The 10 Best Classic Arcade Games Of All Time

The golden age of arcade video games was an era of technological innovation and tremendous popularity for a variety of titles including Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Pac-Man. During the 80’s, a lot of kids spent most of their time playing arcade games. They could stay up for hours every weekend just by playing. It was when people first discovered outer space madness, maze patterns, and alien invasions. Can you still remember when the last time you played all these games? Here are the top 10 classic arcade games that will make you relive your teenage years.


Pac-Man made its way into the top spot in no time. This arcade game was introduced to the public in 1980 and had a record-breaking success. It was an 8-bit arcade game system board that has developed throughout the years. Namco created Pac-Man, a major developer of arcade games that started their business in Japan. Pac-Man is the most recognizable character among all arcade games. Today, it would be a shock to meet someone who doesn’t know or hasn’t even played Pac-Man.

Did you know that this arcade game has its food products, toys, books, and clothing line? That is how people were so into this classic arcade game. There is so much merchandise that people had a hard time deciding which one to get. Today, you can enjoy playing this fantastic game using your mobile phone. Some developers came up with applications that can be installed in your latest gadget.

Space Invaders

It is one of the arcade video game classics that became a major export around the world. The machine was launched by Taito, in June 1978 in Japan, where it became a cultural phenomenon. By the end of 1978, there are already 100,000 arcade machines installed across the country. With a significant number of units available, Japan even had a shortage on their 100-yen coin because a lot of people keep on using it to play Space Invaders.

The game is a 2D shooter where a human protects Earth from aliens. And today, Space Invaders is now being released on various gaming platforms. A fun fact about this game is that Space Invaders was the first game to use “high score.”

Street Fighter II (Champion Edition)

This arcade game was Capcom’s sequel to its 1987 hit and one of the gaming milestones during the 1990’s. Street Fighter II has evolved with a benchmark fighting design that still stands true today. This classic arcade game became an instant hit because Capcom sold about 60,000 units globally. Street Fighter II brought enormous profits to Capcom which is why they produced an updated version of the game featuring an upgraded system. Today, there are gaming sites that still offer different versions of Street Fighter so that younger generations can play the game.

Ms. Pac-Man

The original arcade game, Pac-Man had been played by many females that are why Illinois-based Bally Midway of Midway Manufacturing Corporation decided to create another version of Pac-Man. Ms. Pac-Man is a classic arcade game specifically designed to attract female players. The character is a Pac-Man but designed with a pink bow to make it look like a female. It features four maze layouts with ghosts that were programmed to move randomly. A lot of players thought that this game is more challenging than its predecessor. However, it didn’t stop them from playing the game, eventually discovering that when you reach the 256th level, there was a glitch similar to the original Pac-Man.


In 1993, NBA Jam was also developed by Midway Manufacturing Corporation. It was a favorite arcade game, thanks to its official license enabling the maker to feature real team names and their players’ digital likenesses. NBA Jam players said that the gameplay was larger than life and it had a few rules. The game also features spectacular slam dunks and net shots that were accompanied by iconic phrases like “Boomshakalaka” and “He’s on fire.” Did you know that the players of this game thought NBA Jam had a bias against Chicago Bulls? In 2008, its designer Mark Turmell indeed confirmed that.


The Defender was one of the most popular shooters during the early 80’s. It features an intimidating number of gaming buttons and enemies whose behavior were extremely advanced for the period. The classic arcade game was created by Larry DeMar and Eugene Jarvis who were previously pinball machine designers at Williams. Defender was a video game inspired by their favorite details in Asteroids and Space Invaders. It provided its players with a relentless and high-energy experience that made the game successful. With the game’s high level of challenge, it helped the company earn hundreds of millions as people learned to love the complex gameplay.


Atari’s creation, Asteroids, is a vector graphic classic made in 1979. The game was inspired by Space War, considered as the first fully-fledged arcade video game. Asteroids were developed using hardware from an older Atari vector coin-op, called Lunar Lander. Despite its similarity to Space Wars, the players of Asteroids wouldn’t have seen that rare coin-op. In this game, the player had to deal with missile firing spaceships and other threats from all sides. A bunch of gamers spends money to buy the machine, which had sold 70,000 units in America, and 30,000 abroad. Atari required its players to have quick reflexes especially when UFOs started to appear on the screen.

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat is a classic arcade game developed by John Tobias and Ed Boon. The game features digital sprites, instead of the hand-drawn graphics that were used on other contemporary fighters. Mortal Kombat’s primary selling points are its fatalities, in which the opponents end up in a spectacularly bloody and gory fashion. Unfortunately, it didn’t exactly approve with several political establishments that are why video games should now follow government regulations.

Mortal Kombat II

Another creation by Midway, the second Mortal Kombat arcade game arrived a year after the first. It had five new characters and featured significant graphical upgrades. With its success, by 2011 Mortal Kombat II had 10 Guinness world records including “largest promotional campaign for a fighting video game,” most successful fighting game series,” “most successful video game spin-off soundtrack album’, and “highest grossing film based on a fighting video game.” Midway sold 27,000 gaming cabinets, and by 2002, they have earned $600,000,000.

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong is the first arcade game created by Shigeru Miyamoto, a legendary game designer. Nintendo‘s 1981 classic was popular among gamers because of its innovative gameplay that has four different screens. People thought that Donkey Kong was a strange game because maze-chase games and space shooters were not yet popular at the time it was launched.

As people started to play the game, it immediately became a big hit. Donkey Kong is also the first game to have a storyline. It also introduced Jumpman to the world, who is now called Mario. Your task in this game is to save your girlfriend in several stages that people find entertaining.

Do you miss playing these arcade games? With modern technology, people have now created software that you can download and install to play these games. Never miss your favorite arcade games as you can install them on your smartphone or tablet and play wherever you go. Mobile app developers have released upgraded versions of all classic arcade games, giving everyone a chance to continue playing these timeless classics.