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September 23, 2020 5 min read

Our Reader’s Top 10 Classic Video Games Of All Time

Almost everyone we asked had a strong attachment to a particular game in their younger years.  The nostalgia that floods in when you hear the music of your favorite game almost certainly bring us all back to a simpler time. We asked our readers what their favorite classic game of all time was and have created a list of the games that came up the most.


The list would not be complete without America’s favorite hungry face Pac-Man.  Originally inspired by a pizza with a slice missing. In the game,  Pac-Man simply moves through a maze avoiding ghosts and eating treats.  The game was originally created to appeal to women as well as men because most games at the time were based upon war or fighting. It was also originally called Puckman due to his shape being similar to a hockey puck.  It was later changed when pushed to the international market due to the fear that users could change the P to an F if defacing the console. Pac-Man is one of the longest-running and highest-earning video games in history.


1993 brought Doom, a game that paved the way to many modern first-person shooting games such as Call Of Duty, Counter-Strike, Halo, and countless more.  The game revolves around an unnamed space marine (often referred to as Doomguy) that battles through forces of hell that have been unleashed by the Union Aerospace Corporation through an energy-mining facility on Mars.  The player fights through a series of levels set in military bases on the moons of Mars and Hell. Player-led mods that can overhaul the games look and feel was a very popular aspect of Doom.  Because of this, the game was said to pave the way for the mod-making community. It was also said to pay tribute to the era’s bands by naming levels like Nirvana, The Living End, House of Pain, Slayer, Genesis, and Skinny Puppy. 

Mario Bros.

Mario Bros initially came out in 1983 as an arcade game.  It’s fast success lead to the release of Super Mario Bros In 1985.  1985 was a great year, movie tickets cost about $2.75, The CD was released, and the Nintendo Entertainment System made its way into American living rooms.  The game contributed to popularizing side-scroll play.   It was widely praised for its precise control system. It still remains the highest-grossing gaming franchise of all time. Mario was actually named after the landlord of the Nintendo office that barged into a company meeting demanding rent. 


Tetris arrived on the scene in 1984.  The simple yet highly addictive puzzle game of stacking tiles has to be included on our list of noteworthy games. Russian software engineer Alexey Pajitnov developed the game and Nintendo put it on the map. Some attest to its highly meditative properties.  People still use it for therapy to help cope with mental illness such as against sensory issues and PTSD. The game has also led to some breakthroughs in psychology.  The “Tetris Effect”  is referred to as a phenomenon when someone does something often enough that it changes their pattern of thinking and problem-solving.  This was discovered when people were playing Tetris for so long thatthey started to see colored images of pieces falling into place at the edges of their visual fields when they close their eyes to fall asleep.

Street Fighter

Originally designed in 1987, Street Fighter is one of the highest-grossing video game franchises of all time.  In the original game, the main player is named Ryu who is a martial artist that competes in a worldwide tournament across five countries and ten opponents.  The second player is Ryu’s American rival, Ken. The players performed 3 punch and kick attacks with various speeds and strengths.  There are three special button combination attacks (Hadouken, Shoryuken, and Tatsumaki). The game’s success led to a full feature live-action film released in 1994 starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.  The game is currently the 4th highest-grossing Arcade game of all time..

Space Invaders 

Released in 1978 by Taito, Space Invaders was actually the first fixed shooter game and helped to build the foreground for the video game industry. The game featured defense bunkers, zigzag shots, and waves of aliens (some invisible) with a horizontal moving laser to earn points. It is the third highest-grossing arcade game of all time. This game is said to be partly responsible for the golden age of video games.  Some components (like the handheld version from the 80s) are considered highly sought after.  In 1980 Space Invaders II was exclusively sold in the cocktail tabletop version that is still a classic addition to any arcade.

Mortal Kombat 

Based upon street fighting, Mortal Kombat was the first of its kind.  The game introduced a secret fighter if the player was able to reach a particular level of achievement. The game originally was supposed to be a collaboration with Jean-Claude Van Damme but the deal did not go through. However, the main character Johnny Cage looks strikingly like the actor. One of the most noteworthy aspects of this game was the graphic violence with fatalities that resulted in a lot of criticism and popularity. In fact, the controversial nature of this game led to the creation of the ESRB video game rating system.

The Legend of Zelda 

The Legend Of Zelda’s iconic gold cartridge is truly unforgettable.  It was initially released in 1986 in Japan (created byShigeru Miyamoto the maker of Mario)and a year later in the US and Europe.  At the time it was incredibly innovative and allowed the ability to explore a vast world of secrets and quests.  It was one of the first games that allowed the ability to save progress via a battery-backed memory. The game featured a second quest that you could reach once you completed the game that added a new element to gameplay.  It paved the way for a lot of games after its release that explored worlds and realms through fantasy expeditions. Interestingly enough, Zelda was named after the famous writerF. Scott Fitzgerald's wife. She was known to be a liberated woman of the roaring twenties. Shigeru admired her and loved the name.

These games are only a few among many greats! If you’re looking to include all the classics in your space with arcade-like play, you should check out the Polycade. The Polycade is a wall-mounted gaming system that has a gaming-grade PC and Steam as the user interface. It's easy to download new games from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s onto Polycade. Just purchase them on the Steam app store or add ROMs and start playing.

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