The Evolution of The Golden Age of Arcade Games - A History of Pushing The Limits! -

The Evolution of The Golden Age of Arcade Games – A History of Pushing The Limits!

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This was always going to be a clumsy title. Games that push the limits of the golden age of arcade games… it doesn’t make much sense but I hope you see what I’m getting at. A look at the evolution of arcade games from 1978-1984 kind of thing. Featuring a whole slew of games from that period.

00:00 Intro
01:32 PCB Way sponsorship
02:37 Space Invaders
05:42 Galaxian
10:13 Scramble
11:36 Defender
12:55 Robotron 2084
14:12 Blaster
16:02 Turbo
17:18 Pole Position
19:27 Battlezone
20:41 Star Wars
21:50 I, Robot
25:35 Ending waffle and patron thanks


  1. My favorite story about Space Invaders is about how it's technical limitations led to emergent gameplay. The original reason why the aliens speed up as you defeat them is simply that the hardware was slowed down while having to change the graphics for a large number of them, which Nishikado decided to keep as a feature rather than compensate for in the programming.

  2. I hope you make more videos on the history of arcade games

  3. Excellent video thanks for all your efforts.

  4. I, Robot doesn't look much worse than some games on the Jaguar. Like the "where did you learn to fly" one. Lol

  5. Heh, 90s arcade gaming was my golden age.

  6. This should really be renamed "video games" and not "arcade" games. There were limit pushing games that were entirely electromechanical. There was a jet shooter game with a anti-aircraft gun from the 1930s. There were baseball machines in the 40s and 50s and of course, the lightgun games and mechanical driving games of the early 70s. They are all properly called "arcade games"

  7. This is basically a history of advancements in Golden Age arcade games and I'm completely fine with that. The title just makes it more algorithm friendly. I think most people will get that.

  8. The big jump came when JAMMA democratised. But this video was great!

  9. 2084 …. Not as far off as it seemed as a kid 😅😅

  10. Tempest was a much bigger deal than Star Wars, I think. But both were pretty groundbreaking. Novel controllers (the yoke and the spinner) along with color vector graphics and speech. Tempest brought that full color experience 2 years earlier.

  11. 15:00 The huge success of Battlezone and Star Wars counters the idea that people just couldn't cope with 3D. Personally, I wonder if it failed just because it was so garishly ugly. I mean, even for the 80s, that's eye-bleeding. The gameplay doesn't look very smooth either. (Especially compared to the Atari vector games.)

  12. Wasn't expected another one of these already, nice!!!

  13. Can you do a video on the pre-video game arcade games. Many of them greatly pushed the limits. Without them, there never would have been the video game arcade craze of the 80s.
    The history of coin operated machines is pretty fascinating and goes back MUCH further than anyone would imagine. In Ancient Rome there were coin operated machines, usually connected with worship. There were natgas vending machines in peoples' homes and apartments in the UK into the 20th century. Put a pence in the machine and you got 5 minutes or whatever in naturalgas. There were mid 19th century "jukeboxes" that played music box music at train stations in the UK.
    But in my humble opinion, the first true arcade games that were not just novelties like the flipping cards or talking wizards came in the 30s. That's the period (from the 30s to the 70s) I'd love to see a video of.

  14. I, Robot looks like fun, If a bit seizure inducing. 🙂

  15. A half decent sponsor this time, and I was looking forward to seeing what terrible mobile game was going to be recommended too.

  16. Great video!
    None of the other FMV games were ever as big as Dragon's Lair, I think, because the art was not very good in those other games.

  17. Loved this video. I am very interested in early arcade history and your treatment of the subject here was superb. Thanks 😊

  18. I wonder – once arcade machines were more powerful than home computers – what was the most powerful arcade machine ever? in relation to machines of the time? IE before arcade machines became PCs in wooden cases?

  19. The US Army commissioning a trainer off Battlezone deserved to be mentioned.

  20. If they had made "I, Robot" mostly shooting levels, it probably would've done better. It really does look amazing for the time.

