More and more graphically beautiful and/or technically impressive video games are being developed month after month, and the video game business has never seen a reception quite like what it is seeing right now. There was a time when video games were considered kid stuff. Nowadays, they have become major players in the entertainment industry, with some games having production costs higher than most films; and narrative content as compelling as the next summer movie blockbuster (no Citizen Kane yet for the gaming world, though, but we’re getting there). Indeed, video games have grown up, and gamers have grown up along with them.
The generation familiar with 80s-90s video games – when these games first became the international phenomena that they are now – find themselves going back to these games that defined their childhoods: Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter II, and other gaming classics. Aptly called “retrogaming,” this trend has been in an upswing for quite a few years now, since video game emulators arrived on the scene. While technically bordering on piracy, it is emulators, nevertheless that showed there was still an audience for old games (and a rather big one, at that); and it is also emulators that provided the technical groundwork for current gaming systems to be backwards-compatible (that is, able to play games meant for older machines).
Because of the proliferation of smartphones today, it was only a matter of time before retrogaming apps found their way to the iPhone. Before you go and sell your iPhone 4S to make way for the iPhone 5, here are fifteen classic games that could extend the lifespan of your current smartphone for just a little while longer.
1. Final Fantasy (NES, 1987)
Before becoming the face of JRPGs (at least, here on American shores) with Final Fantasy VII on the first PlayStation, the Final Fantasy franchise saw its humble beginnings on the Famicom (known to us as the NES) way back in 1987. The first FF was supposed to be the last game to be produced by a then-flailing Square; hence the word “Final.” Little did the company know that this supposed final game would eventually become its flagship franchise.
The version of Final Fantasy available for the iPhone is a port of the 20th Anniversary Edition that first came out on the PSP back in 2007. This version features redrawn high-res 2D graphics, FMV cutscenes, a revamped soundtrack, and new dungeons.
2. Street Fighter II Collection (arcade, 1991)
Hadouken! Seriously, if you don’t know what Street Fighter II is, then you shouldn’t even be reading this article. While not the first one-on-one fighting game ever, it is the template upon which every subsequent 2D fighter has been based. Back in the 90s when arcades were still arcades (i.e. none of those rhythm games so ubiquitous nowadays), you couldn’t walk into one without seeing at least two SF II machines, usually surrounded by eager teens all awaiting their turn at the game.
The iPhone release of SF II is a collection of three iterations of the game: The original Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, the Champion Edition which allowed you to take control of the four boss characters, and Hyper Fighting which increased the speed and added more special moves. Certain character balancing and gameplay tweaks also differentiate each version, although these will only be apparent to the most ardent fan.
3. R-Type (arcade, 1987)
To some people, any one shmup (short for “shoot ‘em up”) is no different from another. More often than not – and barring the occasional weird Japanese softporn mishmash variety (*cough*Cho Aniki*cough*) – this game genre features futuristic space ships flying through side-scrolling and/or vertical-scrolling environments, with the ships’ weapons becoming more powerful the more power ups players collect. While I won’t dispute this notion, I will say that, as with everything, there always is a beginning. In this case, the weapon power ups concept originated with the first R-Type. Since then, weapon power ups have become a mainstay of not just the franchise, but the genre as a whole.
This original R-Type is available for the iPhone in all its arcade-prefect glory. Hang on your horses, kids! We’re posting more in the next article!
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