When it comes to compiling a list of the best video games, retro or otherwise, the compiler is taking their life into their hands. It’s totally subjective, of course, and you’re likely to disagree with some – if not all – of the titles that appear on this list of the top 5.
Each to their own, of course. If you haven’t played any of them, there’s a good chance you can find new editions that offer an idea of what the originals were like, or you can find originals and consoles on collector’s markets, although you would probably need a decent online betting win to pay for them. If you did play them back in the 1980s, you might enjoy this trip down memory lane.
5. Boulder Dash
Released in 1984 for C64, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and Apple II, Boulder Dash was a bit like Pac-Man with rocks. The game took players underground, where they got to dig through caves and find gems.
However, those caves are haunted by miner-eating monsters, and there is also a time limit you need to worry about.
If you haven’t played Pac-Man, you haven’t lived a life worth living. If one game defined the 80s, this is it. The first edition was developed by Namco and released as an arcade game in 1980, but it soon appeared on consoles and, since then, other platforms as well.
The longest-running video game franchise in the world, it requires you to steer Pac-Man through a maze in which he must eat dots and avoid 4 different ghosts to progress to the next stage. By the 1990s, the arcade version had made US$2.5 billion in 25 cent-pieces (quarters).
3. Duck Hunt
Released in Japan in 1984, in the US in 1985, and in Europe in 1987 for NES, Duck Hunt required the NES Zapper, a light gun. In it, 1 or 2 ducks appear at a time, and you have 3 shots to bring them down. You need to shoot a specific number of ducks per round to advance to the next stage.
A longstanding favourite among fans of fantasy, Universal’s monsters, and good old Hammer horror films, Castlevania was developed by Konami in 1987. Playing it gives you the chance to guide whip-wielding vampire hunter Simon Belmont through the various levels of Dracula’s castle.
You need to kill various henchmen such as Frankenstein’s monster, Medusa, werewolves, and the Mummy to advance through the levels until you eventually get to face the Count himself.
1. Super Mario Bros.
Initially a Nintendo-developed arcade game simply titled Mario Bros. released in 1983, the release of Super Mario Bros. for NES in 1985 launched the lead character and his brother Luigi into worldwide popular consciousness.
The game takes you through various stages in which you need to control either one of the brothers on a quest to rescue Princess Toadstool from Bowser. You need to kill goombas and kooper troopers along the way, which is made easier if you can find power-ups such as the Fire Flower, Starman, and the Super Mushroom.