Eras of Gaming: 1980 - 1984

Eras of Gaming: 1980 - 1984


This first entry in a series of retrospective articles will take you back to the golden era of gaming. A time when games were played on cassettes and floppy disks, and just about everything had never been tried before!

Here at Hooked Gamers we see you, the reader, as part of our family. Whether you're a regular visitor or a first time reader, we love you all equally and want to get to know you. During these forays down memory lane we will be looking at the games of yesteryear while letting you get to know a bit more about ourselves as gamers and why these titles were special to us. We hope to encourage you to do likewise in the comments box and explain a bit about your favourite games from bygone eras.

So let's kick off with the era starting January 1st 1980 to December 31st 1984. Following is our favourite titles from the era, provided by our resident “ancient gamers” Wolfwood, Captain Patch and King Willy (apologies to you guys, you aren't that old but I couldn't contribute, what with not being born yet).

Picture the scene: The early 80's was an era of videogames on cassette tapes and 5 1/4” floppy disks (think about the size of a square Frisbee) played on a whole myriad of platforms. IBM, Apple, Commodore, Tandy and Atari all had videogames systems to cash in on the rising interest in home gaming. It was not uncommon to find one title released for multiple systems as the years went by, upgraded with colour here or updated rule sets there (essentially the precursor to today's re-imaginings of old franchises). Come with us as we describe the era that saw gamers head out of dimly-lit arcades and into living rooms worldwide.
Dilarus - your guide down amnesia road.


Although I was only a little over 11 years old at the time when I started playing computer games, I can still easily look back and remember the brightest of my early gaming memories. And they are only slightly enhanced with a sense of nostalgia. In addition to the following three games, I was also very much into Archon from 1983, but – as great as it was – it was not nearly as influential to gaming in general as the following trio.

Rogue (1980) - Michael Toy and Glenn Wichman, IBM PC & Amiga

Eras of Gaming: 1980 - 1984

Rogue was basically the first graphic adventure game and it was released in 1980 for the Unix mainframes. In the following years, it was also released for personal computers (IBM PC in 1984). Rogue was followed by so-called "roguelike" games that can be said to have originated the whole action-RPG genre - and games such as Diablo are also roguelikes, only veiled with better graphics.

On screen, Rogue looks somewhat plain: merely a collection of random characters on screen in a top-down view, where the @-sign is the player character and capital letters represent monsters (Z for zombie), and dots represent floors or corridors etc. But, when playing Rogue, a lot of the action was created in your imagination. For a young boy with a wild imagination, this was a fertile ground for grand adventures in dark dungeons, hoarding treasures, killing monsters and advancing levels. The main goal was to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor from the lowest level of the dungeon and then leave with it in your possession. The dungeons were generated randomly each time you started, so the challenge was different every time. Even today, I sometimes launch Rogue and reminisce about what gaming meant in those early days.