The 50 Greatest Arcade Cabinets In Video Game History!
by: -RoG- and Dr. Boogie


#35: S.T.U.N. Runner

S.T.U.N. Runner. STUN Runner

I was never one for racing games, unless you were talking about those racing games where they added some gimmicks to make it interesting, like driving an armed hovercraft of some sort. That's where S.T.U.N. Runner came in. Oh sure, you'd start out as just a wimpy hover Ferrari, but once you got past the first level, they'd strap some wings, a nosecone, and a gun turret to your ship, and you were ready to start tearing ass around the long, tubular highways, gunning down any hapless motorists that were going too slow for your liking. Time just seemed to fly by on this machine, and let me tell you, that boxy plastic bench you had to sit on while playing the game was coooomfy! Plus the machine itself looked like it could pass for a futuristic vehicle of some sort. When you're a little kid trying to play this game, though, you were often better off just standing on the damn thing so you could get a good angle on the screen, but of course, some concerned parent would always be waiting somewhere nearby to scold you for standing on that narrow plastic seat, but hey, if they'd have put an accelerator pedal down there instead of just making the acceleration automatic, we wouldn't have had that problem in the first place.

#34: Top Skater

Top Skater

Joysticks can be useful for the majority of arcade games. Still, however useful they may be, you can't expect players to walk away with your game in mind if there isn't something special about it. Sure, you could try to make a memorable gaming experience with entertaining gameplay, but that will only draw in so much money. The real cash comes from drawing in casual players who are just trying your machine on a whim. Top Skater went for this angle with their tilting skateboard controller, the first of its kind. The player would stand on the board and tilt it left or right, forward or back, depending on what trick was to be performed. A nifty innovation by itself, but thankfully, the developers also had the foresight to install railings on the side so that you wouldn't simply fall off and twist your ankle the moment you attempt your first trick. You could still slip right off and smack your head on the railing on your way down, but it was still an improvement. Just make sure you aren't wearing flip-flops when you hop on the thing unless you enjoy having arcade crows laugh at your mishaps.

#33: Starship 1

Starship 1

A few decades ago, there wasn't much to most arcade games. Graphics and CPUs had only advanced so far, so developers would often try to spruce up the cabinet to make up for this. In the Starship 1 cabinet, in order to simulate the feel of space, the makers of the cabinet put in an angled mirror that reflected the image from the monitor onto a drawing of space. It's a pretty nifty way to make up for hardware limitations, and it must have been quite impressive back in the 70s. And let's not overlook the unusual futuristic plastic molding that was inserted into the front of the cabinet merely for aesthetics. Also, there were no in-game crosshairs (which are quite handy to have when running a combat flight simulator), but this was fixed by applying a couple strips of tape in a cross. Ah, the wonders of technology.

#32: Hang-On


With racing games, the basic rule of thumb is to put a steering wheel on the cabinet so the player will be drawn into the game. With motorcycle games, you use some fake handlebars, plus you can save extra costs by putting the accelerator on the handle. Of course, if you're standing up while all this is going on, the illusion is ruined, so Sega decided to turn out a version of the game with a plastic motorcycle that you had to lean left and right on to turn. It was quite unique, and it helped distract from the unremarkable graphics such as the solid blue sky and the generally barren areas on the ground.

#31: Thunder Blade

Thunder Blade

Arcade versions of flight simulators are fairly easy to come by. Most of the time, the manufacturer will just slap a special joystick with a trigger on the underside and a little button on the top, usually for machine guns and missiles respectively, on a regular upright cabinet and be done with it. If they were feeling generous, they might also throw in a lever for adjusting your throttle, or altitude, or whatever other bit of avionics they feel is necessary to get your precious quarters. Normally, that would probably be the case for 4 out of 5 Thunder Blade players. However, if you were fortunate enough to visit a ritzier arcade than those other chumps, you might happen upon a version of the game that used a cockpit-like setup that would tilt left and right according to how you moved the joystick. Fortunately, the developers had the foresight to include some metal cups for your feet so the machine wouldn't chuck you over the side after a sharp turn. However, that's not to say it didn't happen, especially if you made a right turn (no throttle joystick to catch your hip before your fall).

#30: Skydiver

Skydiver. Sky diver

For those who were too fearful of trying their luck at real skydiving, Atari had things covered with their 1978 release of Skydiver. This game created challenges for your sky diving character based on timing jumps and variable wind factors in order to eventually land on the target. What was truly unique about this cabinet is that the controllers were actual ripcord rings instead of typical joysticks! And if you didn't pull the ripcord in time? Well, your diver got splattered on the pavement and then an ambulance would come onto the screen to take the diver away. I'm sorry though, if you actually have a skydiving accident, you don't need an ambulance... you need a hearse.

