Game & Watch Series [1980-1991] |Game Boy/ Color/Advance| (x/Game & Watch)

Hello, and welcome back to Games Appreciation! Today we will be looking at not just one game, but a series of games created by Nintendo during the 80s, known as the Game & Watch series. Read on after the jump.

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2nd Generation Video Game Notes

  • 1981—Jump Bug

First game to feature parallax scrolling. Crappy Donkey Kong clone.

  • 1981—Castle Wolfenstein

First stealth game, far-reaching influence. Game itself is not that good.

1981 arcade game—only game ever made in East Germany. Contains knockoffs of Western games.

Alien Garden

Strategy game, more about “experience” than gameplay. Discover through trial and error which crystals are food and which are deadly.

Blended together Frogger, Donkey Kong, and Jungle King’ also adds fourth gameplay element

Early 4X game

Improved upon Combat for the VCS

Read the history behind the game.

First Laserdisc game, preceding Dragon’s Lair. Released 1982 in Japan, 1983 in US.

Used Intellivoice. Console-ified version of Eastern Front (1941)

Collection of games for the Apple ][, all unlocked and open. Now in the public domain.

Pornographic game by Mystique, one of the worst ever made.

Very difficult to crack. Wikipedia article explains.

Early educational game

Music played only while character walks over squares ~1 note per square

First console sequel, just barely misses the mark of excellence.

Strategy game somewhat similar to FTL, uses Newton’s first law.

One of the earliest pinball games. Based on real-life table.

Murder Mystery, very good NPCs

Worth an honorable mention. Very solid, but not groundbreaking (Phoenix clone)

Has a cool name (the game itself sucks, though)

First contest involving video game (that I know of)

Very interesting concept. Research further.

Could be downloaded using Game Line for the Atari 2600. Research game further.

  • Dragonstomper

Awesome RPG for the 2600

First text adventure to have a real-time deadline, same year as Executive Suite. Game itself was awful, though considered good back in 1982.

Promotes player within company based on series of questions. Interesting premise.

Included updated dialogue including “I’m a robot, not a chicken.”

Game in the same vein as “Adventure,” based on Monty Python & the Holy Grail.

Players goal is to become the Godfather. Evading the authorities is a must.

Player is Prime Minister who tries to manage England’s economy before reelection.

One of the games was released as “Attack of the Mutant Camels,” which was hilariously and coincidentally the name of a completely different game released the same year.

Licensed game starring Journey. “Escape” doesn’t actually play anywhere in the game. The title song is “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

Unique control scheme, quite popular, had jumping & flying which were still new.

Protagonist’s ship is a plastic toy, projected with mirrors onto the screen.

Based on Julius Caesar’s campaigns. One of the first Real-Time Tactics games.

Opposite of Missile Command; player destroys bases. Good game, but not great.

Early puzzle game. Looks just like the hacking mini-game from Bioshock.

First example of a sequel that’s really a 1.5 instead of 2.

Naming contest for game went unfulfilled since publisher went bankrupt. Called “Octopus” in Europe. In 1994 Digital Press had a contest resulting in name “Going Under—” referring to both the game’s content and the publisher’s fate.

Renowned for being strange and very creative. Crisp visuals and great sound, but falls short with unintuitive gameplay.

First erotic computer game. Just read the article.

Based on “The Three Little Pigs,” player never attacks wolf; only rebuilds house.

Phaser Patrol

A very good space-shooting game with a high level of ambition typical of Starpath.

Treasure hunt that led to real-world solution.

Centered around emergency relocation of a population.

Never officially released. Twin-stick shooter that lets player face eight different directions.

Required 2 joysticks—one to move and the other to work the inventory. Some good ideas here.

Flying sim by Sid Meier. Proved how diverse & innovative 1982 was, but unfortunately a bad game.

First-person shooting game similar to Star Fox

Crappy text adventure with Monty Python-inspired humor shoehorned into it

Strategy game requiring player to manage country (military, taxation, etc.) while going up against eight other players or AIs.

Sword-fighting game. Remember this one when you’re reviewing Monkey Island.

Swim upstream. Go left/right and dive to avoid obstacles, collect fruit.

Interesting idea suffering from horrible implementation. Meant as a series of four games, only two were made.

