Inimitable Video Games of the Past, Present and Future

The best video game characters of old still smashing sales today.

What if I asked you to name the most memorable video games and characters of old that are still mass marketed today? Give me three guesses, and I’d be willing to bet I can figure out your answer. That’s because of all the old-school video games, only three stand out as timeless treasures that continue to capture our hearts, and our pocket books, to this day.

The Best Video Game Characters of Old and New

I’m not just talking about naming your favorite game of old, but a game that’s been made and remade time and again, with sequels and reboots, for a multitude of platforms. Games that will, no doubt, continue to be reinvented and produced for years to come. They are, in order of origin…

#1 Pac-Man, First Released in 1980

The brain child of Tōru Iwatani, Pac-Man was first released as an arcade game in 1980 by Japanese company Namco. He’s a pop-culture icon of the 80’s whose legacy has lived on for nearly four decades in video games, board games, music, television and films. In 2010, Google changed its logo to a Pac-Man Google Doodle of a playable version of the game. He was featured as the ultimate evil boss in the 2015 hit movie, Pixels.

Play Pac-Man Google Doodle Game

Of interesting note, the most memorable spin-off of Pac-Man was Ms. Pac-Man, which was not created by Mr. Iwatani, or Namco. It was, in fact, a complete and utter, unauthorized rip-off of the original game. Of the dozens of sequels, spin-offs and reboots, only one was created by Tōru Iwatani, the Pac-Man Championship Edition; the game of choice for the first every Pac-Man World Championship, held in New York in 2007.

#2 Mario Bros., First Released in 1983

Best Video Game Characters of Old Mario BrosNone alive today (over the age of 4) can deny at least some familiarity with the iconic video gaming characters, Mario and Luigi – aka the Mario Bros. Developed by Nintendo, these Italian-American brothers first appeared in arcades and the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console. They’ve since been released for Game Boy, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS/3DS, Wii, Wii U and Nintendo Switch, as well as a multitude of PC and mobile games. In the early days, they even appeared on home systems for Atari, Apple II, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, and alter in television series and on the big screen.

Mario was actually famous a few years before his taller and slimmer brother. Most of you will remember Mario as the lovelorn, hammer-wielding, barrel-jumping little guy who struggles to navigate a path of ladders to save his girlfriend from Donkey Kong. Speaking of which, Donkey Kong is another timeless character of retro-video gaming, but his legacy isn’t quite as renowned as our #3 pick…

#3 Tomb Raider, First Released in 1996

Inimitable Video Games - Lara Croft Tomb Raider SlotThe lovely Lara Croft wormed her way into our hearts in 1996 with the release of the original Tomb Raider game on PlayStation, Sega Saturn and MS-DOS (old-school platform for computer games). An instant success, sequels came quickly, but her popularity began waning in the early 2000s. She was revived with the 2006 release of Tomb Raider: Legend and has been going strong ever since, worthy of half a dozen Guinness World Records, including Most Recognizable Female Video-Game Character and Best Selling Video Game Heroine.

Being geared heavily towards adult audiences (especially since the 2001 release of Hollywood hit Lara Croft Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie), this game’s platform releases have far exceeded that of Pac-Man or Mario Bros. Microgaming released the first online gambling game featuring the iconic Lara Croft in 2004 with the launch of the Tomb Raider Slot. That was followed by the slot machine sequel, Tomb Raider: Secret of the Sword, in 2008. Both are among Microgaming’s most famous branded slot titles to date.

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