I'm highly sceptical of accepting that something must be good because 'it's a classic', a line I find is usually associated with things that have no other actual discernable quality to them, or 80s singles that sold really well. So I thought I'd replay a load of 'classics' and see if they were still playable today. and I find the most 'classic' era of video gaming to be it's second generation. Defined by Wikipedia as from 1976 to 1984, though I personally haven't included any games after the 1983 Crash. This list is based on this piece of investigation, a list of games from the Ďclassicí era of video games, still as great to play now as they were then.

Burgertime was the first adventure of Data East's Peter Pepper, what does he do? Well he has to climb ladders to the top of the screen making giant burgers as he goes while avoiding hotdogs and fried eggs...on legs. Aaand you can hear all the GTA fans going 'riiiiight' and that reaction isn't to out of order...in fact it's totally understandable. But Burgertime is great fun (why should you trust me on this? well you shouldn't you should play it for yourself - isn't that the point of these things?) AND it's also quite the challenge because there's no maniac hammering here - you can't fight back, the only way to dispatch your delicious pursuers is to squash 'em between the layers of falling Hamburger filling - and when you think about it, video games are supposed to be two things; challenging and fun; if nothing else - so Burgertime succeeds.

Playing 'em through a lot is revelaed about 'classics', Tempest and Star Wars are virtually unplayable, Zaxxon is sluggish and Space Invaders is so sloooooow. Addictive as it remains, I didn't notice until firing up Return of the Invaders just how slow them little aliens move down that screen! But while many of it's imitators be nippier than Taito's coin gobbling shooter, they all seem to lack one distinct thing, and it's something that so many top down shooters lack to this day - personality. It's funny I guess when you figure that sprites no more 10 pixels wide would feature more personality than something on the PS2 there it is, faceless streams of space ships rolled out of their hangars for years and none of them matched the recognisable, likeable designs of the Invaders. And anyway the tortoise won didnít he?

I will freely admit that Missile Command looks like it was drawn on, and you are playing it on, an Etch-a-Sketch but remember this was made in 1980 when the only real difference between an Etch-a-Sketch and an arcade cabinet was the cabinet could remember you name. Well three letters of it. What Missile Command does, and a few other games on this list are guilty of exactly the same thing, is it engrosses you, it's very game-play - using your own missiles to shoot the enemy's out the air before they hit your town/city/base - forces you to concentrate for the total time you play it. Fighting games, Racing Games, hell most games, you can at least look away for a moment or pause. NOT in Missile Command ya can't, look away, have a sip of Coke, scratch yourself and the missile's gone to low and you're buggered - boom goes the town, Furthermore, blowing stuff up is fun regardless of graphical detail isn't it really?

Here for pretty much the same reason as Missile Command (8) is why is Defender higher? Because Missile Command is only 1 screen long, and Defender scrolls. There is just more things to shoot and more variety of things to shoot in Defender than there is in Missile Command - well if you survive long enough to see them, not that Defender's difficultÖif you've completed Battletoads...with no cheats...blindfolded...using your toes...while having an operation on your reproductive organs....

So Berzerk...it's a lot like if Robotron bred with Gauntlet, which given the age difference would probably mean Robotron would have to go to prison but yeah Robotron in a maze - you get a guy with a gun, you shoot evil robots, don't get killed. Berzerk adds an additional element - Evil Otto who puts me in mind of Egg-Fu, it's a big face and if you hang around to long he will kill you deader than a dead thing - he can go through walls and is possibly the most terrifying smiley face that doesn't belong to a politician. Like Robotron it's very engrossing, though not as much, and it's also slightly easier making it slightly more fun the average person to have a go on. Remember graphics aren't everything...except when you want your evil character to y'know...look imposing...Evil Otto...*sigh*

I'm a huge Robotron fan so I will TRY not to just copy/paste ROBOTRON IS ******* AWESOME!!! over and over for this piece of text. It's not professional. More than any other game I can think of Robotron engrosses the player - it makes concentration happen instantly and keeps it going until you invariably slip up and get shot - all you have to do is clear every stage of it's little civilians from two-to-7-odd pixel wide monsters, one of whom looks just like the Incredible Hulk - sometimes the simplest thing is so difficult, not like Defender, Battletoads, Ninja Gaiden remake difficult but close-ish. Also, you fire with a joystick (well analog stick now) which allow for some of the most effortless shooting control ever...ah I could gush on and on and on..and on and on...but I respect that this isn't everyone's cup of tea, so let's get onto Asteroids.

