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The team’s favourite retro games

FEATURE

Videogames have been a part of our lives and culture for many years now, but before console wars and HD graphics there were chiptunes and big, chunky pixels. The old 8-bit games can look quite primitive by today’s standards, but these retro classics were the foundation for the shiny modern games we enjoy today.

Without the luxuries of 3D and voiceovers, games had to be clever about the ways they engaged players. This spawned some incredibly creative and innovative games, which are still treasured by many today.

Many of the staff at iiNet grew up with games, including myself. I have many fond childhood memories of travelling through time on Chrono Trigger, breaking pots in the Legend of Zelda and stomping goombas in Super Mario. Our team also had their own memories of great retro games, so here are a few of their favourites.

Sonic the Hedgehog
Year – 1991
System: Sega Genesis

sonic

One of the most critically acclaimed titles on the Sega Genesis, Sonic the Hedgehog’s success spearheaded a whole series of games with the titular blue hedgehog Sonic. Dashing across a bright, beautiful landscape, collecting golden rings, Sonic the Hedgehog was easy to become engrossed in while time just flew by. For our Video Content Designer, Mo, it was a firm childhood favourite:

Sonic 2 was my after-school staple; one of the best platformers of the 16 bit era with music to match. Zipping through colourful levels at “Sonic” speed was exhilarating, but the biggest mind-blowing moment came when my sister picked up the second game pad and found out she was able to control Tails the Fox – he had infinite lives too!” – Mo

Alex Kidd in Miracle World
Year – 1987
System: Sega Master System

alex kidd

Another Sega classic that made it to the list is Alex Kidd in Miracle World. The game achieved such great popularity after its initial release that later versions of the Sega Master System had the game built into the hardware, so gamers could play it without the cartridge. A quirky, colourful fare about a plucky young hero called Alex Kidd off on an adventure through Miracle World to rescue his kidnapped brother Prince Egle. With stunning graphics for its time and a great dose of wackiness, Alex Kidd wins the vote of Graphic Designer, Rich:

For me I was always a Sega man, but no, it wasn’t Sonic that kept me glued to the master system, but Alex Kidd. Armed with nothing but a magic ring, giant fist and a motor bike, he aimed to save the world from an evil octopus with flaming tentacles.” – Rich

Mortal Kombat
Year – 1992
System: Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis

mk

An iconic game for Nintendo and Sega lovers alike, I remember playing Mortal Kombat as a kid and thinking Sonya was the coolest character ever. It was great to see a girl kicking some butt in this one-on-one fighting game. With the gruesome “fatalities”, it might not have been the most kid-friendly game on the market, but that didn’t stop a whole bunch of us spilling pixel blood in this brutal button masher. Campaign Manager, Paris, remembers it well:

I liked Mortal Kombat because I could win, even though I sucked at video games and had no skill. I would beat my male relatives and they would hate it. SMASH ALL THE BUTTONS!” – Paris

Battletoads
Year – 1991
System – Nintendo Entertainment System

battletoads-nes

Just as the name suggests, this game was all about anthropomorphic battling toads, with some pretty questionable names: Rash, Zit and Pimple were the three main characters. Created to bring some competition to the famous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Battletoads is not a game for the faint-hearted. Though it has been touted as one of the most difficult videogames, Web Designer, Jayden, accepted the challenge:

Battletoads took me literally about 2 months to finally beat the Windtunnel level. Still the hardest videogame I’ve ever played.” – Jayden.

Wonderboy III: The Dragon’s Trap
Year: 1989
System: Sega Master System

Wonder_Boy_3_UE_004

I was busy being born this year, so sadly I missed out on this award-winning adventure game. It’s a shame because this title from the Wonderboy series does sound like a lot of fun. After being cursed and turning into a Lizard Man, you must embark on a quest to find the one item in the world that can lift the curse: the Salamander Cross. Along the way you run into weird and wonderful enemies and change forms into all different animals. Though Senior Graphic Designer, Matt, has chosen this game as his favourite, he has some mixed memories about it:

The first console I bought with my own money was a Sega Master System. 8 bits of raw video game power, played through a 15” TV in my bedroom.

My favourite title comes from 1988; Wonder Boy 3 – The Dragons Trap. It had awesome upgrades and levels with a difficulty that was often just out of reach, but also achievable.

As with many 8 bit consoles there was no save option, so I would have to play marathon sessions into the night to stand a chance of completing it. If I had to sleep I would pause the game and leave it running, which inevitably ruined my CRT TV, leaving a permanent imprint of the game’s pause screen burned into it.” – Matt

Galaga
Year: 1981
System: Arcade

How-to-play-galaga

Our oldest game on the list was first available only on arcade machines. Anyone who knows games would know the format: You operate a spaceship at the bottom of the screen and shoot down the strange space creatures flying around. The formula was inspired by Space Invaders, except with a few added twists, like the enemies being able to capture your ship and break formation to drop down towards your ship at will. An absolute classic and one of the most successful arcade games ever made. It was a stand-out for Senior Customer Service Manager, Paul:

So many happy memories in fish and chip shops and only having to spend 20 cents.  I think I still have a thumb injury from repetitively thumping the big red button” – Paul

With too many amazing retro games to fit into one article, you’re going to have to help us out. Let us know in the comments below which retro game is your favourite.

