DROP THE BOMB!

THE BEST/WORST VIDEO GAMES OF THE 80S THAT I PLAYED THE SHIT OUT OF

PUBLISHED 06 March 2018

When I was a little kid - before I figured out how to do my thing & thought I was largely powerless to the forces in my life, escapism was the name of the game. Escape into psychedelic electronic mazes of ecstatic anxiety. Praise the creator I was blessed with good taste at such a young age or I would not have been able to construct the Goblinko methodology out of random pieces of cultural garbage like these inane video games. Noting their qualities & blocking out their lesser elements, I operated like a some kind of terrifying combination between a vulture, a surgeon & Andy Warhol - picking apart everything in front of me for the eternal elements & leaving the rest to rot. Playing video games used to feel like taking drugs - specifically like taking mushrooms & snorting speed. I had a very psychoactive response to the games & felt like I was tripping when I got into a really good one. It was a pretty great escape being 8 & living in the incredibly boring children's version of 1984 with my parent's separation & divorce looming on the skyline. The video games were so abstract & empty of detail I would fill in everything. Me & my brothers would create elaborate stories about the games, naming totally disposable characters & attributing bizarre personalities to them. My dad, Philip Aaberg wrote music for video games in the early 80s & so we had computers around the house & thankfully he let me have full reign with them. Because of this I also paid particular attention to video game music. Here are some of the Best/Worst Video Games of the 80s That I Played The Shit Out Of.

3-Demon -1983 - PC Research

3-Demon was a first-person 3D Pac-Man bootleg where you paranoiacally race through a green-line maze trying to eat the dots & escape from the enormous, terrifying, screen-filling ghost monsters. It even had an Alien-like radar so you could track the ghosts & the power pellets since you couldn't see a birds-eye view of the map.  

Toy Bizarre - 1984 - Activision

Toy Bizarre opens up with this insane little song that is disturbingly epic & makes you feel like the world is ending & then you play an idiotic child who is running around a toy factory that has gone completely insane. You are being pursued by a Robotic Davey Crockett who is letting the factory's plastic balloon machines endlessly produce little hopping robots. You have to stomp on bumpers which can launch Davey Crockett into the ceiling & pop the balloons & it is just NUTS.

Moon Patrol - 1982 - Irem & then licensed by Williams

The funkiest tune in video games drives your Moon Patrol rover across the pock-marked surface of... the moon. Meanwhile - large rocks & then alien crafts menace you. The game has a lot of speed & momentum & gets you feeling like you are really racing across the moon.

Flash Gordon/Captain Zzap - 1986 - Mastertronic

This game wasn't fun at all - but the music was RADICAL. Composed by the masterful Rob Hubbard - we would wait for the load scene - sometimes a half-hour just to hear the opening song.

Realm of Impossibility - 1984 - Mike Edwards & EA Games

The box of this game reminded me of the scene in Time Bandits when Kevin & his band of midgets are captured & hanging by chains in cells in the blackness of Hell. The game itself is a nightmarish run through an acrophobic series of psychedelic caverns straight out of Gerald McDermott's Arrow To The Sun. Check that out really quick. I was mostly familiar with the children's book - but here is the animated version.

 

Castle Adventure - 1984 - Kevin Bales

I have been obsessed with castles & Medieval stuff ever since I became cogniscent & so I was extra stoked to play this weird Castle Adventure game for our DOS computer. These basic ASCI games always made me extra anxious because you would encounter these letters & have to figure out what they were, what their attacks were, what the hell was going on - as you are being pursued by an angry ampersand.

  

Miner 2049er - 1982 - Bill Hogue

Taking the structure of Donkey Kong & dropping them into the nuclear waste dump of 2049 - you play a the Miner 2049er & you've got to color in all the squares while avoiding the evil nuclear chickens & toxic waste bins. The game is almost painfully difficult & drove me to defeat its toxic terror over & over again. Watching this video reminded me of the panic I would feel as I played this absurd, psychedelic video game.

Wizards of Wor - 1980 - Midway

Wizards of Wor tickled all of my science-future-fantasy funny bones completely. You play a Heavy Metal sci-fi blaster who battles through maze after maze being pursued by enormous demons & teleporting Wizards. 

Archon: The Light and the Dark - 1983 - Electronic Arts

Archon is fighting fantasy chess & it was the best. As you battle through an ordinary game of chess, your pieces are represented by a menagerie of nasty monsters, wizards & beasts - instead of just knocking into & taking your enemy's pieces you enter into a battle screen where the monsters must fight each other!  

x Sean Äaberg

I WANT MORE

3 comments

  • festacles: May 29, 2018

    Archon II : Adept on C64!!! and Star Control on Amiga. I played these 2 ad infinitum

  • Chloe: March 07, 2018

    Xaxxon, Eamon Masters RPGs, this witty Alice in Wonderland by Windham Classics, Castle Smurfenstein, and Scarab of Ra were my faves.

    Also, my dad had this random one called Cosmology II that got hilariously weird at the end and had a bit about Cosmic Consciousness, that played weird sounds and showed pixilated stars, and said, “Taste the deep breathing of the cosmos.”. My sister and I would stick out tongues out and try to taste it.

  • Chloe: March 07, 2018

    Xaxxon, Eamon Masters RPGs, this witty Alice in Wonderland by Windham Classics, Castle Smurfenstein, and Scarab of Ra were my faves.

    Also, my dad had this random one called Cosmology II that got hilariously weird at the end and had a bit about Cosmic Consciousness, that played weird sounds and showed pixilated stars, and said, “Taste the deep breathing of the cosmos.”. My sister and I would stick out tongues out and try to taste it.

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