23 Retro Games You Can Play In Your Browser
Ultimate Credit: PancakeRiot takes the credit for this one.
Quite simply, here is a list of 23 retro games you can play in your browser. The selection is from both PC and console platforms. I hope you don’t have any plans for this weekend or anything important to complete at work!
These sites use either Flash or Java to run the game in the browser! If a game fails to load, be sure that Java or Flash player is installed on your computer! You can download Java for free! You can also download Flash Player for free! This also means that you need a browser that supports one or both.
Due to control requirements, it is highly unlikely that any of these games will run on a device without a keyboard, mouse, joystick or gamepad.
1. Duke Nukem 3D (1996)
Duke Nukem 3D is a first-person shooter video game developed by 3D Realms and published by GT Interactive Software. The full version was released for the PC (the shareware version was released on January 29, 1996). It is a sequel to the platform games Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II published by Apogee. An expansion pack, Plutonium Pak, was released in November 1996.
Duke Nukem 3D features the adventures of the titular macho Duke Nukem (voiced by Jon St. John), who fights against an alien invasion on Earth. Along with Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, Duke Nukem 3D is considered responsible for popularizing first-person shooters. It was released to major acclaim; reviewers praised the interactivity of the environment, level design, gameplay and unique risqué humor (a mix of pop-culture satire and lampooning of over-the-top Hollywood action heroes).
Its lasting appeal and impact on modern video games has led to its being considered one of the most important video games of all time. The game’s violent nature, erotic elements and portrayal of women have incited controversy. After fifteen years in development hell, a direct sequel was released called Duke Nukem Forever.
2. NBA Jam (1993)
NBA Jam is a basketball arcade game developed by Midway in 1993. It is the first entry in the NBA Jam series. The main designer and programmer for this game was Mark Turmell. Midway had previously released such sports games as Arch Rivals in 1989, High Impact in 1990, and Super High Impact in 1991. The gameplay of NBA Jam is based on Arch Rivals, another 2-on-2 basketball video game. However, it was the release of NBA Jam that brought mainstream success to the genre.
The game became exceptionally popular, and generated a significant amount of money for arcades after its release, creating revenue of $1 billion in quarters.
The release of NBA Jam gave rise to a new genre of sports games which were based around fast, action-packed gameplay and exaggerated realism, a formula which Midway would also later apply to the sports of football (NFL Blitz), and hockey (2 on 2 Open Ice Challenge).
3. Prince of Persia (1990)
Prince of Persia is a fantasy platform game, originally developed by Jordan Mechner and released in 1989 for the Apple II, that represented a great leap forward in the quality of animation seen in video games.
After the original release on the Apple II, Prince of Persia was ported to a wide range of platforms. The game managed to surprise and captivate the player despite being at first glance, repetitive. This was achieved by interspersing intelligent puzzles and deadly traps all along the path the player-controlled Prince had to take to complete the game—all this packaged in fluid, lifelike motion.
Prince of Persia influenced a sub-genre known as the cinematic platformer, which imitated the sprawling non-scrolling levels, fluid animation, and control style.
4. Mega Man X (1993)
Taking place a century after the original Mega Man series, Mega Man X is set in a futuristic world populated by both humans and “Reploids”, robots capable of thinking, feeling, and growing like their human creators. Because of these complex attributes, many Reploids are prone to destructive, criminal activity and are thereafter referred to as “Mavericks”. The plot of the game follows the protagonist Mega Man X, an android member of a military task force called the “Maverick Hunters”. With the help of his partner Zero, X must thwart the plans of Sigma, a powerful Maverick leader wishing to bring about human extinction.
5. Mortal Kombat II (1993)
Mortal Kombat II was the second game in the Mortal Kombat series, improving the gameplay and expanding the mythos of the original Mortal Kombat, notably introducing more varied Fatality finishing moves and several iconic characters, such as Kitana, Kung Lao, Mileena and the series’ recurring villain Shao Kahn. The game’s plot continues from the first game, featuring the next Mortal Kombat tournament set in the otherdimensional realm of Outworld, with the Outworld and Earthrealm representatives fighting each other on their way to the evil emperor Shao Kahn.
