80s Video Games Every Dad (and Mom) Has Surely Played and Loved

While many gaming aficionados will tell you that video games were invented in the ’50s, most average gamers “know” that the first video game was Pong. That very simple tennis game was a far cry from ones that followed in the ’80s or even ‘90s video games, but it was one of the first widely distributed games available to take home and play with friends. It ushered in a brand new worldwide obsession. Video games, both the kind you played at home and the kind you’d find in arcades, were soon all anyone talked about. And by the time the ’80s rolled around, they were nearly everywhere.

There was a demand and everyone wanted a cut of the money made from supplying. While video games have come a fantastically long way since the ’80s, many are based on the groundwork laid by the early games from that decade. And, honestly, if we’re going to be nostalgic about anything, it’s not the first Call of Duty or even Tony Hawk Pro Skater. It’s Centipede and Frogger we talk about to our kids. It’s Tetris we still gravitate towards when we get a chance to play vintage games. But, with all the awesome, popular video games that made it out in the ’80s, which were our favorites? We’re taking a look at the games we loved best from each year of this defining decade.

Best ’80s Video Games

1980 — Pac-Man

People still pay top dollar for Pac-Man consoles. It was just that well-loved. It also set a precedent for marketable video game characters. You could soon find Pac-Man on literally anything and everything followed closely after by the rest of the family.
Also Memorable: Missile Command

1981 — Donkey Kong

Just like Pac-Man, they’re still making Donkey Kong video games and merchandise. Talk about a lasting impact. Of course, Donkey Kong also introduced us to his “owner,” Jumpman… who would later become Mario.
Also Memorable: Frogger, Ms. Pac-Man, Centipede, and Defender

1982 — Tron

Tron was, in case you didn’t know, a trippy sci-fi racing game that first appeared as an arcade game. From there, it spun in a million different directions. From more games to a poorly received movie. While not all the Tron iterations have been massive successes, that first game still slaps.
Also Memorable: Q*bert, Time Pilot, and Donkey Kong Jr.

1983 — Track And Field

“You’re choosing Track And Field over Mario Bros?!” Yeah, man. We’ll get to Super Mario Bros. later but, for now, we have to mention Track And Field. The concept was simple: You run through all the various track and field events as if you’re in the Olympics. While not much progress has been made in the subsequent releases, the first game was still one of the first true button smashers. If you’re looking for a little 8-bit fun, this is still the best choice.
Also Memorable: Super Mario Bros. and Star Wars

1984 — Kung Fu Master

Not only was this scrolling fighting game just a boatload of fun, but it was also groundbreaking. Soon after Kung Fu Master, we saw the release of games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Since it was loosely based on a Bruce Lee film, fighters’ vocalizations mimicked Lee’s. You probably remember pounding away on buttons and annoying everyone around you with those short, incessant grunts each time you made a move.
Also Memorable: Duck Hunt and Excite Bike

1985 — Super Mario Bros.

Here you go. Super Mario Bros. was the game that really, truly brought Mario and friends into the spotlight. The game was basically given away for free with all NES purchases that holiday season. That means there are millions of copies in the world… still. And yet if you have one of those original Super Mario Bros cartridge‘s in your possession, you could be sitting on a large fortune.
Also Memorable: Gauntlet

1986 — Legend of Zelda

If you know a nerd, you know a Zelda fan. From the moment The Legend of Zelda released in Japan, the game began making waves. Following Link on his adventures in Hyrule as he attempts to rescue Princess Zelda was the ultimate mix of fantasy, role-playing, and, yes, gaming. Head to any comic con in the world and you’ll still see a ton of Link cosplays.
Also Memorable: OutRun

1987 — Maniac Mansion

Technically, Maniac Mansion wasn’t released in North America on NES until 1990. However, the original Maniac Mansion was released in 1987 and it’s still flippin’ great. In its essence, it’s a simple adventure game where you help a guy named Dave save his girlfriend from a mad scientist. Depending on which character you choose, however, you have completely different quests you’ll need to accomplish. Worth mentioning: This was the first game Lucasfilm Games released.
Almost Memorable: Contra and Street Fighter 2

1988 — Super Mario Bros. 3

SMB3 took everything we loved about the original and made it that much better, more colorful, and even more fun to play. Depending on the condition of your game, selling an original cartridge of SMB3 could warrant some serious cash. Not exactly Scrooge McDuck money, but certainly enough to help pay off your mortgage.

1989 — SimCity

SimCity was the first of its kind. It gave players a chance to try their hand at everything from conflict resolution to home building and city planning. It was a fun game without the intensity found in true button smashers. Plus, it provided us with a slew of Sim spin-offs that we still play today.

