The Best Classic Video Games Video Games
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The Best Classic Video Games

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18,768 views 74 items 4,493 votes 282 voters 25 followers 24reranks
Top classic video games from the early years of gaming. This list contains the best games released in any format (arcade, home consoles, portable devices) from the 1960s through the year 2000 (which for this list would be considered the start of the "modern era" of gaming.) This includes all the essential games from the era of the arcade, as well as the original 8-bit consoles and their 16-bit follow-ups. Many of the retro games on this list have remained extremely popular to this present day, and are often still played by passionate fans on preserved consoles or on computers via emulator software. Some of these games are part of ongoing franchises that have remained vital to this day, such as the classic "Mario Bros." games, "Legend of Zelda" titles and fighting games like "Mortal Kombat."

Experimental video games have been around since the 1950s, but it was two game breakthroughs in the early 1970s that really brought games more mainstream attention. "Spacewar!," released in 191, became popular enough to generate about 1500 individual arcade machines, but was so complicated to learn that it failed to really develop mass appeal. The same was not true of 1972's "Pong," from the same creators, that recreated table tennis for arcades and eventually sold nearly 20,000 machines. By the late 1970s, video game consoles for the home were becoming more commonplace, with both the Intellivision and ColecoVision competing in toy stores and introducing many of the titles we're still familiar with today (including the original "Donkey Kong" and "Space Invaders.")

1978 is traditionally considered the start of the Golden Age of video games, particularly in terms of arcade games, with the introduction of numerous beloved retro titles (including "Frogger" and "Galaxian.") Finally, in 1985, Nintendo introduced the first Nintendo Entertainment System to stores, bundled with the game "Super Mario Bros.," a landmark release in console history.

List Criteria: Best video games released between the 1960s and the year 2000.

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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 128
    Down 32

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Pac-Man

    May 22 1980 More
    100
  2. 2
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    99
  3. 3
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    often listed
    Mario Bros.

    Jan 01 1983 More
    97
  4. 4
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    often listed
    Donkey Kong

    Jan 01 1981 More
    89
  5. 5
    Up 69
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    often listed
    Dig Dug

    Jan 01 1982 More
    78
  6. 6
    Up 94
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    Nov 21 1998 More
    78
  7. 7
    Up 80
    Down 22
    Jun 01 1978 More
    76
  8. 8
    Up 78
    Down 31
    Jan 01 1981 More
    76
  9. 9
    Up 77
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    Jan 01 1992 More
    74
  10. 10
    Up 67
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    Dec 10 1993 More
    71
  11. 11
    Up 74
    Down 12
    Sep 13 1985 More
    69
  12. 12
    Up 66
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    Jan 01 1981 More
    68
  13. 13
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    Aug 01 1992 More
    67
  14. 14
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    Jan 01 1984 More
    65
  15. 15
    Up 44
    Down 21
    Jan 01 1980 More
    64
  16. 16
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    Down 28
    Jan 01 1982 More
    62
  17. 17
    Up 54
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    Jan 01 1985 More
    62
  18. 18
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    Jan 01 1987 More
    62
  19. 19
    Up 54
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    Aug 01 1987 More
    60
  20. 20
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    Down 24
    Jan 01 1982 More
    60
  21. 21
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    niche appeal
    Super Mario Bros. 3

    Oct 23 1988 More
    59
  22. 22
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    Jan 21 1999 More
    58
  23. 23
    Up 49
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    Jan 01 1987 More
    56
  24. 24
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    Down 11
    Jan 01 1979 More
    55
  25. 25
    Up 35
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    Apr 20 1982 More
    55
  26. 26
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    niche appeal
    Pong

    Nov 29 1972 More
    53
  27. 27
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    53
  28. 28
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    Jan 01 1982 More
    52
  29. 29
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    Jan 01 1993 More
    50
  30. 30
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    Down 7
    1986 More
    49
    added by: midnightq2
  31. 31
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    niche appeal
    Donkey Kong Country

    Nov 21 1994 More
    48
  32. 32
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    niche appeal
    Grand Theft Auto

    Oct 01 1997 More
    46
  33. 33
    Up 30
    Down 11
    Jan 01 1990 More
    46
    added by: midnightq2
  34. 34
    Up 26
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    niche appeal
    Final Fantasy I-II

    Jan 01 1994 More
    46
  35. 35
    Up 20
    Down 28
    Jan 01 1983 More
    46
  36. 36
    Up 29
    Down 39
    Jan 01 1998 More
    46
  37. 37
    Up 24
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    Jan 01 1982 More
    45
  38. 38
    Up 20
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    Jan 01 1987 More
    45
  39. 39
    Up 28
    Down 13
    Jan 01 1991 More
    44
    added by: midnightq2
  40. 40
    Up 20
    Down 34
    Jan 01 1986 More
    43
  41. 41
    Up 17
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    Jan 01 1985 More
    43
  42. 42
    Up 20
    Down 22
    Oct 14 2000 More
    42
  43. 43
    Up 13
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    Jan 01 1983 More
    41
  44. 44
    Up 10
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    niche appeal
    Zaxxon

    Jan 01 1982 More
    41
  45. 45
    Up 11
    Down 15
    Jan 01 1980 More
    41
  46. 46
    Up 20
    Down 26
    Sep 03 1998 More
    41
  47. 47
    Up 9
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    niche appeal
    Gorf

    Jan 01 1981 More
    40
  48. 48
    Up 16
    Down 14
    Apr 27 1990 More
    40
  49. 49
    Up 20
    Down 19
    Nov 15 1996 More
    40
  50. 50
    Up 14
    Down 13
    Jan 01 1992 More
    39
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