The Best 2D Video Games of All Time

The Best 2D Video Games of All Time

There’s a lot to enjoy about 2D games, even if they may not seem as advanced as their 3D counterparts! Even if they may not be as expansive as their future successors in terms of gameplay due to how linear they tend to be, they can still provide a lot of fun for players to enjoy, especially when they’re in several genres to keep players satisfied with whatever they’re playing. Let’s take a look at several fan favorite 2D video games and game franchises of all time!

Super Mario

Mario Bros 2D game
Source YouTube

While a variety of games featuring the titular character and his friends have been made over the years, Mario still remains a part of 2D gaming new and old. Many of the best 2D video games stem from the Mario series, with sequels made after the original, remakes of the older games with updated sprites, music, and availability on then-recent consoles made after the NES, and even modernized takes on the old platformers with the New Super Mario Bros series! Aspects of several games made include Super Mario Bros 2 having 4 playable characters (Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad) and Super Mario World introducing Yoshi. Spinoffs staring other characters, such as Yoshi and Wario, have also been made with different gameplay styles in mind!

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the hedgehog 2D
Source: YouTube

It’s sort of hard to reason with the Sonic fanbase about why it’s alright to like the more recent Sonic games, but that doesn’t mean 2D Sonic’s aged poorly! The original game was fun to play, with a nice variety of both speeding through the zones and knowing when to platform smarter than harder. The sequels featuring new characters and alternate forms of obtaining Chaos Emeralds made those unique from the original, and there are also games such as Sonic CD, Knuckles & Chaotix, and both the Advance and Rush series that have their own share of adventures for the Blue hedgehog. Two modern versions of the 2D Sonic formula were made by Sega: the not-so-well received Sonic 4 and the great Sonic Mania.


Kirby 2D Game
Source: YouTube

Often a character appearing near the end of a system’s run, Kirby’s an adorable pink puff with the ability to inhale enemies and use their powers on his own advantage; this wasn’t the case for the GBA Dream Land game, but it was feature that debuted in Kirby’s Adventure and has been a part of the character since then. Some examples of Kirby’s games are known to be people’s favorite 2D video games, including Super Star, Squeak Squad, and Mass Attack. A handful of games were remade for then-modern consoles that appeared years after the originals, and even when Kirby became 3D, he still had games made for 2D platformers.

Street Fighter

Street Fighter 2D Game
Source: YouTube

Fighting games generally work better when they’re 2D, and Street Fighter is no exception. The series began on the arcades and has since then been part of the home console market. With several sequels, spin-offs, and alternate versions of the older games, Street Fighter makes for a phenomenal button-mashing game that takes characters such as Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, and more to a whole new level. Said characters went up against other properties, such as Marvel Super Heroes. SNK, Tekken, and Ryu got to appear in Super Smash Bros. while he and a handful of guest characters appeared on the mobile fighting game Power Rangers: Legacy Wars, where he had the ability to morph into the Ryu Ranger!

Ghosts ‘n Goblins

Ghost n Goblins 2D
Source: YouTube

With a goal to rescue a princess while playing as Sir Arthur and his weak armor, taking on all the weird things that would go bump in the night makes everything seem really challenging. Either way, the gameplay is more than just making sure Sir Arthur doesn’t end up in his boxers along the way, as players have to take advantage of the weapons and armory found to survive before encountering the boss. Then there’s having to replay the game again on a more difficult level, which requires remembering how previous levels and enemies were beaten. It’s something that has never changed for Ghosts ‘n Goblins, but that’s what makes the series more worthwhile for players in general!

What’s not to love with these examples of some of the best 2D video games in the world? While there are 3D games of some of these mentioned franchises that may take the spotlight, nothing’s better than trying out an old console and getting the nostalgia of being a kid and enjoying either an NES or Gameboy Advance. Modern players can also have fun with their remakes and ports