In this blog I want to talk about the general advancement of gaming technology and particularly the games that defined the decade. As I’m a child of the 90's, that decade had a larger direct affect on me than the 80's, but I aim to explore the significance of the retro technology that lead to the games I grew up on!
The time period 1978-1986 is important because is signifies the golden age of the arcade game industry. Still a time period that I wasn’t around to experience but there sure was a heck of a lot that went on in terms of games. Compared to prior. It started off with the release of “space invaders” by Taito. The iconic alien fighting game we have all surely heard of.
The public went mad for it, and it was such a smash that it inspired dozens of hopeful manufacturers to enter the market and get their slice of the newly baked Arcade games industry pie. Space invaders made Arcade machines a must have feature in pretty much every consumer environment you can think of. Shopping malls, restaurants, convenience stores and traditional store fronts. They were everywhere in Europe and in the West, and this is why its called golden age.
The sales were off the roof compared to anything else that came before, and as the years went on more big hits emerged and fuelled the boom. Such as Atari “Astroids”, Namco's “Galaxian”, and “Pac Man”. The important thing to mention about this period is the revenue generated from the Arcade games industry was at an all time sky high. Huge amounts and we are talking well into the billions. By 1981, the industry was generating an annual revenue of $5 billion in North America. It reached its peak a year later at $8 billion, nearly triple that in today’s money. This lasted up until 1985 until it began to decline.
The 80's brought with them many technically innovative and genre-defining games. The list of Genre's is massive! But the ones that really helped define me as I grew up and were more significant personally were- Action adventure games, Action role playing games, Beat em ups, and Shooters. “The Legend of Zelda” which premièred in 1986 on Nintendo's (NES) Nintendo Entertainment System- is considered important in establishing the Action adventure Genre and an early example of open world non-linear gameplay. Although I have to say I was never a fan of the now lengthy series of titles but I respect its importance in the early years. NES launched just following the Video game crash on 1983 and is seen to have revived and dominated the North American and Japanese market until the rise of the next generation consoles in the early 90's. It was bundled with “Super Mario Bro's” and instantly became a huge success.
My favourite Genre has to be without a shadow of a doubt Role-playing games (RPG's). I didn’t grow up playing them but during my early teens I was introduced to the genre and still love it. Its fore founder is considered to be “Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu” and thought I haven’t ever played it myself, its arrival in 1985 set it apart from the other genres as the first fully Action role-playing game, complete with level ups, lots of quests and action based combat. Other Sub genre's are Computer and Console RPG's. I played a mix of both genre's growing up, but in more recent years Computer RPG's have taken first place personally. Interplay Entertainment released “The Bards Tale” in 1985 which was considered the first Computer RPG to appeal to a wide audience. Nothing matched it until Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo in 1996. One of my favourite classics.