48 comments

  1. Dan says:

    Dragon’s trap was remade for the TurboGrafx and is available on hte wii store. It’s one of hte best games ever made. I’ve played it many many times.

  2. Adrian says:

    Tearjerkers

  3. Anonymous says:

    Nothing from PC?

  4. Zeitgeist says:

    My favourites were Pac-Man (Ghost Muncher) that we played on the MicroBee in the early 80s (1981 – 83). The MicroBee was an Australian computer; yup we used to make good computers in Australia. In 1987 with the purchase of my new IBM-compatible machine, I played Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards. This was start-of-the-art computer gaming with adult themes so we thought we were in heaven.

  5. Garry says:

    My favorate electronic game was Qix
    Qix (pronounced “kicks”) is an arcade game released by Taito America Corporation in 1981. The objective of Qix is to fence off, or claim, a supermajority of the playfield. At the start of each level, the playing field is a large, empty rectangle, containing the Qix—a stick-like entity that performs graceful but unpredictable motions within the confines of the rectangle.

    Qix was ported to the contemporary Atari 5200 and Atari 8-bit computers, then was brought to a wide variety of systems in the late 1980s and early 1990s: Commodore 64 (1983 and 1989), DOS (1989), Amiga (1989) (graphically enhanced), Apple IIgs (1990), Game Boy (1990) (available on 3DS Virtual Console), Nintendo Entertainment System (1991), and Atari Lynx (1991).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qix

  6. Anonymous says:

    MEGAMAN!!

  7. Robin says:

    My favourite retro game was ‘Asteroids’. spend many an hour in a both at the bowling centre in Wellington Street just up from the police station play this game. Needed good hand eye coordination and fast reflexes to survive.

  8. David Hazell says:

    What about FA18 Interceptor on the Commodore Amiga platform. You had to take off & land on an aircraft carrier to be able to do missions. Also Donkey Kong.

  9. ian rowland says:

    The only game i ever played was Pacman. Not like the normal “brain rot” my son and his mates fired their grey matter with, but the thinking man’s game. A game of strategy and timing with a lot of forethought. And the “brain rot” brigade could never get within Cooee of my scores!

  10. david tennant says:

    One of the most popular games from the 80,s was
    Frogger. Simply you had to jump a frog across a busy road not being hit by motor cars
    I
    Attended a games expo a couple of years ago at Federation Square Melbourne where they had all the old games consoles from the 80,s until today and I asked one of the supervisors there , which was the most popular game he said frogger.

  11. Anna Biezen says:

    I absolutely loved Yoshi’s Island, I was in hysterics every time Yoshi swallowed an enemy and then laid an egg.

  12. Christine says:

    Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
    (Text adventure, not pixel game)

  13. H. Smith says:

    How many people remember ‘Shaft Raider’? It was programmed by a sixteen year old from Perth and made the UK top 10 games list for a short period.

  14. John says:

    We still have a boxed working TV4Me Concept 2000 ‘pong’ video game that we get out sometimes to show the grandchildren. They mostly prefer to play the 1977 pinball machine though!

  15. Roger says:

    I would like Jumpman and Dino Eggs. My wife spent many hours playing these on our commodore 64. A happy wife is a happy home.

  16. Bulldust says:

    So many great games missed – Dungeon Master on the Amiga (in my case) was a classic:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeon_Master_%28video_game%29

    The game became progressively harder as you played on. One of the best designs for the time.

  17. Bulldust says:

    My bad – I had the Atari ST.

  18. Chris Quicke says:

    I managed to get the old NES out for a game the other week. Sure, it may take 20 mins trying to align the cartridge just perfectly enough to play, but when you get to relive favourite classics like Double Dragon, Street Gangs, and Wizards & Warriors…its well worth the wait!!

  19. Brendan says:

    Spent a lot of money playing shinobi, altered beast etc. I started with the classic Atari and now own a ps4 still love my gaming. There still is one arcade game I remember playing as a kid but can’t remember the name it was a shooter game and the joystick rotated which was the gun so you could shoot in all directions and you could upgrade the gun after every level it would of been a late 80’s arcade maybe early 90’s not to sure if any one could help it would be much appreciated.

  20. Anonymous says:

    No Amiga games…?…

  21. JUDITH HEAGNEY says:

    WHAT ABOUT BATTLE CHESS????? MY HUBBY LOVED IT AND I CAN’T GET A COPY OF IT FOR OUR LAPTOP WHICH IS RUN BY WINDOWS 10. aNY SUGGESTIONS?

  22. JUDITH HEAGNEY says:

    DID MY BATTLE CHESS QUESTION GET SENT? IT DISAPPEARED.