#29: Paperboy

PaperboyDon't steal the Paperboy bike handle rubber grips you bastards!

Paperboy instantly caught my attention in the arcade, not because of the insane things happening in the neighborhood where the main character has his paper route (fights, breakdancing, the grim reaper showing up, etc.); it was the handlebar controller that piqued my curiosity. In a weird way, it really did feel like you were riding a bike for the first time when you played the game. Problem is, all too often people would steal the rubber grips that were on the handlebars, so you'd be stuck playing the game by gripping two metal bars. You're clearly going places in life if you think stealing two plastic grips off an arcade machine is worth the effort. You know, roughly 30 years from now, there will be an elderly man living in a trailer somewhere, telling his grandkids about the wild days of his youth and when they ask him what it was like, he'll just wink and point to a couple of plastic grips he stole from the Paperboy arcade machine which he now keeps on the mantle like trophies. Paperboy is another game that I think could be remade for arcades today; the new version would have the player both steer and peddle the bike instead of just steering it like in the old version. It might not be easy to play, but at least it'd be good exercise.

#28: Tron


In any discussion of cool arcade cabinets, it is pretty much required that you mention the cabinet for Tron. Disney wanted this game to be as successful as the movie, if not moreso, and they spared no expense to make the cabinet eye-catching: The sides of the cabinet featured scenes from the movie, the control panel and a bunch of the surfaces around the screen were painted with white lines like those you'd find on a circuit board. Here's the real kicker: The cabinet also had a pair of blacklights, and when they were on, the circuit lines, and even the joystick, would appear to glow. It was a very cool effect, especially in a perpetually dark arcade. And as if all that weren't enough, even the profile of the cabinet was a unique shape compared to the rest of the games you'd find in an arcade. In fact, the only downside to the cabinet was that the screen was placed at an angle so that you looked down on it as you played. This meant that if you were short, you were basically screwed. On the other hand, isn't that just a fact of life?

#27: Sea Wolf II

Sea Wolf II

Yet another old school game makes it onto our lists. As is the case with a number of other games we've mentioned, this one's an arcade-style simulator. You look through the periscope to spot ships in the distance, and fire your torpedoes with a thumb button on the joystick. For added effect, when you hit a ship, and when you've fired all your torpedoes, lights alerting you to these things will light up inside the scope itself. Better yet, the cabinet has two submarine periscopes side-by-side so that two players can go head to head to see which one of them can sink the most ships in the least amount of time. Word to the wise: during the second round, make sure you torpedo the RMS Lusitania in order to enter the WWI Lightning Round!

#26: TX-1


Let's face it: it's hard to improve upon the racing game. Apart from improved physics and graphics, there really isn't much room for innovation. TX-1 threw that notion out the window. In addition to cutting-edge graphics (green grass, blue sky, gray road) and state-of-the-art physics (car is held to the earth by gravity), Atari went a step further and put three screens into the cabinet. On straightaways, it's not a particularly useful feature, unless you want to make sure that the ground is the right color. However, when you come to a turn in the road, you'll notice that you're actually able to see more than ten feet of the road ahead of you. It was the most amazing thing to come to racing games since the steering wheel. Eventually, developers would learn that if the perspective shifted with the car, you didn't need to have extra monitors, but until that time, it was all about TX-1 and its fancy new setup.

#25: Dance Dance Revolution (DDR)

Smash T.V.

Personally, I don't care to do a lot of jumping and stomping while I'm playing my games. When I do some of that, though, it's usually because I just realized I haven't saved my game in almost two hours. Regardless, DDR took a very unique approach to the game of Simon. Each DDR unit consists of an upright cabinet with two huge speakers, and two dance stages, each with four pressure pads set up in a cross formation. You'd think these things would be in constant need of repairs, what with all manner of players stomping on them in the course of a normal day, but the dance stages were remarkably sturdy. Heck, the machines are even being incorporated into the physical fitness programs at a few schools around the world. Now you too can impress your classmates with your ability to match the rhythm of a whole assortment of J-pop songs!

#24: Guitar Freaks

Guitar Freaks

These days, you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who's never heard of Guitar Hero. For that very reason, it's worth acknowledging its arcade predecessor on this list. The cabinet had two guitar controllers with it, each with a fret bar and three colored buttons on the neck, which presumably makes it easier than Guitar Hero, with its five colored buttons. The cabinet could also be linked with the arcade game, Drummania, which is the same sort of game but with drums. Even better, those two systems could then be linked with the game Keyboardmania. What this means is that not only do you have the progenitor to the Guitar Hero games; you've also got the earliest version of the game Rock Band!

