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The Best Classic Arcade Games 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated June 14, 2019 96.4k votes 9.3k voters 497.9k views 130 items

List Rules Games 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 

list ordered by
1
Galaga is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1981 (Namco)

Genres (Video game): Shoot 'em up, Action game, Space combat, Science Fiction

Galaga is a fixed shooter arcade game developed and published by Namco in Japan and published by Midway in North America in 1981. It is the sequel to Galaxian, released in 1979. The gameplay of ...more

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#266 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #130 of 523 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Timelisted on List of Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Games

2
Donkey Kong is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1981 (Nintendo)

Genres (Video game): Platform game

Donkey Kong is an arcade game released by Nintendo in 1981. It is an early example of the platform game genre, as the gameplay focuses on maneuvering the main character across a series of ...more

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Donkey Kong Fan Theories #150 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fanslisted on Nintendo Game Boy Advance Games

3
Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1980 (Namco)

Genres (Video game): Maze

Pac-Man is an arcade game developed by Namco and first released in Japan on May 22, 1980. It was licensed for distribution in the United States by Midway and released in October 1980. Immensely ...more

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#75 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fanslisted on Nintendo Game Boy Advance Games Game Gear Games: List of Sega Game Gear Handheld Games

4
Space Invaders is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1978 (Taito Corporation)

Genres (Video game): Shooter game, Shoot 'em up, Action game, Space combat

Space Invaders is an arcade video game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado and released in 1978. It was originally manufactured and sold by Taito in Japan, and was later licensed for production in ...more

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'Space Invaders' Was So Popular, A 12-Year-Old Held Up A Bank For Coins #133 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fanslisted on Nintendo 64 Games List

5
Ms. Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1982 (Midway Games)

Genres (Video game): Action game, Maze

Ms. Pac-Man is an arcade video game from the Golden Age. It was produced by Illinois-based Midway Manufacturing corporation, the North American publisher of Pac-Man. Ms. Pac-Man was released in ...more

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#197 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #9 of 25 25 Things You Love That Were Accidentslisted on All Super Nintendo Games: List of SNES Console Games

6
Dig Dug is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1982 (Namco)

Genres (Video game): Action game

Dig Dug is an arcade game developed and published by Namco in Japan in 1982. It runs on Namco Galaga hardware, and was later published outside of Japan by Atari, Inc.. A popular game based on a ...more

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#255 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fanslisted on Game Boy Video Games: List of Game Boy Console Games List of Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Games

7
Gauntlet is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1985 (Atari Games)

Genres (Video game): Action game, Run and gun, Maze, Hack and slash

Gauntlet is a fantasy-themed hack and slash 1985 arcade game by Atari Games. Released in October 1985, Atari ultimately sold a total of 7,848 Gauntlet video game arcade cabinets. It is noted as ...more

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#4 of 17 The Coolest Arcade Game Cabinet Art Ever! #50 of 793 Every Single NES Game, Ranked From Best to Worstlisted on Nintendo Game Boy Advance Games

8
Asteroids is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1979 (Atari)

Genres (Video game): Shoot 'em up, Action game, Space combat

Asteroids is an arcade space shooter released in November 1979 by Atari, Inc. and designed by Lyle Rains and Ed Logg. The player controls a spaceship in an asteroid field which is periodically ...more

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#249 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fanslisted on Nintendo Game Boy Advance Games Game Boy Video Games: List of Game Boy Console Games

9
Mario Bros. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1983 (Nintendo)

Genres (Video game): Platform game

Mario Bros. is a platform game published and developed for arcades by Nintendo in 1983. It was created by Shigeru Miyamoto. It has been featured as a minigame in the Super Mario Advance series ...more

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#16 of 263 The Best Classic Video Gameslisted on Nintendo Game Boy Advance Games List of Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Games

10
1942 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1984 (Capcom)

Genres (Video game): Shoot 'em up, Action game, Scrolling shooter

1942 is a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up made by Capcom that was released for the arcade in 1984. It was the first game in the 19XX series. It was followed by 1943: The Battle of Midway. 1942 ...more

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#54 of 793 Every Single NES Game, Ranked From Best to Worst #8 of 78 The Best '80s Arcade Games #4 of 91 The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

11
Defender is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1980 (WMS Industries Inc.)

Genres (Video game): Shoot 'em up

Defender is an arcade video game developed and released by Williams Electronics in February 1981. A shooting game featuring two-dimensional graphics, the game is set on a fictional planet where ...more

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#105 of 263 The Best Classic Video Gameslisted on List of Gamecube Games Nintendo Game Boy Advance Games

12
Centipede is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1980 (Atari)

Genres (Video game): Shooter game, Shoot 'em up, Action game

Centipede is a vertically oriented shoot 'em up arcade game produced by Atari, Inc. in 1981. The game was designed by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey. The player defends against centipedes, spiders, ...more

