Total Nerd The Best Classic Arcade Games  

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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 

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1,584 518
Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Pac-Man 1980 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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1,421 414
Donkey Kong is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Donkey Kong 1981 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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1,204 431
Space Invaders is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Space Invaders 1978 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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1,451 301
Galaga is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Galaga 1981 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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925 403
Asteroids is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Asteroids 1979 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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993 407
Ms. Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Ms. Pac-Man 1982 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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813 368
Centipede is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Centipede 1980 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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855 378
Dig Dug is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Dig Dug 1982 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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819 357
Mario Bros. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Mario Bros. 1983 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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723 314
Defender is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Defender 1980 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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603 383
Q*bert is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Q*bert 1982 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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589 361
Pole Position is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Pole Position 1982 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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564 295
Galaxian is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Galaxian 1979 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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648 270
Gauntlet is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Gauntlet 1985 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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Missile Command is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Missile Command 1980 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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1942 is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1942 1984 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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Pong is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Pong 1972 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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Donkey Kong Jr. is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Donkey Kong Jr. 1982 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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573 294
Joust is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Joust 1982 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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544 287
Punch-Out!! is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Punch-Out!! 1984 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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Street Fighter is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Street Fighter 1987 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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442 264
BurgerTime is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
BurgerTime 1982 BurgerTime is a 1982 arcade game created by Data East for its DECO Cassette System. The game's original title, Hamburger, was changed to BurgerTime before its introduction to the US. The player ...more

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Double Dragon is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Double Dragon 1987 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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442 272
Tempest is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Tempest 1980 Tempest is a 1981 arcade game by Atari Inc., originally designed and programmed by Dave Theurer. The game is a tube shooter, a type of shoot 'em up where the environment is fixed and viewed from ...more

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Dragon's Lair is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Dragon's Lair 1983 Dragon's Lair is a laserdisc video game published by Cinematronics in 1983 as the first game in the Dragon's Lair series. In the game, the protagonist Dirk the Daring is a knight attempting to ...more

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Tron is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Tron 1982 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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458 258
Bubble Bobble is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Bubble Bobble 1986 Bubble Bobble is an arcade game by Taito, first released in 1986 and later ported to numerous home computers and game consoles. The game, starring the twin Bubble Dragons Bub and Bob, is an ...more

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Paperboy is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Paperboy 1984 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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Rampage is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Rampage 1986 Rampage is a 1986 arcade game by Bally Midway. Players take control of gigantic monsters trying to survive against onslaughts of military forces. Each round is completed when a particular city ...more

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Mortal Kombat is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Mortal Kombat 1992 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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Spy Hunter is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Spy Hunter 1983 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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Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Star Wars 1983 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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Street Fighter II is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
RyuKang1995 added Street Fighter II 1992 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

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Breakout is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Breakout 1976 Breakout is an arcade game developed and published by Atari, Inc. It was conceptualized by Nolan Bushnell and Steve Bristow, influenced by the 1972 Atari arcade game Pong, and built by Steve ...more

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Moon Patrol is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Moon Patrol 1982 Moon Patrol is an arcade game by Irem that was first released in 1982. It was licensed to Williams for distribution in North America. Moon Patrol was an early side-scrolling shooter and is ...more

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: ... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game 1989 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, released as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Super Kame Ninja in Japan and Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in Europe, is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up released by Konami as ...more

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Track & Field is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Track & Field 1983 Track & Field, known in Japan as Hyper Olympic, is a 1983 Olympic-themed sports arcade game developed and published by Konami. The Japanese release sported an official license for the 1984 ...more

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345 225
Commando is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Commando 1985 Commando, originally released as Senjō no Ōkami, is a run & gun, vertically scrolling arcade game released in 1985. Its influence can be seen in various later games in the shooter game ...more

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Berzerk is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Berzerk 1980 Berzerk is a multi-directional shooter video arcade game, released in 1980 by Stern Electronics of Chicago.

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Battlezone is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Battlezone 1980 Battlezone is an arcade game from Atari released in November 1980. It displays a wireframe view on a horizontal black and white vector monitor. Due to its novel gameplay and look, this game was ...more

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Elevator Action is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Elevator Action 1983 Elevator Action is a 1983 arcade game by Taito. It debuted during the Golden Age of Arcade Games. The player assumes the role of a spy who infiltrates a building filled with elevators. He must ...more

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Popeye is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Popeye 1982 Popeye is a 1982 arcade game developed and released by Nintendo based on the Popeye cartoon characters licensed from King Features Syndicate. Some sources claim that Ikegami Tsushinki also did ...more

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405 217
The Simpsons Arcade Game is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
The Simpsons Arcade Game 1991 The Simpsons Arcade Game or just The Simpsons is an arcade beat 'em up developed by Konami released in 1991, and the second video game based on The Simpsons franchise, following Bart vs. the ...more

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Super Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Super Pac-Man 1982 Super Pac-Man, released in Japan October 1982 and North America in December 1982 is the third installment of the Pac-Man series of arcade games and the second starring Pac-Man himself. It is ...more

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Arkanoid is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Arkanoid 1986 Arkanoid is an arcade game developed by Taito in 1986. It expanded upon Atari's Breakout games of the 1970s by adding power-ups, different types of bricks, and a variety of level layouts. The ...more

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362 178
1943: The Battle of Midway is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
1943 1987 1943: The Battle of Midway, originally released as 1943: Midway Kaisen, is a 1987 shoot 'em up arcade game developed and published by Capcom. It was the first followup to Capcom's earlier 1942.

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Frogger is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
zenace33 added Frogger

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Millipede is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Millipede 1982 Millipede is a 1982 arcade game by Atari, Inc. and is the sequel to the arcade hit, Centipede. The objective of the game is to score as many points as possible by destroying all segments of the ...more

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Robotron: 2084 is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Robotron: 2084 1982 Robotron: 2084 is an arcade video game developed by Vid Kidz and released by Williams Electronics in 1982. It is a shoot 'em up with two-dimensional graphics. The game is set in the year 2084 in ...more

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Marble Madness is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
Marble Madness 1984 Marble Madness is an arcade video game designed by Mark Cerny and published by Atari Games in 1984. The player uses a trackball to guide an onscreen marble through six obstacle-filled courses ...more