Video games haven't always been about realistic graphics and deep stories. Before Master Chief, we had Pitfall Harry. Before Gran Turismo, there was Super Off-Road. Before Soul Calibur, it was Street Fighter II. Fortunately, old games never die--they just get collected and reissued at ever more affordable prices. The anthologies presented here collect the best arcade and console games of the past--going back to the 1970s and '80s, in some cases--and offer a chance for gamers to discover (and rediscover) the true classics of gaming.
We've divided some of our favorites into three categories:
These are mostly old-school games originally seen in the arcade and on early-generation home consoles such as the Atari 2600 and the Mattel Intellivision.
Years worth of a beloved gaming franchise such as Mega Man or Sonic the Hedgehog have been compiled into large, omnibus collections.
These are inexpensive hardware miniconsoles that are connected directly to your TV--finally, a use for those front-panel inputs.
Want to get a better look at the top retro collections? Check out our slide show of the best anthologies in gaming.
What about single-release retro titles?
All three of the "next-gen" game consoles--the Xbox 360, the Sony PlayStation 3, and the Nintendo Wii--offer the user the ability to download classic arcade and console titles. The only established service of the bunch so far is the Xbox 360's Live Arcade. Classic arcade games released for the service often see some serious upgrades, including online play and souped-up graphics. Many companies seek to cash in on nostalgic gamers, providing quick and dirty ports, which explains the often poor showing of old-school games on our top Xbox Live Arcade games list