If you want to play the latest and greatest video games, you need a cutting-edge video games console to play them on. If you want to play the games you enjoyed in your youth, though, you don’t need anything quite so expensive or powerful. Because the way we interact with games has changed, and technology has advanced so much in the past thirty years, many classic titles from the past have been reimagined and re-launched for mobile phones – and they’re just as much fun to play now as they were thirty years ago or more.
The market for mobile games has been growing steadily for the past few years and hit a new high at the end of 2019 as it closed in on the seventy-billion dollar mark. Figures for 2024 aren’t yet available, but it’s safe to assume that it’s crossed that threshold and might even be closing in on eighty. By the middle of this decade, it will be at one hundred billion dollars per year or more, and that’s an excellent financial incentive for video game developers to pull their classics out of the archive and sell them again to new audiences.
The trend for old games to turn up on mobile phones shouldn’t be seen as a cash-grab, though. It’s an excellent way to re-connect with games you thought you’d never get the chance to play again, and in some cases, they’re even improved by being played on phones that are more powerful than the hardware they were originally built for! To give you a taste of what’s out there, here are five legendary games that are currently entertaining people on their smartphones.
Even though it was released more than 25 years ago, you’ll still find people who’ll tell you that the original “NBA JAM” game from 1993 is the greatest basketball game of all time. That’s quite an achievement considering the fact that it almost wasn’t made at all because the NBA didn’t think that development company Midway was taking the sport seriously enough. Rather than trying to change the game to suit the modern era of basketball, the mobile version keeps the same star-studded roster it came with when it was brand new. For older players, this is a way to get back in touch with the game that might have fed your passion for basketball to begin with. For younger players, it’s an immensely enjoyable way of finding out more about the stars of basketball’s past.
Lara Croft doesn’t seem to age. She still stars in new movies and video games today, and yet she looks just as young as she did when she landed on the first incarnation of the PlayStation console in the mid-1990s. If you find the more complicated nature of the newest “Tomb Raider” games a little too much for you to handle, you might appreciate the comparative simplicity of the original, which is now available for iPhones and Android phones alike. It can be a little difficult to manage without a controller, and the collision detection system can be brutal when it comes to the difference between landing a jump and missing it, but once you’ve acquired that skill, it will be just like old times.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
It’s a measure of how far and how fast technology has developed that it’s even possible to play “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” on a mobile phone. Back when it was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004, it pushed the machine’s hardware capacity to its outer limits. Your phone can handle it and deal with all of your incoming notifications at the same time without breaking a virtual sweat. The on-screen controls take a little getting used to, but that’s true of more or less any game that’s been ported from a console to a phone handset. Once you’ve got to grips with it, you’ll be amazed that the whole open world of this classic GTA game fits inside a device in the palm of your hand with no lag and no content cut out. Just make sure you play it with the volume low if you’re in public – it’s still just as offensive as you remember it being.
Crazy Taxi will forever be remembered as the game that almost made the Sega Dreamcast worth buying. Even then, it was a port of a slightly better arcade game, and it wasn’t enough to save Sega from having to bow out of the console wars for good. Happily, the game has survived the loss of its native hardware and re-emerged as one of the most playable driving games available for mobile phones. The premise is the same as it always has been – you pick customers up, and you get them to their destination as quickly as possible. The faster you go, the more you earn. That doesn’t sound like it ought to be enough to keep you hooked, but it’s surprisingly compelling, and it can be addictive once you’ve got started.
Street Fighter II
Capcom’s iconic fighting game “Street Fighter II” has excelled in every format it’s ever been presented in other than the movie it spawned. It’s already been a hit for many years on mobile phones thanks to the official online slots game based on it, which has remained popular at online slots websites like UKSlotGames all over the world for years. While it’s possible to get a measure of the fun of the original game by triggering the bonus feature in the online slots game, it doesn’t provide quite the same level of thrill as playing the game for real on your mobile phone. It can be a little difficult to pull off combinations and special moves, but then it was just as difficult when you had a controller in your hand, so we don’t think that’s anything new! Sure, you could win money playing online slots, but does that really compare to defeating M. Bison with E. Honda on maximum difficulty? We think not!
These five classics we’ve identified here are really just the beginning of the story. Go to your phone’s app or play store and type in the name of your favorite classic game, and you might be pleasantly surprised to find out it’s there waiting for you. The era of mobile gaming is going from strength to strength, so this is the perfect time to jump aboard and join in the fun!