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The Best Classic Video Games 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated June 14, 2019 210.3k votes 13.8k voters 534.9k views 263 items

List Rules 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.
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list ordered by
1
Super Mario Bros. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1985 (Systems Research & Development Co.)
2
Super Mario World is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
midnightq2 added Released: 1990 (Nintendo)
3
The Legend of Zelda is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
midnightq2 added
4
Super Mario Bros. 3 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1988 (Nintendo)
5
The Legend of Zelda: A L... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
midnightq2 added Released: 1991 (Nintendo)
6
The Legend of Zelda: Oca... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1998 (Grezzo)
7
Super Mario Kart is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1992 (Nintendo)
8
Sonic the Hedgehog is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
JoshuaMonson added Released: 1991 (Backbone Entertainment)
9
Doom is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1993 (id Software)
10
Donkey Kong is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1981 (Nintendo)
11
Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1980 (Namco)
12
Super Smash Bros. is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1999 (HAL Laboratory)
13
Mortal Kombat is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1992 (Midway Games)
14
Mario Kart 64 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1996 (Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development)
15
GoldenEye 007 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1997 (Ashby Computers and Graphics Ltd.)
16
Donkey Kong Country is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1994 (Rare Ltd)
17
Mario Bros. is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1983 (Nintendo)
18
Final Fantasy VII is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1997 (Eidos Interactive)
19
Contra is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1987 (Konami)
20
Pokémon Red and B... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
21
Space Invaders is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1978 (Taito Corporation)
22
Metroid is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1986 (Intelligent Systems)
23
Street Fighter II is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
midnightq2 added Released: 1992 (Capcom)
24
Galaga is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1981 (Namco)
25
Street Fighter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Video Games
Released: 1987 (Capcom)