I first started playing video games as a kid in the late 1980’s. Over the years I have played many different video games but in this list I am going to give you my top 5 classic retro video games from the SNES and Genesis time period. This is a personal subjective list however and is not meant to represent the best games of the time period. I will list each game and write a bit about why that game was so special to me.
1. Final Fantasy III (SNES)
This is the video game that taught me what a Role Playing Game is all about. Final Fantasy III (Also known as Final Fantasy VI) had an incredible story line, amazing music, and a game that you could easily spend 60+ hours playing and not get bored of. Final Fantasy III would draw you in like a great novel. It was a game very much ahead of its time and a legendary title among video game players worldwide. If you have not yet played this game, I highly recommend going back and playing it today. Hopefully Square Enix will release a high definition remake for it one day.
2. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
Once I had learned to love Role Playing Games by playing Final Fantasy III, a very special game was released called Chrono Trigger. This game told of an epic story about a boy named Crono who travels through time on an amazing adventure. He meets interesting characters from different time periods, including a talking frog. The game was produced by Square Soft, the same company which produced Final Fantasy III. The music in Chrono Trigger is some of the most memorable video game music of all time. I’ll never forget my first time playing Chrono Trigger. I had rented a copy of the game from a local video store and was so amazed within the first few hours of playing that I knew it was a game I would need to own as soon as possible. I knew right away that the game was something special and I was right. Chrono Trigger’s legacy has lived on for decades.
3. Super Mario 3 (Nintendo)
This is an ultra classic game that almost everyone knows about and loves. Super Mario 3 featured groundbreaking game play and level design that is still highly playable to this day. I used to read copies of a magazine called “Nintendo Power” in order to get tips for playing Super Mario 3. This game was so popular that it was even in Hollywood movies. There was a movie that came out in 1990 called “The Wizard”. It featured Fred Savage from television show “The Wonder Years”. At one point in the movie there is a video game tournament and they play the game Super Mario 3. The game was a highly popular cultural phenomenon in the late 80’s.
4. Shadowrun (Genesis)
While many people may not have played this game, it is one of my all time favorites. Shadowrun for SEGA Genesis was an incredible game and I’ll explain why. This game was interesting to me as a kid because it was rated MA-13, intended for more mature audiences than a regular video game. It was a essentially a cyberpunk role playing game. Unlike other games I had been playing at the time like Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario, this game featured mature themes, futuristic worlds, hackers, corporations, and the whole game was simply mind blowing to myself as a youth. I still enjoy Shadowrun to this day and recently downloaded a Shadowrun audio book on audible. There are many books published under the Shadowrun name as well. You might want to look into the franchise if you’re into cyberpunk.
5. Shining Force II (Genesis)
This is another game you may not have heard of or played before. It is not as well known as the previous titles I have mentioned but I wanted to include it because I really like the game. Shining Force II had a very interesting game play style. It was a standard role playing game in terms of having a fantasy story and a lot of interesting characters. However, the battle system was unique and different from other games I was used to. The game featured a strategic, turn based battle system where you would carefully move your characters across a large map to engage with enemies. Almost like game of chess with RPG battle elements. The game had an amazing cast of characters and is a personal hidden gem for me among classic role playing games.
Keep Playing Retro Games
I hope you enjoyed reading my personal list of my top 5 classic retro video games. I could write for hours about all the different retro games I have played and enjoyed over the years. Perhaps I will write another article in the future about some of the other classic video games I enjoy playing. Let me know in the comments your list of top 5 retro video games!
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©2020 Richard Gillespie