10 Best Retro Games You Can Play Online Now
18 June 2014
Is it cool to be retro? We don't know or really care. But we do know it's cool to play retro games. Here are our top 10 retro games you can play online right now.
Steel-framed fixies, beards, flannies and siphon coffee. Yep, the trend to take the past and make it cool again has hit new heights with the current hipster craze. Is it good? Is it bad? Who knows.
One thing is for sure though: the early years of computer gaming were pretty, umm, hip. If you lived through the era of games like Pac-Man, you probably have fond memories of playing them. They'd occupy hours at the local arcade and make intolerable holiday car journeys, well, tolerable. They were even justification for spending $3000 on a new PC with less processing power than a fridge today.
Once again the Internet has come to our rescue - where would civilisation be without it! Now you can play many of your favourite retro games online. You don't need a 300kg arcade machine and 5c pieces, you don't need to trawl garage sales to find a working Donkey Kong handheld console, and you don't need to restore an old 386 with a SoundBlaster card. All you need is a Web browser.
So don't be ironic by just wearing a retro game t-shirt: be real and play the games. Read on for our top 10 retro games you can play online right now.
Fly your craft through the mine, destroy the reactor core and get out before the whole thing melts down, all while being attacked by other craft. Getting a hang of this game is no easy feat as you have six degrees of freedom in which to fly. Danger can come from anywhere - above, below, left, right, in front and behind. This was a cult game of the mid '90s, particularly for its multiplayer capabilities. Why not give it a go and play Descent in DOS emulation in your browser.
Spacewar! is one of the programming efforts which started the whole video game industry. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) programmers wrote the game in 1962 to play on the institute's DEC PDP-1 minicomputer, before commercial games existed. The PDP-1 was not exactly 'mini' by today's standards - it occupied the space of a large fridge. There's only a few PDP-1's left in the world, but you can try the game through your browser using a PDP-1 emulator running Spacewar! The game is simple, but surprisingly addictive.
8. Missile Command
This Atari release was one of the early arcade game favourites. The goal of the game is to use your rockets to stop the ballistic missiles - and smart bombs - from hitting your cities. The action is fast and furious and the real Cold War danger of nuclear attack gives a graphically rudimentary game some chilling reality. Still, it's a blast (!) to play. Try it out in original flavour or give Atari's updated version a go.
No list of retro games would be complete without Pong - one of the first commercially successful video games. If you're not familiar with pong, it's a tennis-themed game. Two players can take each other on, or you can just play the computer. Try an authentic original in your browser or give Atari's updated version a go. Of course, if you really love the game get out the soldering iron and build your own Pong console.
6. Donkey Kong
Jump over the barrels, climb the ladders, rescue the princess. Ahh, Donkey Kong. The timeless classic release from 1981 that has spawned countless 'Kong' games. Take on the ape in your browser.
5. Lunar Lander
The history of Lunar Lander goes back to 1969, the same year the first manned mission landed on the Moon. The original games were purely text based. We've found for you Atari's 1979 version of Lunar Lander you can play in a browser. There are countless versions of the game in existence including Atari's updated Lunar Lander that you can also play in a browser. There are even versions for Android and IOS including a text version of the original 1969 game - Lunar Lander Classic - for iPhone and iPad.
1979's Asteroids: it's got a spaceship that can shoot with rockets that can move it about. And there are flying saucers, aliens, and, of course, asteroids. Simple yet great gameplay make this one of the all-time classics and well worth a trip back in time for. What more could you want from this arcade game inspired by Spacewar! Try out in your browser an emulator of the early Asteroids. A deluxe version is also available and you can also give Atari's updated version of Asteroids a go.
Pac-Man is to video games what The Beatles are to rock and roll. This is one of the timeless classics of video games, often imitated and often reinvented. The 1980 game has become one of the great symbols of video gaming. More importantly, it's great to play. Why not try out the Google Doodle version of Pac-Man - it's a real working Pac-Man made for the 30th anniversary of the game that runs in your browser. Alternatively look around for one of the many browser versions of the game.
2. Space Invaders
It's the all-time classic. It's inspired songs, movies and is a great game. Need we say more? If you haven't played it for a long time, relive the memories. If you've never played it before, have a game.
Doom - released in 1993 - ushered in a new level of first person 3D gaming. Not only did it have great graphics and game playing for the time, the ability to set up a Doom server and play over an Ethernet LAN against multiple players was a big driver of the games popularity. You could even play against another player over the phone network using a modem (remember them!). The developers of Doom even set it up to allow users to customise it to add features including new levels and graphics. If you have never played it, try out Doom now in your browser.
If you'd like to get a feel for where Doom came from, you can also try Wolfenstein 3D. Doom is a direct descendant of Wolfenstein and by the same developer. Originally released in 1992, this 3D first person shooter was initially available for DOS-based machines. For many it's the start of the 3D first person revolution, inspiring games such as Doom and Quake. You can play Wolfenstein 3D right in your browser with the 20 year anniversary release. Or check out an emulator version of Wolfenstein 3D in your browser.
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