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Photograph: Cuphead

6 awesome throwback video games that’ll get you back into gaming

Lapsed button-masher? Scratch that nostalgia with these recent – yet reassuringly familiar – video games

Written by
Django Zimmatore

So you haven’t gamed in a while. Maybe you’ve been busy, perhaps you think you’re a little old. But time does seem to be playing funny tricks these days. Throughout the weirdness of 2020, many of us have been reaching for old hobbies and discovering that, yeah, all that stuff was actually pretty fun, wasn’t it?

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If you’ve been staring at that console gathering dust in the corner over the past six months, it could be a good time to consider booting the ol’ thing up again (or investing in one of the new-gen consoles like the PS5 or Xbox Series X). Sure, there’s a fresh load of gaming franchises to catch up with – but look closely, and you’ll see that several of today’s best video games hit the same buttons as many of the classics.

Here are six brilliantly nostalgic games that’ll transport you back to your childhood – and maybe even make you want to stick around there.

🎮 If you used to love ‘Mega Man’…

A love letter to 8-bit games, ‘Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove’ has all the style and challenge of your favourite classic platformers. The Showdown battle mode even lets you challenge your pals to a duel – just like the good old days. PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC.

🎮 If you used to love ‘Tony Hawk Pro Skater’…

A remake of the first two Tony Hawk games, ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2’ is a reminder of why a generation of non-skaters know what a ‘switch foot pogo’ is. Even the infectious skatepunk soundtrack is still there. PS4, Xbox One, PC.

🎮 If you used to love ‘Doom’…

If you used to play the Doom games you’ll know what ‘Doom Eternal’ is all about: having a whole lot of fun clonking terrifying monsters with massive, over-the-top weapons. If you fancying slicing a demon in half, here’s where to go. PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC.

Doom Eternal‘Photograph: Doom Eternal

🎮 If you used to love ‘Rollercoaster Tycoon’…

A throwback park simulator, ‘Planet Coaster: Console Edition’ lets you build your very own Disneyland. The creative freedom is a joy, as players can precisely place each piece of rollercoaster track to make a truly unique park. PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X.

🎮 If you used to love ‘Contra’…

A blast through a series of inventive bosses, Cuphead offers hard-as-nails difficulty reminiscent of old-school run-and-gun platformers. Inspired by surreal 1930s cartoons and with a big-band jazz soundtrack, it’ll sure scratch that itch for nostalgia. PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC.

🎮 If you used to love ‘Streets of Rage’…

The legendary arcade series is back with ‘Streets of Rage 4’. The four-player mode is a retro romp with none of the tangled wires of yesteryear’s gaming. Fighting endless waves of bad guys has never felt so satisfying. PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC.

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