The 15 best video games of the 1980s

9 of 16

8. Metroid

Released: 1986 (Japan) / 1987 (North America)

Platforms: NES, Game Boy Advance, Wii/ Wii U Virtual Console

Although Samus Aran wouldn’t get a sequel until the ‘90s (unlike her compatriots Mario and Link), that doesn’t stop the original Metroid from standing tall.

She wasn’t the first female protagonist in a game. Ms. Pac-Man, among others, predates her. But unlike Ms. Pac-Man, Samus doesn’t need to fall in love to have a good time. Instead, she’s all about making sure neither the Space Pirates nor the Mother Brain succeed – and that she gets paid for it. That’s right. She’s a bounty hunter.

But that alone doesn’t make a game good or even great, and Metroid makes the top 10, so let’s justify it a little more, shall we? One-half of the portmanteau Metroidvania falls at the feet of Metroid, and as even TVTropes dubs this game the “Trope Maker” for the genre. You’ve probably played one. Beyond that, though, the gameplay, which requires clever uses of Samus’ different powers, still makes this game fun 30 years after the fact.

Oh, and if you beat it in under five hours, you get to learn that Samus is actually a woman. We’re not saying you should give it a shot, but we’re definitely suggesting it heavily. Think you can keep up with Samus?