Top 10 Retro (8-bit & 16-bit) MMO Games

New, new, new. That’s the mentality of most people in this world, and gamers are no exception. MMO communities aren’t the only group of players who want state of the art improvements to their genre. Mass multiplayer online titles have become one of the most popular genres available in gaming today. Video game companies are always looking for their next online endeavor. With so many of these modern titles going free to play, it’s hard to NOT stumble upon something you like when it comes to gaming. Whether you’re a young individual looking for your first adventure, or an 80’s born geek that’s been around since the industry took off; there’s definitely something for everyone when it comes to gaming.

Gaming has gone through some massive changes since coming into existence, but players will forever cling to the nostalgic moments those experiences have to offer. As a gamer who finds himself dissatisfied with many popular modern titles, I’m not one who shies from his retro life as a gamer. Like many retro fads in entertainment (music, television, etc), gaming is very subjective to someone’s personal preference. Retro games may not have the attractive graphics modern successors do, but I’ve always said there is brilliance in simplicity. Not everything in gaming is about visual realism. That’s why MMO ATK hunted down some of the better online options that bring players back to the time of 8Bit and 16Bit consoles. If you are looking for an online experience that emulates classic systems like the NES, SNES, and Gameboy, this Top 10 list is certainly for you.

[heading]10. Haven and Hearth[/heading]Haven and Hearth kicks off the list by providing players with a fundamentally changeable world. Changes can be permanent in this MMORPG, which gives fans a reason to stay dedicated in returning to their one of a kind world. The game lands low on this Top 10 list due to it still being in early development stages. Functional components of the game are in place and allow people to get involved with early access. There is still much to be added (and removed) before the game really takes off, but that doesn?t mean MMO fans should miss out on a retro gaming experience because of it. Players are thrust right into the game as they will immediately have to lead their character out of a dangerous wilderness with nothing but a crude weapon. Players will utilize fire many times as it is a central theme in this MMORPG. People will blaze their own trails while questioning the path of others. Each path leads to the acquisition of a different ability, and each new ability is one step closer to easy survival. Haven and Hearth has a long way to go, but definitely earns the right be noticed by fans of retro gaming.
[heading]9. Brick-Force[/heading]Brick-Force is quite a unique online game. The free-to-play 3D FPS incorporates a sandbox style universe for players to create and compete in. Brick-Force uses a very specific style of graphics, in what could be called a 3D view of 16-bit gaming. This is slightly different from games like Minecraft and Neverdaunt, which look to be 3D renderings of 8-bit worlds. Differences aside, Brick-Force delivers fun online multiplayer action. There is tons of customization when it comes to building levels. Players will have lots of fun experiencing all the perks and pitfalls from fan made creations. Too bad this MMO experience doesn?t offer anything gamers haven?t seen. Instead, Brick-Force is just another endeavor that brings together favorable aspects of online gaming. Whether you care about the awesome retro look or not, Brick-Force ends up being an entertaining first person shooter worth looking at, even if it?s only temporarily.
[heading]8. Pixel Champions[/heading]Pixel Champions is exactly the type of MMORPG it sounds like. The highly pixilated 2D universe lets players traverse through tile-based environments in their endless quest to become an elite hero. By the way, when I say endless, I mean endless. This MMO has absolutely no level cap on characters or skills. You can theoretically keep getting stronger forever, which will get old for any gamer, even if desirable in a massive world. The game is only free-to-play until level ten, thereafter needing an upgraded account to progress. If you find it in your gaming heart to fork over five bucks though, you will have endless pixilated RPG madness. Don?t expect to run out of things to look for either. There is a smorgasbord of items in Pixel Champions. Rings, Tools, Potions, Weapons, Amulets, Armor . . . the list goes on. The point is that there is plenty of content to keep both retro and MMO gamers occupied for a very long time. The game is currently available on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
[heading]7. Serenia Fantasy[/heading]Emulating basic 16-bit combat, Serenia Fantasy is quite the find for fans of retro gaming. The free-to-play 2D MMORPG successfully brings retro battle mechanics to a massive online community. Challenging territory battles present an intense online environment, but relaxed crafting and fun events help keep the experience balanced. The browser based MMO limits itself having only three classes, but characters can focus on one of nine talents to make each experience different. There are also hundreds of skills to choose from which will mold each character in unique ways. A transformation system makes Serenia Fantasy stand out. Pet Transformation lets certain characters turn into most monsters they find in the game. Pet dedication and PvP conflict will really make players feel like they are part of a real 16-bit community. Serenia Fantasy also has multiple game modes, making it a diverse MMO that already promised so much variety.
[heading]6. Neverdaunt: 8Bit[/heading]Neverdaunt: 8Bit is an unusual game with an unusual community. This is a sandbox MMO that takes players into a 3D world of creation, and destruction. Free for all PvP keeps the action flowing, but you?ll be spending most of your time constructing the world around you. Neverdaunt is somewhat of an indie cousin Minecraft. Despite having the lower quality graphics you come to expect in retro gaming, Neverdaunt succeeds in many areas Minecraft does not. It?s an MMORPG where everyone will explore, battle, and build in a persistent universe. The freedom to create almost anything is where this game shines. Players have brought many creations to life in Neverdaunt; including an e-mail system, unique triggered events, and even video games. Video games within a video game?! Whoa, kind of Inception-y don?t you think? What could be cooler than building a true 8-bit console within a modern 8-bit MMO? All you have to do is head over to the Neverdaunt: 8Bit website, create an account, and download the game to see this retro MMORPG in action.
[heading]5. Realm of the Mad God[/heading]If you?ve seen some of our other Top 10 lists before, than you were probably expecting this bullet hell MMO. Realm of the Mad God uses simple 8-bit graphics to keep players moving through battle after action packed battle. Simplicity helps when traveling through a massive online world too. Players can gain enough levels to teleport to one another instantly, regardless of location. This concept does wonders for a browser based shooter with so much co-operative gameplay. Realm of the Mad God gives equal full reward for all players participating in a battle, rather than splitting the earned experienced like most MMORPGs do. The game also features 14 classes which can be unlocked as a player progresses. Some classes have better speed, some have better defense. The point is, there are many ways to master this brilliant 8-bit endeavor. You may want to get a jump on mastering those skills right away. After all, a game with permadeath will have some harsh moments if you?re not prepared.
[heading]4. Seyken: Crystal Kingdom[/heading]Retro looking MMOs are made for fans of classic console gameplay. Many games on our list remind us of the days where the Nintendo Entertainment System rained supreme. Seyken: Crystal Kingdom takes us to a newer generation of Nintendo gameplay, with ?Super? looking 16-bit graphics. The game, created by a small group of classic JRPG fans, allows players to experience old school game environments with hundreds of friends. The retro ambiance of Seyken: Crystal Kingdom incorporates elements of modern MMORPG mechanics. New content is constantly being added to the expanding online world, something retro game cartridges were obviously limited with. Companions and mounts will support solo and co-op campaigns, even if the storyline leaves much to be desired. The story is a work in progress though and will definitely do the job until updated. Fans of the 16-bit era can look forward to a full bestiary of enemies along with unforgettable PvP encounters. Crystal Kingdom includes base, mid-level, and high-level classes for characters to advance through. Players will be able to customize their looks enough to keep their pixilated protagonist from getting lost in the crowd. By integrating the familiar item system seen in the Diablo series, it?s no wonder why Seyken: Crystal Kingdom is the current talk of the retro gaming community. The game is currently on Steam Greenlight and is starting to look like it may stay for good.
[heading]3. 8Bit MMO[/heading]One of the most popular 8-bit MMOs is in fact called, 8BitMMO. Players will work co-operatively or alone in this fun filled 2D MMORPG. 8BitMMO is a free-to-play massive sandbox game that allows players to establish towns by building custom houses and castles. This retro MMO world is fully created by its players and allows for some great PvP experiences between them. Castles will come in handy protecting your town against the constant threat of living in a persistent streaming world. An active community helps players progress and keeps gameplay highly addicting. Unlike most MMOs, this one doesn?t feature a central story for players to follow. Instead, 8BitMMO allows for complete sandbox customization while including a few flexible quests. Virtual currency can be purchased in this MMO title, which may have some players questioning the games balance. Rest assured, more gold for one player means more content for everyone. Letting a community expand the world they wish to take part in makes 8BitMMO a must play for any retro gaming fan.
[heading]2. Fan Made Pokemon MMORPGs[/heading]We here at MMO ATK are no strangers when it comes to wanting a modern MMO version of Pokemon. Despite Nintendo?s attempts to seem like an internet hating hipster, fans went right to work at pushing their favorite series to the next level. Most of the games on this Top 10 list were created by retro gaming fans, and that?s exactly what most fans of the Pokemon franchise still are. There have been tons of MMO creations trying to bring Pokemon fans together. Pokemonium, Pokemon Cyrus, even the better known Pokemon World Online. After many tests, reviews, and player opinions though, it seems that one fan made marvel soars above the rest. That 16-bit wonder is PokeMMO.

