Well, you ASKED for it, so here it is, our top 99 classic games, in alphabetical order! This list was compiled in 1997 by the then-current Digital Press staff. It represents the team's favorite games, not the most historic or groundbreaking. Now off you go...
1) 2010 (ColecoVision) MARK: Tim Taylor eat your heart out. Great game concept. Fix different elements of a broken space ship before it crashes to a fire death on the moon of IO. On the upper levels where all repairs could not be made, I found the suspense of pushing the "Go" button a rush. Would the ship escape the moons gravity or would the strain pop more circuits?
2) Advanced D&D (Intellivision) JOE: This was the game that got me to buy an Intellivision. I have always been a fan of the TSR role-playing game (I still play), and although this is a loose interpretation, it is the randomness of the game - the surprises - that will always keep it near and dear.
3) Adventure (2600/5 votes) KEITA: Adventure is arguably the most replayable adventure game because of its random skill setting on game 3. Everything from the bridge, bats, dragon and keys are in different locations for every game! Sure I enjoyed Final Fantasy like everyone, but it'll probably be another 5 years before I plug in FF for another go at it. RUSS: This almost made number one until I decided to "cheat" (see below). The game shows its age, of course, but it has charm and nostalgia like few other games. It's hard to believe I'd ever get tired of this game, even with its fairly limited options. MARK: This game, with it's variety of levels and it's duel quest elements made it a long time favorite. It is not only the quest for the gold key and the grail, but a hidden quest for the secret room with the magic dot. SEAN: Ya gotta have it! THE classic adventure game of all-time! JOE: There's little I can say about this game that I haven't said before. It is quite simply the perfect example of video gaming spirit.
4) Adventures of Lolo, The (NES) AL: Looks too cute, cartoonish even. But, this whole series contains some terrific logic puzzles.
5) Antarctic Adventure (ColecoVision) JEFF: I think this is my favorite 8-bit racing game. Charming, relaxing, yet challenging.
6) Arkanoid (NES) AL: I always liked BREAKOUT. Call me "easily amused", if you must. This version has the largest variety of screen configuration plus a nifty, special controller.
7) Artillery Duel (2600, ColecoVision, Astrocade) SCOTT: My brother and I loved this game. It was a game were we could, non-aggressively of course, destroy each other over and over again!
8) Ballblazer (7800) SCOTT: You take your Rotofoil and become part of the Interstellar BallBlazer Conference (I.B.C) to play a futuristic one on one soccer. Competitions with friends and family were common with this game.
9) Baseball (Intellivision) SEAN: I was the MASTER at this game as a kid! Seemingly the game Intellivision was designed around - the keypads are perfect for it.
10) Battletoads (NES) - TONY: Incredibly difficult, even with the 5-live code and level warps. Light years ahead of its mundane, picayune, and moronic Super NES counterpart. Just about every level has its own unique twist, much unlike side scrolling beat-em-up contests.
11) Bomberman & sequels (TG16/4 votes) AL: Has several objectives. You must search for hidden items. You must clear all enemies by suckering them to fall into your traps. You must beat the clock. All the while being careful not to blow yourself up. RUSS: Bomberman 93 - I don't really picture this game as a classic (actually Power Strike and Super Sprint don't much either), and I feel weird for not having actually included it, but I will mention it here. It's great fun! KEITA: Bomberman 94 - Too bad this one never made it to the states, because it's the best version of Bomberman out there (save, perhaps, for SNES Bomberman 2, which is technically identical). If you have the means to pick this game up, by all means don't pass it up! JOE: All of the Bombermans are great "party" games! They never fail to entertain. I've probably logged more hours with Bomberman than any other game in the 90's.
12) Boulderdash (Atari 800) RUSS: A wonderful puzzle game. I put in a lot of time my freshman year of college, when I was actually using my Atari computer for a variety of things. There was one level I could just never crack.
13) Bounty Bob Strikes Back (5200) KEITA: Designed by Bill Hogue of Miner 2049er fame, Bounty Bob is one of the best sequels that nobody knows about (probably because it saw limited release for the 5200 and Atari computers). Every Miner fan owes it to themselves to check out this awesome closet classic that takes Miner 2049er to new heights!
