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6 Sites That Help You Scratch Your Retro-Gaming Itch

Bobby Travis

E3 2006 classic video games (8)

Remember the good old days, when games were hard? I mean really frustrating, “throw the controller at the television because there are no save points and I just died — again!!” hard? Most people I know have fond memories of Donkey Kong, Zaxxon, Pac-Man, Centipede, Pitfall, and many, many more. As they should, too, given that retro-games are and retro-gaming is generally awesome!

In light of this, I have investigated several Abandonware and Retro-Gaming sites, tried them out and compiled you a pretty little list of six sites to help you scratch your retro-gaming itch online.


Image by Frosty’s Photos via Flickr

Classic Games Arcade | Play retro video games online 

Classic Games Arcade has plenty of old games from Pac-Man, to Street Fighter 2, to Sonic the Hedgehog. The games are very playable and you can place the games on your MySpace page, blog or website. The copyright issues of that are questionable, though, so use your judgement. Also, as with many sites of this type, many of the games here are flash remakes of the originals — but the detail is fairly consistent in most of the games and the gameplay is decent. All in all a lot of fun! Good for the killing of time.



1980-Games has pretty much everything you can think of from this era — at least off the top of your head. Donkey Kong, KungFu, Double Dragon, Frogger; a really good selection! Did I mention Double Dragon…? They do have a pop-up problem though (easily blocked in FireFox, unless you allow them for some odd reason), and unfortunately, the games are presented in a very tiny box. You can view them in a slightly larger box, but this fuzzes out the quality a bit. Still… I did mention that I played Double Dragon, right??? I’m sure I did…

I miss that game.



Play NES Flash Games is pretty cool for the content you can play. All of the games are done in flash, but they are great versions of some of the best games that NES had to offer. I tried to play Wheel of Fortune and had some loading problems, but I very nearly lost a bunch of sleep to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Good ol’ TMNT!


image has a lot of things going on — games are only one channel. As such, the quantity is a bit lower than most other sites on this list, but there are 49 relatively decent retro-games that include some originals and some flash remakes. Flash remakes or tribute games are often hit or miss with me, but I have to say: I probably played the fastest moving game of Raiden ever on this site. EVER. My heart was in my mouth for the entire 10 seconds it took me to be completely destroyed. What a rush! I always did kind of suck at Raiden, but this was verging on the insane…



If you want a truly classic gaming experience, is about as far back as you can go without getting wacked with a Pong paddle. Raise a hand if you had a Commodore 64 (*ahem* Well I didn’t, I had a ColecoVision! — but I knew someone who did)! This was one of the originators of the PC gaming experience, in a way, and last night I sat in my time machine and played a text-based RPG called Adventure. Entirely text-based. No cluttery images to muck up the experience, just me and a computer and some virtual paper and dice. So very awesome!

There are a lot of Commodore 64 games on this site, and if you feel the need to scratch that retro-gaming itch, this should definitely be on your list.



AtariPLAY doesn’t actually have that many games on the site, but the ones it does have are pretty cool — Centipede, Asteroids, Red Baron, Missle Command, Lunar Lander and 8 more you can play online (and 5 you can download). The main advantages of the Atari site is that most of the games are mouse friendly, and you don’t have to worry about copyright issues coming back to haunt you or the site, because, well… it’s the Atari site. They actually own the games.

It should be mentioned that many of these sites may be infringing on the copyrights of the game publishers by hosting these games for play (for free or profit), or making and/or hosting customized versions of them. Many of them fall under the term Abandonware, which has no legal basis, but is a colloquially coined term that attempts to classify games and other software that the copyrights may be in question on, or no one is actively working to protect. I find it highly unlikely that Nintendo falls under that category, so there is always the question of how long before any of these sites that host Nintendo games hit their radar enough to be served legal notice.

40tech does not support or advocate copyright violations in any way shape or form. However, the sites are there, they are playable and a lot of fun and a good way to kill time – but if you really like them, hit up eBay or Amazon and go and get the system and find the games. They look pretty cool sitting next to your PS3 or Xbox 360! You can also purchase many of them on online stores for Nintendo Wii and the like, often with extra features and graphical enhancements. Check them out! They’re cheap!


What’s your favourite retro-game? Know any other great sites for classic gaming? Let us know in the comments! (Keep away from downloadable games though. Spare your neighbour a potential fine for infringement, yes?)


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