13th Dec2015

The A-Z of Retro Gaming

by Phil Wheat

To celebrate of release of Pixels, which is available to own on Blu-ray and DVD now, we take a look at some of the most iconic video games. Pixels follows a team of arcade gamers who must defeat and save the earth from aliens using the likes PAC-MAN, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Centipede and Space Invaders as models for their various assaults.

Nostalgia is a powerful feeling and the following list is a tribute to retro video games that have over the years, defined a generation of gamers…


A is for Asteroids (1979)

Asteroids is Atari’s bestselling arcade game of all time and displaced Space Invaders by popularity in the United States. Asteroids was so popular that some video arcade operators had to install large boxes to hold the number of coins spent by players.

B is for Breakout (1976)

A classic arcade video game developed and published by Atari, Inc.  If the ball touch the bottom of the screen the player loses-that simple! Breakout was aided by Steve Jobs.

C is for Centipede (1980)

Another arcade video gave by Atari, Inc. in which the player must eliminate centipedes, spiders, scorpions and fleas. Centipede aimed to attract women players and according to its designers it achieved its goal.

D is for Donkey Kong (1981)

Donkey Kong is an arcade game developed and published by Nintendo and is considered one of the most popular arcade games of all time.  This is a classic game play in which the player must rescue a damsel in distress  from a giant ape named Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong has become one of Nintendo’s most recognisable characters.

E is for Elevator Action (1983)

This is an arcade spy game developed and published by Taito, in which enemy spies appear from elevators. In order to complete a level, the player does not only deals with enemy spies, but also collects secret documents.

F is for Final Fantasy (1987)

The first game of the eponymous series, Final Fantasy developed and published by Square and is considered as the most influential role-playing game as it popularised the genre. The player must fight evil forces, restore the light and ultimately save the world.

G is for Galaga (1981)

Another shooting arcade game, Galaga developed and published by Namco. The player must destroy insect-like enemies to proceed to the next stage.

H is for H.E.R.O (1984)

H.E.R.O. (standing for Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operation) published by Activision and as its title implies, the player uses a helicopter to rescue miners trapped in a cave.

I is for Illusion of Gaia (1993)

Illusion of Gaia is an action role-playing game developed by Quintet and published by Enix. The player must defeat all enemies and as the game progress characters gain techniques.

J is for Joust (1982)

This arcade game developed by Williams Electronics popularised the concept of two-player cooperative play. The player must defeat groups of enemy knights riding ostriches. Joust was referenced in Mortal Combat 3 and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

K is for Klax (1990)

The first computer puzzled game in this list, Klax developed and published by Atari Games. The object is to line up coloured blocks into rows of similar colours to make them disappear. Klax was ranked the 26th best game of all time by Amiga Power.

L is for Lunar Lander (1973)

This is the second game of the Lunar Lander series developed by DEC. The player lands a lunar module on the surface of the moon using the game’s telemetric data. The module crashes against the moon’s surface if the player miscalculate the landing.

M is for Mortal Kombat (1992)

This arcade fighting game sparked much controversy due to its extreme violence and realistic graphics. Developed and published by Midway Games, Mortal Kombat is all about fighting.

N is for Ninja Scooter Simulator (1988)

Ninja Scooter Simulator was developed by Silverbird and initially released on the Spectrum. The player with his scooter has several cool missions such as saving hostages, bouncing off street furniture and commanding attack-dogs.

O is for Operation Stealth (1990)

This spy game involves top secret missions, CIA and James Bond. Operation Stealth developed by Delphine Software International and published by Interplay Entertainment.

P is for Pac-Man (1980)

Pac-Man is probably the most known arcade game in the world. The game became a social phenomenon and an icon of 1980s popular culture. Using Pac-Man and through a maze, the player must eat all pac-dots and avoid Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde (enemies) who try to catch Pac-Man.

Q is for  Q*bert (1982)

This action arcade game with puzzle elements developed and published by Gottlieb. Q*bert utilises isometric graphics to create a pseudo-3D effect. The player must change the colour of every cube in a pyramid by making the on-screen character hop on top of the cube while avoiding obstacles and enemies.

R is for Renegade (1987)

Renegade developed and published by Technos Japan and it first introduced several trademarks of the beat ’em up genre, including 4-directional control and punch-jump-kick play action. The player has a simple mission; fight street gangs and save his girlfriend.

S is for Space Invaders (1978)

A classic arcade video game considered a pop culture icon and the first blockbuster of the video game industry. Space Invaders was the first video game to popularise the concept of achieving a high score.

T is for  Tomb Raider (1996)

This action-adventure game is considered widely influential as it popularised 3D games. The player’s (Lara Croft) mission is to eliminate dangerous creatures and solve puzzles in order to gain access to a powerful artefact. Lara Croft gained celebrity status as it was featured in various media and many corporations wanted to use her for celebrity endorsement.

U is for Ultima (1981)

The first instalment of the main Utima series dominated the computer role-playing game in the 1980s. The player must find and destroy the Gem of Immortality while time traveling.

V is for  Venture (1981)

Venture is a fantasy-themed arcade game where the player’s mission is to collect treasure from a dungeon while fighting dangerous monsters.

W is for  Wrecking Crew (1985)

Wrecking Crew is a much loved classic. This action game is all about destroying objects with a hummer and avoiding enemies.

X is for  Xain’d Sleena (1986)

This is a two genre title that mixes platformer and side-scrolling arcade gameplay where players must fight evil forces in five different planets and go into battle with the boss of each planet.

Y is for Yie Ar Kung-Fu (1985)

Yie Ar Kung-Fu is a fighting game in which players must fight all the martial arts masters in order to win the title of “Grand Master”. This was one of the first games that established the modern fighting genre.

Z is for Zaxxon (1982)

This isometric shooter arcade game has players act as flying fighter crafts where they must hit as many targets as possible without running out of fuel or being shot down.

Pixels features many of our most loved retro games and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 7th December.


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