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Games that are worth playing - despite being perhaps somewhat antiquated.

Having an interest in the development of games and the games industry, this is a list of games that I think are important to play if you are interested in the historyof video games. 
* An interesting note - I have personally played every game on this list for a significant amount of time or completed it.  Even Pong - in that case using a Tandy TV Scoreboard! 

List items

  • This is really as close to the original video game, 'Tennis for Two' that you are likely to be able to play. It's simple, there's no AI but it's the grandfather of modern video games.

  • platform games didn't really start here - but this game was revolutionary. Interestingly one feature which this game pioneered but is taken for granted now - is the addition of background music in a spectrum game. Thought to be impossible at the time, Matthew Smith basically made the processor switch from driving the game to playing the tune each cycle of the processoer - which is why you have the slightly warbly, tone in the music.

  • This was a step forwards from Manic Miner, more than a sequel it had more of Sandbox feel to it - rather than linearly completing level after level, you were free to explore the mansion and collect the items in any order you chose. Except of course - due to a rushed release and possibly over-ambitious game in the time span, bugs meant you couldn't complete the game without pokes...

  • For anyone who want to play Dungeons and Dragons in 1988 but lacked geeky friends, this was as close as you could get. Six characters, a wealth of spells, classes and races... And some incredibly difficult to navigate dungeons with spinners, anti-magic fields and teleporters... And you had one hell of a frustrating, and fortunately good, game.

  • Probably the game which made the NES, every incarnation of these games was better and ground-breaking. A simple mechanic, jump - avoid, throw fireballs, get to the end of the level... But with nice graphics for the time, and excellent level design - made this one you can go back to even now. Arguably the 2D games are more playable than the modern 3D variants available from the N64 onwards.

  • Featured in the film 'The Wizard' this was as revolutionary to Super Mario as Super was to Mario. More power-ups, less linear gameplay and fantastic overall game design made this by far the best platformer of the time and game that is playable today.

  • Some people prefer Mario 3 to World, personally I think World has the edge, it's so easy to play, but difficult to master... The levels, graphics and music were truly awsome for the time, and the Secret Star World Levels provided a challenge for the most seasoned Mario Players. Trying to find all 96 levels was a definite challenge!

  • The earlier NES games were good enough, but with the advent of 16-bit gaming, this Zelda game took the genre to a new level. Still atmospheric and interesting to play today, completing the game in entirety is a major challenge, but an enjoyable one. If you've never played this - you should at least play the opening sequence, the escape form the castle. It's a really atmospheric, well polished sequence which is continued thoughout the game. A must play - for the people just love exploring game worlds.

  • Most people won't have played this, you can only 'be' Ken or Ryu who have the same moves, but it was a major milestone. The first game to use command attacks - or special moves to the layman (Fireball, Dragon Punch etc.) This game redefined 1 vs 1 beat em' ups.

  • This was the predecessor to iD's more famous, Doom. It is arguably the father of modern FPS shooters, not being the first but probably being the one to popularize the genre. Released as shareware and as episodes it used a clever technique to make an essentially 2D game appear as 3D - a technique further expanded in Doom. It harboured some controversy with it's use of blocky pixelated blood and Nazi Swastika signs - hardly surprising considering it's a world war 2 game versus the Nazi's - Duh! Well, it was removed from circulation in Germany for this reason.

  • Fantastic sports game, fast, fun and very playable.

  • This shooter played brilliantly and had the most awe inspiring power ups of it's day - 'super nashwan power' had to be seen to be believed.

  • A great, really addictive side-scroll shooter that was VERY difficult. Amusingly on old crackly arcade machines, when it says 'You need some practice' it sounds like, 'You are crap'...

  • Great side scrolling platform shooter - really explorable levels and innovative features. Worth playing even now.

  • Mould breaking side scroll beat em' up, great fun with a friend.

  • This game was all about the boss fights - brilliant fun, then at the end you had to fight them all again in one level before the final boss!

  • Excellent fantasy themed side scrolling fighting game - call it a 'chop em' up' if you like. With magic and ride-able creatures you could play this one again and again.

  • Better than Golden axe, prettier graphics, more characters to choise from, with a real choice of melee vs ranged - and upgradeable weapons and shields and levels.

  • Similar to King of Dragons with a D & D Feel - if you play it - fight hte REd Dragon, it's a hilariously difficult boss - fight.

  • Great beat em up. Fun bosses!

  • Tough to beatt side scrolling 'ninja em' up' with throwing stars nunchucks swords and fantastic bosses - afun bonus game between levels where you have to throw stars at little ninjas too!

  • Tricky to get to grips with ppatform shooter but very innovative and fun.

