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Gauntlet takes Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick Awards.
- Namco releases Sky Kid Deluxe, Hopping Mappy, Toy Pop, The Return of Ishtar, which is the sequel to Tower of Druaga, Genpei Tōma Den, and Rolling Thunder.
- February 21 — Nintendo also releases The Legend of Zelda (designed by Shigeru Miyamoto for the Nintendo Famicom Disk System), the first in The Legend of Zelda series
- May 27 - Dragon Quest (Enix, Famicom), usually considered the foremost Japanese role-playing video game, the first in a series that has been phenomenally successful in Japan
- August 6 — Nintendo releases Metroid by Makoto Kano, the first in the Metroid series.
- August 15 – Electronic Arts releases proto-sandbox space exploration adventure game Starflight, which goes on to sell a million copies.
- September 20 - Sega releases the Out Run arcade game
- September 26 — Konami releases Akumajou Dracula for the Famicom Disk System, first in the Castlevania series
- October- Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter was released
- Arkanoid (Taito, arcade), spawned many sequels and remakes
- Bubble Bobble (Taito, arcade), spawned many sequels
- December 19 - Nintendo releases Kid Icarus, the first in the Kid Icarus series