Full Throttle 80’s Style Gaming

Gaming in the 80’s is certainly not like it is today. While gaming back then was not as sophisticated as today’s high-tech options, it was just as fun! One thing is certain, the 80’s helped set the stage for the future of the gaming industry. In the 80’s kids and adults alike gladly took the throttle of the Atari or went to the local arcade to drop quarters like crazy just to play their favorite games. Here is a look back at some of the best video games of the 80’s.  

Donkey Kong

Nintendo helped take this game to the big leagues and it became the cultural icon of gaming. The game was simple. Jump over moving obstacles, make your way up the ladders, and save the princess from evil Kong. Winning in this game was something worth beating your chest over.


Chomp, chomp, chomp. Pac-Man can arguably be called one of the most famous and influential games of the 80’s. The goal was to charge through mazes lined with pellets, ghosts, and power pellets. But beware! If you get hit by one of the ghosts you are toast! Power pellets gave Pac-Man limited ability to chomp ghosts. This game was a big hit at the arcade and typically you had to wait in a line to get your turn to chomp away. This game is still widely played today.

Super Mario

This may have really been the first addictive game of the 80’s. The game’s objective was to follow Mario’s various adventures through the fictional Mushroom Kingdom. Mario was often joined by brother Luigi and other members of the Mario cast. Mario had to run and jump across platforms and atop enemies and advance through the various themed levels. The game’s plot involved rescuing the kidnapped Princess Peach from the brute Bowser. No one liked it when they were either hit by a fireball and died or fell into the abyss trying to make a jump as they played and then had to start over. Mario was so popular that he has been featured in a ton of Nintendo games including the wildly popular Super Mario Odyssey in 2017. 


This game required a total of five buttons and the joystick to control. Because of its complexity, it was an overwhelming experience for gamers the first time they played. The objective was to control a spaceship across a rocky terrain by adjusting its elevation, direction, and weapons. Concentration was key to this game.


You’ve heard the joke, why did the chicken cross the road, right? Well, how about frogs doing the same thing! Yes, this game was all about how you could jump a frog through high-speed traffic and moving logs in order to reach the other side. It was just awful when the frog went splat…but you loved the game so much you just had to try again. 


Love puzzles? This game was for you. The goal of this game was challenging as it served up game size puzzle pieces that you had to fit within the framework of the game. There was nothing worse than putting a piece down and realizing it was in the wrong spot! You can now play a new community version of Tetris on the Nintendo Switch that lets you play against 99 other players from around the world. 


In this game, players had to steer an armed ship through an asteroid belt and avoid crashing into enemy debris while shooting threats. Players who were reckless were caught off guard by blasting rock fragments of various sizes. Your ship also wrapped around on either side of the screen, which made it challenging to stay on target. Asteroids was one of the first huge hits at the arcade with kids spending gobs of money trying to win. How much money would we have today if we had saved those quarters? Who cares! It was too much fun not to play. 


So many of us spent countless hours in the 80’s playing video games when it was raining, when we were home “sick” from school, or on the weekends just because. So which games were your favorites to play? If you love playing old arcade games, there are still a few “retro” joints in every city where you can reminisce, beat that level, and save the princess. Enjoy!

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