The 20 Greatest Arcade Games Of All-Time!
The Laird’s Lair
This video counts down the 20 greatest arcade games of all-time as voted for by you – the viewers!
Retro Gaming Hysteria –
Facebook Groups and pages that contributed to this video:
Retro Gaming Hysteria –
Atari History Group –
Retro Gaming Nostalgia –
#Arcade #RetroGaming #StreetFighter
Id add Marvel vs Capcom 2, it actually brought people back to the arcades, and had a ton of people play it. It was so big they had a ton of tournaments for it, and maybe more tournaments for it then any other arcade game, and still being played today.
Most mainstream list of all time.
The list reflects the age cohort of the respondents. Shinobi, Golden Axe, Simpsons and some others are really good games but I don’t think in the long run they will ever be looked back on as among the top twenty arcade games in history.
My favorites that I could play for the longest on one or two quarters were :
Disc of Tron
I'm not a nostalgic person so when I play something, I play it because it is still a great game, and Galaga never disappoints. If I see it somewhere, I play it.
No 3rd strike 🙁
Definitely felt heavy on the Beat em' Ups which is no great surprise but the absence of Centipede was almost unimaginable to me. Small consolation that Tempest actually made the cut. I guess I'm more of an early 80s Arcade fan but you can't really moan about progress 😉 Great video and thanks for all the work to put this together 🙂
Surprised Defender or Contra didn't make it. The good thing is that I've played the majority of these games but- Double Dragon? I would have expected Final Fight over Double Dragon.
I'm one of the older arcade junkies, after seeing Space Invaders at a Shakey's Pizza. 🙂 I've been hooked on games ever since. What I am surprised didn't make it was Defender or Stargate…. Those things ate so many of my quarters at the bowling alley… 😉 Of course I lost lots of quarters on most of the final list here as well. 🙂
I expect to see marvel vs capcom 2 (a fighting game that ruled evo for a decade and is continued to be played in tournaments) and dance dance revolution (one of the highest grossing arcade series of all time and the signal for the decline of the arcade scene)
Seriously, no Phoenix, Qix, Gorf, Defender, Mr.Do, Joust, Smash TV, 1942, Arkonoid, Q*bert, Bomberman, Burgertime, Burnin’ rubber, Lunar lander, Moon Patrol, Sinistar, Tetris, Xevious not even Space Invaders, I grew up playing all these games, the ones on your list and many, many more in real arcades in the 80’s and don’t agree with your selection. Simpsons (really).
Space Invaders and Spy Hunter over Double Dragon and TMNT. Cmon!!
Straight shocked not one Neo Geo game made the list. I can forgive not having any of the variety of fighters on here, but no Metal Slug 3, Magician Lord or Puzzle Bobble.
While I am Here pedalling SNK IP, how does Athena stack up to other arcade platformers?
This is my list. No particular order.
Donkey Kong, Street Fighter 2, Pac-Man, The Simpsons, X-Men, Metal Slug, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mortal Kombat 2, Time Crisis, Galaga, Daytona USA, OutRun, Rampage, Final Fight, Gauntlet, Afterburner, Centipede, Star Wars, NBA Jam, Pong.
Can't believe Gauntlet missed out. Best game for me apart from SF2
What game does that music in your intro come from? Maniac Mansion?
Mrs. Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Street Fighter 2, Galaga and Double Dragon
Great video, nostalgia is a powerful thing, great to see missile command at the end, but…. moon patrol, centipede, time pilot, green beret, operation wolf….oldies but goldies.. and many more 🙂 a special time !
Donkey Kong was my first favorite game- we talked about it at school all the time. Dragon's Lair was also incredible at the time- there was nothing like it. Of course, the gameplay wasn't there but you were playing a freaking *cartoon*! For MKII, I remember the incremental upgrades at the arcades and seeing what was new in each one. MK3 was also good, but we of course don't speak of MK4. I figured Street Fighter II would be on the list, but I wondered which one before it came up- the original it appears (unless that just represents all of them).
I am thrilled that my comment made it into the video! You made my day! Keep up the excellent work! 👍🏾
I didn't expect Phoenix to make the top 20, so I'm not surprised it's not here. I feel that it's a game where many more people played the Atari 2600/VCS port than the arcade original. I think I'm most surprised with NBA Jam/NBA Jam T.E. making the top 20. It was such a crazy phenomenon around here when it came out. There were cabinets everywhere you looked from arcades to bowling alleys to convenience stores to pizza shops. Though, IMO, Midway's later NBA Hangtime is a better, more refined take on the formula (and the 16-bit ports of Hangtime from Funcom are a big step up in quality versus Iguana's ports of Jam and Tournament Edition), NBA Jam was just absolutely everywhere here in the states in '93-'94. Being a basketball-themed game, it probably had less world-wide appeal versus other Williams/Midway stuff like MK, which is probably why it didn't make it to the top. Also, it ate up coins like crazy, even more so than most arcade titles. ha.
Berzerk, Asteroids should have been in the top 5 at least!
Well One of the most memorable games in the arcade was Sinistar. I was small and the vocals at the time made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I played it once and lost quickly due to one line. "Run Coward."
It’s hard to dispute this list, but I have a few points to make. First off, Laird, great video. You actually had a ranking system for a topic to which different people would give you 20 different answers.
