Here are The Oldest Ones in the Book
for Video Games
. The NES
's US introduction in October 1985 marked the beginning of the end of The Great Video Game Crash of 1983
and the beginning of The 8-bit Era of Console Video Games
, and we have chosen it as a cutoff date for The Oldest Ones in the Book
of Video Game Tropes
A good number of the RPG tropes can be found here, since these games trace their roots pretty much directly back to Tabletop RPGs
such as Dungeons & Dragons
, which were among the first commercial games to be ported over to a video game system.
- Action Adventure: Adventure (Atari 2600), 1979
- Adventure Game: Colossal Cave, 1975
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: RPG version, Wizardry 1, 1981
- Arbitrary Maximum Range: Space War, 1962
- Armor and Magic Don't Mix: The Dungeons & Dragons Holmes Basic Set (1977) provides the earliest straight example, while The Fantasy Trip (also 1977) gives the earliest justified example.
- Artificial Stupidity: Many, many many games; in particular, Pac-Man, 1980.
- Ascended Glitch: Space Invaders, 1978
- Asteroids Monster: Asteroids (obviously), 1979
- Attack Its Weak Point: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, 1982
- Attract Mode: Many, many arcade games; Sinistar's (1982) is particularly famous.
- Balls Of Fire: Donkey Kong, 1981
- Block Puzzle: Sokoban, 1982
- Border Patrol: Saucers in shooting sections of I Robot
- Boss Battle: Dnd, 1975
- Bottomless Pits: Hunt The Wumpus, 1972
- But Thou Must: Grannys Garden, 1983
- Character Level: Dnd, 1975, or Dungeons & Dragons, 1974
- Clairvoyant Security Force: Zork, 1979, for one.
- Color-Coded Multiplayer: Some Pong systems, 1975.
- Color-Coded Armies: Kreigsspiel, the first example of War Gaming and used to train the Prussian General Staff, 19th Century
- Compilation Re-release: Video Olympics, 1977
- Controllable Helplessness: Adventure, 1979
- Cores and Turrets Boss: Bosconian, 1981
- Corridor Cubbyhole Run: Spikes Peak, 1983
- Cosmetic Award: Activision mailed out physical ones for achieving a preset score in their Atari 2600 games.
- Cosmetically Different Sides: Space War, 1962
- Critical Existence Failure: Dnd, 1975, or Dungeons & Dragons, 1974
- Critical Hit: Avatar, 1979
- Cutscene: Space Invaders Part II, 1979
- Deadly Walls: Berzerk, 1980
- Death Mountain: Alpiner, 1982
- Death Throws: Donkey Kong Jr., 1982
- Demonic Spiders: Centipede, 1980
- Difficulty By Acceleration: Breakout, 1976
- Difficulty Levels: The Atari 2600 had two built-in difficulty level switches in 1977.
- Digital Pinball Table: Video Pinball, 1977
- Direct Continuous Levels: Scramble, 1981
- Directionally Solid Platforms: Jump Bug, 1981
- Driving Game: Gran Trak 10, 1974
- Dungeon Crawling: Dnd, 1975
- Easter Egg: Adventure, 1979
- Enemy Detecting Radar: Star Trek Text Game, 1971
- Expansion Pack: Upper Reaches of Apshai (for Temple Of Apshai), 1981
- Extra Lives: Space Invaders, 1978
- Every Bullet is a Tracer: Space War, 1962
- Every 10,000 Points: Many, many arcade games. Goes back to pinball.
- Excuse Plot: Space Invaders, 1978
- Eyes Are Unbreakable: Pac-Man, 1980
- Falling Damage: Has been present in video games since at least Donkey Kong in 1981.
- Faux First Person 3D: Maze War, 1974
- Final Boss: Dnd, 1975
- First-Person Shooter: Maze War, 1974
- Flip Screen Scrolling: Adventure, 1979
- Game Maker: Pinball Construction Set, 1983
- Game Over: Space Invaders, 1978
- Game Over Man: The TI-99/4A port of Hunt The Wumpus, 1980.
- Gameplay Grading: Star Raiders, 1979
- Global Currency: Ultima I, 1980
- Goddamned Bats: Hunt The Wumpus, 1972
- Goomba Stomp: Horace And The Spiders, 1983
- Gravity Screw: Space War, 1962
- The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 (Duh)
- Grimy Water: Spikes Peak, 1983
- Guide Dang It: Colossal Cave, 1975
- Hit Points: Dnd, 1975, or Dungeons & Dragons, 1974.