6. Speed Ball 2: Brutal Deluxe (1988)
Speedball 2 makes several changes over the original Speedball. Teams have nine players on court rather than five, and targets on the floor and walls can be hit to receive bonus points. The amount of points that a team receives for scoring a goal starts at 10 but can be increased to 15 or 20 via the use of score multipliers located on the walls of the pitch. The same amount of points for scoring a goal is given for injuring a player from the opposing team. When a player is injured, he is replaced by one of three substitutes. If all three substitutes are injured, the injured player will be forced to return to the game and play on in spite of his injuries. There are five game modes: knockout, cup, league, practise and multiplayer. Each game lasts for 180 seconds.
7. Earthworm Jim (1994)
Earthworm Jim is a run and gun platform video game featuring an earthworm named Jim in a robotic suit who battles evil. Created by Doug TenNapel and designed by David Perry, the game was developed by Shiny Entertainment and Playmates Interactive Entertainment. It was released for the Sega Genesis in 1994, and subsequently ported to a number of other video game consoles.
The game was noted for its fluid, cartoon-like animation. It was well-received by critics, and received a sequel, Earthworm Jim 2, in 1995. Fifteen years later, Gameloft developed a high definition remake for the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, titled Earthworm Jim HD, in 2010.
8. Alone in the Dark (1992)
Alone in the Dark is a critically acclaimed 1992 action-adventure horror video game originally designed by Frédérick Raynal and developed and published by Infogrames for the PC. In 1994, the game was ported for the 3DO by Krisalis.
Alone in the Dark is considered a breakthrough and influential title, being the first 3D game in the genre of survival horror. It has spawned four follow-up games as part of the series, as well as two movies loosely based on them.
9. Star Fox (1993)
Star Fox, released as Starwing in Europe due to a game of the same name and subsequent trademark issues in that region, is the first game in the Star Fox series of video games, released on February 21, 1993 in Japan, on March 23, 1993 in North America, and on June 3, 1993 in Europe for the Super Famicom/Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was the second three-dimensional Nintendo-developed game (behind 1992’s X, also developed by Nintendo EAD together with Argonaut Software) and it included the Super FX chip, a coprocessor used to accelerate graphics display, which became Nintendo’s first game to use 3D polygon graphics. The complex display of three-dimensional models with polygons was still new and uncommon in console video games, and the game was much-hyped as a result.
Star Fox featured anthropomorphic character designs by Nintendo artist Takaya Imamura, music composed by Hajime Hirasawa and obstacle course style gameplay. Star Fox was developed by Nintendo EAD with assistance by Argonaut Software, and was published by Nintendo. The game was a critical and commercial success, which established Star Fox as one of Nintendo’s flagship franchises.
The storyline involves Fox McCloud and the rest of the Star Fox team, who must defend their homeworld of Corneria against the attacking forces of Andross.
10. Aladdin (1993)
This version was developed by SIMS and published by Sega, and released in 1994 for the Sega Game Gear worldwide and for the Sega Master System in Europe. Sega went on to produce this game since they already had the necessary intellectual property licensing rights in order to publish the Virgin Interactive game on the Mega Drive/Genesis. The game is also significantly different in gameplay compared to its Mega Drive counterpart. There are three main types of level, chase levels in which Aladdin must outrun enemies while dodging obstacles, exploration levels in which Aladdin must carefully navigate traps and solve puzzles, similar to Prince of Persia, and carpet levels in which Aladdin rides his flying carpet.
