PC gaming has come a long way. There was a time when games were sold and shared via floppy disk. However, over time, floppy discs became a relic. But not the games, no. Even today, many appreciate the games of yesteryear. Even modern developers sometimes produce games with a touch of nostalgia, especially indie developers, as the retro gaming market, while niche, has strong backing from older-generation fans who spend big bucks to enjoy and remember the days of their youth. Thus, the following article will highlight our top picks for retro games.
What are Retro Games?
Retro games refer to video games that were developed and released in the past. While “past” is a broad term, typically it refers to the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. These games are characterized by their nostalgic appeal, simple graphics and gameplay mechanics, and the hardware platforms they were originally designed for, such as –
- Arcade machines
- Early home consoles like the Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Sega Genesis
- And personal computers like the Commodore 64
The Top Retro Games Available for PC
Retro games have been the best thing that happened for a while. Choosing the top retro games is a tedious task. So, we selected the best retro games you can download today. Check out these 10 PC retro games –
1. Tomb Raider
The first game on our list is undoubtedly the iconic Tomb Raider. As an action-adventure game, it might not have been as successful as some of the other titles in the genre. But we can never overlook the effect the Tomb Raider series had on action-adventure games. It made way for some of the most successful gaming franchises over the years, becoming one itself.
The game allows users to take a trip down memory lane to a time when PC gaming was not about GPUs, Internet speed, or Game Pass. Instead, you can get the whole game with a single purchase. The gameplay is also equally laid-back, where players do not have to hassle regarding ammo or changing weapons. Today, the game is available on Steam to download and play.
- Iconic action-adventure game
- Single purchase, no microtransactions
- Laid-back gameplay
2. Baldur’s Gate
Baldur’s Gate is a famous name in gaming. It was among the first ever PC RPG-genre games and succeeded in creating a world-famous gaming franchise. It also opened doors for RPG gaming on PC. The first title in the Baldur’s Gate series was launched in 1998. And since then, it has not once looked back. Even this year, the highly anticipated Baldur’s Gate 3 graced the gaming community, which is the 11th title in the series.
Not only the genre, but Baldur’s Gate also helped the studio, BioWare, to leave a mark on the industry when it took the gaming scene by storm after its initial launch. The game has already attained legendary status among gaming fans and casual users, earning it a spot in our top retro picks.
- Pioneering RPG franchise
- Opened doors for RPG gaming on PC
- Highly anticipated sequel, Baldur’s Gate 3
3. Sonic Mania
Sonic the Hedgehog is yet another iconic character that once ruled the gaming landscape as it was propped up as a replacement for the legendary Super Mario series. And it succeeded for a while, which is a feat in itself. However, the game failed to live up to the changing times and trends. Against Super Mario, which has reinvented itself gracefully on multiple platforms, including smartphones, Sonic clearly lacks. And that’s what opened the doors for Sonic Mania.
Sega, the developer behind Sonic, handed over the development of the series to its fans, who were the first ones to pitch the idea. And results have proven it to be the correct move. In the caring hands of fans, the Blue Hedgehog returned to its roots. They gave up modernization and embraced the formula that made Sonic succeed, which is the side-scrolling action arcade gimmick from the initial days of Sega.
- Return to Sonic’s roots
- Developed by fans of the series
- Side-scrolling action arcade gameplay
4. Hypnospace Outlaw
Hypnospace Outlaw is a game that takes you back to the 90s and reintroduces players to the nostalgic internet from way back then. The premise offers players an opportunity to not only familiarize themselves with the old-age web but also police it in a fun way. The setting allows players to craft individual web spaces for sharing music and images while chatting, but at the same time, you have to beware of the so-called content violations and employ your banning rights.
- Nostalgic internet from the ’90s
- Policing the old-age web
- Crafting web spaces and content violation enforcement
5. Diablo 2
Diablo is a name that is akin to a cult in the gaming industry. The old adage changed the way RGP operated, and it created a whole new genre for itself. Famous for its storyline and dark setting, the game was chillingly fun to play. Even today, the game has a group of loyalists who enjoy playing it with friends. Recently, the developers released a remastered version of the old classic, but it failed to leave an impression. It is a testament to the virtue of the original title, which is still unparalleled.
- Cult classic RPG
- Dark storyline and setting
- Recently remastered version
Fallout is a classic RPG world-builder that is a PC classic. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the players not only have to survive the wilderness, but they also have to create a suitable habitat or shelter to survive. Laden with RPG, adventure, and RTS elements, the game took users on a fantastic journey. Although the later 3D adaptations of the game were not as prominent, the original classics, even after 25 years after the initial release, are looked at fondly.
- Post-apocalyptic RPG world-building
- Survival and habitat creation
- Fondly remembered classic
7. Doom 64
Doom 64 is a classic shooter that laid the foundation for modern-day AAA shooters. Although it was made for the N64 console, when ported to the PC, it simply blew away the players. As a much-refined version of Doom 3, it is packaged as an action survival game set in Hell. Any retro gaming list is incomplete without a Doom game title. It is a straightforward FPS, or First-Person Shooter, that offers a clear storyline and objectives.
- Classic shooter, foundation for modern AAA shooters
- Action survival game set in Hell
- Clear storyline and objectives
8. Half Life
Half-Life is a classic FPS that took players to the next level of gaming. It was revolutionary as it offered reloading ammo, changing guns, and “throwables.” As for the cultural value, you can guess its importance from the fact that Counter-Strike and similar games were influenced by Half-Life. Furthermore, it placed Valve, the developer behind Half-Lie, on the map. Despite lacking graphics and a somewhat weaker storyline, its gameplay carried the entire burden of the production on its back and gained success.
- Revolutionary FPS
- Introduced reloading ammo and changing guns
- Influenced games like Counter-Strike
9. Final Fantasy VII
Next on the list of top retro games is a title that has spammed literally dozens of titles across different consoles. We are talking about the FF, or Final Fantasy franchise. It is a JRPG, or Japanese RPG game. Just like Diablo, FF is also responsible for creating a subgenre for itself. And the title responsible for all this might have been FF VII to a degree. FF VII was a game with a tight storyline and turn-by-turn gameplay involving a ton of strategy and gaming mechanics.
- Part of the renowned FF franchise
- JRPG with turn-by-turn gameplay
- Tight storyline and strategy elements
10. Metal Gear Solid
And lastly, we have the unforgettable Metal Gear Solid, another classic title that took the Shooter genre and made it what it is today. The game was revolutionary as it rendered 3D elements instead of placing 3D characters in 2D settings. Thus, at the time of its initial release, it shocked everyone with its groundbreaking graphics. But the title’s largest contribution lies in the creation of the Stealth genre. Initially, Shooters were all about firing guns at each other nonstop. But MGS introduced strategies such as ducking, taking cover, hiding, etc., and made the game more fun.
- Groundbreaking graphics and 3D elements
- Pioneered the Stealth genre
- Introduced tactics like hiding and taking cover