Thursday, March 28, 2013

6 Famous Video Games of 1983

Due to the game crash of 1983 and the disappointment and loss of trust from gamers, video game producers had to come up with some really spectacular products. In order to make up for what happened when the market was saturated with terrible games, huge improvements were made with most new releases; producers managed to make them appear smoother and also implemented new gameplay elements.

The year 1983 was a good one as some of the biggest classic cult games were released. With the release of the Adam home computer by Coleco and the Aqarius by Mattel Electronics, more and more companies wanted to offer clients this new form of entertainment. However, some failed due to design errors while others due to the fact that they weren’t reaching enough users. However, games for arcade and PCs were still made and the gameplay was better and better.

1. Mario Bros.

Nintendo definitely made a hit when they published the arcade game Mario Bros. and who isn't familiar with this amazing release?  If you are a gamer, you know you’ve played it at one point of your life, or at least you played some version of it.

Mario Bros. is the original arcade game that got so popular it became a franchise. The game was developed by Shigeru Miyamoto and features an Italian-American plumber named Mario who has to defeat various creatures that come from the sewers of New York. The game also features his brother Luigi as a playable character.

How do you play it ?

The gameplay focuses on killing the pests in the sewers of New York by using simple controls. The two brothers investigate the sewers and the player needs to defeat all the enemies in each game phase to go to the next. They win points by defeating multiple enemies and can also play bonus rounds to get even more points. Mario Bros.  is known for having an interesting way of killing enemies - they are kicked over after they have been flipped on their back.

How do you win?

As the game progresses, the difficulty is increased; for example fireballs may bounce around the screen and players have to go from phase to phase and get the highest score they can.

Why was it so popular?

Well, it was popular because it had an interesting character and the gameplay was very entertaining, engaging and colorful. Also,
the game was  released on PC later, in a time where PC games were not very interesting. Soon, it became one of the most famous video games, with lots of sequels and more enhancements.

Can I still play it?

You can play Super Mario Bros., the game released for PC here.

2. Dragon's Lair

Dragon’s Lair was another awesome Arcade game that was released on laserdisk and it was extremely popular shortly after its release. It is considered to be a historical game and it is on display at Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C..

How do you play it ?

The story is pretty straightforward: you are a knight and you have to rescue a princess. Princess Daphne was locked in a tower by an evil wizard so it’s your quest to rescue her. You battle monsters but since this game was on a laserdisc and contained mostly animated cutscenes, the player had to execute the action by selecting a direction or pressing the sword button with correct timing. So instead of controlling their movements, the player controlled the reflexes with videos playing for correct or incorrect choices.

How do you win?

Well, you had to make sure that you choose the correct movements and you had good reflexes. This made some players extremely frustrated and since the internet didn’t exist to provide walkthroughs, they had to rely on trial and error until they got it right.

Why was it so popular?

Although some critics considered that the gameplay of Dragon’s Lair was “woody” and made it boring and frustrating, others praised the game for its amazing graphics.

Can I still play it?

The game is available for mobile but you can also play it here.

3. Intellivision World Series Baseball

The Intellivision World Series Baseball was a baseball game and the first video game to use multiple camera
angles and also featured play-by-play announcers. The cool thing about this game was also the fact that you were allowed to save during the game.

How do you play it?

The game was played by two players, the first player made a series of movements and then the game switched to the second player who had to do the same thing according to the first player's movements.

How do you win?

Well, obviously, you have to make your team win.

Why was it so popular?

Well, the game used multiple angles which made it much more dynamic; also, you were able to save games, which was another great thing back in the day.

Interesting fact (from the website ):

This may have been the first integrated video game - Eddie had designed the animated players to be black or white depending on the real players they were based on. When the names were changed to those of the programmers, he left the skin colors as they were. At least one programmer, though, came to Eddie and asked for "his" skin color to be changed, not wanting to be black in the game.

Can I still play it?

Well you can download it from here. 

Here is a video of it:

4. Ultima III: Exodus

We’ve talked about Ultima, but Ultima III brought a new type of gameplay we are so familiar with today.
There were so many improvements to this game that made it extremely cool. For example, it had amazing graphics for its type and it was the first RPG to feature animated characters. Also, you were allowed to play with 4 characters at once, rather than just one, so you had a party - a term so familiar today. Other interesting features: separate battle screen where you had to use tactics in order to kill your opponents, you were able to avoid opponents on the map and you had 11 classes to choose from ( Fighter, Paladin, Cleric, Wizard, Ranger, Thief, Barbarian, Lark, Illusionist, Druid, and Alchemist) with 5 races each.

The game is set on earth and it is set in Sosaria where the player has to destroy Exodus, a creation of Minax and Mondain.

How do you play it ?

The game was just like a rudimentary RPG and you had different stats that needed to be added to your character in order to use certain skills (intelligence was required by spells, strength by melee, etc). The party had to explore the map and kill monsters in dungeons or outside.

 Food was another important element in the game as it was helping the party gain energy to walk around the world. There were certain commands that the player used and made the game even more interesting (such as steal or bribe). The player was able to choose many methods of walking, for example on foot, horseback or by using a boat.

How do you win?

Each character had to be leveled to 25 in order to beat the game. Once you obtained the necessary experience, you had to talk to “Lord British” to level up. Also the player had to get all marks and all prayer cards.

Why was it so popular?

The game had a nice 3D appearance and that made it stand out among other games in that time. Also, there were chests, traps and other things that made the game very satisfying.

Can I still play it?

You can buy it on GoG, they sell an Ultima pack.

Or you can play a version of the game here.

Here is a video of the game:

5. M.U.L.E.

Not many people heard of M.U.L.E. but it was the first multiplayer video game, created by Ozark Softscape.
It was published by Electronic Arts and it is a game that incorporates aspects that simulate economics. The game is set on planet Irata.

How do you play it ?

The game can be compared with a basic version of StarCraft. The main purpose is to gather resources, grow and survive.

How do you win?

Players get to choose their race, which brings advantages or disadvantages, but in order to win they have to cooperate with other players but also compete with each other. The central point of the game is the acquisition and use of M.U.L.E. (Multiple Use Labor Element) . Players can scheme and trade with each other. There are also certain random events that happen such as other creatures attacking, sunspot activity, theft from space pirates and meteorites falling.

Why was it so popular?

It was new, dynamic and it was a multiplayer game. Also, it contained interesting elements and players were able to use multiple strategies to win it.

Interesting fact: The game was considered lost until 2012 when an original disk was found.

Can I still play it?

You can enjoy this amazing game and learn more about it here.

6. Pinball Construction Set

Pinball Construction Set was one of the first games that featured the first example of the "builder" (or "construction set") computer and video game genre. It was first released for Apple II and Atari 800 but later ported on other platforms because it became very popular.

How do you play it ?

Users constructed their own virtual pinball machine by dropping controls on a table. They used various elements such as: bumpers, flippers, spinners, etc. Certain attributes such as gravity and the physics model were easily modifiable. The cool thing about the game was the fact that users got to save their tables and trade them with others.

How do you win?

You were supposed to create the coolest table, it was a creation game.

Why was it so popular?

It was very popular because it introduced a new concept: making your own game. Also it featured an easy gameplay which made it sell over 300,000 copies.

Can I still play it?

You can find out more about the game and Pinball games here.

You can download the game here. 

You can see a video of the game here:

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