1985 Video game notes

Here are all the games from 1985. There are plenty of interesting games here; just not many good ones.

To skip to the next article, click here.

Sinclair User rated 3D Monster Chase only 3 out of 10, with the comment “a maze game can be exciting, skilful, and even original. 3D Monster Chase is none of those things.”

Shoot-em-up by Sega

1st entry in the isometric series. 3rd one is considered best.

Fun & Accurate flight simulator by MicroProse. Sid Meier did sound & music

Advergame with KP Skips

Zelda’s perspective is very similar to this.

Follow-up to Knight Lore which was way too difficult

Just another vertical shooter

Unfinished series. 2 of 6 games were made.

One of the best text-adventures ever made. Read about it here:


Two-player game where you tighten a rope between the two of you to launch an AI into the air.

From the creator of Tetris. Based on Xonix.

Similar to Nodes of Yesod.

Spin-off of Punch-Out!

Based on the dive of Arnhem from WWII.

Made by Origin, creators of Ultima. Not so surprisingly, this game is difficult with a steep learning curve.

Very difficult to follow. I guess the best way to describe it is Bully in the 80s.

One of the developers Mark Eyles said “Back to the Future was a bit of a rush. We knocked it out in about two months flat. We really wanted about twice as long to do the film justice, but the deadline was pressing…” Because that worked out so well with E.T., right?

Extremely thought-provoking strategy game set in cold war.

Mystery text adventure where you try to find the circus owner’s kidnapped daughter.

Side-scrolly shooty game.

Next-gen Tank.

WWII strategy game. Polished the premise of the first game.

Followed in the footsteps of Manic Miner, but with environmental puzzles.

Maze-like game.

2d adventure-platformer taking place on haunted pirate ship.

Typical licensed fare. Just meant to cash in. Trouble was, they weren’t willing to drop the cash to license the movie, so they licensed the soundtrack instead. Seriously, the game is a loose interpretation of the movie score. And it plays about as well as you’d expect with that level of dedication.

Inspired by Monty Python. Plays like Manic Miner. Brian awakens from inside a glacier and seeks to overthrow England just like the other Vikings.

Platformer similar to Manic Miner. Go from top of screen to bottom. Use an umbrella as parachute.

Text-adventure parody of LotR

Early point-&-click graphic adventure. Used keyword grid and/or typing.

Another sports game. Yay.

Bounder is pretty fun to play, but becomes quite repetitive rather quickly. It is also too difficult and you will struggle to get past the first couple of stages. While still worth a quick play, Bounder is a game that fails to live up to the memories I had of it.

Another sports game. Yay.

Cartoony take on TX-1. Buggy is very smoothly animated. Obstacle course, no other drivers.

Graphical adventure game for mac

The game received notoriety amongst gamers as being impossible to fully complete, namely due to there being no known way to kill the count or achieve a full score of 290 out of 290. Grahame Willis, author of the game, has since revealed that it is not possible to kill the count and that messages suggesting so were placed in the game intentionally to frustrate players. Wow.

Very well-received platformer with smoothly-scrolling graphics and bright colors.

2D platformer that took a bit too much inspiration from Manic Miner. Publications dedicated to the ZX Spectrum platform considered the inclusion of The Evil Dead with the ZX Spectrum release a positive aspect that added value to the overall package.[2][7][9] The game’s difficulty was a common complaint. Computer Gamer, Crash, and ZX Computing commented that playing the game with limited lives was very challenging.[7][8][9] Retro Gamer‘s Craig Grannell described the game as “unforgiving”, citing difficulty landing and excessive precision required in the flying and platforming segments respectively.

In two player mode, P1 would move and P2 would shoot.

Combines side scrolling with overhead view and exploration.

The first of many games where raising the computer’s abilities improves combat stats, not AI quality. Wizard tournament with up to eight players (either human or AI).

Quickly wears out its welcome.

Isometric game where you navigate an enemy spaceship to active four warheads.

Seanbaby reviewed Chubby Cherub and stated that, in his opinion, it was the fifteenth worst NES game of all time. Sean Reiley described Chubby Cherub‘s graphics as ugly and also said that “the cartridge is a waste of plastic, and could be used in many other things.”[2]

Every time I think of Chubby Cherub‘s ugly graphics, I picture that hideous scene of him surrounded by half-eaten dogs.

—Sean Patrick Reiley, Phd.

Sequel of Chuckie Egg, a 1983 “colleague” of Manic Miner.

Another Manic Miner clone. Lets you choose your gender.

Similar to Miner 2049er where you have to paint every part of the floor. Play as car that jumps.

Series of chess games for computer. Interrupted from 1991 to 2005 then resumed.

Shooting gallery game which is one big escort mission. And boy is it fun!

Very influential vertical-scrolling run-n-gun. Music by Rob Hubbard.