#23: Panic Park

Panic Park

Pushing and shoving... it's what friendship is all about. Well, some brilliant people at Namco figured out a way to make it into a video game. Panic Park consists of a series of mini-games in which you must take your controller and try to physically push your opponent out of the way at just the right time. Keep in mind, your opponent is trying to do the exact same thing to you, so the end result is a big shoving match and a lot of laughs. And no, there's nothing wrong with kicking your opponent in the shins to give yourself that extra "edge" needed to win the round! Come on, you know you've always wanted to shove your friend into a raging fire... Panic Park actually gives you that chance! If you've got big hands though, watch out, because you can really smash your knuckles when ramming those two controllers together if you're not careful. Then again, what do a few bloody knuckles matter in the grand scheme of things if you win the war?

#22: Arm Champs & Arm Champs II

Arm ChampsArm Champs II

Here's another game for those of you who like to show off your machismo at the arcade. Arm Champs had no joysticks or buttons to mash, you simply grabbed onto the arm which protruded from the machine and tried to pin it down. For added amusement, they included a monitor which features the head of your opponent so you could see 'em struggle when you were winning or see 'em laugh at your weak ass when you lost. While Arm Champs II had a wider distribution and a few more characters to arm wrestle, I prefer the cabinet of the original simply because it had a molded, muscular upper torso and the monitor blended in with it much better. The original one also had lights on top of it which flashed at the end of each match, which could be extra embarrassing for you if you lost. Oh and if you're wondering why Arm Champs II had a robotic arm, it's because the final opponent in the game was an android named "Specks" who looked kinda like Robocop.

#21: Caveman


You're probably asking yourself, "Why the hell is there a pinball machine on this list? That's not the same as an arcade game!" Well before your head explodes with bewilderment, take a closer look at the machine. Notice anything different? That's right, Caveman was the first Pinball machine to have an arcade game built directly into it. After you hit some of the proper targets with your pinball, it would place the ball in a holding location while it switched to the video game mode. You would then grab a hold of the joystick and try to guide your caveman to hunt down some food, but if the T-Rex ate you during your game time you'd lose a ball. While the idea of creating a pinball/arcade hybrid game was unique, it unfortunately never really caught on and only a few more games of this nature were ever created.

#20: Death Race

Death Race

I had always believed Carmageddon to be the father of vehicular homicide-themed racing, but that was before I found Death Race. Though the art on the cabinet itself gives the impression that this is just a friendly race between two grim reapers, but in truth, the goal is to run down as many pedestrians as possible. And if you had a friend, you could compete to see who could run over the most people in a limited amount of time! It all sounds quite grand, until you consider that the 70's era screen could only render black and white stick figures. Plus, the bezel itself was at least as big as the screen that actually showed the game you were playing. Still, it was quite upsetting to people back then, though that may be due to the fact that the game became linked to the hilariously bad Sylvester Stallone/David Carradine vehicle (no pun intended), Death Race 2000. Perhaps they could've sold a few more of these cabinets if those two had appeared on the side of the cabinet. Then again, Death Race was banned due to its violent (stick figure) content, so it's unlikely they would've sold many either way.

#19: Star Trek

Star Trek

This game came in the standard, garden variety, mom-and-pop upright cabinet, but for my money, you'll be much better off if you experience it through the "captain's chair" model. Granted, the captain shouldn't have to push his own "photon", "warp" and "thrust" buttons to get things done, but this is at least a step in the right direction. A "Strategic Operations Simulator" must be designed to prepare you as a captain to take over in case your button-pushers are burned by hortas. You even got Scotty and Mr. Spock to introduce you to the game and call you "the captain". I guess they were willing to take anyone over Shatner.

#18: T-Mek


Competition. It'll spice up even the most mundane trip to the arcade. I brought my younger brother along with my whenever I went in part because he brought his own quarters, but also because I could persuade him to try just about any game with my as long as it had some sort of gimmick. In the case of T-Mek, it was the chairs with the speakers built into the headrests, and the two joysticks you'd push and pull in various combinations to get your T-Mek in gear, use your special weapons, etc. Sure, other games would come along where you used two joysticks to pilot a tank, or a giant robot, or something (but usually one of those two), but they didn't have the tank/robot that you piloted painted on the sides of the cabinet like a bitchin' van mural! Plus, there was a light above each player's chair that let everyone standing nearby know that someone was handing out an ass-kicking.

