1985 in video games

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List of years in video games

1985 saw many sequels and prequels in video games, such as Super Mario Bros. and Kung Fu, along with new titles such as Commando, Duck Hunt, Gauntlet, Ghosts 'n Goblins, Gradius, Hang-On, Space Harrier and The Way of the Exploding Fist. The year's highest-grossing arcade video games were Hang-On and Karate Champ in the United States and Commando in the United Kingdom, while the year's best‑selling home video game was Super Mario Bros. despite only receiving a wide release in Japan that year.

Financial performance[edit]

In the United States, annual home video game sales fell to $100 million ($240 million adjusted for inflation) in 1985.[1] Meanwhile, the arcade game industry began recovering in 1985.[2][3][4]

Highest-grossing arcade games[edit]

Japan[edit]

In Japan, the following titles were the top-grossing arcade video games on the bi-weekly Game Machine charts in 1985.

Month Table arcade cabinet Upright/cockpit arcade cabinet Ref
Title Points Title Points
January Spartan X (Kung-Fu Master) 17.39 TX-1 V8 16.1 [5][6]
February 14.61 15 [7][8]
March Samurai Nipponichi 16.22 13.13 [9][10]
April Return of the Invaders 13.26 14.84 [11][12]
May I'm Sorry 14.58 14.43 [13][14]
June Senjō no Ōkami (Commando) 14.55 Wyvern F-0 16.07 [15][16]
July Ping Pong King 16.22 TX-1 V8 14.96 [17][18]
August Sandlot Baseball 16.56 Hang-On 28.28 [19][20]
September 13.91 37.96 [21][22]
October Exciting Hour 15.39 37.05 [23][24]
November Choplifter 15.59 35.58 [25][26]
December ASO: Armored Scrum Object 14.1 33.8 [27][28]

United Kingdom and United States[edit]

In the United Kingdom and United States, the following titles were the highest-grossing arcade games of 1985.

Rank United Kingdom United States
Play Meter RePlay[29] AMOA[30][31][32]
Title Type Arcade Route/Street Video
1 Commando[33] Hang-On[4] Karate Champ Dedicated Nintendo VS. System Karate Champ Spy Hunter
2 Un­known Un­known Kung-Fu Master Dedicated Kung-Fu Master,
Karate Champ,
Pac-Land,
Pole Position II
English Mark Darts,
Crowns Golf,
Yie Ar Kung-Fu,
Kung-Fu Master
Kung-Fu Master,
Pole Position,
Trivia Master,
Karate Champ
3 Un­known Un­known Commando
4 Un­known Un­known Yie Ar Kung-Fu Conversion
5 Un­known Un­known Hogan's Alley System
6 Un­known Un­known Excitebike System Un­known
7 Un­known Un­known Pole Position,
Spy Hunter
Dedicated
8

Best-selling home systems[edit]

Rank System Manufacturer Type Generation Sales
Japan USA UK[34] Worldwide
1 Nintendo Entertainment System / Famicom Nintendo Console Third 6,500,000[35] 90,000[36] N/A 6,590,000
2 Commodore 64 (C64) Commodore Computer 8-bit Un­known 1,000,000[37] Un­known 2,500,000[38]
3 Atari 2600 Atari Console Second Un­known Un­known Un­known 1,000,000[37]
4 Apple II Apple Inc. Computer 8-bit Un­known Un­known Un­known 900,000[38]
5 Commodore 128 Commodore Computer 8-bit N/A Un­known Un­known 500,000[37]
6 NEC PC-88 / PC-98 NEC Computer 8-bit / 16-bit 430,000[39][40] Un­known Un­known 430,000+
7 ZX Spectrum Sinclair Computer 8-bit N/A Un­known 390,000 390,000+
8 Sega SG-1000 / Sega Mark III Sega Console Third 280,000[41] N/A N/A 280,000+
9 Amstrad CPC / Amstrad PCW Amstrad Computer 8-bit N/A Un­known 250,000 250,000+
10 Acorn Electron / BBC Micro Acorn Computer 8-bit N/A Un­known 210,000 210,000+

Best-selling home video games[edit]

Japan[edit]

The year's best-selling game was Super Mario Bros. for the Family Computer (Famicom), later known as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) outside Japan. The game sold 2.5 million copies and grossed more than ¥12.2 billion ($72 million at the time, or $173 million adjusted for inflation) within several months.[42] It eventually sold 3 million cartridges by the end of 1985.[43]

Game Machine magazine reported that more than ten Famicom games released between 1983 and 1985 had each sold over 1 million cartridges in Japan by the end of 1985.[44] The Magic Box lists fourteen Famicom games released between 1983 and 1985 that crossed 1 million lifetime sales in Japan.[45] At least 11 of the following 14 Famicom million-sellers released between 1983 and 1985 crossed 1 million sales in Japan by the end of 1985.