14) Bowling (2600) SCOTT: Bowling is a simple game.. a ball, 10 pins and an alley. Even the 2600 couldn't mess that combo up. Still looking for that fabled 300-game!
15) Bump 'n' Jump (ColecoVision/2 votes) RUSS: Arcade version - My favorite game of all time. I know you were talking about home systems, but I can't neglect a true classic in my eyes. So I cheat and list it here. I LOVE this game, and for some reason I actually got fairly good at it -- it's the only arcade game I ever rolled (both score and patterns, just never both at once). There was a local eatery back home, and I tried to play a game every time I went in, not to mention asking the owner if I could buy it whenever he happened to be in (no success yet). MARK: This translation was complete with the "hit no cars and get a 50,000 point bonus" trick. Fixed courses to memorize with random cars placement made the gameplay exciting.
16) Bumper Bash (2600) KEITA: You've gotta LOVE them paddle games! Honestly, how many BAD paddle games are out there? Bumper Bash is a pinball game that uses two paddles to control the action and is executed wonderfully. I'll take this over Midnight Magic.
17) Burgertime (Intellivision) JOE: As good as the ColecoVision version is, I spent countless hours on the floor of my bedroom back home trying to lick this one. I still hear the theme song playing in my head. Make it stop! Make it stop!
18) Circus Atari (2600) SEAN: One of the simplest concepts you will ever find, but to this day still not "modernized" on a more current system.
19) Contra (NES) - TONY: A shining example of the one (or two)-man vs. an entire army of enemies. Level creativity is nice and refreshing.
20) Devil's Crush (TG16) JEFF: The designers here didn't make the common mistake of trying to recreate a pinball machine on the TV screen. Instead, they blended videogame and pinball elements beautifully. Far more variety than any real pinball machine I've ever played.
21) Donkey Kong (ColecoVision) SEAN: Has to be the best pack-in game of it's era.
22) Double Dribble (NES) - TONY: Excellent for playing against another person. Cool slam dunk close ups and 3-point bomb sound effects.
23) Dragon Warrior (NES) SCOTT: This is the game that started me on turn-based RPG's. Granted the game music is a tad repetitive, but it started a trend in games toward the right direction.
24) Dreadnaught Factor (5200, Intellivision, Atari 800/3 votes) JEFF: 5200 version - A superb effort. Rare are shooters like this one that include genuine variety and strategy. The tension-level, pace, graduated skill levels are perfect, and by comparison, many modern games seem like beautiful-looking pieces of sloppy programming. Still waiting for that 32-bit update… RUSS: Atari 800 version - An intense game. I haven't played it much on other systems, but the game is a real thumb-killer on the computer. Did R-Type and it's ilk get the idea of the big boss ships from this game? JOE: Intellivision version - Isn't it funny that we all picked a different version as our favorite? All of them require lightning fast reflexes and a sound strategy - a combination few games require these days.
25) Escape From The Mindmaster (2600) RUSS: Simply a classic. Think and move, think and move. You couldn't really do just one or the other and expect to do well. Very well executed, and a sterling example of how the Supercharger improved on the 2600.
26) Final Fantasy (NES) SCOTT: This surpassed Dragon Warrior due to intricate storyline and the ability to play 4 (FOUR) characters at once. Many hours on this one.
27) Food Fight (7800) SCOTT: Chuck food at chefs who have nothing better to do than chuck it back at you! This game 'felt' like Robotron except the only person you were trying to save was yourself. It also had a great INSTANT REPLY feature.
28) Fortress of Narzod (Vectrex) AL: One of my very favorite shooters. Contains the added bonuses of ricocheting fire, varied levels and a tough boss.
29) Fortune Builder (ColecoVision) SEAN: This game was very advanced for it's time and falls into the simulation category which is rare for that era and my favorite genre of videogame.
30) Frogger (2600, ColecoVision/2 votes) AL: 2600 version - Freeway was fun, but Frogger has more elements which take it a step further. EDWARD: ColecoVision version - Colorful graphics with arcade-faithful music compliments the classic gameplay we all know. This was the best home version.
31) Gremlins (5200/2 votes) KEITA: Gremlins gets my vote as the best movie licensed game on a classic system. The charming music and eye-popping visuals beautifully accommodate the frantic action of the game. EDWARD: A movie-licensed game that has great play value?!? This game is reason enough to own a 5200.