#17: F-114


This cabinet was easily one of the largest ever made. The player would sit in a swiveling chair and steer with the aid of a joystick mounted on the right side of the chair (sorry all you southpaws). All the action was displayed on a large curved projection screen, and all the sound effects came from, believe it or not, an 8-track player within the cabinet. I'm not overly familiar with 8-track players, as they were created and phased out before I was even born, but apparently someone knew of a way to wire one into the cabinet of an arcade game. There was also an area just below the screen made to look like the console of an aircraft, albeit with light-up hit counters that I doubt are included in real military aircraft. Or maybe I just need to watch Iron Eagle again. While I'm at it, you think the soundtrack is available on 8-track?

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more arcade cabinets from our list!

Reader Comments

Flash Game Programmer
Jan 10th, 2008, 03:52 AM
Incredible article...

Cruisin' the World though is one of my most memorable arcade games.
Pickleman's Uncle
Jan 10th, 2008, 04:06 AM
"Computer space" ? That thing is crazy, it belongs in a museum :O
It looks like Gumby fucked a tv.

In 1971??? Crazy old.
I know there this game made in the 50s though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2E9iSQfGdg

Jan 10th, 2008, 05:53 AM
Wow - I had forgotten about some of these beauties..."Two Tigers" ruled my life once...

A few humble inclusions? "Gauntlet" was always a fave, because it was the first co-op game I really got into. And I always went for "The Simpsons" over TMNT every time. "Operation Wolf" and its sequel "Operation Thunderbolt" were doozies too - the first time I ever saw a gun on a cabinet.

A fantastic trip down memory lane; thanks heaps guys. Damn, where can I get these things?
MLE MLE is offline
Jan 10th, 2008, 06:03 AM
I totally remember Gauntlet ;o I was always the Valkrye.
Forum Virgin
Jan 10th, 2008, 08:00 AM
Beootifool game of football (or soccer as you say) where you rolled a sphere instead of moving joystick to play. Veeery beootifool but don't think was in usa so forget about me...
Forum Virgin
Jan 10th, 2008, 08:02 AM
Oh yeah, operation wooolf! Mr Killgrave very right! And strip poker!
plastic bag
Jan 10th, 2008, 10:14 AM
i was hoping to see Lucky & Wild there, totally one of my favorite arcade games
Clap if you love Dynamo
Jan 10th, 2008, 10:30 AM
I have a few additions I would also like to suggest.

One thing I did not see that was a fun memory for me was a style of arcade unit, the tabletop arcade game. Games like Pac Man, Moon Patrol, Galaga, Wizard of Wor, and Crazy Climber were sometimes put into tables that you could also have your drink and pizza on.

A nice looking multiplayer arcade unit would be a game called Crime Fighters, It didn't just look cool on the cabinet either, it was huge fun because you could kick your enemies while they were down and even better, at the end of every stage, you usually fought a boss that was from a mainstream horror movie. Freddy Kruger, Jason, and Leatherface all made cameos.

Smash TV was another one that I will always remember, it had such a comical look to it and was such a campy theme game wise.
Can't even THINK straight
Jan 10th, 2008, 12:04 PM
I came...
Waiting for the worms.
Jan 10th, 2008, 02:41 PM
Alright, a comment on each page: In this page, I choose TMNT to win checkmate in 11 moves.
Waiting for the worms.
Jan 10th, 2008, 02:53 PM
Didn't realize the comments moved to all pages of the article neato. But T-Mek gets KO in round 3, and Sinistar wins the kewpie doll. Oh, yes.
I hate this hacker crap!
Jan 10th, 2008, 03:49 PM
I never got to experience most of these... I had no idea Computer Space even existed.
Retardedly Handsome
Jan 10th, 2008, 04:20 PM
Ahhh, what a refreshing trip down memory lane. It gave me something to think about while I was avoiding work. I wonder if arcades would just end up throwing out the grips from paperboy for health concerns. Not that arcades were usually a shining example of cleanliness. The combination of prepubescent hand sweat and pizza grease collecting in the grooves over the years.

I know I spent enough that would equal roughly half of my college tuition on the X-men game. Jump-Fierce Attack-Jump-Fierce Attack. Also one that I never got the hang of which I'm surpised wasn't included is Dragons Lair, especially for as cutting edge as it was when it came out (I think it cost $1.00 to play, which would be like $43 dollars today).

In New York City a few months ago and there is a Bar called Barcade that has about 30 different classic arcade games and they keep track of high scores on a chalk board. Its exciting. Played Tapper for about 2 hours.
Shrub Scientist
Jan 10th, 2008, 04:44 PM
Well done - what a splendid article written by two nice young men.

