MY TOP 10 ARCADES
If you are here, you more than likely grew up in the 80's and 90's when arcade games were mainstream, before home consoles were also arcade perfect. People played arcade games in shop, arcades or the local mall or cinema. My personal experience with arcades is mixed with both happiness and sadness because games have helped me cope with a lot of things over the years. These games are to me the best games I have played but these are mine my tastes are different compared to other people. Without further adieu, it's time to present my 10 favorite arcades in no particular order but these are my actual top 10 arcades ever. I will put some honorable mentions at the aft my top picks. if you have a different opinion then please present you list because I would love to see what you actually grew up with.
My first pick is
Yeah I cannot help it. I always wanted to fly a X-wing against those damned tie-fighters, towards the death star. This game was fast, frenetic and quite easy get hit as well. I played this on the original and when it came to mame I played it to death (well until I got bored and play another game) but I still come back to it because this is a fun game still and there is nothing better than blowing up a death star. This game was one of the first to have digitized voiced of the actual movie, which is quite a feat for the time. There were 2 versions of this arcade first one was a sit down
The sitdown cabinet
While the sitdown version tried to represent the cockpit of an x-wing while the controls were a simple yoke stick which resembles a steering wheel but works well in this game. But I felt this was unnecessary but hey at least you got time to sit down but this machine was a beast and quite large so you more than likely found these in big arcades however the more common machine was this
The more common upright
This is the machine I most remember, even when I went to NERG 2014 I saw this and played this for about 20 minutes before I moved on and that feeling didn't changed. When I was a child I put plenty of 10ps into this.
My second pick in my top 10 is
Another movie tie-in that made into a good game. Back when Konami actually made good solid games, This 2 player alien killing excursion allows to play as Ripley or Hicks (pressing the second player makes you be Hicks). While the game is not an exact match to the movie and took a lot of liberties with the license, It didn't take away from the game itself and when it introduced itself to MAME, I was over the moon and played it to completion quite a few times. 1 credit normally got me to either level 3 or 4 then the damned aliens would happily kick my ass. There was a dedicated machine for aliens but I normally found it in an generic machine with the aliens marquee but the original look like this
The machine art were also posters as well.
The reason why I put this on my list was I am an massive aliens fan and while Aliens vs Predator is more interesting game, it reminds me too much of final fight or captain commando which were all made by CapCom. This actually tried to stick to the general storyline and had quite a variety of levels but with it lack of proper aliens tech (ie pulse rifles) the base weapon in the game were smart guns which were not small by no stretch of the imagination. Bit the following games after this one including AVP corrected that mistake.
My number 3 pick for my top 10 is
What game has an uzi on the cabinet, This game. Operation Wolf is one of them games inspired by Rambo and Commando, which made sense during this time period, you had Rambo first blood part 2 and Commando. What makes you say that. simple this
If you watch commando and then look at this sequence, you can see the inspiration for it and it shows in the gameplay. You play as a one man army, your job, to get POW's out of a concentration camp. that in itself makes no sense but hey it was the 80's so a lot of things didn't make sense. The object of is to kill everything (except the innocent bystanders). This game is hard as balls and on the harder difficulty or some different versions added things like a hostage taker or being spotted (which was annoying). There were 2 failure states one was the dreaded lethal injury and the other was you were a prisoner because you ran out of ammo. Finding ammo wasn't an issue half the time because you shot things like birds to get magazines of ammo. The arcade machine itself was an interesting one because there a few with different artwork
while the artwork is the same the coloring is very different, why I do not know but the more common one is the one on the left because the red button to start the game was there. How does it play, well you the machine gut with the trigger (obviously) but on the side of the machine gun near the muzzle there is a red button for grenades. you tend to use these when multiple choppers and tanks or even boats. The final boss of the game (yes this thing had a boss and it was the Russian Hind, which for the time is classed as a good gunship / troop carrier. I remember this game because even on mame it was frustrating but still fun. I have gone on record if there were any machines I would love to own this would be top of my list because the machine is too unique. This game did produce 2 sequels
Operation Thunderbolt stuck to the same sort of storyline as the first but added another player and changed the gun models to the Ingrams sub machine guns while operation wold 3 didn't have the same feel as the other 2 and used the gun models for space gun as its cabinet model. I played thunderbolt and wolf 3 never interested me at all. Interesting fact on the dipswitchs which I found out watching a youtube video. You can actually select a stage when you change a dipswitch to japanese, which would allow you to select a stage but the question be why would you to do that.