Ubisoft Reportedly Developing a New Splinter Cell Game

It’s crazy to think that there hasn’t been a new Splinter Cell title since 2013’s Blacklist.  Considered one of Ubisoft‘s flagship series, our favorite black ops agent Sam Fisher has since fallen to the wayside in favor of other Tom Clancy properties such as The Division and Ghost Recon.  It felt like we’d never see a new Splinter Cell, but if this latest rumor is anything to consider, it looks like we won’t have to wait long to sneak back into the shadows.

As reported by VGC, development sources have told them that a new Splinter Cell has been put into production as a means of winning back frustrated fans.  Those looking for an actual Splinter Cell game have been unfortunately met with poorly received mobile and VR titles for the past decade.  VGC’s sources also mentioned that this new title is apparently in an early phase of production, but there’s a small chance it could be announced next year.

Unfortunately, that’s where the report ends.  It’s pretty barebones but hey, at least it’s something!  Fans have been itching for a proper Splinter Cell game for quite some time now.  It looks like their wish could finally be granted.

Splinter Cell was and still is a pretty awesome stealth video game series, but it typically gets overshadowed by Metal Gear Solid.  Both feature gravel-voiced heroes going on secret spy missions, but that’s pretty much where the comparisons end.  Splinter Cell doesn’t have hours upon hours of spoken dialogue, and later iterations opted for much more action-oriented combat.  It could even be argued that Fisher handles better than Snake, with all his cool spy moves.

Personally, my favorite part about the Splinter Cell games was the multiplayer.  As long as that makes a return, I’ll be happy.  Spies vs Mercs was a blast and required some real coordination amongst teammates.  The 2v2 mode was pretty much perfected in 2005’s Chaos Theory, with each team having a variety of gadgets at their disposal.  The Spies played in third-person and could sneak through vents and get the drop on their opponents in order to complete objectives, while Mercs were played in first-person and packed some real firepower in order to guard said objectives.  If they could bring back the co-op mode from 2010’s Conviction too, that’d be cool.  Of course, as with any of these rumors, I’m getting ahead of myself here.  I guess I’ll just have to calm down until something actually gets announced.

Studio Wouldn’t Allow Robin Williams To Be in Harry Potter

Robin Williams has been in a lot of great movies, from sophisticated fare like Good Will Hunting, for which he won an Oscar, and Dead Poets Society to fun flicks like Mrs. Doubtfire to Aladdin. Turns out there was one group of movies he wanted to be a part of but wasn’t able to: the Harry Potter adaptations.

Christopher Columbus, the director of the first two Potter films (as well as Home Alone, and the Williams’ starring Bicentennial Man), recently confirmed to Total Film the actor was hoping to play werewolf and Potter ally Remus Lupin. This rumor had been floating around for a while, but there was a very specific reason Robin couldn’t do it: despite his talent for mimicry and impersonations, Williams just wasn’t British enough!

The studio had a rule for the Potter movies that no non-English actors would be cast.

It was out of Columbus’s hands, but he still had to break the news. “I had a conversation with Robin Williams, who wanted to play Lupin,” he said. “It was very difficult for me to say ‘It’s all British. There’s nothing I can do.’”

In 2001, during an interview with the New York Post, Williams admitted his disappointment. As usual, he lightened the mood with a joke.

There were a couple of parts I would have wanted to play, but there was a ban on [using] American actors. Maybe one day. Say if [Harry] goes to Yale and becomes president.”

It’s too bad that Williams took his own life a few years back, for many reasons. Now we can add “won’t get to play Dumbledore in the Harry Potter remakes” to the list.

Think about it: he would have made an AMAZING Dumbledore.

Guy Fieri Announces That He Is the Final Super Smash Bros. DLC Character

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate might have thought they just revealed their final character, but they would be wrong.

On Twitter, “The Mayor of Flavor Town” himself revealed in a shocking twist that he will be the final Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC character, not Sora from Kingdom HeartsCheck out his sweet intro below.

I know this is just a joke, but I don’t want it to be.  I seriously want this to happen.  Could you imagine just annihilating opponents and knocking them off-screen while Fieri’s character says things like “Holy moly, Stromboli!“?  I could see his dash move being him jumping into his 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible and cruising across the battlefield and running Pikachu over.  THAT is the Smash Bros. game I want to play.

Celebrities and video games.  Man, it gets me every time.  If it’s not Fieri, it’s Brendan Fraser ignoring a fan while he plays Nintendo Switch.  Maybe Fraser plays Smash Bros.  I say we get him and Fieri into The Dad Gaming – Super Smash Bros Ultimate Facebook group.  If Fieri’s so confident with his skills that he wants his own character in the game, well, that’s a guy I’d want on my team.  While we’re at it, we should also invite the dentist that offers free cleanings if you can beat him at Smash Bros. too.  He seems like a solid choice as well.