Putting fans right into the universe that made the Pokemon franchise famous, characters will begin as if they are playing Fire Red. Instead of leaving your house to find the same three NPCs walking around as you always do though, imagine dozens of other players waiting for their next battle. PokeMMO is plain and simple a great RPG that now allows interactions with a massive online community. Finally, players will have the randomly spawned PvP encounters they?ve always wanted. The game is a completely free download too, which is always a plus with online gaming.

The final reason making PokeMMO such a success, is the lack of end game. Players will never run out of things to do. With a combination of up to six creatures, strategies are already seemed endless in Pokemon. Opponents are always changing their lineups and new players are always being introduced. Different pokemon are always being traded and individual battle techniques are always improving. Fans of retro style gameplay akin to old handheld systems will love PokeMMO; and any Pokemon fan who hasn?t given this game a shot is seriously missing out.
[heading]1.NEStalgia[/heading]What started as an online multiplayer for classic JRPG fans has transcended into full fledged MMO greatness. NEStalgia uses a unique style of cross generation RPG gaming. The game puts players through classic turn-based battles, while delivering the modern MMORPG aspects players have come to expect. It best emulates Dragon Quest, but the website describes it as ?Dragon Warrior 3 meets World of Warcraft?.

NEStalgia has a very close community of players. Instead of having an over abundant crowd of similar faces like most MMORPGs, server population here is limited. This keeps an online world balanced and leads to repeat encounters with players, forming closer bonds within the community. Supportive teamwork from other players will be a normal occurrence in this 8-bit MMO, but so will PvP. Gamers will be face off against each other in a number of tournaments, or take on the massive PvE world with their favorite guild members.

NEStalgia is free-to-play and almost completely avoids real money transactions. Players can access a paid subscription, which is basically just a donation toward future game development. Don?t worry; the paid subscription only gives a few bonus character classes, which makes the free version almost identical. Eight character classes, unique move sets, and a full auction house system are all available free of charge. Donations have easily been a leading reason behind this games massive success though. NEStalgia has grown better and better with every update, and it certainly isn?t showing any signs of stopping.

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