6 Old School Video Games You Can Play on Your Phone

Mobile games are more popular than ever these days, but most of them are too new to have stood the test of time. They may become timeless classics, or they may fade into oblivion. Thankfully, a large number of classic video games have made their way to your phone’s app store. Here are some must-play games you may have missed.

1. Final Fantasy VII

Cloud Strife wields his enormous sword.

‘Final Fantasy VII’ | Square Enix

You can hardly open an Internet browser these days without hearing about this PlayStation classic from 1997. Even nearly 20 years later, it’s still that popular. What you might not know is that one of the best versions of the game is on mobile. Not only does this port put every pixel of the original in your pocket, but it also has a couple new tricks of its own.

For one thing, role-playing games of this vintage tend to have high enemy encounter rates. These are great for helping you grind levels (if that’s your thing), but it’s not so great when you just want to see what happens next in the story. So it’s nice that this mobile port lets you turn off random enemy encounters. That way you can move about the game world without being held up by a battle every five seconds.

And if you’re having trouble beating a boss, don’t sweat it. This port comes with the ultimate cheat: At any time, you can tap a button to max out your stats. Sure it’s cheating, but if it’s between that or quitting the game forever, who really cares?

2. Dragon’s Lair

In the olden days of yore, back when arcades not only existed but thrived, there was a game that always caught my eye. It was Dragon’s Lair, a game that looked like a Disney movie come to life. The only problem was that each play usually cost two tokens and only lasted a handful of seconds. The gameplay is essentially a series of quick-time events that kill you if you make a single wrong move. Before long, your pockets were empty and you still hadn’t seen the story through to completion.

For not much more than a single play used to cost, you can now purchase Dragon’s Lair on your phone. And because you can play it with unlimited continues, you can finally see if the knight saves the princess at the end (along with all of the goofy death animations). Whether you grew up in the days or arcades or not, this charming game is worth the money.

3. Sonic CD

To risk understatement, not everyone had a Sega CD back in the ‘90s — which means not everyone has played what’s probably the best Sonic game in the series. While the game is perfectly paced and delightfully colorful, it also controls way better than it has any right to on a touchscreen.

For a fun trip to the past — and future, for that matter, as the game involves time travel — Sonic CD offers great nostalgic fun, whether you played the original or not.

4. Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition

Fans of computer role-playing games need no introduction to this all-time masterpiece. From the moment you escape from the prison you start out trapped in and make your way to the massive city of Athkatla, you’ll know you’re in for a special game. Your job is to go on quests, build up a party of unique characters, and get back at the people who imprisoned you in the first place.

Not only that, but the mobile edition comes with three expansions, along with the option to purchase three more if you’re still hungry for role-playing action. There’s a reason Baldur’s Gate II is No. 1 on the list of “The 15 Best Role-Playing Games of All Time.”

5. Dragon Quest VIII

Speaking of role-playing games, while the Dragon Quest series has been slower to catch on in the U.S., it’s absolutely huge in Japan. It’s kind of like comfort food for RPG fans. That’s not a knock against it — it just means that these games are reliably excellent, with long, episodic campaigns and enough side quests to keep you coming back for dozens and dozens of hours.

The eighth installment is particularly great, thanks to its delightful cast of characters and fast-moving plot. Whether you played it on PS2 and want to relive the magic, or you’re new to the series, do yourself a favor and pick this one up on mobile.

6. Doom

Do you like firing rockets at cacodemons in your spare time? If so, you’re probably a fan of Doom, one of the earliest first-person shooters that still holds up wonderfully today. This game is bloody, fast, and furious. It puts a pistol in your hand and sets you free in a series of 36 levels inhabited by the minions of hell. Only those with quick trigger fingers will survive.

With a powerful selection of weapons to pick up and levels so expertly designed that they still feel fresh, Doom (or Doom Classic, as it’s called on iPhone) never fails to deliver. Pick this one up if you want a jolt of adrenaline.

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