1987 was a great year. Now I know why Strong Bad constantly refers to it.
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Another WW II shooter
Electronic board game/adventure game based on Sherlock Holmes
Created by Origin Systems, who should have just stuck with Ultima
Oft maligned as a ripoff of Space Harrier, this was a solid effort by Square
Clone of Marvin’s Maze
Cartoony football game by Bob Whitehead
Mediocre racing game
Quite average vertical shooter by Konami
Sequel to Tau Ceti. Features more worlds which behave differently depending on surroundings.
Satirical adventure game that unfortunately had repetitive action sequences
Big, dumb action game done by Virgin Interactive
Like Xevious, but not as good
Spiritual successor to Space Harrier. Meant to be much more realistic. Fly an F-16
I’m pretty sure this is the exact same game as its prequel.
A tasteless and shallow game best described thus: “I’m sick to death with crummy two-way scrolling shoot ’em ups – why do companies keep churning them out onto the market?”
Military fighter made by MicroProse
Not sure what to call this, but it’s interesting. Opening cutscene is totally cheesy in a good way.
A shooter with extremely limited distribution
Multiplayer jet-fighting game with high accuracy
The isometric view makes jumps and other delicate movements frustrating. Go figure, isometric perspective ruins another game.
The game that nobody asked for
No, wait. This is the game that nobody asked for.
Clone of Pac-Man, with a bit of E.T. thrown in for good measure
Eight-way scrolling shooter with mini-bosses
Famously unfinished game series that has achieved cult status
A poorly implemented sports sim
Cool game where you have to clear away bugs. Name taken from Utopia
Clone of Arkanoid with a lot more bricks
Top-down racing game. Nothing special to say about it
Early 4x game with ASCII representations of planets. If you like looking at spreadsheets, you’ll love this.
Better than its predecessor in every way, but leaves you wanting more.
Read the description. The premise is far darker than you would imagine such a game to be.
First-person shooter with hidden-line rendering
Pretty fun and novel game where you chase down criminals in your squad car. Includes tutorial level and story mode; unusual for an arcade game
Not much to say about this. Fly around and level up to 23
Better than first one but it’s still just fluff.
Space RPG with kickin’ title music. Random encounters are in first person and you have to aim turret around (imagine that one scene in the Falcon from Star Wars). Encounters depend on reflexes and aim instead of plodding turns.
Simultaneously rips off Temple of Doom and Roc ‘n Rope
Based on French comic book series. Bright colors and caricature-derived humor.
Not that astonishing, as it turns out
Fairly decent game where you have to refuel on the go and if you’re too slow or fall off your ATV, you’ll waste time and run out of fuel
Another game starring Monty, the mascot who refused to die. Blessed with the music of Rob Hubbard
Very slow-moving vertical beat-em-up
A labyrinth for SMS.
This game certainly is a bad street brawler. Where’s the good one?
Competitive cannonball game.
Fun action game with little staying power. Opens with very advanced (for the time) animation.
Trashy box art stirred up controversy and boosted game sales. Almost all outrage was over the box art instead of the violent gameplay.
Two-player baseball simulation
Not as good as Hardball. Behind-the-pitcher perspective makes it difficult to hit the ball
Featured Fernando Martin, the first Spaniard to play in the NBA
Based on a popular manga whose protagonist uses a baseball and bat.
Clone of Space Invaders that’s superior in almost every way (fast-paced, etc.) but is a little too overwhelming
Exactly the same as the board game
Vertical shooter by SNK
Aside from pretty graphics, this isn’t a whole lot better than the original.
Allows player to define macros for hotkeys, but the game is still frustrating
Zelda II clone
It’s OK, but good luck trying to get across ravines.
Decent platformer for Apple //e with colorful graphics. Main problem is that controls aren’t as quick as a console game’s would be.
Wat. This is a very fast-paced beat-em-up where you play as a panther.
Known as Black Dragon in Japan. Excruciatingly difficult.
Classic hockey game. Doesn’t have a ton of lasting value, but it’s a blast if you can get the hang of it.
Updated Asteroids with multi-stage gameplay and bosses.
Tank game that doesn’t have an eight-way stick, stupidly enough.
Breakout! clone with anime girl
Name is Hindi word for “communication,” coincidentally shares name with a 1982 game
Boulder Dash clone that was well-received for its humor, but criticized for its outdated mechanics
Bizarre maze game where you dig traps for your enemies to fall into (like Lode Runner, kind of) but then you bury them and skulls pop up. Totally creepy, especially juxtaposed with the cartoony graphics.
