The 5 best retro games on Steam – Play the Classics on your PC

Playing video games on a pc

If you are a retro gamer or just a regular person that wants to reimmerse themselves in the fantasy gaming worlds of the past decades, you might be shocked at how expensive vintage consoles and gaming systems can be nowadays. It is possible, however, to relive this experience on a budget.

Steam is a platform that distributes digital copies of games. You can create a free account and browse the directory of thousands of games, some of which are even free! Now you do not have to spend a whole lot on consoles and use the computer you already have to get classic 90s games at reasonable prices. Besides a video game store, Steam is a community portal that connects you to your friends and enables you to play together.

Today we are going to look at single games, so do not be surprised if you do not see Street Fighter 30th Anniversary or Shenmue I and II on this list. A list with the best retro compilations on Steam is coming soon!

Without any further ado, let us get started. Below are the 5 best retro games on Steam:

(Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that – at no additional cost to you – if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission)

5. Fallout (developed and published by InterPlay Productions, PC 1997)

Fallout, a game that was originally published on the PC

In such a post-apocalyptic scenario, the working black and white tv is a real touch of class. It hits you right in the feels

Fallout is a series of post-apocalyptic role-playing video games, set in the 22-23rd centuries. The first game was released back in 1997 and takes place in Southern California, 2161. The 21st century faced a petroleum shortage which resulted in a global nuclear war and the destruction of most major cities. What is left of human society struggles to survive in underground shelters called Vaults.

Vault Dweller has to recover a water chip in the Wasteland, and replace the broken chip in Vault 13, one of the underground shelters. The chip is responsible for the recycling of water and, because of the malfunction, the inhabitants’ days are numbered. In 150 days, their reserves will be completely depleted. Vault Dweller is given the Pip-Boy 2000 (a wrist computer), and is tasked with the mission to save the people before they run out of water.

What is special about the game is the ability of the player to affect the storyline with every choice they make.

4. Quake (developed by id Software, published by GT Interactive, PC 1996)

Quake, a game that was originally published on the PC

Quake’s gloomy atmosphere truly helps immerse oneself in the story.

This first-person shooter game was published in 1996, and is the first in the Quake Series.

The protagonist is Ranger, who has to stop an enemy with the code name “Quake”. It turns out that the government successfully created “Slipgate” – a prototype teleporter, which was compromised by Quake. He is now using it to send his death squads. Ranger has to use Slipgate to reach other dimensions and collect four magic runes. They are the only means to stop Quake and his invasion of Earth.

It is worth mentioning that two official expansion packs have later been developed, to pick up where the original game left off.
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3 – Final Fantasy IX (developed and published by Square, PlayStation 2000)

Final Fantasy IX, a game that was originally published on the PS1

Zidane decides to run to the aid of his arch-enemy, which made him one of the most likable RPG characters ever

FFIX was released in 2000 for the PS1, and It was a top seller in Japan and America. As of 2016, over 5.5 million copies of the game have been sold worldwide. Critics and fans agree that this game is one of the most successful in the series. Personally – as you might remember – this is my favorite FF episode.

The game takes place on the planet Gaia, where thief Zidane Tribal is sent on a mission to kidnap the princess of Alexandria (one of the four nations), Garnet Til Alexandros XVII – a beautiful young lady. Later, he actually joins her and a few other characters to try to defeat her mother, Queen Brahne of Alexandria, who is responsible for the war. Shockingly, the player gets to know that Brahne is being manipulated Kuja – a much bigger threat they need to face.

FFIX is a thrilling adventure that features epic stories, spectacular battles, and incredibly diverse characters.

Fun fact: A peculiar part of the game is Tetra Master. This is a card-based minigame in which players take turns to strategically place cards they have previously obtained, by fighting monsters or opening chests on a grid. The winner gets to keep one of his opponent’s cards. Apart from being a fun distraction from the main game – and unlike Triple Triad in FFVIII – there is really no purpose for it.

