Saturday, August 1, 2009

Top 30 Video Games of the 1980's: Part 3

And now...Part 3:

10. RBI Baseball - While increases in technology have improved many different genres of sports games, baseball games seem to get less and less fun the higher the computing power gets. I would much rather play the awesome RBI Baseball than anything available in the baseball category on XBox 360. This game was easy to pick up and play, and it led to this incredible video which recreates the famous (if you're a Mets fan) or infamous (if you're a Red Sox fan) 1986 World Series Game 6 with Vin Scully announcing.

9. Super Mario Bros 2 - SMB2 is actually a pretty good game, but it's not really a Super Mario game. The REAL Super Mario Brothers 2 was released in Japan, and it's a game that is almost identical to the first SMB, only MUCH MUCH more difficult. Nintendo decided that the game was waaaaay too tough for their American audience, so they made a decision to take a random game called "Doki Doki Panic" in Japan and to modify it slightly to include Super Mario Bros characters and release THAT as SMB2. While Super Mario Bros 2 definitely has it's detractors, I found it to be a deep and fun game with a lot of fun and varied levels.

8. Legend of Zelda - Zelda was one of the first games with a save feature, it had so much to explore that unless you were very good at it or had a long time to play, you weren't getting through it in one sitting, so Nintendo figured out a way to let you save and come back to it. Wow did I keep coming back to it. Finding hidden caves with bombs, earning new weapons, defeating difficult enemies inside treacherous dungeons...Zelda was a game you truly had to explore. That is commonplace now, but it was new and exciting in the 80's. Plus it came in a nifty gold cartridge, which was pretty sweet.

7. Ms Pac Man - Here is one scenario in which I would rather watch the women's game than the men's game. Ms Pac Man was faster and had more interesting cut scenes than her beau, and the game was just a little bit better. This game was a classic, and I still am not averse to dropping a quarter into a Ms. Pac Man machine if I come across one. It's still a very good game, and I love making her eat pretzels.

6. Metroid - This was a very deep and interesting game for it's time. There is a ton to discover, and Mother Brain is one of the cooler bosses in video game history. Plus, the first time you beat the game and discover that Samus Aran (the cool character you have been playing with the entire game) is actually a girl? Well, that was quite a shock!

5. Star Wars (Arcade) - This game was in arcades everywhere in the 1980's, and it was AWESOME. It was a game you sat down in, and it had vector graphics, and you basically were piloting an X-Wing on your way to destroy the Death Star. You felt like you were Luke Skywalker, which is pretty darn cool when you're 12. To make it even better, it had authentic voice overs from the movie such as Obi-Wan telling you to "Use the Force." For nerdy kids everywhere, it didn't get much better than blowing up the death star after a harried space battle. Good Times!

4. Super Mario Bros 3 - This game was technically released in 1990 in the US, however, Japan got it in the 80's, so I'm counting it. This was probably the best game ever released on the Nintendo, and I remember that I traded in probably seven or eight of my other games in order to get it...and I considered that a great trade. There was more to do in this game than you could believe was possible for a Nintendo game. It was a fantastic time! It probably should have rated higher on the list, but the three games above it have tremendous sentimental value to me.

3. Mike Tyson's Punchout - The cartoony art style and tight controls made Punchout a must have for every Nintendo owner in the 80's. Plus, Mike Tyson was at his fearsome best when this game was released, and the idea that you could fight him was awe inspiring. True, once you figured out the trick to beating a guy, it was basically just a matter of getting your timing down, but it was easier said than done. The just right level of challenge, plus the specter of Iron Mike, plus the fantastic characters that you fought against made Mike Tyson's punchout a classic great. Oh, and beating Iron Mike was tough, but not impossible. It just took a LOT of practice, he was an animal.

2. Tetris - If I were deserted on a desert island, and could only have one game to play for the rest of my life, my choice would easily be Tetris. This game made it's debut in the late 80's, and has since showed up on every video game system, cell phone and calculator out there. It's a gloriously simple premise which has yet to get old in the last 20 years. Easily one of the greatest games ever made. Just about everyone has played Tetris at one point or another. The falling block game can be so addictive that if you play it too much, you can keep playing it in your mind as you are trying to go to sleep. A condition my college roommates and I labeled, "The Tetris Demon." I love Tetris with a deep and abiding love, as deep a love as a man can have for a video game. Tetris is swell.

1. Super Mario Bros - The most influential video game of all time. I won't even argue this. Super Mario literally changed the way video games were played and percieved. It is a true work of genius, and although it seems quaint by today's standards, if Super Mario Bros hadn't come around, I have a feeling that the whole notion of video games would be different today. Not only is it important, but it's fun. This is truly a great game, and is worthy of the respect I bestow upon it as the #1 game of the 80's. (And probably of all time.)


Scott Haynes said...

While there are many great selections in the list (the opening human speech of Double Dribble always cracked me up), I can't believe you left out Double Dragon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! TMNT was loads of fun, and I couldn't beat it even with Game Genie.

Craig Dodge said...

Double Dragon is so overrated it's laughable. I did play that game a ton back in the day, but it's really not that good, and it hasn't gotten better with time. I stand by my list.

TMNT on the NES was a solid game. That one could have made the list possibly, as I really liked it, however it is vastly inferior to the TMNT Arcade game which would have easily made this list had it not been released in 1990 and just missed the cut.

Claire T. said...

I agree with you 101% that Mario Bros is No. 1 video game of all time. My sister and I spent our summer holidays away trying to rescue the princess. Sadly I was always Lugi, i am the younger one.
Now that my sister has a 7yr old son I play the same game with him too :) Just that now I am Mario! And he is Lugi ;)