One of Infocom’s weakest games
Pretty good French game
Enough with the worthless isometric games, already!
“Once Ultimate was on a pedestal above all other software companies. Each release saw their cult following fill computer shops all over the country — everybody wanting to see just how far the ACG team had pushed the Spectrum this time. Sadly those glorious times are long since gone, and the once-great company now blends in unremarkably with the rest of the market. Bubbler breaks no new ground. The superbly animated graphics are very appealing, but the 3D perspective isn’t as convincing as that used in previous Ultimate products and the scenery appears disjointed. Those that can master the awkward control method may find a rewarding game, but I’m left with a slight feeling of disappointment.”
Very funny satirical game that’s too hard for its own good.
Pig bomber. Yes, that is the concept of this game. A pig bomber. Porco Rosso, perhaps?
What a terrible night to have a curse.
Instructions lead to confusion in a game with repetitive gameplay and disappointing audio.
Swashbuckling side-scrolling action game reminiscent of Treasure Island. Terrifying cats.
Turbografx game with huge sprites. Walk right and punch monks. This game was played by GamesRadar in that one FAP.
The name isn’t lying. This was a very advanced trainer. Name originally included the word Simulator, but they changed it to Trainer after Microsoft cried foul.
Very fast-paced chase game somewhat similar to Cosmic Causeway
Old 4X game that isn’t worth the price of admission.
Adventure RPG by Square, in the style of Tomato Hime.
Action/strategy game where you control a droid who harvests mushrooms on alien world and protects colony against aliens. Game Over screen is a parody of a Monty Python’s “Dead Parrot” sketch.
Series of chess games that were made well into the 21st century.
Hilariously inaccurate army basic training game.
Racing game with very detailed graphics and a system requiring you to stop in the pit when your dragster takes damage.
Racing game for Acorn Electron and BBC Micro
Cult classic that was distributed in a magazine as Hex code.
Space game with unusual controls. Instead of following your mouse cursor exactly, the ship would retain its inertia.
Game in which you fight as Friar Tuck
Popularized Konami code.
More of the same, essentially
Good on most merits, but way, way too tough to be seriously considered.
Early dance game that used the Power Pad
Gauntlet clone that has a nice cinematic opening. Time-travel theme, fewer monsters. Put in coins for lives at any time. Don’t know what max number of lives is, but possibly 9,999
By most accounts a delight to play, but there’s too much time spent in the beginning working out how to play.
Massive RPG that required mapping and pixel-hunting
1st-person dungeon-crawling RPG that was somehow successful enough to warrant multiple sequels. Scrolling is not smooth at all, despite being made five years after Escape from the Mindmaster.
German puzzle game where you reflect beam to destroy cells
Decent shooter reminiscent of Megamania and Space Invaders.
Similar to Gauntlet, but with far fewer monsters. Considered a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none.
Based on a book. Just like Deep Dungeon in a lot of ways.
Music composition tool for Famicom Disk System that takes its name from Do Re Mi. Comes with keyboard.
One of the classics, but only by the grace of nostalgia.
Action adventure with tons of wasted potential. Has Metroid-like elements in it and inter-dimensional portals but it’s ruined by bad execution.
Sandbox game inspired by Zelda. Cruelly, some puzzles are impossible for non-Japanese speakers to solve. Thus this was a Famicom exclusive.
Only marginally improved on DQ I. Considered a black sheep somewhat.
Play as a dragon in this vertical shooter that’s really hard. You know how in Galaxian all your shots go between columns? This is like that, except worse because you have ground enemies and air enemies, and there are a lot of them.
Adventure game by JAM software; created when Rubin and Gavin were high school juniors.
Polygonal 3D game with strong sense of exploration. Gameplay is trial-and-error mixed with a hearty dose of sink-or-swim, but it must have been entrancing to the player of 1987.
Gauntlet clone. Yay.
Bowling game with up to five players
Space station management sim called “an interesting failure.”
Puzzle game by HAL laboratory with horrendous box art
Action adventure game where you play as a scientist who accidentally shrunk himself.
A variant of Boulder Dash
Dragon’s Lair Part II
Mediocre RPG that’s really difficult and has unloving level design. Soundtrack is peppy and has a nice drumbeat to it. During random encounters you’re sealed in a room and have to run around shooting monsters. When you defeat them a door opens and you have to walk out of room.
Features one change for the better, and a lot of changes for the worse. Ultimately a worse game than Wizard’s Crown.