Slider puzzle game where you guide a spark along a wire to detonate bombs.

Solid game that received enormous criticism for having the player be the robber and shoot cops.

Turn-based strategy for MSX. Includes nudity both on title screen and in-game, but is not an erotic game.

Weird little game for the Speccy. The queen of the cosmic wartoads has been kidnapped by the Rygellian Slime Beasts, turned into a human and is being held captive beneath the Slime King’s Sludge Saw, which descends over the course of ninety minutes and will kill her if it is not stopped.

Spiritual successor of RobotWar for the Apple ][. Program a robot and send it off to fight.

Allegedly educational game where you truck packages across the US.

Gets old real fast.

Originally, the game was to be published by Atarisoft as an official port of the arcade version under its original name, Sinistar.[11][12] However, the Atarisoft brand was dropped in 1984 and Atari decided to pull out of the Acorn computer market altogether whilst a number of games were still under development.

First point-n-click adventure game. Set in 1940s as a detective film noir type game.

Game by Accolade. A 1991 Computer Gaming World survey of strategy and war games gave it one star out of five, stating that “it attempted to mix both arcade play and simulation, and ultimately failed on both levels”

Anteater clone.

Completely diverged from original, jumped shark.

The game was too large to fit into the standard memory of the BBC Micro so it came with its own ROM chip which had to be installed for the game to run in conjunction with game’s main disk. This also caused problems for the unreleased (but heavily previewed and advertised) ZX Spectrum version which would have required an add-on cartridge.[5]

The costs associated with producing this game are often cited as crippling Micro Power[6] who folded soon after its release.

Text adventure, and second game based on Doctor Who.

Rather than reject poor submissions, Firebird instead chose to mock the developers by releasing a bundle, which they encouraged customers to pirate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3KQUnoqukY

Weird first-person graphical adventure.

Sidescrolling slash-em-up which was the first game to feature a double jump.

Write the description later.

British educational compooter game

Dun Darach may be the first ever videogame prequel – to Tir Na Nog. The game system is identical to that of Tir Na Nog – a single road of the city is shown at a time, which can be walked along to the left or right. When you come to a junction, the view can be rotated by 90 degree to allow this path to be followed. Gameplay is also similar – sword fights must be won and word-based puzzles solved, although unlike Tir Na Nog you cannot die.

Ironically named dungeon crawler where nothing is revealed. Possibly the most cryptic game ever.

Jet Set Willy clone

Early JRPG

But as far as it goes, we have already seen as good in Wheelie. Sadly, after all the promise, the game is quite unaddictive, for me at any rate, less of a game in fact than a simulation.

Puzzle game similar to Adventures of Lolo

Part of Lucas Art’s second wave. Used technology from Fractalus. Reviewer said it’s as difficult as Koronis Rift but with no save game feature. While praising the graphics and sound, he criticized the game for “a lack of imagination. You get transported to god-knows-where … and you basically shoot everything in sight. Is this a reasonable—let alone responsible—way to explore a new world?

Improved upon its predecessor with music and more efficient drawing routines

Not I, good sir.

Nice progression of challenge, but lack of backwards mobility means that swift enemies can run into you while you’re trying to back away. Instant continues exist just to suck quarters.

Very realistic and exciting flight simulator. Won Action Game of the Year.

Pretty good adventure game, but it was more about showing off the capabilities of the Spectrum.

Precursor of Bubble Bobble

Absolutely broken vertical shooter

Boxing game, hooray

Vertical shooter that takes place on Earth, which is really cool.

Side-scrolling platformer “inspired by” Manic Miner

Beat-em-up starring a girl who looks like Wonder Woman.

An experiment, this game was meant to see if a family-oriented electronic board game could be popular. It wasn’t.

Racing team management simulator

Weird adventure-ish game

Starring the titular band. Do stuff and get successful.

This is that Friday the 13th. Yes, that one.

Huge sprites, detailed graphics. Has you enter initials before game start. Clunky controls

One of the most powerful and well-regarded game maker programs of its time. As a demonstration of its power, the package includes an in-engine remake of David Crane’s Pitfall!

Top-down “arena” beat-em-up with voice digitization. Can be thought of as “enemy hell” shooter

Pretty backgrounds that would make nice posters, but gameplay is forgettable. http://www.videogameden.com/fc.htm?gei

Search for tapes then blast the music through your boom box

Ghoulishly difficult platformer.


Sequels have vastly improved the formula—this is more a historical piece than anything.

Rated the most realistic cricket sim on the Spectrum

Horse betting game. Almost as boring as the real thing.

While racing across US, you have to deal with empty fuel tanks, engine blowouts, and police.

Action game based around a protagonist with telekinesis and a single foot for hopping.

Two-player football arcade game

Ikari Warriors set in the Old West. Can spend points on upgrades. Can also ride horse

Very basic vertical shooter. Xevious for babies who appreciate minimalistic art.

