The Best-selling Video Games of the 1980s

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The 1980s were a transformative decade for the video game industry, as arcades gave way to home consoles like the Atari 2600 and the Nintendo Entertainment System. Many of the games released during this time became cultural touchstones and set the foundation for the modern video game industry. Here are the top selling video games of the 1980s.

The Top Video Games of the 1980s Ranked by Sales

  1. Pac-Man (Arcade, 1980)

Widely considered one of the greatest video games of all time, Pac-Man was an instant hit in arcades. Its simple gameplay and charming characters made it a cultural phenomenon, and it sold over 400,000 arcade cabinets in its first year.

2. Donkey Kong (Arcade, 1981)

The game that introduced Mario to the world, Donkey Kong was a platformer that tasked players with rescuing a damsel in distress from the clutches of the titular ape. It sold over 130,000 arcade cabinets and remains a beloved classic.

3. Space Invaders (Arcade, 1978/Atari 2600, 1980)

The game that started it all, Space Invaders was a simple but addictive shooter that inspired countless imitators. It sold over 360,000 arcade cabinets and was one of the first video games to be released on a home console, the Atari 2600.

4. Frogger (Arcade, 1981)

A game about crossing a busy street as a frog, Frogger became a surprise hit in arcades. Its catchy music and simple gameplay made it a favorite among gamers, and it sold over 20 million copies across various platforms.

5. Donkey Kong Jr. (Arcade, 1982)

The sequel to Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. put players in the shoes of the ape as he tried to rescue his father from Mario’s clutches. It sold over 30,000 arcade cabinets and remains a beloved classic.

6. Pitfall! (Atari 2600, 1982)

One of the earliest examples of a side-scrolling platformer, Pitfall! was a technical marvel on the Atari 2600. Its jungle-themed setting and challenging gameplay made it a hit, and it sold over 4 million copies.

7. Super Mario Bros. (NES, 1985)

The game that defined the NES era, Super Mario Bros. was a groundbreaking platformer that introduced gamers to the world of Mario and his Mushroom Kingdom. It sold over 40 million copies and remains one of the most beloved video games of all time.

8. The Legend of Zelda (NES, 1986)

A game that set the standard for open-world exploration and adventure, The Legend of Zelda was a groundbreaking RPG that tasked players with saving the princess and the kingdom of Hyrule. It sold over 6 million copies and remains a fan favorite.

9. Tetris (Various platforms, 1984)

A simple but addictive puzzle game, Tetris became a global phenomenon in the 1980s. Its block-stacking gameplay and catchy music made it a favorite among gamers, and it has sold over 200 million copies across various platforms.

10. Double Dragon (Arcade, 1987)

A groundbreaking beat-em-up that let players team up to take on street gangs, Double Dragon was a hit in arcades and on home consoles. Its memorable characters and satisfying combat made it a fan favorite, and it sold over 1 million arcade cabinets.

In conclusion, the 1980s were a transformative decade for the video game industry, and these top-selling titles were just a few of the many amazing games that gamers enjoyed during that time. These classics laid the groundwork for the modern video game industry


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