The top 10 video games from 1980

Stuart Sumner
clock • 11 min read

Join Computing on this trek into the verdant pastures of a burgeoning video games industry, as we remember the best games of the '80s. In this first feature, we start where it all began in 1980 itself

9. Battlezone


Another standalone arcade game from November 1980, Battlezone is arguably the first ever first-person shooter, coming a full 12 years before Wolfenstein 3D, the game traditionally awarded that accolade.

In Battlezone, the player controls a tank, and looks out from its perspective, across a monochromatic, wireframe world. Unusually, the screen is viewed through  a periscope set into the arcade cabinet, giving an added sense of realism, and also allowed the developers to scrimp massively on the screen size.

The game never throws more than one enemy tank at the player at a time, although bonus (and non-hostile) UFOs do sometimes appear along with an enemy. Basically the mechanics can be summarised as: if it moves, shoot it. If it doesn't move, shoot it, and see if it moves.

Intriguingly, a version known as ‘The Bradley Trainer' was commissioned by the US  Army in December 1980, to train its recruits to use the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Two units were delivered, only one of which now remains, in a private collection having been found besides a skip a few years later.

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