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#388 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #142 of 523 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Timelisted on Game Boy Video Games: List of Game Boy Console Games

13
Street Fighter II is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
RyuKang1995 added Released: 1992 (Capcom)

Genres (Video game): Fighting game

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior is a competitive fighting game originally released for the arcades in 1991. It is the second entry in the Street Fighter series and the arcade sequel to the ...more
14
Double Dragon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1987 (Technōs Japan)

Genres (Video game): Beat 'em up, Side-scrolling

Double Dragon is a 1987 beat 'em up video game developed by Technōs Japan and distributed in North America and Europe by Taito. The game is a spiritual and technological successor to Technos' ...more

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#153 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fanslisted on Sega Genesis Games: The Complete List of Games on Genesis Game Boy Video Games: List of Game Boy Console Games

15
Street Fighter is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1987 (Capcom)

Genres (Video game): Action game, Fighting game

Street Fighter is a 1987 arcade game developed by Capcom. It is the first competitive fighting game produced by the company and the inaugural game in the Street Fighter series. While it did not ...more

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#203 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #67 of 184 The Greatest Fighting Games Ever Madelisted on List of Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Games

16
Joust is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1982 (WMS Industries Inc.)

Genres (Video game): Platform game, Action game

Joust is an arcade game developed by Williams Electronics and released in 1982. It is a platform game that features two-dimensional graphics. The player uses a button and joystick to control a ...more

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#136 of 263 The Best Classic Video Games #193 of 793 Every Single NES Game, Ranked From Best to Worst #19 of 78 The Best '80s Arcade Games

17
Mortal Kombat is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1992 (Midway Games)

Genres (Video game): Action game, Fighting game

Mortal Kombat is an arcade fighting game developed and published by Midway Games in 1992 as the first title in the Mortal Kombat series. It was subsequently released by Acclaim Entertainment for ...more

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#27 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fanslisted on All Super Nintendo Games: List of SNES Console Games Sega Genesis Games: The Complete List of Games on Genesis

18
Frogger is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
zenace33 added
19
Punch-Out!! is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1984 (Nintendo)

Genres (Video game): Sports game

Punch-Out!! is a boxing arcade game by Nintendo, released in Japan in 1983 and worldwide in 1984. It was the first in a series of successful Punch-Out!! games that produced an arcade sequel ...more

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#373 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #22 of 78 The Best '80s Arcade Gameslisted on List of Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Games

20
Pole Position is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1982 (Namco)

Genres (Video game): Simulation video game, Sports game, Racing video game

Pole Position is an arcade racing video game which was released by Namco in 1982 and licensed to Atari, Inc. for US manufacture and distribution, running on the Namco Pole Position arcade system ...more

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#677 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #314 of 523 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Time #94 of 263 The Best Classic Video Games

21
Spy Hunter is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1983 (Midway Games)

Genres (Video game): Racing video game, Vehicular combat game

Spy Hunter is a 1983 arcade game developed and released by Bally Midway. It has also been ported to various home computers and video game systems. As a cabinet-style arcade game, Spy Hunter was ...more

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#660 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fanslisted on List of Gamecube Games Sony PlayStation 2 Games: List of PS2 Console Games

22
Tron is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1982 (Midway Games)

Genres (Video game): Action game

Tron is a coin-operated arcade video game manufactured and distributed by Bally Midway in 1982. It is based on the Walt Disney Productions motion picture Tron released in the same year. The game ...more

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#149 of 263 The Best Classic Video Games #2 of 17 The Coolest Arcade Game Cabinet Art Ever! #12 of 25 The Best Disney Video Games Of All Time

23
Galaxian is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1979 (Namco)

Genres (Video game): Shoot 'em up, Action game

Galaxian is an arcade game that was developed by Namco and released in October 1979. It was published by Namco in Japan and imported to North America by Midway that December. A fixed shooter ...more

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#211 of 263 The Best Classic Video Games #58 of 78 The Best '80s Arcade Games #33 of 58 The Best Arcade Shooter Games Ever, Ranked

24
Q*bert is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1982 (Atari)

Genres (Video game): Isometric projection, Puzzle game, Platform game, Action game

Q*bert is an arcade video game developed and published by Gottlieb in 1982. It is a 2D action game with puzzle elements that uses "isometric" graphics to create a pseudo-3D effect, and ...more

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#487 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #271 of 523 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Timelisted on Game Boy Video Games: List of Game Boy Console Games

25
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Released: 1983 (Atari)

Genres (Video game): Shooter game, Shoot 'em up, Action game, Simulation video game

Star Wars is an arcade game produced by Atari Inc. and released in 1983. The game is a first person space simulator, simulating the attack on the Death Star from the 1977 film Star Wars. The ...more

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#62 of 75 The Best Star Wars Video Gameslisted on Game Boy Video Games: List of Game Boy Console Games Game Gear Games: List of Sega Game Gear Handheld Games