Retro Games

The Most Popular Retro Games

January 5, 2021

Video games have pushed on leaps and bounds since the early days of PONG, yet there is no understatement when it is said that these games of the past really did revolutionise the entire industry!

Many of the games that we see today have been crafted by these legendary games that came out in what the gaming community calls the ‘golden age’ for video games, this, of course, being the 80’s to 90’s. Some of the games made at this time have gone on to become colossal franchises, an example being Resident Evil. This game was first released in 1996 and now has gone on to have 26 follow-on games and 6 feature-length films.

The popularity of these games is something that does not go under-appreciated as millions of people each year are still keeping games from the early 80’s alive as developers are making updated versions of games like PacMan, who still lives on in the minds of children today and has managed to just about stay above the wave of relevancy.

The following games are the prime examples as to why retro games are still extremely popular in the gaming community.

 Sonic The Hedgehog (1991)- Sega Genesis

First released to the world in 1991, Sonic The Hedgehog, originally was a platformer game in which the basic premise was that you would play as a blue hedgehog who could run at Sonic speed through a standard map.

Sonic was Sega’s attempt at a competitor to Nintendo’s Mario and what a competitor he was! This was seen by the huge reception in the media with the game getting an 86% at the review aggregator Game Rankings, however, it was not only the critics that were impressed, as the game sold over 1 million game cartridges in the US alone, by Christmas 1991.

This retro game will always be in the hearts and minds of gamers across the globe, especially just as recent as 2020, with the launch of the first official ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’ film. It is clear to see that Sonic will always have popularity in the gaming scene even with Sega seeming to take a back seat in the console industry as companies like Sony and Microsoft have been the industries main console providers for the last 20 years or so.

TETRIS (1988)- Gameboy

First developed in 1984 by Russian game designer Alexey Pajitnov, Tetris was a simple yet extremely effective game and really does define the word ‘retro’. The basic premise of Tetris was to slot in blocks strategically on top of each other in a way to survive for the longest amount of time until your screen filled up with blocks. The game also really evokes that retro feel as it’s like playing an arcade game, yet it fits in two your hands!

Tetris may have been known by most to be an instant success; however, it was not until Nintendo first developed a release of it onto their Game Boy/Game Boy Colour 1989 that the game started to pick up serious traction. It had gained huge popularity across Asia and the USA particularly selling approximately 35 million copies. As of 2020, Tetris as a brand has sold over 500 million + copies and remains today the third most purchased game in history.

Super Mario Bros 3 (1988)- NES

The third instalment to the Mario Bros franchise, Super Mario Bros 3 is known as the retro game that changed the landscape on the future of the gaming industry and praised as one of the best video games of all time. The game consisted of everyone’s favourite red plumber (with an option to play as his brother Luigi) on another platformer game like the previous games, Mario Bros 1 and 2. Differing from those other retro games, SMB3 implemented new mechanics with the additions with the frog and raccoon suit, giving the player more ways to enjoy Mario.

The retro game was a huge success at the time, becoming a best seller. The game sold 250,000 copies by only its second day of release! By 1993, the game had sold 4 million copies in Japan and another 7 million in the USA.  When the game was bundled with the new NES system, the version sold over 17 million copies. To add to this, in 2011, the game became the highest-grossing non-bundled home video game, standing at a colossal $1.7 billion.

Once again this ‘retro’ game spurred on Nintendo to keep making these gigantic successful titles and with future games such as Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy coming from Nintendo, it was clear to see the foundations of which this game had set.


 Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991)-SNES

Rated by some as the ‘greatest game of all time’ the retro game of ‘Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past’ is a strong fan favourite. The 3rd game in the ‘Legend of Zelda’ franchise, A Link to the Past once again focuses on the main protagonist Link in his bid to save Hyrule, defeat Ganon and rescue the descendants of the Seven Sages. The known retro game ditched the side-scrolling mechanics of its predecessor and returned to the original top-down perspective as seen in the original game in 1986.

It was released first in 1991 on to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System or SNES. The game achieved massive commercial success, selling over 4 million copies around the world. Though not in the same popularity field as Super Mario. Legend of Zelda continues to grow strong in the gaming industry with the recent ‘Breath of the Wild’ receiving game of the year in 2017.

 Donkey Kong (1981)- Arcade

Along with Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Asteroids, Donkey Kong acts as one of the founding members of gaming. The game simply consists of the player-controlled the protagonist named Jumpman, (who would later become the not so famous character of Super Mario) trying to climb his way up a construction site whilst dodging barrels and other objects tossed down by the antagonist Donkey Kong, with the goal of saving the Damsel in distress, Pauline.

The retro game was the first of its kind, being the first arcade game to implement a jumping mechanic which was ground-breaking when it was released in 1981 to arcades around the world. This game produced the debut for two of the most famous Nintendo characters, these being Mario and Donkey Kong. The video game was selling 4,000 units in a month by October and by 1982, Nintendo had sold 60,000 Donkey Kong machines, making Donkey Kong a huge selling point for the future. Despite this success, it wasn’t until as late as 1994, that Donkey Kong got its first official console released game.

Contact Us

If you’re a fan of games like Donkey Kong, take a look at our fantastic range of arcade machines. Alternatively, if you have a question about our products, please give us a call on 0121 433 5554 and we would be more than happy to help.

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