are in my opinion the most significant of the
classic games. These are the ones that pushed the
envelope, blazed new trails and kept us glued to
the TV screen or kept us in the arcade. These are
both arcade and home games. My only criteria was
they had to be pre-Nintendo, have been fun, had
some significance to the industry and had some
originality. I decided to include both the arcade
and the home versions because some
games were much more
significant at the arcade than
the home version. Send any
mail to let me know what you
think. Let me know what you agree with and which games you think I am
way off base on.
only was it a defeat the enemy and move to the next stage kind of game,
but it also added the puzzle element. You received bonus points for
lining up the specially marked blocks. While it may seem minor at the
time, it was a predecessor to puzzles in games. Plus, it was good to see
another original gaming character, this time being a penguin.
KC MUNCHKINS-Another game
that set the stage for a lawsuit. While it was a blatant ripoff of
Pacman, it did offer some new features that weren't found in Pacman. The
main addition was the ability to create your own mazes. This was the
first step towards making the game interactive. For once we could have
some control over the game we played. We could stamp our own
individuality on it even if it was erased when the game was turned off.
We all felt a little like programmers.
GOLF-As far as I know, this
was the first golf game in video game for. It came out for the 2600 and
would set the pace for what has become a huge market in the video game
market, especially the computer market. While the computer game of golf
has evolved quite a bit, the basics were established way back then and
the seeds were planted.
One on One-This
may not seem like alot as it started as a computer game and was ported
to the Colecovision and the Atari 7800, but this was the first game to
featured endorsed players in the game (Larry Bird and Dr J) and was one
of the reasons for the success of Electronic Arts, who are the biggest
software company in the world! So if you are looking for a game to
thank or blame for stuff like Buster Douglas Boxing and the Madden
series, then this is the game.
always, Activision provided another huge selling, rapid firing game.
This time you pilot a plane that has to go down a river and destroy
everything in its path. A very addictive game and one that help create
the vertical shooter market that was so prevalent in the late eighties
and early nineties. Games like Xevious and others were later versions of
games like this.
was the original space game and helped influence Asteroids. The only
reason this game isn't higher is that most people never played it, due
to how early it came out. Still a very advanced game considering its
STAR RAIDERS-One of the first
games to have you going across the galaxy. The game was so much more
advanced that it even came with its own joystick. This game was popular
on all three of the retro Atari systems (2600, 5200 and 8-Bit
computers). Great game that was a hit on all of the systems and an
racing game where you could either shoot your enemies or bump them off
the road. Plus one of the first games that had powerups you could pick
up to improve your vehicle. We all know how significant powerups were to
the shooters of the Nintendo era. The game also had some great music.
The Coleco version is still a great game, and one that I feel is better
than even the Nintendo.
FORTUNE BUILDER-This Coleco
only game took the Utopia idea in a new direction. This time you were
building a whole city with resorts, stores, gas stations, etc... Was the
next step forward towards the Sim city type game. Actually was quite
advanced for its era. Plus, you could have two players building at once.
a new genre of game where you dug under the ground and could drop
boulders on creatures heads. Boulderdash and others took the idea and
improved on it. The idea that you could literally blow up your opponents
was a unique addition. It added some strategy as you could use this as a
way to get them under rocks and drop them on their heads. I also like
the different vegetables that appeared on each level.
PITSTOP-Who would have
thought that one little addition would completely change a game? The
addition of a pitstop where you had to quickly change the tires and fill
the gas tank made this a great racing game. This new skill to master
kept me busy when an ordinary racing game would have been swept aside.
game set the stage for the transformation of the game industry. While
this little game is often forgotten, it began many of the staples of the
later Mario games as well as the numerous ripoffs. The hitting the
creature to stun it and then having to kick it to get rid of it, was
used extensively in Super Mario Bros. It also marked the start of Mario
getting top billing and showed he was a viable character without Donkey
Kong. While this may seem trivial, I look at this game as the bridge
from Donkey Kong to Super Mario Bros. Oh yeah, it is a great two player
game and you cannot have enough of them!
it was a lot like Phoenix, but it is the game that put Imagic on the
map. It helped to build an image for what was possibly the #2 or at
worst #3 independent software developer of their era. The endless
barrage of flying alien ships kept those joysticks ablazing and the
thought of getting to the mother ship and destroying it was enough to
keep us going.
was the beginning of the side scrolling shooters. This is one of the
first games to add the ability to shoot and drop bombs on obstacles
below. It also featured the end of the level bosses and the powerups.