11. Battletoads (1991)
Battletoads is a platformer video game created by Tim and Chris Stamper and developed by Rare as the first installment of the Battletoads series. It was originally released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991 and subsequently ported to numerous other platforms. In the game, two space mutant warriors known as the Battletoads, Rash and Zitz, embark on a mission to defeat the evil Dark Queen on her planet and to rescue their kidnapped friends: fellow Battletoad Pimple and Princess Angelica.
Battletoads is arguably one of the most graphically advanced video games ever released for the NES, at a time when the video game market was moving on to 16-bit consoles. The game became famous for its extreme difficulty and humorous ways of beating enemies, as during finishing attacks, the main characters’ body parts transform into oversized appendages for devastating and comical attacks.
12. Sonic 2 (1992)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a platform video game developed by Sonic Team and Sega Technical Institute, and published by Sega. The game is an installment in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and focuses on the protagonist Sonic the Hedgehog and his friend, a fox named Miles “Tails” Prower, who must stop the series antagonist Dr. Ivo Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds to power his Death Egg space station.
Originally released for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive in 1992, the game was a critical and commercial success, with critics praising it for building upon the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. The game has sold over 6 million copies, making it the second-best-selling game on the console, behind only its predecessor in the Sonic series. Since its initial release, the game has been released in several compilations and download releases for various platforms, which were also generally positively received.
13. Streets of Rage 2 (1992)
Streets of Rage 2, later released in Japan as Bare Knuckle II: The Requiem of the Deadly Battle , and in Europe as Streets of Rage II with a Roman numeral, is a side-scrolling beat ’em up video game released by Sega in 1992 for the Mega Drive / Genesis console. The game is also playable in the game Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection. It is the second game in the Streets of Rage series, a sequel to Streets of Rage and followed by Streets of Rage 3. The game introduced two new characters: Max Thunder and Eddie “Skate” Hunter (known as Sammy Hunter in Japan), brother of Adam Hunter from the original game.
14. Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo (1994)
Super Street Fighter II Turbo, released in Japan as Super Street Fighter II X: Grand Master Challenge , is a competitive fighting game released for the arcades by Capcom in 1994. It is the fifth arcade installment in the Street Fighter II sub-series of Street Fighter games, following Super Street Fighter II. Like its predecessor, it ran on the CP System II hardware.
Super Turbo introduced several new play mechanics to the game system from the previous Street Fighter II installments, including the addition of powered-up Special Moves called Super Combos. It also introduced the hidden character of Akuma, who would go on to become a recurring character in later Street Fighter installments and other Capcom fighting games.
Super Turbo was originally ported to the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, followed by the PlayStation and Sega Saturn (under the title of Super Street Fighter II Turbo: The Ultimate Championship) as part of the Street Fighter Collection and for the Japanese Dreamcast under the title of Super Street Fighter II X for Matching Service. A remake of the game was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 titled Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.
15. Super Mario World (1990)
Super Mario World , subtitled Super Mario Bros. 4 for its original Japanese release, is a 1990 platform video game developed and published by Nintendo as a pack-in launch title for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and is the fifth game in the Super Mario series. Development was handled by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development, led by Shigeru Miyamoto, who directed the game along with Takashi Tezuka.
The game centers on the quest of Mario and Luigi to save Dinosaur Land from Bowser, the series’ antagonist. The two brothers must travel across seven worlds to restore order to Dinosaur Land. It built on the gameplay of previous Mario games by introducing new power-ups that augment character abilities, and established conventions that were carried over to future games in the series. Super Mario World marks the first appearance of Yoshi, Mario’s dinosaur sidekick and riding mount.
16. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (1992)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, released as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles: Turtles in Time in Europe, is an arcade video game produced by Konami. A sequel to the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) arcade game, it is a scrolling beat ’em up type game based mainly on the 1987 TMNT animated series. Originally an arcade game, Turtles in Time was ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1992, whereupon it was retitled to serve as a sequel to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project. That same year, a game that borrowed many elements, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist was released for the Mega Drive/Sega Genesis.
