Pixel Alumni: Volume I

The Videogame Graduates from the Class of 1985-1992
March 16, 2009
These are THE nostalgic video games that I recall when thinking back to a particular year growing up.

Some are missing from this list.......but this is mine, and purely off the top of my head.

These games defined each aforementioned year for me. Let's see the classmates and graduates..............it's all in fun!

Class of 1985


Gauntlet (Arcade)

The first game that I remember, other than "Pac-Man", that was available at skating rinks, arcades and grocery stores. Challenging, yet a good starter for video game freshman. The "Archer" was my preferred character.........and yes, "he needs food badly".

Salutatorian: Super Mario Bros. (NES)
Class President: Tiger Heli (NES)
Treasurer: Commando (Arcade)
Secretary: Dig Dug II (NES)

Class Nerd: Tetris (NES)
Class Clown: Duckhunt (NES)
Class Bully: Ghosts 'n Goblins (Arcade)
Class Jock: Excite Bike (NES)
Cutest Couple: Ice Climber (NES) / Gyromite (NES)

Class of 1986


The Legend of Zelda (NES)

The first game where as a kid you felt engaged in the story, that everything you did mattered, and if you didn't find the last triforce you were the neighborhood failure. Everyone has a memory for this game, mine would be burning the bush and finding the secret dungeon......courtesy of "Nintendo Power".

Salutatorian: Arkanoid (Arcade)
Class President: Dragon Warrior (NES)
Treasurer: Kid Icarus (NES)
Secretary: Milon's Secret Castle (NES)

Class Nerd: Marble Madness (NES)
Class Bully: Friday the 13th (NES)
Class Clown: Bubble Bobble (NES)
Class Jock: Outrun (Sega)
Cutest Couple: Alex Kidd (Sega) / Kid Niki (NES)

Class of 1987


Castlevania (NES)

There was always something special about "Castlevania"......whether it be the graphically dark tone, addictingly freaky music, or the fact that Konami actually ported/made a game that at the time was the only "horror-esque" cart around. The "Medusa" stage was always frustrating but them damn monkeys and the "Frankenstein" boss were freaking annoying! I love this franchise.

Salutatorian: Shinobi (Sega)
Class President: Afterburner (Sega)
Treasurer: Final Fantasy (NES)
Secretary: Metal Gear (NES)

Class Nerd: Metroid (NES)
Class Clown: Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! (NES)
Class Bully: Double Dragon (Arcade)
Class Jock: R.B.I. Baseball (NES)
Cutest Couple: 1943 (NES) / Gradius II (NES)

Class of 1988


Mega Man II (NES)

This is my game! The first game for me that I played so much that I was "speed running" through it with an egg timer with my cousin. So addicting, fun, and just challenging enough to warrant a ton of replay value. The music is by far one of the best (if not the best) "Capcom" soundtrack to date. The only level that is stuck in my head was the first encounter in "Wily's Castle" with the "purple bubble boss" (aka crash bomb level). If you weren't careful with your arsenal you'd run out and be screwed and have to start over.

Salutatorian: Altered Beast (Sega)
Class President: Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)
Treasurer: Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES)
Secretary: T&C Wood and Water Rage (NES)

Class Bully: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES)
Class Nerd: Phantasy Star (Sega)
Class Jock: Bases Loaded (NES)
Class Clown: Kung Fu Heroes (Arcade)
Cutest Couple: Adventure Island (NES) / Contra (NES)

Class of 1989


Ninja Gaiden (NES)

There is something satisfying about plowing through levels attacking and slicing everyone with one hit. If you aren't speeding in this game you aren't playing like a champion. The only bad part of this game was the "back screen" glitches......you know were the enemies constantly regenerate at a point on the screen if you turn around. Lame, but the music helped set the tone to kill some crazy bosses and get raped by flying eagles. Hee-Yaaa!

Salutatorian: Blazing Lazers (TG-16)
Class President: Strider (Sega)
Treasurer: Golden Axe (Sega)
Secretary: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade)

Class Bully: Legacy of the Wizard (NES)
Class Nerd: SimCity (PC)
Class Jock: Tecmo Bowl (NES)
Class Clown: River City Ransom (NES)
Cutest Couple: Batman (NES) / Ducktales (NES)

Class of 1990


Bonk's Adventure (TG-16)

This thick-headed caveman was a fresh departure from the "walk to the right" platformers NES had been churning out. A good amount of power-ups, strange colorful bosses, and original enemies made this a personal favorite. The pure size of the bosses in this game made other games and consoles look dated and unpolished. A fun game to "speed run" through if you set your "TG-16 Turbopad" switches up, to "flip spin" and fly across the levels.

Salutatorian: Mega Man III (NES)
Class President: Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
Treasurer: Final Fantasy III (NES)
Secretary: Chip N' Dale's Rescue Rangers (NES)

Class Bully: Pit Fighter (Arcade)
Class Sissy: Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (Sega)
Class Jock: Final Fight (Arcade)
Class Clown: Little Nemo: The Dream Master (NES)
Cutest Couple: F-Zero (SNES) / Rad Racer II (NES)

Class of 1991


Street Fighter II (Arcade)

When this game dropped at every arcade and 7-11 store in Virginia I became a man possessed. I was and still am a "Street Fighter" geek! It was so bad I was playing all the time burning through rolls of quarters. My dad tried to play as "Guile" because it was easier to charge than to "roll" a "hadouken", but in the end "Blanka's" button mash electricity was his only defense! Hahahahaha! Good times.

Salutatorian: Super Mario World (SNES)
Class President: Spiderman (Arcade)
Treasurer: Jackie Chan's Action Kung-Fu (TG-16)
Secretary: Challenge of the Ancient Empires (PC)

Class Nerd: Bible Adventures (NES)
Class Bully: Battletoads (NES)
Class Jock: WWF WrestleFest (Arcade)
Class Clown: The Simpsons (Arcade)
Cutest Couple: Fatal Fury (Sega) / Streets of Rage (Sega)

Class of 1992


Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega)

This sequel burned the original out of the water. Super fast gameplay, "Super Sonic" and killer tunes make this an easy pick. The addition of "Tails" was pretty cool too, and how you could use him to your advantage.

Salutatorian: X-Men (Arcade)
Class President: Mortal Kombat (Arcade)
Treasurer: Wolfenstein 3-D (PC)
Secretary: Zelda: A Link To The Past (SNES)

Class Bully: Smash T.V. (Arcade)
Class Clown: Darkwing Duck (NES)
Class Jock: Front Page Sports Football (PC)
Class Nerd: Mario Paint (SNES)
Cutest Couple: Art of Fighting (Sega) / World Heroes (SNES)

Thanks for the read.

To be continued in volume II.......
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