32) Gyruss (ColecoVision) EDWARD: That music! Oh my! Somehow the music makes the game… it fits the action like a glove. A real sense of urgency.
33) H.E.R.O. (2600/2 votes) AL: High playability. One of the best memorization tests. It somehow conveys the excitement of spelunking (cave exploration) and gives one a sense of discovery the further you got into the game. MARK: Oh the thrill of saving a person trapped in the lava walled, snake infested, poison moth ridden depths of unknown caves with only some dynamite and a heli-pack to aid you. A game simple to play yet difficult to master. I don't recall making thru level 18. Any one? Any one?
34) Ice Hockey (NES) JEFF: Compared to what we are playing today, 8-bit sports games really suck. But this one is still fun. I was please to see that one of the glossy mags named this as one of the "top ten sports games ever."
35) Incredible Wizard, The (Astrocade) JOE: This is probably my favorite game of all time. You can keep the one-player game, but there's no better "team up" game anywhere. The "pretend to team up" variation is always fun, too… heh heh heh.
36) Joust (7800) SEAN: For lack of a better version of my favorite arcade game of all time, I can deal with the 7800 version.
37) Jr. Pac-Man (5200) KEITA: It's a shame that Atari never released this game, because the 5200 version qualifies as one of the best arcade-to-home translations on a classic system. And unlike 5200 Pac-Man, the screen isn't "squished" to accommodate the TV.
38) Jumpman (Atari 800) TONY: I spent hours and hours exploring all the unique levels in this classic. Some had puzzles, others vultures, falling meteors, changing level configurations, etc. I loved the way your character fell and bounced painfully on every step and platform when he died.
39) Kaboom (2600) MARK: A fast paced, no blinking, dry eyed, heart pounding spaz game that demanded total concentration. What's not to like? That and the fact that I excel at the game ranks it number one.
40) Karateka (Atari 800) - TONY: I seem to have a particular affection for old-fashioned chop socky games. Battle about a dozen guards, hawks, and avoid the spiked falling door.
41) Klax (TG16) JEFF: A very unique puzzler. So many different ways to stack the tiles--a great deal of gameplay strength here.
42) LadyBug (ColecoVision/3 votes) JEFF: Somehow mixes a lot of color and charm with great gameplay. It's great because it's NOT terribly intense - just involving. KEITA: Like Qix, Ladybug didn't fare too well in the arcades. By being ported to the home, however, it allowed gamers to realize the depth of play that was involved. One of many unheralded coin-op translations that proved to be popular on the ColecoVision. JOE: My favorite maze game of all time (and I was never really a maze game fan) still plays very well. Lots of goals make LadyBug a game to be beaten.
43) Legend of Zelda, The (NES) SCOTT: The original, the best overworld/underworld action RPG created. Later incarnations might have had better graphics and sound, but this one simply rocked! Damn, I spent a solid month trying to find the Silver Ring in Level 9, not to mention discovering a SECOND QUEST afterwards!
44) Legend of Zelda 2, The (NES) CLINT: This was the first Zelda game I played (I didn't get into the NES until pretty late, as you can tell), and it blew me away! Control was perfect, graphics were great, and the adventure aspect was really new to me at the time.
45) Lode Runner (Atari 800) - TONY: Dig holes to capture guards, collect treasure chests, scramble up ladders and maneuver across hanging ropes. Interesting level configurations included ladders which made up the Broderbund logo, and other hidden messages. Building your own levels was another plus.
46) Mega Man 2 (NES) SCOTT: This game started me on the Mega Man craze. It had rocking music (still good to this day!) and also has my favorite boss/weapon, Metal Man! Too bad I didn't catch Mega man when it first came out.
47) Megamania (2600) SCOTT: Although I did not play it much, I enjoyed it. My brother had frozen it at 999,999 and I have vivid memories of that. Where else can you shoot at tires, dice and bowties with a laser?
48) Metal Gear (NES) - TONY: This one would probably seem cheesy now, but I have fond memories of being strangely engrossed not only in the action, but the storyline as well. One major drawback, however, is that action seems to pause for a good 3-5 seconds after entering any room. Snake's Revenge was OK, but I sincerely wonder if the last boss in that game wasn't invincible. Anybody know?
