From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
- February 20, Konami releases Contra
- August 30, Capcom releases Street Fighter, the first game of the series.
- Taito releases Rastan and Operation Wolf.
- Namco releases Wonder Momo, which is their last 8-bit game, Yokai Dochuki, which is their first 16-bit game, Dragon Spirit, Blazer, Quester, Pac-Mania, Galaga '88 and Final Lap.
- Atari Games releases RoadBlasters, Xybots, and APB.
- January 14, Nintendo releases Zelda II: The Adventure of Link for the Famicom Disk System in Japan only. The game would go unreleased in America for nearly two years afterwards.
- July, Technos Japan Corp. releases the Double Dragon arcade game, which is distributed internationally by the Taito Corporation.
- July 5, the Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards adventure is released by Sierra Entertainment.
- July 7, Konami Corporation releases Metal Gear
- August 22, Nintendo releases The Legend of Zelda in America and Europe, the first of one of their longest-running and most popular series of games.
- August 28, Konami releases Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest, It is the second Castlevania title released for the NES, following the original Castlevania.
- October, Nintendo releases Mike Tyson's Punch-Out for NES/Famicom.
- October, LucasArts releases Maniac Mansion, the first game to use the SCUMM engine, innovating the point-and-click interface for the adventure game genre.
- December 17, Capcom releases the first Mega Man game in the long-standing series for the NES/Famicom.
- December 18, Square's Hironobu Sakaguchi releases Final Fantasy for the Famicom in Japan. This was originally intended to be the company's last game, since it was facing bankruptcy, but the game's major success allowed them to turn it into a prolific series ironically titled Final Fantasy. It was released in the U.S.A. 3 years later.
- December 20, Sega releases Phantasy Star on the Sega Master System, it was one of the first RPGs to have a Sci-Fi/Fantasy setting and also the first to feature a female protagonist.
- FTL Games releases Dungeon Master.
- MIDI Maze for the Atari ST is a first person shooter allowing up to 16 computers to be networked via the built-in MIDI ports.
- Incentive Software releases Driller, a precursor to modern first-person 3D games.
- Ocean Software releases Head Over Heels, an isometric arcade adventure, for several 8-bit home computers.