The Best Classic Video Games Video Games
Ultimate List
24  reranks 5,425 votes 354 voters 34,290 views more info

The Best Classic Video Games

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

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 is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 24 ReRanks
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 1
    Up 150
    Down 40

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

    May 22 1980 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 145
    Down 43
    98
  3. 3
    Up 148
    Down 35
    Jan 01 1983 More
    95
  4. 4
    Up 126
    Down 29
    Jan 01 1981 More
    90
  5. 5
    Up 80
    Down 46
    Jan 01 1982 More
    82
  6. 6
    Up 99
    Down 34
    Jan 01 1981 More
    80
  7. 7
    Up 109
    Down 38
    Nov 21 1998 More
    79
  8. 8
    Up 96
    Down 25
    Jun 01 1978 More
    78
  9. 9
    Up 92
    Down 41
    Jan 01 1992 More
    78
  10. 10
    Up 82
    Down 42
    Dec 10 1993 More
    77
  11. 11
    Up 75
    Down 41
    Aug 01 1992 More
    73
  12. 12
    Up 63
    Down 44
    Jan 01 1984 More
    72
  13. 13
    Up 83
    Down 24
    Jan 01 1981 More
    70
  14. 14
    Up 100
    Down 13

    ranked low on reranks
    Super Mario Bros.

    Sep 13 1985 More
    70
  15. 15
    Up 54
    Down 26
    Jan 01 1980 More
    68
  16. 16
    Up 68
    Down 39
    Jan 01 1987 More
    68
  17. 17
    Up 51
    Down 32
    Jan 01 1982 More
    67
  18. 18
    Up 61
    Down 25
    Jan 01 1982 More
    67
  19. 19
    Up 57
    Down 43
    Jan 01 1985 More
    66
  20. 20
    Up 67
    Down 35
    Aug 01 1987 More
    65
  21. 21
    Up 61
    Down 43
    Jan 21 1999 More
    65
  22. 22
    Up 59
    Down 37
    Jan 01 1987 More
    60
  23. 23
    Up 56
    Down 47
    59
  24. 24
    Up 47
    Down 23
    Apr 20 1982 More
    58
  25. 25
    Up 41
    Down 15
    Jan 01 1979 More
    58
  26. 26
    Up 77
    Down 17

    ranked low on reranks
    Super Mario Bros. 3

    Oct 23 1988 More
    57
  27. 27
    Up 51
    Down 42
    Jan 01 1993 More
    57
  28. 28
    Up 45
    Down 32
    Jan 01 1982 More
    53
  29. 29
    Up 40
    Down 43
    Jan 01 1998 More
    52
  30. 30
    Up 46
    Down 21
    Nov 29 1972 More
    51
  31. 31
    Up 28
    Down 45
    Jan 01 1982 More
    49
  32. 32
    Up 18
    Down 44
    Jan 01 1985 More
    48
  33. 33
    Up 37
    Down 20

    ranked low on reranks
    Donkey Kong Country

    Nov 21 1994 More
    48
  34. 34
    Up 23
    Down 43

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Galaga '88

    Jan 01 1987 More
    47
  35. 35
    Up 24
    Down 40

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Rygar

    Jan 01 1986 More
    46
  36. 36
    Up 47
    Down 11

    ranked low on reranks
    The Legend of Zelda

    1986 More
    46
    added by: midnightq2
  37. 37
    Up 47
    Down 12

    ranked low on reranks
    Super Mario World

    Jan 01 1990 More
    46
    added by: midnightq2
  38. 38
    Up 24
    Down 35
    Jan 01 1983 More
    46
  39. 39
    Up 43
    Down 31
    Oct 01 1997 More
    44
  40. 40
    Up 31
    Down 21
    Jan 01 1994 More
    44
  41. 41
    Up 35
    Down 19
    Jan 01 1991 More
    42
    added by: midnightq2
  42. 42
    Up 15
    Down 37
    Jan 01 1983 More
    42
  43. 43
    Up 28
    Down 32
    Sep 03 1998 More
    42
  44. 44
    Up 25
    Down 30
    Oct 14 2000 More
    41
  45. 45
    Up 12
    Down 20
    Jan 01 1981 More
    40
  46. 46
    Up 10
    Down 37

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Pokémon Colosseum

    Mar 22 2004 More
    40
  47. 47
    Up 14
    Down 14
    Jan 01 1982 More
    40
  48. 48
    Up 14
    Down 22
    Jan 01 1980 More
    39
  49. 49
    Up 19
    Down 20
    No image

    Techmo Bowl

    38
  50. 50
    Up 25
    Down 24
    Nov 15 1996 More
    38
  51. 74 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS

items 1 - 50 of 73

think you can do better?

Rerank This List
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

viewers of this list also saw

more popular lists