The latest edition of our Do You Remember series takes a look at the very best 80s video games. This was a huge decade for the gaming industry with the launch of many games that have gone on to become global icons.
Today Lifeline24 picks just a few of the top games from this era of gaming for you to read about and reminisce about your times in the arcades.
Pac-Man has become a cultural icon and is arguably the most well-known game ever made. If you ask anybody on the street to name a video game, chances are they will say Pac-Man. Even now, after 36-years, Pac-Man is played by people of all ages around the globe.
The Pac-Man game idea was created by Namco employee Toru Iwatani. It is said that he thought of the idea when he was staring at a pizza which had two slices missing – resembling the shape of an open mouth.
The game was released in 1980 and became an instant success. The player would take Pac-Man around a maze, trying to collect all of the Pac-Dots without being caught and eaten by any of the enemies. There were four enemies, or ghosts as they are also known, on the game – Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. They would try and trap you on the maze in order to take a life from you.
There are four bigger Pac-dots on the maze which allow Pac-Man to turn the tables and eat the enemies for a brief period of time. Random fruits would also appear on the screen for a brief period of time which would give you a points increase.
There have been plenty of versions of the game since including a Ms Pac-Man version and it is still available to play today in the arcades, online and on games consoles.
Another of the most well-known out of all the 80s video games is Tetris. This has become the most popular, challenging and admittedly sometimes frustrating puzzle game of all time.
The game was created by Alexey Pajitnov in 1984. Mr Pajitnov programmed computer games that tested the capabilities of new equipment developed by the USSR. In his spare time, he drew inspiration from his favourite puzzle board game, Pentominos, and decided to create his own computer game.
On Tetris you need to carefully construct the ‘Tetriminos’ to build your wall. Each Tetrimino – or brick – will need rotating and moving into position but will be moving at speed so you will need to be quick. The speed increases every level causing some players to eventually panic, causing them to run out of room and time.
The aim is to achieve as many lines as possible in order to keep the wall away from the top of the screen. Each level has a target number of lines for you to aim for.
Tetris was originally available on PC and in the arcades but later made its way on to Nintendo’s Game Boy handheld device and their NES Console. Today it is available on the internet, on your mobile phone, on tablets and on games consoles.
Pole Position was one of the first arcade racing games made and it become a instant success. Like Pac-Man, the game was designed by Toru Iwatani for Namco. The racing game was released in two different configurations: an standard upright cabinet, and an environmental/cockpit cabinet.
Following its release in 1982, Pole Position became the most popular coin-operated arcade game in 1983, also becoming the highest-grossing arcade game in North America that year. Its success means that Pole Position is often considered to be the most important racing game of all time.
The game itself sees the player driving a Formula One car around the Fuji Racetrack. The game would begin with the time trial qualifying round, where the player must complete a lap in a time between 90 and 120 seconds to qualify for the championship race.
If successful the player will line-up on the grid alongside seven other cars ready to race. In the race the player must be careful not to hit any of the other cars or run wide off the track into obstacles such as road signs. Doing so will cause your car to ‘explode’ and re-spawn back onto the track.
Hitting puddles or going onto the grass would also slow your car down. Pole Position was the first racing game to feature a real track and a qualifying round. A sequel was released in 1983 which featured three new tracks and improved graphics.
When you think of 80s video games then Nintendo’s Donkey Kong has to be up there as one of the most successful. Released in 1981, Donkey Kong became one of the best-selling arcade machines of the early part of the decade.
In the game, Mario – yes thee Mario – has to rescue his girlfriend after she is captured by the evil Donkey Kong. The game was one of the first to have a complete narrative told alongside it – with cut scenes showing the princess being captured by the evil ape.
The player must take Mario and make his way up each structure without being hit by barrels another objects being thrown by Donkey Kong. The original had four stages which after completion would repeat but at a harder and quicker pace.
The game had two sequels in the 80s and has since seen a whole host of versions released. Of course it also led to the creation of the Super Mario game series, which became an icon in its own right.
There have also been several Mario Vs Donkey Kong games released and Donkey Kong also appears in various Nintendo games in cameo roles.