Arcade throwbacks: Top free retro game apps from Pong to Tetris


These top free retro game apps let you relive the arcade era on the go.

The arcade once existed as a pixelated entertainment mecca where humans could feed fiat currency into hulking masses of hardware for a shot at the elusive all-time high score list. In recent decades, the allure of this once thriving industry has waned, although newer arcades have popped up in major cities around the country in the last few years.

Today, our smartphones allow us to enjoy many of these classic video games from the comfort of home or on the go. Many of these pioneering staples such as Pong and PacMan are available in modern reimaginings that hold true to the original aesthetic and gameplay. Without further ado, here are the top free retro game apps to relive the arcade experience.



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Image: Apple

The original, block-building puzzle game, takes only a few moments to pick up and a lifetime to master. As the blocks descend from the top of the screen, gamers must shift the pieces to fit with the blocks already in place along the bottom. Once a row is filled across the screen, this level of blocks will disappear, creating more space for gamers to work with. As the course progresses the pieces begin to descend faster increasing the risk for error.


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Frogger is an arcade classic allowing gamers to control the namesake frog in a host of environments from stream crossings to crowded highways. The Journey of Amazing frogger offers an excellent modern take on the original gameplay.


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Pac-Man still stands the test of time due to the beautiful simplicity of the game. Simply clear the dots across the board, gobble up the bonuses, and avoid the ghosts when necessary en route to the next level.


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Galaga Wars is a modern version of the classic Galaga arcade game. Galaga purists may not necessarily take kindly to this iteration, however, Galaga Wars offers a compelling modern interface while staying true to the original concept.


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At the peak of the Cold War, Missile Command was an Atari arcade classic in the 1980s. Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Missile Command’s release, Atari created Missile Command Recharged as a modern take on the original.


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Infinite Pong is an exceptional throwback arcade game for smartphones. The Infinite Pong app lets players compete in a one- or two-player setting. The gameplay itself is not much different than the original Atari version. Simply use a digit to slide the paddle across the screen to deflect the ball back to your opponent.


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Breakout was one of the pioneering arcade games in the 1970s and Breakout: Boost acts as a modern twist on the original. Similar to Pong, players use a paddle to directionally deflect a small ball. However, in Breakout: Boost, players attempt to deflect the ball to slowly break through various barriers, with each strike eliminating an individual block in a structure.


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Snake has a near-cult status among 90s cell phone users; especially those who had Nokia models during this time. Snake ’97 offers a modern virtual variant of the original. For added authenticity, Snake ’97 actually transforms gamers’ phone screens into the front-side of an older model Nokia. To control the snake, gamers must tap the digital buttons on the Nokia keypad.


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Image: Apple

It only takes a few seconds to pick up the basics of Q*bert before tackling the challenges. Gameplay involves traversing a series of geometric structures comprised of small blocks. To clear each level, gamers must touch each block of the overall structure. Various obstacles are introduced to complicate matters and at times gamers must use tools to complete the puzzle.


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