The Best Classic Video Games

30k votes 2.2k voters 166k views 278 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Video games released between 1960 to 2000.

Top classic video games from the early years of gaming. This list contains the best games released on any system (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 1961, 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.
  • 37 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
Z
G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 715
    - 232
    Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Video Games

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Pac-Man 1980

  2. 2
    + 618
    - 155


    1981

    ;
  3. 3
    + 687
    - 207


    1983

    ;
  4. 4
    + 636
    - 84

    ranked low on reranks
    1985

    ;
  5. 5
    + 502
    - 235
    ;
  6. 6
    + 471
    - 128


    1978

    ;
  7. 7
    + 416
    - 154
    Galaga is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Video Games


    Galaga 1981

  8. 8
    + 542
    - 212
    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina o... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Video Games


    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 1998

  9. 9
    + 431
    - 170


    1992

    ;
  10. 10
    + 470
    - 92


    1988

    ;
  11. 11
    + 405
    - 160


    1992

    ;
  12. 12
    + 333
    - 212
    Dig Dug is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Video Games


    Dig Dug 1982

  13. 13
    + 313
    - 155
    Contra is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Video Games


    Contra 1987

  14. 14
    + 337
    - 180


    1993

    ;
  15. 15
    + 342
    - 88

    added by midnightq2
    1990

    ;
  16. 16
    + 263
    - 184
    Paperboy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Video Games

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Paperboy 1984

  17. 17
    + 279
    - 157


    1999

    ;
  18. 18
    + 287
    - 141


    1987

    ;
  19. 19
    + 266
    - 129
    Ms. Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Video Games


    Ms. Pac-Man 1982

  20. 20
    + 273
    - 139


    1987

    ;
  21. 21
    + 344
    - 83

    ranked low on reranks & added by midnightq2

    ;
  22. 22
    + 221
    - 108


    1994

    ;
  23. 23
    + 199
    - 139
    Pole Position is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Video Games


    Pole Position 1982

  24. 24
    + 195
    - 135


    1980

    ;
  25. 25
    + 186
    - 155


    1987

    ;
  26. 26
    + 224
    - 96
    Asteroids is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Classic Video Games

    ranked low on reranks
    Asteroids 1979

  27. 27
    + 238
    - 180
    Pokémon Red and Blue is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Classic Video Games

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Pokémon Red and Blue

  28. 28
    + 203
    - 144
    NBA Jam is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Classic Video Games

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    NBA Jam 1993

  29. 29
    + 262
    - 98

    ranked low on reranks & added by midnightq2
    1991

    ;
  30. 30
    + 197
    - 45

    ranked low on reranks & added by JoshuaMonson
    1991

    ;
  31. 31
    + 205
    - 122
    Pitfall! is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Classic Video Games


    Pitfall! Apr 20 1982

  32. 32
    + 144
    - 30
    Tetris is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Classic Video Games

    ranked low on reranks
    Tetris 1985

  33. 33
    + 199
    - 117
    Grand Theft Auto is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Classic Video Games


    Grand Theft Auto 1997

  34. 34
    + 193
    - 99


    1972

    ;
  35. 35
    + 178
    - 123


    1998

    ;
  36. 36
    + 146
    - 146

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    1998

    ;
  37. 37
    + 138
    - 82

    added by midnightq2
    1989

    ;
  38. 38
    + 127
    - 127

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    1982

    ;
  39. 39
    + 97
    - 130

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Jan 01 1987

    ;
  40. 40
    + 128
    - 72

    ranked low on reranks & added by midnightq2
    1996

    ;
  41. 41
    + 100
    - 44


    1996

    ;
  42. 42
    + 188
    - 53
    Street Fighter II is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Classic Video Games

    ranked low on reranks & added by midnightq2
    Street Fighter II 1992

  43. 43
    + 96
    - 39


    1992

    ;
  44. 44
    + 62
    - 14
    Q*bert is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Classic Video Games


    Q*bert 1982

  45. 45
    + 76
    - 25

    added by armok
    1988

    ;
  46. 46
    + 135
    - 105
    Tomb Raider is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Classic Video Games


    Tomb Raider 1996

  47. 47
    + 78
    - 69

    added by SpyroArjona
    1995

    ;
  48. 48
    + 74
    - 148

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Jan 01 1982

    ;
  49. 49
    + 113
    - 133
    ;
  50. 50
    + 65
    - 122

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    1986

    ;
279 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >