Picking the best US old-school games is no easy task! Many retro games are held in high esteem in the US and globally. These vintage gems have left an indelible mark on gaming history, from iconic arcade classics to beloved console titles. Join us as we journey through the nostalgia-inducing world of great US old-school games.
Old School Video Games
Mortal Kombat II
Mortal Kombat II is an amazing 2D fighting game that was developed and released in mid-1993 for arcades. It is the second title in the iconic Mortal Kombat series and is regarded as one of the best fighter series ever.
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The game features a new tournament held in Outworld by a sorcerer called Shang Tsung, who works for Shao Khan, an evil emperor. It also came with new characters and content and refurbished the fighting system, making it more efficient.
Mortal Kombat II has a wide range of characters, each boasting an array of moves and fatalities. Some new characters introduced in this series include Katana, Kung Lao, Baraka, Jax, and Mileena. You’ll also meet old folks from the original Mortal Kombat, such as Scorpion, Raiden, Sub-Zero, and Liu Kang.
Mortal Kombat II continues where the original left off. It features a five-button layout: four attack buttons (High Kick, High Punch, Low Kick, and Low Punch); it also features a dedicated block button. Furthermore, players can use moves such as fatalities, combos, and moves. Additionally, the game introduces new gameplay mechanics, including the ability to perform air combos and chain combos.
Super Mario Bros
Super Mario Bros., which became available in 1985, is a celebrated side-scrolling platform game in which the player leads Mario, the series’ protagonist. Suppose you’re playing in multiplayer mode; in that case, the second player will control Luigi, Mario’s brother. The game expects the player to battle through the Mushroom Kingdom, subsist the chief adversary Bowser’s forces, and save Princess Toadstool.
The game comprises eight worlds, each having four levels. Mario is expected to reach the end of each level by overcoming various gaps and evading enemies on the way. You need the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to enjoy this super game. In addition, Super Mario worlds have many adversaries, platforms, and open holes, and Mario loses a life whenever he touches an enemy or falls down a hole.
Why is Super Mario an iconic game? Simple – it changed the course of game development. It was the best-selling video game ever before Wii Sports took over the title in 2009.
Namco developed and released Pac-Man in 1980. It is a maze game in which a player controls Pac-Man, a yellow character, who must eat all the dots inside a confined maze. However, Pac-Man must duck four colored ghosts, namely Blinky (red), Clyde (orange), Inky (cyan), and Pinky (pink).
Pac-Man can also eat large flashing dots known as “Power Pellets” to turn the ghosts blue before eating them for bonus points. The game’s objective is to eat all the dots placed in the maze while keeping away from the ghosts. If you can guide Pac-Man to consume all the dots, you’ll move to the game’s next level.
What makes this game special is that it was among the first popular non-shooting action games. It also defined the genre’s important elements, such as “parallel visual processing,” which requires players to simultaneously keep track of multiple entities, including the enemies, player location, and the energizers.
Alexey Pajitnov developed this puzzle game in 1985 in the Soviet Union. Tetris comprises a rectangular playing field in which shapes called tetrominoes fall down. Players are expected to move and rotate the falling tetrominoes so they fill a whole row of the playing field.
Once a row is completely full, it disappears, and the lines above it move down to fill the space. This is referred to as a line clear. When the uncleared lines come to the top of the playing field, the game ends. You’ll get a higher score if you manage to delay uncleared lines reaching the playing field’s top.
Tetris is available on multiple video game systems. Additionally, you can find it on virtually every computer and electronic gaming system. The game is esteemed as a classic and has endured years of litigation regarding licensing rights. Modern versions of the game follow a set of rules (Tetris Guideline) created by The Tetris Company to ensure all Tetris games look and feel familiar.
Commander Keen: The PC Pioneer
Before the era of high-definition graphics and intricate storylines, there was Commander Keen, a game that broke new ground for PC gaming. Developed by id Software and published by Apogee Software, this side-scrolling platformer was released in the early ’90s and quickly gained a cult following.
Commander Keen follows the adventures of an eight-year-old genius named Billy Blaze. When his parents are out, and the babysitter falls asleep, Billy dons his brother’s football helmet and transforms into Commander Keen, defender of Earth. Armed with a raygun and a pogo stick, Keen embarks on intergalactic journeys to thwart various cosmic threats.
What sets Commander Keen apart? For starters, it was one of the first games to bring smooth scrolling graphics to the PC platform, a feature usually reserved for console games at the time. This technical achievement made the game visually appealing and helped it stand out in a market dominated by text-based games and static images.
The game series spanned several episodes, each introducing new levels, enemies, and challenges. From battling green aliens in “Marooned on Mars” to rescuing captured family members in “Keen Must Die,” each episode offered a unique storyline and gameplay elements.
Commander Keen holds a special place in the history of PC gaming. It may not have the graphical prowess or complex narratives of today’s titles, but its innovative approach and charming gameplay have earned it a spot in the annals of gaming history.
Adding this section could offer a well-rounded view of old-school games across different platforms, not just arcade and console. It would resonate with readers who grew up playing PC games and appreciate the nostalgia that Commander Keen brings.
Final Thoughts About Old-School Games
We’ve journeyed through some of the most iconic old-school games that the US has to offer. These classics have not only provided endless hours of entertainment but have also influenced modern gaming in countless ways. Whether you’re a retro game aficionado or a newbie looking to explore, these games offer a timeless experience that’s worth revisiting.