From Space Invaders to Frogger: The Top Arcade Games in History
Did you know the arcade game scene started as early as the late 1930s? That’s when the first coin-operated pinball machines became popular. As time passed, arcade games became better and better until the ’90s, which had the best arcade games.
These games still have a large fan base and can attract customers. Please keep reading to find out which are the top arcade games in history so you can add them to your family entertainment center.
Space Invaders (1978)
This game, developed by Tomohiro Nishikado (the father of Japanese video games), is a classic shoot ’em-up arcade game. It’s considered the best arcade game out there because it helped evolve the entire video game industry from being a novelty to a global one. It was also the inspiration for lots of video game creators and designers. Space Invaders quickly became a global phenomenon, helping to popularize video gaming as a mainstream entertainment medium. In Space Invaders, players control a laser cannon at the bottom of the screen and must destroy waves of descending alien ships while avoiding their incoming fire. The game’s simple but addictive game mechanics and iconic 8-bit graphics have cemented its place in video game history, inspiring numerous sequels, adaptations, and homages. Space Invaders remains a beloved and influential classic that continues entertaining and inspiring new generations of gamers.
The player controls a single spaceship that must fly around an asteroid field. Periodically, ships from outer space will appear and try to shoot down your spaceship with their laser guns; you can either avoid them or grab onto one for protection. Asteroids is a classic arcade video game released in 1979 by Atari. The game is set in space, where the player controls a triangular-shaped spacecraft that must navigate through a field of asteroids and destroy them while avoiding collisions. The game was praised for its simple yet addictive gameplay, which challenged players to think strategically and react quickly to changing environments. Asteroids was a commercial and critical success, becoming one of the most iconic and influential video games ever. The game’s vector graphics and minimalist sound effects were innovative for their time, and its popularity helped to establish video games as a viable form of entertainment. Asteroids have since been ported to numerous platforms and are still played and enjoyed by gamers worldwide.
This maze videogame is a cultural icon that has been globally popular for over 40 years. Even kids nowadays know about and play Pac-Man, which is saying a lot for a game with simplistic visuals and gameplay. Pac-Man is an iconic arcade game developed by Namco and first released in 1980. In the game, the player controls a round, yellow character named Pac-Man as he navigates a maze filled with dots and power pellets while being pursued by four ghosts named Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. The objective is to eat all the dots and power pellets while avoiding the ghosts. The power pellets temporarily allow Pac-Man to eat the ghosts, adding an extra layer of strategy to the gameplay. Pac-Man became a cultural phenomenon, inspiring merchandise, an animated television series, and numerous sequels and spinoffs. Its simple yet addictive gameplay, colorful graphics, and catchy music have made it a beloved classic in the history of video games.
This arcade action game aims to direct frogs to their home by crossing a busy road and a river full of hazards. It began in January 1981 in Japan, and by June, it entered mass production, soon to become a worldwide success. Frogger is a classic arcade game developed by Konami and released in 1981. In the game, the player controls a frog who must navigate through traffic, a river, and other obstacles to reach its home on the other side of the screen. The gameplay is simple yet challenging, requiring quick reflexes and careful timing to avoid getting hit by cars or drowning in the river. Frogger became an instant hit and remains a beloved classic today, thanks to its addictive gameplay, charming graphics, and catchy soundtrack. It has since been ported to numerous platforms and inspired countless imitators and sequels, cementing its place in video game history.
Donkey Kong (1981)
The game follows Mario on his mission to save Pauline from Donkey Kong, an evil gorilla who has taken over many of the characters in this world. With help from friends like Diddy Kong and others along their journey, they’ll have plenty of obstacles- including barrels that must be avoided at all costs. Donkey Kong is a classic arcade game that Nintendo released in 1981. It is considered one of the most important and influential games in history. In the game, the player controls a character named Jumpman, who must climb ladders and jump over obstacles to rescue his girlfriend from a giant gorilla named Donkey Kong. The gameplay is simple but challenging, and the colorful graphics and catchy music have become iconic. Donkey Kong was a huge commercial success and helped establish Nintendo as a major player in the video game industry. Its legacy can still be felt today, with the character of Mario (who was later renamed from Jumpman) appearing in countless games and becoming one of the most recognizable and beloved video game characters of all time.
In Galaga, you control a starship and must shoot down waves of enemies while avoiding their attacks. Sound difficult? It is! But it gets even more challenging when other ships try to remove or eradicate your pod from under you or eradicate it. Galaga is a classic arcade game released in 1981 by Namco. It is a space shooter game that challenges players to fight off a swarm of alien spacecraft and avoid their attacks. The gameplay involves shooting at the aliens while dodging their projectiles and trying to survive as long as possible. Galaga was notable for its addictive gameplay, catchy music, and innovative power-ups, allowing players to enhance their ship’s abilities and increase their chances of survival. The game also introduced the concept of enemies capturing the player’s ship, adding an extra strategy layer to the gameplay. Galaga was a massive success in the arcades and became one of the most iconic games of its era, inspiring numerous sequels and spinoffs over the years. It remains a beloved classic among retro gaming enthusiasts and is considered one of the greatest arcade games ever.
Defender is a classic arcade game released in 1981 by Williams Electronics. It is a side-scrolling shooter game that was unique for its time and introduced many new gameplay mechanics. The player controls a spacecraft and defends human astronauts from aliens on a distant planet. The gameplay involves flying the spacecraft across the planet, rescuing stranded astronauts, and shooting down enemy spacecraft and ground-based defenses. Defender was notable for its fast-paced gameplay, challenging difficulty, and innovative use of a scrolling landscape that moved in multiple directions. It was also one of the first arcade games to offer multiple levels of play and a high score table, which helped to increase replayability and competition among players. Despite its age, Defender remains a beloved classic among retro gaming enthusiasts, and its influence can be seen in many modern games in the shooter genre.
