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The Best '80s Arcade Games

Updated January 29, 2021 50.7k votes 3.7k voters 142.5k views78 items

List RulesVote up the best 80s video 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.

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  • Pac-Man1
    1,205
    377

    Genres (Video game)Maze

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  • Galaga2
    1,371
    442

    Galaga

    1981

    Genres (Video game)Shoot 'em up, Action game, Space combat, Science Fiction

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  • Space Invaders3
    917
    302

    Genres (Video game)Fixed shooter

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  • Ms. Pac-Man4
    996
    336

    Genres (Video game)Action game, Maze

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  • Donkey Kong5
    1,097
    405

    Genres (Video game)Platform game

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  • Frogger6
    921
    353

    Genres (Video game)Action game

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  • 19427
    788
    294

    1942

    1984

    Genres (Video game)Shoot 'em up, Action game, Scrolling shooter

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  • Out Run8
    487
    165

    Genres (Video game)Driving

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  • Asteroids9
    260
    64

    Genres (Video game)Shoot 'em up, Action game, Space combat

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    #72 of 82 The Best Space Combat Simulator Games of All Time#2 of 61 The Best Atari Games List

  • Tetris10
    802
    351

    Tetris

    1985

    Genres (Video game)Puzzle game, Strategy video game

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    #117 of 154 The Best Super Nintendo (SNES) Games#9 of 35 The Most Memorable Video Game Sound Bites of All Time

  • Dragon's Lair11
    710
    325

    Genres (Video game)Puzzle game, Interactive movie, Action game

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    #23 of 66 Hardest Video Games of All Time#6 of 14 Arcade Ports That Just Didn't Work Out

  • Street Fighter12
    739
    344

    Genres (Video game)Action game, Fighting game

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    #84 of 179 The Greatest Fighting Games Ever Made#102 of 195 The Best Fighting Games of All Time

  • Battlezone13
    526
    242

    Genres (Video game)Simulation video game, Turn-based tactics, Vehicular combat game

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  • After Burner14
    327
    133

    Genres (Video game)Combat flight simulator, Shoot 'em up, Action game, Flight simulator

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    #194 of 429 The Best Video Game Soundtracks of All Time#5 of 25 The Best Sega 32X Games

  • Dig Dug15
    767
    387

    Genres (Video game)Action game

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  • Pole Position16
    692
    353

    Genres (Video game)Simulation video game, Sports game, Racing video game

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    #85 of 105 The Best PlayStation Racing Games#60 of 85 The Best Nintendo 64 Racing Games

  • Berzerk17
    358
    164

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

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    #84 of 86 The Best Run And Gun Games of All Time#49 of 82 The Best Robot Video Games of All Time

  • Defender18
    721
    391

    Genres (Video game)Shoot 'em up

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  • Gauntlet19
    679
    371

    Genres (Video game)Action game, Run and gun, Maze, Hack and slash

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    #8 of 116 The Best Classic Arcade Games#1 of 17 The Coolest Arcade Game Cabinet Art Ever!

  • Super Mario Bros.20

    Genres (Video game)Platform game, Action game, Adventure

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  • Centipede21
    681
    403

    Genres (Video game)Shoot 'em up

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  • Zaxxon22
    448
    257

    Zaxxon

    1982

    Genres (Video game)Isometric projection, Shooter game, Shoot 'em up, Action game

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  • Bubble Bobble23
    482
    284

    Genres (Video game)Puzzle game, Platform game, Action game

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  • Joust24
    615
    375

    Joust

    1982

    Genres (Video game)Platform game, Action game

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  • Tron25
    641
    395

    Tron

    1982

    Genres (Video game)Action game

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