The 15 best video games of the 1980s

11 of 16

6. Final Fantasy

Released: 1987 (Japan) / 1990 (North America)

Platforms: NES, Game Boy Advance, iOS, Android

Speaking of Final Fantasy, the first game in the series makes it in on a technicality. Although it didn’t arrive in North America until 1990, it did actually come out in Japan in 1987. (The story of Final Fantasy as a franchise in North America is long and complex. Suffice it to say not all of the six Final Fantasy games had come out by the time of Final Fantasy VII.)

But the original Final Fantasy set the standard for what a fantasy RPG could be in terms of complexity, including upgrades to classes, a pretty hefty system of magic, and of course, plenty of big bosses and the opportunity to save the world. While it doesn’t quite have the personality of Phantasy Star (that would come in later installments), Final Fantasy is one of the best games of the ‘80s because of its willingness to go beyond creating just big worlds. Instead, it goes big in the mechanics of the game, asking players to try and balance their party and hope they chose wisely.

(Of course, you can actually finish the game with four upgraded white mages, but that’s not for the faint of heart.)