English train sim
Run-and-gun game set in space. Sequel to Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior
Shooter with awfully floaty controls. Play as spaceman with jetpack; powerup can transform you into a jet
First entry in a classic series by Konami
Largest game world at the time, featuring 17,000 screens with no loading times in-between.
One of the few games to come out for the Famicom 3D System. Falsion had great music and impressive 3D visuals but was boring otherwise.
Nintendo’s first foray into stereoscopic 3D. It worked about as well as you might think.
Sequel to the popular cute-em-up
Pac-Man clone starring Dizzy. Those limey jerks.
Fa no thank you.
Otherwise known as Fetch Quest: The Game
Meant to teach proper hiking safety, but it’s very frustrating
Anything but final
Racing game that introduced rubber banding. Could link up to three other cabinets to allow eight players to race against each other simultaneously.
Big, dumb action game whose sound effects are a near-constant series of explosions. Gameplay quickly becomes repetitive.
Very well-programmed shooter for British computers
Bad licensed game based on anime of same name
Yet another game where you play as a single jet taking down an entire Air Force
Worthless licensed game
Fun little game where you run errands for the royal family in Westminster palace
A shooter where you fly a biplane—a slow, lumbering biplane
Text adventure that doesn’t understand anything you say.
Taito’s response to OutRun. Introduces Nitro
Text-based multiplayer space-trading game
Action game with adventure elements. Subject of controversy because its box-art featured a woman with a visible areola. You can see it if you look really close, you filthy pervert.
Not originally conceived as a sequel to Game Over; title given later on in development
Adventure-like game where Garfield has to rescue Arlene from the vet (how original)
Soccer game that can only be defined as “pleasant”
Stripped down version of arcade game. Title music sounds just as cool, though
1930s flight simulator. Great graphics and sound but repetitive cutscenes and atrocious copy protection
Khan’s real enemy was confusion.
Seminal Konami game that has been referenced to in many other Konami games
ZX platformer made by the Oliver Twins
Goal is to keep member nations of the UN getting along with each other
Play as a gnome who’s banished to a dangerous forest for acting like a human.
Action RPG for SMS. Weighed down by excessive difficulty and hindered by odd design choices
Classic Spanish computer game where you play as a thief trying to break into the Spanish bank
Everything about this game baffles me, including the title
Paintball game by LJN
Make your own racetrack.
Object of the game is to get your stereo back after school—how fun, right? Game included an extremely bleak game over screen, where a man gets you hooked to crack.
Rip-off of SMB, but music is really good
Shooter based on the work of Che Guevara
Shooter with immense difficulty owing to the ship’s unwieldy nature. Reviewers called it “unplayable” but gave it decent scores anyway. Game journalism isn’t dead; it was never alive to begin with.
War sim putting you through all the major battles fought by marines. As time went on its score steadily dropped.
Very well-loved isometric puzzle platformer where you play as two different characters (the titular Head and Heels) with different abilities. Some booby traps rely on trial-and-error and memory rather than skill, sadly.
Run-n-gun game with broken controls.
Great boxing game by Sega; remake of 1976 game of same name. Comparable to Punch-Out but with quick reflexes instead of puzzle.
Two games based on a manga called Phoenix
The sailing parts from Final Fantasy are way more fun than this game, and that’s taking random encounters into account!
Title screen is the best part about this abomination. The remake is actually pretty good, though.
Charmed, I’m sure.
A 1988 review praised its controls and playability, and a 1992 review said it probably turned many people off to the genre. Oh, games journalists.
Pretty fun underwater game. The sprites look really charming and cute
Fun shoot-em-up for ZX and C64. C64 version had music by Rob Hubbard
Music synth program for Famicom
Adventure game with original story
Why does this exist?
In this game, Penny and Brain are kidnapped. What? They’re way too smart for that!
Not much plusser than the original, actually
Clone of Space Invaders that loaded while the game proper was loading. This mini-game would take about a minute to load while the main game could take around 10.
PC Engine game based on sophomoric humor show
Sequel to Jack the Nipper
Very serious game; nothing at all like Jack the Nipper. Gory graphics earned it an 18 rating
An LJN game. Nothing to see here
Um, are you kidding me? Not cool, bro
Adventure with beautiful graphics but unrewarding gameplay
Budget action game which was regulated in Germany for “glorifying” war and because the enemies look like SS troopers. This implies that Germany wants the SS troopers to be allies instead of enemies.
“Sometimes the underdog is just a dog.”
Action RPG published by DOG
Music game with two expansion cartridges eventually released
Doesn’t do justice to the movie at all, go figure.