MY NUMBER 4 PICK FOR MY TOP 10
The year is 1988, I was 11 years old and I was at a holiday camp. There was an arcade and one of the game that was there was this classic. What attracted me to this one. Simple, you kicked ass and plenty of it. You also played with a partner which was interesting especially friendly fire (ie you can hit your partner). This game is hard and would happily drain your pocket money. It's 4 long levels where you you beat up a maximum of 4 people on screen at any one time. I would play this when someone finished and I completed the game but not without pouring a ton of money into it. When this made the transistion to MAME, Playing it was a must and then I realised it has not aged well, While still playable, I never realised how slow paced the game was until I played it in my early 20's. Maybe I have have been spoilt because of the gaming technology that came after this and the quality of walk along beat em ups got better, it's DNA is very apparent in the Sega Megadrive/ Genesis classic streets of rage, while had similar style gameplay actually helped the game greatly. This game spawned 2 sequels. The Second was better than the first once you figured out the control system but the third proved to be more a cynical cash grab than an actual game. As you can gather I didn't like double dragon 3. I would look on this game with fond memories and still I will play it on mame from time to time. As for the cabinet itself was just a standard cabinet with some good artwork
MY NUMBER 5 PICK FOR MY TOP 10 IS
Nemesis or in Japan or the states, Gradius was one game I first played on early emulators because it was an awesome game. You play as a ship which collects power ups in which adds either a laser options firing drones and blow stuff. Simple concept, done a million times before so what made this stand out first off, your first power up on you list is a speedup, why, well because your ship is so slow when you start the game so using your first power up as a speed up is a must. The stages are quite varied in terms of actual play. the start of play starts you in open space to a rocky plain in which you can collide with the top or bottom and into the mountains as well. The game started you off easy to get you some power ups but it got harder with enemies trying to kill you within the first minute of the game. The gameplay is frenetic and the controls are decent (hence why I still play this game). The end bosses are good but on occasion quite challenging. I do have fun with it. The second end of stage boss is is difficult with pea shooter bullets. The cabinet is just a simple, single player affair with just one control stick and 3 buttons which being shoot, bomb and select. There is a remarkable amount of skill required to actually be good at this game. I may have had difficulty with but I always tried to get better and it never dimmed my enthusiasm for the game either. Was the game a success, you damn right it was, it spawned a slew of sequels or spinoff (look at pardious) but I will always remember the first because it my first time in this universe and nothing will change that either
AND FOR MY SIXTH PICK OF MY TOP 10
The concept is simple and inspired obviously by TOP GUN. Afterburner is an arcade in which you fly an F14 tomcat, your mission is to shoot down the enemy. This game was fast pace and enjoyable with an awesome soundtrack and you felt like maverick in this game. While it's 8 bit port was boring as hell but worth the play. The arcade differed as you could actually be shot down from behind because you had speed controls which helped, it's 16 bit port was a better port but still doesn't hold a candle to the arcade. The upright had an interesting as the control panel was a the joystick looked like a flight stick and had a little feedback when you got hit. the sitdown cabinet actually moved up and down with the control stick. the top fire button fired the missles and the main trigger fired machine guns bullets, just like an actual plane.
THE UPRIGHT IS SOLID ON ITS OWN BUT THE SITDOWN IS AS GOOD IN ITS OWN RIGHT..
Despite being the same game, the experience is different for the 2 machines because of the movement of the sitdown. Which is never a bad thing.
MY SEVENTH PICK FOR MY TOP 10 IS THE CLASSIC
Yep this classic space invaders inspired vertical shooter is one I adore. Thr gameplay is simple and effective and the sound is what made this game for me because you heard the intro and you knew you were getting ready to fight. You had 3 lives however you can use those lives at a certain stage by docking with it and it added more firepower to your ship with the drawback if you lose those ships you lost lives. This game is all about high score and thats it, no story (will a minimal one which I don't understand) just defeat enemies and move on. The arcade cabinets themselves came in 3 flavors,
- The woodgrain caberet cabinet
- The standard upright
- The cocktail table cabinet
I have seen all 3 of these machine are some point in my life and each one has a different feel to them (the cocktail with it's vertical controls compared to the horizontal approach made it quite interesting to play). This game spawned 2 sequels. One being
which I adore and played harder and is graphically superior in every way and the equally interesting
this one I have not played all that much but you can tell it a sequel. IT also produced a clone as well call
Plays similar to Moon Cresta as it uses the same board and samples.
