Friday, 23rd April 2021

What psychological damage have you suffered from 1980s computer games?

NEW research suggests gaming can improve wellbeing. But today’s games aren’t the maddening frustration-fests of the 1980s. Find out how you’ve been mentally scarred: 

Manic Miner

You played this obsessively because it was one of the few games that was actually good, with the result that an incessant tinny loop of Hall of the Mountain King is still playing somewhere in the back of your brain.

Psychological damage: Permanent 40-point reduction in IQ, visceral loathing of classical music.

Tir Na Nog

Adventure based on Celtic folklore with an impressive walking animation, which you watched for hours as you wandered through a featureless wilderness without ever having the faintest idea what you were meant to be doing.

Psychological damage: lifelong feelings of imposter syndrome.


Groundbreaking space combat, trade and narcotics smuggling game, which was mostly like watching that starfield screensaver until another spaceship appeared and the graphics would slow to a rage-inducing snail’s pace.

Psychological damage: anger issues, obsession with the high profit margins of drug smuggling resulting in a stay in a Bolivian prison later in life.

Pirate Adventure

Difficult text-only adventure that would baffle today’s younger gamers. Great fun if you loved laboriously typing in every minor action: ‘get sack’, ‘open sack’, ‘get torch’, ‘drop sack’, etc.

Psychological damage: becoming an anal retentive and/or working in IT.

Chuckie Egg

Collect the eggs in a vast, menacing chicken coop full of monstrous human-sized hens and a giant menacing duck. After completing all 40 levels, you had to carry on doing the same thing forever.

Psychological damage: ornithophobia, crushing sense of the futility of existence.