John Lennon is assassinated, the Falklands war erupts and the Berlin wall comes down.....the 80's were turbulent times, and the fledgling games industry was no exception.
Throughout the decade publishing house's rose and fell and consoles came and went. Some of these failings were more self inflicted than others. These include the production of poorly conceived games such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600. Companies were producing cynical money grabbing cash ins of popular films, with little thought put into the actual game itself. As a result, so many E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial cartridges were left unsold that Atari buried thousands of cartridges in a landfill in New Mexico. In another somewhat hilarious cock up it was discovered that more Pac-Man cartridges were manufactured than there were systems made. However for all the mistakes there were also successes. It was during this time that Electronic Arts first formed and has since never really gone away.
The Commodore 64, Apple II and the Atari 800 were all big players in the early part of the decade. The made use of vector graphics and could produce 3D-ish games, the first being Battlezone. Dungeons of Daggorath saw the first uses of health monitors, sophisticated sound effects and various weapons and monsters. 1
985 welcomed the release of Nintendo's Famicom (or NES to those who aren't Japanese.) It introduced The game pad, an 8 direction Directional-pad (or D-pad for short) with 2 or more action buttons. It also introduced the world to a fat little plumber named Mario, a heroic elf named link and an ironically titled series' Final Fantasy'.The NES dominated the North American and the Japanese market until the rise of the next generation of consoles in the early 1990s.
Towards the end of the eighties dial up Internet had become more widely available. Which allowed the more adventurous gamer a chance to go 'online'.This allowed different users to interact with each other for the first time. Fantasy role playing games known as 'MUD's or multi-user-dungeons became popular, these would eventually evolve into what we now call MMORPG's.