Editor’s note: For a newer, updated version of this post, check it out here.
Quick, what’s your most favorite from your schooling days? Tetris, Pac-Man, Space Invaders? We just love these old-school games as they bring back sweet childhood memories that stick for life. Back then, to play these games, we’d have to lug a bag of coins to the arcade and wait for our turn to take a shot at setting a new record. Some of us get to play in the comforts of home via home video consoles that preceded today’s PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.
Nowadays, we play games on our smartphones when we’re bored or when waiting in line for our coffee or at the train station for the next train. Others may play to bond with friends or family. And getting that game is as easy as visiting a virtual app store and clicking ‘Download’. If you want to bring back the memories, here is a list of 20 remakes of old-school games for the iPhone.
Time for a flashback. Destination: your childhood!
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Back in the day, this game was called ‘1941’, where you play a fighter pilot who manoeuvre your plane around enemy fire and shoot their planes down. Nothing has changed in this one; its gameplay and game design look pretty much the same.
You control the plane by moving your finger around the screen collecting powerups that make you shoot more bullets or increase your rate of fire. [Free]
The gameplay is based off Atari’s original ‘Breakout’, released in the mid-70s. The iPhone version has improved graphics and colors, and more walls to break. You control the ‘paddle’ by moving your finger left and right.
This would be a little more interesting than the original game Pong as you have an objective of breaking the bricks, as well as different levels to complete. [Free]
Someone looking for a challenge, you’re sure to remember playing Frogger; a game where you need a lot of patience, a fast reaction time to dodge cars and perfect timing to reach the other side safely. You control the frog by swiping up, down, left, right on the screen. Some rounds can be easier than others, but rest assured, patience and skill will get you across safely. [Free]
Missile Command is familiar to many people. To get this game you have to download ‘Atari’s Greatest Hits’ and you’ll be able to play Missile Command for free. Although there are many other classic arcade games to play, they require in app purchase. You use a joystick to control the on-screen cursor with one thumb, and have 3 buttons to shoot down incoming missiles. [Free]
Another simple game that will bring back memories. Let’s pop some bubbles! On the iPhone version, you swipe left and right to aim the arrow and swipe up to shoot. Shoot the colored bubbles in clumps of three or more to clear them off the screen. Any bubbles below the point of contact will fall and you win by clearing all the bubbles. The game is over if a bubble reaches the bottom of your screen. [Free]
The gameplay and graphics of this game is based on Atari’s ‘Battlezone’ released in 1980, with an added twist. Instead of 3 tank lives, you get a health bar. You control the tank with two joysticks which control the tank’s tracks. It is an interesting and fun way to control the tank. You can also pick up power-ups and health points. [Free]
A simple game where you pilot a helicopter. Place your finger down on the screen to make the helicopter fly up; releasing your finger makes the helicopter descend towards the floor. The idea is to dodge oncoming obstacles and not fly too high or too low as hitting the roof or floor means the game is over. A tip is to not hold your finger down for too long but rather tap the screen to steady the helicopter. [Free]
The iconic game of Nokia phones everywhere. Now available on the iPhone too! best of all, ‘Snake’ on the iPhone comes complete with the looks of the old phone minus the touch of the rubber keypads. This game is simple and fast paced, and it’ll give you a rush of adrenalin or leave you frustrated. Either way, you’re bound to keep playing to make the longest snake. [Free]
This game takes you all the way back to the 70’s. Swipe your fingers up and down to control the paddle, and do not let the ball cross past your the edge of your side of the screen. Some use the walls as bouncing the ball off the walls makes it hard to return it. However, you’re playing against an A.I., so bouncing the ball off the wall might work for your enemy rather than against. [Free]
An RPG made by the same developers of Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger charts your time-travel adventures as you try to save your planet. You navigate the map with a joystick and like most RPG it uses a turn-based battle system. However, you have to use the on-screen joystick to control the cursor during battle as you cannot just tap on enemies, which can be a little challenging. [$9.99]
The Mortal Kombat series was popular in its time. Like most fighting games on the iPhone, this has a joystick on the left and action buttons on the right. You’re able to play all the characters from the original game and although the controls need some getting used to, it is still awesome to execute and watch the finishing moves. [$0.99]
Similar to the original, Mega Man X has directional controls and two action buttons; one to shoot, another to jump. You can hold down the shoot button to charge your shot, releasing powerful ammo when fully charged. There are many different weapon types and an array of levels with different robot enemies and bosses at each ending. [$4.99]
Doom was one of the pioneering games in multiplayer shooters of the 3D realm. For the iPhone version of the game, you don’t do as much aiming as the original; which is good as aiming on the iPhone is not easy. You do however control your character as you run about the map picking up bullets, health and armour; and of course, killing enemies who cross your path. [$4.99]
A survival game where you control a tank in a maze where some walls can be destroyed. You move the tank with the onscreen directional pad and have another button to shoot. You’ll have to destroy a set number of tanks each round, as you collect points or power-ups from each destroyed tank. Definitely a classic game familiar to many. [$0.99]
The gameplay has graphics like the old racing games but you now tilt your phone to steer your way through the race course. Holding down on screen buttons accelerates or brakes the car. Win races to earn money, and upgrade your car. To top up the experience the game comes with 8-bit sound effects to complete that classic arcade game feel. [$0.99]
Place bombs in strategic areas to blast through destructible walls and kill enemies who are out there to get you. The game goes on as long as you don’t get yourself trapped in a corner, for only doom awaits you there.
Each round only takes a minute or two to complete but that doesn’t mean it can’t give you hours of fun. [$4.99]
Metal Slug 3 is a slide-scrolling shooter game that many would have enjoyed playing. Survive waves of monsters by killing them with your gun. As you go through each level, you’ll be able to get power-ups, powerful weaponry, and points when you save people, pretty much just like the original that hit the stands 10 years ago. [$3.99]
Smartphones have the limitation of not having physical buttons which controllers do, which is why the controls on this game is not the greatest. You control your character with a slider to move left or right and 3 other buttons to climb, jump and pick up objects. You’ll have to navigate your way out as you run into obstacles (and guards) to win the game. [$1.99]
Space Invaders is another classic games, where players move their spaceship left and right to shoot at the invaders, while dodging their bullets. No use hiding behind those barriers as they will quickly disappear as the enemy descends closer to you, one row at a time. You might not be playing it on an arcade machine, but the 8-bit look and sound offers a brief flashback to a time when you were. [$4.99]
I’m sure this game needs no intro. Those never ending ‘Pew Pew Pew’ sound effects of Asteroids are a real pleasure to the ears. Gliding around in space, shooting or dodging asteroids flying towards you is what this game is about. It’s not the easiest of games, especially with your fingers covering up 30% of the screen. But that doesn’t matter, we’re just in it for the fun. [$0.99]
What are your favorite childhood arcade games? Share your favorite game remakes of your childhood games.