ON August 20, competitors from all over the world will be travelling to Le Mans, France, to take part in the Super Mario Kart world championships ... including, er, me!

Yes, I have decided to join team UK and take the good fight to the French, who are apparently the biggest threat to British success (the reigning world champion is Sami Cetin, from good old Blighty).

My entrance into this competition has been met with a mixture of disbelief, admiration and derision by my friends and colleagues, and threats of divorce by my wife (the tournament takes place over four days), but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

So, in between practising on this 20-year-old SNES classic, I’ve dug deep into the computer history books and compiled my top five list of the best ‘retro’ games of all time.

All of these are playable using emulators, and some can be played on new-fangled tablets using either a Bluetooth control pad (such as from a PS3 or Wii), or, if you find this too tricky to set up, using a USB converter widget, available cheaply online.

5. Monkey Island – The first two are by far the best. Genuinely laugh-out-loud jokes, puzzles that are tricky without being too illogical or too straightforward and superb atmosphere and dialogue make these the best point-and-click adventures ever made. Play them using ScummVM, which is available as a mobile app as well as a desktop application.

4. Baldur’s Gate – In my university years, if I wasn’t sleeping until noon, I was probably playing Baldur’s Gate or its sequel. Okay, so they probably ruined my higher education, but they kept me entertained for hours. An app called GemBR will let you play it on a phone or tablet.

3. Super Mario Kart (SNES) – In terms of longevity, this game has no equal. I’ve been playing it regularly for 20 years (that might say something about me rather than the game) and it still feels as good as it did in 1993. It has spawned many sequels, but none of them have bettered the satisfying racing physics of the original.

2. Doom – The original 3D shooter (apart from Wolfenstein 3D – but Doom is far better). Terrifying and action-packed in single player, it really came into its own when several PCs were connected for multi-player action.

1. Ultima Underworld – An esoteric choice for the number one spot. Ultima Underworld was arguably the first 3D RPG, paving the way for such hits as System Shock, Bioshock, Fallout 3 and the Elder Scrolls games. Back in 1992, this was beyond ground-breaking – the sense of exploring a fictional fantasy world was unrivaled, and you can play it today using DosBox. The thought of exploring the cold, dark depths of the Stygian Abyss still sends shivers down my spine. Legendary.