How to Play 80’s Video Games Today



It is possible to play 80’s video games even in 2023. No, you don’t need to remember the nostalgia anymore, as there are many ways to recapture the magic. Or ruin your memories! The choice is yours. But from subscriptions to converters, here are some of the best methods.

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In-Browser Emulation

The web has many uses, and one of the best is that it can emulate older games really well with nothing more than your browser. And the better news is that this is legal for many games. Some older games from arcade versions are no longer licensed and are in the public domain. This includes classic games like roulette and checkers. But also classic video games such as Frogger, Paperboy, and Ms. Pac-Man. Free 80s Arcade has one of the best selections.

Play 80’s Video Games with Subscriptions

There are tons of free 80’s games you can play online. But these are the arcade versions and may not be the home entertainment console version you remember. Fortunately, you can still access many home versions of classics like Super Mario Bros. and Millipede. You can access the latter as one of the 50 million PS Plus subscribers. And Nintendo has a vast back catalog of its own games dating back to the original NES and SNES, including all classic Mario sequels.

At-Home Arcade Machines

If you ever went to the arcades, then you know the cabinets are huge and not really feasible for most homes. They’re also extremely expensive, and an original will cost you thousands. However, there are modern game cabinet makers specializing in smaller versions you can take home for a few hundred. For example, the UK’s Smyth’s toy store offers classics like Pac-man, Space Invaders, and even Mortal Kombat machines for £300. Quite the bargain price.

Download Retro Games on Mobile

Of course, even the modern smaller cabinets are rather large. But modern technology also means you can access a vast library of classic games in the palm of your hand. As a Nintendo Online subscriber, you can play them on your Switch. But many are available on Android phones:

  • The classic side shooter R-Type is available on the Google Play store.
  • Reignite your childhood memories with the classic beat ’em up, Double Dragon.
  • Dragon’s Lair was an underrated game but stands today as a fantasy classic.
  • One of the most in-depth action games of the day, Golden Axe, is available.
  • Altered Beast is one of the most intriguing games, combining action and lore.

You won’t find Nintendo classics on Android, but there are many classics from other developers. Most games were released on multiple platforms of the time, such as Commodore and SEGA systems. And classic SEGA games, such as E-Swat, are also available for a small fee.

Check the Attic or eBay

You never know who has a classic console. You may have one up in the Attic, or you can try your luck on eBay and other online stores. However, there is big money in nostalgia these days, especially for anything 80s-related. So be prepared to pay a lot when buying a NES or something similar. That being said, you may have something stashed in the Attic or at the home where you grew up. Barring a disaster, there’s a chance they still work well, and you can have some fun.

Use Converters to Play 80’s Video Games

The NES was by far the most popular home console, and it sold over 60 million units worldwide. All you needed to do was plug it into your TV with a Co-Ax, and you were golden. However, pretty much no TVs come with a Co-Ax connection these days as we no longer use analog systems and are almost entirely digital. But don’t worry, you can buy converters that switch the analog system to digital for playing an older console on a newer TV, and they don’t cost much at all.

Console Re-Releases

As if big-name video game console manufacturers don’t have enough money, they are also still trying to cash in on the nostalgia hype train. This is good news and bad. It’s good because they re-released NES and SEGA consoles with built-in games and HDMI connections. The bad news is these are somewhat limited, and scalpers have taken advantage of the opportunity. You can get them at reasonable prices, but you may need to look around first for a reasonable deal.


Browser emulators are an easy enough way to play 80’s video games today. Yet you can also access many of your favorites using your Android device. Or you can buy a classic console re-release such as the NES and SEGA Genesis with built-in games and HDMI connections.

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