Total Nerd The Best '80s Arcade Games  

Video Games Lists
2.4k votes 138 voters 1.7k views 51 items

List Rules Vote up the best 80s arcade games that you spent all your coins and tokens on.

Nothing beats a little nostalgia, and ranking the best 80s arcade games is a great way to bring back such fond memories. It may also remind us how many quarters and tokens we've lost trying to beat a game. Nonetheless, some of the greatest arcade games to date came out in the 1980s and, whether you were around at the time or not, we've all come to know and love these classic games. From the top beat 'em up arcade games to the best shooters, you really can't beat the arcades of the 80s.

When it comes to the best and most popular arcade games of the 80s, we're talking the original Ms. Pac Man, Street Fighter, and Star Wars games here—all of which have been remade and reimagined for a range of proceeding game systems. For many, the side-scrolling days of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were simply the greatest, and the same could be said for so many other awesome games from the 80s. In short, many of these classics hit during the golden age of arcade games (though the timeline is often disputed) and they've become mainstays in gaming history. But which single game should top the list?

Check out the top 80s arcade games below and vote up the ones you think were the most fun to play. You can also vote games down the list, and add any classics that are missing.

1
69 6
Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '80s 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

2
69 6
Galaga is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '80s 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

3
68 6
Donkey Kong is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '80s 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

4
53 4
Super Mario Bros. is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Super Mario Bros. 1985 Super Mario Bros. is a 1985 platform video game internally developed by Nintendo R&D4 and published by Nintendo as a pseudo-sequel to the 1983 game Mario Bros. It was originally released in ...more

5
62 7
Mario Bros. is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '80s 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

6
66 9
Ms. Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '80s 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

7
60 9
Frogger is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Frogger 1981 Frogger is a 1981 arcade game developed by Konami, and licensed for North American distribution by Sega-Gremlin. It is regarded as a classic from the golden age of video arcade games, noted for ...more

8
56 9
Tetris is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Tetris 1985 Tetris is a Soviet tile-matching puzzle video game originally designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov. It was released on June 6, 1984, while he was working for the Dorodnicyn Computing ...more

9
56 9
Centipede is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '80s 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

10
58 10
Street Fighter is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '80s 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

11
49 9
Dig Dug is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '80s 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

12
54 14
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '80s 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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13
49 13
Rampage is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '80s 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

14
46 14
Punch-Out!! is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '80s 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

15
46 14
Gauntlet is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '80s 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

16
45 14
Defender is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '80s 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

17
40 12
Double Dragon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '80s 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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41 13
Contra is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Contra 1987 Contra, distributed as Gryzor in Europe and Oceania, is a 1987 run and gun action game developed and published by Konami originally released as a coin-operated arcade game on February 20, 1987. ...more

19
50 20
Q*bert is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '80s 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

20
39 12
Joust is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '80s 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

21
40 13
Donkey Kong Jr. is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '80s 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

22
43 17
Pole Position is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '80s 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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Tron is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '80s 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

24
36 13
Paperboy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '80s 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

25
38 17
BurgerTime is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '80s 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

26
35 16
Dragon's Lair is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '80s 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

27
35 18
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '80s 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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Missile Command is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '80s 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

29
25 14
Millipede is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '80s 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

30
25 14
1942 is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '80s 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

31
24 17
Track & Field is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '80s 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

32
22 15
Spy Hunter is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '80s 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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18 16
Battlezone is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '80s 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

34
19 18
Bubble Bobble is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '80s 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

35
23 23
Zaxxon is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Zaxxon 1982 Zaxxon is a 1982 isometric shooter arcade game developed and released by Sega. Some sources claim that Japanese electronics company Ikegami Tsushinki also worked on the development of Zaxxon. ...more

36
15 18
Arkanoid is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best '80s 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

37
18 22
Tempest is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best '80s 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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Moon Patrol is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best '80s 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

39
1 3
720° is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Bryan Kuller added 720° 1986 720 Degrees, or 720°, is a 1986 arcade game by Atari Games. 720°, a skateboarding game, is notable in that along with BMX Simulator, it is one of the first extreme sports video games, ...more

40
15 20
Baseball Stars is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Baseball Stars 1989 Baseball Stars, released in Japan as Baseball Star Mezase Sankan Ō, is a baseball video game developed by SNK. It was released first as a 2-player baseball arcade game and was later released for ...more

41
15 21
Captain America and The Avenge... is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Captain America and The Avengers 1991 Captain America and the Avengers is an arcade game developed and released by Data East in 1991. It features the Marvel Comics characters The Avengers in a side-scrolling brawling and shooting ...more

42
14 20
Tapper is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Tapper 1983 Tapper, also known as Root Beer Tapper, is a 1983 arcade game released by Bally Midway. The goal of the game is to serve beer and collect empty mugs and tips.

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43
13 19
Popeye is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best '80s 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

44
13 21
Elevator Action is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best '80s 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

45
10 19
Robotron: 2084 is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best '80s 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

46
8 20
Sinistar is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Sinistar 1982 Sinistar is an arcade game released by Williams in 1982. It belongs to a class of video games called twitch games. Sinistar was developed by Sam Dicker, Jack Haeger, Noah Falstein, RJ Mical and ...more

47
9 23
Jungle Hunt is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Jungle Hunt Jan 01 1982 Jungle Hunt is a one- or two-player side-scrolling arcade platform game produced and released by Taito in 1982. It was initially released as Jungle King. The player controls a jungle explorer ...more

48
8 23
Time Pilot is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Time Pilot 1982 Time Pilot is a multi-directional scrolling shooter and free-roaming aerial combat arcade game designed by Yoshiki Okamoto, released by Konami in 1982, and distributed in the United States by ...more

49
9 27
Xevious is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Xevious 1982 Xevious is a vertical scrolling shooter arcade game that was released by Namco in December 1982. It runs on Namco Galaga hardware, and was designed by Masanobu Endō. In North America, the game ...more

50
4 20
Gyruss is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Gyruss 1983 Gyruss is a shoot 'em up video arcade game developed by Konami, and released in 1983. It was designed by Yoshiki Okamoto, who had earlier created Time Pilot for Konami. Gyruss was licensed to ...more