Asteroids is beautiful in it's simplicity. The Video Game equivalent of the of best silent movies. Having not played it for years and expecting little, after all it's not even coloured in and you can draw it on paint, there was pleasant surprise and the longest time spent on any game on this list (except Robotron). Like many of it's peers, the end goal is live and get points, and do this by shooting stuff, in this case space debris. You shoot stuff by pressing 1 button, there is no power ups, nothing except your little ship and a lot of space junk, and the occasional offensive thing that I can't work out exactly what it is. Asteroids - Addictive, Simple. Which makes writing more than this a bit difficult really - in closing, donít scoff at something cos it's simple until you've gotten totally addicted to it, cos it's so simple.

Dragon's Lair has aged brilliantly - because? It's a cartoon. Cartoons seem to somehow create this marvellous suspension of disbelief that makes the mind forget that Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs was made in 1937, or Bambi in 1942 or, in this case, Dragon's Lair in 1983. Being made by Don Bluth helps, Bluth was responsible for the Land Before Time, An American Tale, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Sleeping Beauty, The Sword in the Stone, Anastasia, many others and is just an amazing cartoonist and Dragon's Lair (and perhaps more so Space Ace) prove that he is sheer brilliance and the fact that it's a simple game all the family can play on their DVD player, tomorrow evening, just add to it's timelessness. True a couple of Action Buttons are pretty much all that separates Dragon's Lair from a point and clicker but the random generation of rooms give it enough depth to almost be considered a 'real game' ;-)

When I'm playing a game I care about is - is it enjoyable to play? is it challenging to play? Can you tell effort has been put into it? Are the controls responsive? and are the characters well designed? Donkey Kong's answers? Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes and frankly that is it. Donkey Kong is still a great game, tick all them boxes and as far as Iím concerned that's it, that is why it is here at number 2, not because of anything else (Iím stressing this because it's all too easy to give these top spots to 'Classics' in lists like these just 'cos). I used to suck at Donkey Kong and Iím still not very good, in fact there was a time when I was better at Defender, Battletoads AND TMNT on the Nes than I was at this and I still enjoyed playing it. I still feel bad for the monkey though, he only wanted some lovin'....just like King Kong...oops! sorry Miyamoto old boy, forgot you won that court case.

Did you know that Pac-Man's name was changed from Puck-Man because it was thought it was a bit too easy for vandals to chance Puck into...well you figure it out. ANYway in terms of aging Dragon's Lair really should have won this but Dragon's Lair game play...shall we say makes it undeserving of the title - Pac Man however is a different story all together. Remember those questions from Donkey Kong (2)? No cos you skipped to number 1 to see who won? Tough, I'm not repeating 'em read the article in full, well just like Miyamoto's first born Pac-Man gets a full five yeses, in fact, it doesn't just get yeses it gets five HELL YEAHS! The one big thing that makes it makes it stand that little bit above is accessibility. Donkey Kong is not an easy game, it's not even a medium game, it's a hard game and referees and reviewers to this day still stress it's difficulty. Pac-Man on the other hand is challenging enough so your mum will still suck at it but a lot easier and a lot less taxing than DK making it's something that anyone can get hold of and give it a good go. 75 hours of playtime and taxing levels involving Great Palaces is fine in the comfort of your own bedroom but not arcade games, arcade games should be like Pac-Man. And that is why we have Pac-man at number 1, because frankly it's arcade game perfection, down to the last pellet.

So there we have it. All I ask is that you play the games first - then disagree with me. That is all, you may now move onto a post by a much more recognisable member of GameFAQs, or go back to playing something deep on the PS3, me Iím off to play some Robtron - GLEE!!!

List by dwitefry (07/18/2008)

Discuss this list and others on the Top 10 Lists board.


Would you recommend this Top 10? Yes No You must register to leave a comment.
Submit Recommendation