Top 10 Most Influential Video Games of the 1980s

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The '80s were without a doubt the most inlfluential time for the technology the know and love today, and that's especially true for video games, as graphics and computing power increased to the point where games started to become visually entertaining and interactive. If you, like me, were in K-12 in the '80s and early '90s, you remember the games that we're talking about. Oregon Trail? Math Blaster? Number Munchers? Carmen Sandiego? Oh, yeah! After the jump, we’ll take a look at what the Educational Games Blog considers to be the top ten most influential educational games from the 1980s. They've included some very necessary links to download or play most of the games online for free...

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1. The Oregon Trail: Showed us resource management could be a fun and thoughtful element within an educational video game, with a strong dollop of historical context to boot.

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2. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?: Showed us a boring school topic (geography) could be presented in an interesting way within the videogame medium.

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3. SimCity: Showed us that games without a clear way to win can still be fun, educational, and time consuming.

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4. Reader Rabbit: Showed us that computer games could be effectively used in early education introducing toddlers to language arts.

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5. Math Blaster: Demonstrated how basic math worksheets could be fun when delivered within a videogaming environment.

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6. Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing: Showed us computer skills could be effectively drilled through playful software.

7. Lemonade Stand: Showed us that potentially complex and hard to understand concepts like economic theory could be simply and effectively illustrated in a video game.

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8. Number Munchers: Showed basic skill and drill for math could be much more fun on a video screen than on paper.

9. Zork: Showed that interactive fiction was a compelling medium.

10. Windows Solitaire: Eased the transition to a mouse-based GUI for millions of computer users. Showed us games can have an enormous impact on business computing skills.



The entire list, and links to play online or download, is here.

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Taryn is a writer, maker, designer, and editor of lifestyle blog Formal Fringe. She lives in an apartment in Atlanta with her fiancé, their Boston Terrier and lots of serving dishes.