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Golden Age and Classic Arcade Games

See our Electronic Arcade Games


Golden Age Games

The period from the appearance of Space Invaders in 1978 through The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 is often known as the Golden Age of Arcade Games. In Japan, this time period, give or take a few years, was known as the Invader Boom, when 8-bit Arcade Video Games emerged to rule popular culture.

Classic Arcade Games

Classic Games, also known as old school gaming, is the playing or collecting of older personal computer, console, and arcade video games n contemporary times. Usually retrogaming is based upon systems that are obsolete or discontinued.
 

The most popular arcade games of all time (popularity based on units sold):

Please Note: This is not a list of games available on every game unit we sell. Please see the individual product pages for the list of games available on each unit.

NameYearManufacturerGame Descriptions
Space Invaders 1978 Taito (Japan) / Midway (U.S.) Considered the game that revolutionized the video game industry.[99] The first blockbuster video game,[100] it established the shoot 'em up genre,[101] and has influenced most shooter games since.[102]
Galaxian 1979 Namco (Japan) / Midway (U.S.) Created to compete with Space Invaders. One of the earliest games using multi-color sprites.[103] Aliens move in a swooping formation and attack by dive bombing the player's ship.
Lunar Lander 1979 Atari Arcade version of an earlier minicomputer game concept. First Atari coin-op to use vector graphics.
Asteroids 1979 Atari Atari's most successful coin-operated game. It is one of the first to allow players to enter their initials for a high score.
Battlezone 1980 Atari Custom cabinet with novel dual-joystick controls, using two 2-way joysticks for movement, and periscope-like viewer.[104] Early use of first-person pseudo 3-D vector graphics. It is widely considered the first virtual reality arcade game.[105] Also used as the basis for a military simulator.[106]
Berzerk 1980 Stern Electronics Early use of speech synthesis was also translated into other languages in Europe. Indestructible adversary appears in order to eliminate lingering players. This became an oft-employed device (e.g. Hallmonsters in Venture) to increase challenge and limit play duration of arcade games.
Centipede 1980 Atari Co-created by programmer Dona Bailey.
Missile Command 1980 Atari Theme of the game was influenced by the Cold War era.
Pac-Man 1980 Namco (Japan) / Midway (U.S.) One of the most popular and influential games, it had the first gaming mascot, established maze chase genre, opened gaming to female audiences,[107] and introduced power-ups[108] and cutscenes.[109]
Phoenix 1980 Amstar Electronics / Centuri (U.S.) / Taito(Japan) One of the first games to feature a boss battle.
Rally-X 1980 Namco Driving game with overhead, scrolling maze. First game to feature a bonus round, background music,[110] and a radar.[51] When released, was predicted to outsell two other new releases: Pac-Man and Defender.
Star Castle 1980 Cinematronics The colors of the rings and screen are provided by a transparent plastic screen overlay
Wizard of Wor 1980 Midway Game featured maze-like dungeons infested with monsters and aliens. Allowed two-person competitive play, but uniquely also offered two-people cooperative play.
Defender 1981 Williams Electronics Horizontal scrolling space shooting game that was praised for its audio-visuals and gameplay. Was predicted to be outsold by Rally-X, but Defender trounced it, going on to sell 60,000 units.
Tempest 1981 Atari One of the first games to use a color vector display
Donkey Kong 1981 Nintendo Laid foundations for platform game genre as well as visual storytelling in video games,[60] and introduced a carpenter protagonist named Jumpman, a character who would evolve into Nintendo's mascot, Mario in subsequent games.
Frogger 1981 Konami (Japan) / Sega-Gremlin (North America) Novel gameplay notable for being free of fighting and shooting
Scramble 1981 Konami (Japan) / Stern (North America) First scrolling shooter game, featuring forced horizontal scrolling motion
Galaga 1981 Namco (Japan) / Midway (North America) Space shooting game that leapfrogged its predecessor, Galaxian, in popularity.
Gorf 1981 Midway Multiple-mission fixed shooter game. Some of the levels were clones of other popular games. Notable for featuring robotic synthesized speech.
Ms. Pac-Man 1981 Midway (North America) / Namco One of the most popular of all time, this game was created from a bootlegged hack of Pac-Man. It featured different mazes, increasing speed, and rewards (fruit) that required chasing.
Qix 1981 Taito The objective is to fence off a supermajority of the play area. Unique gameplay that didn't have shooting, racing, or mazes.
Vanguard 1981 SNK (Japan) / Centuri (US) Early scrolling shooter that scrolls in multiple directions, and allows shooting in four directions,[111][112] using four direction buttons, similar to dual-stick controls.[113] Along with FantasySuper Cobra and Bosconian, is significant as being among the first video games with a continue screen[114]
BurgerTime 1982 Data East (Japan) / Bally Midway (US) Platform game where the protagonist builds hamburgers while being pursued by food. Original title changed from Hamburger when brought to the U.S. from Japan.
Dig Dug 1982 Namco (Japan) / Atari (North America) Novel gameplay where underground adversaries were defeated by inflating them or dropping rocks on them. Rated the sixth most popular coin-operated video game of all time[115]
Donkey Kong Junior 1982 Nintendo Jumpman was renamed Mario in this sequel. This was the only time Nintendo's mascot was featured as an antagonist in any of their games.