2. Half-Life (developed by Valve, published by Sierra Studios, PC 1998)

Half Life, a game that was originally published on the PC

After a long tutorial, Gordon will be eventually taken to the Black Mesa Research Facility, where he will be instructed on his mission

Half-Life is Valve’s debut title, a first-person shooter, published in 1998. Its graphics, storytelling and realistic gameplay have been recognized as one of the finest at the time, selling over 9 million copies.

After an experiment with an alien material goes wrong, Gordon Freeman, theoretical physicist, has to find a way out of the Black Mesa Research Facility. The building is devastated and hostile aliens from the Xen dimension enter through dimensional seams, attacking anybody in their sight. Later in the game, Freeman attempts to reach the Lambda Complex where a few of the survivors may have found a way to end this grand disaster.

Fun fact: Half-Life was the basis for the creation of several fan-made games (initially mods), like Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat.

Honorable Mention:

Deus Ex (developed by Ion Storm, published by Eidos Interactive, PC 2000)

Deus Ex, a game that was originally published on the PC

Deus Ex’s cutscenes are extremely atmospheric… Another super immersive title

Published in 2000, Deus Ex is a futuristic action role-playing game, set in the cyberpunk-themed dystopian world, 2052.

JC Denton is an agent of the fictional United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition. With the use of nanotechnology, he has acquired special powers, which he uses in his missions to combat hostile forces.

The game gained popularity, received several awards, and was named “Best PC Game of All Time” by PC Gamer Magazine.

All amazing games so far, but believe me, the best is yet to come…
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1. Chrono Trigger (developed and published by Squaresoft, SNES 1995)

Chrono Trigger, a game that was originally published on the Super Nes

It was 1996 and the textures were awesome… And this is nothing compared to the overall quality of the game. An absolute masterpiece that belongs up there, with the best of the best.

It is no wonder Chrono Trigger is probably the best video game of all time.

This brilliant role-playing game takes place in an Earth-like world with different eras. The prehistoric era features primitive humans and dinosaurs, the Middle Ages is about magic, knights and monsters, and the post-apocalyptic future is a sad place with sentient robots and humans on the brink of survival.

Time travel is a concept that is frequently used in the game, employed to obtain allies, clues, and equipment to finish the quests. The End of Time serves as a hub through which the characters travel to different time periods. Later on, when the Epoch (aka Wings of Time) is acquired, they can skip the End of Time and directly travel to the desired time.

Crono, a swordsman, is the protagonist, living in 1000 A.D. When a portal opens up and swallows Marle, his friend, he and his other friend Lucca set off to rescue her, which leads to numerous adventures across different times.

This title is incredibly diverse, bringing you spectacular battles, complicated stories, twists, and exciting adventures. An absolute must-play not only for Rpg fans, but for any gamer worthy of the name.


These are just a few of the classic retro games that have been recognized as the best in their genres. Of course, the list is not conclusive and it is up to you, retro folks, to explore the exciting variety 90s games have to offer.  What are your favorite retro games on Steam, anyway? Did I miss something? Please tell me what you think ,down in the comments below!

Till next retro post!

About Andrew A.

Andrew is the founder and owner of RetroGamingLoft. He considers himself a natural-born gamer and is on a mission to keep our younger gaming years alive through the medium of Retro Stories. His event recount includes hopes, dreams, broken joysticks, magic, nostalgia and another final boss defeated.

24 thoughts on “The 5 best retro games on Steam – Play the Classics on your PC

  1. Roland

    This is a great list of PC retro games. Though I was not much a PC game liver then, but my brother made me love the Deus ex. It was fun and I love the story line along side the actions. I saw the revamped arcade mode of it for android on playstore some days ago.  For this to have made the cut, then my brother would definitely know about some others on this list. I will share this article with him. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Roland and thanks for taking time to read and comment on my post and for sharing it with your brother. Hope he comes and says hi!
      Deus Ex was special, so ahead of its time… Not surprised you guys loved it. It was a big pleasure for me to bring back good, old memories. 🙂
      Thanks again for stopping by, until next retro list!

      Reply
  2. Travis

    I’ve been a gamer my whole life. I enjoyed this read about some of the retro games that Steam has to offer. 

    I have heard of Steam but have not had a chance to get any retro games through them as of yet. I guess I didn’t realize that they had some of my favorites until I read this article lol. 

