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Old-school cool: 5 classic video games that got a new life on mobile

Mario, the plucky little plumber, stormed onto small gadgets in December when Nintendo released Super Mario Run for Apple devices.

The game hit big with players, but it’s not the only redone retro video game to get a new lease on life through phones. Join us as we jump, hop, race, run, and Pac-Man-chew our way through some revamped classics you can hold in the palm of your hand.

1. Pac-Man 256

Retro games don’t get any more iconic than Pac-Man. The 1980s arcade hero is a little yellow creature that runs through a maze eating pellets and avoiding a cadre of colorful ghost villains. Pac-Man 256 adds a big twist to this concept by turning the playing field into an endless maze. You are no longer contained within a big square. This game goes on and on and on.

The point of the game is to keep moving while ducking the ghosts (or eating them when you can). Special pellets called “power-ups” appeared in the original game version. In Pac-Man 256, they can imbue your hungry hero with special powers, including lasers and a stealth mode. It’s an entertaining new take on a game that has been around for a long time.

Find Pac-Man 256 for Apple and Android.

2. Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog is the sassy protagonist of a series of games from Sega. There’s a grand storyline covering the evil deeds of a villain and his plans for world domination, but the attraction is in the game’s kinetic nature. Sonic first debuted back in 1991, but you can dive into the hedgehog’s world on your mobile phone today with a classic version of the original.

The original gameplay is all intact in the remastered mobile version, but there are some extra features to keep modern gamers engaged and interested. You can play as Sonic’s friends Tails (a two-tailed fox) and Knuckles (a red echidna). The game is still about being fast, collecting rings, and battling your enemies. Fans of the original will enjoy the old-school approach and revisit familiar landscapes as you run through palm trees, leap over lakes, and hop over obstacles on your way to saving the world.

Find Sonic the Hedgehog for Apple and Android.

3. The Oregon Trail

“You have died of dysentery” is simultaneously one of the saddest and funniest lines to ever appear in a video game. It’s the classic catchphrase from The Oregon Trail, an educational computer game meant to teach players about the hardships of pioneer life on the frontier.

The Oregon Trail originally came out in the 1970s, but the modern mobile version is much different from its predecessor. Oregon Trail: American Settler acts as the next chapter to the original wagon-train concept, letting the player develop a life in the Wild West by building a frontier town complete with crops, cows, prospecting, stampedes, and buildings. Think of it as a spin-off game rather than a reboot of the retro classic.

Find The Oregon Trail for Apple and Android.

4. Q*bert: Rebooted

Q*Bert is one of the more peculiar lead characters to appear in a 1980s arcade game. The round orange creature features two legs, no arms, big eyes, and a strange tube/nose/mouth. His goal in life is to jump around on a stack of cubes and change their colors while avoiding enemies. Q*bert Rebooted lets you play the game in its classic guise or in an updated version with more modern graphics and gaming arenas.

Gamers can get their fix of classic arcade nostalgia and then switch to the new playing mode to unlock fresh movements, new enemies, and extra levels of gameplay. This is a great example of a mobile game staying faithful to its roots while still expanding its horizons.

Find Q*bert: Rebooted for Apple and Android.

5. Crossy Road

Gamers of a certain era will remember Frogger, an early 1980s arcade game that challenges you to navigate a hopping frog across a busy street and a rushing river while jumping past cars, bikes, and alligators. Crossy Road isn’t an official Frogger game, but it takes that same obstacle-avoidance concept and updates it for modern mobile players.

Instead of just frogs, Crossy Road lets you play as a variety of cute animated animals, including a chicken, a duck, a goat, a horse, and a dog. Like with Pac-Man 256, the game is endless. As long as you play well, you can just keep going as you navigate your critter through traffic hazards, across dangerous rivers, over train crossings, and onto safe places like grass medians and lily pads.

Crossy Road works as a quick, casual game, or you can really dig into it and spend time trying to beat your highest score. Like with many retro games, it’s easy to get started, but difficult to truly master.

Find Crossy Road for Apple and Android.

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