For those of us who grew up playing the original Nintendo, Gameboy, and Sega, sometimes modern games just don’t hit the same sweet spot those classics did. Sure, blowing into a cartridge for half an hour to get it to work was annoying, but at least once it worked, it worked. Modern gaming is beyond our control; too often we buy games that aren’t complete and are shipped with bugs, leaving us stuck downloading patches that take hours, only to end up not really working that well. Don’t you miss the days when we could buy a game and it would work? Games that didn’t need patches and DLC? Those were the days. Luckily, there are still a few games out there meant to hit us with nostalgia waves, are fun, and most importantly, they’re complete.  Here are some of the best games retro and nostalgia gamers can appreciate.

Shovel Knight: Wii U, PS3, PS4, 3DS, PS Vita, Windows, Mac, Xbox One

A 2D platformer created with 8-bit goodness, Shovel Knight was designed for the retro gamers in mind. With simple mechanics, challenging boss fights, tons of collectibles, and various homages to the games we grew up with, Shovel Knight can take the place of Mega Man and Castlevania in the modern era. Your primary weapon, as you guessed, is a shovel, which can do a simple melee attack, or a down strike similar to the pogo stick in Duck Tales. As you progress through the game, you can obtain more secondary attacks to fend off the evil knights.

Axiom Verge: PC, PS4, Vita (coming soon)

More akin to NES Metroid games, you play as Trace, a failed scientist who wakes up in a high-tech world after suffering a fatal injury. Starting with a basic gun, as you progress through the labyrinth you obtain various power-ups that can either let you open new paths to explore further, or give you new ways to take on the larger-than-life baddies.

Rogue Legacy: PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Xbox One

Die too often in games? Tired of running out of lives and having to restart the level? How about losing all of that gear you worked so hard for? Well, with Rogue Legacy you won’t have to worry about any of those issues. In this game, once you die, it’s your child who will inherit all of your powers, equipment, skills, and so on, to take up the reigns and finish your quest. Similar to the Gameboy Advance Castlevania titles, gamplay is simple side-scrolling action with many customization options. Each child you get will have different features: they may start out as a powerhouse with tons of health, only for their child to be more of a mage, with their child to be fast and rougelike. This game is fast and frustrating, but addicting and built for dungeon-crawling enthusiasts.

Super Meat Boy: 360, PS4, PS Vita, PC.

Warning – this game is insanely hard and will likely make you throw your controller. This is exactly why you should play it! We all have fond memories growing up, getting angry at games, yet still being unable to put the controller down as we need to beat the game – no matter what. SMB is very simple – avoid the death traps and lava pits, and try to get to the end of each level to rescue your girlfriend. There are no power ups, so special moves, and so on; it’s just a simple platformer with fun physics.

Check out the Pacapong Combines Donkey Kong, Pong, Pac-Man, and More article for additional nostalgia from games of the past.

Do you know of any retro games we have missed? What is your favorite old school game?

Additional Image: Analea Styles/Flickr



Alex Landa
Alex Landa
SEO, news, and gaming writer. Batman impersonator. Has an unhealthy obsession with grilled cheese.