I distinctly remember the Time Traveler "hologram" game. This was the ultimate excitement for me as a 13-year old boy, even if they weren't real holograms. I also had weird demonic action figure toys that had removable souls with holographic images. The packaging warned not to immerse the toys in water, which of course I did, in the bathtub, to see if the demonic spirit would be released from his plastic prison. Does anybody else remember these toys? I've forgotten what they were called.
Forum Virgin
Jan 10th, 2008, 05:28 PM
this is one LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG article!
Forum Virgin
Jan 10th, 2008, 05:55 PM
didn't Arm Kings break a few arms? Now that's an arcade game!
Forum Virgin
Jan 10th, 2008, 06:13 PM
I remember the X-Men one, it was...

No Says the Man in Moskow
Jan 10th, 2008, 07:19 PM
that was great! it really took me back to my childhood, going to blackpool with my bro and spending a stupid amount of 20p coins XD

actaually, its just reminded me to set up my home arcade machine! im not sure what to stick in it tho:
cap'n american and the avengers, cap'n commando, avp, simpsons, xmen, aliens, or the punisher... the choices are endless!
Fake Shemp
Jan 10th, 2008, 07:45 PM
I miss arcades Used to be a staple of every mall. Now I don't know of any in my area (East Coast) that are like the ones I grew up with - dank, loud, buzzing, dangerous. All that's left now are arcades bosting a few older cabinet games and a bunch of Dance Dance Revolution set ups. Only one I actually still know of is up in the middle of the white mountains of NH, attached to a 2 lane bowling ally, mini golf, run down extravaganza called " UN T WN", which I'm assuming is missing its F an O, or is something really dirty. Seasonal place only open in the summer. Last and only time I was there the old geezer that ran the place shuffled out to greet us. "Heh, you guys wanna play the games do ya?" he snickered as he limped out back to start up the generator that powered the room. Granted, having Pac and Mrs Pac, and Moon Patrol and a working BattleZone and Tron Deadly Disks along side Galaga, Galaxian and a few others was a nice boost of nostalgia, but raccoons had nested in some of the cabinets and each screen needed to be wiped down from the decade of dust accumulated. I think the newest game there was The Simpsons.
Place has closed down, to be turned into whatever it is they turn things into up in the forest primeval up there, and I'm kicking myself for not being around when the old guy had a big sale and got rid of all his cabinets. I'm assuming they were going for dirt cheap.
Freelance Product Tester
Jan 10th, 2008, 08:35 PM
I would've liked to see a Triforce cabinet in the list. Nintendo, Namco, and Sega worked together to make it. It even let's you insert a Gamecube memory card for the F-Zero game they made for it. It tilts left and right (As long as you buckle up, of course!) as well. One helluva ride. Here's a look at both versions(I played on the original cabinet): http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?game_id=10971
Ninja in training
Jan 10th, 2008, 08:44 PM
Nice article...Ive seen black painted versions of diretruck at a hotel...and i agree for the most part with your listings
The Magnificent Bastard
Jan 10th, 2008, 09:14 PM
I strongly suggest Virtua-On, Virtua Fighter 2, and The Lost World!

Virtua-On's cabinet was similar to T-Mek.

Virtua Fighter 2's cabinet was just plain pretty, a nice paint job.

And, The Lost World had you sit in miniature car with a big monitor as the windshield!
Jan 10th, 2008, 09:59 PM
Wow, Panic Park was weird. The arm wrestling game was okay, but it was too easy too cheat by using two hands. X-Men was awesome too. It is a shame that this article didn't include one of the Sega games with the HUGE machineguns. Prop Cycle is missed too.
Jan 10th, 2008, 10:31 PM
Midway just loves to crush dreams. C
Jan 10th, 2008, 10:57 PM
The Aliens: Extermination arcade cabinet has pulse rifle replica lightguns that look and feel pretty damn sweet.
Forum Virgin
Jan 11th, 2008, 12:14 AM
You forgot SEGA's 360, that was the ultimate arcade machine.
Space Cowboy
Jan 11th, 2008, 12:46 AM
I once saw a Fist of the North Star arcade game where you actually had to punch parts of the screen that would pop out at you to damage your opponent.

First fighting game to ever cause me to actually break a sweat.
From the Home of MST3K
Jan 11th, 2008, 01:05 AM
God DAMN do I miss having a decent arcade. My 360 just isn't the same...

The Franklin once had a traveling exhibit of the greatest Arcade games in history...Much of what was in there was also on this list. Go yell at them and demand they bring it back and make it permanent!
What Video Games?
Jan 11th, 2008, 01:34 AM
Incredible article. I also miss arcades. The only places I know for sure that still has them are a flea market (flesh-eating bacteria included!) and the bus station (Sadly, flesh-eating bacteria sold seperatly.). Oh, and the miniature golf courses.

