The 50+ Best 90s Arcade Games, Ranked
Though arcades are a bit harder to find nowadays, true gamers (and 90s kids) will never forget the great 90s arcade games that took all our quarters growing up. Of course, we happily fed those machines our change and tokens to reach the next level or get another race in. Regardless, some of the best arcade games of all time came out of the 90s, and they remain today as many of our favorites—and have even been recreated for a range of gaming systems. Simply put, nothing serves up a dose of 1990s nostalgia like a list of the best arcade games from the decade.
While it's hard to beat the top arcade games of the 80s, the 90s brought with it some incredibly fun games. For whatever reason, shoot 'em up style games—or light shooters—reigned as some of the most popular games throughout the 90s, such as Lethal Enforcers, Gunblade NY, Area 51, and so many more. Similarly, fighting games like Mortal Kombat II and Street Fighter II were also taking kids quarters left and right. And we can't forget the side-scrolling classic, The Simpsons, among a plethora of racing and sports games. Needless to say, the 90s arcade games did not disappoint.
Do you have a favorite arcade game from the 90s? Find it on the list, along with any other games you miss and vote them up! If your game of choice isn't there, feel free to add it to help create the ultimate list of 90s arcade games.
- Genres (Video game): Fighting
Ah, the glory days of arcade gaming - when Street Fighter II reigned supreme and captured our hearts (and quarters) with its groundbreaking graphics and intense one-on-one combat. This classic brawler defined the fighting game genre, pitting iconic characters like Ryu, Chun-Li, and Blanka against each other in epic battles for supremacy. From executing Hadoukens to mastering the art of combos, Street Fighter II remains an unmatched experience that still resonates with gamers today.
- Genres (Video game): Action, Fighting
Mortal Kombat II took arcades by storm in 1993 with its brutal fatalities and controversial violence that pushed boundaries like never before. With improved gameplay mechanics, a diverse roster of fighters including fan-favorites Scorpion and Sub-Zero, plus those unforgettable finishing moves – who could resist? The blood-soaked battlegrounds of Outworld beckoned us all to test our might; an invitation we eagerly accepted as we reveled in this gory masterpiece.
- Genres (Video game): Action game, Beat 'em up, Fighting game, Side-scrolling
Journey back to the radical '90s when four pizza-loving heroes-in-a-half-shell jumped from comic books and TV screens straight into arcade cabinets everywhere. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time delivered thrilling side-scrolling action as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello or Raphael battled through time itself to save their beloved city from Shredder's evil clutches—a gnarly adventure that had us shell-shocked and begging for more!
- Genres (Video game): Beat 'em up
Who can forget stepping into Moe's Tavern alongside Homer Simpson on a quest to rescue his kidnapped family? The Simpsons Arcade Game brought America's favorite dysfunctional family together for a hilarious beat-'em-up romp through Springfield filled with familiar faces and wacky humor galore. It was pure animated chaos at its finest—and we couldn't get enough!
- Genres (Video game): Action game, Beat 'em up
Unleashing your mutant powers while teaming up with friends—what could be better than X-Men's six-player co-op extravaganza? As Wolverine slashed through Sentinels or Storm summoned lightning bolts across Danger Room simulations gone awry; this adrenaline-pumping action fest kept us coming back for more heroics (and high scores). In an era dominated by solo play experiences—the camaraderie forged during countless hours spent battling Magneto’s forces solidified X-Men’s place among arcade legends forevermore!
- Genres (Video game): Sports game, Basketball
Picture this - an over-the-top, adrenaline-pumping arcade basketball experience that defined a generation. NBA Jam took the 90's by storm with its high-flying dunks and iconic catchphrases, solidifying its position as one of the best sports games in arcade history. With a perfect blend of nostalgia and competitive spirit, it continues to capture the hearts of fans both new and old.