Now that the era of Pokémon Go has come – and gone – we’ve got a retro gaming itch to scratch. Happily, there are tons of ways to play our 80s and 90s favourites on our smartphones. Some of these games (hello, Mario!) have never looked better.

Whether you like to play the odd round of Candy Crush Saga on your morning commute or were one of the millions across the world who spent last summer flinging yourself into random pubs in search of Pokémon, mobile gaming is big news.

Exciting and experimental, it seems there’s no end to the inventions gamers are putting into the palms of our hands to entertain us (and ensure we’re never bored in a queue again). We particularly love mobile games with real endings.

Which isn’t to say gaming creators aren’t taking some mega-inspiration from the past when it comes to designing addictive and appealing games.

In fact, you could argue that it’s all about a passion for all things retro in the smartphone gaming world lately. First, there was Pokémon. A few months later, the breakout hit of December 2016 was none other than Nintendo’s reincarnation of our favourite Italian plumber, Mario, in the record-breaking release, Super Mario Run.

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The game was downloaded over 40 million times the first four days after it was released in mid-December on Apple’s App Store. 40 million! All those whopping downloads have made it the fastest game to reach that milestone in app-store history.

In the spirit of all games retro, here are some of our favourite blast-from-the-past games you can play anytime, anywhere, in 2017.


Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom, Apple and Google Play 

Pros: Die-hard fans of the electric blue hedgehog are starting to manically download the newest Sonic game, Sonic Mania, which launched this month. The rest of us are busy racing through the never-ending 3D levels and collecting rings (while avoiding Dr. Eggman-controlled enemies and mines) can keep you gaming for like, the next decade. Plus, it’s free.

Cons: Nope, just more pros. There are no less than 12 Sonic-themed games available to play on mobile now, so you’re sure to find a Sonic that suits you.

OK, we did think of one con: that blue hedgehog turned 25 in 2016. Which means if you played the original back in the early-1990s, you’re officially getting old. Ugh.


Tetris Blitz, Apple and Google Play 

Pros: Free version of the time-honoured falling blocks game to bring some of that Game Boy nostalgia back to your fingers.

Cons: If you don’t believe in messing with a classic, then you might not appreciate some of the newer features this game offers: super-fast, two-minute rounds of play and lightning and cascade effects. Think original Tetris on a rave.



Snake Rewind, Apple and Google Play 

Pros: A must for anyone who’s ever spent 14,327,589 hours playing this game ALL THE TIME on their Nokia back in the day. Which is like, all of us? And, it’s also free. The game’s been updated so you now tap and swipe, because, well… phones don’t have buttons anymore.


Downloading an app isn’t the only way to get your retro games fix these days

Fun fact: Google Chrome has a couple of hidden games you can access via your laptop, including cult-classic Pac-Man and Atari’s Breakout.

So, if you want to play block-breaking Breakout – which originally made its debut back in 1976 – then open up Google Chrome, type ‘Atari Breakout’ into the Image search window, et voilà.  Simply use your mouse as a controller.

It’s just as straightforward to get your fix of that classic and beloved arcade game, Pac-Man: type ‘Pac-Man’ into Google and start gobbling up dots and avoiding ghosts using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

If social gaming is more your thing and you want to play against friends, then Facebook has a secret treasure trove of games available via the Facebook Messenger App, which includes retro gems like Pac-Man and Space Invaders.

To launch, click on the ‘+’ sign in any conversation and select the Games icon. Choose a game to load in the chat window, and whoever you’re chatting with will be challenged to beat your high score.

Sore winners (and losers) can also gleefully doodle over a screenshot of the leaderboard, while you may be able to keep embarrassingly low scores under wraps – they’re only shared with the messenger groups you’re playing with.

Also, we’ll leave you on this note. Gaming obsessives can turn their phone into a retro Game Boy console with this kit. We’ll just add that to next year’s Christmas list then, shall we?


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Main pic: Pexels via Mike