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The 10 Best 80s Video Games

So what were the best 80s video games ever made? When it comes to the industry as a whole, we can really point to the 1980s as the golden age for video games.

With the increasing popularity of Atari and Nintendo, as well as the introduction of the PC, more and more people became addicted to these games and a billion dollar industry was born.

The Best 80s Video Games

The 1980s was a time where the world was really getting introduced to video games in their homes. Some were good, some were terrible, but most were at least somewhat entertaining.

Looking back on the heyday of gaming, there were so many video games that we could’ve chosen, but we had to narrow the list down just to a top ten. So here are our top picks for the best 80s video games:

1. Maniac Mansion (1987)

As a visual adventure game, Maniac Mansion allowed the player to take control of many characters and achieve various outcomes depending on their choices made throughout the course of the game. It was originally released on Commodore 64 and the Apple II in 1987.

The purpose was to save the hero’s girlfriend from an evil mad scientist, and this classic game used a point-and-click interface which was revolutionary at the time.

It may not be as polished as later Lucas Arts games, but it’s still a great example of the creativity and ingenuity of the fledgling industry at the time.

2. SimCity (1989)

The original SimCity was first released in 1989. A lot of people liked it because of its unique, open-ended gameplay. It gave people the freedom to plan and build towns without a specific objective in mind.

There were so many options even in the original iteration of the game. It also demonstrated that video games didn’t always have to be about evil aliens or savage monsters, and it really was a pioneer in a gaming genre.

3. Tetris (1984)

Despite the fact that Tetris is merely a puzzle game, it had a profound effect on the whole gaming industry. The first version was originally released in 1984, and it is frequently cited as the game that catapulted the Nintendo Gameboy to fame when a later version was released.

This puzzle game epitomizes the phrase “pick up and play.” It was easy to understand, but was also entertaining and tough. Since Tetris has been around for so long, its complexity and accessibility make it one of the most elegant instances of game design ever.

4. Super Mario Bros (1985)

Without a doubt, this is one of the most significant video games ever made. The game pioneered many aspects that are now commonplace in the gaming industry. The fluidity of the controls was one of the reasons it was so popular, and of course who could forget the legendary characters as well.

Super Mario Bros was included as the first game when you bought the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), so pretty much anyone who had an NES owned the game. Mario and Luigi are video game legends, and this game is almost universally known by anyone who has ever played a video game.

5. Donkey Kong (1981)

Donkey Kong was released in 1981, and it quickly became a very popular game. As a result of this game, Nintendo became a household name in the United States.

Video games had never been so popular before, and Donkey Kong ushered in a new era of gaming. In order to free the princess from the evil Kong, players had to jump over moving obstacles and climb up the ladders. A cornerstone of gaming history, Donkey Kong was conceived by Shigeru Miyamoto, the industry legend.

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6. Defender (1980)

Defender is one of the original scrolling shooter video games. When it was first released, Defender was one of the most challenging games ever made. Many gamers found it to be an overwhelming experience, even though it is widely considered to be one of the most significant arcade games ever made.

Spaceships had to be maneuvered around the rough terrain by shifting their altitude, direction, and armaments, and the challenge is what made it popular amongst players.

7. Pac-Man (1980)

In the 1980s, Pac-Man is widely considered to be the most popular and influential video game of all time. Originally created by Namco, Pac-Man has endured to this day, appearing on just about every gadget imaginable.

As a result, Pac-Man created a completely new genre of video games by breaking away from the traditional shoot-em-ups and sports games. With its challenging nature and simple design, it appealed to a wide range of people and was unlike anything else launched prior until that time.

8. Prince of Persia (1989)

Despite the fact that the franchise is most known for its 3D releases, which began with The Sands of Time in 2003, it all began with this simple game back in 1989. Players take on the role of the prince as he navigates dangerous catacombs and dungeons in ancient times.

Players were given visual cues to assist them to time their jumps in the original version of the game. The sprites in this game were the first to be animated using motion capture techniques, which resulted in a more fluid and lifelike motion.

9. Frogger (1981)

Sega released this classic arcade game in 1981. In this game, the goal is to guide the frogs back to their homes while traversing dangerous highways and waterways.

Within minutes, gamers got addicted to the game, which was both simple and cruelly difficult. There have been numerous sequels since the publication of the first game. It remains one of the all-time classics, and many still play variations of the game even till this day.

10. R-Type (1987)

R-Type has been hailed as one of the greatest side-scrolling shooters of all time. As a result of its extreme difficulty, R-Type needed a player’s full commitment.

Players could gain additional powers and charge bullets using the game’s intricate weapon system, which was notably creative. As lethal as the adversaries were, players usually had to die several times to learn the “right” path through each level.

So those are our top picks for the best 80s video games ever made. Did your pick make the list? These video games were the trailblazers of an era that would spawn a multi billion dollar industry and change the childhoods of children across the globe.

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