Top 8 Retro Games for Android

This Top 8 list is for all the retro gamers out there: those that enjoy today’s big budget offerings, but would just as happily dust off their old console and fire up some SEGA or Nintendo classics. Playing retro games via emulators on a computer is something that has been available for some time, but only in the last ten years or so have we seen the idea of retro gaming take off with companies clamoring to buy the rights to old games and then port them to the latest consoles so that players can relive moments of nostalgia from their gaming past. Perhaps the most ideal platform for these retro games is of course the smartphone or tablet, since so many of the games aren’t at all demanding on the system. The problem tends to arise when you have games that were designed for a console and a control pad, and as such aren’t much fun to play by tapping the screen. Some ports are rushed and you can tell so immediately; whereas others are more lovingly brought to this new platform, with a control system that helps rather than hinders. We recently took a look at some of the the retro games available for Android in search of our favorites. Warning: this list contains a lot of bias!

8. Tetris (Free)

First off, hands up how many of you lost hours to Tetris at some point in your lives? Those of you with your hands down must be lying! Tetris has always represented one of those gaming concepts that is so simple and unique that it transcends such things as time and fashion. Even today, with the huge amount of money in the gaming industry and complicated games out there, with all their flashy graphics, Tetris holds its own down to pure gameplay and replayability. That was always one of the things that struck me about Tetris upon first discovering it on the Gameboy as a kid: the fact that every game was different, and as such so was the outcome. This is a trait that can be seen in a number of classic games, from Worms to Sim City. When the game is contructed in a way that each play through is a different experience, then it exists in a league of its own in terms of longevity.  – Download from Google Play

7. Prince of Persia Classic ($1.99)

I never did play much Prince of Persia as a kid, but was always a fan of platformers and remember this one being one of the more striking options out there on the market. Prince of Persia is now a franchise, of course, purchased by Ubisoft and turned into new games and movies. In many ways, this seems to have distracted from what the game stood for in the first place, and any version of Prince of Persia that moves away from this 2D side scrolling look really removes all the charm of the game. – Download from Google Play

6. Carmageddon ($0.99)

Video games have always been in some way controversial; typically blamed for one thing or another. Before Grand Theft Auto became the poster boy fro this kind of complaint, Carmageddon was becoming a huge hit with kids all around the world. In fact, I think the first games for each franchise were released within months of each other, which perhaps tells you where the game industry was at that particular time. Carmageddon has spawned a bunch of similar games over the years, but nothing quite compares to the perverse and wicked original. – Download from Google Play

5. Crazy Taxi Classic ($4.99)

SEGA’s Crazy Taxi was another of those games that seemed to bring a whole new breath of energy to the industry at the time. I remember first playing it in an arcade and just wanting to continue driving, driving, no matter how much money it would cost and no matter the checkpoints and things that I was missing. The game might actually be too new to be considered a proper retro game but it’s certainly one that stays with me in terms of nostalgia. – Download from Google Play

4. Secret of Mana ($7.99)

While Final Fantasy was the game of choice for so many of my friends, I remember being first introduced to Secret of Mana on Nintendo’s SNES and being blown away. Then, I realized that both games were made by the same development company and all of a sudden I knew where I wanted to work as an adult. Secret of Mana remains one of the best RPG games to ever exist, and in many ways reinvented what was then known as the classic RPG with its real time battle system. You may think that the control system used here when playing on a smartphone or tablet takes away from the experience, but it’s good enough and gets the job done – it’s nothing like playing with a proper controller, but what is? – Download from Google Play

3. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($2.99)

As Sonic games go, the best was always that first sequel – wasn’t it? I mean, I get how exciting Sonic was when it first game out on the SEGA Genesis, but the introduction of Tails as a second player at that time (though ridiculed in some quarters) was a real stroke of genius and I remember sitting around friends’ houses who actually owned a SEGA console (Nintendo man here) and being mesmerized by those almost three dimensional tunnel like landscapes and special stages. Of course, Sonic at heart was always a platformer, and one that not only redefined the slow and plodding genre at the time with a fast paced an colorful new look, but also blazed a path for the games that were to come in the future. This port is one of SEGA’s best, and brings you all the nostalgia of those earlier gaming memories but without the annoyance of a clunky control system when playing on the smartphone. – Download from Google Play

2. Double Dragon Trilogy ($2.99)

I’ve always been a fan of side scrolling beat em ups, and the Double Dragon trilogy has constantly delivered in this area. Ever since its arcade debut in 1987, the franchise has attracted millions of players worldwide. It might even be the case that this one came out before your time, so what are you waiting for? Now you can enjoy all of these games remastered in one fairly affordable package, and with a bunch of cool features such as the support for bluetooth controllers meaning that you can play the games as they were meant to be played! – Download from Google Play

1. Final Fantasy III ($15.99)

Square Enix has brought many of its titles to the mobile platform, and each of these are going to set you back a few dollars if you wish to relive nostalgia. Which is the best Final Fantasy game out there is a continuing debate among friends of mine who also grew up with these fantastic RPGs, but we typically agree on a handful each time. Back when it was first released in 1990, Final Fantasy III stood alone and wowed western audiences with its combat system and the depth of the adventure you could embark on. – Download from Google Play

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