Then and Now: nostalgic games that are just as epic today as 30 years ago!

While today’s gamers value ultra-high-resolution, perfectly sound-engineered gaming experiences, it’s the old, pixelated, tinny-sounding video games that we turn to give us that warm and fuzzy nostalgic feeling.

Reminiscing about the 2D-animated, bulky video, arcade and Gameboy games not only takes us to days back when, but also shows how far our favourite games have come over the years, allowing us to celebrate the technologically-advanced takes on those incredible old classics.

Street Fighter

Street Fighter kept loads of arcade-goers entertained throughout the 80s and 90s, whether you were a skilled player who knew all the right combinations or a ‘button masher’ who just enjoyed the occasional fighting game. Pretty much everyone wanted to be Ryu, shout hadouken! and annihilate their friends in one-on-one showdowns.

And while today’s version of the classic fighting game is a far cry from the blocky, 2D platforms of yester-year (aside from an awesome old school version that was released in celebration of the franchise’s 30th birthday), there’s no denying that Street Fighter is a nostalgic part of many a childhood. 

The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda (or Hyrule as it was initially referred to) gave players the freedom to go on their own epic adventures over 8-bit mountains, through forests and over lakes, playing as the character Link who does his best to save Princess Zelda from the evil warlord, Ganon.

Fast forward 30 years and the land of Hyrule looks a lot different (despite returning to its original nostalgic feel), but the main premise behind the game – the ability to explore an open world and go anywhere you like in this realm – has been maintained.


The iconic yellow face that’s loved in arcades around the world to this very day could very well have been one of the first to popularise video gaming among young people in the 80s. Every Pac-Man experience was inevitably accompanied by onlookers either cheering players on or shouting out instructions on which direction players should go: “Go left! No, the other left!”

Aside from a few new and contemporary takes on Pac-Man games, toy releases and shows, the basic Pac-Man game hasn’t changed much since it was first released – and why would it? Pac-Man remains a cultural icon that will live on through the ages and continued to be loved (and played) by old and young alike. 


Everything about Super Mario brings waves of nostalgia – from the famously catchy earworm of a theme song to the satisfying ding! of collecting coins and boing each time Mario jumps.

Today, parents are introducing their own kids to the wonders of Super Mario through games like Mario Kart and the epic Super Mario Maker series that allows players to create their own courses. Choose the Super Mario 3D World theme for a new school take, keep it retro with 2D elements, or combine both worlds for the whole family to enjoy.

In other exciting news, Nintendo recently announced its partnership with the LEGO® Group to bring Super Mario to life through LEGO® Super Mario™, an interactive LEGO set that features an interactive LEGO Mario figure who collects coins in real-life game levels created with LEGO bricks.

“The LEGO Super Mario set brings the love of LEGO brick building and the nostalgia of the Mario franchise into the same play experience, and it’s this modern re-imagination of two of the world’s best-loved brands that people young and old can enjoy,” comments Kristian Imhof, Country Manager for LEGO Group South Africa.

From classic combat games to the loveable round yellow faces and Italian plumbers we all know and love, the nostalgia of our favourite video games and characters continues to live on – even as our favourite video game take on new and exciting modern twists to keep the next generation of gamers entertained.

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