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- New companies: Accolade, Elite Systems, Gremlin Graphics, Kemco, New World Computing, Ocean, Psygnosis
- Defunct companies: Astrocade, Imagine, Sirius.
- Hasbro, Inc. acquires Milton Bradley Company.
- Management Sciences America acquires Edu-Ware Services.
- Brøderbund acquires Synapse Software.
- Warner Communications Inc. sells the Consumer Division of Atari, Inc. and creates an entirely new company (Atari Games Corp) out of the retained arcade division.
- Sega and CSK merge to form Sega Enterprises Ltd.
- Atari shuts down the Atari Program Exchange, which sold notable "user written" games such as Eastern Front (1941) and Dandy.
- June 6 - Alexei Pajitnov creates Tetris for the Electronika 60 in the Soviet Union.
- September 20 - Elite, an influential wireframe 3D space trading game offering full six degrees of freedom and a then-unique open-ended design, is published by Acornsoft.
- October - Nihon Falcom releases Dragon Slayer, which lays the foundations for the action role-playing game genre.
- December - T&E Soft releases Hydlide, an early action role-playing game that features a health regeneration mechanic and anticipates elements of The Legend of Zelda and Ys series.
- December 7 - Knight Lore by Ultimate Play The Game is released for the ZX Spectrum (and later ported to the BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, MSX, and Famicom Disk System). It is the third title in the Sabreman series, but the first to use the isometric Filmation engine.
- Bullet-Proof Software releases The Black Onyx, which helps popularize turn-based role-playing games in Japan.
- Brøderbund releases The Ancient Art of War by Dave and Barry Murry. It is a real-time tactics game and a precursor to the real-time strategy genre.
- Brøderbund releases Karateka.
- The Lords of Midnight, a strategy adventure game by Mike Singleton, is released.
- Infocom releases The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Sorcerer, Cutthroats, and Seastalker.
- First Star releases Boulder Dash, which eventually spawns many sequels and clones.
- Epyx releases Impossible Mission for the Commodore 64.
- Electronic Arts releases Adventure Construction Set.
- ^ Kurt Kalata & Robert Greene. "Hydlide". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2011-05-01.