Years later, the arcade version of Turtles in Time was revisited on newer consoles. A slightly altered version of the arcade game was included as an unlockable bonus in the 2005 game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare. In August 2009, Ubisoft released a 3D remake of the game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, for Xbox Live Arcade. The remake was released onto PlayStation Network on September 10, 2009.
17. Super Mario Kart (1992)
Super Mario Kart is a 1992 go-kart racing video game developed by Nintendo EAD for the Super Famicom (SFC) and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The first game of the Mario Kart series, it was launched in Japan on August 27, 1992, in North America on September 1, 1992, and in Europe on January 21, 1993. Selling eight million copies worldwide, the game went on to become the third best selling SNES game of all time. Super Mario Kart was re-released on the Wii’s Virtual Console in Japan on June 9, 2009, North America on November 23, 2009, and in Europe on April 2, 2010.
In Super Mario Kart the player takes control of one of eight Mario series characters, each with differing capabilities. In single player mode players can race against computer controlled characters in multi-race cups over three difficulty levels. During the races, offensive and speed boosting power-ups can be used to gain an advantage. Alternatively players can race against the clock in a Time Trial mode. In multi-player mode two players can simultaneously take part in the cups or can race against each other one-on-one in Match Race mode. In a third multiplayer mode – Battle Mode – the aim is to defeat the other players by attacking them with power-ups, destroying balloons which surround each kart.
18. Donkey Kong Country (1992)
Donkey Kong Country is a platform video game developed by Rare that was originally published for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was first released on November 21, 1994, in North America and on November 24, 1994, in Europe. Donkey Kong Country was the first Donkey Kong game that was not produced or directed by Shigeru Miyamoto, the character’s original creator. It was produced by Tim Stamper instead, although Miyamoto was still involved with the project.
19. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, known as Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce in Japan, is a 2D action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game console. It is the third installment in The Legend of Zelda series and was released in 1991 in Japan and 1992 in North America and Europe. Shigeru Miyamoto and his team were solely responsible for this game’s development.
The plot of A Link to the Past focuses on Link as he travels on a journey to save Hyrule, defeat Ganon and rescue the seven descendants of the Sages. A Link to the Past uses a 3/4 top-down perspective similar to that of the original The Legend of Zelda, dropping the side scrolling elements of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. A Link to the Past introduced elements to the series that are still commonplace today, such as the concept of an alternate or parallel world, the Master Sword and other new weapons and items.
20. Doom (1993)
Doom (typeset as DOOM in official documents) is a 1993 science fiction horror-themed first-person shooter video game by id Software. It is considered one of the most significant and influential titles in the video game industry, for having ushered in the popularity of the first-person shooter genre. The original game is divided into three nine-level episodes and distributed via shareware and mail order. The Ultimate Doom, an updated release of the original game featuring a fourth episode, was released in 1995 and sold at retail.
In Doom, players assume the role of a space marine, who became popularly known as “Doomguy”, fighting their way through hordes of invading demons from Hell. With one third of the game, nine levels, distributed as shareware, Doom was played by an estimated 10 million people within two years of its release, popularizing the mode of gameplay and spawning a gaming subculture. In addition to popularizing the FPS genre, it pioneered immersive 3D graphics, networked multiplayer gaming, and support for customized additions and modifications via packaged files in a data archive known as “WADs”. As a sign of its effect on the industry, first-person shooter games from the genre’s boom in the 1990s, helped in no less part by the game’s release, became known simply as “Doom clones”. Its graphic violence, as well as its satanic imagery, made it the subject of controversy.
21. Super Metroid (1994)
Super Metroid is an action-adventure video game and the third game in the Metroid series; the introduction alternatively refers to the game as Metroid 3. It was designed by Nintendo Research & Development 1, programmed by Intelligent Systems, and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game console. The game was released in Japan on March 19, 1994, in North America on April 18, 1994, and in Europe and Australia on July 28, 1994. It was released for the Wii Virtual Console in 2007. It was released for a limited time from May 15, 2013 as part of the Wii U Virtual Console Trial Campaign promotion.
