Monday, August 14, 2006

Top ten arcade games of the 1980's

My father loved bowling and I was glad for that fact. Not because I liked bowling, but it meant that every Friday night between 1982 and 1985 he would go bowling and I would go with him. The bowling alley was in a shopping center that had all of my needs. They had a Sound Waves record store, a Hallmark bookstore with a great comic book selection and an arcade. The arcade was called Blazing Flippers because it was opened in the mid 70's when pinball machines were still king. My father would give me a few dollars and I was off for the evening. On a Friday night in the early to mid 1980's the arcade was packed and I was overwhelmed by all the games. I loved the bright screens and all of the sounds of the games. After about a year of going, I got wise and realized that instead of playing a bunch of different games that if I focused on just a few then I would get better and get to play longer. That's what I did and my quarters lasted longer. In 1985 my father switched shifts and he couldn't bowl anymore because of his shift so my trips to the arcade ended. Around 85-86 arcade games were becoming a little less popular than in the early 80's and I believe Blazing Flippers went out of business around 88 or 89. I probably should have been spending my time doing better things, but I enjoyed it then and I think that I needed to get out and do something because I did not get many chances to do that.
Here are my top ten favorite arcade games of the 1980's. It's arcade only so no home games like River Raid or Pitfall. Also they have to have been made in the 1980's so that eliminates games like Asteroids and Galaxian because they were made in 1979 even though you may remember having played them in the early 1980's. So here they are and feel free to add your favorites in the comments.

10)Defender-A cool left to right shooting game with a lot of bright colors and nice explosions.

9)Pole Position 2- I am picking the sequel over the original because you got to choose from different race tracks. The sit-down version was better than the stand-up version.

8)Xevious-Shooting game only you are looking down at the ship and you get to shoot blast and drop bombs. The sound effects and music were a big plus here.

7)Dragon's Lair- In 1983 everyone thought this was the future of video games. It looked great and that's why it's a top ten. However it didn't require as much skill as some other games.

6)Robotron 2084- Odd game where you are a robot who tries to save people while all kinds of crazy creatures try to run into you. I love the frantic pace of this game.

5)Pac Man-Maybe two years after it came out it was old, but it deserves a top five slot just for the impact it made. This game was huge and it's popularity caused a lot of companies to start making video games.

4)Star Wars the arcade game-In 1983 this was considered 3-d gaming at it's best. It was a lot of line drawings, but it was challenging and it looked really cool for the time.

3)Galaga-Space Invaders inspired Galaxian and this was the sequel to Galaxian. I think this is the best of the those kind of games. Being able to have your ship captured and then get it back and have a duel shooter was a big plus for me.

2)Joust-You fly on an ostrich while trying to pick up eggs, land on top of other jousters while avoiding a big buzzard and the pit down below. Strange concept, but a challenging and fun game.

1)Donkey Kong-Having characters that have personalities can be a big draw and I think that both Mario and the title character had personalities. I found it to be fun and enjoyable and never really grew tired of it.

If you like or did like arcade games then check this site out.
It lists arcade games and you look up games by title and see pictures of ones that you may remember and read information about them. The sad part though was that I looked up some games that I remember as having good graphics and now they look like drawings done by first graders.

***On Tuesday I will be reviewing Judas Priest's Defenders of the faith as Eight days of the 80's continues.


Blogger Chuck said...

Galaga-- I think was my fav of all of the 80's games.

8:43 PM  
Blogger nathan said...

strange, I did a post on the same topic, yours is better though

9:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Seems like your a pretty big fan of video games, at least back in the day. There is a book I read a few years ago called "The First Quarter : A 25-year History of Video Games" by Steven L. Kent and it was an incredible book that did a great overview of the history of video games. I highly recomend it if you are interested in video games, it is really interesting.

9:31 PM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Great post! You really capture the spirit of the times. Star Wars and Galaga garnered their shares of my quarters. And I had totally forgotten about Joust until I saw this--that was so strange but for some reason it seemed just fine back then.

-- david

4:36 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I was a Joust fanatic.

5:45 AM  
Blogger Curare_Z said... are SO right about the graphic from the 80s. Although not an aracde game, I saw something about "Pitfall" the other day, and was SO depressed about how cheesy it looked. That was the coolest game....