NES launch title with ROB.

Marble Madness clone

It’s the novelty that gets you. The rest is trial and error.

Educational game about solar system

Awesome motorcycle racing game!

First in a series of baseball simulators

Sequel to Seven Cities of Gold. Noted for its inclusion of sidequests.

Q*Bert as a turn-based RPG

The bomb is constantly being pushed onwards by your extra lives – four more Vortons, who accompany you along the highway. A key strategic element to the game is for the player character to travel several screens ahead of the bomb to clear a safe path for it; normally this would be done by temporarily blocking the bomb’s forward motion. However, if the bomb is left in an unsafe location, it is possible for all your extra lives to be lost without the player character being destroyed once. Once all spare lives are lost, the player character must manually push the bomb.

Good way to kill a few hours if you’re a fan of Hill.

Like Space Harrier I guess

Satire about former Japanese PM Tanaka Kakuei

Crappy game with historical value thanks to Smash Bros.

Japanese essayist Jun Miura coined the term kuso-gē (クソゲー, lit. “crap game”) after playing the Famicom version of Ikki.

Side-scrolling shooter shovelware.

Standard side-scrolling platformer with digitized voice samples from movie.

Surprisingly dark survival horror game with gameplay somewhat like Lode Runner

Can’t fight? Try entering ‘punch.exe’ into the command line.

A gem, this game is not.

Combat flight simulator with pretty graphics, but a painfully slow draw routine.

More an expansion of JSW than a sequel

Air traffic control simulator

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Lode Runner clone

Konami’s Ping Pong.

Donkey Kong meets Mr. Do’s Wild Ride

Other second wave game besides Eidolon. Way too difficult.

Inspired by Mad Max. Great music by Rob Hubbard and nice graphics, but unplayable.

The game has you playing the part of the sheriff in a small town in the wild west. Being able to interact with characters in different ways makes it quite ahead of its time, but unfortunately it gets boring fast and it actually becomes more fun to just walk around blasting everyone than to try to play the game the way it’s meant to be played.

Why would a ninja wear a bright orange suit while gallivanting around the jungle?

Spiritual predecessor of The Sims

Not quite as well-received as its predecessor The Hobbit

Push an arrow. Move boxes. Kill self from boredom. Repeat.

Rough simulation of pool combined with elements of miniature golf.

So-so game with diminishing fuel tank and checkpoints.

Pinball construction set and game. Features sound, lights, and tilt capability.

Features 4 gears, impressive top speeds, and a track creator. Too bad it sucks.

Side scrolling shooter where you have to collect parts for your ship and gain power.

The players create a variety of monsters and equip them with futuristic and modern weapons to do battle. Two players can play and compete at the same time and fight each other, or play capture the flag. Monsters can be stored on diskette and can be upgraded by victories against other monsters or computer opponents.

First entry of a trilogy that never came about.

Music by Rob Hubbard, gameplay by your scorned ex-lover.

Spiritual successor to Tag Team Wrestling. Contains lots of cameo appearances.

Open-ended game with vector and polygonal graphics

Game where prot. runs to the right automatically, player avoids obstacles etc.

Mesh of fighting and RPG. Ahead of its time but marred by tedium.

Board game adaptation.

Another Monty game. Hooray.

Why must you refuse to die, Monty?

Bumper car that has to push other cars off the ledge. Like those levels in Crash Bash.

Unforgiving beat-em-up on the Master System

Being one of the first football games for the PC it is still considered one of the best requiring 10 man-years to make and over 30,000 lines of code.

Another Isometric adventure by Ultimate Play the Game.

Based on novels Nine Princes in Amber and Guns of Avalon.

Hop from level to level, throwing shuriken at enemies.

  • Ninja Princess

Bootleg of Sega Ninja. Scrolling shooter with one hit kills and quick enemies. Innovative but not fun.

Clone of Underwurlde

“Sabre Wulf with a sillier name.”

Game about rounding up sheep. Contains one of the finest compositions by Rob Hubbard.

Top-down action game where you play as a mama cat rescuing her kitten.

Shooting game by Ultimate

Pachinko game with a hidden message buried in the ROM

I’m not paradroid; they really are out to get me!

Parody of text adventures and interactive fiction in general

Interesting puzzle platformer where you have to push an egg to safety

First entry in Penguin series, followed by Penguin Land

Very short murder mystery that has frustrating puzzles just to pad the length

Arcade racing for Commodore 64

Flawed but consistently interesting series of CRPGs, intended to compete with Ultima

Another pinball game

Sega game about a kidnapped princess. It’s possible to kill the princess instead of rescue her.

There is little point to this game, except being eaten by a worm and coming back to the starting place.

Kerbal Space Program if it were a boring game of menus and text boxes.

