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The Best Classic Arcade Games

Updated August 17, 2020 95.5k votes 9.8k voters 516.2k 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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  • 1
    Galaga is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    2,472
    791

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 2
    Donkey Kong is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    2,312
    747

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 3
    Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    2,625
    899

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 4
    Space Invaders is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,903
    810

    DeveloperTaito 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.... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 5
    Gauntlet is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,194
    489

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 6
    1942 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,119
    474

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 7
    Dig Dug is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,511
    674

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 8
    Ms. Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,715
    773

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 9
    Street Fighter II is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,284
    313

    DeveloperCapcom

    Genres (Video game)Fighting game

    Street Fighter II: The World Warrior is a competitive fighting game originally released for... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 10
    Frogger is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    891
    191
    amazon buy button
  • 11
    Defender is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,247
    584

    DeveloperWMS Industries Inc.

    Genres (Video game)Shoot 'em up

    Defender is an arcade video game developed and released by Williams Electronics in February... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 12
    Asteroids is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,445
    711

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 13
    Joust is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    992
    473

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 14
    Double Dragon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,037
    452

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 15
    Mario Bros. is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,327
    686

    DeveloperNintendo

    Genres (Video game)Platform game

    Mario Bros. is a platform game published and developed for arcades by Nintendo in 1983. It was... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 16
    Mortal Kombat is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,121
    378

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 17
    Contra is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    428
    149

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 18
    Street Fighter is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,202
    558

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 19
    Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    822
    367

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 20
    Spy Hunter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    807
    400

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 21
    Centipede is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    1,301
    701

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 22
    Ghosts'n Goblins is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games

    DeveloperCapcom

    Genres (Video game)Platform game, Action game

    Ghosts 'n Goblins is a 1985 side-scrolling platforming game developed by Capcom for video... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 23
    Tron is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    837
    410

    Tron

    1982

    DeveloperMidway Games, Bally Midway Manufacturing Co., Inc.

    Genres (Video game)Action game

    Tron is a coin-operated arcade video game manufactured and distributed by Bally Midway in... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 24
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games

    DeveloperBackbone Entertainment, Konami

    Genres (Video game)Beat 'em up

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, released as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Super Kame Ninja in... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 25
    Punch-Out!! is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Arcade Games
    899
    462

    DeveloperNintendo

    Genres (Video game)Sports game

    Punch-Out!! is a boxing arcade game by Nintendo, released in Japan in 1983 and worldwide in... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
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