The Winners:
ANALOG's staff picks their all-time favorite games.

The idea for this article sprang from a reading of Road and Track and Motor Trend. Occasionally, R&T lists what cars their staff is currently driving, and annually, MT picks their "Car of the Year" awards. Let me first say that these few pages were done as more or less a fun-thing-to-do, and, in actuality, our top game list probably changes on a daily basis.

Reasons for a favorite game vary greatly, and it's frequently difficult to remember some old favorites when flashy new ones pop up. However, we've tried to overcome this, and, indeed, games from the entire Atari computer lifespan appear on the list. To give older games a fair chance, we took an "after the dust settles" outlook on the newer ones that have recently come to market.

Old favorites like Star Raiders and Missile Command have what it takes to hold a player's interest and keep you coming back for more self torture. And those in the middle, two years old or so, are still fond in (some of) our memories, such as Pac-Man and Threshold. But there's no question that some late bloomers, like MiG Alley Ace and Boulder Dash, have caught our eye(s).

The nominations

The editorial staff of ANALOG was asked to select their seven favorite games of all time. And believe us, the ANALOG game library is so vast, it must have shifted the earth's magnetic poles. The final list of chosen games consists of thirty-three different titles from eighteen manufacturees. Except for Atari, none of the other software companies has more than two or three games on the list, and most have only one.

Each reviewer was also asked to quote on his favorite game, the video game business in general, or today's weather. Finally, we tabulated the results of chart frequency to show Atari leading the way with Star Raiders (six votes), followed closely by Missile Command and newcomer MiG Alley Ace.

This survey proves nothing, except that taste in games differs... from hard-core, blast-'em-to-bits all the way to "Drink Magic Potion." And, finally, the games we've chosen are the best of the best, so your software collection will suffer no ill-effects if you dash out to buy any of these products.

[Jon Bell's picture] Jon A. Bell
  1. Star Raiders
  2. Archon
  3. Miner 2049er
  4. Missile Command
  5. Pac-Man
  6. Threshold
  7. Breakout
Star Raiders on a Kloss Video Beam, room lights off, the FINAL COUNTDOWN score on 7. Sink back into your Recaro desk chair and let the photons etch out your brain.
[Lee Pappas' picture] Lee H. Pappas
  1. Star Raiders
  2. Missile Command
  3. Lode Runner
  4. MiG Alley Ace
  5. Krazy Shootout
  6. Breakout
  7. Boulder Dash
Star Raiders Commander Level: Star Commander Class I, no shields used the entire game, 54 Zylons destroyed. April 20th, 1984. That's it, that's all.
[Michael DesChenes' picture] Michael DesChenes
  1. MiG Alley Ace
  2. Missile Command
  3. Castle Wolfenstein
  4. River Raid
  5. Bruce Lee
  6. Silicon Warrior
  7. The Return of Heracles
I don't enjoy sitting alone playing a one-person computer game. Multiple-player interactive games are the only ones that will ever make it on my list of all-time favorites.
[Tom Hudson's picture] Tom (HUD) Hudson
  1. Star Raiders
  2. Archon
  3. Boulder Dash
  4. Miner 2049er
  5. Missile Command
  6. MiG Alley Ace
  7. Donkey Kong
The ultimate test of a truly good game is its lifespan -- most last a couple weeks or less. Others, like Star Raiders, are still fun five years after their introduction.
[Pat Kelley's picture] Pat Kelley
  1. Archon
  2. MiG Alley Race
  3. Orc Attack
  4. Operation Whirlwind
  5. Choplifter
  6. Star Raiders
  7. Sub Commander
In the cutthroat world of games, EA's Archon is a real killer. What else can I say about a game I've devoted over 100 hours of my life to?
[Kyle Peacock's picture] Kyle Peacock
  1. Star Raiders
  2. Encounter
  3. Missile Command
  4. Pole Position
  5. Starcross
  6. Choplifter
  7. M.U.L.E.
Encounter does for my visual senses what Starcross does for my unending quest for the stars.
[Tony Messina's picture] Tony Messina
  1. Star Raiders
  2. Wizard of Wor
  3. Encounter
  4. MiG Alley Ace
  5. M.U.L.E.
  6. Shamus
  7. Agent USA
To computer-illiterate jugheads, Star Raiders is just another video game. To the more perceptive, Star Raiders is the ultimate simulation from a $200 graphics box. Fifteen years ago, you would have been playing it on a half-miltion dollar machine -- not in civilian hands.
[Charles Bachand's picture] Charles Bachand
  1. Gateway to Apshai
  2. Ali-Baba
  3. Gruds in Space
  4. Archon
  5. Miner 2049er
  6. Wayout
  7. Zork I
I must be into self-torture, for my favorite games tend to be the most frustrating. And for sheer masochism, my vote goes to Gateway.

ANALOG's Favorites:

[Star Raiders screenshot]
Star Raiders
[Missile Command screenshot]
Missile Command
[Archon screenshot]
[MiG Alley Ace screenshot]
MiG Alley Ace
[Miner 2049er screenshot]
Miner 2049er

The Top Five

  1. Star Raiders -- Atari
  2. Missile Command -- Atari
    MiG Alley Ace -- Microprose (tie)
  3. Archon -- Electronic Arts
  4. Miner 2049er -- Big Five

Manufacturers Listing

Atari, Inc.
  • Star Raiders
  • Missile Command
  • Pole Position
  • Pac Man
  • Donkey Kong
  • Breakout
Electronic Arts
  • Archon
  • M.U.L.E.
  • Castle Wolfenstein
EMI Software
  • Orc Attack
  • Sub Commander
Quality Software
  • Ali-Baba
  • The Return of Heracles
Big-Five Software
  • Miner 2049er
  • Gateway to Apshai
  • Silicon Warrior
Scholastic Winners
  • Agent USA
  • Choplifter
  • Loderunner
  • Operation Whirlwind
First Star Software
  • Boulder Dash
  • Threshold
CBS Software/Entertainment
  • Krazy Shootout
  • Wizard of Wor
  • Starcross
  • Zork I
Sirius Software
  • Gruds in Space
  • Wayout
Datasoft, Inc.
  • Bruce Lee
  • MiG Alley Ace
Synapse Software
  • Encounter
  • Shamus

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Original text copyright 1984 by ANALOG Computing. Reprinted with permission by the Digital ANALOG Archive.