THIS BRINGS ME TO NUMBER EIGHT ON MY LIST
What is it about movie tie-in I like so much, Well this one was based on an action movie with a cyborg cop with a full automatic pistol in his leg holster. It tried to create the narrative that resembled the movie but in reality it added ED-209 at the first stages. The enemy variety was quite interesting ( I don't remember a chainsaw wielding Jason ripoff in the movie). While the Cobra assault cannon is the most powerful gun in the game which is thankfully limited to certain sections of the game, The game itself felt in sections a little repetitive but the bosses is where the game shined as it had some good designs for bosses (The SUPER! ED-209 with the cobra assault cannon for weapons do make you worry about your energy quite well). The reason I remember it is because seeing ED-209 for the first time set the tone of what you were about to play (reminds me of transformers devastation in which you met Devastator for the first time). This game is fun and the control are quite responsive with pleasant and colorful graphics as well. It's difficulty is a gift and a curse as it raises everytime you complete a stage. The cabinet itself is just a standard cabinet with robocop detailing
But it was a beast in the arcades and yes I do play this on MAME also so it holds up well.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO NUMBER NINE OF MY TOP TEN
The Game that spawned a ton of clones and rip-offs, A simple save the damsel in distress from a mad person with punches and kicks (well kicks anyways as they had more range). The levels consisted of 5 floors in which you walked along kick people out of your way with said punches and kick (jump kicks were useful but a little fiddly to pull off in range). the even (as in 2, 4 and the like) stages had you avoiding obstacles. While the gameplay is simple, the challenge is there to get to the end of the stage and beat the boss blocking the stairs to the upper levels. Is it easy to pick up, yes it is but the challenge is real to get to the top and beat the master at the top. I've put more than my fair share of coins into this. Hell I may play this later after this article. The cabinet is a standard design with just a minimal artwork but does make it better than just a plain cabinet...
AND FOR MY TENTH AND FINAL TOP TEN ARCADE GAME PICK IS....
Yes, the only real driving game that has you chasing 5 crooks over a stretch of road and bashing into his rear end and avoiding traffic to catch your prey. The game has a simple concept and the controls are fluent and responsive. The upright cabinet is a solid cab because you actually get in range of the crook the red and blue light flash in seqence. The gear shift has a red button on the side to give you a nitrous boost, which gives you a boost of speed in order to catch sight of crook within a 60 second time limit then try and capture the crooks car with another 60 seconds but you damaging the car is a little difficult because damage is small and actually slows your car down. add that with the time limit. the game provides a certain amount of challenge, especially when you add the time limit. so completing this on a single credit is a challenge. So seeing this in an arcade was a good thing because chances are you wanted to play this. I have mixed reactions with this game, some good, some bad but each experience left me wanting to play again. When this joined the MAME ranks, I did play this and the experience was different because the game doesn't play well with digital controls (ie. keyboard). Playing on a controller is actually better but it's doesn't replace the arcade feel at all. If I could own this cabinet, I would happily...
This is my top 10 arcade picks because each game has left quite an impression on me but before I leave, I said I would give a few honorable mentions well I will give you 3 and they are
These 3 games are among my favorites but not in my top 10 but just outside. First off, WWF WrestleFest. A solid wrestling game which features 10 playable characters in either tag action to take on the legion of doom or a participant in the royal rumble match. This game has good memories for me because it does provide a good amount of challenge. Playing as Ted Dibiase and Jake Roberts proved to be a good combinations but this was sign of how popular WWF was at this point 1991.
The second game on my honorary mentions is SimplyAustins personal favorite Shinobi, The ninja character who goes through levels in order to take put his targets, what you remember about this game is the bonus stage where in first person mode you throw shurikens at masked ninjas for points at the end of the stage. by then end of the 3rd stage of the mission you verse a boss which has a large health bar in which you needed to deplete to kill said boss. The game challenges you in all sorts of ways. I never completed this because it frustrated me a little too much. but I still play occassionally.
I didn't play this actual version of the game until much later but my first experience of playing this game was a remixed version on the Amstrad 464 and I loved that version so when I saw this on MAME, years later, Played it and loved it while it didn't have the same level of music and graphics for the time, This game resemble its remix on the Amstrad. The digitised speech of blast off or alert screamed when you either started or had enemies chasing you. Playing this was a decent experience for me at least.
anyways tell me what you think of my picks and see if some them match your picks.
Edited by jackhammersalm