Whether you’re a veteran with fond memories of 8-bit and 16-bit classics or you’re going back to them for the first time, there has never been a better time for retro games. Sure, you could use an emulator or one of those mini consoles, but there are plenty of collections of great games and they’re much easier to use.
This is not a comprehensive list of all the retro game collections available. Instead, it’s a list of games that represent some of the best value.
1. Mega Man Legacy Collection(s)
If we wanted to, we could fill this entire list with just Mega Man games. You have the Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2, then there are the Mega Man X Collections. You probably don’t need all of them, but if you’re a completionist, you might not be able to help yourself.
No matter which collection you pick, it will provide hours of side-scrolling platform run-and-gun action. These are available on basically every console available, so no matter what console (or PC) you prefer, you’ll be able to play these games.
2. Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle
Capcom gobbled up quarters by the dozen in the ’80s and ’90s with the games in this collection. You won’t find a lot of variety here, as this is all beat ’em ups as the name implies, but there are some great games in the collection.
This collection packs in classics Final Fight, The King of Dragons, Captain Commando, Knights of the Round, and Warriors of Fate. It also includes Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit, both for the first time on home consoles. The Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle is available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
3. Contra Anniversary Collection
If you can get enough robot-fighting action, this collection is from you. It collects everything from the original Contra to Contra II: The Alien Wars and Contra Hard Corps. You’ll encounter the same game with a different name on a few occasions, but it’s nice to see the sheer amount of games packed into the collection.
The Control Anniversary Collection is available for the PC as well as all current consoles.
4. Castlevania Anniversary Collection
Contra isn’t the only series that Konami has packaged up for sale on modern consoles. The Castlevania Anniversary Collection does a similar treatment for everyone’s favorite vampire fighting series. It’s even available on all the same platforms.
This package collects everything from the original Castlevania to Super Castlevania IV It also includes Castlevania The Adventure, Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge, Castlevania Bloodlines, and Kid Dracula, released in English for the first time here.
5. SNK 40th Anniversary Collection
If you’re familiar with SNK, you probably associate the company with the NeoGeo arcade classics bearing those initials. Instead of collection those games, the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection focuses on older games.
This collection includes Ikari Warriors, Psycho Soldier, Crystalis, among many others. Initially released for Nintendo Switch, the collection is now available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC as well.
6. Disney Afternoon Collection
This features the fewest games of any of those we’re looking at, but it will appeal to a very specific age group. If you ever watched DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, or Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, you probably remember the Disney Afternoon programming block. This collection lets you revisit those afternoons in video game form.
Included in the collection are DuckTales, DuckTales 2, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2. The game features a handy rewind feature to make the games easier to play, and is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
7. Sega Genesis Classics
This collection has been released over the past several years on different platforms, including the PC and all current consoles. Exactly what games you get will vary from version to version, but a certain blue hedgehog with a penchant for speed appears in all of them.
In addition to the first three Sonic the Hedgehog games, you get Ristar, Kid Chameleon, Mappy, and beloved RPGs Phantasy Star II, Phantasy Star III, and Phantasy Star IV.
Do You Miss the Consoles of Old?
Would you rather have something that actually feels like the old consoles you remember? There are plenty of retro consoles but picking one may be tough. For an idea where to start, take a look at our rundown of the top retro game consoles and why we prefer retro games.