10 Most Influential Video Games from the '80s

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The early days of gaming has a lot of rich history and it wasn't hard trying to find 10 Most Influential Video Games from the '80s. From the continuation of success with the arcade market, the beginnings of PC games, the North American industry crash, and the popular rise of home consoles, you're looking at a lot of options to choose from. We've taken the liberty of cutting down the fat and bringing you 10 Most Notable Video Games from the '80s.

  • 10

    Q*Bert - 1982

    Gottlieb

    Our 10 Most Influential Video Games from the '80s starts off with Q*Bert -- the platform game where the goal is to change all the colors of the cubes to advance to the next level. In order to do so, the character has to jump to each block, activating the change. Along with increasing difficulty by adding more times you need to hit the blocks, he also gets greeted by several enemies. Coily chases you, Ugg and Wrong Way like to hang on the sides of the platform, and Slick and Sam like to reverse your progress by switching the colors back. This game became such a hit that it is one of the most merchandised arcade games of the '80s.

  • 9

    Duck Hunt - 1984

    Nintendo

    Let's not get started with the dog. We all know we hate to see him peek his head up and laugh at our failed attempts. In order to keep him at bay, the player needs to shoot the ducks on the screen which fly around every which way. After a designated number of successful hits, the player can advanced to the next level. The game didn't receive too many reviews at first, but when it started getting bundled with the system, more talk followed. The results were having an established notable video game from the 1980s -- and an established "most annoying character". It also brought light gun games to home consoles and we all love those!

  • 8

    Street Fighter - 1987

    Capcom

    In Street Fighter, the player takes on the role of martial artist Ryu, competing in the world tournament that spans across five countries, where he encounters 10 opponents along his way to victory. In his matches, he can perform three attacks by kicking and punching. Let's not forget he can also do three special attacks using a combination of buttons. Street Fighter became so popular that it was imported to multiple home systems after being out in the arcades.

  • 7

    Castle Wolfenstein - 1981

    Muse Software

    Set in WWII, in Castle Wolfenstein your main objective is to make your way through the castle levels, uncover the war plans, and escape with all your limbs. Starting off with just a gun and some ammunition, you are expected to get around the guards that will stand in your way. Castle Wolfenstein was such so influential in the 1980s that games made afterward helped make first-person shooters gain popularity.

  • 6

    Pole Position - 1982

    Namco

    Pole Position brought a few 'firsts' to the racing game genre -- a real racing track circuit and a qualifying lap where the player had to compete in a time trial before the real race. After completing the pre-race lap, the F1 race would commence. This is where other cars would compete for the championship as well. As simple as it sounds, it was an all-around fun game back in the day. It continues to be as it is used on multiple ports like home consoles, computers, and even iPods.

  • 5

    Donkey Kong - 1981

    Nintendo

    Donkey Kong is credited with being a major turn around for the video game industry as well as being a breakthrough for Nintendo. Originally Radar Scope, Nintendo assigned Shigeru Miyamoto with the job of taking the failed video game and making it something that would bring success in America. It worked. People loved the game in which the character is out to rescue Pauline from DK, having to climb a construction site with obstacles in order to do so. The documentary King of Kong put DK back in the spotlight, where he continues to shine. Donkey Kong climbed his way onto our list of 10 Most Influential Video Games from the '80s.

  • 4

    Mega Man - 1987

    Capcom

    Mega Man was a slow-seller at first, but all that changed after Mega Man 2. With the help of its sequel, it has become another notable video game of the 1980s. The story is about Mega Man who combats against the evil Dr. Wily and his robots. The game itself has a non-linear approach, which is the complete opposite of other games such as Super Mario Bros. You are able to pick what level you want to start with and go from there. After completing each level and defeating the boss, Mega Man will acquire the boss's Master Weapon for the rest of the game. Sounds like a good deal to us.

  • 3

    Super Mario Bros. - 1985

    Nintendo

    Mario is considered the mascot of the video game industry. Super Mario Bros. features Mario where he goes around multiple levels, stomping on enemies, and collecting coins to reach Princess Peach and rescue her from Bowser. It has been such a tremendous success that nearly every Nintendo console has this available to play on, and is in second place for being the most sold game.

  • 2

    Tetris - 1984

    Alexey Pajitnov

    Tetris - the game in which its title derives from the world tetra (think of the four segments of the pieces), and tennis (the creator's favorite sport). This game can get highly addicting for such a simple goal. The objective is to line up the blocks by rotating them so that there are no gaps left. As the lines becomes completely filled with the blocks, it will disappear. The more lines you clear, the higher the score! Gamers around the world still play Tetris to this very day and developers are still trying to beat its popularity.

  • 1

    Pac-Man - 1980

    Namco

    You can't think of the 1980s without remembering Pac Man. Iconic to the decade, it has inspired television series, songs, and various forms of merchandising. The entire play through of this phenomenon is having Pac Man munch on all the pellets on the board before the enemies hit him. Once all the pellets are eaten, the player advances to the next stage. You can also eat the power pellets that flash on the four corners. They allow you to temporarily take a bite out of your enemies and send them flying back to their home. Pac-Man's influence on video games is felt to this day, which is why it's #1 on our list of 10 Most Influential Video Games from the '80s.

Categories: Lists, Retro Games
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