5:46 AM  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

most asked question between the ages of 13-15 - can I have another quarter?!?

used to play at Showbiz Pizza - kind of like Chuck E. Cheese, I guess - I could get worse than a Vegas gambler sometimes...but it was fun. And it was especially cool to be able to put my name on the top winner list. :)

6:37 AM  
Blogger Strutter71 said...

Oh, man. My local dealer was called simply "Thee Arcade" and I wasted away many an afternoon there. I could list my favorites all day.

Dig Dug
Double Dragon
Marble Madness
Punch Out
Karate Champ
Spy Hunter
Rolling Thunder
Elevator Action
Mario Bros.

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

I was a stud at Q-bert....

8:16 AM  
Anonymous fred charles said...

My favorite on that list was Defender...lost many coins on that one.

My all time favorite was Gauntlet. "Elf needs food badly."

10:30 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Chuck-Welcome. Galaga was a great one.

Nathan-Welcome. I read your video game post and agree completely with you on Star Wars.

Jeff-I will hunt down that book, it sounds promsing.

David-There were some weird video game concepts that didn't bother me when I was a teenager.

Fuzz-I still have my Super Nintendo hooked up so I can play my Williams Arcade classics that has Joust, both Defenders, Robotron 2084 and Sinistar.

Curare-Yes, it's like if it was made before 1988 and it had people in it then it looks really primitive.

Onmywatch-I was terrible about bumming quarters.

Strutter-Elevator Action came close to making my top ten. Spy Hunter was cool because you could drive and shoot. Rampage was one of the few post 1985 games that I got into.

Bruce-I never got into Q-bert in the arcade, but played it alot on my Atari.

Fred-Defender was a cool game. I still play it on my super nintedo.

I don't know if anyone else have these, but a company called Jakks makes these classic games you can just plug into your tv. There is one with Pac-Man, Galaxian, Bosconian, Dig Dug and Rally X. The other has Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Pole Position, Xevious and Mappy. They run for about $20 a piece or slightly less at Wal-mart and Targert. They require batteries. I play Galaga, Xevious and Bosconian fairly often. Lately I have been letting my daughter play Ms. Pac-man when she wants to.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

I LOVED Frogger!

12:15 PM  
Blogger T-_Bone said...

I was a big fan of Xevious, but Galaga was my favorite

12:22 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

This is a great post. Pole Position was awesome, espacially the sit down version. I mastered that game, as well as Galaga, Donkey Kong, and Defender. I actually bought the $20 version of the Atari-type joysticks with all the games in a chipinside the base. I break it out sometimes.

1:05 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I had forgot all about Sinustar. Man that was one smartass on that game.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Mimi-My wife said she liked Frogger a lot. I think that I prefered the Activision game Freeway for some reason.

T-bone-Galaga and Xevious are still fun to play.

Mike- I had the Atari one, but gave it to my nephews because they liked it so much. I also bought the Activision one just so I could have River Raid.

Fuzz- I read a story that said the makers of Sinistar joking called the game "Opiestar". Apparently after the game came out the makers thought that when Sinistar says "Run, coward" that it sounded more like "Ron Howard".

5:19 PM  
Blogger Sweetie Guy Hutchinson said...

Awesome list! My favorite was "Fast Food" for Atari.

I still love Dragon's Lair, I bought it on DVD.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Rhodeislandrock said...

The Star Wars game with the vector graphics was one of my favorites. I would blow a ton of money at Aladdin's Castle.

Galaga - An absolute must if you can get it for your home system. I have it on one of those cllection discs for PS2

Burgertime - Summertime at the beach, that's all I remember. Still serching for the PSOne classic disc.

Karate Champ - I used to rule. I could beat all my friends. "Full Point!"

Gauntlet - I was always the wizard but the Valkyrie had the best all around abilities.

I try and buy a lot of the collections when I can. For $20, you can't go wrong.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I can attest to Blazing Flippers having there enough times in the day when the 140 Shopping Center was the social hub of our's funny to look at now and realize there's no more rednecks cruising the lot in full square perimeter drives, followed by the inevitable fight that started at Blazing Flippers or the old 140 movie theater.

I like all of these games Mark mentioned, and remember I only played Dragon's Lair once and got pissed because it cost fifty cents and it was over so quickly despite the amazing animation.

Two others I'll add to the list...

Discs of Tron
Mat Mania

8:34 PM  
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12:38 PM  

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