Button Mash
10.9k voters

The Best Classic Arcade Games

Updated August 17, 2020 107.1k votes 10.9k voters 545.8k views116 items

List RulesGames that were released in arcade first from 1970 to 1995.

The best classic arcade games include not only the big, big, BEEG cabinet coin-op arcade games from the crazy 80s, but also many of the best video games of all time. Now played on tiny portable handheld consoles or popular home consoles with wireless controllers and Internet compatibility, modern video games evolved from these classic favorites. The best arcade games are still around today - albeit in updated forms - in game centers and arcades. 

These are the games that many of us remember pumping quarters into as a child as we vowed to beat that high score in the likes of 80s arcade games like Frogger or Ms. Pac-Man or sought to reach the final castle in arcade games of the 90s like Super Mario Bros.

Many of the classic games here left such a lasting impression from their time in the giant arcade versions that they were later released on smaller platforms like the original Nintendo Entertainment System or remade decades later for platforms like the Nintendo Wii.

Similarly, many top arcade game titles like Paperboy and Donkey Kong spawned sequels or full series of games. Though 1980s arcade games were a far cry from today's games with 3D graphics and graphic violence, these classic games remind us of a simpler time when titles like Pong or Asteroids were enough to entertain us for a few hours. Ah, the good old days!

Vote for the famous arcade games that 

Photo:
...more
  • 1
    2,753
    1,002
    Pac-Man is an arcade game developed by Namco and first released in Japan on May 22, 1980. It...  more

    More Pac-Man 

    12 Facts About 'Pac-Man,' The Most Successful Arcade Game Of All Time#10 of 84 The Best Games That Never End

  • 2
    2,442
    888
    Donkey Kong is an arcade game released by Nintendo in 1981. It is an early example of the...  more

    More Donkey Kong 

    Donkey Kong Fan Theories#2 of 14 14 Hidden Backstories You Never Knew About Your Favorite Games

  • 3
    2,610
    943

    Galaga

    1981
    Galaga is a fixed shooter arcade game developed and published by Namco in Japan and published...  more

    More Galaga 

    #44 of 67 Hardest Video Games of All Time#33 of 60 The Best Xbox 360 Arcade Games

  • 4
    2,027
    891
    Space Invaders is an arcade video game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado and released in 1978....  more

    More Space Invaders 

    'Space Invaders' Was So Popular, A 12-Year-Old Held Up A Bank For Coins#15 of 38 The Best Classic Nintendo Arcade Games

  • 5
    1,251
    600

    1942

    1984
    1942 is a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up made by Capcom that was released for the arcade in...  more

    More 1942 

    #13 of 91 The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever#108 of 282 Every Video Game Set In WW2

  • 6
    1,603
    797
    Dig Dug is an arcade game developed and published by Namco in Japan in 1982. It runs on Namco...  more

    More Dig Dug 

    #372 of 1,371 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans#146 of 465 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Time

  • 7
    1,521
    428
    Street Fighter II: The World Warrior is a competitive fighting game originally released for...  more

    More Street Fighter II 

    #42 of 154 The Best Super Nintendo (SNES) Games#6 of 179 The Greatest Fighting Games Ever Made

  • 8
    1,313
    635
    Gauntlet is a fantasy-themed hack and slash 1985 arcade game by Atari Games. Released in...  more

    More Gauntlet 

    #1 of 17 The Coolest Arcade Game Cabinet Art Ever!#17 of 78 The Best '80s Arcade Games

  • 9
    1,556
    762
    Asteroids is an arcade space shooter released in November 1979 by Atari, Inc. and designed by...  more
  • 10
    1,793
    884
    Ms. Pac-Man is an arcade video game from the Golden Age. It was produced by Illinois-based...  more

    More Ms. Pac-Man 

    #115 of 382 List of Games With Girls in the Lead & Female Protagonists#10 of 25 25 Things You Love That Were Accidents

  • 11
    1,066
    293
  • 12
    1,361
    672
    Defender is an arcade video game developed and released by Williams Electronics in February...  more

    More Defender 

    #482 of 2,039 Sony PlayStation 2 Games: List of PS2 Console Games#160 of 166 The Best Science Fiction Games of All Time

  • 13
    1,182
    547
    Double Dragon is a 1987 beat 'em up video game developed by Technōs Japan and distributed in...  more

    More Double Dragon 

    #150 of 178 The Best Video Game Franchises of All Time#96 of 143 The Greatest Classic Video Game Theme Songs Ever

  • 14
    1,284
    446
    Mortal Kombat is an arcade fighting game developed and published by Midway Games in 1992 as...  more

    More Mortal Kombat 

    #8 of 15 Most Controversial Video Games That Have Ever Been Released#1 of 27 The Most Violent Video Games of All Time

  • 15
    1,098
    577

    Joust

    1982
    Joust is an arcade game developed by Williams Electronics and released in 1982. It is a...  more
  • 16
    1,399
    759
    Mario Bros. is a platform game published and developed for arcades by Nintendo in 1983. It was...  more

    More Mario Bros. 

    #29 of 36 The Coolest Live Action Video Game Commercials Ever#65 of 81 The Best Mario Games of All Time

  • 17
    582
    241

    Contra

    1987
    Contra, distributed as Gryzor in Europe and Oceania, is a 1987 run and gun action game...  more

    More Contra 

    #10 of 26 The Hardest Video Games To Complete#1 of 15 15 Classic Nintendo Games You Forgot You Loved

  • 18
    913
    475
    Spy Hunter is a 1983 arcade game developed and released by Bally Midway. It has also been...  more

    More Spy Hunter 

    #41 of 108 The Best Midway Games List#35 of 40 The Most Underrated Game Boy Advance Games Of All Time

  • 19
    1,376
    739
    Centipede is a vertically oriented shoot 'em up arcade game produced by Atari, Inc. in 1981....  more

    More Centipede 

    #12 of 76 The Best Atari 7800 Games#26 of 58 The Best Arcade Shooter Games Ever, Ranked

  • 20
    1,274
    652
    Street Fighter is a 1987 arcade game developed by Capcom. It is the first competitive fighting...  more

    More Street Fighter 

    #104 of 195 The Best Fighting Games of All Time#9 of 35 The Best NES Fighting Games

  • 21
    996
    524
    Punch-Out!! is a boxing arcade game by Nintendo, released in Japan in 1983 and worldwide in...  more
  • 22
    914
    453
    Star Wars is an arcade game produced by Atari Inc. and released in 1983. The game is a first...  more

    More Star Wars 

    #93 of 205 The Best Game Gear Games#53 of 67 The Best Atari 5200 Games

  • 23
    975
    481
    Rampage is a 1986 arcade game by Bally Midway. Players take control of gigantic monsters...  more

    More Rampage 

    #7 of 17 17 Video Games Where You Actually Get To Play As The Villain#12 of 18 The Best Headlight Brands

  • 24
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, released as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Super Kame Ninja in...  more

    More Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game 

    #26 of 108 Licensed Games That Actually Live Up To The Source Material#12 of 158 The Best Comic Book Based Video Games

  • 25
    1,110
    630
    Pole Position is an arcade racing video game which was released by Namco in 1982 and licensed...  more

    More Pole Position 

    #9 of 26 The Best Arcade Racing Games Of All Time#70 of 267 The Best Namco Games List