There are several things that get better with age, like single-malt scotch or a cast-iron skillet; and while I may enjoy both of those things, my gaming sensibilities have not necessarily evolved as much. An appreciation for all things 8-bit comes with time (and by that I mean you came from a time when there were no other options and such things were considered to be ‘cutting edge’).
So what retro-gaming-gems exist out there for iPad? There are plenty of options of course, but take a good look at a few of my favorites:
1. Pac Man ($4.99) – I am virtually certain that it doesn’t get any more classic than Pac-Man. Load up this game and start chompin’ on some dots and dodging pesky ghosts in each of Original, Normal or Easy Modes. If you want the rue retro feel, run the game in Directional Pad mode and use the controls like you are used to (kind of, anyway) or try your hand at updated Accelerometer Mode (tilt and twist your way around the mazes) or Swipe Mode (my new favorite, where your finger guides the way with a swipe).
2. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 ($4.99) – This one may only barely count as retro, because the graphics have been updated to HD and the visuals are pretty amazing. With that said, if you yelled out ‘FINISH HIM’ the second you read ‘Mortal Kombat’, you have earned my undying respect (though I would happily take you on as one of the 23 warriors in one of the 16 arenas). Anybody who tries to say that it doesn’t take brains to play video games has clearly never tried to remember the crazy button sequences required to execute this game’s epic fatalities and humiliating babalities!
3. Doom ($4.99) – With all due respect to Master Chief, before there was Halo… there was Doom. If you are friend to the first-person-shooter, this title is legendary (and epic and amazing and and and). The interface is updated to work with a touch screen but you can still play the original three episodes (plus an episode four) while reliving your glory days as a space marine stationed on the planet Mars.
4. The Oregon Trail: American Settler (Free) – I am not sure that young people nowadays can fully appreciate how stressful it was to experience and manage a dysentery outbreak as you traveled along the Oregon Trail. While technically this title is a continuation of the original storyline, the app contains all of the feel that the original had… just kicked up a few notches. A lot of the features from the original game were maintained, letting you tend to the happiness (and health) of your people.
5. Sim City Deluxe ($6.99) – I think enough time has passed that I can admit to having missed more than one university class because I was glued to Sim City… those fire stations and commercial areas weren’t going to build themselves (and to this day I can’t drive by a park without thinking to myself ‘oh! parks make people in surrounding areas happier!’). The most addictive and engaging of all the Sim games (mark my words), Sim City is a classic that was born to be played on a touch screen.