Originally developed in 1980 and was nearly named with the Japanese title of Puck Man (due toe possible defacement on arcade machines by changing the word ‘Puck’ to…) Pac-Man could considered the quintessential 80s game in 8 bit form. Directed by Toru Iwantai and a nine-man team under developer Namco, Pac-Man was both a critical…
8 Bit Games Online
On this website you will find every conceivable piece of information such as interesting trivia, gaming tips and tricks, and best of all, links to play the greatest 8 bit games from what was undoubtedly The Golden Age of Video Games.
There are many reasons why 8 bit games are popular.
For some, 8 bit games provide nostalgia value – that is, they deliver pleasant memories of a simpler time, long gone (often of one’s childhood).
When I think of 8 bit games, I think of growing up as a carefree kid in the 80’s, initially with 8 bit video games like Pac Man, Galaga and Dig Dug, and later, with slightly more complex 8 bit games like Ghosts 'n Goblins, Double Dragon and Contra.
I think of riding my BMX bike to play 8 bit games at the local fish n’ chip shop or corner store
I think of Christmas time and playing 8 bit games on a Commodore 64 personal computer (kindly delivered by Santa Claus, of course).
When I think of 8 bit games, I also think of the movies, music and all the other pop culture traits synonymous with the 1980’s (watch a few episodes of Stranger Things and you’ll get the idea).
For others, 8 bit games are popular due to their sheer simplicity and fun, addictive gameplay.
Without sophisticated computing power, 8 bit games produced in the 80’s did not have access to incredible graphics and sound, online multiplayer capability or Virtual Reality headsets which we take for granted today
Therefore 8 bit programmers had no choice but to place a greater emphasis on gameplay.
What resulted were games that were typically a) very fun to play, and b) very addictive! Win Win!
As mentioned 8 bit video games don’t have sophisticated graphics or sound.
The sprites are often depicted in simple, pixelated, cartoon like format developed by Japanese programmers, and it is this very reason why these games are popular.
Unsure what I mean? Think of the sprites from Ghosts n' Goblins, Bubble Bobble or Dig Dug.
Similarly, the sound effects on 8 bit games were very basic, with at best, a catchy little tune playing as background music.
Most video game computer microprocessors from the 1980’s were ‘8-bit’.
A ‘bit’, is a short term for ‘binary digit’, a basic measuring unit for the microprocessor’s ability to process information.
The ability to efficiently process data affects the quality and variety in the graphics, sound effects and music.
Home video game systems of the 80’s, and later 90’s, were often advertised by exploiting consumer ignorance to turn technical terms such as ‘8 bit’ into marketing buzzwords.
This has resulted in the video games of that era having much of their identity tied to this term.
Even sophisticated modern-day video games which are deliberately created to have a retro look and feel, are often termed ‘8 bit’, due to their attempt to mimic this era of gaming.
8 bit home video game consoles of the time also consisted of the Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Sega Master System and personal computers such as the Commodore 64 - such good memories!
It was difficult to do, but here we have attempted to rank the top 20 classic 8-bit games from the early to mid 80’s era.
Ranking criteria is based purely on playability ‘fun factor’ and nostalgia value. Do you agree with the list below?
Are there any 8 bit games which we have forgotten to include on the list? If so, please let us know – we’d love to hear from you!
- Donkey Kong
- Dig Dug
- Ghost 'n Goblins
- Double Dragon
- Green Beret / Rush'n Attack
- Time Pilot
- Paper Boy
- Mario Bros.
- Out Run
- Bubble Bobble
Released by IREM in 1984, Kung-Fu Master (known as Spartan X in Japan) was the first side scrolling beat-em up and represented a significant increase in 8 bit video game graphics and sound. You play the role of Thomas, the ‘Kung-Fu Master’ in the title, and your mission is to rescue your girlfriend Silvia from…
Time Pilot is a great little flying / shoot em up 8 bit game developed and published by Konami and released in November 1982. Interestingly enough, Time Pilot was initially rejected when pitched by Konami game developer Yoshiki Okamato. He secretly worked on the game with his programmer while pretending to be working on a…
Castlevania is an action platformer 8 bit game developed and published by Konami. The game is the first in what would become a long standing franchise, spanning across the decades and a range of different consoles. In this first game, players control the vampire hunter Simon Belmont, in his mission to traverse Castlevania and defeat…
The Legend of Zelda is an action adventure 8 bit game developed and published by Nintendo. Releasing first in Japan in 1986 (for the Family Computer Disk System Famicom peripheral), it also saw release in North America and Europe but on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was one of the first epic adventure titles…