The 15 best video games of the 1980s

10 of 16

7. Mega Man 2

Released: 1988 (Japan) / 1989 (North America)

Platforms: NES, iOS, Android

It’s not always that a sequel is better than the original, but as GameSpot once wrote, “Mega Man came into his birthright” with Mega Man 2. That’s pretty high praise.

Almost presaging the boom of RPGs that would really kick off in the West with Final Fantasy (although Dragon Quest as a series precedes Final Fantasy, and Ultima as a franchise dates back to the early 1980s), one of Mega Man 2’s core mechanics is looting the bodies of your dead foes and making yourself stronger with their weapons. Sure, there aren’t really levels or experience, per se, but that doesn’t matter when you’re a robot who just upgrades yourself anyway through the power of science.

GameSpot also mentions the great soundtrack, and even though the above trailer is just under a minute long, you can hear it: fast-paced, pushing the sound capabilities of the NES to its limits, and still pretty catchy even today.

If there was one game that justified Mega Man making it into Super Smash Bros., first in for Wii U/3DS and again in Ultimate later this year, it’s probably Mega Man 2. That’s how good – and how influential – it is.