Title(s) Publisher Sales Ref
Super Mario Bros. Nintendo 3,000,000 [43]
4 Nin Uchi Mahjong Baseball Nintendo Un­known [45][44]
Excitebike F-1 Race
Golf Kung Fu
Mahjong Mario Bros.
Soccer Tennis
Kinnikuman: Muscle Tag Match Bandai
Xevious Namco
Lode Runner Hudson Soft

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the following titles were the top ten best-selling home video games of 1985, according to the annual Gallup software sales chart. The top ten titles were all home computer games.[46]

Rank Title Developer Publisher Genre Sales
1 The Way of the Exploding Fist Beam Software Melbourne House Fighting 500,000 (Europe)[47]
2 Soft Aid Various Quicksilva Compilation Un­known
3 Elite Acornsoft Acornsoft Space trading
4 Ghostbusters Activision Activision Action
5 Finders Keepers Mastertronic Mastertronic Platformer
6 Frank Bruno's Boxing Elite Systems Elite Systems Fighting (boxing)
7 Commando Capcom Elite Systems Run-and-gun shooter
8 Formula 1 Simulator Spirit Software Mastertronic Racing
9 Daley Thompson's Decathlon Ocean Software Ocean Software Sports (Olympics)
10 Impossible Mission Epyx U.S. Gold Platformer

Fighting games topped the UK software sales charts for two years in a row in the mid-1980s, with The Way of the Exploding Fist in 1985 and then the home computer conversions of Yie Ar Kung-Fu in 1986.[48]

United States[edit]

In the United States, the Software Publishers Association (SPA) began tracking home computer game sales in 1985. The following fifteen computer games received Gold Awards from the SPA for sales above 100,000 units in 1985 (but below the 250,000 units required for a Platinum Award).

Titles Ref
Alphabet Zoo Choplifter [49]
Deadline F-15 Strike Eagle
Fraction Fever Frogger
Ghostbusters Homeward
Kids on Keys Lode Runner
Math Blaster! N/A
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [50]
Zork I Zork II
Zork III N/A

Events[edit]

Major awards[edit]

Business[edit]

Notable releases[edit]

Games[edit]

Arcade
Console
NES Nintendo Entertainment System SMS Sega Master System Int Intellivision
PC Personal Computer G&W Game and Watch Arc Arcade
SG SG-1000 2600 Atari 2600
Notable releases of the year 1985
Release Title [59] Consoles
NES

JP: February 4

NA: October 18

Arcade: 1985

PC: October

Ice Climber NES, Arc, PC
March Excitebike (NA Release) Arc
Arcade:

JP: March 1

NA: April

EU: August

NES NA:

October 18

Hogan's Alley NES, Arc
Arcade:

EU: Q1 1985

NES:

JP: June 21

NA: October 18

PC:

December

Kung Fu NES, Arc, PC
PC:

April

NES:

December 19

Thexder PC, NES (Japan only)
NES:

JP: April 9

NA: October 18

Soccer NES
April 23 Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? PC
NES:

JP: June 18

NA: October 18

Arcade:

1985

Wrecking Crew NES, Arc
September 9 Battle City NES (Japan only)
NES:

JP: September 13

NA: October 18

Super Mario Bros. NES
September 16 Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar PC
October 18 Wild Gunman NES (US release)
October 18 Tennis NES (NA release)
October 18 Stack-Up NES
October 18 Pinball NES (NA release)
October 18 Gyromite NES
October 18 Golf NES (NA release), Arc (EU release)
October 18 Excitebike (NA Release) NES
October 18 Duck Hunt (NA release) NES
October 18 Clu Clu Land NES, Arc
October 18 Baseball NES
October 18 10-Yard Fight NES
October 27 Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu PC
November Hydlide II: Shine of Darkness PC
1985 Racing Destruction Set PC
1985 Roller Coaster PC
1985 Starquake PC
1985 Tau Ceti PC
1985 The Oregon Trail PC
1985 Mercenary PC

Hardware[edit]

North American release of the Nintendo Entertainment System
Arcade
Computer
Console

References[edit]

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