Looking back at all the amazing video games, franchises, and systems we’ve seen throughout the years, it’s important to remember the classics that paved the way for the video game industry – starting all the way back with quarter-fed arcades. When we wrote this list of our favorite retro arcade games, we focused on the early games that helped grow and set the tone for the genre.
Space Invaders (1978)
This classic arcade game helped build the golden age of gaming. Not only did Space Invaders pave the way for shooting games, it also introduced a more-interactive style of gameplay in which the bad guys reacted to your movements and fired back. Some of the popular game developers from the 80s and 90s even cite Space Invaders as their introduction to the medium.
In this vintage shoot ‘em up, you man a laser cannon to defend the earth from rows upon rows of invading aliens. You progress through levels by destroying all the aliens on the screen. As you shoot these creatures, and the remaining aliens get closer and closer to earth, their movement and the music speeds up, pouring on the pressure.
Ms. Pac-Man (1982)
The Pac-Man games can be enjoyed by all ages. They even made our list of the best arcade games for kids.
In the Ms. Pac-Man arcade game, you navigate a series of mazes, eating all the pellets before the ghosts can catch up to you. It’s a bit more challenging than the original Pac-Man because some of the ghosts have random patterns that are harder to predict.
Ms. Pac-Man was received extremely well when it was released. It was one of the highest grossing games from 1982 to 1984, and it sold 125,000 machines by 1988.
Decades before Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson teamed up with a giant CGI gorilla to fight a flying wolf and an underwater lizard monster, Rampage started life as a classic arcade game.
In the game, three people mutate into giant animals: a monkey, wolf, and lizard. The player selects one of the giant mutant-animal hybrids to smash buildings, eat people, and fight off tanks, helicopters, and little army guys who throw TNT. As the game continues, the levels include more and more buildings to smash. Each time you destroy every building in a city, you move onto another one.
Mortal Kombat 2 (1993)
Speaking of movie adaptations, this retro video game now has a reboot of its movies! Over the years, many have complained about the violence in this video game franchise, and they have been censored or banned in some countries. Yet, MKII did great in the marketplace, won numerous awards, and is often rated as one of the top video games.
When you think of fighting games, your mind might go to Smash Brothers, Soulcalibur, Tekken, or Marvel Vs. Capcom. But all of these came after Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat 2. The Mortal Kombat games have everything you want from the fighting genre:
- Fast action
- Gratuitous violence
- Catch phrases
- Secret characters
- Over-the-top finishing moves
The gameplay is straightforward: After selecting a character, you’re entered into a head-to-head fighting tournament that’s kill or be killed.
We hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane as we discussed some of our top vintage arcade games.
If you’re looking for classics for your home game room or business, check out M&P’s selection of used arcade games for sale. We have all kinds of titles, including shoot ‘em ups and beat ‘em ups as well as sports arcade games. If you don’t see exactly what you need, feel free to give us a call at 717-887-5293 for our updated inventory.