    Brings me back to the good ole consoles when you had to worry about keeping the disc from getting scratched, or your memory card running out of memory. 

    Some great games you’ve listed here! I was actually just thinking about the original crash bandicoot the other day though, think they have it there? 

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Travis and welcome to my blog, I am pleased you enjoyed my post.
      Concerning your questions, yes they do. You can buy Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, which is a collection of the first three titles in the series, that were released on the PS1. These versions are remastered ,though. I am saying this because I am not sure if you are looking for the original version or just the game. In any case, please let me know if I can be of further help. 🙂
      Thanks again for your nice comment, hope you become a regular here!

      Reply
  3. Carol5162

    I have played free games from stream and they have been very enjoyable. There is a nice list of free games. I bought Final Fantasy IX more recently and it was quite interesting. The kidnap mission was indeed thrilling and engaging. It is quite hard to put a stop to the game. That s a great fun fact on Tetra Master. I did not have this understanding.

    Thank you for a great post on great games. You have summarized the games so well!

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Carol, glad to have you as a regular here. 🙂
      So you recently bought FFIX on Steam, nice choice! You know what, the game is long and eventful, so indulging in Tetra Master every now and then is refreshing. There is even a TM tournament, at some point, another nice addition.
      Concerning Steam, I commend it for offering some free titles either. Not every gaming platform does that.
      Thanks again for your nice comment, until next retro post!

      Reply
  4. Shan

    Thanks for the list of retro games on Steam. I have to admit, when I think of ‘retro’ games, my mind takes me back to atari Pacman and Space Invaders – maybe I’m just older than I thought haha! 

    I had actually never heard of Fallout but the story behind the game is an incredibly realistic scenario, given current world events. I may have to find it and check it out for myself!

    My 2 boys are constantly on Steam either talking to friends or playing against each other on one game or another. I had no idea the platform had so much to offer. By the way, can the REALLY old games such as Pacman be found there? Thanks again for the retro tour!

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Shan and welcome to my retro gaming blog.
      Well, you are not the only one to think so, but usually games are considered retro when they are 15-20 years old. No big deal anyway, the retro game family is bigger than you thought. 🙂
      Glad I made you want to check out Steam I am sure you will not regret it.
      Concerning your question, yes also the really old games can be found on this online game platform. You named Pacman, well, Steam offers at least 20 different Pac-Man titles. If you like the game, you are definitely spoiled for choice, lol.
      Thanks again for your comment, I truly you become a regular here!

      Reply
  5. Tricia

    Great list I’ll have to share this with my son. He’s a fan of the Fallout franchise but not sure if he has the first one. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Chloe

    Hello Andrew, I must commend your taste when it comes to retro games. I grew up amidst 4 boys to I’m familiar these games you have listed here. Amongst your list I loved watching my brothers Deus Ex, but my personal favorite remains final fantasy ix. A really wonderful list you have here. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Chloe and thanks for your nice words, I am pleased you appreciate my list.
      Final Fantasy IX is my favorite FF ever and was my favorite Rpg ever, but that was before I met Chrono Cross and Chrono Trigger.
      In any case a list featuring the top 10 Rpgs ever is in the works, so I hope you stay tuned for it. 😉
      Thanks again for your comment, till next post!

      Reply
  7. Henderson

    Oh this is a really good one here. I didn’t know about steam or the fact that one could get  some really cool retro games on there. I like the final fantasy and I really enjoyed playing it. I’ll go straight up to steam and see if I can get to it. Thank you for bringing back the good old memories of the game. Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Henderson, always a pleasure to read your comments. I am glad I was able to surprise you 😉
      As you know, Bringing back good old memories makes me happy, so no need to thank me.
      If you end up signing up and actively using Steam, please let me know how it goes.
      Till next retro article!

      Reply
  8. Ronan

    Hi Andrew,

    Your post brings back so many memories of my childhood!

    I remember playing Fallout from start to finish in just over a week.

    Good times!

    It’s awesome that there is platform such as Steam that allows us to relive our childhoods again.

    They don’t make games like they did with these retro games you discussed.

