Over the years, video games have come in all shapes and sizes.

They’ve loaded from cassettes and cartridges, so-called floppy disks that were rigid, and CD-ROMs. You can download them today or stream them, and if you look hard enough, almost every single game ever released can be found to play on your PC.

Some gamers now find journeying back in time just as exciting as buying and playing new video games. There was something simpler about games of yesteryear; they were more playable as they couldn’t rely on fancy graphics and sound to lure you in. They had to be enjoyable, responsive and keep you entertained even if you were essentially doing the same thing repeatedly. Today, if you buy an open-world 3D adventure and the side quests are not up to much, the game will be panned. Before the turn of the century, most releases relied on one sole principle to appeal to customers.

The best of those are still cult classics today, and many have had a lasting impact on the world of gaming. Here is our pick of four influential video games you should play at least once.

Worms (1995)

Worms was released in 1995 with tongue-in-cheek humor and an interesting concept. It’s a turn-based 2D battle game, with elements of strategy thrown in for good measure. Over the years, the Worms franchise has grown, reaching out into the 3D market on consoles. The game’s influence can’t be denied; Worms 4 can be found on mobile devices and is popular today. The online slot gaming provider Foxy Games has a title based on the series Worms Reloaded, which trades on the imagery, if not the battle concept. You can even buy Worms Rumble, the latest in the series, on PlayStation 4 and Xbox. All these tie back to the 1995 original.

Lemmings (1991)

Lemmings landed on home computers in 1991 and quickly became a hit. The idea was to save as many Lemmings as possible by navigating them through treacherous levels intended to kill them all off. It was a puzzle game with strategy elements, but like Worms, it was also laced with humor. Like Worms, you can find remakes on the current generation of home consoles and titles such as Lemmings: The Puzzle Adventure on mobile devices. However, to truly appreciate the journey, you have to find the original for a few hours of play.

Cannon Fodder (1994)

Cannon Fodder is an underrated classic, not just because of how it played, but because it was one of the first video games that came with a message. As Generation Amiga pointed out, its tagline was ‘war has never been so much fun’, and the game was fun. It presented you with various levels to conquer, and you could power up your soldiers to navigate the point and click interface. However, you got attached to your soldiers, and at the end of each level, you were presented with a tribute to each who died. It conveyed a strong anti-war message, from the title, through the gameplay and beyond. It’s still as touching and addictive as it was in 1994, and it was very much one of the first video games to deliver a message.

Super Mario Brothers (1985)

Super Mario Brothers is perhaps one of the most influential games ever released, not least because it sparked a franchise that is still popular today. It dropped on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985 and quickly became a phenomenon. It is the grandfather of platform games, a genre popular throughout the late eighties and nineties. It wasn’t just revolutionary in terms of design and concept; it was also insanely playable.