The 5 Best Arcade Games in History

“GAME OVER!” “HIGH SCORE!” You can probably imagine the screen of an old arcade game flashing these words over and over again as you insert more coins or tokens. You might think those days are long gone, but we assure you they are just beginning again. 

The golden age of arcade games was in the 80s and 90s, but it didn’t die there. Now we are seeing a re-emergence of those good old classics. The arcade game industry is projected to grow 2% by 2025

Bar arcades, otherwise known as arcade bars, are popping up everywhere and contain a variety of nostalgic arcade machines. Bar arcades aren’t the only place you can find the best arcade games of all time though. Classic arcade games are still found in a variety of places like restaurants, bowling allies, and other child-friendly establishments. 

Here are 5 of the best arcade games throughout history. Next time you are going to play, look out for them because they are sure to take you back in time.  

5. Donkey Kong 

This classic game needs no introduction. Donkey Kong has been around since 1981. It set Nintendo up for success and was the foundation for the little Italian man with a red hat, back then only known as “Jump Man.” 

This is the game that put Mario on the map and gave us the franchise most of us know and love today. Children of all ages now grow up with the Mario universe, giving Nintendo a reason to keep going.

As one of the best arcade games ever, Donkey Kong takes people back to the simplicity of platform games with a storyline that unfolds right before your eyes. You will not regret playing if you ever get the chance to play such a classic arcade game. 

4. Street Fighter II 

Compared to the original Street Fighter which introduced the series design elements, this game made Street Fighter what it is today. The graphics and characters are iconic.

Capcom Japan manufactured the Street Fighter series. It first came out in 1987 and now has many to pick from. Street Fighter II, specifically the champion edition, is one of the best and most popular.

Street Fighter II graced the scene in 1991 when at-home gaming equipment was becoming more popular. Because of this game, people started getting back into arcade games.

This classic game was one of the first to feature fighting combos setting the bar for all the fighting games after. This groundbreaking combo came by mistake as it was a bug, but programmers decided to tweak it and keep it in the game.

Street Fighter introduced Chun-Li. She was the first playable woman in a fighting game paving the way for other female characters to develop over the year. 

3. Frogger 

Who doesn’t like games with cute frogs that need to just over various obstacles in a limited time, trying to get back to their lilypads for a snack? Frogger set the bar for single-player action games. For the time, it offered more ways for your character to die than any other game, making it very interesting for players.

The catchy opening song is based on a Japanese children’s song that will keep you humming while you play. It even had its own pop song in 1982. Frogger was seen in the hit TV show Seinfeld which made it more popular among the public.

Frogger is a classic game, developed by Konami in 1981. It is suitable for all ages. This game tests your skills against the clock and will keep you coming back for more. 

2. Galaga 

Calling all space fighters! Galaga is nostalgic for many making its first appearance in 1979. It is a sequel to Galaxian but the gameplay was adjusted so you didn’t know it was similar and would come back time and time again.

It is a fixed single shooter game developed and published by Namco in 1981. You play by using a joystick to control a spaceship and destroy all enemy spaceships flying your way. All while dodging bullets and other flying objects.

Now you are able to play this as an APP, pocket game, or on the classic cabinet. Whichever way you decide to play, the game will still bring back hours of fun and nostalgia attempting to defeat enemies in all 255 levels.  

1. Pac-Man/Mrs. Pac-Man 

Nom, Nom, Nom- Coming in at number one is the iconic duo, Pac-Man and Mrs. Pac-Man. Both games are timeless and recognizable worldwide. With a combined 500,000+ cabinets sold, they have eaten equally large numbers of quarters and ghosts throughout their life. 

The iconic duo founded one of the biggest gaming genres on the market, the maze and chase game. It also opened up gaming to female audiences because of its lack of violence. 

The objective is simple: eat the “power pellets”, follow the maze, and don’t get eaten by the multi-colored ghosts. With such a simple objective it still stands the test of time today among kids of any age. 

Mrs. Pac-Man has been rated far superior to her counterpart. Her game was tweaked to stand apart, and that she did. She was the first female lead in any video game, making her and her iconic pink bow so loveable for girls. Her gameplay was also modified to include bouncing fruit and a fainting death making it a little more cute for female players. 

Best Arcade Games 

While this list is only 5 of the best arcade games out there, there are many more for you to try out. Grab some tokens or quarters and hit up the closest “bar arcade” in your area for a great evening.

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