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The Best Arcade Shooter Games Ever, Ranked

Updated October 6, 2020 4.1k votes 644 voters 58.7k views58 items

List RulesVote up the classic shooting games you spent all your coins and tokens on.

When it comes to the best arcade shooting games of all time, what tops your list? From light gun shooters to your classic run and gun action games, there's a ton of awesome shooting games out there. In fact, some of the best classic arcade games are shooters. It's games like these that so often took our quarters and tokens at the arcade back in the day. Whether you miss the good old days of 80s arcade games or you're heading to the arcade today, take a trip down memory lane with this list of the greatest arcade shooting games. 

There's a long list of killer shooters, but perhaps the best of these thrilling games include hits like Time Crisis, House of the Dead 2, and T2: Judgment Day. Of course, you can't forget the ultimate classics, such as Space Invaders, Asteroids, and Galaga—which were some of the earlier shooter games to hit arcades. Don't forget your 90s arcade games either, featuring popular favorites like Virtua Cop and The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Simply put, everyone has that one shooting game they head straight to when arriving at the arcade—what's yours?

Check out the list of arcade shooters below and vote up the games you think are the best of all time. 

  • 1
    The House of the Dead 2 is a light gun arcade game with a horror theme and the second game in...  more
  • 2
    Time Crisis is a light gun shooter arcade game released by Namco in 1996. It was later ported...  more
  • 3


    Galaga is a fixed shooter arcade game developed and published by Namco in Japan and published...  more

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  • 4
    Metal Slug is a run and gun video game developed by Nazca Corporation and published by SNK. It...  more
  • 5
    1943: The Battle of Midway, originally released as 1943: Midway Kaisen, is a 1987 shoot 'em up...  more
  • 6


    Contra, distributed as Gryzor in Europe and Oceania, is a 1987 run and gun action game...  more

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  • 7


    Doom is a 1993 science fiction horror-themed first-person shooter video game by id Software....  more

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  • 8
    Operation Wolf is a one-player shooter video game made by Taito in 1987. It spawned three...  more
  • 9
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day or T2 is a gun shooting video game based on the film of the same...  more
  • 10
    Asteroids is an arcade space shooter released in November 1979 by Atari, Inc. and designed by...  more

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  • 11
    Space Invaders is an arcade video game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado and released in 1978....  more

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  • 12
    Virtua Cop is a first-person lightgun shooter arcade game created by Sega AM2 and headed by Yu...  more
  • 13
    Area 51 is a light gun arcade game released by Atari Games in 1995. It takes its name from the...  more
  • 14
    Defender is an arcade video game developed and released by Williams Electronics in February...  more

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  • 15


    1942 is a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up made by Capcom that was released for the arcade in...  more

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  • 16
    Commando, originally released as Senjō no Ōkami, is a run & gun, vertically scrolling arcade...  more

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  • 17
    Silent Scope is an arcade game that puts the player in the shoes of a sniper during a series...  more

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  • 18
    Star Wars Trilogy Arcade is an arcade game first released in 1998. The game is a 3-D rail...  more
  • 19
    Tempest is a 1981 arcade game by Atari Inc., originally designed and programmed by Dave...  more
  • 20
    Time Crisis 4 is the fourth installment in Namco's Time Crisis series which introduces new...  more

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  • 21
    The Lost World: Jurassic Park is an action-adventure video game developed by DreamWorks...  more
  • 22
    CarnEvil is a rail shooter arcade game using a light gun. It was released by Midway Games on...  more
  • 23
  • 24
    Galaxian is an arcade game that was developed by Namco and released in October 1979. It was...  more

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  • 25
    Battlezone is an arcade game from Atari released in November 1980. It displays a wireframe...  more

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