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Official voting has now ended (but people can still vote unofficially if they like).

The 1983 game of the year is Mario Bros.
The runner up is Dragon's Lair.
The master thread for all of these contests can be found here.

What do you believe to be the "Game of the Year" for 1983 and why?  Also, vote on "Game of the Year" for 1983. 


The year 1983 represents an important turning point in the video game industry.  The home console market crashed.  Retailers responded by refusing to sell home consoles and console games ever again.  The arcade market was still doing well, but even it would never do as well again as earlier years when it had mega hits like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.  Computer gaming would start doing better in the US during the mid 80’s to replace the console market.

However, seeds would start being planted in other parts of the world.  Japan would start to make its own home consoles.  Computer games were now being made in the UK.  And in 1985 a certain notable game would be made in the USSR. The worldwide game industry wouldn’t recover to its 1982 levels again until 1993 (and it wouldn’t consistently stay that way until 2000).  However, important seeds were being planted, and the US arcade and home computer markets continued to make notable games.


Dragon’s Lair (Arcade)
This game seemed light years ahead of its time in 1983.  The direction and animation for this game was lead by Don Bluth, an animator who made animated movies in the 80’s like The Secret of Nimh, An American Tail, and The Land Before Time, movies arguably better than what Disney was putting out at the time.  Arcade gamers in 1983 got an amazing visual treat, although the gameplay was mostly just memorization.  Dragon’s Lair sold at least 16,000 arcade cabinets, although ports to console and computers proved disappointing for many years as they couldn’t approach the graphical quality of the arcade machine.


Mario Bros (Arcade)
Luigi gets introduced for the first time in this two player co-op game.  Mario Bros went on to be ported to many home console and computer systems including the NES which sold over 2.2 million copies and the Atari 2600 which sold over 1.5 million copies.


Spy Hunter (Arcade)
A driving game with James Bond vibes.  Use your special power ups to destroy enemy vehicles.


Star Wars (Arcade)
It is more than a coincidence that spaceship shmups were popular in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  This was all happening at the same time as the super popular movie trilogy Star Wars.  Well, Atari finally made an arcade game called Star Wars where you fly as Luke Skywalker making an attack run on the Death Star.  This game uses 3D vector graphics which is a common theme among the hit Atari arcade games of this era.  Star Wars went on to sell over 12,000 cabinets.


Track and Field (Arcade)
Konami makes a big hit game with Track and Field (or Hyper Olympic in Japan and Europe).  This game sold over 38,000 arcade cabinets in Japan alone.


Lode Runner (various home computers)
A platformer that is more about digging than jumping.  Lode Runner was ported to many home computers and eventually the arcade and NES.


Manic Miner (ZX Spectrum)
Manic Miner was developed by British developer Matthew Smith for the ZX Spectrum.  It was later ported to many other home computers.  Manic Miner was at the top of the ZX Spectrum’s sales charts for 1983 and was the best-selling Commodore 64 game in 1984.


One on One: Dr J vs Larry Bird (Apple II)
Electronic Arts makes their first successful sports game.  By 1988 it had sold over 400,000 copies and was the highest-selling sports game ever for computers.


Ultima III: Exodus (various home computers)
Your party of characters explores an overworld and dungeons in this turn-based RPG.  Many JRPG’s, such as Final Fantasy, look a whole lot like Ultima III, because those games were directly inspired by this one.  Ultima III was developed for the Apple II, but was ported to several other home computers in 1983 and in following years.  It was later ported to the NES in 1987.


Other (please specify)
If you think another games deserves to be "Game of the Year" other than one of the 9 I listed above, then please vote “Other” and say your game in the comments.  If the "Other" category takes at least 2nd place and no other game gets at least 50% of the vote, then I will do a runoff vote including the most mentioned game(s) from the comments.

The winner of this vote will be decided Tuesday, Sept 12 at 11:59 EST.


Last edited by The_Liquid_Laser - on 15 September 2023