80’s arcade games

I have not written one of these since like Spring of last year. Here we have Burger Time from 1982. As the player you take on the role of Chef Peter Pepper you are trying to put burgers together by running over the parts and making them fall until you have all pieces in place. However hot dog, egg and pickle are trying to stop you and your burger making. You can crush them if you can have a food object fall on them as they pursue you. Then they quickly reappear. I loved this game, but was never much good at it. I’ve played it in recent years and I’m still not much good at it. Still I like gameplay, the music and the original idea. Definitely a classic 80’s game.

80’s arcade games-Bubbles

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1982

Here’s an odd concept that actually worked out. You are a bubble in a sink, a very crowded sink at times. You have to pick up grease spots, ants and other stuff while avoiding the brushes and sponges. Unless you power up and your bubble gets facial features then you can bump the sponge or brush. There is also a razor blade and roaches to avoid. Each level gets tougher as you go along. The game is kind of like Pac-Man without the maze which makes maneuvering somewhat more difficult. The whole game idea seems silly at first, but the playing isn’t easy so the challenge keeps you fixed on it. Critics were split on it and it wasn’t a huge hit but it did make an impression. I never played it back then but saw it, but when I had limited quarters I chose games like Wizard of Wor and Defender over something called Bubbles. Playing it now I really enjoy it wish I had played it some back then. My kids enjoy it as well.

80’s arcade games-Missile Command

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1980

Missile are launched at your cities and your use a crosshair to target the missile and shoot them down before they destroy your cities. Sound simple? If you frequented arcades in the early 80’s then you know this game wasn’t that simple. It would get tough fast and you use your track ball and firing buttons to try and keep the enemy at bay and protect your cities. The graphics are very basic with a simple design and colors, but the challenge and the need for quick reflexes is what makes this game fun and memorable. This was a staple of early 80’s arcades and every time I saw a Missile Command game at an arcade around 81-82 there was someone playing it and at least one other person watching them. There was a prototype for a Missile Command 2 and stories go that is was put into an arcade in California, but it was never mass produced. I recently played the game online and with a trackball controller. I was expecting a mild interest due to nostalgia, but that was wiped out by having to act quickly to try to stop all those missiles hurling down at my cities. Yes, it was just as exciting and challenging as it was all those years ago. I think this is a game that youngsters may scoff at when seeing the graphics, but if they tried to play it I think they would quickly have respect for the difficulty level. Definitely a classic that has stood the test of time.

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80’s arcade games- Tapper and Root Beer Tapper

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1983 Tapper 1984 Root Beer Tapper

One of the coolest things about video games is that they allow you to do exciting things you couldn’t do or wouldn’t get to do in the real world. Games like Galaxian allow you fight aliens while Turbo allows you to drive a car and Tapper/Root Beer Tapper allow you to serve drinks to mean customers. Oh, wait that last one doesn’t seem to be a dream job, but it still manages to be an entertaining gain. You take on the role of bartender in the first game or soda jerk in the second. You are at the tap end of the bar and patrons appear at the other end. When they don’t have a drink you fill up a mug and toss it to them then move on to the next thirsty patron. They advance when they don’t get a drink so you hurry to get them one. If they get to you before you get them a drink they throw you down the bar and you lose a life. It sounds simple and in theory it is, but of course the patrons go faster and the levels get harder as you go along. The first game Tapper had a Budweiser logo and you were serving beer. There was concern that this was promoting serving alcohol to minors so a year later the modified version Root Beer Tapper came out. I played Root Beer Tapper back in the day and liked it. I recently played it again and still found it oddly addicting despite the somewhat non-adventurous premise. When the game was adapted for home systems in the 1980’s they used Mountain Dew logo on the wall, but kept the rest of the graphics of Root Beer Tapper. The bartender from this game can be seen in the movie Wreck it Ralph.

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80’s arcade games-Sinistar.

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1982

You command this little ship and you have to shoot planetoids to mine crystals and make Sinibombs. Enemy ships try to nab the crystals before you and other fighter ships try to shoot you. At the start of the game the title enemy has not been completed, but rather he is being built piece by piece while you try and collect as many crystals as you can. So the more crystals you grab means the more Sinibombs you’ll have which means the more shots you’ll have. Have at what? Well, when Sinistar is completed he comes after you at full force yowling, howling and trying to destroy. You have to release Sinibombs and knock him apart one piece at a time. If you do then you move on to a different level with less planetoids and try to do it again. If you have played this game then you likely quote Sinistar frequently as his “Beware I live” and “Run, Coward” are quite memorable. The game is very challenging because of how awkward it is to get the crystals and then to fight Sinistar who is going several times faster than you can go. It’s kind of like Asteroids crossed with Defender only a mad bull of a spaceship trying to run you down. The graphics are decent for the time, but the speed and the villain is what really makes this game so fantastic. It was on a Super Ninendo collection of  Williams games that I played very often in the 90’s. Now it’s also on an Xbox collection that I play when I can. A great game for sure.

