1985 Video game notes

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

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Hang-On [1985] |Arcade| HONORABLE MENTION

Following in the footsteps of Pole Position, Sega’s racing game Hang-On gave the player a high-speed over-the-shoulder (or more accurately, behind-the-car) racing game with sharp turns and endless AI opponents. Hang-On added something new to the mix, though. The player sat on a motorcycle-shaped seat that they had to tilt to the left or right in order to steer in-game.

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Super Mario Bros. [1985/09/13] |Famicom|

I’m pretty sure you already heard that music in your head before playing the audio file. It is burned into all our brains! The impact that Super Mario Bros has had on modern culture is astounding. And why shouldn’t it be? SMB defined the platformer genre and inspired generations of games. Although not the first platformer, it stands in history as the iconic grandfather of platformers and is the earliest memory I have from my childhood. Before I could even speak full sentences I was already defeating Bowser. Click “read more” to go down the pipe and take a look.

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Runners-Up of 1983

1983 may have been the year of the second video game crash, but as we saw from the Appreciation articles, there was still quite a bit of innovation left in the industry. 1983 was, after all, the year of the Challenger space shuttle, Microsoft Word, and phones with touchscreens. Let’s take a look at the titles that brought a lot to the table, but fell just short of earning their own appreciation article.

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Mario Bros. [1983] |Game Boy Advance, 2001| (x/Arcade)

It’s taken for granted that Mario and Luigi are household names, a staple of our culture. But every legend has a beginning, and the beginning of this plumbing family was back in 1983. Let’s take a look at the Mario game that defined how we see this pudgy carpent– er, I mean plumber.

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TX-1 [1983] |Arcade| HONORABLE MENTION

1983 was a ripe time for racers. The genre had always been pushing for more realism and in 1982 Namco’s Pole Position set the de facto standard for racing titles. Even after Pole Position II was released in 1983, the original continued to enjoy success and continued to be the influential title for others. The bad news is that Pole Position was more influential than it was good, and there was a lot of room for improvement. The good news is that this improvement came from a developer named Tatsumi, with TX-1.

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Tapper [1983] |Arcade|

Looking back, it’s amazing to think of just how many games had a downright wacky premise compared to the somber and “safe” franchises you’ll see nowadays. Outside of the odd, or in some cases, very odd indie game, you’ll usually end up stepping into the shoes of a tortured, yet endlessly bland, blank slate and go on a bunch of sidequests.

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