Top 80s Arcade Games

It's time to head back into the arcade! We've curated a list of some of the most iconic classic 'Top 80s arcade games that will take you on an unforgettable journey down memory lane.

Top 80s Arcade Games
Top 80s Video Games

Hey, wanna join us on a wild ride back to the most awesome decade ever - the totally groovy 80s? We're about to dive into a treasure trove of epic games from our childhood that will give you major nostalgic vibes. So hold on tight and get ready for a trip down memory lane as we explore Top 80s Arcade Games!

Pac-Man, the action-packed maze chase video game, puts you in control of the iconic character as you navigate through a maze. Your mission? Devour all the dots while evading those lively, colorful ghosts — Blinky (red), Pinky (pink), Inky (cyan), and Clyde (orange) — hot on Pac-Man's tail. Clearing the dots takes you to the next level, as indicated by delightful fruit icons at the bottom of the screen. And don't miss the entertaining cutscenes featuring Pac-Man and Blinky in hilarious situations between levels!

pac-man 1980s arcade

But beware! If Pac-Man gets caught by a ghost, a life is lost; the game ends when all lives are gone. Each ghost has its own special intelligence and personality: Blinky relentlessly pursues Pac-Man; Pinky and Inky try to outmaneuver him, often cornering him; and Clyde switches between chasing and fleeing from our yellow hero.

Keep an eye out for those big flashing "energizers" or "power pellets" conveniently placed near the corners of the maze. When Pac-Man munches on one, the ghosts turn blue, dazed, and confused, reversing their direction.

Arcade game pac-man from the 1980s

This is your chance to chomp on those blue ghosts for bonus points. As they get eaten, their eyes head back to the center box in the maze, where they regenerate and resume their spirited activities. Devouring multiple blue ghosts in a row racks up even more points. But remember, after a while, the blue ghosts flash white before transforming back to normal. And do you know what else?Eating enough dots triggers a special bonus item, often a tasty fruit, beneath the center box. Delectable items like these can be devoured for additional points. Oh, and let's not forget about the "warp tunnels" on either side of the maze, allowing Pac-Man and the ghosts to swiftly zap to the opposite side of the screen. That's when the ghosts slow down a bit, adding a pinch more excitement!

As you progress through the game, brace yourself for increased difficulty. The ghosts get speedier, and the energizers' effect becomes fleeting, eventually disappearing altogether. However, beware of the quirky glitch on the 256th level, rendering it unbeatable. That's right, there's no way to conquer it! Exciting, isn't it?

Frogger. Hey, so the goal of this awesome game is to help this adorable little froggie find its way to the empty homes at the top of the screen. At the start, you'll have three, five, or seven frogs, depending on how the machine is set up. But watch out, if you lose all your frogs, it's game over, my friend. You'll be using the joystick to make the frog hop once in any of the four directions. And get this, Frogger can be played solo or with a friend, taking turns, of course!

1980s Frogger arcade game

Okay, so our little frog starts at the bottom of the screen, and let me tell you, that road is pretty busy with cars, trucks, and bulldozers zooming by. Your mission is to guide the frog across the lanes of traffic without getting squashed, because losing a life is never fun, am I right? Once you make it past the road, there's this cool median strip that separates the screen. The upper part is a tricky river filled with logs, alligators, and turtles, all moving horizontally. By hopping on the logs and the backs of turtles and alligators, you can safely guide the frog to its destination. Just be careful to avoid the snakes, otters, and the hungry alligators with their wide-open mouths. Oh, and keep an eye out for this vibrant lady frog on a log, she can earn you some bonus points. The top of the screen is where you'll find the five "frog homes." Sometimes they have bonus insects, but beware, those homes can also have deadly alligators lurking inside.

Frogger arcade game

Now, here's some cool trivia for you. The music that plays at the beginning of the game is actually from a Japanese children's song called "Inu No Omawarisan" or "The Dog Policeman." And get this, there are even more Japanese tunes, like the themes from the anime series "Hana no Ko Lunlun" and "Rascal the Raccoon." Can you feel that nostalgic vibe yet?

Back in 1982, a magazine called Softline dubbed Frogger as "the arcade game with the most ways to die." And they weren't kidding! There are so many ways you can lose a life in this game, from getting hit by a vehicle on the road to taking a dive into the river or running into snakes, otters, or alligators. Even staying on top of a diving turtle can be risky business. Oh, and if you ride a log, alligator, or turtle off the side of the screen, woops! You're a goner. And hey, don't even think about jumping into a home that's already occupied by another frog. Same goes for jumping into the side of a home or a bush. And if you manage to run out of time, well, it's not looking good for our froggie friend.

But you know what's exciting? As you successfully guide all five frogs to their homes, the game gets more challenging with each level. And after five levels, you get a little break from the intensity before it cranks up again even harder. Oh, and did I mention there's a timer? Yep, you have 30 seconds to get each frog to its home, and the timer resets every time you lose a life or safely guide a frog home. How's that for an engaging and thrilling gaming experience?

