The Most Popular Video Games of the 1980’s

The 1980’s were a golden era in the history of video games. It was a period when big names such as Nintendo and Atari launched their game consoles. Some of these games from the 1980’s live on today as fond memories and others as ongoing and successful franchises. We obviously couldn’t list them all but here are some of our favorites we could think of. 

Super Mario Bros. – Super Mario was launched in the year 1985 to critical acclaim. A poll on IGN marked it as “the greatest game of all time.” It was also credited with saving the crashed video game market of the 1980’s. Thanks Nintendo (for saving video games)!

The Prince of Persia – Launched in the year 1989, Prince of Persia became an instant hit due to its innovative graphics and story line. It has had multiple sequels and led to the movie Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, starring not so Persian Jack Gyllenhaal, in the year 2010.

Final Fantasy – Final Fantasy was launched in 1987. It was one of the first popular games in the RPG genre (Role Playing). By the year 2016 it had spawned over 15 sequels (not counting the latest game). Developed by Square Soft originally, now Square Enix, it is by far one of the most popular RPG series to date. 

Street Fighter – Street Fighter dropped in 1987, first on Arcade machines, and later on consoles. It is credited with starting the one-on-one fighting game genre. We’ve been beating up our friends in fighting action games ever since. 

Donkey Kong – Developed by Nintendo in 1981, Donkey Kong was another popular Arcade game. The Mario character from Super Mario Bros. was inspired from the plumber in Donkey Kong. This game helped spawn Nintendo’s development of Super Mario in 1985.

The Legend of Zelda – The Legend of Zelda graced our consoles in 1987. Since then it has gone on to have multiple sequels and is one of Nintendo’s biggest hits. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has sold over 2.6 million copies and is Nintendo Switches most popular game so far. 

Castle of Wolfenstein – Developed in 1981, Castle of Wolfenstein is one of the first stealth-based action-adventure shooter video games. It began it’s life on the Apple II, was later ported to MS Dos (Remember that!?) and finally on the 8-bit Atari and Commodore 64. It has had many sequels with the most recent iteration, Wolfenstein: The New Order being released in 2014. 

Ultima 1 – Also known as Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness, was the first game in the Ultima Role Playing Game series. It was released in 1981 on all available consoles at the time. 

Metal Gear – Metal Gear is another franchise that was launched in 1987. It was a stealth based game, players had to sneak their way past enemies and use skill rather than just brute force to succeed. Metal Gear still has a huge following today and multiple sequels to its name. Metal Gear Solid (1998), on the PlayStation 1 was the 10th best selling video game on that console with over 6,000,000 sales.  

The 1980’s gave us some amazing games. They helped define an entire generation of new gamers and fostered the next generation of gaming. Even today some of these titles are still going strong with new sequels and iterations. The classic games may have started new trends in gaming but their successors continue to redefine the industry today. 

If you like these games, check out Mr. Mobi’s compilation of other great games you can play in your browser.

Did we list your favorite game from the 1980’s? If not, what was your favorite game from that era? If you’re too young to remember or weren’t even alive yet, do you play any the modern successors to these games? Comment below. 

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