The 10 Best Vintage Arcade Games of All Time

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The gaming world is becoming more and more technologically advanced each day.

Now, you can transport to another world with the touch of a button in your living room.

However, there was once a simpler time in the ’70s and ’80s where gaming meant heading down to your local arcade with a pocketful of coins to play some vintage arcade games with your friends.

Even if you didn’t grow up during this period, you’ve probably played an arcade game at some point in your life.

If you’re feeling nostalgic for those simpler times, you’ve come to the right place.

Read on to learn about the best vintage arcade games of all time.

1. Pacman 

No list of classic arcade games would be complete without Pacman. Invented in 1980 by the Japanese company Namco, Pacman pretty much became an overnight success.

During the 1980s, most arcade games involved shooting something in outer space. With its non-violent maze chasing and adorable characters (Pacman, Blinky, Inky, and Clyde), this game presented something fresh and new to the arcade world.

Also, the premise of Pacman is incredibly simple. Your job is to guide the little Pacman through a maze to eat all of the pellets so he can advance to the next level.

Of course, eating all the pellets does not come without obstacle, as the Pacman has three little ghosts chasing after him, attempting to eat him and take away his lives.

When Pacman eats “power pellets,” he has an opportunity to pursue the ghosts and earn extra points.

Pacman is considered to be one of the most influential games of all time, as not only was it the first game in the maze game genre, but it’s also credited for being the first game to attract a female audience.

You can get your chance to play Pacman at this video arcade

2. Ms. Pacman

Since the non-violent gameplay of the original Pacman appeared to be a huge hit with females, Namco decided to expand their maze-game offerings into Ms. Pacman.

Ms. Pacman was essentially Pacman with a pink bow, and it was very popular with the female audience.

But the creators of Ms. Pacman did a lot more than just plop a bow on the old Pacman. This game featured new maze patterns, and it made the ghosts move at random so that players couldn’t learn patterns to beat every level.

3. Space Invaders

Space Invaders inspired many outer space-themed video games, and it’s even credited as having started the “golden age” of arcade games, a period that spanned the late ’70s to ’80s in which we saw unprecedented advancements in gaming design and technology.

Originally launched in Japan in 1978, this game quickly became a cultural phenomenon.  In fact, there were so many Japanese people attempting to play the game that summer that there was a temporary shortage of the 100 yen coin.

After its success in Japan, Space Invaders was quickly exported to the rest of the world.

And just like in Japan, people were lining up all over the world to get their chance at playing this game. In fact, in its first year of release, Space Invaders generated more revenue than Star Wars, which was the highest-grossing movie of the period.

4. Street Fighter 2

During the 1990s, there was a brief resurgence of video games, and that was due in large part to Street Fighter 2, the sequel to the 1987 game Street Fighter.

Street Fighter was a competitive fighting game that came with multiple characters who each had their own fighting style and special combo moves.

In this game, you fight one-on-one against your opponent in a best of three scenario. The goal of each round is to drain your enemy’s life before the timer runs out.

5. Asteroids

Released in 1979, Asteroids is considered a vector graphic classic.

This game allows you to control a triangular spaceship in an asteroid field that’s periodically being crisscrossed by UFOs.

The goal of the game is to destroy saucers and asteroids without colliding with them. You also have to avoid being hit by the asteroids shots.

The number of asteroids increases throughout the game, and you have three lives to lose before the game ends.

6. Mortal Kombat

Many people don’t know this, but Mortal Kombat actually started out as a very simple arcade game.

While there have been a lot of fight-themed arcade games throughout the years, what makes Mortal Kombat unique is its end-of-fight moves that allow you to finish the opponent off in spectacular glory. 

The first Mortal Kombat was so popular that they even came out with a second one. In Mortal Combat 2, there were several new upgrades and five new characters. 

They also significantly updated the gameplay with new moves and combo capabilities. 

Since then, Mortal Kombat has become a huge franchise, and in 1996, they released the highest-grossing film based on a video game. 

7. Donkey Kong

Last, but not least, we have Donkey Kong. This was created by legendary video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who would go on to create Super Mario Brothers and the Legend of Zelda.

When it was first launched, Donkey Kong was thought to be a very odd game, which makes sense when you consider that most of the games at the time either involved outer space combat or maze chasing.

However, the new concept soon caught on, and the game became a smash hit.

Are You Ready to Play These Vintage Arcade Games?

As you can see, there are many vintage arcade games out there that are worth trying.

Now all you need to do is head down to your local arcade (yes, they still exist) to check them out. Just don’t forget to bring plenty of quarters with you!

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