Boring side-scrolling game. Shooting fire from a fat circus man at a T-Rex really wasn’t my cup of tea.
Nothing stands out about this. It’s just another action platformer.
Motorcycle racing game with obstacle course
1930s mobster game with weird, unique graphical style
Fantastic game by Activision
Bizarre/terrifying conversation-based game
Graphical text adventure including a novella that explains the story background
Breakout! clone that lets the player customize the bounce properties of the paddle
Kroz was first game by Apogee software
Computer Gaming World criticized Kung Fu Kid ‘s “incredibly contrived play-mechanics” (including a lobster that would give the player extra powers) and the “tiny and cartoon-like” graphics, and mocked the Engrish documentation that stated that the player would fight “the unnaturally evil one”.
Survival horror game set in town modeled on Arkham by Lovecraft
Two-player chess game where, yes, your pieces fire lasers.
Action game starring a ninja wearing black during the day. What?
Very little interaction with the world, and draconian copy protection. Next.
Weird RPG/adventure game with some strange level design
One or two-player strategy game where you control either Roman or Carthaginian navy
No. Why? No.
Precursor to The Sims
First licensed 007 game; side-scrolling platformer
A game based on a doll. Pack it up, people—nothing else to see here.
Text adventure by Infocom, takes place in a college, perishable items prevent you from beating the game if they spoil
Jet fighter shooter with great graphics and amazing music.
Action RPG in the vein of Zelda, but having an Arabian setting
Clone of the game & watch game, for the C64
Fortunately, one of the last isometric games by Ultimate Play the Game
Pretty standard licensed fare
Based on the horrible movie adaptation.
Wow, so super
Football game series for computers
Sequel to Knightmare
Shooter where you have to destroy celestial bodies on a collision course with your ship. Featuring music by Rob Hubbard
Walks the thin line between challenge and frustration; mostly succeeds
Crappy game with graphics that can generously be called “serviceable”
Professional wrestling game that is actually a turn-based strategy
Maze War game with the ability to link up to 16 computers. Box art is special
British racing game
RPG with weird mechanics
Decent mini-golf simulator
Like Ghosts n Goblins with a little girl as the protagonist
Similar/inferior to Phantasy Star
Boring fetch-quest game
Amusingly self-aware game that tasks you with bringing the code of the game you star in to the publishers of Sinclair magazine
Full-featured shooter that let you customize your ship
Graphical text adventure that has it all… but falls a little short
Cute-em-up with in-level purchases
How can a night be mutated? How can this game be real!
Diet Mario Bros
Early dating sim forerunner
Platformer reminiscent of the turning tower levels from Kirby. Character always stays in the middle of the screen while the tower rotates in the background with convincing depth.
Scrolling shooter with creative level design but cheap deaths. Graphics are pretty good but scrolling is choppy, especially on MSX
You can just play the GameSpot 404 page
One of the first RTSs
A game as cheap as its name
A text adventure focusing on word play, but not being advanced enough to accept some legit answers
Interesting title that combined the gameplay of Asteroids, Gravitar, and Choplifter
a.k.a. Fantasy Zone III
Good run & gun game that felt too linear, even though it was no more so than other games of its type
Musical side-scrolling shooter that had procedurally-generated music like Rez
Isometric pac-man game in legoland that stupidly zooms in so you can’t see entire maze and thus can’t see where the ghosts are.
Very similar to Citadel
Strategic simulations game with small-scale combat
Worthless isometric adventure with horrid color combinations
Fairly standard shoot-em-up
Text adventure with stereotypical characters, but a good female lead.
Also known as Copy Protection: The Game
Monster truck racer
Another game by the Oliver twins
Centipede-like shooter with box art that makes me squee
Naval simulation game with pre-set patrol routes; once you know what the enemy is going to do, the game becomes boring.
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
Two-player arcade football game
Musical version of Break-out! With better powerups
Not very notable pool game
Pretty decent effort by Square. Solid but unremarkable Pole Position clone. Moderately successful in US
Bigger isn’t always better. Case in point: this
I don’t think the developers ever watched the movie.
Top-down Gauntlet-like with frogs. Name is a pun on rana, a genus of frogs.
Side-scrolling platformer slash-em-up
Puzzle adventure that was annoying because they made certain doors impossible to discern, in an effort to artificially increase difficulty and play time. Well, it didn’t work. Your play time will be 0.
Another entry in the atrocious series. This came out the same year as Punch-Out!
