Namco releases SOS, Pac-Man, which is their biggest selling game of all time, King and Balloon, which is the first game to feature synthesized voices, Tank Battalion and Rally-X, which are the first games to feature a bonus round.
Nintendo releases the Radar Scope arcade game and the Game & Watch handheld LCD game.
Warner Communications' Atari releases the Missile Command arcade game, and the Battlezone arcade game, it was later adapted for the US Army for military training
Universal release the arcade game Space Panic , often cited as the first platform game.
Infocom releases Zork I, the first Zork game and the first Infocom game.
Mattel releases the Intellivision video game console.
Sinclair Research releases the ZX80 home computer and Acorn Computers release the Atom, the first 'domestic' computers to play games in the UK.
The British video game magazine Computer and Video Games (C&VG) starts.
Arnie Katz and Bill Kunkel found Electronic Games, the first magazine on video games and generally recognized as the beginning of video game journalism.
Sega releases the Turbo and the Frogger video game, which was developed by Konami
Namco releases New Rally-X, Warp and Warp, Galaga, and Bosconian, which is the first game to have a continue feature.
Nintendo releases Shigeru Miyamoto's Donkey Kong arcade game
Ultima and Wizardry are released, starting two of the most successful lines of CRPGs
Muse Software releases Silas Warner's Castle Wolfenstein computer game
SEGA test markets the SG-1000 home console in Japan
Sinclair Research releases the ZX81 home computer in the UK. Shortly, J. K. Greye Software publishes 3D Monster Maze written by Malcolm Evans which was the first computer game featuring real-time 3D graphics without using specialized vector graphics hardware
The North American video game crash of 1983 (sometimes known as the Atari Debacle or the video game crash of 1983 and 1984 because it was in that year that the full effects of the crash became apparent to consumers) brought an abrupt end to what is considered the second generation of console video gaming in North America. It almost destroyed the then-fledgling industry and led to the bankruptcy of several companies producing home computers and video game consoles in North America. It lasted about two years, The video-game industry was revitalized a few years later, mostly due to the widespread success of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which was released in North America in 1985 and became extremely popular by 1987.
A core cause of the crash was two high-profile titles for the Atari 2600 that were disasters. In 1981, Atari attempted to take advantage of the craze following the arcade game Pac-Man by releasing a version for the Atari 2600. However, development was rushed so as to have the game out in time for the 1981 Christmas season. Although the game managed to sell well in terms of absolute numbers, Atari had grossly overestimated the number of sales it would generate. Critics and gamers universally panned the game as being nothing like the lively, colourful original. In the end, Atari only sold a little over half the number of cartridges it produced. Production cost overruns combined with the costs incurred with a big marketing campaign for the game resulted in huge losses for Atari.
The following year, Atari issued its widely advertised ET game. Once again, it manufactured millions of units in anticipation of a major hit. Concerned about making the holiday season, Atari again rushed the game to market quickly, after a mere six weeks of development time. The end result was a disaster and it is widely considered to be one of the worst video games ever. To clear their inventory, Atari eventually ended up burying the unsold copies in a landfill in New Mexico, even though this has been disputed by some. Combined with the high costs for the movie license, ET became another financial disaster for Atari. Atari was sold two years later as the crash impacted upon the industry.
Nintendo releases Duck Hunt after the year began and Super Mario Bros. on September 13, 1985. Before the year was over Super Mario Bros. became the highest selling game of the year, selling 10 million copies, then eventually selling 40 million copies making it the best-selling video game of all time until 2008.
Namco releases Dig Dug II, Metro-Cross, Baraduke, Motos, Battle City, and Sky Kid.
Alexey Pajitnov creates the Tetris video game in the USSR. Nintendo released its most popular versions (for the NES and Game Boy) in 1989.
Atari Games releases Gauntlet (by Ed Logg), the first dungeon crawl arcade game.
Ghosts 'n Goblins by Tokuro Fujiwara (Capcom, arcade), one of the most popular arcade games of the year, spawned a series of later games
Atari releases the 520ST personal computer
Commodore releases the Amiga personal computer
Nintendo does a limited test release of the NES video game console in the United States and the Robotic Operating Buddy (ROB) robot and video game for the NES home console
New companies: Titus Interactive, Code Masters, Westwood Studios, Inc., Square Co., Ltd., Bethesda Softworks Inc.
Nintendo releases Metroid by Makoto Kano, the first in the Metroid series
Nintendo also releases The Legend of Zelda (designed by Shigeru Miyamoto for the Nintendo Famicom Disk System), the first in The Legend of Zelda series, a spiritual forerunner of console role-playing games
Sega releases the Out Run arcade game
Dragon Quest , usually considered the foremost console role-playing game, the first in a series that has been phenomenally successful in Japan
Atari releases the Atari 7800 home console two years after its original test market date
Sega releases the Sega Master System home console in the United States
Capcom releases the Street Fighter arcade game, the first in a long series of games.
Konami Corporation releases Metal Gear in Japan, as well as Castlevania and Contra . All three games were the beginning of some of Konami's most popular franchises
Nintendo releases The Legend of Zelda in America and Europe, the first of one of their longest-running and most popular series of games
Nintendo releases Zelda II: The Adventure of Link in January for the Famicom Disk System in Japan only. The game would go unreleased in America for nearly two years afterwards
Squaresoft's Hironobu Sakaguchi releases Final Fantasy for the Famicom in Japan. This was originally intended to be the company's last game, since it was facing bankruptcy, but the game's major success allowed them to turn it into a prolific series ironically titled Final Fantasy . It was released in the U.S.A. 3 years later
Nintendo revamps Doki Doki Panic and releases it as Super Mario Bros. 2 , for the Nintendo Entertainment System in America and the PAL region. This game would be released in Japan as Super Mario USA in 1992
Nintendo releases Super Mario Bros. 3 for the Famicom in Japan
Nintendo releases Zelda II: The Adventure of Link in December. The game had been released nearly two years earlier in Japan on the Famicom Disk System, before America even saw the first The Legend of Zelda
Sega Mega Drive released in Japan.
Nintendo buys the rights to Bandai's Family Trainer and re-releases it as the Power Pad.