Top 3 arcade games of the 1980s

What are your top pics for the arcade games that were put out in the 1980s?
Mine are

  1. Mortal Kombat - Pretty awesome fighting moves and great looking graphics.
  2. Space Harrier - Great graphics, nice fast pace, and I loved the music and the repeated “You’re doing great kid!” and “Get Ready!”
  3. Gorf - It’s hard to articulate why I like it, but it was a fun combination of Space Invaders, Galaxia, and it had a couple of unique levels (The space warp is the hardest one for me).

So, what about you?

Oh, and I guess if you don’t want to limit it to just three, that’s fine. If that’s the case then I’ll also add Altered Beast and Ikari Warriors II Victory Road to my list.

My personal favorite was Centipede. Hour after hour after hour after hour.

Pac Man
Donkey Kong
Ikari Warriors (the original, and probably not deserving, but my favorite due to its exceptional originality with the 8-way joysticks, tanks, powerups, and limited ammunition)

Honorable mention:

Mr. Do!
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Firefox/Space Ace/Dragon’s Lair (the laserdisc games)
Donkey Kong Junior
Red Baron
Spy Hunter
Fire Truck (the most unique two player game of all time)
Double Dragon
Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi (the first two being fabulous vector games and the last one being an exceptionally detailed 2/3 view scroller)
Zaxxon/Super Zaxxon
OK, that’s enough. I could go on and on… and on and on. The 1980s was the best decade EVER for video games. What they lack in gimmicks and doodads compared to the modern games they more than make up for with exceptional playability and replay value.

Mortal Kombat came out in 1992 .

Anyhoo, my favorite would have to be Donkey Kong, but I can’t think of two other actual arcade machines I was playing in the 80’s. I was born in '82, and there aren’t a whole lot of arcades in BFE.

Sure, the numbers may tell a different story, but there can be no question as to what the greatest game truly was.

“Green elf is about to die.”



USA Track and Field

How could I have forgotten that one? I guess I was repressing memories of Death.

I also forgot Paperboy, another great one.

Just to nitpick – if we’re talking strictly the '80s, then some of the classics can’t be counted. A quick check of High Score! The Illustrated History of Electronic Games (a must-have volume for the serious video game junkie) indicates that Asteroids, Galaxian, Lunar Lander, and Space Invaders all came out in the (late) '70s.
Sticking to the '80s, though…

  1. Star Wars - The proverbial “one game on a deserted island” game…

  2. Joust - A minute to learn, a lifetime to master

  3. Ms. Pac-Man - Still popular after all these decades

My top two would definitely be Star Wars and OutRun - the full climb-in-and-sit-down versions, none of this console nonsense.

My third choice is a bit obscure; a Galaxian-type game called Exerizer (AKA ‘Sky Fox’) - I played it in a table-top console in a pub nearly every night with my best mate.

Pole Position
Crystal Castles

Defender (was that 70s as well?)
Marble Madness
Tetris (or was that early 90s?)

Gauntlet, definetly. I actually clocked it on the Atari ST in about 88. Took me about 16 hours.

Streetfighter II, is the fucking Daddy. I love that game, and the RSI in my right wrist is partly due to Dragon Punches with Ken.

Final Fight, as Haggar. Clocked this in the arcades too.

Honourable mentions:
Double Dragon
Exed Exes
Saint Dragon
Space Harrier
1942 (which I also clocked)

Top 3:

Ms. Pac-Man
Star Wars

I also liked:

Wizard of Wor
Time Pilot
Hogan’s Alley

But you know, I think I spent more time playing pinball than video games

Pac Man. Too bad you never see an original Pac Man game any more.

Crazy Climber. I liked the controls- you almost got a workout playing it. And that music after getting pulled off by the helicopter was cool.

Gorf. I liked the robots voice. “Gorfian Robots- attack attack”

Burger Time and Tapper.


:eek: Opps. Sorry, I was thinking it came out in 1989.

