BySam Plank, writer at
"You have to be what you are. Whatever you are, you gotta be it." -Johnny Cash. Tweet a tweeter at my twitty twitter, @tw1tterintw1t
Sam Plank

Sorry, I probably put a little too much emphasis on that last word. But there are really just some video games that someone who loves, or has loved, video games needs to play before this:

Because of the vast amount of video games out there, this list is going to be restricted to a certain class of games; the ones that were released with their actual consoles (or computer)!

Also, since I'm a member of the “has loved” crowd, whose video game heyday ended with Y2K, this list only has games release prior to then. Because if you show up at my door and try to talk to me about GTA5, Call of Duty, or Uncharted, I'll just give you a blank stare and ask you if you want to come in and see my Atari Flashback.

Super Mario Bros & Duckhunt

NES Action Set (1988)

You can't start any list about classic video games with any other game than Super Mario Bros.!

Here's a run-through of the game that's sure to make any child of the 80s pull their hair out. The dude finishes the game with the lowest score possible!

And of course...don't shoot the dog!

Super Mario Bros 3

NES Challenge Set (1992)

I already had my NES by the time this game came out, but I had no problem renting it a few times before I finally was able to beat it. Hollywood even jumped on board with its release, giving us The Wizard-

If you'd forgotten about the cards, and Raccoon Mario taking you go!


Atari 2600 (1977)

I'll just let the graphics of these beasts do all the speaking!

Pole Position

Atari 7800 (1986)

Never having owned one of these Ataris, I was fortunate enough to spend half of my childhood years in a bowling alley. There, I sat in that big, awesome, arcade race car thing, and played Pole Position until I ran out of quarters!

That might explain why I needed extra Driver's Ed in high school before they would pass me...


Gameboy (1989)

This fast-thinking dude actually got to 999,999 points, and could put the pieces where they belonged when they were absolutely flying down.

And now everyone has that music in their head! You're welcome!

Oregon Trail

Computers in the 80s

I spent HOURS trying to finish this game and its friggin' two floppy disk madness, but I don't think I ever actually accomplished that. Nevertheless, it's the first of its kind, and just got put in the video game hall of fame!

Here are two jokers playing one version of it:

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sega Master System (1986), Sega Genesis (1989)

I have to admit it...I never owned or rented a Sega of any kind, so I've never even played this game. But it definitely belongs on this list!

Super Mario World

SNES (1991)

Watch this longplay and bask in all its Yoshi goodness!

Virtua Fighter

Sega Saturn (1995)

When you think “classic fighting video games,” you probably think of Street Fighter. But Virtua Fighter was still good enough to spawn a whole series!

White Men Can't Jump

Atari Jaguar (1993)

I want to say that this is one of the first basketball video games ever made, but according to this wikiwiki page, that's not quite true. You sure would think it was one of the firsts from the graphics!

I may have been kidding about this one being a game you have to play before you die. Even the guy in the YouTube video can't figure it out!

Super Mario 64

Nintendo 64 (1996)

I'll end this list with a game and the complicated controller that spelled the beginning of the end for me. I was used to playing video games with this:

When this came out:

And added all those buttons, plus two upper buttons? Oh hell no.

You can imagine what I think when I see THIS gawd-awful thing:

But I still gave it a try, playing the game at friends' houses (you think I was going to buy it, and replace my beloved NES and SNES?).

Here's one last longplay blast from the past for all my old school classmates!


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