It’s the Year 2021 and Doom Is Now Playable on Twitter

At this point, we’ve seen Doom played on everything from pregnancy tests to a calculator powered by 200 potatoes.  Is it any surprise that it’s now playable on a social media platform?

Over on Twitter, someone has created a Tweet2Doom bot account, which now means you can attempt to complete the original Doom on Twitter by using various commands in Twitter replies to this specific account.

Now, it’s not exactly like you’re literally playing the game.  Think of it like a turn-based RPG or a strategy game.  Gameplay essentially boils down to you using a combination of letters and numbers to input commands to the game and then figuring out the number of frames that you’d like the action you’ve just input to be performed for.  After you’ve input your desired commands, it plays back a video in-game of what you’re doing.  It’s kind of like when Twitch played Dark Souls and Pokemon.  At first, it might sound impossible to actually accomplish anything (and it usually starts with you constantly running into walls), but there are playthroughs where people are literally getting through levels and fighting off demons.  It’s pretty spectacular.

If you’re interested in giving it a shot yourself, there’s a full set of rules on how to play pinned on Tweet2Doom’s Twitter account.  There are even speedruns currently happening as we speak if you really want to get crazy.  Seriously, I’m not joking.  You read that correctly.  There are actual speedruns for the Twitter version of Doom.  The human race is a wild bunch.

Any guesses as to what Doom will show up on next?  A Fisher-Price tablet powered by dirty diapers?  Maybe instead of a calculator powered by 200 potatoes, a potato powered by 200 calculators?  It sounds crazy, but at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Indiana Jones 5 and MCU Movies Delayed Until 2023

It’s starting to seem like the universe doesn’t want another Indiana Jones movie.

Indy 5, which was delayed by the pandemic and was then delayed after star Harrison Ford got hurt on set, much like he did during the Force Awakens shoot – it’s almost like he’s too old for this shit! – and now those production delays have forced the release of the movie to get pushed back another year, to 2023.

The movie, which is being directed by James Mangold (Logan) and co-stars Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mads Mikkelson, is purported to have a time-travel element – and some recent photos from the set showing old-fashioned ships and what look like Roman soldiers – seem to bear that theory out. As does the fact that the franchise is pretty iconic and valuable, and the studio may be seeking a way to extend it beyond its star’s ability to continue swashbuckling.

Perhaps the time travel element will bring a younger Indy on board, or an alternate Indy. We’ll see, just not for a few more years.

We’ll also have to wait a bit longer for some of the highly anticipated MCU movies. Stick with me here: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness got pushed from March to May, taking Thor: Love and Thunder’s spot and pushing the Norse god’s fourth flick to July, which forces Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to move to November, when The Marvels, the Captain Marvel sequel was meant to premiere. Now that will hit theaters in February 2023 and will bump the next Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania to late July 2023.

The multiverse works in mysterious ways.

The good news is all of those movies are still happening. The bad news is, that includes Indiana Jones 5.

Netflix’s “Ozark” Ready To Start Finishing the Series With a Bang

It’s the beginning of the end for Netflix’s Ozark, as the Jason Bateman-starring family drama has an official premiere date for its fourth and final season. Netflix announced this week the addicting thriller will debut Part 1 on January 21st. The fourth season will be broken into two parts of seven episodes each.

We got more than a date, though, as we also got the first teaser trailer for the critically-acclaimed show.

“Money is, at its essence, that measure of a man’s choices,” says Marty in the beginning of the teaser. The Byrde family has a lot on the line as they expand their footprint in the Ozarks, and have made more than a few enemies along the way.

As Bateman’s wife in the show, Wendy Byrde (played by the excellent Laura Linney) says later in the trailer: “Sometimes, if you don’t move forward, you die.”

And now, Ozark is doing both! It is moving forward with the first part of season 4, but we know some major resolution is on the horizon, as it will be tidily wrapped up in 14 more episodes.

There’s always a ton of pressure for a beloved show to stick the landing right. Sometimes, it all plays out as well as it can (Breaking Bad). Other times, it completely undercuts everything the show has been building to for years and leaves fans feeling betrayed (cough *Game of Thrones season 8*). And then there are some that are so ambiguous it leaves fans confused for decades (*The Sopranos*).

The teaser trailer is pretty great, and Bateman has said previously to the media that the supersized season will bring supersized problems for the Byrde family. He also said he’s excited to “end with a bang” so you can be sure season 4 won’t be about a harmonious end to the family’s involvement with a Mexican drug cartel.

Michael J. Fox Will Receive Honorary AARP Award for Parkinson’s Advocacy

In the midst of enjoying his massive Back to the Future success, Michael J. Fox’s world was turned upside-down. At just 29 years old, in 1991, the talented actor was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease. For nearly a decade, Fox kept his condition under wraps. He coped privately, figuring out what his life would look like under his new and difficult circumstances.

