It’s an accepted fact that these days, gaming is as much a part of our entertainment and leisure time as watching a TV show or a movie. Where the latter are concerned, it’s always good to catch the latest new boxset on Netflix or Hollywood release at the local cinema. But at the same time, we all have our favorite classics. Movies or TV shows from across the years tend to transport us back in time and remind us of when they first aired.

Exactly the same principle applies to gaming. As a pastime, it has been around for 40 or so years now, and while the technology has advanced immeasurably over that period, we still have a fondness and nostalgia for the games we played yesteryear. 

Until recently, indulging that nostalgia meant either buying and maintaining an old machine or downloading an emulator onto your PC. Neither option is straightforward, and the bother often outweighed the reward. Today, however, numerous classic games have been ported to Android and iOS, meaning you can relive those bygone years from your smartphone. Here are some of the best. 

Sonic the Hedgehog Classic
SEGA’s spikey mascot has enjoyed something of a renaissance recently, with a movie and even a new game in which he features alongside Mario (of whom, more later). Incredibly, it is almost 30 years since he first appeared in the original Sonic the Hedgehog. The game was often packaged for free with the SEGA Genesis and Mega Drive, so anyone who was playing console games in the early 90s will have taken on Dr Robotnik at some time.

Now is the perfect time to revisit the game and see if you can gather those rings. You can do so for free in this perfect recreation that was optimized for mobile by SEGA themselves. All the classic zones are there, but be warned – conquering them all might turn out to be a lot harder than you remember.  

Kevin Toms Football Manager
Football Manager is one of the most popular sports game series ever. It is also the most long-running, having been around even longer than FIFA. Kevin Toms is the developer who created the original game, way back in 1982 for the Tandy and Sinclair home computers.

Almost 40 years on, Football Manager 2020 is still faithful to the basic premise of that original game, but of course today, it is supported by vast amounts of data, social media feeds and the rest. Toms himself has recreated the original game for iOS and Android, and it is the ultimate nostalgia fix for sports fans, featuring names like Glenn Hoddle, Kevin Keegan and Alvin Martin. 

If you’re a child of the 80s, this neon-lit retro slot game will transport you straight back to evenings spent watching Miami Vice. The game has been developed by Net Entertainment, which is arguably the biggest software developer in the sector and provides hundreds of games for dozens of NetEnt powered casino sites. With this provider you can be sure the game plays as well as it looks. 

The retro cars, neon lighting and big hair perfectly encapsulate the decade that style forgot. But at the same time, the 96.1 percent RTP, respin feature and multi-level bonus game are right up to date and will keep modern day slot gamers more than happy.

Bird Hunt
If you had a Nintendo in the late 80s, you will surely remember Duck Hunt. This simple yet addictive game essentially involved blowing away as many of our feathered friends as possible. If the politically correct sensibilities of the 2020s are getting you down, check out Bird Hunt. 

The game is almost a carbon copy of the original, but recreated for Android by Deltacode Software. It’s free to download, but with one important caveat. The app describes the game as being aimed ‘primarily at children” – so make sure you check your adult self at the door and fully regress to the 1980s before playing! 

Super Mario Run
Of course, no discussion of retro gaming is complete without Mario getting in on the action. There have been so many games and Super Mario spin-off versions in the franchise’s 35 years that nobody can quite agree on the exact number. 

There are also numerous smartphone games that promise the original Mario experience, but the one to choose is Super Mario Run. It was created by Nintendo themselves and is essentially the original Super Mario Bros optimized for mobile. Just be aware that although it is free to download, you will need to pay in order to access some of the game modes. 

And many more
The above are just a few of the retro games you can play on your smartphone today. Other greats include mobile versions of Frogger, Donkey Kong, Paperboy and even Pong. With the current enthusiasm for retro gaming, you can bet there will be plenty more to come.