Super Metroid was directed and written by Yoshio Sakamoto, and produced by Makoto Kano with Gunpei Yokoi serving as general manager. The game’s story follows bounty hunter Samus Aran as she attempts to retrieve a stolen Metroid from the Space Pirates.
Due to its detailed and colorful graphics, cinematic elements and progressive, distinctive gameplay the game received universal acclaim, being considered today as one of the greatest video games of all time and earning an aggregated score of 96 percent from Game Rankings, making it the website’s ninth highest-rated game. Electronic Gaming Monthly named it the Game of the Month for May 1994, gave it an Editor’s Choice Award, awarded it as the Best Action Game of 1994, and named it the Best Game of All Time in 2003. In 2007, IGN ranked Super Metroid seventh in its list of Top 100 Games of All Time. Despite a highly positive critical reaction, the game sold poorly in Japan, but fared better in North America and Europe. Nevertheless, due to the game’s critical success, Nintendo placed it on their Player’s Choice marketing label.
22. Super Castlevania IV (1991)
Super Castlevania IV is a platform game developed and published by Konami and the first Castlevania game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was originally released in 1991 and later re-released on the Virtual Console in 2006 for the Wii and in 2013 for the Wii U. It features expanded play control, 16-bit graphics featuring SNES Mode 7, and a soundtrack featuring brand new pieces and remixes based on previous Castlevania music. Following the same setting as Castlevania on the NES, the game takes place in 1691 Transylvania, where the vampire hunter Simon Belmont must defeat the vampire Dracula.
23. Elite (1984)
Elite is a seminal space trading video game, originally published by Acornsoft in 1984 for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron computers. The game’s title derives from one of the player’s goals of raising their combat rating to the exalted heights of “Elite”. It was written and developed by David Braben and Ian Bell, who had met while they were both undergraduates at Jesus College, Cambridge. Non-Acorn versions of the game were published by Firebird, Imagineer and Hybrid Technology.
Elite was one of the first home computer games to use wire-frame 3D graphics with hidden line removal. Another novelty was the inclusion of The Dark Wheel, a novella by Robert Holdstock which influenced new players with insight into the moral and legal codes to which they might aspire.
Elite’s open-ended game model, advanced game engine and revolutionary 3D graphics ensured that it was ported to virtually every contemporary home computer system, and earned it a place as a classic and a genre maker in gaming history. Elite was a hugely influential game, serving as a model for more recent games such as Space Rogue, Eve Online, Freelancer, Jumpgate, Infinity: The Quest for Earth, Wing Commander: Privateer, Pardus, the Escape Velocity series and the X series of space trading games.
Above are just a sample of games available from sites like the ones linked above. Many older games are available in this manner that allow those that enjoy retro gaming to relive their childhood experiences and afford themselves some nostalgia.
Here are a list of sites like the ones linked above. Share any others that might be missing in the discussion topic for this article!
- RGB Classic Games – Offers many older games from multiple platforms in a java-based format that allows minimal effort on the player’s part to get up and running. Some games even support joystick… all from your web browser!
- NESbox – NESbox is an emulator of NES, Super Nintendo, Sega Mega Drive video consoles, built on Adobe Flash technology and it can only be run directly in your browser’s window.
- FreeGameEmpire – Free Game Empire is a webpage dedicated to playing classic old games We have developed a game system that allows you to play the games instantly from your web browser without the need of complex user-unfriendly emulator settings.
- SSega – Sega Genesis Games Online. Much like the rest but caters to Sega Genesis!
- Kongregate – Hey, do you like games? So do we — that’s what makes Kongregate the best source of free games online. We have thousands upon thousands of free online games, from both one-man indies and large studios, rated and filtered so you can play the best of the best.