Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top 30 Video Games of the 1980's: Part 1

How many millions of hours did this innocent little box claim in the 1980's?

Aaron from the No Name Show ( did a show this past week in which he featured the 80's. He did his Top 7 list on the best video games of the 80's, which got me thinking back to games I loved as a lad. I disagreed with his list rather strongly, so I started putting together a list of the games I liked to try and counter his list. Before I knew it, I had a list of thirty games, and I realized I'd have to make a series on Vertically Striped Socks, so here is the first in my three part series...Best Games of the 80's. I'm sure I missed some great games, as I didn't spend hours on this, but these are 30 games in which I found favor back in the day.

30. Spelunker - This game had a frustratingly high level of difficulty, and it was notoriously unforgiving, but as you got good at it, you appreciated the skills you had developed and wanted to try and get farther and farther into the cave you were discovering. It could never work today, because it's just too hard and most would lose interest too quickly, but it was a rewarding gaming experience trying to avoid the pitfalls and gather the gold in the caves of Spelunker.

29. Pro Wrestling - This was one of the early games that was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, and although it's graphics were not over the top, it had a lot of character in it's characters. There were lots of different moves to learn and use on your opponents, and it was a pretty fun romp. All this coming from a guy who doesn't really like WWE style wresting, but this was a fun game to pick up and challenge a friend with.

28. RC Pro Am - Racing remote control cars was a blast on this game for the NES. There were powerups and weapons which you could use, and the action was fast paced and challenging. It's nothing much to look at nowadays, but in it's time it was rather revolutionary.

27. Super Sprint - This was one of the games that Tengen released without Nintendo's notoriously difficult to achieve approval. These games landed Tengen in court against an angry Nintendo bent on their destruction, but the results of what were released were better than many things that Nintendo DID authorize. This game and also a fantastic version of Tetris were eventually killed, but they were fantastic games, and worth checking out. (Plus they are collectors items today due to their rarity.) Super Sprint was a very smooth running racing game which didn't have a ton of graphical powers, but the controls were some of the best on Nintendo.

26. Karnov - The balding shirtless hero of Karnov could throw fireballs and fought in some amazing worlds replete with dinosaurs. This was a fun game that went over the top with style. It was fun to play and also fun to look at.

25. Rygar - One of the deepest adventure games released on the Nintendo, and a ton of fun to boot.

24. Qix - Over the top simplistic gameplay, but it was fun. The object was to draw boxes without letting the Qix (basically a wavy group of lines bent on destruction) hit your lines before you closed them out. It's hard to describe, but super easy to figure out. A great game with barebones presentation.

23. Donkey Kong Jr. (Arcade) - Many people put Donkey Kong in the top of lists like this, but I'll give a little spoiler. There will be no Donkey Kong on my list, I think it's overrated. However, it's little brother, Donkey Kong Jr. was a fantastic game. In it, you play as Junior who is trying to rescue his father from the evil Mario. Yup, Mario was the bad guy in this one. This was a difficult game, but dropping fruit on your enemies was utterly rewarding. I loved playing this game and could never get enough of it when I was a kid.

22. Ikari Warriors - Ah, the glory that is the code "A B B A" This game would have been terrible without that code, but with it, you could plow through fields of warfare and continually regenerate yourself when you ran out of lives. This was a fun game just because it was great to get a friend and keep moving up the battlefield. I haven't played it in 20 years, and I am positive it hasn't aged well, but man was it fun back in the day.

21. Marble Madness (Arcade) - This was an outside the box video game experience back in the 80's. It involved a trackball and learning how to maneuver your marble through a minefield of varied obstacles. It could be terribly difficult and infuriating, but it also kept me captivated a lot longer than it should have.

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