Today’s modern game consoles are a far cry from what we used to know and love. But in their heyday, they were the most advanced gaming systems known to man and the world fell in love with them instantly.
It all began back in 1972 with the Magnavox Odyssey. This was the first commercial system to enter our homes and featured just 28 games, including Table Tennis and Submarine. Things moved up a notch 5 years later as Atari joined the fold with its state-of-the-art VCS 2600 system. But it wasn’t until the mid-80s that Nintendo changed the landscape entirely with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which became the most commercially successful game console of that era. This accolade has since been held by other more-modern tech and it is currently PlayStation 2 that holds the record with 158 million sales worldwide.
Super Mario, Sonic and more…
In the late 80s / early 90s, the battle became a 2-horse race between Sega and Nintendo as fans of each showed faithful allegiance to their preferred tech. The race was on for every gaming enthusiast to complete each game and earn bragging rights among their peer group. And for many, the first taste of this came from the original Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario was originally released as an arcade game in 1983 and featured the now iconic, if not slightly misrepresentative, portrayal of 2 Italian-American brothers exploring the NYC sewers looking for critters that needed exterminating. The platform game for the NES was launched a couple of years later and was a modern take on the original concept. Brothers Mario and Luigi were now making their way through the Mushroom Kingdom on a mission to save Princess Toadstool from the enemy, Bowser / King Kooper.
Sonic sent gamers into a spin
Sonic the Hedgehog was the most popular title to be released on the new Sega Genesis—Mega Drive for those outside the US. This 2D side-scrolling platform game featured a hedgehog that could move at sonic speeds. The main aim of the game was to collect rings and reach the final act from each zone where the player would enter a special stage. The stages featured a maze in which a chaos emerald was hidden. Collecting all of these emeralds meant completing the game. However, if this wasn’t achieved, then the evil Doctor Robotnik would taunt you by juggling the remaining jewels.
Since making his debut outing, Sonic has gone on to become one of the largest gaming franchises on the planet. The hedgehog now features in over 90 games, which have sold over 1 billion copies.
The Legend of Zelda
Another classic Nintendo game was the legend of Zelda. The original game was called The Hyrule Fantasy when it was first released in Japan. But it became known as the Legend of Zelda in the United States and beyond.
Like many of the classic games, Zelda became an entire series of highly sought-after titles that all focused on the same central character and featured various different missions. A young elf named Link was the main protagonist whose goal was invariably to rescue Princess Zelda from whichever Castle she was being held in at that point. As game consoles developed further, the gameplay in the Legend of Zelda became more intricate.
Mortal Kombat first hit our screens back in 1992. Based on an original idea that was supposed to feature John Claude Van Damme as the main character. It didn’t come to fruition for the Muscles for Brussels, but instead, we were left with this science fantasy-themed fighting game in its place.
As with many of the other popular games, Mortal Kombat became a huge series of titles that have spanned several decades. The gameplay idea was simple and appealed to millions of fans. Even though the idea of selecting a character to appear in various time-limited fights against the computer or another player was nothing new, Mortal Kombat did something better than its rivals. And that was the finishing moves.
The gruesome fatalities featured at the end of each bout and allowed the victorious character to slay his or her competitor. Some of these finishing moves gained heavy criticism for being violent and graphic. But in general, the crowds love them!
The rise of the PC games
There were also home computers that emerged during this period. The ZX Spectrum 48, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and Atari ST all featured basic gaming capabilities and produced some of the most famous titles that still stick in the minds of any 80s child.
Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, Skool Daze, Back to Skool, Atic Atac, Chuckie Egg, Hungry Horace, Horace Goes Skiing, Gauntlet, Buggy Boy, Bubble Bobble, Paper Boy, Dizzy, Ghostbusters, Lemmings and The Secret of Monkey Island were all popular titles at that time.
These games all had massive fan bases and developed a devoted following over the years. And many of them would go on to be highly sought-after, in a retro sense, many years later.
As technology progresses at a million miles per hour, some gamers have decided to take a step back and seek more retro-style entertainment. Classic games such as Tetris, for example, have moved beyond handheld gaming consoles and into other industries as well. Many casino slot games now feature a similar style with cascading reels and cluster pays.
And it’s possible to enjoy these titles without downloading software or purchasing a games console either. When making use of a no wagering casino bonus, there’s also a good chance that players can win some real cash prizes and access those winnings quickly.
Apart from Sonic, Mario and Mortal Kombat, many other console and PC games have enjoyed a comeback over the last few years. For example, Monkey Island has had many reincarnations and new games made. It all began with The Secret of Monkey Island in 1990 on the Amiga with the latest instalment being Return to Monkey Island in 2022 for the Nintendo Switch.
Street Fighter II crosses platforms
Another popular game that has made its way through different platforms is Street Fighter II. This fighting game, developed by Capcom, was originally released in 1991 in an arcade format. It was the sequel to the original 1987’s Street Fighter title and made many notable improvements on its predecessor’s efforts.
Ryu and co. became an instant hit when released in the arcades. And they were even more popular as they helped sell more than 6.3 million Super Nintendo cartridges, as the game transitioned to the popular home console. The notoriety of the epic platform fighter game also meant that it found its way into the online casino world too. In 2020, it made an appearance as the super popular Street Fighter II slot.