I'm not sure how to frame this in terms of video games, but I also feel as though it is my duty to share this. As kids I think we were all obsessed with the idea of space travel. That's part of the reason we love games, the escape to different universes. I remember six years old and reading magazines that told me that man would be on mars by 2015. I figured I would spend at least some of my adult life on Mars and I was hyped.
I think on some level, at the time, NASA felt the same. The idea that we would be on Mars by 2015 really penetrated popular culture in the 80s. We were going to colonise the moon, visit Mars. I believed those things were possible and I think NASA did too. They believed enough to commission some incredible artist concepts of what a manned visit to Mars might look like.
Mashable has an incredible post on its site with a massive look at different visions of Mars throughout the 80s. They are absolutely jaw dropping, but there is a weird nostalgia to them and a sense of naive charm. This is what we once thought was possible, but now realise we can't do. As gorgeous as they are they almost feel like the idealised scribbles of children who want to footballers when they grow up. Or astronauts. They represent impossible dreams that we haven't yet realised and that also makes me feel a little sad.