Button Mash
597 voters

The Best Arcade Shooter Games Ever, Ranked

Updated October 6, 2020 4.0k votes 597 voters 53.5k 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. 

Photo:
...more
  • Galaga1
    112
    45

    Galaga

    1981

    DeveloperNamco

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

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

    More Galaga 

    #57 of 119 The Best Video Game Sequels#41 of 66 Hardest Video Games of All Time

  • Time Crisis2
    121
    52

    DeveloperNamco

    Genres (Video game)Light gun, Shoot 'em up, Action game, Light gun shooter, Rail shooter

    Time Crisis is a light gun shooter arcade game released by Namco in 1996. It was later ported...  more
    Amazon buy button
  • The House of the Dead 23

    DeveloperSega Wow

    Genres (Video game)Horror, Shoot 'em up, Survival horror, Rail shooter

    The House of the Dead 2 is a light gun arcade game with a horror theme and the second game in...  more
    Amazon buy button
  • Metal Slug4
    128
    63

    DeveloperNazca Corporation, SNK Playmore

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

    Metal Slug is a run and gun video game developed by Nazca Corporation and published by SNK. It...  more
    Amazon buy button
  • 1943: The Battle of Midway5

    DeveloperCapcom

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

    1943: The Battle of Midway, originally released as 1943: Midway Kaisen, is a 1987 shoot 'em up...  more
    Amazon buy button
  • Doom6
    74
    32

    Doom

    1993

    Developerid Software, Williams Entertainment Inc.

    Genres (Video game)First-person shooter

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

    More Doom 

    #84 of 90 List of Space Marine Games#136 of 154 The Best Super Nintendo (SNES) Games

  • Operation Wolf7

    DeveloperTaito Corporation

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

    Operation Wolf is a one-player shooter video game made by Taito in 1987. It spawned three...  more
    Amazon buy button
  • Area 518
    76
    37

    DeveloperMesa Logic

    Genres (Video game)Shooter game, Light gun, Action game

    Area 51 is a light gun arcade game released by Atari Games in 1995. It takes its name from the...  more
    Amazon buy button
  • T2: Terminator 2: Judgment Day9

    DeveloperMidway

    Genres (Video game)Shooter game

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day or T2 is a gun shooting video game based on the film of the same...  more
    Amazon buy button
  • Asteroids10
    74
    36

    DeveloperAtari

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

    Asteroids is an arcade space shooter released in November 1979 by Atari, Inc. and designed by...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Asteroids 

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

  • Contra11
    77
    41

    Contra

    1987

    DeveloperKonami

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

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

    More Contra 

    #120 of 1,371 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans#27 of 143 The Greatest Classic Video Game Theme Songs Ever

  • Space Invaders12

    DeveloperTaito Corporation

    Genres (Video game)Fixed shooter

    Space Invaders is an arcade video game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado and released in 1978....  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Space Invaders 

    'Space Invaders' Was So Popular, A 12-Year-Old Held Up A Bank For Coins#16 of 25 25 Things You Love That Were Accidents

  • 194213
    62
    36

    1942

    1984

    DeveloperCapcom

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

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

    More 1942 

    #60 of 784 Every Single NES Game, Ranked From Best to Worst#13 of 91 The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

  • Commando14
    59
    33

    DeveloperCapcom

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

    Commando, originally released as Senjō no Ōkami, is a run & gun, vertically scrolling arcade...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Commando 

    #8 of 76 The Best Atari 7800 Games#27 of 38 The Best Classic Nintendo Arcade Games

  • Defender15
    59
    35

    DeveloperWMS Industries Inc.

    Genres (Video game)Shoot 'em up

    Defender is an arcade video game developed and released by Williams Electronics in February...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Defender 

    #482 of 2,039 Sony PlayStation 2 Games: List of PS2 Console Games#12 of 116 The Best Classic Arcade Games

  • Virtua Cop16
    61
    37

    DeveloperAM R&D Dept. #2, Sega AM2

    Genres (Video game)Light gun, Shoot 'em up, Action game, Light gun shooter, Rail shooter

    Virtua Cop is a first-person lightgun shooter arcade game created by Sega AM2 and headed by Yu...  more
    Amazon buy button
  • Silent Scope17
    50
    26

    DeveloperKonami

    Genres (Video game)Shooter game, Light gun, Shoot 'em up

    Silent Scope is an arcade game that puts the player in the shoes of a sniper during a series...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Silent Scope 

    #25 of 60 The Best '90s Arcade Games#81 of 158 The Best PlayStation 2 Action Games

  • CarnEvil18
    47
    27

    DeveloperMidway Games

    Genres (Video game)Shooter game, Light gun, Horror, Zombie Film, Survival horror

    CarnEvil is a rail shooter arcade game using a light gun. It was released by Midway Games on...  more
    Amazon buy button
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park19

    DeveloperAppaloosa Interactive, DICE Los Angeles

    Genres (Video game)Action game

    The Lost World: Jurassic Park is an action-adventure video game developed by DreamWorks...  more
    Amazon buy button
  • Time Crisis 420

    DeveloperNamco, Nex Entertainment

    Genres (Video game)Shooter game, Shoot 'em up, Action game, Light gun shooter, First-person Shooter

    Time Crisis 4 is the fourth installment in Namco's Time Crisis series which introduces new...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Time Crisis 4 

    #503 of 617 Sony PlayStation 3 Games: List of PS3 Console Games#77 of 92 The Best PS3 First-Person Shooter Games

  • Tempest21
    44
    26

    DeveloperAtari

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

    Tempest is a 1981 arcade game by Atari Inc., originally designed and programmed by Dave...  more
    Amazon buy button
  • Police Trainer22
    Amazon buy button
  • Star Wars Trilogy Arcade23

    DeveloperLucasArts, Sega AM3, Sega Rosso

    Genres (Video game)Shoot 'em up, Rail shooter

    Star Wars Trilogy Arcade is an arcade game first released in 1998. The game is a 3-D rail...  more
    Amazon buy button
  • Zaxxon24
    41
    25

    Zaxxon

    1982

    DeveloperSega

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

    Zaxxon is a 1982 isometric shooter arcade game developed and released by Sega. Some sources...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More 

    #23 of 78 The Best '80s Arcade Games#44 of 67 The Best Atari 5200 Games

  • Battlezone25
    37
    21

    DeveloperAtari, Inc., Atari

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

    Battlezone is an arcade game from Atari released in November 1980. It displays a wireframe...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Battlezone 

    #29 of 35 The Best Tank Simulator Games of All Time, Ranked#41 of 89 The Best Vehicular Combat Games of All Time