We live in a fantastic day and age when it comes to video games. New games are being launched constantly and are packed with the most brilliant graphics and realistic innovations. Thanks to incredible advances in gaming technology such as facial recognition and gesture control, the possibilities in video games are endless.
And yet, more and more people seem to be falling in love all over again with the old-school games from the 1970s and 1980s. Many gamers prefer playing games from ‘’back in the day’’ and some are even willing to spend big money on getting their hands on rare editions of classic video games. In 2020, a sealed copy of a rare Super Mario Bros game version was sold in an auction for $114,000. It broke the world record for most expensive video game ever.
Are we yearning for nostalgia? Or are the old-school games just better than all the latest technical innovations? Perhaps it’s a combination of both – all the new and flashy features from modern-day games cannot replace the wistful nostalgia we feel when playing retro video games. Great games don’t need lots of tech features to be fun. These are the vintage games that bewitched people all over the world and that are increasing in popularity some 40+ years later:
If you grew up in the 70s, you undoubtedly know about the Atari games. Founded in North America in 1972, Atari games are responsible for the first footsteps of video games. Atari 2600 is thé home video game console the whole gaming industry is built upon. They have published hundreds of popular and influential games over the years and some are still in high demand today.
Pong was one of the earliest video games and Atari’s first game. Although its game design was extremely simple, it astonished millions of people. They were finally able to play against each other through an electronic game. Originally, Pong was released as an arcade game. Once it was released as a home console in 1975, it increased in popularity massively as more people could access it whenever they wanted to.
In Pong, two players combat each other by each controlling a paddle to hit a ball to each other across a screen – playing the first version of virtual table tennis. A simple concept that laid the groundwork for a wide range of more games to come. Pong was remade several times following its release.
Here is the gameplay of the very first edition of Pong from 1972:
Casino is a compilation of card games, released in 1978. You can play blackjack, poker solitaire and five card stud poker. One year before, a 1977 Blackjack was released but it received some complaints. There was no possibility of splitting the cards for instance. This was rectified in the 1978 Casino by offering two variations of Blackjack, where you have a variation with the option to split and one that doesn’t include that option. You can play alone or up to 3 friends against the dealer with paddle controllers.
Of course, the 1978 Casino is still pretty basic with limited options but it does bring back great memories from yesteryear. If you’re curious to see how it was like to play casino games from home before online casinos came around, here is the Casino from the 70’s:
Fortunately, there are plenty of options to train your card game skills from home nowadays. For instance, you can find tons of variations of each game in plenty of online casinos. Some casinos don’t even require you to make a deposit at all and they even give you free spins no deposit and a chance to win real money on top!
Space Invaders (1978)
This first arcade shooter game was published in 1978 but wasn’t an immediate hit. It increased in popularity during the next year but the game only became a huge success by 1980 when it became available on home consoles. Space Invaders was responsible for many sleepless nights and parts of the day spent indoors by teenagers and adults all over the world. Rumours went around saying the game was so successful that it brought on a shortage of 100 yen coins in Japan. This 100 yen myth has been debunked by several sources, however, saying that the press simply misinterpreted the facts at that time.
By 1982, Space Invaders grossed about $3.8 billion, the equivalent of $13 billion as of 2016. It is still one of the most influential video games of all time and laid the groundwork for many shooting games following its release. The aim of the game is to shoot groups of aliens with a laser cannon and earn as many points as you can. Once all aliens are destroyed, the cycle resets and the difficulty rises. Here is a video to relive the gameplay of the original Space Invaders:
Nowadays, Space Invaders can be played on PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC. You can also play it online.
Developed for Atari in 1979 by Lyle Rains and Eg Logg, Asteroids is still one of the best selling games in the entire history of video games. Just like Space Invaders (1978), Asteroids is a multidirectional shooter game. Opinions vary on whether Space Invaders or Asteroids was the most popular and best selling games. They were both widely in-demand and were often placed side-by-side in arcades.
Asteroids was released as an arcade game first which was very successful: over 70,000 arcade cabinets were sold in the months following its release. It was reported that Atari had to install larger coin boxes inside the arcade cabinet since the game was so popular that the employees were continually emptying the boxes. In 1986, Asteroids was released on the 7800 home console. After its release, two successors were launched: Asteroids Deluxe (1981) and Blasteroids (1987). Asteroids was released on different platforms and consoles including Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony.
