Eighties Game Review
Time 8.2 hrs

Difficulty Beginner
Prerequisites Programming 101
Departments Human Technologies
Authors Ross Parker
Groupings Individual
Minimum Year Group None


The computer games of the 1980s offer a glimpse of how computing used to be. Whilst the graphics and sound were not great, the game play was often compelling, open ended and creative. Find an old game you like, and produce a video review of it.


This work is shared under the following license: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC


The Pitch
Why should I bother learning this?
  • Want to play computer games in class? Want to learn what makes a game compelling (hint, it's not graphics ; )?
What is needed to run this unit?
Interdisciplinary Links
Do not try and force this. What areas of other subjects might this reflect and/discuss language. For IB, links with ToK.
  • History
Teacher Reflection
What was successful? What needs changing? Alternative Assessments and Lesson Ideas? What other Differentiation Ideas/Plans could be used?
  • This has not been run as a unit, but as a reward activity students really love it.
Any CC attribution, thanks, credit, etc.

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5 mins
Wanna Play?
The Pitch
  • Want to play computer games in class?
  • Want to learn what makes a game compelling (hint, it's not graphics ; )?
  • These games might be old, but there is a lot of fun to be had, and a lot to learn as well:

20 mins
Choose A Game
Getting Started
  • The Internet Archive hosts a collection of playable, online games dating from the DOS systems used in the 1980s.
  • Use the link above to access these games.
  • Play some of the games until you find one that works well and you enjoy playing. Some favorites include:
    • Street Rod
    • Lemmings
    • Prince of Persia
    • Sim City
    • Street Fighter II
    • Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego
    • Alley Cat
    • California Games II
115 mins
Master Your Game
  • Use this time to play the chosen game until you feel you:
    • Know how it works
    • Are competent at playing it
    • Know how big it is (e.g. how many levels, map size, etc)
    • Know the characters and stories
    • Know the options
    • Know what makes it good
    • Know what makes it bad
  • If needed, make some notes and take some screenshots as you go.
30 mins
Watch Some Reviews
  • Video game reviews are a particular genre, with certain qualities that we can identify:
    • Usually one reviewer.
    • Usually the reviewer is playing the game, and commenting as they go.
    • Usually there is some use of picture-in-picture, so we can see the game play as well as the reviewer.
    • There might be segments where the reviewer stops playing and addresses the camera directly.
    • There will be a focus on the quality of the game and whether you should buy/play it.
  • Find and watch a range of reviews by different YouTubers, and start thinking about your own style.
  • This, somewhat dated and dull review, might get you started.

  • This one is a lot more contemporary and enjoyable:

40 mins
Structure Your Review
Getting Ready
  • Hopefully you have now settled on a style for your review.
  • Start making some notes about:
    • What game play you are going to include
    • What things you are going to say
    • Where you might use camera dialogue and picture-in-picture, etc.
  • Try to avoid using a script that you will memorise and read back, as it will seem very stilted and unnatural: instead, try to focus on what it will feel like, and what direction it will move it.
    • Remember, you can film as many times as you like, and edit to bring the best bits together.
  • Try and plan for your review to be no more than 5 minutes in length.
    • Remember, quality is more important than quantity!
140 mins
Film Your Review
Lights, Camera, Action
  • Filming is hard:
    • It takes time to get the camera angle and lighting right.
    • It is hard to find a quiet place to record to avoid background noise.
    • If you want a good result:
      • Film slowly and deliberately
      • Allow lots of time
      • Don't rush
      • Film things multiple times until you get the result you want
      • Check your work before packing up, to make sure the shot worked how you thought it did.
  • Use this time to get all of the shots that you think you need.
  • The following video might help you in terms of creating the picture in picture effect:

130 mins
Bringing It Together
  • Use some movie editing software (e.g. iMovie) to turn your raw footage into a finished review.
  • You might want to think about and work on:
    • Spliting, deleting and arranging clips into the right sequence
    • Removing audio from certain clips
    • Adding music over the top
    • Varying the volume at certain times so it does not interfere with game sounds and dialogue.
    • Using transitions between clips
    • Using text overlays for labels
    • Adding intro and outro (e.g. credit) screens
    • Avoiding built in/default themes/looks/fonts, to give a more individual feel to your film.
  • During editing show your work to others to get feedback, and build their comments in as improvements.
  • The YouTube playlist below might help you improve your editing skills if you are using iMovie:

10 mins
Export & Submit
Finishing Up
  • When your work is finished, export it to a sharable format (e.g. MP4, M4V, etc), and then submit it as evidence of your learning.
Records 1-2 of 2
Unit Students

Shared on 09/01/2024

Shared on 14/09/2021
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