Your Sinclair reviewed this game saying that it’s impossible to complete, and gave it a 7 out of 10. Box art is embarrassingly bad.
Some copies contain a bug that makes the second part unplayable.
Poor art design makes it look like the cornerman is fellating the boxer
OK racing game; nothing special
Implausible and pretentious
Awful Bomberman rip-off
Thoroughly mediocre boxing game for SMS
Solid but aging horizontal shooter. Salamander has more stuff and Darius has more technical pop.
Action adventure game where a female ninja has to break into a dictator’s base and thwart a nuclear launch.
Fun, simplified rogue-like which takes place in a pyramid; came out for Mac
Shooting gallery in space
Namco’s first 16-bit game. Boy fights through hell and its monsters
Classic point-and-click adventure on Apple
Text adventure based on the second LotR book
Infocom game that’s an interesting but failed experiment
Classic, though not as big as its sequel
Great swashbuckling adventure
Pretty cool billiards game
Horizontal scrolling shooter best described as meh
Ambitious title that attempted to combine action, arcade, and strategy but became a master-of-none
One of the first skateboarding games, and one of the worst. Created by David Crane
A diamond in the rough. Combination of Space Harrier and Space Invaders, with neat mechanics like banking
Ironically-titled horror action game
First ever solitaire game for computer
Bad vertical shooter that offered nothing new at all
Tower defense-like strategy game
Unique action RPG that was the fifth in the Dragon Slayer series
More, because you asked for it.
First game to come out of Israel, made by two teenagers
Spelunking cave. Okee then
Pretty good maze game with a level editor
Widely considered to be one of the worst sequels of all time
Vertical shooter by Data East; sequel to Darwin 4078
Run around in space eating space chickens
Tedious adventure game that lacks contact with alien races
First-person space shooter for NES
Common side-scrolling platformer with elements taken from all three films
First area of game is too open, disorienting the player
First-person cockpit shooter that is way too difficult; map is plotted out in holographic cube
Hudson Soft’s answer to Xevious… five years late
Sequel to Planetfall, not as good
Adventure game that parodies British norms between the two world wars
Fourth game in the Magic Knight series
Another funny game, oh joy
Ahahahahaha. Try again, kiddo.
Lucasfilm strategy game
Contrived math game
River City dodgeball
Better than the original in most respects
Super Mario Bros. 2
Play as an alien aboard a human ship and fight to perpetuate your species
Fast vertical shmup that includes smooth scrolling, an extraordinary feat for the Acorn Electron. Creator made it as an exercise of technical might.
Famicom-exclusive racing game
Not a very good first go. Only one track, monotonous scenery, bad controls, etc
Text adventure with a lot of options (such as speech, text size changes, and even the amount of text). Unfortunately, it’s a “WTF am I supposed to do?” game.
An average game
Did a good job of staying faithful to the act, but had repetitive gameplay
CGW said of it: A grade-B war movie made into a computer game of the same caliber.
Combination overhead/1st-person shooter with a helicopter
Licensed brawler. Yippee-skip
Beat-em-up where protagonist nonchalantly takes out an ax at the beginning of the game
Ikari Warriors clone–Blech
Surprisingly good licensed action game where you have to land on the moon
So hard to land.
Middling adventure RPG
They are no masters of my head.
Unique in that it showed an animated opening sequence before the standard intro. Unfortunately, nice graphics concealed shallow gameplay.
Second Dizzy game
Innovative concepts marred by slow and obtuse gameplay
Sumo game for Famicom
Shooter where you repel an enemy invasion
Neither universal, nor a simulator
Puzzle game based on TV series
PC Engine racing game that had your car’s parts break down with use
Alex Kidd meets Ghouls n Ghosts
Unfinished mess that was supposed to be an atmospheric adventure. Hype was sky-high
WWII flying shooting game that would have made a good flash game c. 2003
Intentionally made so difficult that only hardcore fans of the series could pass it. The game received cult status as a result
Floaty platformer with really cool title screen music
Platformer with RPG aspects
Takes place on a stage; would seem at home on the PC Engine; cute girl protagonist
Based on board game. Would have been nice, except that the AI opponent is weak
2D platformer that punishes you for stealing by changing your appearance to that of a thief
Distributed on unix and X Windows
I’m not SUR what to say.
1st-person Gauntlet by Ed Logg
Japanese adventure game based on a 1985 movie but with a completely different plot
Novel RPG based on the idea of running into enemies to attack them.
I truly am Error.
Side-scrolling game where you have to blow up an enemy bases