Pac-Man is one of gaming’s biggest and longest-lasting icons so it makes sense that Pac-Man Museum+ was made to celebrate his 40th anniversary. It’s available on the game pass and offers players some of Pac’s most underrated and greatest outings.
It isn’t the only modern collection of classic games around as plenty of them have mimiced the classic arcade experience of never knowing what you’ll find. These collections do a good job of mixing both famous classics and unknown hidden gems just like Pac-Museum does, offering a nostalgic yet fresh experience.
Atari Flashback Classics (2018)
Atari Flashback Classics boasts the highest number of games together in a single collection at 150. This is in part due to the fact that many Atari titles are small and simple. Regardless, there are plenty of hidden gems from gaming’s earliest days in this massive package.
The collection spans games from the arcades as well as the 2600 and 5200 consoles. Some titles like Pong include both arcade and console versions. It also adds online multiplayer and leaderboards. Classics such as Adventure and Breakout can be played here alongside lesser-known titles like Steeplechase and the Realsports series.
Space Invaders Invincible Collection (2021)
One of the few series that’s been around longer than Pac-Man is Space Invaders. The game is one of the best arcade titles ever and codified tons of gameplay tropes. The series hasn’t evolved as much as others but it has released tons of addictive sequels that can be played in the Invincible Collection.
The game features 11 different titles, including the original’s monochrome and colored versions. Later. more obscure entries like Arkanoid vs Space Invaders, a bizarre crossover with Breakout, are also included. The Japanese collection contained the ultra-obscure Genesis version which was sadly excluded from the English release.
Double Dragon & Kunio-Kun Retro Brawler Bundle (2019)
Double Dragon and River City Ransom (also known as Kunio-Kun) are two of the oldest landmark arcade series. Both beat-em-ups are known for their style and the fittingly stylish WayForward and ArcSystem Works work on both nowadays. Kunio is an icon of Japanese arcades and Double Dragon is an icon of American ones, so it’s fitting they’d be paired.
They share a creator and cameo in each other’s games, so these counterparts almost feel like one series. The game includes the original NES Double Dragon trilogy and the NES River City Ransom games, even the unlocalized ones. This brings the collection to a total of 18 excellent retro brawlers to keep fans satiated until River City Girls 2.
Contra Anniversary Collection (2019)
While most people are familiar with the NES game, Contra started in arcades. Its sequel, Super C, was also first released there despite the “Super” suggesting Super Nintendo. The series was released to celebrate Konami’s 50th Anniversary and fits in well among the other arcade collections better than other Konami series like Castlevania do.
The run and gun action harkens back to the days of coin operation with ten classic games. Not only does it include the arcade original and its sequels, but their NES, Game Boy, and Genesis ports as well. Finally, the European re-tool of the series, Probotector, is also included in a complete classic package. It’s a much better indication of the franchise than the Switch’s Contra: Hard Corps.
Konami Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection
The third of Konami’s 50th-anniversary collections and one of the best games of that type is their Arcade Classics Collection. Unlike the other two which stick to one series, this game jumps around in franchises. As a result, it covers ground from the aforementioned Castlevania to some of their more obscure hits. It’s perhaps one of the best ways to play Twinbee nowadays.
Most of the games on the collection are shoot-em-ups and six of them are related to the Gradius series, though other franchises do appear. The collection’s infinite replayability and save functions make it a much less stressful way to play these iconic space shooters. The final touch of multiple display modes and border types is the cherry on top.
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (2018)
The iconic SNK company is mostly known for fighting games, especially in North America, but they have published games for decades in many regions and with plenty of variety. SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is a great place for SNK newcomers to discover something new. The compilation includes twenty-four games that prove why the Neo-Geo was so sought after.
The game is a great place to see the origin of characters that appear in the King of Fighters series. The Ikari Warriors and TNK games debuted Ralf and Clark and Athena and her posse first appeared in Psycho Soldier. That game actually had one of the first vocal tracks in gaming which is a fun bit of surprise trivia among the many hidden surprises to unearth here.
Capcom Beat-Em-Up Bundle (2018)
Capcom has surpassed its arcade heyday. Their success with single-player content is undeniable, but they still pay tribute to their roots. Their beat-em-up roots are frequently referenced in games like Street Fighter and Devil May Cry and new players can experience these classics themselves with the Capcom Beat-Em-Up Bundle.
It includes seven games with online multiplayer included and has well-known titles like Final Fight matched with obscure releases like Battle Circuit. While some fans lament the lack of licensed titles like Dungeons and Dragons, there are sci-fi and fantasy-themed games to satisfy the itch. Finally, all of these games also received new art for the games by Capcom artwork veterans.
NAMCO MUSEUM ARCHIVES Vol 2 (2020)
Of course, Pac-Man wasn’t the only instant classic Namco made back in the day. The NAMCO MUSEUM ARCHIVES series is a great place to relive the company’s storied past. Volume 1 includes a unique demake of Pac-Man Championship Edition, in classic style. If players can only get one, though, they should spring for the higher reviewed second volume.
Volume 2‘s appeal was its more obscure and unlocalized games, with many obscure arcade sequels like Dig-Dug II finally receiving mainstream release. What a lot of people don’t know is the famous space shooter Galaga (also included) is also a sequel. Its sequel, Gaplus, also has a new version like Pac-Man in the previous volume.
Genesis Classics Collection (2018)
While not strictly based on arcades, it would be a shame to exclude the Genesis Classic Collection. It’s one of the best collections available on modern platforms and features some of the most awesome SEGA Genesis classic games. These games were released in volumes on PC (where they can be purchased separately) but the console version features a much larger library with the total amount of games being over thirty.
This compilation has obscure games and classic SEGA mainstays alike, including Streets of Rage. Sonic the Hedgehog is included, although its sequels have been removed from the PC store due to the upcoming Sonic Origins. There is a reason to get them on PC, however, as these versions support fan mods. Regardless, the collection offers a great way to play tons of classic SEGA games with high-quality fidelity.
Capcom Arcade Stadium (2021)
As previously mentioned, Capcom has one of the best arcade lineups of any developer still in business today and still makes frequent references to it. They have managed to create a pretty unique way of accessing their classic catalog in the Capcom Arcade Stadium. Much like Pac-Man Museum+, the game takes on the facade of an arcade to offer its games up though these games can also be bought individually for cheap or in larger bundles.
While initially criticized, the upcoming 2nd Stadium and its new games have brought skeptics over to its side. The original has 32 playable games with the sequel set to double that amount. Additionally, the emulator allows rewinding gameplay, difficult settings, variable speed, and numerous display options. When it comes to experiencing the glory of the bygone past, Capcom Arcade Stadium is the definitive package.
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