Bubble Bobble

Original version: Bubble Bobble, released in 1986 for arcade

The Japanese obsession with all things cute continues! Let’s join the little bubble dragons Bub and Bob as they explore a world of bubbles, food, and secrets to collect. What’s not to love?

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Hang-On (HONORABLE MENTION)

Original version: Hang-On, released in 1985 for arcade

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.

Original version: Super Mario Bros., released on 1985/09/13 for Nintendo Famicom

Recommended version: Super Mario Bros., released on 1986/02/21 for Nintendo Famicom Disk System

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 modern platformers and is the earliest memory I have from my childhood. Before I could even speak full sentences I was already defeating Bowser.

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Excitebike (HONORABLE MENTION)

Original version: Excitebike, released on 1984/11/30 for Nintendo Famicom

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 (ファミコン) (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

Original version: Marble Madness, released in 1984 for arcade

Did you ever play with marbles as a child? I did, but one day I lost all my marbles. 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 innovative and interesting titles such as Paper Boy; I, Robot; and many others. If only such innovation had come in 1982 or ’83….

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Tetris

Original version: Тетрис, made in 1984 on the Elektronika 60

Recommended version: Tetris, released in 1989 for the Game Boy

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. What’s more, Tetris is a perfect game (mirror).

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