Top 10 Arcade Games of the 80s

Stranger Things is a thrilling Netflix original drama stars Golden Globe-winning actress Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, who lives in a small Indiana town in 1983.

Inspired by a time when tales of science fiction captivated audiences. When Joyce’s 12-year-old son, Will, goes missing, she launches a terrifying investigation into his disappearance with local authorities. As they search for answers, they unravel a series of extraordinary mysteries involving secret government experiments, unnerving supernatural forces, and a very unusual little girl.

In the first episode of Stranger Things season 2, we can see that the boys are playing Dragon’s Lair.
Dragon’s Lair was a laser-disc video game published by Cinematronics in 1983, in the game, the protagonist Dirk the Daring is a knight attempting to rescue Princess Daphne from the evil dragon Singe who has locked the princess in the foul wizard Mordroc’s castle.
Dig Dug is the other arcade game played by the boys, probably more famous than Dragon’s Lair.

Though today’s home consoles are better of the video game machines of yesterday, there are still those of us who remember the days of the arcade game era with joy.

I don’t know about you, but my local arcade, was a garage full of neon, each of these games was beeping and any video game was like a friends.

Arcade Games

In this post I gather together the videos and descriptions of my preferred arcade video games of the 80s, this list is of course subjective.

My Top 10 classic arcade games of the 80s:

10) Frogger (1981)

Frogger was introduced by Konami in 1981 as a one player or two player games. The game’s objective is to move a frog from the bottom to top and overcome the obstacles that come in your way. The game’s screen is divided into two halves, where the first half featured a road full of traffic while the second half is a river. When you are moving your frog through the traffic, you have to face speeding cars, buses and many other obstacles on your way which must be avoided to safely transport your frog to the other half.
In the second half, you will see several logs and turtles trying to have your frog and you needed to fight all these obstacles to safely cross the river.


9) Pole Position (1982)

Pole Position is a 1-player game using a color raster-scan video display. Game action takes place at the Fuji Speedway in Japan. The country around the speedway consists of green meadows, hills, and snow-capped Mt. Fuji. The player drives a Formula-1 race car on the track. The first objective of the game is to finish the qualifying lap as quickly as possible. If the player beats the clock, he or she qualifies for the race. If not, he or she drives out the remainder of the time along the qualifying course.


8) Double Dragon (1987)

Double Dragon, originally released in 1987 and developed by Technos Japan, is an iconic representative of its genre: the side-scrolling beat ‘em up action game. Players advance through four stages. You start in a street, move into a factory, through a jungle/forest then end up in a castle. There are a variety of moves such as back-kicks, elbows, head-butts, uppercuts, knee-ing in the face and throws. You can steal weapons from enemies such as knives, clubs, whips and dynamite among others and use them against any of the enemies.


7) Donkey Kong (1981)

Prior to Donkey Kong games had been developed by engineers and programmers with little or no regard for narrative or graphical playfulness. In 1981, a gorilla named Donkey Kong climbed to a high perch in arcades around the world, and generations of Mario‘s have been battling him ever since. Even if you’ve put in a few-thousand barrel jumps or seen The King of Kong, there’s always more to learn about the primate who changed gaming forever.


6) Tetris (1988)

In 1984 in Moscow, Russian scientist Alexey Pajitnov developed the first version of Tetris on an Electronika 60 terminal computer while working at the Soviet Academy of Sciences. The game’s goal is to manipulate falling blocks to create lines that are then cleared from the screen.


5) Dig Dug (1982)

Dig Dug is an arcade game developed and published by Namco in 1982, it based on a simple concept, the objective of Dig Dug is to eliminate underground-dwelling monsters by either inflating them with an air pump until they explode, or by dropping rocks on them. There are two kinds of enemies in the game: Pookas (a race of round red monsters, said to be modeled after tomatoes, that wear yellow goggles), and Fygars (a race of green dragons that can breathe fire while their wings flash). The player’s character is the eponymous Dig Dug, dressed in white and blue and able to dig tunnels through destructible environments.


4) Dragon’s Lair (1983)

People were sick of computer graphic games at the time of Dragon’s Lair’s release, with the technology of the time, more real it meant something as detailed, intricate, and fluid as a film could be. It meant animation, it meant Dragons’s Lair. The player assumes the role of Dirk The Daring, a heroic knight armed with a sword, who searches through the Haunted Castle in an attempt to rescue the beautiful Princess Daphne from the evil Singe The Dragon. In order for Dirk to accomplish his goal, he must get to The Dragon’s Lair. As he travels, he will have all kinds of obstacles to overcome and he will be confronted by all kinds of fearsome fiends like The Lava Monsters, The Giddy Goons, The Crypt Creeps, The Lizard King, The Smithee, The Grim Reaper, The Black Knight and others. The joystick is used to give Dirk directions and the button is used to have Dirk strike his sword. Wrong decisions by the player cause immediate death to Dirk, but the right decisions give him miraculous survival.


3) Track and Field (1983)

Track & Field, known in Japan as Hyper Olympic, is Olympic-themed sports arcade game developed and published by Konami. The Japanese release sported an official license for the 1984 Summer Olympics. The events are: 100 Meter Dash, Long jump, Javelin throw, 110 Meter Hurdles, High jump.


2) Arkanoid (1986)

Arkanoid is an arcade game developed by Taito in 1986. It expanded upon Atari’s Breakout games of the 1970s by adding power-ups, different types of bricks, and a variety of level layouts. The title refers to a doomed mother-ship from which the player’s ship escapes.
The player controls a space vessel that acts as the game’s paddle which prevents a ball from falling from the playing field, attempting to bounce it against a number of bricks. The ball striking a brick causes the brick to disappear. When all the bricks are gone, the player goes to the next level, where another pattern of bricks appears.


1) Ghosts n’ Goblins (1985)

Ghosts ‘n Goblins is the first game in the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series developed by Capcom. This revolutionary game was released in 1985 and remains the inspiration for many modern action platform titles. Its direct sequel is Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. The player assumes the role of Arthur, a knight who must venture into the Demon Realm village in order to rescue his princess sweetheart. Arthur uses a variety of projectile weapons such as lances, axes, and daggers to eliminate anything that stands in his way.


Please let me know in the comments if I have omitted any of your favorites.


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