Re-live the thrill of playing retro games like Mario, Sonic and Megaman for the first time – thanks to fan creations. If you want to play new versions of your favorite retro game classics – but don’t want to wait for the company behind them to put something out – it’s time to dig into the vast array of fan-made, free to play retro remakes from around the web.
It’s hard to describe, now, just how exciting retro gameplay was in its time. Try as modern remakes do, many fail to capture the charm of the original games – graphical updates leave something missing. If you want to play brand new games that capture the old feeling of playing a retro title for the first time, then, you may need to turn to fan creations.
So it’s a good thing there are so many: the Internet is nothing if not collaborative and an array of people have used it to collaborate – or at least share – re-imagined versions of retro classics. Even better: they’re almost all free for you to play.
Mario Fan Games
It’s no secret that I’ve got a soft spot for a certain Italian plumber from Japan – as a kid I drove my family nuts with my fandom. I’m not alone: tons of people commit a lot of free time to bring unofficial Mario games to the web.
- Wonder what it would be like to combine Mario and Portal? Don’t. Mari0 puts a portal game into Mario’s hands, and the result is surprisingly awesome.
- Wish there was more multiplayer focus during the NES era? Stop. Super Mario War is the ultimate Mario fighting game. Stop on your friend’s heads for victory.
- Wonder what it would be like to play the original Super Mario Bros. as Link, Samus or any other video game character? Check out Super Mario Crossover. You won’t be disappointed.
- Were you hoping for a more traditional Mario experience? Check out Super Mario Bros. X for Windows. There are plenty of levels built-in, and you can download even more online. Sure, some are better than others, but if you want more Mario it’s a great place to start.
- Looking for something darker, and crazier? Check out Mushroom Kingdom Fusion, a Mario game combining charactesr and elements from pretty much any game you can imagine – from Kirby to Wolfenstein Zelda to Halo to so-much-more. Expect weirdness.
- One more and I’ll move on: I promise. Wonder what Super Smash Bros would look on the original Game Boy? Stop wondering and play Super Smash Land. Now.
We’ve shown you the best Tetris clones to play online, so check that list of retro games out if you want a quick list. There are some surprising remakes out there, though.
- Not Tetris 2 is Tetris for Anarchists. A once structured game is corrupted with one simple change: pieces can rotate however you like, not just in 90 degree increments. Things will get messy.
Want to explore more alternative versions of Tetris? Check out these cool Tetris spinoff games, then.
And a Host Of Others…
- Prefer your sidescrollers to be more about speed and less about actual gameplay? You might be a Sonic fan, then. Sonic The Hedgehog, Time Attacked is considered one of the better Sonic fan games, so check it out.
- Like Pokemon, but wish you could play online with your friends? PokeMMO turns Pokemon Fire Red into an online game. It’s not official at all – you’ll need a probably illegal ROM in order to play – but it’s an intriguing spin on a classic RPG.
- Loved Golden Eye for the Nintendo 64? It has been re-built as a total mod for Half-Life 2. You read that correctly.
- Wonder what life is like for the other characters in Mega Man? You can play Megaman as Hard Hat, if you want. It’s just as crazy as it sounds.
- And no list of classic retro games is complete without mention of Final Fantasy. Square has put out plenty of sequels to Final Fantasy 7, and even put out a PC re-release, but as of yet there’s no HD remake. Or is there? Fan mods mean you can build your own HD FF7 remake. Try it, if you’re got time on your hands.
Of course, fan-made remakes aren’t the best way to experience the best of yesterday. There are a variety of ways we preserve the fading games of yesterday. But fan games reflect the depth of love fans feel for these classics – a love official, modern remakes can’t capture.
Have any of these games reminded you why you love a classic? Let’s talk below.
Oh, and I just feel like I should mention Cave Story. This one isn’t a remake of any particular game – more like the embodiment of an entire era of gaming. But if you have happy memories playing 8-bit games, and want to relive them, check this one out. You won’t regret it – this game masterfully combines elements from a number of classic games, and it’s completely free for PC, Mac and Linux game enthusiasts. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to that childhood feeling you had playing games as a kid.