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The Greatest 80s Video Games of All Time: The Impact of Hackers and Modders

The 80s was the era of big hair, neon colors, and, most importantly, video games. From Pac-Man to Donkey Kong, the 80s saw some of the most iconic games in history. But what made these games even more special was the community of hackers and modders who constantly pushed the boundaries of what was possible in gaming. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the greatest 80s video games, and explore the impact hackers and modders had on the gaming industry.

The Greatest 80s Video Games of All Time

Note: In no particular order

Pac-Man (1980)

Pac-Man is a game that needs no introduction, but we’ll give one anyway. The game is simple, yet addictive. You play as a yellow disc with a mouth, eating dots, avoiding ghosts, and getting power-ups to eat ghosts. Released in 1980, Pac-Man quickly became a cultural phenomenon and is still played to this day.

Donkey Kong (1981)

Donkey Kong is the game that put Nintendo on the map. It featured Mario, before he was even called Mario, trying to rescue his girlfriend from the clutches of the villainous Donkey Kong. The game was groundbreaking for its time, featuring multiple levels and a storyline. It also introduced the world to one of the most beloved characters in gaming history.

Galaga (1981)

Galaga is a game that’s often overlooked in discussions about the greatest 80s video games, but it deserves to be in the conversation. The game is a space shooter, where you control a ship and shoot down alien ships. The game was unique for its time, featuring enemies that would capture your ship if you didn’t shoot them down quickly enough.

Street Fighter (1987)

Street Fighter is the game that popularized the fighting game genre. You choose a character and fight through a series of opponents until you get to the final boss. The game introduced the concept of special moves, where characters could perform more powerful attacks by inputting certain button combinations. It also gave birth to a franchise that’s still going strong to this day.

The Impact of Hackers and Modders

The 80s were a time when the internet didn’t exist and gaming was a relatively new industry. Without the internet, gamers had to rely on magazines and word-of-mouth to learn about new games and strategies. But some gamers went a step further and started tinkering with the games themselves.

Hackers and modders were people who would find ways to modify the code of games to add new features or fix bugs. They would share these modifications with others in the gaming community, creating a culture of collaboration and experimentation.

One of the most famous examples of 80s video game modding was the creation of the “Minus World” in Super Mario Bros. The “Minus World” was a glitch in the game that allowed players to access a hidden level that was never meant to be seen. It became something of a legend in the gaming community, and many gamers still try to access it to this day.

Hackers and modders also had a significant impact on arcade games. They would create “bootleg” versions of classic games, with new levels and features. These bootleg games would often become more popular than the originals, leading some companies to hire hackers and modders to work on official releases.

The legacy of 80s video game modding can still be seen today. Many games feature “modding tools” that allow players to create and share their own modifications. The gaming community is still a place of collaboration and experimentation, and it’s all thanks to the hackers and modders of the 80s.


The 80s were a golden age of video games, and the impact of hackers and modders cannot be understated. They pushed the boundaries of what was possible in gaming and created a culture of collaboration and experimentation that still exists to this day. From Pac-Man to Street Fighter, the greatest 80s video games owe a debt to the modding community. So, the next time you’re playing a modern game with user-created content, take a moment to thank the hackers and modders who paved the way.