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The Best Classic Arcade Games

Updated August 17, 2020 108.1k votes 10.7k voters 537.1k 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 

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  • Galaga1
    2,624
    936

    Galaga

    1981

    DeveloperNamco

    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...  more
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  • Pac-Man2
    2,757
    1,001

    DeveloperNamco

    Genres (Video game)Maze

    Pac-Man is an arcade game developed by Namco and first released in Japan on May 22, 1980. It...  more
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  • Donkey Kong3
    2,445
    885

    DeveloperNintendo

    Genres (Video game)Platform game

    Donkey Kong is an arcade game released by Nintendo in 1981. It is an early example of the...  more
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  • Space Invaders4
    2,030
    899

    DeveloperTaito Corporation

    Genres (Video game)Fixed shooter

    Space Invaders is an arcade video game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado and released in 1978....  more
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  • Dig Dug5
    1,623
    799

    DeveloperNamco

    Genres (Video game)Action game

    Dig Dug is an arcade game developed and published by Namco in Japan in 1982. It runs on Namco...  more
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  • 19426
    1,261
    589

    1942

    1984

    DeveloperCapcom

    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...  more
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  • Street Fighter II7
    1,519
    410

    DeveloperCapcom

    Genres (Video game)Fighting game

    Street Fighter II: The World Warrior is a competitive fighting game originally released for...  more
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  • Gauntlet8
    1,320
    621

    DeveloperAtari 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...  more
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  • Ms. Pac-Man9
    1,815
    889

    DeveloperMidway 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...  more
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  • Asteroids10
    1,571
    771

    DeveloperAtari

    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...  more
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  • Frogger11
    1,067
    280
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  • Defender12
    1,368
    678

    DeveloperWMS Industries Inc.

    Genres (Video game)Shoot 'em up

    Defender is an arcade video game developed and released by Williams Electronics in February...  more
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  • Double Dragon13
    1,197
    536

    DeveloperTechnōs 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...  more
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  • Mortal Kombat14
    1,288
    447

    DeveloperMidway Games

    Genres (Video game)Action game, Fighting game

    Mortal Kombat is an arcade fighting game developed and published by Midway Games in 1992 as...  more
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  • Joust15
    1,108
    575

    Joust

    1982

    DeveloperWMS Industries Inc., Williams Entertainment Inc.

    Genres (Video game)Platform game, Action game

    Joust is an arcade game developed by Williams Electronics and released in 1982. It is a...  more
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  • Mario Bros.16
    1,422
    761

    DeveloperNintendo

    Genres (Video game)Platform game

    Mario Bros. is a platform game published and developed for arcades by Nintendo in 1983. It was...  more
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  • Contra17
    575
    230

    Contra

    1987

    DeveloperKonami

    Genres (Video game)Shooter game, Shoot 'em up, Action game, Run and gun

    Contra, distributed as Gryzor in Europe and Oceania, is a 1987 run and gun action game...  more
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  • Centipede18
    1,387
    750

    DeveloperAtari, 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....  more
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  • Street Fighter19
    1,294
    654

    DeveloperCapcom

    Genres (Video game)Action game, Fighting game

    Street Fighter is a 1987 arcade game developed by Capcom. It is the first competitive fighting...  more
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  • Punch-Out!!20
    1,014
    521

    DeveloperNintendo

    Genres (Video game)Sports game

    Punch-Out!! is a boxing arcade game by Nintendo, released in Japan in 1983 and worldwide in...  more
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  • Spy Hunter21
    916
    472

    DeveloperMidway 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...  more
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  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game22

    DeveloperBackbone Entertainment, Konami

    Genres (Video game)Beat 'em up

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, released as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Super Kame Ninja in...  more
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  • Star Wars23
    918
    454

    DeveloperAtari, Inc., 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...  more
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  • Rampage24
    985
    482

    DeveloperMidway Games, Bally Midway Manufacturing Co., Inc.

    Genres (Video game)Platform game, Action game

    Rampage is a 1986 arcade game by Bally Midway. Players take control of gigantic monsters...  more
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  • Pole Position25
    1,131
    643

    DeveloperNamco

    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...  more
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