The 80s were a great time for games; it was the boom of both the PC and home console games, the beginning of an entertainment genre we all know well today. Back then games could be made by hobbyists and studios leading to an array of games ranging from simulation to totally bonkers.
Let’s take a look at some of the best games of the 80s.
Maybe arguable about being the “best”, but it definitely a classic. Chuckie Egg was a simple concept; collect 12 eggs on each level before time ran out. Of course, you had crazy hens to deal with as well as a troublesome environment.
Tetris is one of the most recognizable games in the entire world although there are now hundreds of versions of this game today, the first was released in 1984 on the Commodore 64 and IBM PC (remember those?). The game still holds up as one of the most purchased games today, even with the likes of Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty surrounding it.
Oh, Duck Hunt, is synonymous with the NES of old. Duck Hunt was a launch game, which explains why everyone owned it. With the ability to use the NES zapper to shoot down ducks, this game was a technological wonder at a young age. Too bad you often had to place the Zapper right up against the TV screen to actually get a clear shot.
Originally designed for the arcade, it was ported to the Sega Master System as well as Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum and spawned a whole slew of awesome sequels. It still has a tight cult fan base today and I don’t think we have seen the last of that little guy. What I never could work out though is where a prehistoric boy gets a skateboard.
Paperboy may have been one of the hardest yet most loved games of the 80s. Delivering papers to neighbors seems easy on paper until you realize you have dogs, puddles, and ridiculous other obstacles to avoid to make it safely to the end of a level (which lets face it, rarely happened). I remember loving this game but it was so dam hard I just go excited when I made it to the bike park with the jumps in.
An arcade release for Capcom (who now creates such franchises as Resident Evil), that puts you into a plane named the “Super Ace’, with the goal of shooting down enemy planes. The game is a classic and has been re-released for pretty much every major console and now enjoys its latest edition on both the Wii virtual console and the DS.
Side-scrolling beat em’ ups are some of my favorite games and Double Dragon was one of the first I ever experienced. With its co-op, great soundtrack and a seemingly never-ending stream of enemies, I lost hours in this game as a kid. This game started a whole genre of side-scrolling beat em ups, some of which can be seen in our feature about retro beat-em-up games
Another epic beat em’ up, taking place in a Conan the Barbarian style world, My favourite character was the Elf as he had more magic slots and my dark side got some enjoyment out of kicking these little magic-stealing nymphs or midgets, or whatever they were. And who can forget riding those beasts that kicked ass. I’ve still sat down and had serious discussions about Golden Axe with friends today.
Auf Wiedersehen Monty
German for “Goodbye Monty”, this game was actually the fourth in the Monty series, though probably the one that was best known. It had the graphic style of a Ghosts & Goblins game but epic maps in Metroid style. This game was totally bonkers and really made no sense at all. Bouncing heads, hats with legs and a plethora of famous places. Despite it making no sense it was great fun to play and will stay with me for years to come.
Treasure Island Dizzy
Treasure Island Dizzy was the bane of existence for some and a video game love for others. Created in a joint venture between the Oliver Twins and Code Masters this adventure/puzzle game is probably my all-time favourite game of the 80’s. The idea was simple; get Dizzy off the island. Dangerously, Dizzy could die from most anything, rendering this one of the more difficult games of the time!