  • Probably one of the best blendings of side-scrolling chop em' up and RPG that there has been - find money, buy upgrades - fight bosses and some of the leves adre really well designed.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog was Sega's answer to Mario. In some ways a less interesting character - he had less moves and there wasn't as much variation in level design as the likes of Mario 3 and Mario World. Sonic was still a great character and Sonic 1 is still playable today, he had certain things Mario DIDN'T have - you had to marvel at his speed and ability to run around 'loop the loops'

  • This is one of my favourite RPG's of all time. It's an action RPG like Zelda - but with more depth and three player multiplayer. It's still as enjoyable today as it was upon release. Good graphics for the day, decent sound, atmospheric music and an interesting story all combined to make this thoroughly playable.

  • I refer to this as the whole series, Baldurs Gate 1, the expansion 'Tales of the Sword Coast' 2, and the finale 'Throne of Bhaal'. I took a character from level 1 right up to the end of Baldurs gate 2. It took years, but what a journey! The character, the game mechanics, the translation of D & D rules to a screen... It truly is an awesome experience. It is very tricky at times too, but worth persevering with.

  • Dark Forces was an awsome FPS, but Jedi Knight took it to a whole new level. The lightsabre duels, the environments, there is one in particular where you are in a ship that is falling out of the sky, and you have to navigate it while everything is at the wrong angle... Brilliant.

  • The lightsabre combat in Jedi Knight was good, but Outcast took it to another level. The main character Kyle Katarn fits into the Starwars Universe seemlessly and this is another fantastic game.

  • Award winning game of it's day - still playable today/ Forget the graphics and sound and focus on the game-play. Even non-skating fans will love this game, fantastic split screen action and hours of fun for anyone.

  • This is a lot lke Pro Kater 2 - but this brought an entire new dimension, you could now link any type of trick to gether with a new trick that allowed you to land on a half-pipe in a manual... Silly, silly trick score could be had using thistechnique. All the good of Pro Sktaer 2 with more icing on top!

  • This less played title was a fantastic RTS strategy game - that eventually gave birth to the most popular MMORPG of all time. The only thing that spoiled Warcraft 1 was the ridiculous balance shifting super units available at the top of the development tree - the elementals for humans and demons for Orcs.

  • This took all the great points of Warcraft 1, dropped the silliness of elementals and demons and created air and sea units. If you could get it to run on Vista or windows 7this would be worth playing now. The level of sophistication of strategy that is available is greater than 'Battle for Middle Earth'.

  • This RTS strategy game was great, really genre defining.

  • This was a major improvement on the first in the series, the only criticism being some of dodgy tactics available to players - such as rushing out air fields, then using spy planes and Mig's to destroy the enemy base before they even see you - still very playable.

  • Probably the father of modern RTS games. Not the first game, but the first to use the mouse to select and control your units - creating a great fluidity of control. Playable now - if a little clunky - but the format Dune 2 set has been followed for decades - Whatever modern RTS you are playing probably stems from Dune 2.

  • I'm referring to the series here. Personally not great games for me - the whole use fish with stock on door thing always got me frustrated. It was still a great leap forwards from the earlier text adventures - and developers were able to use graphics to introduce humour into the genre. My highlight of the Series? Kings Quest 3 : To heir is Human, that had some really funny moments and the mechanic of having to wait for the wizard to go out os you can sneak into his lab and make spells...

  • This series took the humour in point and click to another level, the idea for the sword fighting mechanic was really good fun too. Still an annoying point and click - but important for the genre adn great games in their own right.

  • With the use of graphics to illustrate what was happening and the fantastic story to follow, the spectrum version of 'The Hobbit' was very playable, despite being a text adventure which involved spending a lot of time typing in 'go north' and such like.

  • I'm talking about the Spectrum text adventure here - a very sophisticated game. You could control any hobbit members of the fellowship - meaning if you chose Merry you started in a seperate place. Good use of graphics and the fact that this was a well designed text adventure make it important - not just it's sheer size.

  • The original space trading game. In some respects very flat - there was no story or plot as such. But the upgradability of your ship, the clever trading and piracy routes you could go down - this was in some respects a father of the sandbox game.

  • Pac Man was actually created to do something which developers are still trying to do now. Originally called 'Puk Man' in Japan - it was changed to Pac for the US to avoid the unfortunate rhyme with a swear word. It was designed to be a 'non fly space ship - shoot aliens' game that might appeal to... *gulp* girls and - casual gamers.... Funny how things don't change. It has an interesting secret level - level 256, which exists because the memory allocation for level number is only two hexidecimal bits - going up to FF or 255.

  • Shadow of th4e beast was a classic Psygnosis Amiga ttle. Praised at the time for it's stunning graphcs, but criticized for it's insane difficulty and no continues. This was made worse on the North American Genesis port by programming errors leavng the game running faster than ntended due to refresh ratres. t had a fantastic muscal score too... However, it was very , very difficult - and amusing at times.... Recall one screen where protagonist is supposed to fight a giant, and the giant is so big it's foot fills the screen, and you beat hhm by punching him on the big toe! Hilarous!

  • KKND was one of the most underrated RTS games I've played. It played most similarly to Red Alert Probably, but the hilarious FMV and tongue in cheek humour, coupled with slick smooth gameplay that feels fresh today - made this an utterly brilliant game.