What Are the Most Popular Arcade Bar Games?

Arcades have always been a favorite spot of young adolescents, with their pockets full of change for gaming and their faces focused on beating a high score. But who’s to say that arcades shouldn’t be directed toward adults as well? That’s where the arcade bar comes in. 

Combining the elements we all love most–great food, drinks, and games–video game bars are the perfect place for everything from casual hangouts to corporate retreats. 

If you’re wondering what games you’re likely to see when entering the arcade bar, here’s a list of favorites that will have you excited to start playing. 


When it comes to classic arcade bar games, it’s difficult to rival Pac-Man’s popularity. 

Pac-Man was invented in Japan in 1980, and that same year it popped up in the United States. This masterpiece quickly took over as everyone’s favorite video game, and by 1981–just a year after it came to life!–roughly 250 million Pac-Man games were played weekly. The game even has a sequel: Ms. Pac-Man.  

If you’ve never guided the yellow pie-shaped Pac-Man through a maze of dots and ghosts, now’s the time to test out your skills. 

Donkey Kong

Next up on the list of popular arcade bar games is Donkey Kong. Another instant classic, this game was created in 1981. 

A name inspired by the movie King Kong, Donkey Kong involves moving through a game while avoiding the fireballs and barrels directed towards you that are being thrown by Donkey Kong. 

Donkey Kong was so popular when it first came onto the scene that sequels were created to keep the momentum going. Donkey Kong Junior and Donkey Kong 3 are just a couple of the additions, with many more making the list. 


As one of the original puzzle video games, Tetris continues to capture the attention of players all these years later. Starting in Moscow in 1984, it quickly catapulted to fame in countries all around the world. 

In the unlikely event that you haven’t played Tetris before, the goal of the game is to drop pieces of different shapes and colors so that they align perfectly. 

Tetris continues to not only be a favorite in arcade bars but also on cellphones and tablets as well. 


These days, pinball comes in all sorts of themes, from movie-inspired setups to TV show scenes. But it didn’t always start out as the game it is today. By the 1930s, pinball machines started to have the modern look they have today in arcades. 

The concept of pinball — played by releasing a ball and then hitting it with flappers to score points — started in the 1800s and evolved many times over the next hundreds of years. Forever a classic, it’s a fun game that can be found in practically every video game bar. 

Air Hockey

While it’s a game that takes up a fair amount of space, an arcade bar just isn’t as much fun without air hockey. 

Air hockey was created sometime between 1962 and 1972. It quickly became a favorite arcade game due to its ability to draw in people of all ages and skill levels. It’s so popular that there is even a World Championship air hockey game that takes place most years. 


An inventor patented Skee-Ball in 1908, using the concept of ski jumps as the inspiration for the name. 

In this game, a player rolls a ball up a ramp, aiming for different pre-assigned points that coincided with short tubes. It was simple yet fun, and with the help of some heavy advertising at first, the game skyrocketed in popularity. It still remains a staple in arcade bars. 

Space Invaders

A game that was released in 1978 and based on a handful of other media like Star Wars, Space Invaders was an immediate hit. It’s one of the older games that has stuck around as a classic that proved to be timeless and beloved by millions. It’s so popular that it has produced over 500 million dollars in revenue since its release. 

Space Invaders involves a 2-dimensional shooter that’s aiming for aliens, with the goal being to protect Earth. 


This game holds many similarities to Space Invaders, and it acted as the game’s rival. Galaga was created in 1981 and involved shooting aliens just like Space Invaders, but this game’s graphics were significantly better. 

Galaga continues to be a constant at arcade bars across the country. 


1981 was a popular year for video games, and Frogger is among the many games that were released during this time. 

The original creator of Frogger used his real-life experience of saving a frog who was trying to cross a road during traffic as inspiration for the game. In the game, players use a joystick to move the frog across the busy street, making sure it doesn’t get hit by any cars. 

Frogger is so popular because of its appeal to all ages — no matter if you’re young or old, you’ll enjoy the game.  


Another spin on the classic Space Invaders, Centipede, was created by Atari and featured some key differences. Instead of shooting aliens, players of Centipede aim to shoot a crawling centipede that makes its way to the bottom of the screen where the bug blaster is. 

It’s likely that the next video game bar you enter will have a spot reserved for Centipede. 

Dance Dance Revolution

While not as old as some of the others on this list, Dance Dance Revolution (also affectionately called DDR) has remained one of the most popular games for video game bars since it was born. 

Dance Dance Revolution appeared in 1999 and continued an upward trend in popularity throughout the 2000s. It was one of the first games that involved physical movement, as players follow along with the dance moves on the screen to beat out their opponent. 

If you’ve ever seen a crowd of people gathered around two dancing players at an arcade, this is likely thanks to Dance Dance Revolution. 

Enjoy All the Fun an Arcade Bar Has to Offer

Whether you’re a fan of Pac-Man, Space Invaders, or Dance Dance Revolution, an arcade bar has it all. 

Come book a party, attend an event, or enjoy a night with your favorite person playing games at Emporium Arcade Bar. We have all the classics you’ve been missing!

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