As a year comes to a close, I once again look back instead of forward … and not even just to the last year. Well, kind of.
I’m celebrating my favorite retro games and events of 2019. These include compilations, remasters, ports, and even knew games inspired by the classics.
So if you’re not ready to let go of 2019 … or even the 1990s … give some of these a look.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
This is maybe the most fun I had with any game this year. Tales of Vesperia is an action-based role-playing game that originally came out for the Xbox 360 back in 2008. The Definitive Edition brought it to modern platforms, including the Switch. That’s where I played it, and I couldn’t believe I missed this fantastic Japanese RPG the first time around. It’s charming cast, intricate combat, and tight plot have made it one of my new all time favorites.
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King
This collection includes the Genesis version of Aladdin and the SNES version of The Lion King. These are two of the best Disney-based games from the 16-bit era, and this package from Digital Eclipse has some great extras, including a sort of director’s cut version of Aladdin that includes some changes and new content.
Sega Genesis Mini
Micro-consoles haven’t had a giant hit since the SNES Classic came out 2017. While the Genesis Mini hasn’t set the sales world on fire like Nintendo’s miniature machines, it’s quality is outstanding. The console’s collection of 42 built-in games includes expected classics like Sonic the Hedgehog and Ecco the Dolphin, but you also have rare treasures like Mega Man: The Wily Wars and third-party hits like Castlevania: Bloodlines and Contra: Hard Corps.
SNES games on Switch
Nintendo has been offering a library of NES games as part of its Nintendo Switch Online subscription service since it launched in 2018. Since then, we were all wondering when SNES games would be coming. Well, our wish came true in September, and we can now play some of the greatest games of all time — including Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Super Mario World — on the go or on the big screen with Nintendo’s newest console.
Crossniq+ is an indie puzzle game that takes its aesthetic inspiration from the sort of modern-futuristic look that was popular around 2000. For gamers, it’s an aesthetic we most associate with the Dreamcast. We see a ton of games inspired by 8-bit or 16-bit styles, so it rules to see a title take its cues from Sega’s final console.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
One of the greatest real-time strategy games of all time is now available in 4K. I admit, I’m not the biggest RTS guy in the world, but even I have a soft spot for Age of Empires II. There’s just something so relaxing about building my medieval town … until some jerk comes in and destroys it all.
World of Warcraft Classic
World of Warcraft has getting continuous updates and expansions since it launch in 2004, but World of Warcraft Classic take us back to how the MMO was in its earlier days. This experience is more about exploration and working together with friends, and the leveling experience is more challenging (and fun) than what the modern version of WoW offers. I spent over 200 hours getting my character to the max level of 60, and I don’t consider a single second of that to be wasted time.