I don’t believe Pac Man was a greater game than Ms.Pac Man. If the machines were side by side in an arcade, most people would play Ms.Pac Man. The original was boring by comparison. Sure, Pac Man gave rise to a hit song, sequel games, tons of merch, and a cartoon. But Ms. Pac Man is a better game. The converse applies to Galaga making the Top 20, but Space Invaders and Deluxe Space Invaders being omitted Galaga was the improved sequel, with the original Space Invaders being more culturally influential.
The omission of Berzerk and Wizard of Wor is astonishing. I can’t believe these two early pillars of arcade gaming were omitted. They introduced voice to gaming, and were popular enough to be well-represented on home consoles.
No surprise that Robotron made the list. I am VERY surprised that Defender didn’t make it. Both were super-popular, and were often side-by-side in the arcades I frequented.
I am also astonished that Dragon’s Lair just missed the list. That game caused a frenzy wherever it was installed, and separate monitors so spectators could watch the gameplay. It also cost more than a quarter to play – the first game I can remember that did that.
I never saw any vote for this. But it doesn't matter. DD being number 1 and neither Gauntlet nor Rampage being top 20 means voters didn't know sh't. But Star.Wars and Tempest being high up was redeeming. Double dragon maybe at 9 19 or 29. That is my opinion.
I believe X-men Vs Street Fighter came out in 96 so I suppose it wouldn’t make this list. But when I first saw it at a bowling alley I was completely blown away as a kid. It was the first time I saw such fast paced super powered anime style combat. I only got to play it once or twice but I was obsessed. I now own one of the arcade 1 up machines and it’s an excellent addition to my video game collection. Also I believe Crazy Taxi came out in 99. I would say that’s probably my all time favorite arcade.
Wheres Dance Dance Revolution????
Wow! What an amazing trip down memory lane. Great video.
My first major arcade influence was Kung-Fu Master. I was around 10 and I saw it at my local arcade back in '85. Thanks for the upload.
Question for everyone…
Does anyone else remember the Zoom button on Mrs. Pac-Man?
Get that stupid logo off the screen so we can actually see it properly
Great video. I think a problem with a list made by a group of retro game people specifically is they had a community across all video games at the time. Over time, it got more diverse. Fighting game players had more than Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II during the peak of fighters. Music game players have their own community too. Outside of being great games, they all brought people together as communities to have fun, compete, make connections and have the same friends for decades because of those games. My top 20 is absolutely different but it's important to understand that there are elements which transcend the game itself which make them truly special. (Oh and beatmania is the best arcade game series of all time if you're wondering. 1997 to present and still going strong, even has a pro-league.)
Oh man… Sooo much nostalgia from this list. Thank you making this video, and thank you to everyone who contributed with their votes. Lastly, since the X-Men arcade cabinet (I was lucky enough to have the six player version at my one neighborhood's arcade) didn't get any specific comments, I will leave one in the form of this quote:
"X-MEN… WELCOME… TO DIE!"
Nice to see a couple of my choices make it, even if Chase HQ didn't.
What about DEFENDER ???
Shame it seems pretty difficult to find a Double Dragon 1 cabinet in the wild, at least in the regions I have been able to visit retro arcades. I think most of them got kitted into Double Dragon 2 units, being I've seen copies of that game in several places. I'd love to find an arcade with an original Black Tiger, Rastan or one of the Capcom Dungeons & Dragons as well.
Quietly amazed that none of the Time Crisis games made the list. It's practically impossible to find an arcade that DOESN'T have that distinctive "kchak kchak kchak" sound in it…
My claim to fame was being beaten by glass joe in the arcade. I had a friend laughing at me and saying, "nobody gets beat by glass joe!". 😂
If Dig Dig isn't on the list, there's no validity to the list. Just sayin'.🤷♂️
No Defender? I guess this list of voters found it to be too difficult. Best game ever IMHO.
Bloody Hell! Where's Dig Dug. Absolutely ghastly
Great list, many great ones that belong. However Moon Patrol & Rastan should be involved as well. Moon Patrol with its revolutionary and new at the time backgrounds, Rastan with it’s great, loud soundtrack got gamers the hook well before Mortal Kombat 1 & 2.
My Uncle who past away last week his funeral is today, he was basically my father after my father left my brother and I when I was 11. My uncle was a very great and positive influence in my life also. You have my deepest most heartfelt condolences. Nice list, I love the old arcade’s and love playing them when I can. Thanks!!
Kicker, Ghosts´n Gobblins, Joust, Black Tiger, Tetris, Dangar, Elevator Action, Kung-Fu Master, Cabal, Darius… These are serious contenders that could be considered among the best 20 also. I would make another list with the top 30 or 50.
Metal Slug should be top 5 on everyone’s list
Wait a minute…I thought Frogger was made by Sega?
Grew up in a seaside town in the 80s and was blessed to have around 10 different fantastic arcades with a huge variety of games. Dad use to give me a coupke of quid and leave me for an hour to play. Just got a retroid pocket 3 just to install these games and a load more for on the go fun
I wouldn't say it is objectively the best for everyone, but I pick Asteroids as my personal top arcade of all time. It pulled me into its world like no other arcade game has before or since. The loneliness and dread of the ufos and the speeding up music/beat…it drove me to try over and over again.
Apologies to shotgunl and Tempest Fennac. Somehow I attributed the quotes about Mortal Kombat 2 and Double Dragon to Tempest Fennac when they were in fact stories from shotgunl. I had put the wrong name next to them in my database. Very sorry once again 😞