The premise was quite simple – run from left to right as you collect treasure. The hook, though, was that you only had twenty minutes to collect as much as you could. After that it was game over, regardless of whether or not you were out of lives. While we’re not sure how well this would go over in a modern game, but the idea of playing over and over trying to best your score was pretty addicting in 1982.
Super Mario Bros.
There’s absolutely nothing I can add to this entry that you don’t already know. You already know that this game made Miyamoto a household name amongst gamers. You already know all of the warp zones, the super-catchy soundtrack by master composer Koji Kondo, the approximately 700 kajillion sales it claims. Hell, you already even know that the shrubs in the game are just palette-swapped clouds.
It’s far from the best entry in the Super Mario series, but you’re hard-pressed to find one that’s more important. The epitome of pick-up-and-play 2D platforming.
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
Depending on whether you were late to the party or not, you may have played Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream. If you did, your childhood is hereby invalidated. I didn’t want it to end this way and I’m sorry for that.
For everyone else, you not only got the finest sports title that Nintendo ever produced, but one of its finest puzzlers as well. Unlike your modern-day Fight Night, it was all about learning your opponent’s attack patterns and tells, then quickly countering with a flurry of tiny punches. Lather, rinse, and repeat. Better yet, all of the fighters were cultural caricatures. Nothing too offensive, but enough to get a chuckle out of everyone playing.
It all culminated into what, in hindsight, is a rather frightening final boss battle – MF’ing Mike Tyson himself. Back in 1987, it was a pretty big deal, but now … well, let’s just say that it’s not so hard to see why Nintendo distanced themselves from Iron Mike and went with the more generic Mr. Dream.
The Legend of Zelda
To many gamers worldwide, this is Mr. Miyamoto’s best franchise, rather than a certain pudgy plumber. If you ask us, there’s no wrong answer here. It’s like asking which color is more correct.
The fun thing about this game is that it’s based on Shiggy’s (can we call you Shiggy? Thanks!) love for exploration growing up. It definitely showed in the game’s design – in 1987, it gave a sense of exploration unlike any other, even after Metroid’s release a year prior.
Even 23 years later the game is still influencing game design. This year alone Darksiders was described as half-Zelda and half-God of War, followed by the very Zelda-like 3D Dot Game Heroes in May.
Well, that’s about it for the older, more experienced part of the feature. Before closing this chapter and moving on to the next, one quick thought: You’ve got to love the arcade era. The idea of building a 400-lb. cabinet dedicated to playing a single game that you can now buy for $5 on PSN is pretty insane. It’s not exactly surprising that arcades went the direction they did, despite how much we loved spending time there.
Check back soon for the next part, where we get to talk about the games we at PlayStation University were born in time to play personally!