Best video games to buy the person who loves classics

Arnold Carreiro

Both the NES and SNES Classic Edition games are incredibly popular and sell out quickly, so if you find one online, grab it while you can!

Old-school gamers love to revisit their favorite gaming memories and to make new ones alongside friends who have yet to experience the classics firsthand. But retro gaming can be a daunting hobby to get into. Searching through sketchy eBay listings for extremely expensive copies of cherished games is a deterrent for many. The good news is, major video game publishers understand the nostalgia we feel for the games that started it all, and it's easier than ever to fall in love with the classics nowadays. If you're in the market for a gift for a retro gamer, you can't go wrong with these classic video game compilations.

NES Classic Edition

Nintendo had a difficult time keeping this revamped Nintendo Entertainment System on the shelves since it first launched in 2016, and because it includes 30 pre-installed classics from the 80s and early 90s, the ability to save your progress at any time, and a nostalgia-inducing CRT filter that emulates the scan lines of playing on an old TV, it's easy to see why. The NES Classic Edition comes with a single controller, but if you want to experience the frantic fun of two-player titles like Dr. Mario and Balloon Fight, plan on buying a second controller alongside the console.

Highlights include: Donkey Kong Jr., Kirby's Adventure, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros. 2, and Ice Climber.

SNES Classic Edition

If retro gamers ate up the NES Classic, they went absolutely bananas for the SNES Classic Edition, and for good reason. Although this tiny Super Nintendo holds 10 fewer games than the NES, the all-star collection of 20 games is bundled with a second controller, so multiplayer classics like Super Mario Kart and Kirby Super Star can be played with pals right out of the box. The SNES Classic also has the ability to rewind your current game for up to a minute at a time to help undo game-ending mistakes, and it sports Star Fox 2, a game that was completed in the mid-90s but never released to the public until now.

Highlights include: EarthBound, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Donkey Kong Country, Yoshi's Island, and Secret of Mana.

PlayStation Classic Console

Not to be outdone by Nintendo, Sony released their own miniature system based on the original PlayStation in early December. The highly anticipated console is bundled with two controllers and an assortment of 20 classic 90s video games. Although there is an impressive bunch of early retro hits within its plastic shell, the PlayStation Classic does not come with an AC adapter. However, if you have a spare smartphone charger in your junk drawer, it should be compatible with the little PlayStation. Keep in mind that the PlayStation Classic may be particularly difficult to find before the holidays, so if you run into one, snap it up immediately!

Highlights include: Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Rayman, Mr. Driller, Resident Evil: Director's Cut, and Tekken 3.

Rare Replay (Xbox One)

While Microsoft has not announced any plans to release their own retro video game console, Xbox One owners have access to an incredible assortment of 30 critically acclaimed video games from legendary British developer, Rare. Rare Replay contains a diverse mix of games that were originally released on the NES, Nintendo 64, Xbox 360 -- even Battletoads Arcade, which was never playable outside of the arcades before now. Retro gamers are going to fall in love with the behind-the-scenes mini documentaries, the rewind feature to help with those extra-tough early Rare games, and the ability to enjoy multiplayer games like Kameo and Perfect Dark together over Xbox Live.

Highlights include: Jet Force Gemini, Banjo-Kazooie, Kameo: Elements of Power, Killer Instinct Gold, and Grabbed by the Ghoulies.

SEGA Genesis Classics (Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4)

This compilation disc contains a whopping 53 games from the SEGA Genesis era, and they range from fan-favorites like Sonic the Hedgehog to titles that even dedicated Genesis fans might have missed, such as Kid Chameleon or Columns. Fans of the classics will definitely want to take the time to explore this time capsule of Genesis games, and this collection is even more valuable when you consider that SEGA included online multiplayer, a handy rewind feature, and an invaluable save-anywhere functionality to keep players entertained for hours on end. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of SEGA Genesis Classics are currently available, and it comes to the Nintendo Switch in early December.

Highlights include: Ristar, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe II, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, and Vectorman.


Why pay big bucks for one or two rare cult classics when you can spend far less to buy the retro gamer in your life a huge collection of awesome hits? Have fun, but try not to rub it in too much when you blast their top scores from the leaderboard!


Arnold Carreiro is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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