Over the last few days I’ve been reminiscing like a maniac courtesy of a forum discussing kick-ass video games of the 80s and 90s (across any platform). In fact, the memories have obsessed me so much I actually woke up this morning yelling “Jumping Jack Flash! FFS how could you forget that?”
So, for your enjoyment, here are some video games us 80s/90s kids got to enjoy that perhaps didn’t receive the acclaim the likes of which Mario/Zelda/Sonic did – but by god they rocked!
Jumping Jack Flash (ZX Spectrum)
The object of this game was to guide Jack from the bottom of the screen to the top. To do this, you jumped through the holes – hence the title! If you missed the hole you were electrocuted (along with a stunning piece of DOFF-DOFF sound effect). When you reached the top, you got to do it all over again – only with more holes, more objects, and from time to time, holes that moved in the opposite direction.
Chase H.Q (ZX Spectrum)
This game kicked serious butt! You’re the cops, in hot pursuit of criminal hoons! When you caught up with them you didn’t have to persuade them off the road – you got to ram those suckers off the road. This is one of my favourite games of all time, and even though available across all formats and in the arcade, nothing beat waiting what seemed like seventeen hours for the next level to load from that wonderful cassette format!
Parodius (Super Nintendo)
The greatest shoot-em-up of ALL time! In what other game could you be a flying penguin flying through the legs of an exotic half-naked dancer whilst shooting at random flying triangles? Looking back, this game was so insane it could in fact be responsible for the loss of my sanity. Goddamn you Parodius, my bipolar is all your fault!
Mega Man (Nintendo Entertainment System)
I was bought this game from a shop in Hounslow high street on the condition I stopped being a brat and started to behave. How awesome was that, rather than be punished for being naughty I was given a present! What sort of message is that? Only anyone who’s played this game will know how fracking hard it was – until you worked out the lightning/pause cheat that is!
The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (Super Nintendo)
Another of those Konami classics which were responsible for the loss of my sanity. A weird moustached man and a crazed chav rioting through Japan. I remember cat gods, being attacked by umbrellas, betting on horse races and trying to kill flying lanterns. Oh, and a quality tip I sent in to a Nintendo magazine was published but made fun of by Jazz (the editor) – more fool him if he didn’t take my advice!
Tiny Toon Adventures (Nintendo Gameboy)
They’re tiny, they’re toony, they’re all a little loony! I found this second-hand in a games shop in Newport for only a couple of quid. That dusty and forgotten cartridge became an all out favourite of platformy glee. How dare they sell this to leave it unloved on the shop’s unforgiving shelf!
Shining Force (Sega Megadrive)
This was one of those true RPG games, where you controlled a feisty young warrior out to stop an evil army from taking over the world. The battles were intense; as you led your rag-tag bunch of centaurs, sages, priests, robots, magicians and blacksmiths against hordes of weird and random creatures. One battle once lasted six hours, that’s how serious the campaigns became! There was also a wicked cheat where you could name EVERY controllable character rather than just the main one; so I was fighting alongside The Doctor, Indiana Jones, half a dozen people from school and Neil Kinnock!
Jetpac (ZX Spectrum)
You were an astronaut who had to shoot flying aliens trying to kill you whilst you collected fuel to re-fuel your spaceship so you could get the hell off of that rock! One of the most addictive and brilliant games of all time!
Blade of Steel (Nintendo Entertainment System)
The definitive ice hockey simulator. Nothing else has ever come close. Nothing else will ever come close. You want an addictive and realistic ice hockey game; this is the baby for you!
Battletoads (Nintendo Gameboy)
Rat bastards! This was the only Gameboy game I owned that I never completed. Addictive, frustrating and fracking difficult but bloody good fun! Mark my words, one day I’ll take you Battletoads!
So were you a Pac-Man fiend? Perhaps a Commodore 64 fanatic? Let me know your favourites from this classic period!
- The Best/Worst ZX Spectrum Covers (1up.com)
- Spectraspective: The History of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1up.com)
- Parodius: Non-Sense Fantasy – review (gonintendo.com)