 

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80’s arcade games-Marble Madness

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1984

Who wants to pay money to play a game where you try to get marble through various ramps and mazes? If not then you’ve never played this oddly addictive little game that was released at the end of 1984. The designer of this game was influenced by racing games and miniature golf and modeled much of the shapes and curves of this game after those. The arcade version used a trackball to control the marble. Each level you get past leads you to a rougher level to navigate through and they add in moving objects like other marbles and spring like creatures that try to get you off track. If you roll off an edge you start over from where you were. There is a timer so you lose if you don’t finish the course in the allowed time frame. So steady fingers are a must. I never played this back in the day and only remember seeing ads for it. Apparently it did well in the arcades. In 1991 there was an attempt at a sequel but test audiences didn’t take to it and it was believed that more exciting fighting and shooting games were in fashion then so guiding a marble just wasn’t going to cut it. I played it recently on the Xbox so although I used buttons rather than a trackball I still enjoyed it quite a bit. The graphics are alright, the sounds are decent, but it’s the challenge of the whole thing that really draws you. While many other games of the day required speed and manipulating multiple buttons to do different tasks this game depends on patience, a light touch, an understanding of balance and the ability to move an object but look down the path as well. A pretty decent game that should not be forgotten by time.

 

 

 

 

 

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80’s arcade games-Pit-Fighter

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1990

Yes, I am cheating on this one by a few months as it came out in August 1990. Close enough for me. I actually never played this one back then although I had heard of it. I only recently played it for the first time on a collection for the Xbox. This was two years before Mortal Kombat and although it looks very basic and plays almost awkward compared to MK it was still ahead of it’s time for 1990. They used models and blue screen to make these images of the fighters. In 1990 this probably looked pretty darned cool compared to previous fighting games. You can pick from one of two characters and then go through rounds fighting different fighters who have various styles. There are different items including chairs and barrels then you pick up to whack your opponent with. Instead of being able to move side to side you can go around the whole area which makes it easier to avoid or get around behind someone. It does have a few flaws. The actual gameplay is more on the clunky side of games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2 that would soon make the fighting game genre popular. Also if you fight with multiple players and you are fighting multiple enemies you have to be careful because it’s so easy to hit or kick your partner. Kicking someone in the behind is a hoot while they are bent over is a hoot as they just kind of pop up in the air  like that and being able to kick them like that multiple times is a real treat. It’s not a classic but as a lover of fighting games I liked giving it a go and my nine year old son thought it was fun too.

 

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80’s arcade games-Elevator action

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1983

I played this game at my local arcade back around 1983-84 as well as a local pool that I went to play video games every once in a while.The game always seemed to be open yet friends I talked to at school all played it. Being a fan of spy films and shows I loved it with quick moving avoid the bad guys action. I recall so into it I was probably moving my whole body as I made my character move and duck, I likely looked like a total freak playing this game. I always thought it had a very smooth flow to it compared to a lot of other games from the time. I have not played it since like 1985 so I don’t know what I’d think of it today, but I have a feeling I’d still enjoy it.

 

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80’s arcade games that should have been made

 

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Now the long name for this list would be 80’s arcade  games based on TV shows and movies that I think should have been made. There were a few arcade games based on movies in the 80’s including Star Wars, Star Trek, Tron and Robocop, but not so much on TV shows. There were home games based on movies like Raiders of the lost ark and ET (games buried in the desert). However I wished that more arcade games based on shows and movies had been made back then. Here are my choices in no real order

A-team-This show just screamed side scrolling shooter with maybe levels where you drive BA’s van and maybe even play Murdoch and do crazy helicopter flying. Perhaps you could collect parts and build a crazy weapon to fight the main baddies.

Knight Rider-Imagine a sit down version of this complete with dashboard and various controls.

Beauty and the beast-I see with different levels making your way through the city.

Dukes of Hazzard-Another awesome idea for a sitdown driving game. Imagine avoiding Roscoe on dirt roads and jumping over creeks yeeehaw!

The incredible Hulk-I see this as playing on the idea of the show where Banner has to get his butt kicked so he gets mad and turns into the Hulk. You’d only get limited Hulk time to take care of business before turning back.

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Running Man-This one also screams for a game. Battling various psychos as you go along. The 1990 arcade game Smash TV borrowed some ideas from this film.

Die Hard-A crazy violent one against many game in a big building. This could have been cool.

Predator-Guns against an invisible enemy in the jungle. This could have been a challenging and fun game.

Monster Squad-Probably not popular enough for it’s own game, but playing a kid fighting classic monsters has a certain appeal.

For your eyes only (or Octopussy)-I always wished there was a Bond game in the early 1980. Now 1989 saw Secret Agent (Sly Spy) come out and it was close even though it didn’t have the Bond name. However a game based totally on a good film would have been fantastic.

There you. Feel free to add your own ideas.

80’s arcade games-Bosconian

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1981

Outer space games are a huge genre and the 80’s saw their share of this style of game. Bosconian was a free roaming, multi-directional space shooter game-yeah say that fives real fast. What that means is you could float around a lot. The goal was to blow up all the enemy space stations in a quadrant. there are other smallers ships trying to get you too. The spaces stations each had six circular parts on the outside that you could destroy, but to destroy the whole base you had shoot into the middle of the ship when it opened to release a torpedo. So timing was everything in this game. You had to be in position and zip in and shoot to blow it up. Each level had more stations and you had to zoom around to find them. This was definitely a game that took some time to beat with all the maneuvering you had to do. It was and still is fun and challenging. The graphics are decent too for the time. Both Time Pilot and Sinistar have some similarities to this one and both those games came out a year later. I remember playing this game a few times at my favorite arcade, but have played it some at home in more recent years. Seeing the ad above makes me wish I had gotten to play a tabletop version of this game, that would have been cool.

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