Total Nerd The Best '80s Arcade Games  

Video Games Lists
4.2k votes 310 voters 7.6k views 56 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
119 17
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
117 18
Donkey Kong is listed (or ranked) 2 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

3
113 19
Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 3 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

4
98 19
Frogger is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

5
104 23
Ms. Pac-Man is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
91 18
Centipede is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
89 18
Tetris is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
87 17
Super Mario Bros. is listed (or ranked) 8 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

9
85 16
Dig Dug is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
81 23
Mario Bros. is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

11
79 22
Punch-Out!! is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
78 25
Rampage is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
73 22
Joust is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
77 25
Defender is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
77 27
Gauntlet is listed (or ranked) 15 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

16
80 29
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
75 29
Tron is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
77 31
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

19
71 27
Pole Position is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
66 24
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
64 23
Double Dragon is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
62 23
Donkey Kong Jr. is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
72 31
Q*bert is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
62 24
Contra is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

25
62 24
Paperboy is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
58 23
Missile Command is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
50 22
1942 is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
57 28
Dragon's Lair is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

29
58 29
BurgerTime is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

30
46 25
Spy Hunter is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

31
6 0
Space Invaders is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
40 29
Tempest is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

33
36 27
Battlezone is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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
37 29
Track & Field is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

35
31 26
Popeye is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

36
34 30
Millipede is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

37
36 33
Zaxxon is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

38
34 32
Bubble Bobble is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

39
29 27
Moon Patrol is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

40
26 27
Arkanoid is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

41
1 1
Ghosts'n Goblins is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
StefanoTommasi added 1985 Ghosts 'n Goblins is a 1985 side-scrolling platforming game developed by Capcom for video arcades and has since been released on several other platforms. It is the first game in the Ghosts 'n ...more

42
4 5
Wizard Of Wor is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Keith Staple added 1980 Wizard of Wor is an arcade game from 1981, developed by Midway. It was ported to the Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64, Atari 2600, Atari 5200 and renamed to The Incredible Wizard for the Bally ...more

43
0 1
Wonder Boy is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
info1542374986748 added 1986 Wonder Boy is a 1986 platformer video game published by Sega and developed by Escape. Originally designed for arcades, it was later ported to the SG-1000, Sega Mark III/Master System and Game ...more

44
0 1
ASO: Armored Scrum Object is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
StefanoTommasi added ASO: Armored Scrum Object

45
26 31
Elevator Action is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

46
12 15
720° is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
Bryan Kuller added 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

47
23 30
Tapper is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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.

48
22 29
Robotron: 2084 is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

49
19 31
Time Pilot is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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

50
22 35
Captain America and The Avenge... is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best '80s Arcade Games
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