As a product of the 1980s, I was a ninja at Snake on my old Nokia mobile, and Pac-Man, Bomberman, and Tetris were, in my opinion, far superior to many of the complicated life consuming games of today. These were games you could compete with your mates over for half an hour before heading out to the playground to hang out and relax. They were games of a simpler time.
Sure, it makes me sound old, but when life is so busy, hectic and full of noise (often these things are entirely connected to my children… but not always) harking back to these simpler times has a massively relaxing impact. For that few minutes, as you make that yellow circle scoot around a maze, eating blobs, and avoiding ghosts, you’re a child again. You’re not worried about your bills, your weight, or whether you’re a good enough mother, you’re just focusing on that moment of fun, and that distraction from the stress of reality.
Thanks to the internet, there’s a whole world of websites where you can play vintage video games online absolutely free! To that end, I decided to check out what’s available, and just why it’s such a great way to relax.
Vintage Video Games
Vintage video games are a great way to relax and escape from the stresses of everyday life. Gaming in general is fun, but vintage games are often simple and straightforward, with no complicated storylines or objectives which is a refreshing change of pace from the complex and demanding games that are often released today. I don’t have the time or energy to care about sub plots or long term goals in my games, but making shapes fit against other shapes? Now you’re talking.
Vintage video games are often less competitive than modern games too, which when you’re fighting to stay afloat every day is incredibly helpful. You’re not competing against a bunch of people shouting into the headsets, and there’s no chance of losing loads of built up accomplishments or having something you’ve spent hours building destroyed. It’s just you and the game, and as much or little time and energy as you feel like investing, because nobody cares about it except you.
My Favourite Vintage Video Games
You’ll definitely be familiar with most, if not all, of these games. But how long is it since you actually played them? Are you craving some nostalgia, a throw back to your childhood, and some games that entertain you without stressing you out? I’ve picked out my absolute favourite vintage video games that are super simple to play and help me to relax, and I think they’ll help you too.
Check out these games and don’t forget to let me know which one you’ve missed the most, which one is your favourite, and any I’ve missed out from the list that I should really be playing!
I’ve aways loved Pac-Man. There’s something just so satisfying about it!
It is a very easy game to learn how to play, and if, like me, you’re holding so much in your brain that learning a ton of new skills feels daunting, Pac-Man takes that stress away.
On your keyboard, you use the arrow keys to direct your Pac-Man around the maze, eating your blobs, dodging the ghosts, and listening to that electro munching sounds that are weirdly calming.
In terms of game play, the mazes in Pac-Man are just the right size to be challenging but not overwhelming, and the ghosts are unpredictable, which adds an element of suspense to the game. You never know when they’re going to appear, or where they’re going to go. This keeps the game exciting and prevents it from becoming too repetitive.
If the old style Pac-Man doesn’t interest you, and while you enjoy the aesthetic and the simplicity, you feel like you want something different, then don’t worry, I’ve got just the option for you!
Save-Pac is inspired by the game I loved to play growing up, with the same old school graphics and sound effects, but instead of a maze it’s a series of platform style challenges. Kill the ghosts, dodge the dangers, get your Pac-Man out alive.
The controls are the same as the original so there’s nothing new to learn, and you get as many goes on each level as you need to complete it, so you won’t lose any accomplishments. However, unlike the original, each level is completely different and you have to try and work out what’s required each time, which sometimes is harder than actually doing it.
Much like the original, it gets harder and harder as you go through, and it is deceptively difficult! But being able to repeat the levels means even when it’s really hard, you can just laugh off your failures and try again, so the challenge never feels too stressful.
Sonic The Hedgehog
Many a day I spent playing Sonic The Hedgehog on my friends old Nintendo, and how jealous I was that I didn’t have one at home!
Sonic The Hedgehog is set on South Island, which is being taken over by Dr. Robotnik, a mad scientist who has captured the animals and trapped them inside of robots. Sonic must race through six zones, each with three acts, to stop Robotnik and save the animals. I It’s a simple side running platform game, where you control Sonic and make him run, jump, and roll through the levels to collect rings and avoid monsters.
