Top 10 Arcade Classics of the 80’s

Photo Credit: NamcoBandaiGames

This article was produced by games room merchants, Home Leisure Direct – suppliers of pool tables, arcade machines, table tennis tables and wide range of home entertainment products.

If you don’t know how to sing the theme to Mario Bros, you missed the 80’s. If the 1970’s provided a commercial platform for the gaming industry, the release of Space Invaders in 1978 launched the Golden Age of Video Games into the 80’s.

Commercial success has always been the driving force behind technology, especially in the super business years of the 1980’s but along the way, the creators and developers of arcade video games gave us hours of fun, depleted our pocket money, and gave us a new world to discover.

80’s Chart Countdown

10. Pac Man. Oh that little round ball chomping smaller round balls and the occasional ghost/alien creature. Pac Man may be the most iconic arcade game of all time.

9. Frogger. All you had to do was guide your little frog across the river and through busy traffic to get to the lily pad on the other side. With levels that grew quickly more difficult, Frogger has also stood the test of time.

8. Star Wars was based, of course, on the movie by the same name. You felt a real affinity with the character and it was the first game to use some of the real voices from the film.

7. Tron was also based on a movie, and after its release in 1982, had kids pumping their pocket money into Tron Machines around the world. It featured different sublevels and games that probably started the whole ideas of a side quest in modern RPG’s.

6. Ms. Pac Man definitely deserves its own spot on the list. Did it get girls into gaming though? Girls that were mad about arcade games didn’t care, but this sequel to Pac Man introduced changes that made it more popular than the original. There is no shame in playing a game with pink graphics and a character with a small bow in her hair.

5. Pole Position gave nine year olds the chance to drive a car without having a license. It may not have been the most popular driving simulator of the decade but it definitely was one of the first. The biggest thrill was being able to use a steering wheel to guide your car around the track.

4. Defender was the most complicated game of the 1980’s with users having to navigate using the joystick as well as a handful of other buttons. It might be simple compared to the amount of buttons on your Xbox controller, but back then, it was tough. Real tough…

3. Battle Zone was released in 1980 by Atari and was one of the first games to use vector graphics. It had a unique look and this kept it popular for years.

2. Donkey Kong. Everyone loved Donkey Kong and it is the one of the earliest examples of a platform game released by Nintendo. Donkey Kong was the forerunner and started the franchise of our number 1 classic arcade game of the 1980’s.

1. Mario Bros and Super Mario Bros. While games like this actually sounded the death knell of video arcade games and the move to console and home video games, Mario Bros had believable characters, great graphics and was one of the best platform games ever developed.

Mario Bros and other arcade games have been released in a number of different formats and across different gaming platforms, but nothing, nothing beats the sweet taste of victory and your name right at the top of the high score table at the end of an afternoon at the arcade.

25 thoughts on “Top 10 Arcade Classics of the 80’s”

  1. DEFENDER!! I got an RSI from playing that – you’re right, playing it was evilly complex back then – but it was so darn addictive.

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  3. Wow, this is a real trip down memory lane. This makes me want to bust out the old controller and fire up a MAME session this weekend.

    I was lucky, my brother ran an entertainment centre which included a bmx track, water slide, skate part, go-karts, roller skating rink and lastly, but most certainly not least an arcade which had around 50 machines at any given time.

    The games I remember as a kid include not only the awesome titles listed above but classics like 1942, TimePilot and Asteroids with later appearances by titles such as Bubble Bobble, Ghost and Goblins and Island Boy.

  4. Hi Asiru,
    Wow, I had forgotten so many of those. My Children (presently aged 38 and 37) played PacMan until I could have pulled my hair right out! And, Mario Bros. theme, yes yes yes. Thanks so much for the walk down memory lane! Enjoyed it.

  5. This bring back old memories. Pacman and Super Mario were very famous in my childhood years. It was everybody’s favorite at that time. Now, there are a lot of games that you can choose from. There’s online game and LAN games.

  6. I love arcade games especially Supermario and Pacman. Some of the games today are so difficult to play. I missed my childhood years so much..

  7. I used to play Frogger on ColecoVision for hours, along with Donkey Kong and Zaxxon. This list brings back a lot of memories for me, which was at a time when video games were simple to play and fun.

    I tried Defender a few times but didn’t really get a handle on playing that game. I’ll have to find it and try it again to see if playing current video games improved my chances with Defender.

  8. Mario Bros and Donkey Kong were my favorites!!

    I’ve played them under various platform from Nintendo to Nintendo 64 and also through mobile device such as Gameboy, Gameboy advance and also my cell phone!

  9. Oh, those were the days. But: Where is Commander Keen? Or Lemmings?

    p.s. I just had to comment your post as your domain name was among the ones I was considering for my soon-to-come tech blog 🙂 Grrrr…

  10. Hi there,
    these arcade classic games of the 80′s are just stunning especially Super Mario. Besides, as far a I know, there are free games widgets which can be used to create 80’s arcade games as well.
    Regards. Tanya

  11. How I still remember the time when I was young I really love playing this arcade games,like Pacman, Super Mario and Tetris. it proves that this game can be considered as the original entertainment for family.

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  16. I’m tempted to jailbreak my shiny new iPhone 4s to load some of the ROMs I’ve seen floating around – which include some of these great titles including a personal favorite – Ghost’s ‘n Goblins. I’d wreck an iPhone to play this again.

    Just need some decent instructions on how to Jailbreak & get the ROMs working, ‘cos then I’m going to retro game my face off.


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