Quarter after Quarter. Arcade games are the foundation of modern video games. Now I would love to introduce you to some of the most iconic classic games that started the gaming industry. Inspired programmers 30 years after release and entertain kids for generations. Games you can play when you are bored or ready for competition. When I think of great games I think it is natural I gravitate to games I grew up with. Though until I delved deep into the history of the games I realized that none of the games I play now would have been around if not for the founding fathers of games.
I’d like to clear up that Pong, released in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, although claimed to be the first game, it was not. A game called Turochamp which was published in 1950 by Alan Turing and David Champernowne. It was a chess game for early computers. This inspired other early games as simple as tic-tac-toe and checkers. Pong however is more known as it demonstrated a computer’s power. From that sparked a new genre of games, video games. Atari which employed Nolan and Ted created more and more games that lasted until the “Gold Age of Arcade Games 1978-1982.” In 1977 the spark was also lit from Tomohiro Nishikado’s Breakout. The same game was adapted to a space-like game, coming out 1978 infamously called Space Invaders.
Space Invaders eventually led to Atari’s Asteroids released in 1979. Now we get into the heavy hitters that moved the 80’s arcades. In 1980 we got the awesome spaceship based game Defender. Pac-Man was next in 1980 which is the pinnacle of classic arcade games. It is the game that pops up in everyone’s head when they think of arcade games. Also, Centipede came out in 1980 which was a pattern based third-person shooter where you had to defeat the most annoying 100 legged insects. All of these games are some of the most simple games though so entertaining. These games are something else as they were so limited to their storage but managed to create games that have and will never die. To master these games takes a lot of skill to realize the patterns of the enemies and how to counteract that with human knowledge. Though I can never say I have mastered any of these games as I am just too based on the moment than repeating patterns.
Now we get into 1981 which is a huge year for some of the best games I have ever played. We start off with Tempest which was honestly a game very much ahead of the game as it was pre-3D graphics that was mesmerizing at the time. Then we got the button spamming game Galaga. I remember playing this as a kid and not being able to get past the third stage as my finger was sore by then. Then we got the god game Donkey Kong. A game of an ape who throws barrels at you as you try to reach the woman in danger. 1 sentence to explain the game but I would need another 3 pages to explain the importance of this single game alone. Long story short it is the origin story of the ascended game Super Mario Bros. How Mario essentially formed the early 2000’s gaming. Donkey Kong was the center plate of great game creation.
With 1982 came the closing of the Golden Age. We got some great games here. Not much explanation for most of these so burst list time! Joust, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong Junior, Jungle King, Pengo, Pole Position, Q*bert, Gravitar, Time Pilot, Tron, Robotron 2084, Zaxxon, Kangaroo, Frontline, Dig Dug, and BurgerTime. A lot of huge games which ended off with huge amounts of profit for Sega, Atari, Taito, and Nintendo. This is the year that officially ended the Golden Age of classic arcade games. However, that is the huge profit idea of the Golden Age. It didn’t officially end creation wise until 1984.
In 1983-1984 we had some of the best follow up games that gravitated towards console gaming. Like the SNES, Sega Genesis, Game Boy, etc. Through that, there were still great arcade games being developed. Like Mario Bros., Star Trek, Star Wars, Spy Hunter, Paperboy, and Punch-Out!!. I count these as arcade games as most of these games were arcade games just adapted to console formatted. I don’t think there should really be an introduction to Mario Bros. as it is just that famous. Star Trek and Star Wars were great films adapted video as they tried to create second world views via video games to continue the movies’ stories. Punch-Out!! is just an iconic game of the ’80s. One of those games you could punch out Mike Tyson as a 4’8’’ boxer.
I think all of these games listed are amazing. Without them, I doubt gaming would be what it is now. The genres built from these arcades. These amazing experiences as a kid in an arcade fueling the developers to make more great games we can all enjoy.