Retro Game Story: The Golden Joystick Awards


The Golden Joystick Game Award is a very prestigious prize in the video game industry. Since 1983, every year, it awards the most successful video games based on the appreciation of players.

A page of the Golden Joystick Awards 1983 - 80s and 90s Arcades, Retro Games and Classic Video Games

The competition was first open only to computer games and later also to arcades and consoles, adding different categories and types of prizes … very similar to what happens at the Oscars.

In 1983 Jet Pac for Zx Spectrum won as “Game of the Year” on a par with Matthew Smith’s Manic Miner. In 1984 the winner was Knight Lore, again on Spectrum and in 1985 Way of The Exploding Fist for Commodore 64. In 1986, the arcade version of Atari’s Gauntlet took the award and in 1987 Sega Out Run (arcade) won for a few votes against The Last Ninja from System 3. In 1988 The Bitmap Brothers Speedball for Commodore Amiga won against Last Ninja 2.

Kick Off won the Golden Joystick for two consecutive years, in 1989 and 1990, setting a record still held by its creator Dino Dini. In 1991 the cup went to Sega for Sonic the Hedgehog and in 1992 to the incredible Street Fighter 2 arcade game. In the same year its rival Mortal Kombat will take home an award too. How far the Golden Joysticks have come, from Jet Pac to Street Fighter 2!

1990 Golden Joystick Awards ceremony with Julian Rignall and Ocean for Chase HQ conversion - 80s and 90s Arcades, Retro Games and Classic Video Games

In the photo a moment of the 1990 Golden Joystick Awards ceremony. Ocean Software’s Paul Patterson receives the plaque for the “Best 8bits Conversion from Coin Op” for the Chase HQ game. In the middle of the picture there’s Julian “JR” Rignall, a historical reviewer of the ZZap!64 magazine from 1985 to 1988.