All the ’80s games that your childhood computer could barely run will play great on your iPhone.
Nostalgia is a double-edged sword. Sometimes revisiting the games of our youths reveals how lackluster they they were; other times, those titles feel just as good, if not better, than they did back in our halcyon days. Will this collection of iOS games, ported from 1980s fare we all knew and loved, hold up upon replay? Let’s pop open the time capsule and find out.
1. Space Invaders
Using the joystick in this port feels a little sticky, but then again, playing on an actual Space Invaders cabinet tended to feel pretty sticky, too. Nostalgia goggles allow me to cut this version a lot of slack, especially since it features the original graphics, but you might prefer a different Space Invaders-inspired game from this era, such as Galaga or Defender, which also have iOS ports.
- $4.99 – Order now
Tetris needs no introduction nor explanation: Its timeless charm, clean design, and unforgettable music make it a must-own for both newbies and nostalgia-fueled fans. If you’ve never bothered to download the iPhone port, make haste—it’s excellent. The implementation of touch controls does change the look and feel of the game a bit, as falling blocks must be tapped into place rather than guided via joystick; once you get used to the new format, however, you’ll be stacking as fast as you did in the old days.
- $0.99 – Order now
3. Sid Meier’s Pirates
Technically, this iOS port is a reproduction of the 2004 re-release of the original 1987 adventure game; in part, that’s why it looks a bit slicker than some of these other ’80s-era titles. You’d think sword-fighting and gold-plundering would be the hardest part of a pirate’s life, but it turns out that learning dance steps is the real challenge—at least in this game.
- $2.99 – Order now
4. Dragon’s Lair
At last, you can see all of Don Bluth’s glorious animations without having to pump quarter after quarter into an unforgiving arcade cabinet. This game and (its sequels](https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/dragons-lair-llc/id314133591?at=10l3Vy&ct=d_im) are probably to blame for current-day quick-time events; it plays out like a DVD menu screen interspersed with occasional action set-pieces. All the same, that old-timey Bluth aesthetic does charm my inner child.
- $4.99 – Order now
The “Frotz” collection includes a slew of interactive fiction games made so long ago that some of them technically don’t belong on my 80s-themed list. Zork came out in 1977, providing a foundation of conventions for other text-based games to come. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game, also included, came out in 1984 and is still impossible to play without a walk-through. You’ve got to know where your towel is.
- Free – Download now