Top 10 Classic Arcade Games
These are the top 10 classic arcade games and why they made such an impact on our lives. In the 80s, it wasn't uncommon for entire childhoods to be spent in an arcade, feeding quarters into your favorite machine to try to get your initials on that final screen. As Steve L. Kent writes, "arcade games defined a generation and helped to create a multi-billion dollar industry."
- Pong. Who knew that two lines on a screen and a circle that bounced between them would become the precursor to the complicated sports games of today? Atari's simple tennis game allowed players to challenge one another or play against the computer and led to the start of the entire video game industry.
- Pac-Man. Before Namco's ghosts in a maze, the only video games that existed were shooters and sports games. Pac-Man is one of the top classic arcade games because it created an entirely new genre and also started a mass media craze in the United States which led to television shows, board games, a film and many licensed consumer products, from lunch boxes to T-shirts.
- Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong is one of the top classic arcade games not just for Nintendo's breakthroughs in the platform genre, the excitement of dodging barrels and fire or the combination of skill and luck it took to conquer the game, but also because it introduced a certain Italian plumber to the world.
- Frogger. A simple word for avoiding cars and other hazards has joined the common lexicon because of Konami's Frogger. Popular culture frequently references "playing frogger" for any task that involves dexterity and timing, including in some modern video game challenges.
- Q*bert. A likable main character, addictive gameplay and innovative graphics (which included a 3-D effect for the pyramid) made Q*Bert one of the most popular classic arcade games. It was highly merchandised and its legacy has endured, even earning references in modern popular culture.
- Space Invaders. As one of the earliest shooting games, Space Invaders (and the pixelated enemies referenced in the title) has become synonymous with classic arcade games in general. Its huge popularity is said to have caused a shortage of 100-yen coins in Japan. The "Guinness World Records" ranks it the top arcade game.
- Centipede. Atari's Centipede was the first arcade game partially created by a woman and is known for drawing the first largely female audience to video gaming according to Steve Kent, author of "The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon and Beyond”
- Contra. Side-scrolling shooters became hugely popular after the advent of Contra and remains a defining genre in the modern arcade industry (although the action usually moves forward in modern versions of the game instead of to the side). The variety of weapons and futuristic threats made Konami's Contra especially memorable.
- Street Fighter 2. Characters with individual, specialized moves was pioneered by Capcom's Street Fighter series, specifically, Street Fighter 2. Multiple special attacks for each character as well as the introduction of grappling makes Street Fighter 2 one of the top classic arcade games.
- Asteroids. The biggest selling game of an error involved a spaceship traveling through an asteroid field and avoiding other flying saucers. The game was so popular that arcade owners at the time sometimes built additional boxes to hold all the coins used to play the game.
Kent, Steve L. "The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon and Beyond". Prima, 2001.