But still, RiverFair in Indiana had hundreds of them (Including Beasturrizer, which was Bloody Roar with a really gay name.) and this one that closed down years ago in small area near my house also rocked the boat.
Forum Virgin
Jan 11th, 2008, 04:02 AM

Best part of APB was..

After you captured each criminal you had to beat a confession out of them by wacking buttons and moving the joystick before the sarge came downstairs.

I remember clearly the 'Hum dee dum humm de dum" of the sarge walking downstairs (you saw his shadow in the glass window) while the suspect cried out as you beat them.

Anyhow, they don't make um like that anymore I guess.
Forum Virgin
Jan 11th, 2008, 05:13 AM
Excellent article. I actually had the pleasure of experiencing a fully intact "Discs of Tron". I remember being filled with awe at the sheer beauty of that bad-boy. I also used to run around the house with a frisbee taped to my back which I would yank off and through at shit. One time I whacked my dog upside the ass with it. Needless to say,ol' bear was none to pleased.
Forum Virgin
Jan 11th, 2008, 08:10 AM
I consider this list null and void with the omission of the R-360 version of "G-Loc" that was essentially a giant pod that you had to strap into. It was able to rotate a full 360 degrees on the horizontal and vertical axis and even had a built in "barf button" to quit the game if you started to get sick from spinning.
Forum Virgin
Jan 11th, 2008, 11:36 AM
Pity the Midway Space Invaders cab was chosen, when the original TAITO Space Invaders cabinet blows it away in so many respects. It has superior artwork in it's cabinet, backgrounds, and control panel. It also has 2-way Joystick control (not button control).. the way it's meant to be played by it's makers. It's by far the superior cabinet.

Also it's worth mentioning the ghostly holographic effect both the cabinets have for their display which uses mirrors to achieve it's effect. You don't see much of those anymore
Forum Virgin
Jan 11th, 2008, 04:11 PM

Nice article

It certainly brought back some fond memories, and made me mourn the loss of many, many quarters.

I'd like to point out that Robotron 2084 had the dual joystick move/shoot setup a few years before Smash TV.

I'd also like to nominate the original Street Fighter cabinet, which used pressure-sensitive rubber pods instead of buttons. To deliver a punch or a kick, you punched the pod - the harder the you hit the pod, the harder your character punched.

It was kinda neat because nobody could dominate the game for hours, like they would with some of the other arcade fighting games. After a few matches in a row, your arms would get so tired you couldn't deliver a hard punch any more, and any newb with fresh arms could beat you.
lurking on the walls
Jan 11th, 2008, 11:06 PM
i remember the "race Drivin " game you sit in a car molding and try to avoid the block shaped things and run out of time, it was funny but kind of good at the time
Is a thin donkey
Jan 12th, 2008, 12:08 AM
Man, I remember playing TMNT back at my old arcade...never got past the first level, but enjoyed it nevertheless.
Tropical Viking
Jan 12th, 2008, 12:21 AM
I wasn't around to see those vintage cabinets, but as a kid, I truly adimired that of Mortal Kombat 2. The huge screen and the imponent Raiden figure on it's side marveled me for quite a couple years. But I was a shitty player and barely could reach for the joystick, so I never really played it... but let's face it, I was chicken-shitting a little. A lame performance on that arcade would be like standing naked in front of your classroom. That's how I felt like.
Jan 12th, 2008, 03:54 AM
I was hoping that Time Traveler would make the list! I can't think of how many quarters I wasted on that one *laughs* I actually lucked out and found a used copy of the game disc at EB (complete with 3D glasses no less!) that plays on a PS2...



Still can't beat the thing...
Jan 12th, 2008, 10:09 AM
I know its not really one of the greatest but i always like the mortal kombat 4 cabinet. They had pictures of the real actors that playd the characters in the game and quan chi's big ass white head loomin at you as soon as you walk in the arcade is always a good motivation to burn off some quarters. Before they recently closed the arcade at our mall they had one but the game inside was like, dragonball z or somethin like that. But back when new 3d mk was all the rage, i think i stood there lookin at the thing while waitin my turn long enough to fully be engrossed by the droning stare of quan chi. now i have a fear of bald men, albino people and cakey black makeup. *shudder*
ids ids is offline
Forum Virgin
Jan 12th, 2008, 10:16 PM
I can't believe you guys missed Wacko - should be in the top-10!
Jan 12th, 2008, 11:33 PM
i remember playing guitar freaks it was really fun. i never liked DDR, i prefer Pump it Pump
By Hawkings Chair!
Jan 13th, 2008, 05:25 AM
I'm surprised Mad Dog McCree isn't on the list.
I remember when this came out it cost 50p a go! At a time when arcade games cost either 10 or 20p.
Damn worth it though. It was almost worth getting killed just to see the creepy undertaker dude standing over your casket talking to you.

