The 5 Best Retro Games to Play on Windows

If you love playing games on your PC, then Windows will grant you access to the widest selection of titles, including many retro titles.

There’s been a lot of excitement recently about Microsoft’s plans to release Windows 11, an entirely new operating system to replace Windows 10, which had been touted as the “final” major version the company would create.

Apple and the many Linux distro developers also regularly release major updates to their operating systems, but they don’t attract the fanfare that Microsoft gets. That’s thanks in part to the fact that Windows is so widely used, with recent figures showing that it holds 87.56% of the entire desktop operating system market.

One of the reasons Windows is so popular is that it is compatible with so many devices and applications. This is great for many different types of users, but especially gamers. Windows users have access to more great quality free games than any other platform, as well as epic AAA titles, and classic and retro releases.

1. Solitaire

Microsoft Solitaire is a staple of the programs that ship with Windows. It was included by the company back in 1990 when it launched Windows 3. Solitaire was designed to help people learn all of the ways that you can use a mouse, since the concept was relatively new back then.

It remains incredibly popular today, with around 35 million people playing at least one game every month, more than 30 years after it was originally created. That figure also doesn’t include the many clones and copies that are available to play on Windows and other devices.

Microsoft caused an uproar when it removed it from Windows 8, and quickly backtracked, releasing a downloadable version from the Microsoft Store.


2. Blackjack

windows Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games played in the world today. It's also one of the oldest, with various iterations of blackjack being traced back as far as the 15th century. In years gone by, you’d have had to visit a land-based casino to enjoy blackjack, but today, various versions of it are available for Windows users.

There are free-to-play blackjack games that can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store or played through your web browser. These maintain the betting mechanic by giving you play chips that can’t be converted into cash.

The other option is to join an online casino and play with real money. Some require Windows users to download their proprietary software, while others allow you to play their blackjack games in a web browser.


3. Chess

Chess

Chess is another incredibly popular game that can be enjoyed through Windows PCs. There are several great chess programs that you can download and install, including some through Valve’s Steam platform.

The breadth of chess games gives you access to many different variants of the game, rather than just the standard version that most people know. For example, Steam’s library of chess games includes Janggi (Korean chess), 5D chess, and Mad Chess which introduces new pieces.


4. Pac-Man

Pac-Man

Pac-Man is one of the most successful video games of all time and has been released and ported onto just about every device and form factor imaginable. Windows users have access to a myriad of different Pac-Man versions, including some that can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store.

Google even released its own Pac-Man Google Doodle in 2010 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the game. It’s still available to play through most web browsers today.


5. Transport Tycoon

Transport Tycoon

Business management games, often titled “Something Tycoon” are a dime a dozen today, with titles like Game Dev Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon, DinoPark Tycoon, Pizza Tycoon, Monopoly Tycoon, and Moon Tycoon.

It wasn’t the first, but the most famous game to ever use this name is RollerCoaster Tycoon, a theme park management game created by Chris Sawyer in 1999. However, before this, Chris released Transport Tycoon.

The game ran on DOS and early versions of Windows but has been resurrected by the dedicated community of fans who have painstakingly recreated the entire game and called it OpenTTD. It contains many of the most popular features of the original Transport Tycoon with additional elements that make it more entertaining and realistic.

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