Turtles

If you've ever taken a trip to the local pond, you've seen the oldest rivalry in the animal kingdom: beetles vs. turtles. The origins of this ancient feud have been hotly debated on Internet message boards for decades, but would-be historians on all sides can agree: never was the rivalry captured more faithfully than in Stern's 1981 arcade classic Turtles.

Gameplay: The Beetles have turtlenapped your kidturtles, and imprisoned them in the old "S" building on the edge of town. You'll have to climb through eight increasingly difficult levels of beetle-filled mayhem to rescue them, but nobody ever said being a Turtle was easy, right?

Scattered around the screen are mysterious boxes, which are helpfully marked with a question mark—the universal symbol for "What's in here? We don't know! Maybe something bad, maybe something good!" Avoid the beetles as you make your way to one of them. When you touch a box, it will release a kidnapped kidturtle (Hooray!) or a sneaky evil beetle. (Oh shit!) If you see a beetle, run like hell, or you're dead. If you see a kidturtle, he'll climb onto your back (awwww) and a house will appear in one corner of the board. If you can safely get the kidturtle into the house, you'll get bonus points, and be one step closer to clearing the level.

Could be mistaken for: Ladybug, Turpin

Kids today might not like it because: For a game where they play a turtle, it's a little fast.

Kids today might like it because: We're not entirely sure, but it's got something to do with bug bombs and poop.

Enduring contribution to gaming history: Turtles features what could be the very first cutscene in an arcade game: Before level one began, players saw an animation that set up the story of the Turtle climbing the building to rescue the kidturtles. —Wil Wheaton

 

Wil Wheaton is a card-carrying member of the Turtle Anti-Defamation League.