- Instant 180 Degree Turn: Basketball, 1978
- Interactive Fiction: Colossal Cave, 1975
- Interface Screw: Rogue, 1983
- In-Vehicle Invulnerability: Gran Trak 10, 1974
- Inventory Management Puzzle: Colossal Cave, 1975
- Invincibility Power-Up: Pac-Man, 1980
- Invisible Grid: Maze War, 1974
- Isometric Projection: Zaxxon, 1982
- Job System: Avatar, 1979
- Jump Physics: Donkey Kong, 1981
- Karma Meter: Ultima IV, 1984
- Last Lousy Point: Colossal Cave, 1975
- Level Editor: Maze War, 1974
- Level Goal: Donkey Kong, 1981
- Level Grinding: Akalabeth, 1979
- Level Scaling: Beneath Apple Manor, 1978
- Light Gun Game: Ray-O-Lite, 1936
- Match Three Game: OXO, 1952 — You do have to match three to win.
- Mini-Boss: Dnd, 1975
- Mini-Game: Escape From The Mindmaster, 1982
- Mook Maker: The oil drum in Donkey Kong, 1981.
- Multi User Dungeon: Multi-User Dungeon, 1979
- Nintendo Hard: Of course — if you're ignorant of anything Nintendo pre-NES — the title may now break your mind.
- Non-Standard Game Over: Star Trek Text Game, 1971, running out of fuel.
- No Plot? No Problem!: Sports and board games in general are Older Than Dirt.
- Numbered Sequels: Space Invaders II, 1981; not to be confused with Space Invaders part II.
- Obvious Beta: ET The Extra Terrestrial, 1982
- Old Save Bonus: Wizardry 2, 1982
- One-Hit Kill: Space War, 1962
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: Space War, 1962
- One Bullet at a Time: At least as early as Space Invaders, 1978
- Oxygen Meter: Space Panic, 1980
- Painfully Slow Projectile: Air-Sea Battle, 1977
- Palette Swap: First color games, 1970s
- Pause Scumming
- Porting Disaster: Pac-Man on the Atari 2600, 1982
- Press X to Die: Star Trek Text Game, 1971
- Press X to Not Die: Dragons Lair, 1983
- The Problem with Licensed Games: Raiders of the Lost Ark, May 1982, Ur Example; ET The Extra Terrestrial, 1982, Trope Codifier
- Puzzle Boss: Donkey Kong, 1981
- Regenerating Health: Dragonstomper, 1982
- Roguelike: Rogue, 1980
- Save Scumming: Rogue, 1980
- Scoring Points: Pong, 1972
- Shielded Core Boss: Star Castle, 1980
- Shoot 'em Up: Space Invaders, 1978
- Side View: Tennis For Two, 1958
- Silliness Switch: The potion of hallucination in Rogue, 1980.
- "Simon Says" Mini-Game: Touch Me, 1974
- Simulation Game: Utopia, 1982
- Skill Scores And Perks: Dnd, 1975, or Dungeons & Dragons, 1974
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Indy 500, 1977
- Smart Bomb: Defender, 1980
- Space-Filling Path: Donkey Kong, 1981
- Stalked by the Bell: Evil Otto in Berzerk, 1980
- Stat Death: Dungeons & Dragons, 1974
- Stealth-Based Game: Castle Wolfenstein, 1981
- Stealth-Based Mission: 005, 1981
- Strategy Game: Go, Older Than Dirt
- Subsystem Damage: Star Trek Text Game, 1971
- Super Title 64 Advance: Commodore 64 games
- Solve the Soup Cans: Colossal Cave, 1975
- Status Line: Vector terminal port of Lunar Lander, 1973
- Take Cover: Maze War, 1974
- Tank Controls: Battlezone, 1980
- Text Parser: Colossal Cave, 1975; Zork, 1979
- That One Level: Donkey Kong, 1981.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Zork, 1979
- Turn Based Strategy: Crush, Crumble, and Chomp!, 1981
- Vehicular Combat: Demolition Derby (AKA Destruction Derby, but not to be confused with a later game with that title), 1975
- Violation of Common Sense: Killing the dragon, Colossal Cave, 1975
- You Can't Get Ye Flask: Colossal Cave, 1975
- Walkthrough: There were guides written for Colossal Cave.
- Warp Whistle: Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1982
- Wide Open Sandbox: Space Travel, 1969
- Wizard Needs Food Badly: Moria, 1975
- Wrap Around: Space War, 1962