No downloads or emulators are necessary
Retro gaming consoles such as the SNES, Sega Genesis, and Playstation were the staples of video gaming long ago. You may remember owning one or two of these consoles and playing the popular games of that era. Revisiting that nostalgia can be a great experience, and it’s possible to do so right now, online, directly in your browser for free.
Although you may not be able to find every game you played when you were younger, there exist huge libraries of retro games on many websites. On them, you can play games without having to go through the often confusing process of downloading an emulator and ROMs. Simply find the games you want to play, and get started right away.
Here are the best websites for you to play retro games online.
Miss the days of the NES, 8-bit pixel graphics? Gameshelf has plenty of them available for you to play right now. Once you find a game you want to play on the site, you can play it in a small window or choose full-screen to play the game in all its pixelated glory.
On the game’s page, you’ll find control instructions, which you can change as you wish. You can also connect a controller if you want to play that way. In the window of the game itself, you have plenty of game options, including the ability to save your game so you can come back to play later, right where you left off.
This site is amazing for NES games, with fast FPS rates, and a simple layout, making it easy to find and play your favorite classic games.
2. Retro Games
This site is amazing for finding old games and has games for multiple consoles, such as the SNES, Gameboy, Sega Genesis, and more. Tons of old favorites live on at this site, which is also very sparse of advertisements unlike a lot of other online retro game sites.
On each game’s page, you can find the controls (which are customizable), tons of info on the game from Wikipedia, original game manuals, as well as the file for the game to download if you wish. This is an amazing site for playing old games with the amount of content available, and the clean layout that makes it easy to play the games.
You can also choose from multiple different online emulators to find the one that works the best for each game. If you want to get your nostalgic gaming fix, this site is definitely one of the first you should check out.
Are you a big fan of old DOS or Commodore 64 computer games? This site has a huge library of all the best games from this era, from the early 80s all the way through the 90s. There are multiple other classic platforms available on this site as well such as Windows 3.x, Sega Genesis, and arcade games.
With each game, you have the ability to play in full screen, which really makes it feel like you’re playing on one of these old systems. You use the keyboard to play, or you can connect a controller as well. The games themselves play very well within a browser and provide a great way to spend some time with your favorite retro video games.
With a huge library of games available, you may have a hard time choosing which game to play here. Their library includes Nintendo games that are otherwise very difficult to find a way to play online, such as Pokemon and Zelda games.
Each game page has customizable controls, information on the game, as well as options to full screen, save and load your games, or change some display settings. The vast library alone, with games that are actually available to play online, makes this site worth visiting. But, despite some advertisements (which you can easily get around with ad-blockers or full-screening your game), it’s set up very well and makes playing retro games easy and enjoyable.
This website is very modern and sleek, and it has a library of tons of the best retro games. You can find games from nearly every classic console, including the SNES, Gameboy, Atari, and more.
Each game has a large in-browser window, or you can opt to full-screen your game. Unfortunately, they leave you a bit in the dark as far as controls go, but a little experimenting on the keyboard will help you figure it out. It’s a small price to pay for all the great games available, and the games play incredibly well and fast.
My Emulator Online has a large selection of old games to play, even including Nintendo 64 and Nintendo DS games. All the games use a browser-based emulator like the other entries in this list, meaning you can connect a controller and save/load your game. The games on this site work really well, with minor lag compared to what you might get from other browser-based emulator sites.
There is also a larger library here than many other sites and it includes plenty of popular Nintendo titles. There’s no limit to the number of games you can play, so make sure you have plenty of time on your hands before you get on this site!
Playing Retro Games Online
The sites above are decidedly the best for finding and playing your favorite classic games. Since they don’t use Flash, you don’t have to worry about them not being available in the future. With the browser-based emulators that are used on these sites, it takes the work out of downloading and setting them up yourself.
What are some of your favorite old-school video games? Let us know in the comments.