Galaxian! Man, let me tell you about this old-school space-themed shooter game that takes me way back. You pilot a badass starship called the "Galaxip" and your goal is to clear each round of those pesky aliens. These buggers show up in formation at the top of the screen, accompanied by their two escort ships, labeled as the "Galaxian Flagship" or "Galboss".

Galaxian 1980s

Now here's where it gets intense - those enemies will divebomb towards the bottom of the screen while shooting projectiles like crazy, trying to take you out. But don't worry, your Galaxip can fire a single shot at a time. Just remember, you gotta wait for it to hit an enemy or reach the top of the screen before you can fire another one. Yeah, the hardware back then had its limitations.

Now, here's a little secret - if you manage to take down those flagships and their two red escort ships, you'll earn some sweet bonus points. And let me tell you, the destruction of the flagship will really give you a score boost. As you progress through the game, those enemies will get faster and fire more shots. Better stay sharp!

You know what I love? Those small flags at the bottom of the screen that indicate each round. It's like a little reminder of your progress. Oh, and the game's attract mode? It starts with this cool scenario: "WE ARE THE GALAXIANS. MISSION: DESTROY ALIENS". Man, that just pumps me up!

Ah, those were the days, my friend. Galaxian was the stuff of legends.

Space Invaders! absolute legend of a game. Picture this: 1978, arcades buzzing with excitement, and there it was, this shoot 'em up masterpiece developed by Tomohiro Nishikado. I mean, this game was the real deal. It was like nothing else out there, and it set the bar for an entire genre.

Space Invaders kids playing game

You see, the goal was simple: wipe out wave after wave of those descending aliens using your laser, racking up as many points as you could. And let me tell you, it was addicting as hell. I spent countless hours trying to beat my own high score.

Nishikado, the genius that he is, drew inspiration from all kinds of things. From those North American target shooting games to epic science fiction like The War of the Worlds and Space Battleship Yamato, this game had it all. Heck, even Star Wars played a part in shaping this masterpiece.

arcade machine Space Invaders

But listen, it wasn't just about the game itself. Space Invaders changed everything. It blew up the arcade scene, becoming a symbol of the golden age of video games. And you know what's crazy? This game quadrupled sales of the Atari VCS console when it was released in 1980. That's right, it was THE killer app that put video game consoles on the map.

Nowadays, when you think of classic video games, Space Invaders is like THE icon. I mean, that pixelated alien? It's practically a symbol for the entire video game industry. That's how influential this game was.

So there you have it, my friend. Space Invaders. A true gaming legend that'll always hold a special place in our hearts.

Defender is this wild side-viewer, you know, kinda like shooting game that takes place on this totally unnamed planet. You get to control this spaceship that can fly either left or right - cool, right? And get this, you use a joystick to control the ship's elevation, and like, five buttons to control its horizontal direction and weapons. You start with these three super awesome "smart bombs" that can just obliterate all those pesky enemies.

Oh, and if all else fails, just hit the "hyperspace" button and your ship magically teleports to some random, and possibly risky, location - just like in Asteroids! At the beginning of the game, you have these three ships to play with, and you're awarded an extra ship and smart bomb when you hit a sweet 10,000 points (which can totally be adjusted, you dig?). And hey, guess what? Two players can totally take turns playing!

The whole point is to blast all those alien invaders, all while keeping those astronauts on the landscape from getting abducted. These lander thingamajigs swoop down and try to take those humans to the top of the screen, turning them into these super speedy mutants. But don't worry, you can totally save a captured human by shooting the lander, catch the human before they plummets to their doom, and drop 'em off safely on the ground.

By defeating those aliens, you can move on to the next level. But dude, if you can't protect those astronauts, the whole planet goes BOOM and you're stuck dealing with mutants. It's gnarly, but if you can survive all those waves of mutants, the planet gets restored. Oh, and watch out, man! Lose a ship by getting hit by an enemy or its projectiles, or if your hyperspace jump goes bonkers (cuz, you know, randomness and stuff). Once you've used up all your ships, game over, man!

Track & Field, Ah, the good old arcade days! Remember playing the original game? You had two "run" buttons (or a trackball later on), and one "action" button. Those were the days! Here's what you could do in the game:

Track & Field arcade game 1980s

100 meter dash: Quickly alternate button presses to sprint!
Long jump: Time your button presses right for a perfect run and jump. Remember, 42 degrees is optimal!
Javelin throw: Alternate button presses and nail the timing of the action button for the best angle. 43 degrees is where it's at!
110 meter hurdles: Alternate those button presses and time your jumps just right with the action button!
Hammer throw: Press the run button once to start spinning, then time your action button press for the perfect angle. Believe me, 45 degrees is the sweet spot!

Track & Field arcade game machine

High jump: Let the computer set your speed, and hold down that action button to choose the angle for your jump. Once you're flying, mash the run button for extra height!

Whew, that's quite a list of events! To advance to the next one, you gotta meet the qualifying time or level. If you don't make it (one heat for running events or three tries for others), you lose a life. But hey, earning extra lives for every 100,000 points will keep the game going!