Meant to be a game but comes off more like a boring simulation.

Highly anticipated flop.

Connie Goldman, the graphic designer for this game, was once foreman on a road repair crew.

Side scroller where you can lose everything in one go. Very frustrating

Ikari Warriors for computer

Fixed shooter of alien invasion. Scaling sprites and a deflector shield that sucked energy.

More like Reptoff, amirite?

The NES/Famicom version of Ring King/Family Boxing created some controversy[citation needed] because the boxers’ cornermen appear to be performing fellatio on them between rounds. Though the scene was only intended to show the cornermen placing the Foul Cup into the boxer’s trunks, the graphical limitations of the NES made the scene appear questionable. The boxers may also appear to be hugging as they grapple because of the NES’s limitations.

Racing laserdisc game

Top-down racing game that uses more fuel the slower you go!

Decent platformer based on Road Runner and Coyote

Parody of Hobbit

Maze game based on Robin Hood

Based on movie Rollerball

Platformer in a funfair. First game to simulate roller coasters

Platformer based on comic strip character

Mindless beat-em-up. The poor man’s Contra

Two-player scrolling shooter

1st-person maze game

Competitive scrolling shooter/arena deathmatch. Play against human or AI. Good menu music

Tons of levels, but none of them any good. The poor man’s Gradius

Scrolling shooter with one hit kills and quick enemies. Innovative but not fun.



One of the first games to use a menu and icon-driven interface.

Martial arts game with unique targeting and blocking system (joystick direction + button)

Single level beat-em-up with Ice Climber physics and strict hit detection. Catchy music.

Joystick-controlled shooting gallery with catchy music and bullets that travel straight into the screen instead of along perspective lines like in the 3D gallery in Contra.

Space Harrier in WWII. Somehow even more disorienting.

Submarine simulator by Sid Meier

Trilogy of adventure games

Gets old real fast


Game collection released for charity to help with the Ethiopian famine.

Similar to Millionaire. Program games, name them, sell them. Avoid bankruptcy

Sequel to Nonterraqueous

first 3D steam train simulator available for home computers

Rail shooter with really bad depth perception

Atari 800 port by Adrian Sheppard. Controversy with Crime Busters

Infocom text adventure. Often seen as the pinnacle of the genre, sometimes seen as overwrought

I ain’t afraid of no ghost.

One of the R.O.B. games

Cockpit space shooter

Very ambitious game, but also very buggy

Upgrade that included updated sounds & graphics. Unpopular

Based on the short-lived TV show. Ride a motorcycle and fight crime

Decent graphical adventure taking place in a sub. Sound effects play before each screen.

More games. Yip.

Very basic shoot-em-up based on show

Terrible game. If only it were more like Call of Duty or Angry Birds it would be worth playing.

Created by two 17 year old twins, who worked 18 hours per day to write it

Two players or one player vs. AI

Origin of the Strong Bads.

Out of four attempts to make the board game into a video game, only this one succeeded

Extremely innovative and ambitious titles, but with a steep learning curve

Bait and switch. Intro screen is awesomely entertaining, then game is disappointing.

You fight firebreathing T-Rexes. Music must have been made by a Sega Genesis chip. Pattern memorization. Ship is surprisingly agile and can get add-ons.

Strange text adventure about returning from a vacation unscathed and taking pictures to prove it.

Survival horror text adventure based on novel of the same name

Strategy game that was well-received for actively discouraging nuclear war. Considered too simple

“Good play value for your dollar”—in other words, cheap.

Another ZX platformer. Oh joy.

Escape an island of cannibals. Side scrolling platformer inspired by Manic Miner

Perhaps the first bullet hell game. They come from behind and it’s just too hard.

Another example of a game that’s more entertaining to watch than play. Had very nice graphics and animation (as well as hilarious death sequences) but the gameplay was just memorization.

Travel to different times and collect the widgets.

Tank game with rotary joystick

Cool graphical text adventure with gothic elements

Rail shooter on the ocean surface

Decent vertical shooter

Great CRPG et cetera

Highly versatile WWII simulator

Two different games of the same name, based on James Bond

Crappy scrolling shooter

Fighting game. OK

Annoyingly upbeat platformer adventure with an unintentionally terrifying title screen

A game that captures the essence of “bleh.”

Extremely hold-handy for the sake of new players

Top-down RPG with a lot of emphasis on hack-n-slash gameplay

Graphical adventure game with RPG elements

A decent puzzle platformer starring Mario

Based on the sport of maggot racing. The original release of Wriggler contained an instrumental track on the B-side entitled “Moons of jupiter”, composed by Alexander Goldscheider

Screw this game. It’s a fighting game that’s over in like thirty seconds unless you’re an expert.


<< 1985 runners-up                              Bubble Bobble >>


Leave a Reply, Win Candy! (not really)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s