Front Line 1982 Taito While up to this point, military themed games featured vehicular combat such as ships, aircraft or tanks, this is one of the first of many 80s games to feature commando-style infantry ground combat (guns, grenades and tanks) as the theme.
Joust 1982 Williams Electronics Allowed two-player cooperative or competitive play.
Jungle King 1982 Taito An early side-scrolling (and diagonal-scrolling) platformer, featuring vine-swinging mechanics, run & jump sequences, climbing hills, and swimming. Almost immediately re-released as Jungle Hunt due to a lawsuit from the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate claiming character copyright infringement on the character of Tarzan. This version changed the Tarzan character to a pith helmet-wearing white explorer.[116]
Kangaroo 1982 Atari Unusual for a platform game, there is no jump button. Instead, the player pushes up—or up and diagonally—to jump.
Moon Patrol 1982 Irem (Japan) / Williams Electronics(U.S.) The first arcade game to feature parallax scrolling.[117]
Pengo 1982 Sega maze game set in an environment full of ice blocks, which can be used by the player's penguin, who can slide them to attack enemies.[118]
Pole Position 1982 Namco (Japan) / Atari (U.S.) After Sega's Turbo revolutionized sprite scaling with their third-person cockpit racer, Namco brought 16-bit graphics to the arcade, dropped the player's perspective closer to being directly behind the car, and added dramatic curves to the track. The game also incorporated product placements for companies (including licensee Atari) on passing billboards.
Popeye 1982 Nintendo Nintendo used higher resolution foreground sprites displayed over lower resolution backgrounds achieving comparable visuals to select games in the Midway Card Rack (MCR) system[119]. This display method was previously used on Nintendo's Sky Skipper, from which many Popeye cabinets were converted. Donkey Kong was originally intended to be made with Popeye characters, but at the time, Nintendo was unsuccessful at securing the licensing from King Features Syndicate. [120]
Q*bert 1982 Gottlieb Became one of the most merchandised arcade games behind Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.[121][122]
Robotron 2084 1982 Williams Electronics Featured novel dual joystick gameplay which popularized the twin joystick control scheme
Gravitar 1982 Atari Not popular in the arcades due to its difficulty, but the gameplay inspired many clones like Thrust and Oids.
Time Pilot 1982 Konami (Japan) / Centuri (U.S.) Time travel themed aerial combat game with free-roaming gameplay in open air space that scrolls indefinitely in all directions, with player's plane always remaining centered.[123][124][125]
Tron 1982 Bally Midway Earned more than the film it was based on[126] Featured four subgames based on the film.
Xevious 1982 Namco (Japan) / Atari (U.S.) The first arcade video game to have a TV commercial.[127] It was also responsible for popularizing vertical scrolling shooters.[55]
Zaxxon 1982 Sega First game to employ isometric axonometric projection, which the game was named after
Crystal Castles 1983 Atari Among the first arcade games which do not loop back to earlier stages as the player progresses, but instead offers a defined ending.[128]
Dragon's Lair 1983 Cinematronics(U.S.) / Atari(Europe) / Sidam (Italy) An early laserdisc video game, which allowed film-quality animation. The first arcade video game in the United States to charge two quarters per play.[129] It was also the first video game to employ what would become known as the quick time event. This game is one of three arcade games that are part of the Smithsonian's permanent collection, along with Pac-Man and Pong.
Elevator Action 1983 Taito An action game that is a mix of platformer, puzzle and shooter genres.
Gyruss 1983 Konami (Japan) / Centuri (U.S.) Often remembered for its musical score that plays throughout the game, Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor"[130]
Mappy 1983 Namco (Japan) / Bally Midway (U.S.) Featured early side-scrolling platforming action
Mario Bros. 1983 Nintendo A game featuring simultaneous play with Mario and his brother Luigi as Italian-American plumbers in pest-inhabited sewers.
Sinistar 1983 Williams Electronics First game to use stereo sound. It was also the first to use the 49-way, custom-designed optical joystick that Williams had produced specifically for this game. Notable for appearance of menacing villain.
Spy Hunter 1983 Bally Midway Overhead view, vehicular combat game that is memorable for its music, "The Peter Gunn Theme", that plays throughout the game
Star Trek 1983 Sega Space combat sim featuring five different controls, six different enemies, and 40 different simulation levels. Features voice of Spock and Scotty. One of the most elaborate vector games released.[131]
Star Wars 1983 Atari Features several digitized samples of actors' voices from the movie
Tapper 1983 Bally Midway Originally aligned with American beer Budweiser, was revamped as Root Beer Tapper, so as not to be construed as attempting to peddle alcohol to minors
Track & Field 1983 Konami (Japan) / Centuri (North America) The first Olympic-themed sports game.
1942 1984 Capcom Capcom's first arcade hit featuring Pacific aerial combat with a Xevious-inspired design. Standardized the template for aerial shoot 'em ups featuring vertical scrolling.
Karate Champ 1984 Technōs JapanData East (US) The first popular player vs. player fighting game for arcades.[132] Featured a pair of four-way dual joystick controls for simultaneous play.
Kung-Fu Master 1984 Irem (Japan) / Data East (US) The first side-scrolling beat-em-up arcade game.[133]
Paperboy 1984 Atari Novel controls and high resolution display
Punch-Out!! 1984 Nintendo A boxing fighting game featuring digitized voices, dual monitors, and a third-person perspective.
Danny K'sOrange County APA