Every week, we ask people at work what makes them happy. This week, we asked people what games they liked to play in the 1980s, when arcades were all over.
Ms. Pac Man (1981)
Every week, we ask people in the office what makes them happy. This week, we asked people what games they liked to play in the 1980s, when arcades were all over.
As a kid, I used to play Ms. Pac Man (Midway Games) when I was younger. It was also my first video game. Slow-moving by today’s standards, but in retrospect, it looks like a peaceful place to be. But it didn’t require a lot of coordination, so the barroom tabletop version was perfect for me to play while I was drunk.
Robotron 2084 (1982)
Robotron 2084 (Williams Electronics) had to be one of the most stupid and dangerous arcade games from the 1980s. There were two joysticks, but my adolescent brain couldn’t figure out how to use them. One aimed and the other fired. It hurt at the end of each game, and I often needed to rest between rounds to feel better.
None of this made sense to me. I didn’t have a plan, or know what I was doing. First, I broke into a sweat when the game started. My heart raced, the breath quickened and a long list of curse words came out of my mouth.
Robotron was the best thing. Just shoot, and try not to die. So, on the surface, you were rescuing a bunch of lazy humans that walked around aimlessly, never giving a reason for their existence. In reality, you were rescuing the chaos of the battle.
Joust is my favourite, but there are so many (Williams Electronics). The store where I grew up had a wall with five or six arcade cabinets on it all the time. After school, all the kids would go there to buy candy and soda. With all the practise, I was at the top of the high score list for a long time. When I was done, I could put in one quarter and play for about two hours. Putting this on a resume would be fine, but I wish it was OK to do that.
Star Wars (1983)
Atari, Inc.’s original Star Wars arcade game was the coolest thing I have ever seen or heard of. Every time I went to Chuck E. Cheese, I made a quick run for it. Makes you feel like you’re piloting Luke’s X-wing. If you were lucky enough to find an arcade that had the cockpit version of this game, it was even better. It also had parts of the movie’s dialogue that had been scanned and put into text. My favourite thing about this game even though I’d get kicked in the groyne by all those fireballs the TIE fighters threw at me.
Even though Sun Electronics and Atari games Kangaroo and Donkey Kong look similar, Kangaroo is so much cuter than Donkey Kong. When I play games, I’d rather play as a boxing-glove-clad mama kangaroo on a mission to save her joey than just plain old Mario.
In Maplewood, Minnesota, there was a weird arcade in a weird little mall. I loved this game, even though I was having a good time even though I was having a good time even though I was having a bad time. Because the laws of the pixelated jungle are hard to understand, I don’t know why a group of monkeys wanted to take away a little kangaroo.
Spy Hunter (1983)
People who played games made by or licenced by Midway Games spent most of their quarters in the 1980s on games made by Midway Games. I spent a lot of time playing Spy Hunter (Bally Midway), which was a game that didn’t do anything. The list of those games is long, but I spent a lot of time playing Spy Hunter. With the Peter Gunn theme song in the background, I couldn’t help but keep speeding along and taking out enemies in front of me with machine guns and missiles. For some reason, I couldn’t help but do this over and over again. My luck would run out, but then the weapons van would come. 9-year-old James Bond (if only until my parents finished grocery shopping).
Sinistar (Williams Electronics) made me more stressed than anything else. Generally, the controls for the track ball are good. If you haven’t played arcade golf before, there’s a learning curve. Somewhere in space, there was a warning: “BEWARE COWARD! RUN RUN!”
Star Trek (1983)
I had to look this up to make sure I wasn’t making it up. As a child, I remember going to the arcade down the street and immediately liking Star Trek (Sega). You could always play, but you never felt like you had enough time to play.
When you played as the captain of the Enterprise, you had to fight off Klingons as you went from one sector to the next. You also had to keep the ship’s power, weapons, and shields in check at all times. People can warp out of trouble if they get into trouble. That would use up a lot of power on your ship. To get more fuel, you’d need to find a nearby Starbase and dock with it. When the game started, it said, “Welcome aboard Captain.” It used a different version of Spock’s voice when it said that, and I liked that.
When you look back, it seems pretty old-fashioned. That’s not true, though. I would still play it if it was in the arcade right now though. If there are still arcades out there, that would be great (and no Dave and Busters is not the same).
Galaxian, which came out in 1979, was Namco’s first big hit in arcade games. Galaga, which came out in 1981, is the sequel.
In each stage, players must destroy Galagan ships while avoiding their enemies and their shots. They start with three lives and must do this in each stage. But be careful, because you could be taken and lose one of your ships. But if you have one or two to spare, you can rescue your old ship by destroying the abducter enemy and have “dual guns”, shooting two at a time instead of one.
Super Mario Bros. (1983)
While most people play it on Nintendo game systems, Super Mario Bros. was first made and released by Nintendo in 1983 for arcades. Shigeru Miyamoto, his coworker, and Nintendo’s chief engineer, Gunpei Yokoi, came up with this story. Among the characters in the game are Mario, an Italian-American plumber, and his brother, Luigi. They must kill different creatures that come out of the sewers by flipping them on their backs and kicking them away.
This game was a big hit with fans and critics when it came out in both arcade and on the NES in the early 1990s. There’s also a new version of Mario Bros. that comes with each of the Super Mario Advance games and many other games.