Nostalgia is a tremendous force in gaming, particularly as technology moves fast. Design techniques and game genres can quickly be rendered obsolete in such a fast-moving video game industry. It's no wonder that most games from more than twenty years ago look positively ancient by today’s modern standards.

It takes a vast amount of skill and luck to create a game that will stand the test of time. Fortunately, while a sizeable portion of old games isn’t even worth the cartridges, you will find some old games that are still worth playing this 2022. Read on to see the following original titles representing some of the best game designs that still hold up today.

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The Best and Oldest Video Games Worth Playing This Year

Pac Man

Pac-Man hit the arcade world in 1980 and was considered an overnight sensation. It was initially called Puck-Man since the small yellow circle looked like a puck, but the executives feared that name was too simple to vandalize, so they changed it.

This character was half inspired by the Japanese symbol for “mouth” and half by a pizza missing a slice. The audiences loved the Pac-Man character very much that there was even a Pac-Man series, not to mention merchandise like Pac-Man radios, toys, board games, pasta, cereals, and many more.


Nintendo released the Game Boy in 1989, which came along with Tetris. This video game was intended to highlight the potential of computer intellect. However, it was a massive hit on the Game Boy. It was easy enough to play on the go and was famous with children and adults alike.

With more than 170 million copies sold globally, it is one of the top-selling video games. Did you know gamers have played it in over 185 nations? It’s also been translated into over fifty languages and released on over fifty platforms.

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Final Fantasy

The longest-running Final Fantasy series discovered mainstream success and its first video game 3D title, Final Fantasy VII, on the original PlayStation. Nonetheless, many supporters of the fans would argue that it was the predecessor of the game (2D Final Fantasy VI) that symbolizes the series’ pinnacle.

Final Fantasy IV is still heralded for its characters and story, which are shockingly powerful for a video game, and helped solidify gaming as an original narrative medium.

Street Fighter II

This arcade video game came out in 1991, and it was highly successful in that it was ported to different consoles. It also brought a new technical gameplay complexity to arcade games that had not existed before. You see, every character had unique special moves and fighting styles. Thus, players should fight strategically. The graphics were highly detailed as well and pleasantly animated.

Super Mario Bros.

In 1985, Nintendo released its 8-bit NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) console, helping revive a failing American video game industry that was still recuperating after a large crash two years after. It came bundled along with Super Mario Bros, presented revolutionary technical advancement and a visually rich, quirky world that arcade video gamer players had never seen before. Up to this day, the game remains the best-selling video game franchise.

Space Invaders

This arcade game about shooting aliens in space became famous worldwide in 1978. With its iconic aliens, it visually determined the look of commercial video games. This galaxy game paved the way for modern video games by revolutionizing the “shoot ’em up” genre and utilizing music to impact the players' emotions.

Space Invaders was the very first computer game that presented a difficulty curve. The galaxy game gets more challenging as you play. Fewer aliens on the screen meant a light load on the processor and faster rendering as you shoot away aliens. 


Atari's first arcade video game in 1972, Pong, is a basic table tennis arcade game that offers simple rules: prevent missing ball for a high score. The game was created as an internal training exercise. It was not even intended to be sold commercially. However, Pong's success soon started showing in bowling alleys, pubs, and even JC Penny stores. Pong was one of the first commercial arcade games with $3.2 million profit.

Sim City

Avoiding the standard win or lose dynamic of computer games, SimCity was created in 1989. It boasted an open-ended design where players could design and build their city.

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It was a challenging concept to take. Many publishers overlooked its potential, so Will Wright co-founded Maxis and published the game himself. It was one of the most popular games and widely popularized the genre, and spawned many different spinoffs and versions, including The Sims in the 2000s.


This video game is considered the most influential video game of all time. It came out for PC DOS in 1993. Doom was a pioneer of the modern first-person shooter genre, and it presented networked multiplayer gameplay and 3D graphics.

It was accountable for presenting the term “deathmatch” to mainstream gaming vernacular. This online multiplayer game was groundbreaking during that time and was the forerunner for other games such as Xbox Live and Counterstrike.

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Sonic the Hedgehog

We also have Sonic the Hedgehog, which Sega released in 1991 to compete with the Nintendo steamroller. Initially referred to as Mr. Needlemouse, Sonic was placed as the edgier, spunkier, and cooler alternative to Mario.

Compared to Mario, the game emphasized speed, and Sonic zoomed around in a fast blur that was unprecedented at that period. The thorny blue hedgehog was a commercial success, even making a blockbuster cinema and becoming the iconic mascot of Sega.

Final Thoughts

Compared to modern arcade racing games today, old-school titles are poor in quality and presentation. However, these titles defined the current games we have today. What it lacks in production, it makes up for in challenges.

If you believe modern hardcore gaming is difficult, you should try beating some of these old video games. After all, without these arcade video games, some of the giant titles would stop existing today.


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