Retro games

Retro games are a fantastic way to evoke that bubbling feeling of nostalgia you get from recognizing something from the past. But even if you don’t have any memories of the games of yesteryear (possibly because you didn’t exist at the time) you can still enjoy the great titles we’ve assembled on their own merits—and experience a little slice of history. After all, those classic games wouldn’t have stuck in all of our memories if they weren’t fantastic fun! At the time, you couldn’t simply enjoy a gaming session in the comfort of your home—and you definitely couldn’t pull a games system out of your pocket while on the train. Instead, you had to take a trip down to the local arcade and pump coins into a cabinet. Such was the appeal of this new technology that many players—children and adults alike—decided to do just that, and a whole new subculture was born almost overnight. It might have been difficult to imagine at the time that gaming would become the multi-billion-dollar industry that it is today—that it did is partly a result of those landmark games, and the systems which built on the success of those early efforts.

Familiar Features

Retro games is a particularly broad category, owing to the fact that what is considered retro continues to change and expand as the years roll on. Before we know it, stuff from the 2010s will be considered retro too, and then we’ll all be old. However, despite the nebulous nature of the term, there are a few common features that a lot of the games seem to share:

  • Pixel art style: Based on the nostalgia for the limited pixels in arcade cabinets, many retro-inspired games today still use limited colors and pixels in their game design.
  • Hearts/lives: A lot of the original arcade games gave you a few chances before your turn was completely over, perhaps to help newer players get used to the controls and learn from their mistakes. This is a feature that has carried forward, too!
  • Points: Not all games these days give you the chance for a high score! However, in arcade games, the goal was often to get the highest score you could. This was done in the interests of having players play the game again and again, meaning they would be putting more and more money into the machine. Retro games often make use of high scores to emulate the feeling of these original games.

Star Players

As we mentioned before, retro is a nebulous term, so it can sometimes be tricky to tell which games are truly retro! However, certain games seem to have shaped some of the ideas of the genre. These are all classic titles that continue to appeal to players today. Here are a few of the most important ones:

  • Pong: Arguably the earliest video game to enjoy commercial success was Atari’s Pong, from 1972. It featured two paddles on either side of the screen and a small square pixel that bounced between them. We’ve got a game in a similar style to this here on GamePix called Ping, where your goal is to get as many points as you can by transferring the “ball” from one paddle to the other, taking care not to break it apart on the barrier!
  • Space Invaders: This retro game was the first of many fixed shooter games, and was inspired by classic space stories like The War of the Worlds by H.G Wells. Players had to control a moving laser cannon and shoot at alien invaders from the sky, holding down the home front for as long as possible. Here on GamePix we have a game inspired by the original Space Invaders called Galactic Invaders, where players must shoot the invading forces without being shot themselves! They are the last line of defense against a hostile alien force!
  • Snake: Who among us didn’t have this game on our phone at some stage? This traditional video game originated in 1976, in Gremlin’s game Blockade. Snake had a simple premise: survive for as long as possible while eating items and growing in length, but without bumping into a wall or the snake’s tail—both of which got gradually more difficult as the snake increased in size. This game is an undeniable classic, and we have a version here on our site! Snake Game even improves on the original by providing an adventure mode as well as a survival mode, making for more diverse and varied gameplay.
  • Pac-Man: Everyone’s favorite hungry yellow blob originated in a retro game by Namco. In this arcade game, players moved Pac-Man around a maze while being chased by colorful ghosts. The goal was to eat as many pellets as possible without being killed by a ghost! There were special power pellets that allowed Pac-Man to eat the ghosts for extra points. Did you know that Pac-Man was designed to appeal to women as well as men? Most of the arcade games that existed at this point centered around war or sports, so Pac-Man was something of a change of pace. The bright colors also appealed to kids, which is why he is now a household name. He’s such a classic that we have a more updated version of the arcade game here on our site! Pac Game has players running away around the maze and trying to complete multiple levels without losing all their lives!
  • Super Mario Bros: Everyone knows Mario! He first appeared in 1981’s Donkey Kong and got his own arcade game in 1983! In this game, players had to try and reach the end of a level by dodging enemies, jumping on their heads and picking up coins and points along the way. Of course, the game really took off and Mario is still famous today, but a lot of people remain nostalgic for those early arcade games. If you want a taste of the nostalgia too, why not try Super Marius World? Help Marius run and jump through multiple fun levels, all while avoiding your enemies and collecting coins!

If I Could Turn Back Time…

If you like the sound of getting lost in the past, then look no further! We’re pleased to tell you that there’s no need to track down rare and poorly maintained old systems to get your retro fix; you can play a whole bunch of classic retro games here on GamePix! You won’t even need to bother with any cumbersome downloads or installations—just select a game from the list of retro classics we’ve got here and start playing!


Where can I play retro games today?

Good news—you’re in the right place! If it’s retro games you’re after, we’ve got a whole selection available for you to play here on GamePix! Better still, unlike the old arcades you don’t have to pay anything to play them! So long as you’ve got an internet connection you’ll be able to play a whole host of retro games online for free, all day long!

Why are retro games so popular?

People like retro games for a few reasons, but here are the main ones:

  • Nostalgia!
  • Simple controls that make picking them up easier.
  • Catchy music!
  • Multiple levels mean they’re less of a time commitment.

What are the most popular retro?

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