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The Best Classic Arcade Games 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated June 14, 2019 92.4k votes 9k voters 483.3k views 131 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
Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1980

Developer: 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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#26 of 531 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Time #178 of 454 The Best Video Game Soundtracks of All Timelisted on Nintendo Game Boy Advance Games

2
Galaga is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1981

Developer: 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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#304 of 1,598 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #15 of 266 The Best Classic Video Gameslisted on List of Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Games

3
Donkey Kong is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1981

Developer: 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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#38 of 178 The Best Video Game Franchises of All Time Donkey Kong Fan Theorieslisted on Nintendo Game Boy Advance Games

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

Developer: 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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#96 of 531 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Time 'Space Invaders' Was So Popular, A 12-Year-Old Held Up A Bank For Coinslisted on Game Boy Video Games: List of Game Boy Console Games

5
Centipede is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1980

Developer: Atari, Inc., 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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#506 of 1,598 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #2 of 14 14 Hidden Backstories You Never Knew About Your Favorite Gameslisted on Game Boy Video Games: List of Game Boy Console Games

6
Ms. Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1982

Developer: Midway Games, General Computer Corp.

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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#334 of 531 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Time #9 of 18 18 Amazing Classic Video Games You Can Totally Play On Your Phone Right Nowlisted on All Super Nintendo Games: List of SNES Console Games

7
Dig Dug is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1982

Developer: 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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#151 of 531 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Time #24 of 266 The Best Classic Video Gameslisted on Game Boy Video Games: List of Game Boy Console Games

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

Developer: 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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#255 of 1,598 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #56 of 266 The Best Classic Video Gameslisted on Game Boy Video Games: List of Game Boy Console Games

9
Defender is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1980

Developer: 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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#71 of 266 The Best Classic Video Gameslisted on Nintendo Game Boy Advance Games Sony Playstation 2 Games: List of PS2 Console Games

10
Mario Bros. is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Jan 01 1983

Developer: 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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#84 of 209 The Best Nintendo Games, Rankedlisted on Nintendo Game Boy Advance Games

11
Galaxian is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1979

Developer: 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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#176 of 266 The Best Classic Video Games #44 of 77 The Best '80s Arcade Games

12
Pole Position is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1982

Developer: 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
13
1942 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1984

Developer: 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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#56 of 793 Every Single NES Game, Ranked From Best to Worst #10 of 91 The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

14
Street Fighter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1987

Developer: 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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#18 of 178 The Best Video Game Franchises of All Time #51 of 531 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Timelisted on List of Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Games

15
Gauntlet is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Jan 01 1985

Developer: 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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#2 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

16
Q*bert is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1982

Developer: 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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#16 of 18 18 Amazing Classic Video Games You Can Totally Play On Your Phone Right Now #505 of 1,598 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fanslisted on Game Boy Video Games: List of Game Boy Console Games

17
Street Fighter II is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
RyuKang1995 added 1992

Developer: 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
18
Missile Command is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1980

Developer: Atari, Inc., Atari

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

Missile Command is a 1980 arcade game by Atari, Inc. that was also licensed to Sega for European release. It is considered one of the most notable games from the Golden Age of Video Arcade

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#647 of 1,598 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #1 of 67 The Best Atari 5200 Games

19
Donkey Kong Jr. is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1982

Developer: Nintendo

Genres (Video game): Platform game, Action game

Donkey Kong Jr. is a 1982 arcade-style platform video game by Nintendo. It first appeared in arcades, and, over the course of the 1980s, was later released for a variety of platforms, most ...more

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#623 of 1,598 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #11 of 25 The Best Classic NES Games To Play On The Switchlisted on List of Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Games

20
Double Dragon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1987

Developer: Technōs Japan, Arc System Works

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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#106 of 178 The Best Video Game Franchises of All Time #86 of 531 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Timelisted on Sega Genesis Games: The Complete List of Games on Genesis

21
Punch-Out!! is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Feb 01 1984

Developer: 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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#13 of 77 The Best '80s Arcade Gameslisted on List of Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Games

22
Frogger is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
zenace33 added
23
Pong is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1972

Developer: Atari

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

Pong is one of the earliest arcade video games; it is a tennis sports game featuring simple two-dimensional graphics. While other arcade video games such as Computer Space came before it, Pong ...more

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#190 of 1,598 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #10 of 23 Retro Video Games That Were Guaranteed To Ruin Friendships

24
Paperboy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1984

Developer: Atari Games

Genres (Video game): Platform game, Action game, Racing video game

Paperboy is a 1985 arcade game by Atari Games. The players take the role of a paperboy who delivers newspapers along a suburban street on his bicycle. The game was ported to numerous video game ...more

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#290 of 1,598 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #24 of 35 The Most Memorable Video Game Sound Bites of All Timelisted on Game Boy Video Games: List of Game Boy Console Games

25
Spy Hunter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1983

Developer: 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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#1,029 of 1,598 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #185 of 266 The Best Classic Video Gameslisted on Sony Playstation 2 Games: List of PS2 Console Games