Where would we be without our trusty smartphones, eh? These little devices that we carry about everywhere with us have begun to rule our lives and offer us every little service that we could possibly want. There are apps to do everything you could possibly want, including weather apps, banking apps, language apps, chess apps, real money gambling apps and even apps to record where in the world you go to the bathroom. Literally everything you could possibly want to do will have an app for it.

So it goes without saying that people who enjoy retro subjects should have plenty of apps to help them relive their memories. Here are a few of the best ones that I’ve come across so far. I believe the majority of them are available on both Android and iOS.

SEGA classics
There are loads of SEGA classic games available as their own standalone apps, without the need for downloading separate emulator apps. Well done SEGA for making these available.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Golden Axe
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Crazy Taxi
  • Altered Beast
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Revenge of Shinobi
  • Phantasy Star
  • and several more

Arcade Sidekick

This app is a great little arcade scoreboard app. I think it only launched in 2019 and I believe it’s made in the UK. It has a great little community of people using it that are involved in the UK VAC website, and who listen to the Ten Pence Arcade podcast. The UK arcade community really is very cool, and this app is great for posting your arcade high scores and comparing them with other people in the community. They keep updating the app regularly and adding more and more games to it every month.

Nintendo Game & Watch
Who didn’t love playing on their Nintendo Game & Watches back in the day. There are a few Game & Watch apps out there for us all to enjoy. To be totally honest I’m not sure how official they are. Possibly not at all, as there are a few that are made by different companies. The first one I got was Fireman but there are also versions of Parachute and Octopus and possibly more. The games are so simple that they perfectly suit being emulated on phones. Sometimes retrogaming is hard to do well on touchscreens, where you don’t have the tactility of having physical buttons or joysticks, but the Game & Watch interface is so simple that it works very well here. These apps are possibly Android only. Just search for Game & Watch and you’ll find them.

Toy Collector: Archive Catalog

This is a great app for cataloguing your retro toy collection. I first got this when it only had a few standards such as GI Joe and Masters of the Universe but it now includes dozens if not hundreds of other toylines including Battle Beasts, Bravestarr, Captain Planet, Centurions, Garbage Pail Kids, M.A.S.K., Street Fighter, TMNT, The A-Team, Transfomers, Visionaries and many more.

Comic Readers
Comics may not be retro per se, but they were certainly a hotter commodity in the 80s than they are now. But whether you are reading new comics or old comics there are several great apps out there. The daddy of them all is probably Comixology, but there are also great apps for each of the main publishers including Marvel, DC, Image and Dark Horse. If you’re just reading CBZ files then some apps I have used are ComicRack, Komik, Perfect Viewer, ACV and Comic Viewer.

Asterix & Friends
Asterix was a comic book that I absolutely loved back when I was a kid and my son has just started to read them. There is an Asterix game app which is pretty cool, if nothing else just to watch the animations and look at the graphics. Well worth a look if you’re a fan of the books.

Fighting Fantasy

I used to get totally immersed in the Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf game books back in the 80s. Fighting Fantasy Classics is a great app which allows you to download some of the original Fighting Fantasy books and play them on your phone, with electronic dice and even bookmark options that act like how you used to use your fingers to keep places in the book!

Retro emulators
There are loads of other retro game emulators to emulate pretty much every old gaming system. They probably change regularly but some I have used before on Android include…

  • Mame and All (arcade games)
  • Marvin (ZX Spectrum)
  • Frodo C64 (Commodore 64)
  • SToid (Atari ST)
  • UAE4Droid (Amiga)
  • aLynx Free (Atari Lynx)
  • MobileBoy (GameBoy)
  • GENPLUSDroid (Sega MegaDrive/Genesis)

Classic Calculator
And who can resist typing in 5318008 into a retro calculator and turning it upside down? Childish I know. But we were children in the 80s after all.