11 Popular Arcade Games From The 1980s

Ahhhhhh. I remember the arcades. The clink of the quarters. The smell of cigarette smoke. The bumping of the other players next to you. It was awesome. And plenty of great video games came out then. Here are 11 of my favorites.


The first popular scrolling video game created a genre of video games. And it was a lot of fun to play, too! Defender was a complex game for it’s time, and different from all the other alien shooting games up to then (1980), but it became an instant arcade classic and since has been ported to just about every home gaming console and computer system there is.

Discs of Tron

In my opinion, this is the greatest arcade game ever made. It had solid graphics, tons of action, interesting controls and gameplay that was out of this world.


This arcade classic wasn’t just a rip-off of Space Invaders. Oh, no. Galaxian had so much more, including the fact it was the first video game to make full use of RGB colors.

Dr. Mario

One of the more rare arcade games, Dr. Mario gained most of its fame for the home gaming consoles, mainly the Nintendo Entertainment System and the GameBoy. Still, it was tons of fun to play.


Nintendo created a video game classic when it released Popeye to the arcades in 1982, so it only makes sense that the best home port of this game was upon the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System.)


Also known as Kick-Man, Kick Man or Kickman. You choose. The game’s official title was always kind of murky. This was a fun little game to play, but unfortunately it was never overly popular and never ported to any home gaming consoles or computer systems. It even had Pac-Man, which you would think would have boosted the popularity of this game.


In this 1986 arcade classic from Bally Midway, you got to play a giant monster destroying city buildings. What better way is there to blow off some steam? This game has been popular over the years, and has been ported to just about every computer, home gaming system and handheld gaming system there is. It also spawned several sequel games.

Satan’s Hollow

Here you get to take on Satan himself in a bid to save the universe. Or something. This would be a pretty standard shooter except for its quality, brightly-colored graphics (at least for the time period) and the interesting fact that you not only have to shoot away demons and monsters, but you have to do so while building a bridge that will take you to a fight with Satan himself. Another interesting feature was you had a shield, but it only lasted a very short while.

Star Castle

One of the earliest vector graphics arcade games to gain some popularity. Never a huge hit, but still fun to play as you pilot a spaceship around while blowing away shields blocking you from your enemy.


Tron was an awesome arcade game in part because it was four games in one. There was a light cycle game, a spider-shooting game, a sort-of breakout shooting game, and a maze-tank game. It also helped that the graphics were pretty awesome, the sounds great and the gameplay tip top.


Qix was a unique video game in the early 1980s. It wasn’t a maze gaming, a shooting game or a climbing game. It was kind of a drawing game, but don’t let that fool you, it could still be tense and was definitely a lot of fun.

Video game links

Classic Video Gamers, a blog for old school gamers

How many Tron video games have there been?

Remember Those Awesome Mattel Handheld Games?

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  1. Posted August 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    well depicted

  2. Posted September 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I remember all those games, back then we thought those graphics were great. However, do you remember Paperboy or even Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Fun games in all, it’s always good to remember where things started. PONG!

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