49) Metroid (NES) SCOTT: At first, this game was a bit frustrating until I learned that I could use missiles. After that... I was under it's spell. The only thing that snapped me out of it was learning the Samus was actually a woman!
50) Microsurgeon (Intellivision) JOE: One of those rare weird games that I couldn't pull myself away from. It's slow and sometimes tedious but also mesmerizing.
51) Millipede (5200) KEITA: Yet another fabulous effort gone to waste by Atari's premature canning of the SuperSystem. Play it with the trak-ball and you'll agree that the 5200 edition is far and away the best version out there.
52) Miner 2049er (5200) AL: Best Electronics calls this the best 5200 game ever. I don't know if I would go that far. I do agree it is one of the best for the system. I hope to finish all levels someday. I always thought the central character looked a little strange though.
53) Minestorm (Vectrex/3 votes) SEAN: Although a clone of Asteroids, I find the added "fun stuff" make it a lot more interesting. AL: Asteroids clone with multiple levels. Totally challenging, plus it is susceptible to various strategies. JEFF: Fluid and addicting. Even more fun than its "father," arcade Asteroids.
54) Missile Command (2600/2 votes) JEFF: Captures the soul of the arcade machine. The fact that their is no trak ball is almost a strength - it makes it a different game. EDWARD: Addictive game play, just ask Cooper! No trak ball necessary.
55) Mountain King (Atari 2600) JOE: I always liked a game with an end goal in mind. Collecting gems, finding the hidden flame (by listening for it, a very nice touch), and racing to the top of the mountain is one of my favorite diversions. The "hidden kingdom", a section of the game that's either a glitch or an easter egg, is another reason to love this game.
56) Mr. Do! (ColecoVision, Atari 800/3 votes) CLINT: The title responsible for me buying a ColecoVision is still one of my favorite ColecoVision games to play! EDWARD: Dig Dug copycat is arcade favorite of mine. It just keeps you coming back for more.
57) Ms Pac-Man (7800) JEFF: Simply a great version of a great arcade game.
58) Pac-Man (5200) JEFF: Give me that Masterplay Interface so I can use a 2600 controller, and this is just as good as the arcade game.
59) Pepper II (ColecoVision) JEFF: Very unique maze game; not at all a Pac-Man rip-off. I like the four different mazes, the unique goals that the games presents, and the perfect level of difficulty and levels three and four. Another one that could be updated successfully. Can you imagine Pepper III, with forty mazes?
60) Phantasy Star (SMS/2 votes) SCOTT: A game that was better than the original Final Fantasy? Wow! Did you see that? The enemies actually moved and appeared to attack you... sure beats flashing. In my humble opinion, the best game that ever came out for the Sega Master System. CLINT: Quite simply, the best game I've ever played. Challenging, graphically stunning and certainly for the time, the most in-depth game made. Still holds it's own against the "more powerful" systems RPG's.
61) Pitfall II: Lost Caverns (5200) AL: The 2600 version is great. But, on the 5200 when you finish, the adventure continues into a whole new radically different level.
62) Pitfall! (2600/2 votes) CLINT: By today's standards, this game would be considered dull and repetitive. But, when it came out, it was groundbreaking to say the least! I never did manage to get the perfect score, but I did score high enough to get the patch, which I still have (my first Activision patch, by the way)! AL: Amazing when it first came out. It still holds up today. A perfect score is still a goal of mine.
63) Power Strike (SMS) RUSS: I'm sure there are better shooters out there, but this is the first and only one of that generation that I really spent a lot of time with. It was really my first exposure to the whole "giant power-ups" type of game, and a lot of fun.
64) Punch-Out! (NES) EDWARD: Great graphics, tough gameplay make this cart attractive. The later fighters are no pushovers.
65) Q-Bert (2600) CLINT: Who'd have thought a game with one of the weirdest characters in a video game would have been so much fun? I remember the first time I played this game in the arcade. I was blown away! When the game came out on the 2600, I bought it the first time I saw it and wasn't disappointed at all (I didn't have high expectations back then, after all)!
66) Quick Step (2600) JOE: An incredible and unfairly overlooked game that takes Q*Bert to new heights - two players race to change the surface colors! Very fast and guaranteed to turn two friends into fierce foes.
