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The Best Arcade Shooter Games Ever, Ranked

List Rules
Vote 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:
list ordered by
  • Doom
    1
    Doom is a 1993 science fiction horror-themed first-person shooter video game by id Software. It is considered one of the most significant and influential titles in the video game industry, for having ...more
  • The House of the Dead 2 is a light gun arcade game with a horror theme and the second game in the The House of the Dead series of video games, developed by Sega for video arcades in 1998 and later ...more
  • 1943: The Battle of Midway, originally released as 1943: Midway Kaisen, is a 1987 shoot 'em up arcade game developed and published by Capcom. It was the first followup to Capcom's earlier 1942.
  • Time Crisis is a light gun shooter arcade game released by Namco in 1996. It was later ported for the PlayStation in 1997, bundled with the Guncon light gun controller.
  • Metal Slug is a run and gun video game developed by Nazca Corporation and published by SNK. It was originally released in 1996 for the Neo Geo MVS arcade platform. The game is widely known for its ...more
  • Contra
    6
    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. A ...more
  • Asteroids is an arcade space shooter released in November 1979 by Atari, Inc. and designed by Lyle Rains and Ed Logg. The player controls a spaceship in an asteroid field which is periodically ...more
  • Time Crisis 4 is the fourth installment in Namco's Time Crisis series which introduces new features to the cover-based light gun shooter gameplay engine of its predecessors alongside a new story and ...more
  • Galaga
    9
    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
  • Operation Wolf is a one-player shooter video game made by Taito in 1987. It spawned three sequels: Operation Thunderbolt, Operation Wolf 3 and Operation Tiger.
  • Virtua Cop is a first-person lightgun shooter arcade game created by Sega AM2 and headed by Yu Suzuki. Its original incarnation was an arcade game in 1994 and it was later ported to the Sega Saturn ...more
  • Commando
    12
    Commando, originally released as Senjō no Ōkami, is a run & gun, vertically scrolling arcade game released in 1985. Its influence can be seen in various later games in the shooter game ...more
  • 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 the ...more
  • 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 very ...more
  • Area 51
    15
    Area 51 is a light gun arcade game released by Atari Games in 1995. It takes its name from the Area 51 military facility. The plot of the game involves the player taking part in a STAAR military ...more
  • Galaxian
    16
    Galaxian is an arcade game that was developed by Namco and released in October 1979. It was published by Namco in Japan and imported to North America by Midway that December. A fixed shooter game in ...more
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day or T2 is a gun shooting video game based on the film of the same name, produced by Midway Manufacturing Company for the arcades in 1991.
  • 1942
    18
    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 is ...more
  • Star Wars Trilogy Arcade is an arcade game first released in 1998. The game is a 3-D rail shooter based on the original trilogy of Star Wars films and was released along with the special editions of ...more
  • Defender
    20
    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 the ...more
  • Tempest
    21
    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 a ...more
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park is an action-adventure video game developed by DreamWorks Interactive and Appaloosa Interactive, and published by Electronic Arts and Sega for the Sony PlayStation and ...more
  • Virtua Cop 2 is a light gun arcade game, released in 1995 and developed internally at Sega by their AM2 studio. It was ported to home systems on the Sega Saturn in 1996. It was released in PC in 1997 ...more
  • Silent Scope is an arcade game that puts the player in the shoes of a sniper during a series of terrorist incidents. The game uses a rifle that is mounted on the console, requiring players to ...more
  • Space Harrier is a third-person rail shooter video game released by Sega in 1985. It spawned several sequels like Space Harrier 3-D, Space Harrier II, or the spin-off Planet Harriers. Space Harrier ...more