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The Greatest 80s Video Games of All Time: How the Video Game Industry in the 80s Changed the Way We Play Today

The video game industry in the 80s marked a turning point in gaming history. It was a decade of arcade games, home consoles, and groundbreaking technology that revolutionized how we play today. For those of us who grew up in the 80s, these games were much more than just entertainment. They were a way of life, a part of our culture and a shared experience that bonded us together.

The Rise of the Home Consoles

The 80s saw the emergence of home consoles, which eventually became the most popular way to play video games. The first generation of home consoles, like the Atari 2600 and the Magnavox Odyssey, helped video games to become more accessible to a wider audience. They were simple to use and could be played from the comfort of our own homes.

The biggest breakthrough of the 80s came with the launch of Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985. It became an instant success, thanks to a number of classic games that would become synonymous with the console. Games like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid created a whole new dimension of gaming and established Nintendo as the king of consoles.

The Arcade Games

Arcade games were also a significant part of the video game industry in the 80s. They were commonly found in malls, bars, and arcades, and became an essential part of our social lives. Games like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong built social connections and created an exciting atmosphere for friends and families to bond over.

The arcade games had a significant influence on the video game industry, as it had a unique way of immersing players in gameplay without the need for an intricate controller, thanks to their control panels. These games also paved the way for future game designs that encompassed the whole gaming community.

The Birth of Mobile Gaming

Another significant aspect of the 80s video game industry was the emergence of portable games, like the Game & Watch series from Nintendo. These simple games were small and lightweight, making it possible for us to play them on the move, while also providing hours of entertainment on long road trips.

The popularity of portable games eventually led to advancements in handheld consoles, with Nintendo’s Game Boy leading the pack. Released in 1989, the Game Boy revolutionized handheld gaming and inspired decades of portable systems that followed.

The Influence of 80s Video Games

The impact of the video game industry in the 80s goes beyond just entertainment. It shaped how we view technology and how we approach problem-solving. With games like Tetris, we learned spatial reasoning and enhanced our analytical and problem-solving skills. With Super Mario Bros., we gained manual dexterity and improved our creativity, and with The Legend of Zelda, we learned how to think critically.

The video game industry also impacted how we view education and learning. Some universities have incorporated video game design courses into their curriculum, seeing it as a way to develop technological expertise and creative skills in students.

The Greatest 80s Video Games of All Time

1. Super Mario Bros.

The game needs no introduction, and it’s arguably one of the best video games ever made. Super Mario Bros. is a side-scrolling platformer that lets you play as Mario while jumping through various obstacles and defeating enemies to save Princess Toadstool.

2. Pac-Man

Pac-Man is a classic game where you control a yellow circle-shaped character named Pac-Man, who eats pellets while avoiding ghosts. The game is simple but addictive, and it’s still a popular game today.

3. The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda is an action-adventure game where you play as Link, a hero who embarks on a quest to rescue Princess Zelda and save the Kingdom of Hyrule. With a unique map and plenty of dungeons and puzzles to solve, it’s a game that requires quite a bit of critical thinking, making it a favorite among those who enjoy games with a challenge.

4. Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong is a platform game where you play as a character named Jumpman (later renamed Mario) who navigates through obstacles to save his girlfriend, Pauline, from an angry gorilla. Donkey Kong is a classic game that has been remade several times, and it’s still a popular game today.

5. Tetris

Tetris is a puzzle game where you rotate and drop different shaped blocks to fill up rows, earning points as you complete them. It’s a game that requires quick reflexes and critical thinking, making it a popular game among puzzle enthusiasts.


From home consoles and arcade games to portable systems, the video game industry in the 80s transformed the way we play today. These games became more than just entertainment; they became a part of our culture, and they offered us social connections and a shared experience. These games also helped shape the way we view technology, learning, and problem-solving. Even today, the greatest 80s video games of all time remain popular, and they continue to be an essential part of gaming history.

So, if you’re feeling nostalgic, take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of your favorite 80s video games. Who knows, you might find some new inspiration to keep you entertained for hours!