  23. Patrick Y says:

    When I was 5 years old in 1980 my first computer was an “Atari 2600”. Back then for people who don’t know you used to have to put in a cartridge to play a game. Then my next computer was a Comodore 64. It had a few cartridges but then I upgraded to tapes and then eventually a floppy disk drive. Then an Amiga 500 followed by a Sony PlayStation. Then came the many PC’s. To this day, just by altering electricity I would never have believed that the vast realism of games with their sounds and graphics would produce the thousands of hours of entertainment that has ruled my life.
    Best games: Space Invaders, The Last Ninja Trilogy, Imposible Mission1+2, Test Drive1+2, Wonderboy, Black Tiger, Tera Cresta, Golden Axe, Doulble Dragon1+2. Hundreds of others but not enough time to mention them all.

  24. Terry says:

    Too many great games over the year to pick a favourite.

    “Tanks” on a Dick Smith Wizard. Plug-in cartridge and full colour on our old Rank Arena TV.

    King’s Quest on a PC/XT was probably the first of the graphical adventure games that you had to work through. Move the rock, get the knife etc.. I can still hear the music.

    NukeWar was totally brilliant and very playable if you can get hold of a copy.

    The original “Pirates” is another great game.

    There was an LX Chopper that I burned a lot of hours on as well.

  25. dick hicks says:

    john what a great idea,i have a ping pong game with a tank shooting game on it.cheers dick.

  26. Troy says:

    I used to love playing 1942. I remember back in 1988 I actually got to the end of this game, the one and only time I did. Also used to play another game back in the early 80’s called pengo.

  27. Drik says:

    Every one a console game (and Galaga). Typical. What about PCs? C64, Spectrum, Amiga, Atari ST, IBMPC? Though she can be forgiven due to her age – starting with a Super Nintendo which was released in Au in 1993 – long/not so long after all those platforms (sans IBMPC) fell by the wayside (though still used by a rabid fanbase in some cases well into the mid or even late 90s).

  28. Nick says:

    Spent hours (possibly weeks) of my life getting through multiple 75 level rotations of Edgar M Vigdal’s version of Galaga. ‘Ports of call’ and ‘Populous’ were the other 2 favourites, all of which were played on an Amiga 1200 which is still in use today.

  29. Valerie W. says:

    my first and favourite I played with grand children was Lemmings. Great favourite nothing to equal it these days
    for my great grand children.

  30. Matt says:

    For me on the various platforms I’d say: Atari 2600 = Space Invaders and Asteroids. Arcade = 1942. Commodore Amiga 500 = Mouse Trap and Lemmings, also Larry Birds half court Basketball was cool. SNES = NBA Jam and Rock and Roll racing, also spent many hours playing Mario Bros and Mario Kart.

  31. Lorraine says:

    And all that happened while I was bring up a family. At 77 looking back is like a visit to the dark ages, well it was wasn’t it?

  32. D says:

    crash bandicoot must be old enough by now

  33. Jack says:

    Definitely agree with ‘Frogger’, but also ‘Space Invaders’ and ‘Ping-Pong’. Whiled away many hours on the Commodore with an orange/black screen – not the usual black/white which I believe came a bit later.

  34. Greg says:

    Moon Cresta!

  35. Dudley says:

    Never seen any of these. Too young or too old? Reckon Tetris was and still is good!

  36. madmax says:

    What, no mention of the infamously addictive “Arkanoid” and “Revenge of Doh”?

    And Boulderdash?

  37. Jac says:

    I remember Tennis(Pong?) Space Invaders, Pacman. The wallbreaking Arkanoid, but I lament the passing of BOULDERDASH. I would love to play it even now. Warcraft, I think it was called was fun – not the mmorpg – doh one.

  38. Jill says:

    Definately frogger and wiz and liz wish someone would do that one again. I would be the forst to get it.

  39. Paul says:

    Arcade game – Gyrus from 1983, i found it highly addictive.

  40. Joe says:

    Without a doubt, Space Invaders for me. but I also remember on my old Commodore 64 playing a game called Snokie.
    Any way you can get any of these old games on your PC now????

  41. Lou H says:

    Donkey Kong !!

  42. Jancy says:

    I knew Galaga as Galaxian and spent many,many hours playing it at Plaka Shishkebab in Northbridge. My misspent youth!

  43. Petior Domin says:

    For me it was Pong on the console and Swashbuckler on the Apple IIe.

  44. Greg says:

    Gotta love ‘Moon Patrol’…and it’s still on itunes (as ‘Moon Rover’)! Long may it live!

  45. Harry says:

    Guess I’m older than you folks, ’cause when I was at school none of these games had even been invented yet (heh,heh)! Preferred hanging out with my grandfather as he taught me how to use his tools. Guess things have changed a lot in the last forty years, hey? (Raised eyebrow expression)

  46. John says:

    Sega Genisis. iinet.com.AU au=australia austrlia sega genisis is called sega MEGADRIVE!!!!

  47. Peter says:

    It was nearly 40 years ago that I was playing Zork. although a text based adventure, I don’t think they really created a better puzzle game until Myst came along.

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