Centipede is a classic arcade game released in 1981 by Atari. It is a fast-paced shooter game that challenges players to defend their garden from a horde of invading insects, including a giant centipede that makes its way down the screen. The gameplay involves shooting at the insects while avoiding their attacks and maneuvering through the obstacles on the screen. Centipede was notable for its innovative trackball controller, allowing precise movements and making the game more intuitive and accessible to players of all skill levels. It was also praised for its colorful graphics, catchy music, and addictive gameplay, which kept players returning for more. Centipede was a massive success in the arcades and became one of the most iconic games of its era, inspiring countless imitators and sequels over the years. Even today, it remains a beloved classic among retro gaming enthusiasts and is widely considered one of the greatest arcade games ever.
Ms. Pac-Man (1982)
Ms. Pac-Man is the first sequel to the classic game Pac-Man. This time, though, they’ve taken things up a notch by adding not just one but four different varieties of colorless ghosts that can move freely around your maze without being confined within walls. Ms. Pac-Man is a classic arcade video game first released in 1982 to follow the popular Pac-Man game. Developed by Midway Manufacturing Corporation, the game features a female protagonist, Ms. Pac-Man, who must navigate a maze-like environment while avoiding ghosts and collecting pellets. The game was a huge commercial and critical success and is widely considered one of the greatest video games ever. It was praised for its colorful graphics, catchy music, and addictive gameplay, and it helped to popularize the arcade gaming industry in the 1980s. Ms. Pac-Man has since been adapted for numerous platforms and remains a beloved classic among video game enthusiasts.
Gauntlet is a classic arcade game released in 1985 by Atari Games. It is a top-down action game that challenges players to navigate a series of increasingly tricky dungeons while battling hordes of monsters and collecting treasure. The game features four playable characters, each with unique abilities and weaknesses. The gameplay is fast-paced and challenging, with players balancing their health and resources while facing a never-ending onslaught of enemies. Gauntlet was notable for its innovative multiplayer mode, which allowed up to four players to play together simultaneously, each taking on a different character. This made the game a hit in arcades and helped to establish it as one of the most iconic games of the 1980s. Gauntlet has since been ported to numerous home consoles and remains a beloved classic among retro gaming enthusiasts, known for its challenging gameplay, memorable characters, and innovative multiplayer mode.
Street Fighter II (1991)
Street Fighter II is one of the most popular games in history. It pitted your character against another, each with unique strengths that must be used carefully to win. Street Fighter II is a classic fighting game that Capcom released in 1991. The game features a roster of memorable characters, each with unique moves and fighting styles, who battle against one another in one-on-one matches. Street Fighter II was a critical and commercial success, revolutionizing the fighting game genre and influencing numerous sequels and spinoffs. The game’s innovative use of six-button controls and combo-based gameplay mechanics allowed for deeper strategic depth and opened up new avenues for competitive play. Street Fighter II also introduced the concept of “special moves,” which could be executed by performing a specific sequence of button inputs and significantly impacted the development of future fighting games. Street Fighter II remains a beloved classic among video game enthusiasts and continues to be played and enjoyed by gamers worldwide.
Daytona USA (1994)
Daytona USA is it if you search for one of the best arcade games from the ’90s. It has a great soundtrack and visuals, so your senses will never tire of watching and playing the game. Back then, folks used to wish they could play such a game at home, and now we can. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy this arcade game to reminisce about the good old days. Daytona USA is a racing video game developed and published by Sega in 1994. Toshihiro Nagoshi designed it, and was one of the first racing games to feature fully 3D graphics. The game was also notable for using a powerful arcade machine called the Model 2, which allowed for impressive graphics and fast-paced gameplay. In Daytona, USA, players race around a track in stock cars to complete three laps as quickly as possible. The game was praised for its tight controls, thrilling sense of speed, and impressive visuals. It quickly became a popular arcade attraction and was eventually ported to home consoles like the Sega Saturn and PC. Daytona USA is considered a classic of the racing game genre and remains a beloved favorite of many gamers today.
Cruis’n USA (1994)
Cruis’n USA is a classic arcade racing game first released in 1994 by Midway Games. It quickly became popular for its fast-paced gameplay and impressive graphics, which were ahead of its time. The game allowed players to choose from various American muscle cars and race through iconic locations across the United States, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Grand Canyon. Cruis’n USA was known for its simple yet addictive gameplay, which appealed to casual and hardcore gamers alike. Despite its age, the game still holds a special place in the hearts of many retro-gaming enthusiasts and is often remembered as one of the defining titles of the arcade gaming era.
Dance Dance Revolution (1998)
This arcade game was brilliant and innovative, especially for its time. It introduced a dance pad where people played the game by standing on it and dancing to corresponding buttons. Even now, DDR remains a classic arcade game and is well-known among youth, especially since it still maintains a presence in Dave and Buster’s and always appears in Hollywood movies. Dance Dance Revolution, also known as DDR, is a rhythm-based arcade game first released in 1998 by Konami. The game became an instant hit and has since been played by millions of people worldwide. In DDR, players stand on a dance pad and follow on-screen prompts to step in time with the music. The game features a variety of music genres, including pop, rock, techno, and J-pop, with each song having its own unique choreography.
So Many Arcade Games to Choose From
The list of the best arcade games goes on and on, but the industry has evolved over the years, and though nostalgia is excellent, the evolution of technology has produced amazing new games. With new games on the market every year, chat with a salesperson to find the best games for your location.
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