10 Classical Games from Days Long Gone in Your Browser Now
It seems ridiculous now that thirty-something years ago, to play a certain game, one had to go to a mall and find the machine with it. It’s even stranger that these machines couldn’t load games different from the ones they were designed for one game, one machine. Could those 1980s kids imagine that one day, classic gaming would be available at home, with no need to drag these bulky machines there?
It would have seemed just as fantastic that in the next century all these games would be available on the computer that almost everyone already has. And there’ll be no need to drop a coin in. All you have to do is run your browser. It’s capable of playing games that required a dedicated machine some decades ago. The visuals may seem primitive now, but, for Minecraft’s sake, who cares?
There are literally thousands of arcade and early computer or console games on Internet archives, primarily on Archive.org. No wonder: this site is effectively an Internet museum, displaying treasures of the past that now may seem both exquisite and naïve, but never dull. If you ever want to play a good old game, out of nostalgia, curiosity, or just boredom, you’re welcome. It has a great collection of games as well, and they can be controlled within your browser.
This game by Nintendo was famous in the 1980s; looking extremely simple, it still was a great challenge. Now its premise is even primitive: you control a character who makes his way up, despite stones rolling down and enemies chasing from behind, to save Lady Pauline from the evil giant ape. Ah, sorry, the character later will be known as Mario. There are other Mario browser games as well – for you to explore.
That’s where the Sim franchise started. Unlike way more personalized The Sims, Sim City lets you control the entire city populated by simulated citizens. You are the mayor, and you are authorized to build and destroy, redesign it completely, make new districts, and let people build their households and businesses. Its citizens, though, may have their own opinion about taxes, limitations, and other policies. So you need to provide them with all the amenities and keep healthy and inspired to run their own businesses for your city to prosper.
Prince of Persia
Despite many sequels and movies, for many, there is only one Prince of Persia game, published in 1990 by Jordan Mechner. It’s an action-packed platformer created with innovative for the time methods. The Prince of Persia is thrown into a deadly dungeon by the vicious wazir, and now he only has an hour to get out and save his bride. There are traps and guards, poisonous and healing potions, and extremely challenging levels. An instant classics, the game is playable today – what better can be said about it?
While the original Pac-Man is a classical piece, the sequel beats it in many ways, except for one. Looking almost like the original, Ms. Pac-Man has more procedural generation elements, and the ghost AI got much better. The only fault of it is not being the first. Still, the difference is not as obvious from 2020. In both games, you need to eat the dots and escape the ghosts, and that’s it.
While games of the 1980s were technically laughable compared to modern ones, some of them are hard to beat when it comes to writing and gameplay. Maniac Mansion is an adventure game of this sort, produced and published by Lucasfilm in 1987. It seems hard to control now (given that you have three characters simultaneously), but it’s a special sort of fun to explore this mansion that looks even more ancient in this pixelated environment.
The Oregon Trail
Nothing gives you that sort of immersion you get when reading a book. The Oregon Trail is a game of 1971, with almost no visuals, except for Western-styled fonts, as the plot takes place in 1848. Who are you? Who are you riding with? What would you take with you? How you solve problems? It’s purely a text game, a choice-based one, inspired by gamebooks. Not that the genre was abandoned since, but it remains one of the most impressive relics of early gaming.
Super Street Fighter II
It’s okay in video gaming for sequels to beat originals. Can you remember a movie or book series where the fourth installment is the most famous and recognized as the best, except for Mad Max? Super Street Fighter II (1993) is one. Being a fighting game, it features quite familiar mechanics, but it also features a story, mythology that rivals most other fighting games.
Ultima VI: The False Prophet
It’s one of the first RPG series that became a global hit. The sixth installment was released in 1990, and it was an instant hit. Hardly will its plot, combining history and mystics, become a revelation for today’s advanced player. Back in 1990, though, a game that provided so many hours of non-monotonous gameplay was something new. It also featured an incredibly large (for the era) map and extremely cool visuals.
And this is not “one of the first”, but the very first modern-type RPG, released in 1988 by Atari. Though it looks obsolete, the idea of it still works. You select the type of your character and lead them through the hordes of enemies, from the first to the hundredth level. It has all an RPG should have the main story with side missions, artifacts to find, powerups to use, and various character classes with different skills that impact the gameplay.
And, finally, here comes the king. The more abstract the game is, the greater chance it has to become an obsession. Tetris has become more than gaming classics but a common noun. Developed in the mid-1980s, it featured falling four-square blocks that a player needed to position right to fill the levels that disappeared after that.
The pace constantly accelerated, and the game became more challenging as the player advanced. Though there are many mobile apps and web versions now, this on seems the most authentic, breathing perestroika air.
And what best games on the browser would you recommend? As this article is about old games, we’d like to remember something else from that era. For example, should there has been more place, I’d mention also R-Type (1987), defining the genre of horizontal scrolling shooter, and the first John Madden Football (1988). And what would you like to recollect right in your browser?