Want to show off your childhood system without scaring away your loved ones?
Mario, Castlevania, Donkey Kong where do you even begin?
Retro gaming can be overwhelming for someone who has only played newer consoles, or perhaps never gamed at all. These games were built to be tough and a bit cryptic, to ensure gameplay lasted longer, so kids and parents got their moneys worth.
However before you choose the one that feels harder than you remember lets look up some ones that are a bit more forgiving, to ease your loved ones, friends or maybe even your dog into retro gaming!
(Typically, the term retro is given to items which are at least 20 years old according to
https://www.farmantiques.net , so that is what I am using.
Game #5 - Super Castlevania IV (1991)
There are many great games on the Super Nintendo, Mario World, Link to the Past or Super Metroid are few. However these can take a bit to really get the feel of and master the controls. Going back to these after a modern game or even starting after never gaming can almost feel punishing without plenty of time to practice, playing the games prior to practice or looking up a guide to not get lost.
However, Super Castlevania IV has very tight controls, and the platforming is a bit more light with an emphasis on fighting enemies using different weapons. The screen typically does not get cluttered with enemies, and it is easily one of the most forgiving of the original Castlevanias, with plenty of health items, weapon upgrades and even checkpoints and a password system that lets you pick up where you left off. This is one that can be picked up and played at any skill level, and with beautiful pixel art, and catchy music it is easy to recommend.
This game of course can be played the classic way, purchased easily through the eShop or Playstation Store via the Castlevania Anniversary Collection.
Game #4 - Kirby's Adventure NES (1993)
The Kirby series as a whole is very beginner friendly so thankfully even the older games can be enjoyed by everyone, young and old from pro gamers, to somebody who has never held a controller.
Kirby's Adventure is Kirby's first game on a TV/ Home console, after gaining huge popularity on the Gameboy. This is one of the best and most impressive looking games on the NES, with it's cute and detailed pixel art of Kirby, his enemies and his friends making for quite the adorable experience. Kirby is definitely on the easy side of this list, but that doesn't make it boring. You can gain different power ups, fly and adventure through several different levels, all while enjoying great music, and appreciating a game many consider to be a classic. This would be perfect if you wanted to introduce kids to retro games, or maybe even a friend or significant other who hasn't played 2D games or retro games prior.
This game can be played the classic way, emulated easily or for free if you pay for Nintendo Switch Online and have the NES online installed on your Switch.
Game #3 - Metal Gear Solid Playstation (1998)
Metal Gear Solid is one of the first instances of a game going all in on story. While possibly the hardest one on the list, since it is a stealth game and will take the most getting used to. If you are an avid game player in the modern day, you may already know, but there is a huge trend with single player games being rich in story, character and emotion, almost like a movie. This was one of the games to pioneer that cinematic experience that many games after and even today try to aspire for.
Metal Gear Solid is a military/spy/thriller It's story gets interesting and even at times heavy, the characters are intriguing, and the gameplay feels rewarding when getting a feel for it. This one I recommend to those who may love movies, or war dramas as well as those looking to see where modern game trends started. It is not the easiest experience and the controls can take some getting used to, but it is not impossibly hard and the story and characters make it easy to want to keep going.
This game can be played the classic way, played bought on PC via Steam Store, bought on the PlayStation Store.
Game #2 - Kingdom Hearts Playstation 2 (2002)
Kingdom Hearts is a Disney lovers dream come true. This game actually just turned 20 the year of me writing this, and this game has aged " like fine wine" it is still a vibrant and great looking game today. It is a great introduction to action RPGs (Role Playing Games) and JRPGS (Japanese RPGs).
A beloved series by many, the first game is perhaps the most friendly in the series. With a simple good vs evil plot (the series gets a little more complex later), bright and fun Disney themed worlds to explore, and plenty of Disney characters to meet it's hard to not enjoy. The game is also very easy to pick up and play. The gameplay is snappy, and can be as complex or as simple as you want. You can use magic, power ups, build new weapons and equipment, or play on a simpler difficulty and breeze through with little change. It can easily be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, and with that signature Disney appeal as well as fun new characters exclusive to the series it is an easy one to recommend.
This game can be played the classic way, or bought in the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 bundle on Steam and played via PC, bought on Playstation Store, bought on eShop and played via Switch.
Game #1 - Pokemon Crystal Gameboy Color (2000)
Pokemon Crystal is classic Pokemon at it's best! Pokemon is an absolute monster of a franchise, Pikachu's face alone has been on just about anything, and while the cards are popular there's good reason the games are easily the most well known Pokemon media.
Pokémon has some amazing games, and while the originals were very close to making the list, Crystal has a certain degree of polish and some great quality of life improvements such as adding female playable character option, intro battle animations, the battle tower, which sets the stage for multiplayer and adds fun challenge for the player to battle and level up their Pokemon team. Pokemon itself is the perfect starter for the genre known has JRPGS, while Kingdom Hearts is more of an action RPG, Pokemon is a traditional JRPG which plays almost like Dungeons and Dragons on auto pilot with stats, characters and party members made for you. Except in this game the party members are animals called Pokemon. You can collect all of them or just choose ones you like. Pokemon has a sun story, addictive and easy to understand gameplay and is of course one of the best Game Boy Game series out there.
This game can be played the classic way, via Eshop on the Nintendo 3DS or easily via emulator on any phone or PC
Retro isn't just for old school or hardcore gamers.
Overall there is plenty of fun to be had with older games! While they may seem intimidating at first, there's a reason many are still beloved and talked about today, I hope you will give one of these a shot and enjoy a blast from the past, or experience something cool and new to you!