Discover the Best Selling Video Games of the 80s

80s video games are on a whole other level. As a matter of fact, some of the most classic and unforgettable video games that are still largely loved and played over the world today came from the era.

With a shift from arcade-like games towards more complex and innovative creations, there’s no surprise that the 1980s brought with it an influx of best selling video games. Most of those created during this period pushed the gaming industry to new heights and more importantly, to what it is today. 


Get to know these video games and pay homage to the giants that made these one of the classics today. To learn more about these and what made them popular, read on. 

Discover the Best Selling Video Games of the 80s

Video Game Guide:  80s Video Games to Check Out

Super Mario Bros. – 1985

First released in Japan by Nintendo on September 13, 1985, Super Mario Bros., later on, made its way to North America, where it quickly gained popularity among the people. It was created for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and reportedly sold more than 40 million copies. 

A game about two Italian plumbers, Mario and Luigi, the two are tasked to rescue Princess Toadstool from King Bowser. Initially marketed as the bad guy in Donkey Kong, it appears that Super Mario Bros. rose to fame simply because Nintendo marketed Bowser in a number of their games. 


More importantly, Nintendo used Mario in a lot of genres, making him an icon in his own right. This alone made his presence more prevalent in public. This revived the interest of people in games, especially with the coming of the home-gaming system NES

Of course, it also helps that the developers were able to provide more fluid controls, giving players more access over Mario. 

Tetris – 1984

One of the vintage games that remains a class until today is Tetris. A puzzle game of sorts made by Alexey Pajitnov of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, this is considered the best-selling video game of all time, with more 150 million copies sold. 


What made this game popular is simple: Tetris fulfills the natural need of people to maintain and create order. More importantly, it challenges the player to win against himself and no one else. After all, there are no enemies to beat but yourself in this game. 

The game’s heightened popularity rose even more with the coming of the Game Boy in 1989, with Tetris programmed in the system. 

Duck Hunt – 1984

Part of the Nintendo Action Set, Duck Hunt was marketed alongside with the use of a Zapper, otherwise known as a light gun, against a CRT television. Its fame stemmed from the curiosity of people of drawing and shooting a fake gun on the screen and killing ducks

Super Mario Bros III – 1989

Although Mario video games were already highly endeared to people, many consider Super Mario Bros. 3 as the pinnacle of the series. It sold more than 17 million copies for the NES, with new features making their debut in this game such as the power of flight and raccoon abilities.

Besides the ability to retain control and the engaging gameplay, with its frog suits and magical events, the expanded formula made it revolutionary, together with a more detailed gaming environment. It also helps that power-up was introduced, helping keep the game fresh and exciting with every move.

In short, Super Mario Bros 3 packaged the best of all the Mario games in the series. Its structure continues to influence every game that comes out in the series until this very day.

The Legend of Zelda – 1986

Last but certainly not least is the Legend of Zelda. As much as people loved the Mario video games, players loved the immersive narrative and gameplay of the fantasy world offered within. It also brought a strong sense of action and adventure, making it a triple-threat against other games. 

The explorative approach of The Legend of Zelda made it big in the industry, as with its strong-decisive pool towards its world. 

Discover the Best Selling Video Games of the 80s

The Bottom Line

These vintage games have certainly cemented themselves as some of the best selling video games of the 80s – and for good reason. While newer versions have improved the mechanics and gameplay of these 80s video games, they retain familiar elements and qualities these video games are known for.