Another great game, which I can't quite remember the name of right now, had a puchbag on it and a camera so that before the game started you could have your own mug superimposed over the game character. I'm sure some psychologists made a good living off of kids who had an uncontrolable urge the punch the crap out of themselves.

Mad Dog McCree cabinet here:
Built in the 80s
Jan 13th, 2008, 05:27 PM
Awesome article!
Spiral Out
Jan 13th, 2008, 10:07 PM
I would give my left nut and half of my right for a STUN Runner machine.
Forum Virgin
Jan 13th, 2008, 10:39 PM
Aaah, the French.
Forum Virgin
Jan 14th, 2008, 10:16 AM
Kid N is right. The Taito space invaders cabinet is a thing of beauty! Surely would have notched it up the list a few.

Fantastic and well researched article. and thank you for these fine urban champion icons!
Pickled Patriarch
Jan 14th, 2008, 02:05 PM
Good call on the Space Invaders, but if and when we turn this into a "top 100" list, I think the Space Invaders cocktail style table will make it onto the list as it's one of the earlier ones and definitely one of the cooler looking ones.

It's crazy, even with all the research and work that was put into this thing, there are still loads of games I've never even seen. We've received soooo many great suggestions for the list that I'm sure we'll eventually update it to make it a top 100 instead of a top 50.

Thanks again for all the compliments everyone and keep those arcade cabinet suggestions a' coming!
Forum Virgin
Jan 15th, 2008, 09:48 AM
oh all i can rember palying is gauntlet being the Dwarf though never the ranger or what he was as seemed to be a bit rubbish
Forum Virgin
Jan 15th, 2008, 10:46 AM
Time Crisis probably ate more of my quarters than any other machine.
Jan 15th, 2008, 11:08 AM
I thought the 'Addams Family Generator' Looked pretty nifty in the arcade. It was the first thing I was drawn to when I saw it there anyway. I gotta say the vibration didn't feel like shit though. It was pretty fun to piss about with though.
Forum Virgin
Jan 15th, 2008, 01:20 PM
Great article, I thought I knew them all but I was wrong! Here are my comments:

1. Fire Truck - Thank you for including that. That was a very unique game.
2. Smash TV - More 'evolutionary' than revolutionary. As mentioned before, Robotron was the first to employ 2 joysticks for movement and firing. Smash TV just added a second player.
3. I agree with an earlier comment: Wacko should be considered for the next list.
4. Tempest had a very unique cabinet. Great artwork, rotary control. Always drew me in.
5. Galaxy Force (1988) was quite impressive
6. Joust cocktail version. One of the few cocktails you can sit side by side. Good game too!
7. Sprint 1 was one of the first stand-up driving games, but Sprint 8 was the first 8 player stand up driving game. The cabinet is quite a spectacle to see. Take that Ivan Stewart!
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:47 PM
I loved this article simply for the nostalgia of the arcade. A damn dirty shame that they're becoming more and more extinct these days. All well. On a different note, I'd love for somebody to get a snapshot of the original Splatterhouse arcade cabinet and post it, simply to see what the game that continually kicks my ass looked like in arcades.
Forum Virgin
Jan 15th, 2008, 09:16 PM
Police 911...i played it for the first time a few days ago. normal shooter with a gun but it detects your bodily movements to hide behind obstacles and what not so you don't get hit by mobster fire...time crisis be damned!
Pickled Patriarch
Jan 16th, 2008, 05:36 PM
Originally Posted by Styled Executioner View Post
I thought the 'Addams Family Generator' Looked pretty nifty in the arcade. It was the first thing I was drawn to when I saw it there anyway. I gotta say the vibration didn't feel like shit though. It was pretty fun to piss about with though.
Hehe yeah I loved that one too, but that wasn't really a video arcade game. It was more of a novelty attraction that people would tease their friends about. Still amazes me when I see a grown adult who can't last through that entire thing. It's not like it's real electricity... it's just vibrations as you said.

Originally Posted by Jonny#5 View Post
I loved this article simply for the nostalgia of the arcade. A damn dirty shame that they're becoming more and more extinct these days. All well. On a different note, I'd love for somebody to get a snapshot of the original Splatterhouse arcade cabinet and post it, simply to see what the game that continually kicks my ass looked like in arcades.
Thanks man, glad it brought back some memories. I miss arcades too, but there are more classic arcades popping up around the country. Search around and maybe you can find one close to you. We've also got some killer Japanese arcades around here, complete with Typing Of The Dead (highly recommended).

