Japan has made some of the most iconic and influential video games in the world. These games are cultural icons. Even the earliest and simplest of them were huge leaps in design innovation and captivated generations of gamers. Modern games can trace their descent back to these legends. Some have spawned franchises that are still continuing to this day.

If you want to play famous arcade games in Tokyo, head to Akihabara. Photo Credit: clry2 at Flickr,

As video games are more popular than ever, we believe every game fanatics needs to play these classic video games. These are great time killer games, and most importantly addictive! Some of the series of these popular PC and Console games can even be played on Android and iOS devices. That sounds awesome!

Before you start downloading the games, check out their requirements. If everything looks great, go ahead and enjoy playing the games on your mobile phone.

So what are the top ten classic Japanese video games?

1) Space Invaders

Space Invader is one of the classic Japanese video games! Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Space Invaders was and still is an arcade staple. It’s a fairly simple game, a simple two dimensional shooters. The player controls a laser cannon that moves horizontally and shoots alien space invaders that descend across the screen.

The game increases in difficulty the longer you play it. Eventually a primitive ‘boss’ will make an appearance. It used an innovative soundtrack and sound effects. The game’s influence has extend well beyond other video games and made it into popular culture, including movies, television, books, and even art.

2) Street Fighter

Before there was Mortal Kombat, there was the Japanese developed Street Fighter. This fighting game was released in 1987 and set the standard for the whole genre. It uses two dimensional graphic to move surprisingly detailed sprites across the screen. Players execute attacks using button combinations in one-on-one battles with a variety of opponents.

The game was so popular that it received ports to several computer systems. Street Fighter introduced so many concepts that became popular in all kinds of fighting games, from the control scheme to the fighters with strong personalities that are common in all fighting games today.

3) Final Fantasy

Few video game franchises have a history as complex and influential as Final Fantasy. The original Final Fantasy was released in 1987 and since then the franchise has seen over 100 releases in a variety of genres and on almost every platform. Final Fantasy focuses heavily on plot and character.

While many of the games are set in their own worlds and are not linked together through their plots, they use common mechanics, terms, and even names. The series is always pushing the envelope in gameplay and visuals. It’s developed a following worldwide and even has a crossover with Disney in its Kingdom Hearts series.

4) Silent Hill

Silent Hill is considered by many to be the horror video game series above all others. Grotesque, violent, and disturbing, this Japanese-made game series is always very popular among fans. Every game is linked to the titular town of Silent Hill, home to strange powers and a frightening cult.

The gameplay has a number of variations, from combat to stealth, though all stress an eerie and eventually terrifying sense of loneliness.  Its monster designs are iconic and their influence can easily be found throughout many genres, especially horror. There are many Japanese horror video games series, but Silent Hill has influenced all of them.

5) Pokémon

It seems little can stop the Pokémon juggernaut. Created in 1995, the Pokémon Company is still putting out Pokémon games, including the highly popular mobile game Pokémon Go. The franchise extends well beyond games, into movies, manga, and trading cards. The game is centered on catching fictional animals called Pokémon, training them, and dueling against the Pokémon of other trainers.

It combines elements of simple strategy, exploration, and story-driven games with the weird addictiveness of collecting games. The unique look and odd names of the Pokémon have made a mark in popular culture throughout the world. Every player has their favorite kind, which is easy with the ever-expanding roster of Pokémon.

6) Resident Evil

Once upon a time, Resident Evil was one of the very few games that explored the zombie apocalypse. A combat-puzzle-survival horror game hybrid, the Resident Evil series pits various heroes against the evil Umbrella Corporation whose experiments have produced a zombie virus and far worse monsters.

Resident Evil has given us the popular conception of zombies as a shambling, rotting, cannibalistic horde and, with Resident Evil 2, showcased a city dealing with the horrors of the zombie virus. The series has been continuing since the first Resident Evil came out in 1996 and has made a number of spin-off games from the main series.

7) The Legend of Zelda

Few Japanese video games have come as far or done as much as Legend of Zelda. The original game was a top-down adventure game, but the series has explored all sorts of different gameplay styles, from open world exploration in Breath of the Wild to the odd Spirit Tracks game that was centered on trains.

Players always play as Link, a hero who has returned throughout ages, and often must rescue the Princess Zelda, who also returns throughout the ages. This adventure is accomplished through the use of many different kinds of tools and weapons, as well as some of the spectacular, innovative, and fun boss fights in gaming.

8) Super Mario Bros

The Super Mario Bros games were among the first games played by many people. The first Mario games were simple, requiring players to navigate complex levels on a long quest to rescue Princess Peach from the dragon-like Browser. As the series continued, more and more characters were introduced, including the dinosaur Yoshi.

There are many games in the Super Mario Bros series that moved from the ‘rescue the princess’ storyline and old-school style, including the Mario Party games that are essentially video games meant to be played with friends. The series has taken more elaborate turns lately with Super Mario Odyssey, which is much more open-ended and exploration based.

9) Sonic the Hedgehog

Japanese Sony’s blue speedfreak hedgehog Sonic has been zooming through games since 1991. While the reviews for many Sonic games have been mixed, there’s something amazing about being allowed to run as fast as you can through levels.

Sonic has found his way into a variety of different kinds of games and even into cartoons and comics. He even had a cameo in Disney’s Wreck-it Ralph.

10) Pac-Man

Pac-Man is one of the most recognizable game characters to come out of Japan. This round, hungry mouth must navigate a maze in his game, eating dots and occasionally fruit while dodging ghosts who want to eat him.

When certain things are eaten, the ghosts change color and become temporarily edible. The goal is to eat all the dots in the maze without losing all Pac-Man’s lives. While this game has had a couple attempts to change it, the old school game can still be found in arcades today.