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Top 10 Retro Computer Games

August 14, 2012 | Scott

Top 10 Retro Computer Games
Retro computer game - Manic Miner

It's Manic Miner, innit. Not in the list.

We count down our favourite retro games of all-time. Ask us tomorrow and they'll be different. For example, I already regret not including Chuckie Egg, Manic Miner or Minder on the Spectrum.
10. Street Fighter II
Street Fighter bought the beat 'em up to themasses in 1987; but as fun as the original invariably was, the sequel, released in 1991, made it look as technologically outdated as an abacus. Rather than just being boring old Ryu and Ken, gamers were introduced to a whole new concept - choice. Suddenly there were characters like the rubbery Dhalsim and the morbidly obese E. Honda. New moves wer introduced too, with each character having their own special powers, something the series developed further in future sequels and an abysmal turn on the silver screen.
We could go on for days, but all you need to know is that Street Fighter is a proper awesome retro game - Top 10 all the way!
9. Asteroids
Today all the kids have Xboxes, Playstations and Wiis; but back in the late 70s and early 80s there was one name that stood head and shoulders above the rest - Atari. In 1979 they released Asteroids, which, just as PONG had done before it, would revolutionise game. Also like PONG, Asteroids was far from being a complicated graphics fest. The player was simply a space rocket that could only move around the screen and fire a weapon, which in turn would hit large asteroids, breaking it down into smaller asteroids. Regardless of mind-numbing simplicity, it has stood the test of time and definitely remains a classic retro title, well for us it does anyway.
8. Breakout
We love this game so much we've got it on our site! Breakout combines the age old traditions of paddling a ball about the screen like in PONG, with the newer tendency for blasting away at onscreen obstructions a la Asteroids. The objective is simple enough, destroy all the blocks without letting the ball hit the ground, the gameplay isn't much more complex than the premise suggests either.
PONG practically invented the arcade game, without it where would we all be? Okay, the gameplay is simple and the graphics crap, but in 1974, when a computer was the size of a house and processing power was the same as a modern day calculator, it was quite an achievement. Digital table tennis has never been bettered, and for our money, it never will.
6. Pac-Man
What can you say about Pac-Man? This hungry oversized head devoured its competition both in the game and at the arcades. It traversed the world of gaming and popular culture thanks to geeks across the world, giving rise to Pac-Mania. It's simple, it's addictive and it has rarely been bettered.
5. Doom
In 1993 gamers were invited into the very bowels of hell to fight 3D monsters in the first person shooter Doom. Making Wolfenstein 3D look as revolutionary as Noughts & Crosses and with all the fear factor of Paperboy, Doom took fear to another level. Demonic growls stalked you through the cavernous mazes, whilst the monsters themselves were ugly enough to give millions of kids nightmares for weeks.
By today's standards the gameplay seems pretty tame and the graphics, frankly rubbish. But 15 years ago this thing was a revelation; 3D monsters, multiplayer functionality and a soundtrack that meant you always required a spare pair of underwear close to hand, proper classic!
4. Super Mario Bros.
The first Super Mario Bros. pretty much sucked, the graphics were crap and the gameplay was sketchy at best. But it heralded a whole new era of platform games and introduced the world to a superhero plumber who adhered staunchly to every Italian stereotype going. It also introduced the world to a brand new console, the NES. It's as retro as they come, good honest fun, bouncing around colourful levels and beating up a few bad guys along the way; despite its many flaws, it still has a place in our hearts.
3. Tetris
Created by some crazy Soviet guy, in what we can only imagine to be a grey windowless tenement building somewhere in Moscow, Tetris became a worldwide smash, despite its inherent simplicity. Multi-shaped blocks fall from the sky, with the user having to manoeuvre them into position so as to create a complete row. Horrendously addictive and had a soundtrack that would drive people crazy for years thanks to its introduction on the portable Gameboy.
2. Goldeneye
The newest game on our list and probably one of the most played, well by us at least. Pitting the new Bond, in the form of Pierce Brosnan, against a whole host of baddies from all eras, Goldeneye was as close to perfection as any game had come to this point. It took on a whole new life with the awesome multiplayer game, where you and a few mates could shoot the living hell out of each other across a split screen format. Where else can you kill a 7 foot metal toothed giant with a bowler hat wearing midget? That's what makes this a stone cold favourite and an absolutely essential addition to our Top 10.
1. Space Invaders
They don't come much more retro than Space Invaders. The original spaceship blasting game combined aliens and guns in a way that acne covered kids of 1980 had never previously dreamed imaginable. The sense of impending doom created by the rows of invaders gradually getting closer to the lone gunship, all the while building speed as you blasted through their ranks, was a masterstroke.
Today this simple yet iconic computer game is immortalised through consistent references in modern media and pop culture in general, transcending its somewhat humble beginnings; truly worthy of top spot in our list.

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