67) RBI Baseball (NES) KEITA: Along with Baseball Stars 2, RBI showed that Baseball games didn't have to be boring simulations (i.e. Hardball). Sadly, many of the current games, while being graphically superior, are almost as boring as watching a Kansas City/Detroit game on the tube.
68) Reactor (2600) MARK: Kill the build up of atoms in the reactor before it blows up and kills millions of people. Oh, don't let's the side touch you or let the every growing middle push you into a wall. And "Don't Panic!!" AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
69) River City Ransom (NES) JOE: Very few NES games kept me around, but this one has kept me around for hours at a clip. Lots to do… it's part Double Dragon, part Zelda.
70) River Raid (2600/2 votes) CLINT: Although this title isn't perfect, it was the first shooter I played. And, after playing it, I wanted more games like it. AL: Very playable. Never boring. Challenging. I'm still trying to top my high score and hopefully roll the game over.
71) Robotron: 2084 (7800/2 votes) JEFF: Wildly intense. I heard a saying about this game: "you are two seconds from death at all times." Wrong. You're about a half a second from death. You won't be worrying about work, finances, etc. while you're playing Robotron. EDWARD: About as close as you're going to get on a classic system. Lots of movement… addictive shoot-a-thon.
72) R-Type (SMS) EDWARD: About the best graphics ever produced for the Sega Master System. Even with graphics aside, this game has all the elements of the coin-op. Great side scroller.
73) Rush N' Attack (NES) - TONY: A pretty taxing game. File this one under the 'x-axis tourism' genre. Kind of like Contra, Commando, or Rolling Thunder, but ammo is scarce. Armed with a knife, it's up to you to infiltrate the Communist base and annihilate everyone in your way.
74) Shark! Shark! (Intellivision/2 votes) SEAN: Shark! Shark! is one of the main reasons for my theory about two player games: it absolutely rules as a two-player game, but isn't much fun alone. Half the fun is eating the other guy's fish! AL: Big fish eats little fish and so on. Actually a clever game which is fun and at the same time illustrates the food chain or circle of life.
75) Slither (ColecoVision) MARK: This nearly perfect translation was an arcade fave of mine. The excellent game play with the roller controller help. One thing I love about this panic game is the fact that if you run out of time on one level it doesn't matter--- They send out MORE snakes anyway.
76) Solomon's Key (NES) JEFF: Probably no one else will pick this one, but it combines puzzle solving with arcade skills unlike any other 8-bit game I can think of.
77) Space Dungeon (5200/3 votes) SCOTT: Along with 5200 Robotron, the only game what required the use of the joystick holders. I never was able to get the level 99, which was always my goal. Fast action! RUSS: I just remember this one being a combination of Robotron and an exploration game, and really digging the best of both worlds. I was never a big fan of the 5200 controllers, but they weren't too bad for this game. KEITA: This game quite possibly may be the ultimate "closet classic." The control mechanism is similar to Robotron, but this game differs in that it adds a healthy of strategy -- do you exit the level with only a handful of treasure, or should you be greedy and further explore the dungeons for more... at the risk of having the Thief steal all your hard-earned treasure or, worse yet, dying without being able to cash-in?
78) Space Invaders (2600) EDWARD: The game that made the VCS sell millions. I could play this one every day. There are enough variations to satisfy any gamer.
79) Space Shuttle (2600) MARK: I loved the way this game incorporated all the buttons on the 2600 console. Although the game moves slow, your motion has to be constantly monitored so you don't fly off course. And the re-entry blackout was nerve racking. "Do I move the joystick? Do I not? Am I burning up? Hello, is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me."
80) Spy Hunter (ColecoVision) JOE: An arcade favorite of mine, this was done much better than I expected on the ColecoVision. The action is dead on and the music is great. A commuter's fantasy game.
81) Stampede (2600/2 votes) SEAN: Original concepts get me every time. Although I only owned the Intellivision version as a kid, I think I like the 2600 version better now. MARK: This game was so easy. The cattle all have set patterns that you can plan on. Fast running ones then medium running ones then slow. Then the none moving black cow. If this game was so easy then why did the cow always win? I love this one for the "endless" barrage of cattle to capture.
82) Star Castle (Vectrex) JOE: A really simple game that requires a great deal of concentration. There's a real feeling of awe when the bad guy fires at you, and an equal feeling of accomplishment when you beat him.
