Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros.

In his first two video game appearances, Mario had to play second banana to two starring gorillas, Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr.. The mustachioed carpenter-turned-plumber finally got top billing (and a twin brother, Luigi) in 1983's original Mario Bros. arcade game, but the future King of All Things Nintendo didn't really ascend to the throne until 1986. In that watershed year, Super Mario Bros. hit the arcades in Nintendo's Vs. cabinets, jumpstarting both Mario's career and the future of side-scrolling platform video games. Continue reading...

Tempest

Tempest

Placing unsuspecting gamers right in the heart of a terrifying storm, Atari's Tempest offered a whole new perspective on video games. With dazzling color vector graphics (an arcade first), the game was set in a gravity well, a forced-perspective structure with your claw-like yellow "Blaster" skirting around the outer rim. Inside the blackness, hordes of enemies approached, slithering up and around the walls, ready to destroy you on contact. Continue reading...

Tetris

Tetris

Call it the Russian Revolution ... In 1987, software company Spectrum Holobyte, Inc., released a PC game designed by Russian programmer Alexey Pazhitnov. Dubbed Tetris (from the Greek word for "four"), the game was deceptively simple: Using seven different shapes, each made of four blocks, players tried to build complete rows at the bottom of the screen. But what appeared an easy task at first glance proved maddening once the pressure was on, which made this one addictive video game. Continue reading...

Whac-A-Mole

Whac-A-Mole

Tough day at school? Siblings giving you a hard time? What you need is little cathartic activity to make things seem all better. All can be cured with a trip down to the local Chuck E. Cheese (or Showtime Pizza, if you prefer) where a plastic mallet and a field of unsuspecting rodents await your assault. The game is called Whac-A-Mole, and it's been delighting kids for decades. Continue reading...

Zaxxon

Zaxxon

Jaws dropped when Sega released Zaxxon in 1982. Oh sure, gamers had flown spaceships into strafing raids and interstellar dogfights before, but Zaxxon placed these battles into a never-before seen 3D environment, complete with shadows. These innovations changed the course of action games and secured Zaxxon its rightful place in arcade history. Continue reading...