Among one of the most popular and well-known programming languages of the 21st century, Java is a household name.
Created in 1995, the programming language prides itself on the mantra write once, run anywhere (WORA), making it incredibly useful in a world awash with different devices each running on differing architectures.
While we’re all used to Java applications—from Spotify servers to the Android operating system—Java has also been used for creating a variety of games since its creation. Let’s run down some of our favourites.
As a colourful, tactical turn-based MMORPG, Wakfu is quite a unique gem. Crafted by Ankama Games for Windows, Mac and Linux, players take control of one of 16 classes as they explore a variety of dungeons.
Beyond turn-based combat, the game also includes some quite unique political features, allowing players to elect a player-Governor of each of the four nations every two weeks.
Beloved by many, the world of Wakfu was also turned into an animated series by Ankama Animations, released in France to great fanfare. It is currently in its third season.
2. Worms: A Space Oddity
Adapting the classic Worms turn-based formula to the Nintendo Wii, developer Team17 opted to employ Java.
While the game’s DNA remained much unchanged in this instalment of the franchise, the game mobilised the Wii’s, then, unique gesture controls allowing players to launch attacks in ways they never had done so before.
While the Worms franchise had previously utilised Java one more time for the mobile game Worms Golf, they quickly moved away from Java in the following instalments of the series.
3. Saints Row 2 (Mobile)
Back in the late 2000s, Saints Row was a formidable franchise which took on Grand Theft Auto while turning absurd wit up to eleven.
Alongside THQ’s console game, the company commissioned G5 Entertainment to create a mobile version of the game which was released in 2008.
Following the story of the series, players were given the opportunity to fight and expand gang territory, just like in the full game. Although this version employed an isometric top-down look, highlighting minigames over the open-world shenanigans of the full console game.
Being created for mobile, it’s no surprise that G5 Entertainment chose Java, as thanks to its write once, run anywhere philosophy, Java was among the best bet for mobile developers at the time.
Created in 1989 SimCity was… not initially built on Java. Seeing as it outdates the programming language itself.
However, Will Wright’s legendary game, produced with Maxis, has lived a life far beyond its years.
After the original release on the Amiga and Macintosh, followed by the Commodore 64 and IBM PC systems, SimCity was continually ported from system to system so that players in the early 90s could experience its wonders.
This version was released in 2013 and is still playable today.
5. Spiral Knights
Created by Three Rings Design, Spiral Knights released in 2011 onto a bustling marketplace. However, it set itself apart from other massively multiplayer online titles by being totally free to play which, at the time, was a rarity amongst MMOs.
In the game, players control a knight of the spiral order. After crash-landing on a mysterious planet, Knights cooperatively battle monsters throughout dungeons in order to progress the story and, of course, get their hands on that glorious loot.
Just over a year after its release this hack and slash had amassed three million accounts, marking it as one of the most popular games in the history of Java gaming.
Created by Jagex—standing for Java Gaming Experts—RuneScape is, of course, one of the most famous examples of a game created in Java.
Initially launched in 2001 and quickly becoming a defining game of 2000s gaming, RuneScape immersed players in the world of Gielinor, a medieval fantasy realm divided into different kingdoms.
Giving players the opportunity to customise their avatar—both cosmetically and in terms of stats—RuneScape quickly became a foundational MMORPG known for its combat, PvP and iconic gameplay.
While Jagex slowly migrated away from Java in order to produce the more recently released RuneScape 3, they rolled back the clock releasing Old School RuneScape.
If you’re a fan of OSRS or RuneScape 3, head over to Eldorado.gg to get ahead. There you can get your hands on plenty of OSRS gp or even some boosting and a fresh account. Whatever you need to get ahead, Eldorado has it.
While there are some well known games on this list, there is no game as well-known as Minecraft—meaning that the most popular game in the world is a Java game… Sort of.
While Minecraft was originally written in Java by Markus Persson and Jens Bergensten, the game was later recreated outside of Java as the game grew exponentially. With versions such as Minecraft Pocket Edition being written in C++, while the original release came to be known as Minecraft: Java Edition.
Minecraft, of course, needs no introduction. It is the most defining game of the 21st century so far. Meaning that, whether you know it or not, if you played Minecraft in the first few years after release, you will have played the most successful Java game ever made.
Despite its fantastic use cases and widespread general use, Java remains somewhat obscure in game development today. While there are many reasons for this, from popular game engines using other programming languages to many larger studios preferring more purpose-built programming languages, that does not mean it has not left its mark on gaming. And, who knows, the next big game may just be written in Java.