There are those of us who remember the days of Pong some 40 years ago, where those tiny pixels were de rigeur. Whether you were a fan of the Gameboy or Game Gear, we all have our favourite consoles that we spent hours over.
In fact, video games have come a very long way since their humble beginnings. Graphics as well as gameplay have dramatically improved as consumers look to quench their thirst in the latest interactivity.
On the other hand, it is not just the visual and technological developments that have grabbed people’s attention over the last three or four decades.
We have all grown up with some of the most iconic gaming characters of all time. This includes the likes of Pac Man which spawned a worldwide phenomenon among gamers across the globe.
One of the most popular games of all time is of course Space Invaders which found its home on the Atari system. Originally released back in 1978, this two dimensional game amassed millions of sales worldwide and is still talked about to this very day.
What was previously a niche pastime is currently one of the fastest emerging entertainment markets out there. From Call of Duty to Grand Theft Auto, let’s go back in time to discover the 10 most popular video games from our youth.
10 Street Fighter II
This belter of a video game was originally launched back in 1987. Considered to be the ultimate fighting game of all time, Street Fighter II is arguably that smash up combat struggle to succeed. For the first time, it gave you the opportunity to indulge in tete-a-tete fighting like never before. Each individual character offered their own distinctive move as well as a number of different attacks. In fact some had two or three unique moves with which they pulverised their opponent into submission. Its success was so big that it went on to gross more than $1.5 billion in revenue.
From parents to tiny toddlers, everyone has had a go on Tetris. The brainchild of computer engineer, Alexey Pajitnov, the Russian was to change the face of our computer screens in 1984. The Russian unleashed the most popular problem solving tile matching puzzle game of all time. It is actually derived from the Greek term for tetra. This is where each of the pieces contained in the game had four specific segments as well as Pajitnov’s love of tennis.
8 Sonic The Hedgehog
This spiky contender burst onto our screens back in 1991. Under the guise of Mr. Needlemouse as a result of his codename, Sonic the Hedgehog was thrust into the Sega limelight thereafter. His emergence from the shadow of Alex Kidd has ensured he is one of the most loved gaming characters in history. The special two act levels gained plenty of loyal followers thanks to its colourful backgrounds not to mention its conclusion. This usually involved Sonic facing off in a climactic final showdown with none other than the dastardly Dr. Robotnik.
A timeless classic in its own right, Pac-Man features highly on the list. This simple yet elegant maze game kept us on our toes for hours on end. What could be better than this bright yellow ball of fun chasing and chomping ghosts to win tonnes of points and level advances? Pac-Man was originally released back in 1980 by developers Namco. This revolutionised the gaming sector for many kids and adults alike who just could not get enough of this little critter. Pac-Man’s charm was its simplicity and functionality and is even a record breaker. In 1999, Guinness officially recognised Pac-Man as being the world’s most identifiable video game character
6 Donkey Kong
Spawning what was to later become the Super Mario series, Donkey Kong was yet another favourite for gamers in the 1980's. Under the Nintendo family, this 1981 classic was instrumental in the consoles success. In addition to this, with no joy in the US market, Nintendo’s president at the time Hiroshi Yamauchi was responsible for instructing designer Shigeru Miyamoto with the design of a new game. This led to what was known at the time as Jumpman who was later to be renamed Mario.
Who knew that a boy wielding newspapers at high speed would have such an impact in the gaming society. That’s exactly what Paperboy managed to do. Its unruly behaviour and unprofessionalism in being a paper delivery boy reached new heights. Launched in 1984 by the good people over at Atari games, it was also a well-known arcade game too. The way that you could control the paper boy’s journey across a suburban street proved to be gripping for many people worldwide. It was transferred to a host of multi-platform consoles and was extremely innovative due to its ingenious controls and gameplay.
4 Sensible Soccer
For some who hark back to a generation before the influence of FIFA, there were other contenders out there. Just take for example the outrageous swerve shots of Kick Off and Sensible Soccer. This sharp soccer game was based on crisp passing and unrealistic banana shots. You can forget Barcelona’s tiki-taka style, this was all the rage in the 1990's. To this day it still maintains a real following among gamers who did not adopt the all-encompassing FIFA games. In the first instance you could find Sensible Soccer on the retro Amiga console and later on the Atari ST and PC. Furthermore, it allowed you to edit a range of settings from national and club team to the gameplay.
Who could forget the adventures of Frogger? Launched in 1981, everyone seemed to be hopping mad about Frogger. Under the helm of Konami software, the concept was simple. Guide the frogs in order to avoid oncoming traffic and over a river and place them in their homes. You could pick up bonuses if you were quick but this really was one of the all-time classic retro games. Its unique theme coupled with addictive gameplay ensured that it sold more than 19 million copies.
2 Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat was another fighting game that captured many gamer’s imaginations. Developed in 1992, there were a wealth of key aspects contained in the game and the series. This included the special controls and the signature finishing moves which at times were extremely gory. Based on Liu Kang who was sent to save Earth, Mortal Kombat became one of the best-selling video games in history. This led to numerous spin off games and even a movie in 1995. Nonetheless, it did court a lot of controversy for its graphic violence and human like imagery which was a first in video games.
1 Mario Bros
There really is only one leader in the retro video gaming stakes and that is the one and only Super Mario. Introduced in 1983, this Italian plumbing superstar is still going strong today. With Luigi as his brother and partner in crime, this platform game has gone on to amass more than an incredible 260 million copies sold around the world.