What Are the Oldest Games You Can Play Online?

Online games have only really been around since the late 80s and early 90s, when the combination of the internet and video game technology combined to create the online gaming revolution that is still in full swing to this very day.  

However, there are some games that still captivate online audiences despite having first shot to fame offline, sometimes centuries or millennia ago. This can mean that a gamer entrenched in a certain level or tournament may not realize the complex and long history that lies behind the game they are engaging with.

Here we take a look at some of the world’s oldest games, which have since gone on to claim a significant chunk of the online gaming space, despite many observers believing that the internet and modern high-tech mobile devices would be the death knell of games like chess, blackjack, and backgammon.

Chess is a game whose origins stretch back hundreds of years and yet it has become an online sensation thanks to a new generation of tech savvy grand masters like Magnus Carlsen

Chess – First Moves Made in 600 AD

The dawning of the internet was expected by many people to signal the end of ancient games like chess, which had enthralled players for centuries, but would no longer be able to compete with the eye-catching graphics and 3D dynamics of more modern gaming fodder.

Instead, nothing has been further from the truth, with the internet age giving this classic board game a whole new lease of life. The online gaming lobbies of today are a long way from the game’s humble beginnings in India. It was there that the traditional game of Chaturanga was re-jigged to create a game that acted as the forefather of what today is known as chess.

Some of the first people to bring the game west were traders and missionaries, who had visited places like India and picked up the game as a result. One of the first people to pen rules for the game of chess was a Spaniard called Rui Lopez, whose book of rules first came to light in 1561. Chess players have not looked back since as is evidenced by the millions of people who play the game on sites like chess24.com and lichess.org.

Blackjack – First Hands Dealt in 1600s

A century after chess was being cooked up in India, the classic card game of blackjack was being devised. Once again it was Spanish gamers and aficionados who take the credit, as first mention of the game in ancient writings was made by Cervantes in a book called Rinconete and Cortadillo, which formed a part of his 12 Exemplary Novels.

The game is thought to have been derived from an even older game by the name of Trente-un and only adopted the modern rules people know and love today in the 18th century, when it became known as Vingt-un (21). And the history of what became a casino floor staple did not stop there, as the game was fine-tuned in the US having made its way there in the 19th century. It was there that it was finally called blackjack, after a promotion which some gaming establishment’s ran whereby a black jack card held by a player would pay out an additional bonus.

Of course, now there are all sorts of online promotions and bonuses available for blackjack players to take advantage of, but none as influential as the one that gave the game its name in the first place.

When it comes to longevity, backgammon is a tough game to beat, having first been devised thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia

Backgammon – At Least 5,000 Years Old

While there is no doubting that both chess and blackjack are seriously historic games, there is another game that easily outstrips both when it comes to longevity. That game is backgammon, which is known to have been played 5,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia, a territory that today spans Iraq and Iran. The game is widely played online by a dedicated base of players.