    I’ve heard of Steam before but never really knew how to operate it, definitely something I must check out!

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Ronan and thanks for leaving such a nice comment, it is a pleasure to bring back lovely memories for my readers. 🙂
      Fallout is the game that got me into pc gaming, enough said! I freaking love it!
      Oh and I am glad I made you want to know more about Steam. if you eventually sign up and download some games, please let me know how it goes.
      Thanks again for dropping by, hope you come back for more retro posts!

      Reply
  9. Jason S

    As an avid gamer pretty much all my life, I have to say this is a great list of retro games! I think I have played all these games, except for FFVIIII (did get into FF until FFX and FFX-2). I have steam and have downloaded several older games from the Star Wars series in the past, but have had some issues playing them on a modern pc. Have they updated these games to work better on todays’ rigs?

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Jason and welcome to my website. 🙂
      I am sorry to hear you have had issues with some Steam games. What kind of issues, if I may ask? Personally I have never had any problems with this platform’s games, but I would really like to help you.
      Are you sure your pc met the minimum requirements for those games? Please let me now.
      Thanks again for taking time to comment on my post, hope you become a regular here!

      Reply
  10. Don Barnes

    Andrew,

    You have a good review here. I Really relate to trying to get some of the games on my PC. It almost seems a little harder to play the games. I think that is I’m used to the joy stick or controller idea. I still am old enough to remember the Atari and Sega genesis, and the paddle game breakout. Do you know if you can get things like Mario cart and can you play more than one person at a time? I’m interested in hearing more from you about the roleplaying games as well.

    BadDuck  

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello BadDuck and welcome to my blog, I am glad that you appreciated my post.
      I too am hopeless wit a keyboard – if that is your concern – but the good news is that we can play Steam games with any Usb device, provided that our pc recognizes it.
      Personally I have had zero problems so far… I have played games with PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 controllers, even a Madcatz one and they all worked perfectly. Further, PS4 and Xbox 360 joypads are compatible with (originally) keyboard-only games.
      You.
      As for your other questions:
      1) Mario Kart is not available on Steam, but there are some good alternative like Super Indie Karts. You can buy Mario Kart on other online gaming platforms, I will soon talk about on this blog, so stay tuned. 😉
      2) You can play multiplayer both online and locally, but it really depends on the games you intend to play.
      Steam clearly specifies if a title allows for local/online multiplayer, so make sure you read the information, before making a purchase.
      Finally, I am also planning to make a list about the best Rpgs on this platform, so you have got one more reason to become a regular here. 😉
      Till next!

      Reply
  11. Dave Sweney

    I had not heard of the Steam platform but it seems like an ideal place to hang out at based on your article! The 5 best retro games that you highlighted are all ones that I used to play for hours ages ago as a young lad (or younger anyway!). Chrono Trigger, Half-Life, and Quake are ones that I especially liked.

    Now that I know about the platform, you can bet I will be signing up to Steam. Thanks much for the tip on this one, and perhaps I will see on the inside there. You definitely know your way around. These gems of retro games are sure to provide me some entertainment like the old days! 

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Dave, it is comments like these that help me keep going! I strive to be as informative as I can and, reading I made you want sign up to Steam to get to play your favorite games again put a smile on my face.
      Thanks for your support and the compliment, really one of my goals is to help others reconnect with their youth and your words mean a lot.
      Till next retro post!

      Reply
  12. Darren

    Great insight into what Steam has to offer.  I am going to bookmark this page and have a look at the games you have mentioned.  I am on a MAC will steam also work?  I love the original Atari games and wanted to know if any of these games are available on steam?  Thanks

    Reply
  13. Andrew A. Post author

    Hello Darren and welcome to my blog, glad you appreciate my post.
    As a MAC user, I can confirm you that Steam does work. 🙂
    The minimum requirements are as follows: Intel Mac running macOS 10.7 (Lion) or later, and at least 1GB of drive space.

    Concerning your second question, Atari Vault is for sale at 9,99. It deals with a collection of one hundred Atari games, enough said. 😉
    Thanks again for your nice comment, hope you become a regular here.

    Reply

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