C&VG's Top Ten Games Of 1984

Published in Computer & Video Games #38

Games Of The Year

With 1984 drawing to a close without too much evidence of Big Brother forcing us to use our computers for boring serious applications, it's time to take stock of some of the best games of the year.

The real games of the year will be the ones that you, and all the other C&VG readers, vote for in the Golden Joystick Awards - the gamers' awards - which will be presented in London in January.

In order to start your thinking about your choices, we asked NOP - the compilers of the C&VG top twenty to tell us what were the bestsellers of 1984.

From the list they gave us, the C&VG review team picked out the games that they liked best which were launched this year.

Here are our choices. Now tell us your favourites.

1. Jet Set Willy

Top selling game of 1984 is the cutest climbing game of them all, Jet Set Willy.

The game is the sequel to one of 1983's top games - Manic Miner. It was always going to be a big hit but the game completely dominated the C&VG/Daily Mirror Top Thirty for most of this year.

Only two games have ousted Willy from his number one spot throughout the year and now, with the game also available on the Commodore 64, there seems to be no stopping the Liverpudlian miner.

For those of you who've not seen the game, it's well worth putting on your Christmas list.

2. Beach Head

Beach Head is the most successful of the invasion of American software that has flooded into the UK this year.

The game drew gasps of admiration from games programmers and businessmen when it was first shown to the trade at the Leisure Electronics Show last January.

Then, when US Gold put the game out on cassette at £8.95, the games players purchased Beach Head into the Top Ten games chart.

The game features four different scenes. By far the best of these is the sea scene.

3. Fighter Pilot

Digital Integration stormed their way into the big league of software houses with two hit games in Spring 1984 - Night Gunner and Fighter Pilot.

Of the two games, Fighter Pilot was marginally more successful. It's a flight simulation with a strong flavour of World War II.

As well as keeping an eye on all normal flight controls, the player also has to deal with bandits screaming in from above and below.

Digital Integration are converting their Spectrum games for the Commodore 64.

4. Sabre Wulf

Ultimate launched their sole Spectrum game of 1984 in May and saw it zoom up the charts to the number one spot.

Sabre Wulf is the latest in a series of Spectrum hits from Ultimate who are Britain's undisputed number one in the market for arcade-style games.

Critics said that Sabre Wulf was no more than a copy of Ultimate's previous game, Atic Atac, and that the programmers had merely changed the background swapping a haunted house for a jungle.

5. Soccer

International Soccer

Commodore's International Soccer is the best sports simulation ever written for any home computer.

Soccer finally found its way into the shops and well worth the wait it was too - a cartridge game at just £9.95 with stunning graphics and excellent gameplay.

The running animation of the footballers, movement of the ball and accurate shadows make the game a delight to watch as well as in play.

6. Lords Of Midnight

Who are the Lords of Midnight? That was the question on every gamer's lips in the weeks leading up to the launch of Beyond's first "epic" game.

Beyond describe Lords Of Midnight as an "epic" as it does not fit into either the adventure or strategy category - but lies somewhere between the two.

There is also a strong element of war gaming in Lords Of Midnight as you seek to unite the forces of the Free against the evil Doomdark.

7. Olympic Games

The Olympic Games shook up the games business this summer with no less than a dozen athletics games seeking to capitalise on the Olympics.

Most successful of the Games games was Daley Thompson's Decathlon which produced a number one smash hit for Ocean.

Almost all of these games - and Daley's is no exception - are copies of the Konami arcade game in which the player has to shake the joystick furiously to make his little man run and jump.

8. Trashman

Trashman is a total original in computer games - the only dustbin simulation available for the Spectrum and C64.

You have to collect the bins, empty their contents into the dustcart that is scrolling slowly up screen and bring the bins back again.

But if you think that sound easy, you haven't reckoned on mad dogs, lunatic drivers, kamikaze cyclists, pubs, cafes, and tricky grass verges.

For sheer fun, you can't beat Trashman.

9. Hunchback

Hunchback for the Sinclair Spectrum was Ocean's first big hit - the first of many top selling games that the Manchester software house were to launch in 1984.

Supported by a TV advertising campaign, the Spectrum and C64 versions of this popular arcade game stayed in the Daily Mirror chart for several months.

You are the tragic Quasimodo who seeks to rescue his beloved Esmerelda. The guards in Notre Dame have different plans for our hero and it's down to you to see that he escapes their arrows.

10. Sherlock

Another of this year's instant success stories is Sherlock from Melbourne House.

Like Jet Set Willy, the game couldn't fail. Programmed by Philip Mitchell of Hobbit, Penetrator and Mugsy fame, Sherlock was billed as Melbourne's biggest thing since Hobbit.

Sherlock is one of the new breed of interactive adventure games - not just a set of fixed puzzles with one solution. Sherlock has semi-intelligent characters who react to your moves, it has several possible conclusions and can be different every time you play.