METROID / Nintendo / 1987 (NES)

Metroid is the type of game you'll never see a AAA game company make again. There's no dialogue whatsoever. There's no in-game tutorial or instruction. You're expected to map the game's rather confusing open-world environment for yourself. And though the gameplay is fairly simple - run, jump, shoot - you're expected to sort all that for yourself too, including how new power-ups work and what new areas they allow you to reach.

Calling it "outdated" is probably a fair response. Nobody actually likes making pen-and-paper maps after all; it was just something we were willing to do in the Old Days because tech and praxis was still so rudimentary, and gaming just as a general art form was still newer and more interesting. In Metroid's case, what makes this all continue to still work pretty well, however, is very thoughtful and clever level design and interlocking layout that actually makes the game enjoyable and a balanced challenge to navigate (for the most part.)

As a kid, happening to already own the Official Nintendo Player's Guide and its detailed maps of the entire game made the game much more playable. Nowadays you got the interbutts for that. Playing Zero Mission on the GBA is probably still the better bet for the complete newcomer, but the NES version retains its charms thanks to design (and boss Hip Tanaka soundtrack.)

Videos :

Gameplay Video

Hella Rad 80's commercial