An early rogue-like. Would go on to inspire Diablo.

Premise is to shoot down aircraft from WWI bi-planes to flying saucers in 2001.

Time-travelling text adventure by Sierra. Marred by frequent disk changing exacerbated by frequent red herrings.

Tron: Solar Sailer

A terrible game based on Tron. Use as an example of a bad licensed game, and Tron Deadly Discs as an example of a good game based on the same property.

Earliest commercial Star Trek game

Developer must have been confused. In the book no one could harm the alien ships. In this game that’s all you do.

Xenos (video game)

Interesting adventure about destroying an alien’s mother ship.

Beautiful vector arcade game about taking back 8 cities from aliens. Hilariously, this vector monitor (as with many others) had a notorious tendency to catch fire.

Good game (not great) about trying to keep animals locked up and saving your girlfriend Zelda from a coconut-throwing monkey


Innovative title that used isometric view to simulate              3D environment. Unfortunately when the wow factor is removed, the game left over doesn’t have much to it.

Runners-up of the 2nd Generation (part 2)

Read part one here.

I’m cheating a little bit here, as several 3rd generation consoles were released in 1982. I think it’s fair, though, to call 1982 a “transition year.” So with that qualification in mind, here are the rest of the “not quite outstanding” games of the last year of the 2nd generation.

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Runners-Up of the 2nd Generation (part 1)

When you have a brand new entertainment medium, there are no rules and the possibilities for innovation are endless. It’s amazing how many innovative titles there were in the second generation–especially in the early 80s! Following the establishment of Activision, the first third-party developer, we saw a huge influx of new and exciting titles up until the crash of 1983. I wanted to showcase some of the titles that weren’t quite excellent enough to warrant their own appreciation article, but are still worthy of being remembered today. From now on I’ll have a showcase for each year (1983, 1984, and so on) but since this is my first one, I’ll include all of the second generation (1977-1982).

So without further ado, here are some of the best and most interesting games of the second generation! Continue reading

Q*Bert [1982-10] |Arcade|

There are exceptions to everything, it seems. It’s possible to build a Chevy that’s better than a Ford (in theory), it’s possible to make a cartoon about ponies that men can enjoy, and Q*Bert has proven it’s possible for an isometric viewpoint not to muck up your enjoyment of a game.

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Mr. Do [1982] |Arcade| HONORABLE MENTION


There are some questions in life that are just crazy hard to answer. “Can a game be called a maze game if there’s no actual maze?” Universal seemed to think so when they made Mr. Do. Other questions are easier to answer, such as, “Are clowns absolutely terrifying?” That answer is obviously no.

Look how happy he is to see you! ^_^

And now that Pennywise has filled you with good cheer, let’s look at Mr. Do!

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Serpentine [1982] |Apple ][| HONORABLE MENTION


“Hi-res” had a different meaning back in 1982…

It’s time to conclude our snake trilogy with Serpentine, the maze chase game where the hunter is also the hunted. It’s all been building up to this. First, you saw how the maze chase genre was open to interpretation, then you saw how snake-based gameplay could compliment it. And now, it’s time for some serious snake-eat-snake action! Er, snake-eat-other-snake. This isn’t like Nibbler; you eat other snakes, not yourself. On purpose.

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Why Games Appreciation?

A Simple Question for a Simple Mind

Back in August of 2011 when I wrote my first Games Appreciation article (Fun fact: I actually wrote Adventure first; I didn’t write Oregon Trail until August of 2014) I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought it would be a cinch to write about the games that held a special place in video game history. By then I had already compiled a list of games I considered the best; nothing to it, right? Well, in 2011-2012 I began intently reading up on the history of games so that I could one day call myself a Video Game Historian–and immediately shush any laughter that resulted–and during my research I found out that some games were overrated, some were sorely underrated, others still were completely forgotten. It became quite clear that my task was about to become a lot more involved. Here’s a sample of what 1982 had to offer.

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Japanese Video Game Industry: A Brief History 日本のビデオゲーム業界の短い歴史

sfiiThis is my semester project for Japanese 301. The first video is the finished product in Japanese, the second video contains an English dub, and the third is my rough draft, complete with grammar errors. Enjoy!

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