Hey, was anybody here able to win Dragon’s Layer? I could never get past the first part. I was sure I was pressing the direction the arrow was pointing, but boom I’d get clobbered instantly.

I don’t remember that one. What was it about?

Oh, and Airman Doors, I see you listed Dragon’s Layer. Were you able to beat it?

Gridiron Fight!

O man, did we ever have fun with that one! And you really get a workout playing it.

Track & Field comes in at a close second.

Discs of Tron = Third.

It was Gauntlet. A four player Dungeon Crawl. They have Gauntlet 2 out now which, for some reason, isn’t nearly as fun. When I was in college, there was a Gauntlet game right outside my door. As the game ran all night, the phrases:

Wizard needs food. Badly.


Watch out for Traps!

still ring in my mind.

Star Castle. Rudy Rucker wrote a great story featuring it!
And Centipede.
And another one called, I think, just Anteater, where you controlled an anteater’s tongue as it tried to lick up ants in an anthill!

I had a close friend who used to be able to beat Dragon’s Lair II repeatedly. We’d go to the arcades now and then and he’d have to play it once just to get an audience behind him cheering him on. Even if it is memorization and timing, for him to make it through time after time without dying was a most impressive feat.

As far as my favorites:

Moon Patrol - I used to play it at the roller rink and could regularly make it to the end of the first world. Very neat and unusual game.

Eagle - Another one I used to be really really good at, and as such, I enjoyed it that much more.

Q-Bert - Very strange, very fun, but not too hard.

Thayer’s Quest - Only played it once, but it lingered in my head forever after. It was a laser disc game like Dragon’s Lair, but you controlled your character via a keyboard, trying to find items in the world that matched images on some of the letters on said keyboard. What stood out was at the beginning of the game, you typed in your name and it would speak it to you during play. In addition, you could ‘save’ your position and return later to continue where you left off.

Street Fighter II - A revolutionary game for its time. There were few fighters out before it, and none that had the speed and fight options that this one did. It sucked up a lot of my money for its time.

Gauntlet - As mentioned before, warrior just shot the food. My brother had gotten to the point that he could play endlessly on one quarter as long as nobody else joined in the game. I think he went 7 or 8 hours once, letting me control when he needed a bathroom break. His health was far far higher than what it started at when they shut the gameroom down for the night. When others joined in, they would quickly die on the levels where shots hurt other players (the world’s first griefer).

Championship Sprint - The computer opponents got very hard very quickly, but you could race against two friends and upgrage your car after each couple of races. The sequel, Colin McCrae’s Truck Racing (or something like that), allowed you to save your initials and birthday so that it would remember you.

Tempest - Hated it as a kid, but absolutely hooked on it as a grown up.

Stun Runner - Jaw dropping graphics for its time. High speed racing through tunnels where you could (and sometimes should) drive upside down. Atari had made some GREAT games (Peter Packrat, Indiana Jones, Toobin, Paperboy, 720, Road Runner, etc.) but this was one of my favorites.

Cyberball - Because regular football was for wimps. You could play 2 or 4 player (depending on the cabinet) and simplified football to a great man on man (or bot on bot) game. Seeing your opponent stuck with the ball when it blew up made it worthwhile.

Assault - Similar to Battlezone where you used two joysticks to control your tank, but with many more options for gameplay. You could ‘rear back’ your tank to launch a long distance bomb, or roll over on it’s belly for better handling. Great graphics, great fun.

Crossbow - Exidy made some great ‘shooter’ games, the most disturbing of which was Chiller, but Crossbow still has my heart as my favorite, with Cheyenne a close 2nd. Protect your adventurers of various speeds as they cross the screen.

Crystal Castles - Bentley Bear made the Pac Man genre right.

Tron - Second best videogame based off a movie ever (Discs of Tron was also REALLY well done, just harder to find to enjoy). Great music, good variety, and really separated the good player from the bad quickly.

Elevator Action