With so much time to spend at home, it’s no wonder people are turning more and more towards video games. There are a plethora of reasons why video gaming is such a popular, and profitable, hobby these days. They can provide entertainment and a way to connect with people that currently isn’t possible for many people. With the world under quarantine, many game studios have been slowed down and as a result, although Microsoft and Sony launched their newest game consoles very recently, there’s never been fewer new games to play on them.
Games are always in development, of course; the wheel of production can never really stop. Even if employees are separated by miles in between and all work is now online. However, we don’t know yet whether the quality of games will suffer because developers are so far apart. The only major AAA game that released with the majority of development happening in quarantine was Cyberpunk 2077, and, well, that’s a bad example for many reasons.
While you wait for the next title like the rumored Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 and others, there’s no need to not play anything at all. Like they say, hindsight is always 20-20, and the best games of previous games generations are easy to find. Just in case you don’t feel like trawling Google search results for the right games, we have compiled a list of games that have aged so well, they play just as well today as they did back when they were released and we highly recommend these to Gen Z to play it in 2021.
Arranged by Genre – the best old games to discover
Platforming & Indie
The best games of all time can sometimes be the simplest. It isn’t necessary to have complex, and sometimes clunky controls to design solid, intuitive gameplay. The following games really show that off, in ways that redefined the genre.
It might seem unfair to cite a game as relevant and well-known as Cuphead in this list. However, seeing the very antediluvian art style and how the game is 4 years old already, we think it belongs here. Cuphead is a spectacular indie platformer with beautiful, hand drawn visuals. Each carefully designed character is made in an art style reminiscent of old fashioned cartoons. The gameplay is fast paced, punishingly rewarding, easy to learn but difficult to master. It is a timeless game that leaves one begging for a sequel, but content with the game in hand.
2. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the sequel that improves upon every aspect of the previous game, and adds much more difficult platforming based combat. It is a story that you cannot rush through, because it is equally long as it is rewarding. Every minute playing the game is both a struggle to survive and a rush of adrenaline as you discover new powers and become a force to be reckoned with. Plus, it’s even more of a tearjerker than the original. Don’t take our word for it – go enjoy it now on Windows and Xbox.
3. Portal 2
The game that defined the earliest part of the previous decade, Portal 2 was one of the greatest puzzle-platforming games to ever be. It featured incredibly long, intricate puzzles matched with a strangely visceral backstory that kept gamers coming back for more. It’s been 10 years since the game came out, but never before or after will any format come close in achieving the same levels of immersive, easy to learn, interesting gameplay. Portal 2 is a game best played co-op, which is where the game really took off. The basic mechanic of spawning a portal to jump through meant it was destined to be unique. It truly was a game that can never be surpassed.
8-Bit & 16-bit games – simpler is better, sometimes
Some of the best selling games of all times came in plastic cartridges with built in batteries. And a lot of them came later, carrying on the spirit of their predecessors.
1. Pokemon Emerald Version
The Hoenn region you explore in Pokemon Emerald is the pinnacle of the Pokemon franchise. With more enemy teams to battle, each with their own ideology and motives, the Pokemon formula really peaked in this game. Featuring a vast and enjoyable map, with several new features like bases and the PokeNav, Pokemon Emerald would introduce gameplay elements not only the same franchise would copy and paste for years, but many others too. The only downside is most of the map is sea, which sucks, but still, with the ability to dive, it’s not as bad as it seems.
Created by one man, this game had a pretty good chance of flying under everyone’s radar and fading into obscurity. The game managed to do just about the opposite, becoming the definitive 8-bit indie game experience. Borrowing from the EarthBound franchise, and adding its own special flair, the game rose to meteoric heights. Tobey Fox’s genius shines through every aspect of this game, even in the music. It is definitely one of the best games ever released.
Mainline AAA games that lived up to the hype – or exceeded it
1. Fallout: New Vegas
Have you ever wanted to play a game so profound it sparked hour long video essays on its brilliance – eleven years after release? Have you ever wanted to explore a world that took satire from a theme to a genre? If you ever wanted to wear Roman Legionnaire armor while fighting gigantic mutant lizards on the Hoover Dam with laser blasters, New Vegas is the right game for you. Even if you think the game isn’t right for you, give it a shot. The game is so good, it’ll probably change your mind. The only downside is the voice cast, which can get repetitive.
2. Mass Effect 2
The game that asked, “how much freedom is enough freedom in a game?” and didn’t wait for a reply. In typical BioWare fashion, get ready for extremely complex characters, a beautifully choreographed story and action sequences, and the highest quality of storytelling. Also, the game is about to be remastered, releasing in May, so there’s that to look forward to as well. Definitely one of the most beautiful and fulfilling games ever designed – a feat even BioWare could never replicate.