Looking for a trip down memory lane with a quick stop of nostalgia? Today we’re talking about the best childhood video games, at least in my opinion. These games are still relevant even today with their own remasters and remakes, they shaped not only our childhoods, but the gaming industry as we know it today.
1. Final Fantasy VII
You knew this was going to be on this list right? Love it or hate it, this is one of the most renowned JRPGs ever. It was Squaresoft’s (now Square Enix) first Final Fantasy in 3D, with animated enemies. The journey of Cloud and his companions would extend over three discs. Since then, it has seen multiple rereleases, including digital versions, across multiple platforms. And of course there is the remake that came out back in 2020.
This game continues to be considered one of Square Enix’s best games to date. It spawned several side games such as Crisis core on the PSP and Dirge of Cerberus on PS2. Not to mention there is a battle royale game on mobile devices. Oh, and also a full length animated movie, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
It seems this game entered our childhood and has never left with how much Square Enix plans to milk it. Still, it doesn’t take away that this game includes an amazing story combined with the fun and interactive materia system. I still think the original version of this game can still be played and enjoyed today.
For those unaware, the current remake of this game only covers the Midgar section of the game. That’s right, this full remake of FF7 is going to take a long while until the entire thing is completely remade. I think it’s safe to say, we’ll be seeing a lot more Final Fantasy VII content for years to come.
2. Super Mario 64
I feel like in this day and age, just about any Mario game could be someone’s childhood favorite. I personally chose Super Mario 64 because it was the first game that I ever played. For others it might be the very first Super Mario on the original Nintendo. For others it might be Super Mario Sunshine on the Gamecube. Or anything in between.
The point is, everyone’s favorite Italian plumber, was probably a part of everyone’s childhood at some point in their gaming career. We never got tired of exploring new worlds, getting new powerups, all while trying to save the beloved Princess Peach.
Mario also never seems to have left our childhood as he still gets new games. His latest one being Super Mario Odyssey, however he gets so many side games it’s actually quite insane. He has a new soccer game coming out later this year, Super Mario Strikers. Not to mention Mario (and the rest of the cast) are featured in other games like Mario Party, Smash Brothers, and Mario Kart.
Our favorite Italian plumber is here to stay on Nintendo’s forefront for plenty more years to come.
3. Pokémon (Any)
Much like the previous series, I can’t just pick a single Pokémon game as everyone’s experience will be different. For me, the first Pokémon game I played was Pokémon Blue on the GameBoy Color. Others might have started around Gen 3 or 4, or even later and that’s ok!
I think the anime also had a lot to do with this game’s huge success. As I am sure the Pokémon anime was a childhood show for a lot of people as well.
That being said, what is it about the Pokémon series that makes it so popular? Is it the adorable creatures that we can capture and collect? Is it the cool evolutions and wanting to make our Pokémon as strong as can be? Whatever the reason might be, this franchise is still one of the most popular ones out there.
With a 9th generation being announced just a week ago, short after the release of Pokémon Arceus. Pokémon fans seem to be eating well this year with all the new games coming out.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
While this may not be the best childhood game for me personally, I know a lot of people grew up playing this game. As well as the many other Legend of Zelda games like Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, Link’s Awakening, and so on.
It seems Nintendo is like the Disney of the video game industry as it captures many gamers’ nostalgia and childhood games, even today. This game is no different, with the latest addition to the series, Breath of the Wild, being a very successful hit for Nintendo.
Fans are eagerly awaiting the much anticipated sequel, Breath of the Wild 2, later on this year. Fans can’t help but love this games puzzles, exploration, and adventure as we, much like Mario, venture Hyrule to save Princess Zelda.
However, Nintendo has managed to keep Zelda fresh throughout the years by introducing entirely different mechanics with each game. For example, in Majora’s Mask players are given a time limit before the moon crashes into Hyrule. In Breath of the Wild, players are free to explore a big open world, Twilight Princess had Link transform into a wolf on command.
The developers never seem to run out of ideas to keep Link’s adventures exciting and its players wanting more.
5. Halo: Combat Evolved
Finally! Not a Nintendo game. In fact, I recently just completed this game so while it may not be the best childhood game for me, I know this is a renowned game for many others.
This is probably one of Microsoft’s most popular game franchises from yesteryear. I remember when the second Halo game was released on the original Xbox, everyone at my school was talking about it. I wasn’t able to play it (still haven’t yet) since I didn’t own an Xbox.
I’ll be honest, while I think that Halo:CE was good for it’s time, it hasn’t aged well. At least in terms of level design. It is still a fun experience, especially with a friend for co op shenanigans. The music however, is fantastic.
Halo is also popular for its multiplayer scene as well, with the release of Halo Infinite we saw interest in the competitive Halo scene once again. It was nice to see Halo back in the spotlight again, but for how long, nobody really knows.
When it Comes to Discussing the “Best” Childhood Video Games…
We all experience things differently. Some of you might have read through this list and thought, “I have never played any of these games.”. Others might be saying, “Hey! You forgot about *insert popular nostalgic game here*”.
That’s the thing, if I were to talk about every single “best” childhood game out there, well then this post would go on for quite awhile.
In fact there are a few more games I want to give a special mention to. Also want to note that just because there are games that aren’t listed here, doesn’t mean they aren’t good at all. There are simply just too many to name and remember.
That being said here are a few more special mentions:
- Kingdom Hearts
- Final Fantasy 8, 9, 10, and 12
- Resident Evil
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Vice City
- Duck Hunt
- Street Fighter
Did I Miss Something From Your Childhood?
Thanks for reading this post, if you feel like I missed a game, or want to share your own childhood video game memories feel free to do so in the comments. Also, while we don’t have these games available in our store, we do have some of the newer titles mentioned.
I loathe the day when I write something like this again and the popular opinions are games like Fortnite, Minecraft, League of Legends, and so on. Makes me feel old.
Feel free to browse for titles like Pokemon Arceus, Breath of the Wild, Halo Infinite, as well Mario collection that includes Mario 64. We are always adding new video games (as well as other things) to our store so check back frequently.