As gaming evolves and we’re now able to fight our way through realistic
warzones, face hordes of undead or stop nuclear attacks from giant
robots, I can’t help but feel like video games just aren’t as fun
anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love next generation gaming as much as
the next guy! However, you have to admit that the 80’s golden age of
gaming was a lot more lighthearted and enjoyable than wading through a
Modern Warfare Veteran difficulty. So step back in time with me and
let’s recall some of the greatest games of the 80’s.
Donkey Kong (1981)
Before this loveable ape went around collecting bananas, animal tokens and
launching himself out of barrel cannons, he was a menace who kidnapped
Princess Peach! Playing as everyone’s favorite plumber Mario, it was
your job to climb steel girders,
fireballs and look out for flying barrels as you made your way to Kong
in order to save the Princess. Incredibly, the game was made in 1981 and
even to this day I still find myself giving it a go every now and then!
It takes a very strong willed person to not become completely hooked on
Tetris. Even in this day and age, Tetris proves to be one of the most
addictive games of all times. Needless to say, Tetris is by far one of
the greatest games to be churned out in the 80’s. It’s quite easy to see
the inspiration Tetris has had on the evolution of gaming. From Columns,
to games like Super Puzzle Fighter, they all have an element of Tetris
Duck Hunt (1987)
Armed to the teeth with a NES Zapper, the aim of the game was simple.
Unleash your wrath on as many flying ducks as possible to achieve a high
score. Who would have thought that such a simple game would’ve turned
out to be so much fun! Admittedly, it’s not quite as fun as using the
Wii Zapper on some mutating corpse, but back in the day this game was
It seems like such a simple idea, all you have to do is make it home! As
always it’s not that simple, there are cars, disappearing turtles and
floating logs all standing between you and your swampy home. So the
question is do you make a manic dash for glory, or take your time and
play it out like a game of chess? This game was truly universal hitting
not only the arcades but most consoles of the time.
Although the sound effects may have sounded like a swarm of attacking
killer bees Pole Position was a revolutionary game at the time. The
arcade version came complete with a steering wheel and gear stick (which
were still played on by many kids whose parents wouldn’t stump up the
cash for a game!). The game also pioneered the ‘rear view’ racing style
of racing games – where you see the car on the track – still used in
games to this day.
One of the original arcade hits, Centipede again made its way onto
numerous consoles. With true 80’s blip-blop sounds and great 8-bit
graphics centipede still remains popular with die-hard centipedians.
Shooting parts of a centipede and turning them into mushrooms may sound
simple but it spawned a host of clones, as well as a home board game!
Q-Bert is definitively one of the most recognizable characters to emerge
from the 80’s arcade games. With his colorful graphics and unmistakable
protruding nose gamers of the time couldn’t help but help Q-Bert
Qollecting Quarters! The aim of the game is simple, change the color of
all the blocks in the pyramid, however as always there are forces at
work to stop you, leading to a very addictive game! Q-Bert was not only
a popular game but spawned an entire range of merchandise and an
animated TV show!
Alex Kidd in Miracle World (1986)
Collecting coins, swimming away from the scary frog monsters and playing
rock paper scissors at the end of each level, ah those were the days! If
you had a Master System II then of course you were blessed with Alex
Kidd being built into your console. Unfortunately this game ruined my
fragile little mind as I still struggle to get that blasted theme tune
out of my head!
It really doesn’t get any more retro than the little yellow greedy guts
who used to eat Pac-Dots whilst avoiding those pesky ghosts. The fact
that Pacman still lives on to this present day pretty much says it all!
Pacman is probably the greatest game ever to be developed by Namco,
which is really saying a lot!
Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap
Okay, so technically this is more of a classic RPG than an arcade game,
but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave it off the list. The game
definitely made a change from the linear games that were dominant in the
80’s. Players would get the chance to free roam across a 2D world and
collect weapons, armor and clues. The player would also transform into a
different animal after defeating each boss which ultimately really
spiced things up. It was extremely addictive and had some of the best
music I’ve ever heard in a video game!