The aim of Asteroids is to control the spaceship and eliminate asteroids and flying saucers by shooting them and to win points. You can play yourself or against another player. Take a trip down memory lane by looking at the Asteroids gameplay from 1979:
In May 1980, the Japanese arcade game developer Namco Limited brought Pac-Man into the world. It immediately became a huge sensation, especially among kids and teens. Until today, Pac-Man is still the best-selling arcade game of all time. 400,000 arcade cabinets were sold to arcades all around the world and by 1990 it made $3.5 billion in revenue. That’s the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $7.6 billion by 2020.
Pac-Man is a simple yellow circle with a cut which represents its mouth. You need to eat up all the coins lying around in a maze while avoiding being caught up by four wandering ghosts. Power pellets ensure Pac-Man can eat up the ghosts, albeit only temporarily. After you’ve managed to eat up all the coins, the difficulty level increases. Perhaps this was the reason why Pac-Man was such a big success: it’s non-violent gameplay was so refreshing, especially in a time where most games were space-themed shooter games.
The evolution of Pac-Man is quite interesting to see. Over the years, several versions have been released including a Ms. Pac-Man, a Baby Pac-Man and Pac-Land. The last addition to the Pac-Man games was a board game in 2019.
You can still play Pac-Man in an arcade, play it online and even on many modern gaming platforms including Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. To bring back memories from your childhood, check the Pac-Man gameplay from 1980:
Tetris is a puzzle video game created by Alexey Payitnov and Vladimir Pokhilko. It was said that Pajitnov developed the game simply for fun and didn’t even intend to make money from it. In the remarkable history of Tetris, it is explained that this wasn’t even possible at first. Pajitnov was a Russian creator, and under the 1980s communism, ideas were owned by the Soviet Union. People in Moscow were sharing the game by word of mouth, copying and sharing Tetris on floppy disks. Over the years, a lot of money changed hands during several deals resulting in Pajitnov not getting any profits at all. It is estimated that he missed out on approximately $40 million.
The goal of the game is quite simple. You need to rotate puzzle blocks dropping down and fit them together to create solid lines. When a line is completed, it disappears. Tetris is a widely popular game until this day. While some say it is making a comeback, we are pretty sure Tetris never actually left. It’s a perfect game for those wanting to keep their minds sharp and improve their focus.
Tetris can still be played online, but you can also play it on PC or Mac.
Super Mario Bros. (1985)
Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of the Mario Brothers? We certainly don’t think so. We don’t know anyone who doesn’t love this classic either. Super Mario Bros was the biggest selling game of all time for nearly 30 years. It was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Gunpei Yokoi for the Nintendo Entertainment System and PC. Initially in 1981, Mario was called Jumpman and tried to save the princess in the game Donkey Kong. Mario Bros. as we know it was released in Japan in the arcades first but in 1985 it was changed into Mario Bros game. Mario and Luigi are Italian plumbers who need to make their way through Mushroom Kingdom while collecting points and exterminating creatures coming out from the sewers. Your aim is to save the princess of Mushroom Kingdom out of Koopa Bowsers’ hands.
Over the years, lots of remakes and successors were made and made available on multiple platforms such as Game Boy, Atari 2600 and the family computer. To see an evolution of Mario, have a look at the video below:
Prince of Persia (1989)
Released in 1989 by Brøderbund Software, this classic game is still available to play online. After its release on Apple II, the game was brought to a wider range of platforms. Over the years, this game has had several sequels and modernized versions. The gameplay is set in old Persia where Jaffar tyrannizes the country and locks up the sultan’s daughter in a tower. She must marry him within one hour or else she’ll die. Her only hope lies in the man she does love to save her before the time is up. As a prisoner of the palace’s dungeons, you must avoid traps, kill several guards and ultimately finish off Jaffar to release the princess. You’ve got 60 minutes, you better hurry…
As you would expect, the first version of Prince of Persia is very basic with low resolution. It doesn’t seem to stop people from wanting to play it, though. You can easily find the 1989 version of Prince of Persia available to download or to stream online. To refresh your memory, here is a game walkthrough of the original Prince of Persia:
As you can see, there is no modern technological advancement that can erase these iconic games from our minds. We still love to play these games, just like when we were kids playing them for the first time in our lives. Old is gold, more and more avid players came to realize this. Fortunately, there are plenty of platforms on which we can play them and keep the memories of these classics alive.
This is a paid guest post.
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