83) Super Breakout (2600) KEITA: The ultimate variant of Pong, Super Breakout shows skill, imagination and loving care in its wonderfully simplistic design. Arkanoid has nothing over its ancestor.
84) Super Mario Bros. (NES/2 votes) JEFF: This still plays well and maintains a fun factor missing in some of the more complex platformers that it spawned. More than any of the others, though, the nostalgia factor contributed to my decision to add this one to my list. AL: Even after several sequels, I still prefer the original. This is a timeless classic. Most of the time even has Duck Hunt thrown in.
85) Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES) CLINT: When this title was released, there was no equal for it. Incredible graphics and some of the best gameplay a game has ever seen. In addition, this title really started the whole "secrets" craze (other titles before this one, including SM1 used warps and the like, but none as prominently as SM2).
86) Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) KEITA: The original Super Mario Brothers gets the nod for being more significant, but part 3 is by far the biggest and best of the lot.
87) Super Sprint (NES) RUSS: This is just one hell of a fun game, at least up until the computer makes it impossible to win anymore. It is, of course, more fun with multiple players (like Rally on the Atari 8-bits). Me and my youngest brother logged a lot of hours trying to see how far we could go while one drove and the other tried to jam the computer players.
88) Tapper (ColecoVision/2 votes) EDWARD: I don't have to tell you that this cart has great gameplay. Good graphics and sound are a bonus. JOE: There should be more games with drunken slobs in them! Although nothing comes close to the arcade version (complete with barstool and authentic railings), the gameplay is there on this one. Frantic.
89) Tarzan (ColecoVision) AL: My all time favorite CV game. Excellent graphics for the time. The action takes on land, through the trees and across water. Several objectives must be met.
90) Tetris/Tengen (NES/3 votes) JEFF: Has there ever been a more addicting videogame? KEITA: Talk about a game that has spawned a plethora of sequels and clones! Everything from Edtris to Bust-A-Move to Tetrisphere has been inspired by this timeless masterpiece. It's also one of the few games that will get women to play with you. AL: Highly addictive. The only other version I like is the Game Boy one, because it very handy for quick sessions.
91) Trog (NES) - TONY: Basically a 1990 version of Pac-Man, Ladybug, Mouse Trap, etc. Cavemen pursue dinos seeking eggs, and the Neanderthals get tougher and tougher, devising fire, the wheel, pogo sticks, and other fun stuff.
92) Tunnel Runner (2600) SCOTT: Being a Pac-Man freak as it is, this game 'did it' for me. Challenging mazes, random mazes (thanks to the RAM PLUS!) and the 3-D perspective made this one a definite winner!
93) Turbo (ColecoVision) EDWARD: When I first played this, I could not believe how colorful it was. Great 3D effects.
94) Video Pinball (2600) MARK: I love pinball and this early video version is no exception. Big points could be had if you had the stones to nudge the table a little and build up bonus points and bonus "x" multiplier. I always tried to count my bonus points because I heard that if it exceeded 255 counts that it reset to 1. That's a lot of work for a whole lotta nothin'!
95) Warlords (2600) KEITA: Almost a decade before Bomberman was being hailed as the ultimate 4-player game of all time, I was enjoying some of the most epic all-night Warlords sessions with my friends. It's really a toss-up between Warlords and Super Bomberman 2 (SNES) and Bomberman '94 (PC Engine) if you're looking for some multi-player party action.
96) Worm Whomper (Intellivision) JOE: One of the coolest games ever made. Not only does WW show off the Intellivision's great graphic capabilities (easily 50 or more moving objects on the screen at once), but it runs fast!
97) Xevious (7800) EDWARD: Would have been great in 1984 if it were released! Very faithful to the coin-op, and much better than the NES version.
98) Yars' Revenge (2600/2 votes) SCOTT: A game that stole many hours away from my teen years. Simple game play yet containing that addictive 'Kill or be Killed' premise. Easy to find, easier to play! CLINT: This title occupied my 2600 for longer than any other 2600 game. I was obsessed with getting to the last color (no, I never made it, but I had fun trying). Just pure clean fun for the 2600.
99) Zaxxon (ColecoVision) EDWARD: Back in 1982, it was hard to believe that a game could be this good. Arcade action at its best.