While many of the features were used earlier, it was Xevious that
brought them all together in a winning formula!
of the games than cemented Activision as the premier software company.
While chasing the crook was fun, it was the new obstacle that added each
level that made you keep playing to see what new items would be added
next level. In an era of the same, but only harder, this game took it
one step further. Sorta a variation of the Pacman fruit.
little game where you moved your space buggy across the moon while
jumping over craters and shooting rocks and enemy ships. Also had a
catchy tune that grew on you. One of the first games that allowed you to
continue from where you left off. All those quarter eaters from the
late 80's and early 90's should pay homage to this game!
the first four player game. This was a blast as a four player game.
Nothing like the strategy that was involved in determining who to attack
and who to ally with for the moment. Add in the ability to hold the
ball and you have one nerve wracking game! Made us dream of the
possibilities of things to come like multiplayer sports games, etc...
it was a sequel to Defender, it was so much different, that it is more
like an original game. More enemies, stargates to jump through and other
surprises made this an awesome gaming experience. This proved that video
games, unlike Hollywood, could make great sequels. This game was so
good that it was released under two names on the Atari 2600, Stargate
and Defender II. :)
first it looked like another Space Invaders, but then the alien ships
flew down at you. You then realized it was a new challenge. Took a
classic game and put a small twist on it and you ended up with an all
new game. I always loved how your rockets would pop out of the nose of
of those games that was just so original that it was in its own
category. You had to fill in 65% of the screen and avoid the electrical
menaces. It was a one of kind then and still is today. Proof that there
is always one more original idea out there.
was like playing four different games at once! Most games were the same
thing over and over with a few added surprises, but this game was four
different games blended together. Each one was different and fun. Plus
it talked! Something that was quite rare back then. Lastly add the fact
that you rose in ranks every time you completed a level made you want to
try again to get a better rank. We all wanted to be a Space General!
INTELLIVISION MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL-While
it seems dated by today's standards, it was one of the reasons that
Intellivision did well. There was a great advertising campaign where
they put it right next to the awful 2600 baseball. It was like night and
day and made every sport fan want an Intellivision. Still has better
controls than many of the games that are still coming out. With a push
of the button, you chose who went after the ball. Plus, what other game
lets you bunt a homerun?
you have the neat 3D effect. Sure it is done better today and every game
seem to incorporate it, but back then it was novel. It was so different,
it usually took you a few quarters before you got the hang of it. Plus,
you had the even more confusing space scene. It still confuses me to
this day. I just keep shooting and hope they are at the right level to
be hit. Plus, this was one of the first games to have the end of the
level boss. That big ugly robot who gave us all fits the first time we
encountered him. The game was also one of the reasons for the initial
success of the Colecovision. I know it was one of the reasons I bought
it makes you ask a lot of questions like why does water kill a frog and
what kind of highway is that, but it is a fun game. The simple premise
of guiding the frog across the highway and over the river to his home is
something that is hard to describe. Maybe it is the ecological side of
us coming out. Maybe we want to make amends for any animals we may have
hit with our car. Maybe it is just so much fun! I am going with answer
that Dig Dug was the predecessor, but Mr. Do outshined the game in so
many ways that it deserves a better rating. You added strategy with
boulders that didn't immediately break if only dropped one row. You
could now wait for multiple monsters to come together and collect more
points. There was the spelling of extra to get a free guy and the ball
you could throw but had to wait before you could toss another. It was
the superior game in every way. Made us all want to be clowns.
is the game that put Activision on the map. Sure they had a bunch of
great games before it, but this one was a classic. Guiding Pitfall Harry
through multiple screens against different obstacles was something we
couldn't get enough of. No surprise it was ported to most game systems.
Still a great game today. Go ahead and play it.
FOR THE RINGS-One
of the few bright spots for the Odyssey II. It was a great dungeon and
dragon game that allowed two players to unite to defeat the wraiths and
other beasts. Especially tough was the huge dragon. But what made this
game groundbreaking was that it was the first game (again to my
knowledge) that allowed you to choose what character you wanted to be.
