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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Excitebike [1984] |Nintendo Famicom| HONORABLE MENTION

So there haven’t been many appreciation articles for 1984, and the reason for this is simple: it was the middle of the video game crash. Americans made a few notable games for arcade and home computer, but the console was basically dead. Across the pacific, however, things were just beginning to heat up. In 1983 Nintendo released their first console, named the Famicom (ファミコム) (short for Family Computer) and immediately started putting out a decent variety of games. Let’s take a look at one of the games from their Sports series.

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Marble Madness [1984] |Arcade|

Did you ever play with marbles as a child? I did, but one day I lost all my marbles, and now I write about video games on the internet. Anyway, I’m going to show you Marble Madness today, as you no doubt surmised by the title of this article. Atari had a really good year in 1984, pumping out tons of instant classics such as Paper Boy; I, Robot; and many others. If only such innovation had come in 1982 or ’83….

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Tetris [1984] |Game Boy| (x/Elektronika 60)

I don’t know what I could possibly say about Tetris that hasn’t already been said many times. It’s considered the quintessential puzzle game and is incidentally one of the best-selling games of all time. It so profoundly affects players that many of them hallucinate in everyday life, seeing blocks falling in front of them. Tetris may even be the perfect game.

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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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