The early 1980s saw the golden age of console gaming. This was the era of classic 8-bit gaming, when some of the most iconic video games were released. From Pac-Man and Donkey Kong to Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, this was a time when video games were truly groundbreaking.
Today, we look back at the golden age of console gaming with fondness. It was a time when video games were simple yet addictive, and when players didn’t need fancy graphics or complicated gameplay mechanics to have fun. In many ways, it was the perfect time for gaming.
So what made the golden age of console gaming so special? Let’s take a look at some of the key factors…
The Games Were Simple but Addictive
One of the things that made 8-bit games so great was their simplicity. They were easy to pick up and play, but they were also incredibly addictive. Players could spend hours trying to beat a single level, or trying to get a high score on a leaderboard. And because there were no save points, once you started playing you had to commit to seeing it through to the end.
This simplicity also meant that 8-bit games could be enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels. Whether you were a seasoned gamer or a complete novice, there was something for everyone in those early days of console gaming.
The Graphics Were Basic but Memorable
Another key factor in the success of 8-bit games was their graphics. While today’s gamers are used to photo-realistic graphics and realistic character models, back in the early days of console gaming things were very different. Games were limited by the technology of the time, which meant that they had to make do with basic pixelated graphics. But despite their simplicity, these early games still managed to capture our imaginations. They may not have looked realistic, but they had their own charm that is still remembered fondly today.
The Soundtracks Were Catchy and Memorable
Another important element in those early video games was their soundtracks. Because graphics were so basic, developers had to rely on other elements to make their games stand out from the crowd. And one way they did this was by creating catchy and memorable soundtracks that would stay with players long after they’d put down the controller. From classic arcade tunes like Pac-Man’s “waka waka” theme to unforgettable tracks like Super Mario Bros’ “Ground Theme”, these soundtracks are an integral part of our childhood memories.
The Characters Were Iconic and BelovedAnother thing that made 8-bit games so special was their characters. These early video game characters became icons in popular culture, and are still loved by fans today – even if they haven’t been seen in a new game for decades! Characters like Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Link are just as popular now as they ever were, which is testament to the lasting appeal of these classic characters.
5 best retro 8-bit games
There's something about 8-bit games that just make them so darned addictive. Maybe it's the simple graphics or the catchy tunes, but whatever it is, we just can't get enough of them! Here are our five favourite retro 8-bit games that will have you coming back for more, time and time again.
1. Super Mario Bros.
This classic platformer needs no introduction - it's been a firm favourite with gamers since its release in 1985. Guide Mario as he runs and jumps his way through colourful worlds, taking on enemies and rescuing the Princess along the way. With its tight controls and simple yet challenging gameplay, Super Mario Bros. is a true 8-bit classic that everyone should play at least once.
2. The Legend of Zelda
Another timeless classic, The Legend of Zelda was first released in 1986 and is still going strong today with its latest instalment, Breath of the Wild. Explore the vast kingdom of Hyrule, defeating enemies and uncovering secrets as you go. With its memorable characters, engaging story and tough puzzles, it's no wonder this adventure game is still so popular today.
If you're looking for a challenge, then Metroid is the game for you. Released in 1986, this action-adventure game tasks you with exploring the planet Zebes and defeating the evil Space Pirates who reside there. With its non-linear gameplay and huge world to explore, Metroid is a true masterpiece of 8-bit gaming.
4. Mega Man 2
One for all the platforming fans out there, Mega Man 2 was released in 1988 and is widely considered to be one of the best games in the series (and indeed, one of the best 8-bit games period). Take control of Mega Man as he battles his way through eight different stages, defeating Robot Masters along the way until finally taking on Dr Wily himself. With its tight controls and excellent level design, Mega Man 2 is a joy to play from start to finish.
5 . Kirby's Adventure
Last but not least we have Kirby's Adventure - another excellent platformer that was released in 1993 (a little later than some of our other picks but still very much deserving of a place on this list). Guide Kirby as he sets out on a quest to stop King Dedede from stealing all the food in Dream Land - using his unique ability to inhale enemies and copy their abilities to help him along the way. With its charming visuals and fun gameplay mechanics, Kirby's Adventure is a real delight from start to finish - perfect for gamers of all ages
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