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The Best '80s Arcade Games  

Video Games Lists
17.4k votes 1.7k voters 72.3k views 75 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.

list ordered by
1
Galaga is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
2
Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
3
Donkey Kong is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
Space Invaders is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
StefanoTommasi added 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
5
Frogger is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Jan 01 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
6
Ms. Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
Dig Dug is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
8
Centipede is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
9
Super Mario Bros. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
10
Pole Position is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
11
Defender is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
12
Tetris is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
13
Tron is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
14
Double Dragon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
15
Joust is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
16
Street Fighter is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
17
Gauntlet is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
18
1942 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
19
Q*bert is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
Punch-Out!! is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
21
Rampage is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
22
Missile Command is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
23
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
24
Paperboy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
Donkey Kong Jr. is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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