Whether you play alone or with up to four players, getting those qualifying times is all that matters. Ah, the memories of playing multiplayer games, huh? Fun times! And hey, don't worry if there aren't enough players - the computer (or player "CPU") will step in to keep the competition going. The controls were set up in a unique way, with the left set for players 2 and 4, and the right set for players 1 and 3. Who knew?

Completing all six events would bring you to a medal ceremony, but guess what? It's back to the field for another round! Higher qualifying levels, more challenges, more fun! If you're up for it, you can even configure the game to end after the final event. Ah, fond memories indeed!

Oh man, back in the day, when we played that arcade version, we had to pull out all the stops just to get ahead! People were swiping coins, ping-pong balls, even using metal rulers to hit those buttons like crazy! It was wild, and you wouldn't believe the damage it caused to those poor buttons. Eventually, they had to modify the game to stop those tricks. Good times, good times.

Dig Dug, developed by Namco in 1981 and released in 1982, was an absolute blast! You controlled Dig Dug himself, Taizo Hori, as he took on enemies in a maze-like world. These foes included Pookas, with their ridiculously big goggles, and Fygars, the fire-breathing green dragons.

screen shot Dig Dug 1980s

Now, Dig Dug had some neat tricks up his sleeve. With his trusty air pump, he could inflate enemies until they popped like balloons or make them meet their demise under falling rocks. Talk about satisfying! And hey, squashing multiple enemies with one rock? That earned you some sweet bonus points!

But let me tell you, the game wasn't a walk in the park. Those sneaky enemies would chase Dig Dug through the dirt, appearing as ghostly eyes until they turned solid in the air. That's when Dig Dug's pump could stun or destroy them. As you progressed, the enemies became faster, more aggressive, and the final one would even try to escape! The game kept you on your toes, that's for sure.

With 256 stages in total, there was never a shortage of excitement. It's no wonder Dig Dug was a massive hit during the golden age of arcade games. Critics loved it for its addictive gameplay, adorable characters, and strategic elements. In fact, it was the second highest-grossing arcade game of 1982 in Japan!

Dig Dug arcade machine

Dig Dug's success paved the way for a series of sequels and spin-offs, including the popular Mr. Driller series. You'll find this classic gem in many Namco video game compilations for various systems.

So, get ready to dive back into those challenging mazes and unleash Dig Dug's pump power once again. It's a nostalgic gaming experience that never gets old!

Donkey Kong. Let me take you on a nostalgic journey back to the 80s. You see, after the iconic Space Panic in the 80s, Donkey Kong swung onto the scene as one of the earliest platform games ever. Pretty neat, huh? Forget the fancy term "platform game," the US gaming press used to call 'em "climbing games" with platforms and ladders. Good ol' times, right?

Donkey Kong arcade screenshot

But hold on, Donkey Kong brought some game-changing features - it was the first to introduce jumping! Yeah, the game required players to jump across gaps, obstacles, and even pesky enemies. Talk about setting the standards for the future of the genre!

Donkey Kong had four cool stages, making it the most complex arcade game of its time. And get this, it was one of the first arcade games with multiple stages. It paved the way for games like Phoenix and Gorf, remember those?

Now, let's talk about the goal of the game - saving Pauline. But there's more to it than the heroic rescue. You gotta rack up those points! You earn points for leaping over stuff, smashing objects with a hammer power-up, collecting fashionable items like hats and purses, and removing rivets from platforms. Oh, and each stage has its own bonus counter, but it decreases over time. Gotta stay sharp!

Donkey Kong arcade machine

The player starts with three lives and gets a bonus life at 7,000 points. But be careful! A life is lost if Mario gets a little too touchy with Donkey Kong or any enemy object, falls from a great height, or lets the bonus counter hit zero. The game ends when you run out of lives.

Now let's check out those stages! Each of the four stages represents 25 meters of Donkey Kong's epic climb. Stage one takes us to a construction site with crooked girders and ladders. Mario's gotta jump over barrels and oil drums - Donkey Kong is quite the troublemaker!

Moving on to stage two, we're climbing a five-story structure with conveyor belts transporting cement pans. And brace yourself for stage three because we're riding elevators and avoiding those tricky bouncing springs. Finally, in the last stage, Mario must remove eight rivets from the platforms to make Donkey Kong take a fall and reunite with Pauline. What an adventure!

After each level, things get harder and more intense. Donkey Kong starts flinging barrels faster, sometimes even diagonally, and those fireballs speed up too! Better stay on your toes, my friend.

Quick tip, level 130 is known as the "kill screen." Why? Well, it's due to a programming goof that ends the game after a few seconds. Talk about a sour ending, huh?

So there you have it, my friend - a delightful trip down memory lane with Donkey Kong. It truly was a game ahead of its time.

kids playing on 80s arcade machine

Man, those arcade games from the 80s, they hold such a special place in the hearts of those who remember playing them as kids. 

Ah, the hours of fun our generation had, it was priceless! I remember sprinting back to my Dad, begging for more change (everybody had it back then!). It was a time that's etched in my memory like it happened yesterday. The good ol' days, my friend!