Top 10 games from the 80s
Today we take advantage of browser-based Flash games that we can play whenever we want, or when the boss leaves the room. To us in 2012, with the graphics and speed of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, we expect software development on console games to almost be like an interactive film.
But what we can learn from earlier consoles, like the 16-bit Sega Mega Drive, is that basic 2D games with limited movement can be extremely fun, and the popularity of Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog were testament to that.
Go back even further in time, though, and some classic games from the 80s still stand out as extremely fun and immersive – and there’s something to be had for the simplicity of games that don’t require 20-button combos to execute a move, also evidenced in the games made by mobile application developers today. So in no particular order:
- Dizzy. This was a series focusing on an egg called Dizzy, and the game was an arcade adventure. The gameplay consisted of a side-scrolling screen and the games featured different locations, from woods to caverns and islands. The object was to find objects to solve puzzles, and you had to collect money to complete the game.
- Batman. The latest Batman game may be incredible, but the 3D arcade adventure game released in 1986 had its own endearing qualities. The object of the game was to explore the massive bat-cave and find parts of the dismounted plane. It sounds simple, but even as a veteran gamer you’ll find it challenging.
- Fighter Pilot. Surely everyone alive in the 80s and early 90s has played this game. Pretending to be a fighter pilot has never been so easy thanks to the simple and intuitive controls and minimalist display. Ideal for those who lost in Asteroids and wanted to get their own back by blowing up aircraft.
- The Way of the Exploding Fist 2. It wasn’t just martial arts schools and films that benefited from Bruce Lee’s explosive impact, as this game demonstrates. What was exceptional about this adventure game from 1987 was the ability to unleash 17 different moves to take out opponents.
- Ghouls & Ghosts. Simple but challenging fun as you take a long walk in a fantasy world and confront some genuinely odd characters and countless surprises. What do you expect from a game that has its first level in a cemetery with vultures perched overhead? Just remember that there’s a monster at the end of each level – which should conjure up the nostalgia of remembering how seemingly every game had a ‘boss’ that needed defeating.
- Manic Miner. Released in 1983, this was the first platform game and featured the soon-to-be-familiar gameplay of jumping to horizontal lines above you. Venture through 20 caverns to the exit – but beware of those who want to stop you.
- Microprose Soccer. It isn’t FIFA 2012, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. Simple controls and a birds-eye view of the pitch let you tackle and score your way to football glory, and you can even change the weather.
- Rick Dangerous. Marvel at the detailed but unobtrusive graphics as you search for… something inside different and wonderful places. Even today, the ease of movement stands out against some other videogames of the time.
- Solomon’s Key. This 1987 game may be old now, but its basic concept lives on in many games with similar bases. In each level you must find keys to open doors to the next levels, and the hunt for the keys and the path to the doors involves creating or destroying bricks, trying to get the bonuses, and avoiding the obligatory creatures.
- World Series Baseball. The excellence of this 1985 game is that it showcases how simple graphics (essentially stickmen on a green background) don’t detract from playability, thanks to simple controls and true-to-life gameplay.