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 on my agenda, but not today.
Without any further ado, let us get started. Below are the 5 best retro games on Steam:
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5. Fallout (developed and published by InterPlay Productions, PC 1997)
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)
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.
3 – Final Fantasy IX (developed and published by Square, PlayStation 2000)
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 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.
Deus Ex (developed by Ion Storm, published by Eidos Interactive, PC 2000)
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…
1. Chrono Trigger (developed and published by Squaresoft, SNES 1995)
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!
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!
Thank you so much Tricia, you are really supportive. Hope your son finds my post useful.
Till next! 🙂
At my age (66) I guess I have a different definition of “retro arcade games.” 🙂 I found PacMan, but am looking for more stuff from that era (think Donkey Kong, Missile Command, Dig Dug, Asteroids, Space Invaders, etc.).
Hello Michael and welcome to my retro gaming blog!
The best thing you can do is buy a retro console featuring arcade games on * AliExpress. Mine came with more than 1500 in-built arcade games. 🙂
Hope I was helpful!