It's National Video Games Day! Take a Look At How The '80s Shaped Today's Industry

via Kinja
There is a long history behind the gaming industry. With all the ups and downs, mind-blowing technologies and advances, this market is one of the most profitable and popular today. But how did we get here? The roots of the industry were grown (and regrown in some cases) mostly during the 1980s decade, but it wasn't an easy path to success.

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'80s Video Game Industry

While being in the groove, the industry experienced a serious crisis at the beginning of the 1980s. A lot of personal computer and home console manufacturers declared bankruptcy from late 1983 through early 1984. There is no single reason for the crisis; however, many believe that the release of games with poor design led to the recession that found thousands of games being dumped in landfills. Another cause of the North America crisis of 1983 is associated with the rapid development of personal computing machines.


In 1984, personal computers began to prevail over consoles that had not yet recovered from the crisis. The best thing about PCs was that they provided the same experience, but there was no need to insert cartridges every time. So it is no wonder why computers became so popular among the gaming audience.

Video Game Breakthroughs

After a boom in the mid-1980s that provided solutions to industry problems, game development was taken to new heights. Let’s take a closer at some of the '80s games in specific categories that paved the way for the future.

Adventure Action

The Legend of Zelda (1986) is a combination of all top gaming elements: puzzle solving, a money system, etc. It was one of the first open-world games with a non-linear scenario, so it is no wonder why it became so popular and widely played all over the world.

Cinematic Platformer

Prince of Persia (1989) is a fantasy platform launched by Jordan Mechner. Initially intended for Apple II computers, Prince of Persia was distinguished in the gaming community by high-quality animation and impressive graphics.

Computer Role Playing

Akalabeth (1980) was initially developed in BASIC for the Apple II and released the same year as Rogue. However, it was Akalabeth that pretty much became the founder of the whole role playing universe.

Hack and Slash

Released by Sega, Golden Axe (1988) was developed by Makoto Uchida and features a cooperative mode with the ability to select various heroes with individual combat skills.

Scrolling Shooters

Defender (1981) was the very first shoot-em-up game with horizontal side-scrolling. It laid the very foundation of this genre and its style can be see in many future games.


Turbo (1981) from Sega was the first racing game with a third-person view. In a year, Namco would release Pole Position with pseudo-3D third-person graphics. It featured two trim levels, so a player could choose between a regular cabinet machine and a racing cockpit.

Real-Time Strategy

Herzog Zwei (1989) has been labeled as the landmark RTS game. It is not only a strategic game but also a tactical solution that attracts people of any age and gender.

The video game market has constantly been growing since its collapse in the '80s, with new products and innovations introduced on a regular basis. And while the roots of great gaming can always been identified, the advent of latest technologies has propelled the industry to a level that few could have seen decades ago.

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