  21. Fuck yeah, Robotron and I, Robot! Two of my favorite arcade games ever.

  22. This was just a bit before my time. Sure I had been to arcades as a young kid but playing them back then was nigh on impossible. I got my start in 1986 with the Nes and the Master System in 1986. I was still incredibly young but that's when arcades began catching my eyes. You could say I really came into my own during the second golden age of arcade gaming or from 1989 through 1998. Once the Dreamcast was on the horizon everyone knew the end was nigh for most arcades. When the home consoles could perfectly replicate the arcade experience while expanding on it greatly there was no reason to dump all of our change into them. By then most arcades consisted on DDR machines and I wasn't having any of that.

  23. I do feel it was because I, Robot was so abstract that it didn't find a market. And I did find the bit about the Galaxian hardware interesting – there are several boards that were re-used in that era, including the Super Pac-Man hardware from Namco that powered a lot of games.

  24. Holy cow! That Pole Position game is featured in the Judas Priest music video: Freewheel Burning, from 1984!

  25. Crazy Kong is in fact a Nintendo sanctioned product licensed out to a third party as a converstion kit for Crazy Climber. Where it is illicit is that it was authorized only to meet the demands of the Japanese market and no where else.

  26. I Robot looks so good I kind of got distracted from the narration just watching the gameplay

  27. "Star Fox was inspired by I, Robot."
    Well, I can see a little inspiration-
    Sees a giant floating head made of polygons as a boss
    Oh. Okay. Yeah, now I see it.

  28. I played nearly every game in this video (and a whole lot more!) in the 80's and I still remember being blown away by the Star Wars arcade game and even Battlezone. At the time they seemed light years ahead even if they don't appear to hold up well today. Even the garish looking vector & peudo 3D games were so cool at the time.

    I feel many of those type of games weren't more popular at the time because they had more of a learning curve to them. Other popular games like Galaga, Pac Man, Frogger, and Pole Position were super simple to walk up and play. Plus, I would imagine the games that required additional math chips & co-processors in them probably cost more initially so unless you had a well known IP like Star Wars attached arcade owners would be hesitant to buy them.

    Plus the North American crash that started in 83 and lasted until about 86 did hurt arcades quite a bit. Although not as much as it nearly killed console gaming which almost disappeared in many parts of the US from 84 to early 86 when the NES went nationwide.

  29. I, Robot makes me want to listen to vaporwave.

  30. “Special chips”
    shows french fries

    I know you’re European, it’s okay lololol.

  31. I loved I, Robot even though I'm no good at it. In later levels they throw curve balls at you like enemies tat attack the camera. you need to change the angle of the camera using the P1 P2 buttons to dodge. I can't get that far.

    I had an old game magazine that did a similar rundown you have here, but they cite Robotron:2084 because of the "dynamic color" cycling on the screen border.

  32. I think blaster is amazing. It's such a trip I love the colors. And the different objectives like trying to rescue spacemen are fun

  33. I hadn't realised Galaxian was that old. I just assumed that and Galaga were mid 80s.

    The voices in Star Wars do contain a certain quality of the actors so they must have started as samples before being turned into whatever they ended up as. I would guess phonemes, like a very crude version of more modern voice synthesis.

  34. I was a big fan of the I, Robot arcade game. 🙂

  35. Awesome video. Phoenix was my favourite back in the day

  36. lol I get Tempest vibes out of I, Robot. Looks fun! :3

  37. Space Firebird (1980 Nintendo) is the forgotten space shooter of the arcade and in my opinion the best..

  38. Great video dude i love stuff like this👍

  39. Loved these games…but also liked Joust, Crystal Castles, M.A.C.H. III, Moon Patrol, & Qix

  40. Good coverage, I always appreciate someone mentioned how these games actually worked.

  41. I'm at a total loss as to why you didn't mention Dragon's Lair.

  42. Scary to acknowledge that the best 3d you could (hypothetically) find in an arcade in 1983 was Blaster, but just two years later we had Space Harrier running at 60fps. That may be the single fastest evolution of graphics hardware that has ever or will ever occur.

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