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The Best '80s Arcade Games

Updated January 29, 2021 52.9k votes 4.2k voters 157.8k 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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  • 1
    1,454
    481

    Galaga

    1981

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

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  • 2
    1,286
    418

    Genres (Video game)Maze

    More Pac-Man 

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  • 3
    938
    323

    Genres (Video game)Fixed shooter

    More Space Invaders 

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  • 4
    1,162
    417

    Genres (Video game)Platform game

    More Donkey Kong 

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  • 5
    1,025
    362

    Genres (Video game)Action game, Maze

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  • 6
    938
    372

    Genres (Video game)Action game

  • 7
    809
    313

    1942

    1984

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

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    #11 of 91 The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever#135 of 282 Every Video Game Set In WW2

  • 8
    327
    92

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

    More Asteroids 

    #72 of 82 The Best Space Combat Simulator Games of All Time#1 of 61 The Best Atari Games List

  • 9
    541
    205

    Genres (Video game)Driving

  • 10
    825
    363

    Tetris

    1985

    Genres (Video game)Puzzle game, Strategy video game

    More Tetris 

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  • 11
    755
    360

    Genres (Video game)Action game, Fighting game

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  • 12
    794
    384

    Genres (Video game)Action game

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    #379 of 1,371 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans#151 of 454 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Time

  • 13
    726
    354

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

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  • 14
    539
    256

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

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  • 15
    719
    362

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

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  • 16
    707
    357

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

    More Pole Position 

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  • 17
    344
    151

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

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  • 18
    743
    386

    Genres (Video game)Shoot 'em up

    More Defender 

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  • 19
    719
    395

    Genres (Video game)Shoot 'em up

    More Centipede 

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  • 20
    365
    181

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

    More Berzerk 

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  • 21

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

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  • 22
    641
    374

    Joust

    1982

    Genres (Video game)Platform game, Action game

  • 23
    653
    395

    Tron

    1982

    Genres (Video game)Action game

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  • 24
    458
    265

    Zaxxon

    1982

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

  • 25
    615
    380

    Q*bert

    1982

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