top of page

The Weird Stories Behind Some of the Biggest 80’s Games

We all know that the eighties was a great time for video games, and not just because of the fun aspect. Eighties games were pioneering - games that showed people how to create high quality, challenging on-screen environments with incredibly robust game engines. These engines really stood the test of millions of gamers, and you rarely saw a ‘broken’ arcade game back in the eighties. But some games rose above that quality, and became household names. Some of them have weird stories behind them that you might not know.


Perhaps the most famous videogame and highest earning game too ($2.5 billion by the 1990s) of all time has a truly terrifying concept behind it. The story is a little weird, to say the least.

The story goes like this. One day, a man wakes up and finds out he has been transformed into a mouth. He has to spend the rest of his days (or until you lose your lives) collecting pills and avoiding the ghosts, who envy the living.

Creepy? Definitely. But it is still the most famous videogame of all time. Even when it was first found in arcades, no one really thought of the game as having any real story. But the concept of running around an arena as a human/mouth crossover is enough to give anyone nightmares.


Perhaps it is the fact that the game had the most maddeningly addictive theme tune ever (think about if for a second, you’ll remember it), but Tetris became one of the biggest games on the Game Boy (an early handheld unit). Fiendishly addictive gameplay meant that people spent hours trying to beat their high score. And the game just kept on piling block after block down from the top of the screen. It was a huge success, selling over 125 million units worldwide (

The story is simple. The name came from the word ‘tetra’ (as in four segments) and tennis, which was the creator’s favourite game. An engineer created the game while sat behind his desk at the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1984. He actually lied about creating the game, and told his bosses he was simply searching through some code for bugs.

The game went through massive challenges before it became the legend it is today, including the KGB, at one point, interrogating a businessman who wanted to own the rights to the title.

Donkey Kong

One the most famous and influential games of all time, so successful in fact that Guinness World Records awarded the series with 7 world records, this title didn't quite start out as it was meant to. It wasn't even called Donkey Kong at the start (rumours were that it was called ‘Radar Scope’) and it took a specialist Nintendo game designer to bring out the best bits of the concept. The game went absolutely crazy in the United States and a legend was born. The Donkey Kong franchise went on to spawn numerous spin-off games, and was even featured in movies like ‘Wreck it Ralph’.

Not all video games have stories behind them, but funnily enough, the big hits of the eighties always seem to have a fascinating story about their genesis, or a strange tale behind the graphics.

About the author

Zeeshan Mallick

Co-Founder of

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
No tags yet.
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page