In the age of the PS5 and the Xbox Series X, playing any game that doesn’t come on a console might seem akin to making shadow puppets on a dimly lit wall. However, there are plenty of analog games that may be oldies – but are definitely still goodies. There’s a reason why the offline game industry is still alive and well, despite the arrival of its new-fangled counterparts.
But which pastimes are more popular than others? We’ve trawled through the archives to handpick a handful of our favorite non-console games from throughout the ages – and when we say non-console, we mean those which dispense with the technology of all and any kinds. So the next time you suffer a power cut, or the internet goes down unexpectedly, blow the dust off these classics and enjoy some old-fashioned fun.
One of the oldest forms of gaming in human history, dice have been around for almost as long as humans have written things down. They’re extremely versatile and generally don’t require other equipment – especially if you’re playing Street Dice rules or something similar – making them almost universally accessible.
The absence of difficult rules and sophisticated strategies is also a point in the plus column for many people since you can dive right in without too much preamble.
The ultimate game of strategy, chess, invites players to always think several moves ahead. This element of forwarding planning makes it such an absorbing experience but also stands those who practice it regularly in good stead for many other aspects of their lives. There is significant scientific evidence that suggests playing chess on a regular basis is excellent at bolstering cognitive function and improving overall brain health, as well.
While chess is a pure test of strategic ability, poker brings several other factors into its mix, as well. There’s the bravery of betting it all when you don’t have the cards to back it up, as well as the acting skills to trick your opponent into thinking you do.
This element of duplicity is what makes poker so irresistible to many players since behavior that is normally frowned upon (deceiving others) is actively encouraged within the realms of the game.
The board game equivalent of a TV quiz show, trivial pursuit tests the general knowledge of its competitors to crown one the undisputed winner. While the dusty and outdated editions that many of us hoard in our attics are no longer fit for purpose, the concept itself is just as strong as ever. As such, it’s important to get your hands on a recently released version of the game to make sure the colorful and quizzical pieces of its pie haven’t gone stale with the passing of time.
The most active of all the suggestions on this list, Twister is the very definition of an oldie but a goodie. By encouraging you to contort your body into all sorts of unnatural positions, it invites you to get up close and personal with your rivals, making it an ideal icebreaker among those who don’t know that well. There’s also an argument to be made that it can improve the flexibility of its participants, though it’s probably not advisable for those with a bad back.
Console? What console? These five offline games are still firm favorites, despite the fact that they don’t require an electrical socket to power them up.