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What Makes a Game a Classic?

When the subject of classic video games comes up, there are bound to be a few titles that spring to mind. While referring to a game as a classic is subjective, many gamers will think of some of the same ones. Resident Evil 4, Ocarina of Time, Halo, and Super Mario Bros 3 are probably some of those that come up time and again, and it’s hard to disagree with their “classic” status. But what is it that makes a game a classic?

While these days, many gamers have turned to the Internet for their gaming fix, such as playing the latest cross-platform online games or the best online slots, true gamers can't resist a classic. Of course, a classic must be a game that people enjoy playing. But what else? Is it because it’s been around for so long? No, it can’t be. There are games like Shaq Fu that are also old and it’s terrible.  Review scores aren’t relevant either, as some games don’t stand the test of time when it comes to playability. So now we’ve determined what doesn't make a classic, let’s look at what does.

High Quality

The first thing that makes a game is a classic is quality. It must be so good that you can’t stop playing it. It doesn’t matter what you should be doing. Even if you have a research paper that must be in the next day, you’re simply hooked. You’re so lost in the game that you look at the time and can’t believe it’s 4 am already.


Another criterion for a game to be considered a classic is that it must be timeless. No matter when you play it, be it on the day of release or 30 years after you took it out of the box, you still enjoy playing it. The game wasn’t just enjoyable in a particular period, but at any time. Gamers who weren’t even born when it was released and who have absolutely no nostalgic connection with it at all enjoy it.

Having said that, there’s one era that's widely considered to be the golden age of “classics”, and that’s the 1980s. This was the era when land-based slots ruled the gaming world in arcades everywhere. One of the game’s first considered a classic was Space Invaders. While it was released in 1978, it was a phenomenon in the ‘80s. Even five years after its release, the Starcade game show described it as being “the granddaddy” of the video gaming craze. The ‘80s also bought us the land-based classics Donkey Kong and Pac-Man. When it comes to entertainment, such as TV shows, comedy movies, or video gaming, the '80s continue to get a lot of love.


Another characteristic of a classic game is replay-ability. Sure, you’ve made it all the way through to the end, but once you’ve finished, you want to play it again and again. You can't wait to pick out up again the next day like you haven’t played it for years. No matter how many times you've played it, you never grow tired of the gameplay, graphics, or story, and it never fails to put a smile on your face.

Wrap Up

If a game features all these elements, then it deserves to be labelled a “classic’. As mentioned, the word “classic” is a subjective one. So, if you believe a game has all these elements, then it’s a classic to you, no matter what anyone else thinks.