In 1998, Fox spoke publicly for the first time about Parkinson’s. Rather than focusing on his own life, however, Fox chose to turn his attention to Parkinson’s as a whole. In 2000, he founded The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, dedicating his time and energy to both advocacy and his ultimate goal: finding a cure for Parkinson’s.

In a virtual ceremony on December 15, Michael J. Fox will receive an honorary AARP Purpose Prize award for his extensive work in Parkinson’s advocacy and research.

“AARP is honored to celebrate these extraordinary older adults, who have dedicated their lives to serving others in creative and innovative ways,” AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said on AARP’s website. “During these trying times in our country and globally, we are inspired to see people use their life experiences to build a better future for us all.”

Fox undoubtedly goes above and beyond to improve the lives of those living with Parkinson’s disease. The Michael J. Fox Foundation raised over $700 million for Parkinson’s research so far, and with every passing year, the foundation continues to grow. AARP wants to honor Fox’s commitment to the cause, and in addition to the award itself, they will contribute $50,000 to his foundation.

“The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s single, urgent goal is to eliminate Parkinson’s disease,” the foundation’s website states. “Even in the face of tremendous challenges, our promise to push Parkinson’s research forward remains steadfast. We’re problem-solvers and we’re optimistic.”

Grateful Dead T-Shirt Auctioned by Sotheby’s Fetches $17k

Last week, a painting by notorious guerilla street artist Bansky was auctioned off for a record-breaking amount. The amount was noteworthy for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that the painting was half-shredded! But it isn’t the only half-shredded piece of art that’s worth something.

If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of vintage t-shirts, and by vintage, I mean “older than my kids and also my marriage.” Most of mine are band and/or concert-related, and until today, I thought their only value was sentimental. And then I learned that a vintage Grateful Dead t-shirt was auctioned off for thousands of dollars!

$17,460 was the high bid according to Defunkd a resource for authentic vintage t-shirts. But after factoring in Sotheby’s fees and uncle Sam’s cut, the final price tag was actually $19,315.80.

The shirt’s value is not merely due to the design and its excellent condition after 60 years, or the fact that it was designed by a Hells Angel, but is also due to the fact that it comes from the collection of Dan Healy, an audio engineer with a working relationship with the legendary jam band. It may also be the first Grateful Dead t-shirt ever made, or so says Bo Bushnell, the man who bought it and a collector of 1960s motorcycle club artifacts.

“It was the first t-shirt that the Dead released,” Bo Bushnell told Defunkd after he won the auction.

Grateful Dead t-shirt
(Credit: Sotheby’s)

The auction site described the shirt:

“Designed by the Hells Angel, Merry Prankster, and graphic artist Allan “Gut” Terk, a key figure in California counterculture in the 1960s. Friends with Ken Kesey, he was the painter of the Pranksters’ “Further” bus in 1964 and designed the Acid Test Graduation posters. By 1967, through his work for the Dead, he was acclaimed in the Bay Area music scene for his t-shirt and poster art.”

Obviously, there are some special circumstances surrounding this shirt, and not many bands have as devoted a fan base as the Dead, so I wouldn’t expect any of your beloved band shirts to fetch quite as much on the auction market.

But I’m gonna go look through my collection just in case…

Netflix Creates Chadwick Boseman Memorial Scholarship at Howard University

Before Chadwick Boseman was T’Challa, before he earned the professional success that most actors only dream of, Boseman was a student at Howard University. Boseman initially planned on pursuing directing, but his program required students to take acting classes as well. Under the guidance of Cosby Show star Phylicia Rashad, Boseman thrived.

The talented student soon set his sights on acting, and in a quiet act of generosity, Denzel Washington paid for Boseman’s acting course at Oxford – a program he otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford. In memory of the late actor, Netflix is establishing a $5.4 million scholarship to allow other students a similar opportunity.

The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will fund four years of tuition at Howard University for recipients. This year, four students (one in each class year) will receive the memorial scholarship. Starting next year and continuing annually, one incoming freshman will be awarded the life-changing scholarship.

“It is with immense pleasure and deep gratitude that we announce the creation of an endowed scholarship in honor of alumnus Chadwick Boseman, whose life and contributions to the arts continue to inspire,” Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University said in a statement shared by CNN.

“This scholarship embodies Chadwick’s love for Howard, his passion for storytelling, and his willingness to support future generations of Howard students,” Dr. Frederick continues. “I am thankful for the continuous support and partnership of Chadwick’s wife, Mrs. Simone Ledward-Boseman, and to Netflix for this important gift.”

Students who receive The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will display qualities that are important both inside and outside of the classroom. The school explains that while leadership and passion are important, so are things like respect and empathy. Boseman, filled with passion and drive, had his trajectory shaped by the generosity of a stranger. Now, even posthumously, he’s doing the same for others.