the time of the Tang Dynasty, though little is known about how they were used.
Fast forward around 500 years and a game that we know today as blackjack had begun to evolve. In some parts of the world it was called 31, in others it was 21, but the principle was essentially the same. Players would try to make a strong hand with the cards they were dealt, requesting more in some circumstances to get as close as possible to the target value of either 21 or 31.
The game made its way to the US and, in the early 20th century, Las Vegas casino owners created new rules and special side bets. Today, these rules have mostly gone away, but the name blackjack has stuck, and the game is now one of the most played card games in the world.
Its popularity today is partially thanks to online casinos that offer digital versions of classic games, with innovative formats like live dealer games and multi-hand modes. These online casinos have made it easier for players to enjoy the game, removing the need to travel or have their own deck of cards.
Mario first appeared in a video game in 1981, though he was called Jumpman at the time. Since then, he’s gone on to appear in over 200 different video games, and almost all of them have been smash hits.
Iconic titles include the Mario Kart franchise, New Super Mario Bros., and Super Mario 64, all of which are still enjoyed by millions every year.
Nintendo almost seems like it can do no wrong when it comes to Mario. Whenever they release a new game, it sells millions of copies, and whenever they re-release an older title they can’t keep shelves stocked because demand is so high.
More recently, the Super Mario Maker game let players create their own levels. This created a popular trend on the internet of people trying to make the most difficult Mario level ever, with some incredibly creative attempts.
Monopoly is a board game enjoyed by millions around the world. What started out as an attempt to educate players about capitalism and its downsides, has become a textbook lesson of how to be a capitalist.
There are very few people on the planet that haven’t played the game at least once, and the vast majority of them have likely had an argument or two over the board. There are over 1,000 different versions of the game on sale today, including localized versions for almost every country, and themed ones like Monopoly Fortnite and Monopoly Pokémon. It’s also featured in a lot of pop culture, including references in movies, television shows, and even video games.
Like blackjack, it has been brought into the digital world too, with several mobile and online variants that let you play alone or with others. Its popularity remains strong today and shows no sign of relenting, so we can likely expect to see even more versions in the future.