Unlike the previous ones, this game does have some more complicated elements. If Sonic loses all of his rings, he will lose a life. However, if he collects 100 rings, he will enter a special level where he can collect a Chaos Emerald. Collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds will allow Sonic to transform into Super Sonic, a powerful form that gives him increased speed, strength, and invincibility. However, if you’re just in it for the casual relaxation of childhood revisited gaming, this stuff can be forgotten about. Just run, jump, hear the satisfying dings of those rings being collected, and relax.
The controls are straightforward, with the left and right arrow keys used to move, the up arrow key used to jump, and the space bar used to spin. The objective of the game is to reach the end of each level as quickly as possible.
Tetris is another vintage game that has endured for a reason, and I absolutely love it. It’s one of those games that I remember my ma loved when I was little, so it has a special place in my heart for that reason, as well as the fact I always loved playing it myself.
The concept is super simple; complete lines by moving differently shaped pieces as they fall down from the top of the screen, and fit them together to leave no gaps. The completed lines disappear which gets you points, and the game ends when the uncleared lines reach the top of the screen. It gets faster the high up you move in levels, so the challenge gets harder, but the concept doesn’t change.
Tetris is simple but addictive, and a great game for people who are looking for a challenge, but it is also a great game for people who are looking for a way to relax. The simple gameplay and repetitive nature of the game can be very calming, and the game can be a great way to relieve stress and anxiety.
Cross The Road
You’ve probably seen numerous versions of the Cross The Road game, from Frogger to Crossy Road and more. But I’m playing Chicken Cross The Road because of how very retro it looks.
The concept is super simple, you control your chicken as you attempt to cross a busy road without getting hit by cars, trains, or other obstacles, before moving on to crossing rivers by jumping on logs etc. The game is simple but addictive, and because you can redo every level you fail on, you get the tension of trying to cross the road, but not the frustration of being booted back to the beginning each time you fail.
The controls are simple, use the left and right arrow keys to go… well… left and right, and move your chicken forwards to dodge the obstacles and get to the right places with the forward key. Not challenging to control but pretty challenging to play the higher up you get in the levels, but always fun.
Words are my world, whether it’s writing books, reading books, or promoting the work of other writers. Because of my love of words, I’ve always loved a good wordsearch. I had books full of them to do on holidays (I grew up before the world of smart phones), but now you can get that simple activity in video game form, so there’s endless challenges and you never run out.
Doing word searches is a great way to focus your attention on something other than your worries. When you are working on a word search, you have to concentrate on finding the hidden words, which can help to clear your mind and relieve stress. There are many different types of word searches available, so you can find one that is just right for your skill level, and as you get better at it, you can try more challenging ones, which can give you a sense of accomplishment.
It’s a simple and classic concept, but definitely ranks high in my favourite vintage games.
Why Vintage Video Games Are Relaxing
Vintage video games typically have simple controls that are easy to learn and remember. This makes them a great option for people who are looking for a relaxing activity that doesn’t require a lot of mental effort. For example, the originalPac-Man game only has four controls: up, down, left, and right. This makes it easy to pick up and play, even if you haven’t played it before.
The repetitive nature of the gameplay can help to clear your mind and focus on the present moment. For example, the Tetris game is all about stacking blocks. The gameplay is simple and repetitive, but it can be very addictive and relaxing.
Find a website that offers the games you want to play. There are many websites that offer classic video games online, so you should be able to find a website that has the games you want to play.
Choose games that are appropriate for your skill level. If you are new to vintage video games, you may want to choose games that are easy to learn and play. As you get more experienced, you can try more challenging games.
Take breaks. If you find yourself getting frustrated, take a break from playing. Come back to the game later when you are feeling more relaxed.
Have fun! Vintage video games are meant to be enjoyed, so relax and have fun.
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