Top 10 Arcade Video Games Of The ’80s

The ’80s were the time when the video games started making it big. It was a time when such arcade classics as Pac-Man or Donkey Kong were born, ultimately propelling the video game industry to the major entertainment business it is today.

So join us as we pay tribute to video game giants that got the ball rolling. Funny thing is, they may be basic and as simple as they can get, but these classics are by all means still entertaining, meaning that they definitely stood the test of time. But enough small talk, let’s get down to the list and the big 10.

Duck Hunt

Duck Hunt Arcade Game

Although the game was met with mixed reactions upon the initial release in 1984, “Duck Hunt” ultimately became a definite ’80s arcade classics. As you probably know, it is a standard shooter game with a main goal of hunting down as many flying ducks as possible. The player’s trusty companion, the hunting dog, also became an icon of its own with the funny laughing reactions upon player’s each failure.

Pole Position

Pole Position Arcade

1982’s “Pole Position” lands on our list as the representative of the racing genre. It ultimately became the highest grossing arcade game of 1983, selling 21,000 machines for a total of $61 million, an equivalent of over $140 when adjusted to today’s currency.

Golden Axe

Golden Axe

It’s time to get some good old hack ‘n’ slash on our list with the late ’80s classic “Golden Axe.” Released in 1989, the iconic game saw player opting for one of the three characters and bashing away every enemy that was unlucky enough to cross his path. It also had the two player co-op mode, which made it all the more interesting for the arcade crowd.


Frogger Arcade Game

With 20 million copies shipped worldwide, the legendary Frogger simply had to find it’s spot on our list. Originally released in 1981, the game revolved around the player directing frogs across the street safe and sound, avoiding cars, buses, motorcycles and even bulldozers along the way. It may sound a bit too simple, but the game guarantees hours upon hours of pure ’80s arcade fun.


Tetris Arcade Game

Now we bring you a definite global ’80s icon and one of the most distinctive video games of all time. The one and only Tetris came to be way back in 1984 after it was developed by  Alexey Pajitnov in the USSR. You know how the game works, so there’s no need to get involved with the gameplay description.

We will however note that Tetris became on of the best selling video games of all time, selling over 70 million units worldwide. After the recent cell phone revolution, it was officially confirmed that the game sold well over 100 million cell phone copies since 2005, a whopping figure to say the least.

Star Wars

Star Wars Arcade Game

You definitely know what Star Wars is all about, you’ve probably seen at least a few hundred of Star Wars t-shirts in your life, but there was also a truly epic game based on the iconic saga. Released in 1983 by Atari under the simple title “Star Wars,” the arcade propelled itself among the ultimate ’80s game classics. The game simulates one of the saga’s most well-known scenes, the Death Star attack from Episode IV.



It’s another hack ‘n’ slasher we have at our hands – the 1985 “Gauntlet.” A bit more tricky and complex than the “Golden Axe,” it presented one of the early multiplayer dungeon video game efforts. Once the player had selected one of the four playable characters – Thor the Warrior, Thyra the Valkyrie, Merlin the Wizard, or Questor the Elf, he is left to venture into the gloomy dungeon halls, fighting the evil foes and bringing justice to the world.

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong

The first major US hit from Nintendo, 1981’s “Donkey Kong,” easily found its spot on our list as a definite ’80s classic. The game also marked the first appearance of the iconic plumber Mario who is now battling his escaped pet monkey Donkey Kong. As you might have already figured out, the monkey has kidnapped Mario’s girlfriend Pauline and took her to the top of the construction site.

Ms. Pac-Man

Ms Pacman

It’s ladies first, so right now we’ll be introducing you to Ms. Pac-Man, the significant half of the legendary Pac-Man. The game is essentially a copy of the original Pac-Man adjusted for the female main character, a definite cash-in you might say.

However, the game still managed to become the most successful US-produced arcade video game, with over 115,000 arcade cabinets shipped in the United States. Apparently, Ms. Pac-Man had plenty of tricks and charm of her own, as the figures definitely don’t lie.



Finally, the one and only Pac-Man. Although our list wasn’t sorted in any particular order, Pac-Man comes as its definite champion. The legendary yellow ghost-eater came to be in 1980, changing the world of video games as we know it. The fact that so many people strive to achieve the legendary perfect game with the score of 3,333,360 points speaks for itself as far as Pac-Man mania goes.

Being the most famous arcade game of all time, the Pac-Man managed to gross an astonishing sum of $2.5 billion in quarters just by the early ’90s. Now that’s a lot of quarters! The game generated over 30 spin-offs, while Pac-Man was officially recognized as the Most Successful Coin-Operated Game by the Guinness World Records committee in 2005.