You could be a fighter, magic user or thief. So you and your friend
could each be a different character. Up until the game, you had no
choice. You were the predetermined character in the game. Plus, each
character had special powers that made them unique. It was as close as
you could get the a video version of Dungeons & Dragons. Plus, there was
the unique and useless gameboard that came with it.
was one of the first licensed games. Most game up until now were
original ideas. But this was based on a comic book character. You got to
be Superman as you flew around Metropolis and caught bad guys. You had
multiple screens to travel around in and it gave the impression of a
real city (or as close as you could get back then). One of the first in
a long line of games based on licensed properties.
quality Atari game. This time you were in control of a tank. One of the
early games to use the first person perspective that is so prevalent in
games today. Instead of looking down at the action or from a distance,
you were part of the action. When your tank was shot and your screen
cracked, you felt it. Was even real enough for some generals to
commission a special version.
JUNGLE KING/JUNGLE HUNT-While
the game wasn't anything groundbreaking, it introduced us all to the
wonderful world of copyright infringement. I still remember when the
game first rolled off the truck and the familiar Tarzan scream. Seeing
that half naked man howling and swinging from vines made me think of
Tarzan. Guess the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate agreed as they were swift
in their lawsuit. It wasn't long before Tarzan was replaced by some guy
in a pith helmet. The name also changed too. The gameplay was the same
but the game had lost something. For the first time, I realized that the
gaming market was big business and that day a little of the magic was
all-time favorite arcade and home console game! Q*Bert was probably the
second most known character of his time with only Pacman more famous.
You had to guide the big nose, bad mouthed creature around a pyramid and
change the colors of the blocks. Such a simple concept, yet so addicting
that I still play it regularly today.
the Intellivision was always second choice among gamers, it did provide
some real unique gaming experiences. Utopia was the grandaddy to all the
Sim games that have been the rage since Sim City reinvented the genre.
Before all this was the simple, yet effective Utopia. While a fun one
player game, it was a riot as a two player game. Nothing was more
satisfying that sinking your friends fishing boats or laughing as a
hurricane wipes him out and hoping that it doesn't turn on you. The
mixture of damage you could inflict along with the unpredictable natural
disasters made this a fun experience that was never the same.
first game to my knowledge that spoke. It was a decent game that would
have faded into obscurity, but the taunting robotic voice added the
extra spark. Now it was personal. You wanted every darn robot dead. No
machine was going to insult you and get away with it. Proof that
sometimes its the little things that make a game. Plus, you have one of
the coolest bad guys ever, the villianous smiley face, Evil Otto.
mind-blowing fun! This game was so unique for the time, it had its own
cult following. Whenever I went to the arcade, there was always someone
on this game. Most games were hot for a month or so after the initial
release, then they cooled off. Not this game. It continued to pull
people in. It made them play again and again. Something about the vector
graphics caught our eye. Something with the unique looking stages kept
us involved. Just a killer game.
there was Galaxian, but Galaga was so much better. You could add an
extra ship for double the fire power. You had bonus screens where you
strived to be perfect. And you had the best little feature in a game;
the hit percentage. In the back of my mind, I always tried to be
accurate, even when death was raining down on me. This made a great game
game that is still so darn fun after a decade is alright in my book.
This is one of a handful of classic games that will still steal my
quarters to this day. Such a simple premise, shoot everything. You had
two joysticks to move and shoot with and blew away anything that got in
your path. I must now take this time to thank the programmers for making
the helpless humans in this game immune to our bullets. If they weren't
I think this game would have driven us insane (even more than it already
game was deemed a failure before it even came out. It was considered too
tough to play. Sure it had a lot of buttons, but we gamers can adapt to
anything. Possibly the first game to give you multiple weapons. You
could shoot, warp, and fire smart bombs. It made you feel practically
god-like. That was until you were shot down.
an era where the cold war was still going strong and where the
stockpiles of nuclear weapons was at ridiculous levels, came along a
game that was a product of our fears. You controlled three missile bases
and had to shoot the missiles up to stop incoming missiles. Below were
six cities that you tried to save from the barrage. There were also
planes and space ships that went by and dropped even more bombs. The
action kept getting tougher and tougher and no matter how good you were,
eventually all your cities were destroyed. Sort of a grim message. Still
a great game where half the fun was naming the cities and doing
everything possible to save your hometown.
simple game that was devilishly addictive. You had a paddle and you had
to hit a ball at a wall of bricks and knock them down. Breakout soon
became Super Breakout and later Arkanoid. Proof that a simple concept
could be great.
