The Best Retro Games On The Steam Deck

The Best Retro Games On The Steam Deck

In an age of advancement, it was only a matter of time before we could take the offerings of the Steam library with us on the go. The Steam Deck opens up a world of possibilities for your airplane ride across the country or that hour-long lunch break from the daily grind at work.

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Now, you might find the time to finally dig into some of the mega hits of the past. You may have relegated them to the back burner until you can whittle your way through your ever-increasing stack of new titles, but inevitably, you never get to them. With the Steam Deck, now is a good time to take a look back at the best of the retro catalog.


10 Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast

Kyle Katarn fighting Imperials as a Jedi

If you ask any Star Wars gaming fan what the most memorable Jedi-centric video game is from the past three decades, Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast would be the safe bet. This original storyline will introduce you to Kyle Katarn (if you haven’t heard of him in other Star Wars media before), a former Jedi who operates as a contracted blaster-for-hire for the New Republic after the downfall of the Empire

Of course, Kyle must take a journey that sets him back on the path to becoming a Jedi in order to combat the threat of an Imperial Sect that is still at large and led by a powerful force-user. Combat is absolutely thrilling in this adventure.

9 Quake

Quake player shooting a shambler

This first-person shooter dabbles in gothic and medieval fantasy. It launched in 1996 for the PC, furthering id Software’s penchant for shoot-em-up carnage on screen following Doom and Wolfenstein 3D. However, Quake shifted away from using 2D sprites on a 3D plane in favor of fully rendering enemies in three dimensions. It started what became notable as one of the best arena shooter series of all time.

First-person shooters have only gotten more complicated. Taking an FPS from the simpler days on the go is an easy choice. It popularized quick and frenetic combat making heavy use of strafing, jumping, and even low gravity. You can’t go wrong adding this one to your Steam Deck library.

8 Final Fantasy 8 Remastered

Squall preparing to attack in Final Fantasy 8

Perhaps one of the wildest Final Fantasy adventures occurs in the eighth mainline entry. Follow Squall as he and his allies contend with a fearsome sorceress. The game honors the Final Fantasy legacy and mechanics in this turn-based affair. The remastered edition of this classic smooths over the rough edges of this title that first debuted on PlayStation in 1999.

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From a gameplay standpoint, it’s what you’d expect. Collect summons, magic, and weapons that yield devastating results in order to advance your cause. So, get swept up in this wild adventure that will take you across a mysterious fantasy world and even to space and back again.

7 Chrono Trigger

Chrono and his allies in Chrono Trigger

Originally launched for the Super Nintendo in 1995, Chrono Trigger shares plenty of DNA with the Final Fantasy series, most notably, a shared co-creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi. The game follows a silent avatar by the name of Crono along with his allies Marle and Lucca among others.

This turn-based adventure is one of the finest RPGs to play on the Steam Deck. Chrono Trigger will have you battling foes across several different time periods including the prehistoric era and a technologically-advanced future. It’s a time-traveling fantasy that will have you gathering allies, information, and items to aid you in the quest.

6 Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil

Turok fighting a Dinosoid

This sequel to the Nintendo 64’s Turok: Dinosaur Hunter managed to up the ante from its predecessor. It pushed the Nintendo 64 to the limits graphically and refined the shooting mechanics of the original game. Now fans can enjoy this first-person quest in a remastered format on many platforms.

The player character is the Turok who succeeds Tal’Set the hero of the first game. His name is Joshua Fireseed, and he is tasked by a mysterious alien woman named Adon with defeating the Primagen, a powerful alien entity that uses its telepathic ability to harness enemy combatants across the land.

5 Duke Nukem 3D

Duke Nukem shooting alien on city streets

“It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of gum,” says the inimitable Duke. The one-liner-spouting hero of his own series of games puts his ego on full display in Duke Nukem 3D. You must saddle up as Duke and single-handedly stop an alien invasion. Along the way, Duke will debase himself with crass humor and relish in his womanizing ways.

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The fast and brutal first-person gunplay makes for a good time. You can even use a shrink ray to turn your enemies into ants and then step on them. It really is a laughable, but fun portrait of action heroes in the ’80s and ’90s.

4 Grim Fandango Remastered

Manny talking to his boss in Grim Fandango

If you know who Tim Schafer is, you can likely thank Psychonauts and this 1998 title, Grim Fandango. Long before Schafer led his studio DoubleFine, he worked at LucasArts. Schafer wrote this adventure game that follows Manny (a spirit depicted as a skeleton) in the Land of the Dead.

You control Manny in this Mexican-inspired world as he solves puzzles while on the job at the Department of Death. He acts as a travel agent who assists the souls of the departed in finding their way to the Land of Eternal Rest. It’s a quirky game filled with a rich narrative, colorful dialogue, and engaging characters.

3 Doom (1993)

Doomguy shooting demons in Doom

Who needs the Doom Slayer when the Doomguy is still living large on modern platforms? Embark on the original hellish first-person shooter where one space marine seeks an end to a demonic invasion on Mars in Doom (1993).

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Travel across the surface of Mars and even into the pits of Hell to show demonic hordes that humans aren’t worth messing with. Like Quake, it’s an engaging shooter from simpler times. Just think, this pixilated display of violence toward demon monsters led to a lot of pearl-clutching in the early ’90s and is partially responsible for the ESRB as it stands today.

2 Deus Ex

Augmented mercs attacking in Deus Ex

Long before Adam Jensen’s neo-noir cyberpunk thriller in Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, there was JC Denton. Alright, chronologically that’s backward as Adam Jensen’s story is a prequel to the original 2000 game, simply titled Deus Ex, that follows United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition (UNATCO) agent JC Denton.

This first-person experience dabbles in the shooter, stealth, and RPG genres. As Denton, you will investigate a plague and unravel a conspiracy enacted by a shadowy organization. Fans of the niche cyberpunk genre will undoubtedly have a blast with this title as well as the prequel games that followed it years later.

1 Half-Life

Gordon Freeman fighting Xen aliens

How could you not play Valve’s debut first-person shooter, Half-Life, on their premiere handheld machine? This game was launched in 1998 to critical acclaim. It places you in the shoes of a scientist by the name of Gordon Freeman who must combat interdimensional aliens as they tear through a portal that his outfit, the Black Mesa Research Facility, had opened.

Of course, things take an increasingly wild turn when the U.S. government gets involved and attempts to murder the scientists who witnessed the event in a cover-up operation. This is one legendary sci-fi thrill you can’t miss.

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