unique gaming experience that was one of the first games to let two
players work in unison. Teamwork is what made this a great game. Plus,
you had the different screens where you were given bonuses for staying
alive and the egg gathering level. Plus you had the pterodactyl to make
things interesting. Great game for one and especially two players.
this was only on the home consoles, it began the dungeon crawling craze
that is still prevalent. Even newer games like Doom still use some of
the elements set in this original. This is the first game to use the
find the key to continue. First to have multiple items available to
complete your quest. It was also the first game to have a hidden Easter
egg. You may have only been a block, but you were a macho block. You
could carry items that were eons bigger than you and slay monstrous
dragons. Great game that still stands up to the test of time.
great game that pitted you against insects. We all hate insects (except
a handful of scientists and bug collectors) and zapping some is a
pleasant experience. This would have been a good game, but the spider
made it a great game. Sure the centipede and other creepy crawlies were
fun to shoot, but the unpredictable spider is what made it a challenge.
You hated this bugger, but killing him was a thrill. Plus, you got more
points for the closer he was, something that brought out the suicidal
side in all of us.
the gameplay was limited, it made us dreamed of what could be. It
impressed everyone who saw it and suddenly the other arcade games looked
a bit more primitive. I remember the arcade by my house had a television
set on top of the game so everyone could watch the action and it always
drew a crowd. I remember just standing there in awe as I watched Dirk
fight various creatures. I suddenly expected more from video games. This
could also be called the start of putting graphics ahead of gameplay.
great game that stole our quarters. One of the first vector based games.
It showed that you could have multiple buttons and still be a fun game.
Most games were joystick and button, but this game added multiple
buttons and pushed the envelope. It was also the first game to my
knowledge that introduced the teleport ability or warping as it is also
called. This game also created quite a stir on the home scene as it
helped sell more Atari units.
there were many racing games before it, this was the one that really
started the love affair between gamers and racing games. The fast
gameplay, the billboards, and the awesome controls made you think you
really were driving a racing car. It also proved that driving games
would be a profitable line of gaming that is still popular today.
her other half had more of an impact (Pacman), she has a greater impact
at the arcades. Pacman may have started the ball rolling, but Ms Pacman
kept it rolling. This is one of the few arcade games that is still
played. Great sequel that is eons better than the original. You get
different mazes, smarter monsters and moving targets. This game was even
more of a reason why women continued to play arcade games.
it was the first game. Sure it was the first home system. And for these
reasons, it is ranked so high. But I don't think it had the lasting
impression that the next three games had. While millions of pong units
were sold, it was soon replaced when Atari came on the scene. But it did
start the movement towards playing arcade games at home. It proved to
the world that we wanted to play games at home and would pay for the
ability. If Pong would have failed, who knows how long it would have
taken for the home gaming market to become a reality.
For most of us, this was our first introduction to classic gaming. Sure
there was pong, but this was us versus them. Row after row of aliens
trying to take over mother earth with only us to stop them. This is the
game that put arcade games on the map. Things would never be the same
after that. The home version also helped sell the Atari 2600 in the
early days. It gave people a reason to buy the system.
significance of this game is multileveled. First it was a great arcade
game that really got the platform games going. Second it was the first
appearance of two of the most known and used characters in video game
history; Mario and Donkey Kong. These two characters are almost
completely the reason for Nintendo's success. Where would the original
NES be without Mario and do you think the SNES would still be selling as
well without the Donkey Kong Country series? The last reason for the
lofty placement is the Donkey Kong cart for the Coleco was
groundbreaking. Not only did it make the Colecovision a major success,
but started a new era of packing in a worthwhile game with the system to
sell it. Before Coleco added this, you got games like Combat, Black Jack
& Poker and Speedway, Cryptologic as your pack-in.
a certain magazine, I think this game is the one that finally brought in
both sexes to play games. While Ms Pacman is a better game, there
wouldn't be one without this game. The simple gameplay, the
addictiveness is legendary. It spawned sequels, a song, and still is
being played today as the original or one of the hundreds of sequels or
clones. Plus the 2600 version, while quite lame did help sell tons of
systems. Plus, this was the first game that spawned hint books. Numerous
books came out to show you how you, too, can play for hours.
games are not for sale here. But you can find it on ebay. Click below to go to ebay