As for Splatterhouse, the only place online that has a photo of it is klov and sadly, it doesn't look all too impressive, even though the game was awesome. I dig the cheesy marquee though.
frappez le cochon rouge
Jan 16th, 2008, 10:41 PM
Even Destructoid loves it!


I agree with most of 'em.
Pickled Patriarch
Jan 18th, 2008, 09:10 PM
Yeppers, Destructoid has always been really cool about featuring whatever our latest gaming stuff is. Real nice group o' people writing for 'em too.
Jan 21st, 2008, 12:07 AM
although i like most of the cabinets in this one, i'm disappointed that they left out the original Darius which was notorious for being the first shmup that spanned 3 screens wide (which was quite innovative for its time).
Exploding In...3...2...1
Jan 28th, 2008, 09:50 PM
Ah, Smash TV, a game i first played on a "Atari History" disk, and i only thing i can say is that its a bitch to play Smash TV on a Ps2 controller.
Our Last Hope
Feb 4th, 2008, 06:06 PM
Amazing article. I hope that cabinets and arcades come back into style.
You'll thank me later...
Feb 14th, 2008, 11:42 AM
Discs Of Tron!

My mother's first husband's best friend owned an arcade that, well I used to go to all the time when I was a kid. The had the full version and I remember playing that bad boy religiously. I was barely tall enough to actually PLAY but my god was that an amazing game.

It's the loss of games like that, that make me furious to see the loss of the arcade.
Forum Virgin
Mar 13th, 2008, 06:23 PM
Amazing article. The only time I did a lot of jumping up and down and screaming to a video game was when my foot accidentally hit the Power button just as I finally got to the Great Palace in Zelda II and I realized I hadn't saved the game at all!!(Yes, I know. Stupid of me). Lots of memories here. I'll never forget standing on tiptoe at the age of five to play Ms.Pac Man. Keep up the good work, guys. I can't wait for the next 50 greatest Arcade Cabinets.
Big Red Cat
Mar 17th, 2008, 05:11 AM
Originally Posted by MilesMayhem View Post
i was hoping to see Lucky & Wild there, totally one of my favorite arcade games
I'll echo that. Of course, Lucky & Wild was about the only thing to do in the town I lived in.
Space Case
Mar 20th, 2008, 03:41 AM
We have been robbed of our arcades...Now they only languish in disrepair at bus stations and movie theaters...

Nice article.
A little slice of wisdom
Sep 28th, 2008, 07:01 PM
Funny thing about T-Mek, it was the grand pappy to the Mech Warrior Franchise & later Mech Assult
The #1 My Little Pony
Aug 10th, 2009, 01:44 AM
I loved the X-Man game so much when I was little, I bought my very own a few years ago. I love it. It wouldn't even fit through the house entrance until the front door was taken off! Whale of a game, but fun as hell!
Forum Virgin
Sep 4th, 2009, 05:43 PM
discs of tron in the arcade in the contemporary hotel at disney world. i can still hear the loud bangs as the discs bounced of the walls during the battle
Forum Virgin
Sep 4th, 2009, 06:41 PM
I never knew that they had already created guitar hero based arcade cabinets. Before reading this, I never knew they existed. o_O
Forum Virgin
Sep 4th, 2009, 06:53 PM
You know what you forgot "or I may have just not seen"

Carn-evil. I may buy the cabinet refurbished for 1400$
Forum Virgin
Oct 11th, 2009, 03:18 PM
BOOO I was hoping to see Galaxy Force II on this list. But instead After burner II took it's spot. Ok yeah after Burner was more popular. But Galaxy force II had superior game play and graphics. As for cabinet design innovation. It had a really cool sit in cockpit, that had a purple flying saucer design. Also it was the first cabinet that not only tilted up and down like after burner but also spined in a full 360 degrees.
Forum Virgin
Dec 6th, 2009, 12:26 AM
Hi I have a game that you all have overlooked as one of the best/coolest games ever. It is a game by Global VR call "Vortek V3" the cabinet is absolutely awesome looks like a bee landed on the top of the cabinet and got stuck and it is a great game. When I got it the counterbalance was not right so the person I bought it from said it was too hard to play for extended periods of time and after 10 mins of tinkering it is now weightless effort to play for hours at end. The one I own has 5 different games on it and it is always good for a night with my friends. It is the first full sized arcade I have bought. This game should definately be remembered if the list goes to 100
Don't Care
May 17th, 2010, 04:44 AM
Well done - what a splendid article written by two nice young men.I distinctly remember the Time Traveler "hologram" game. This was the ultimate excitement for me as a 13-year old boy, even if they weren't real holograms. I also had weird demonic action figure toys that had removable souls with holographic images. The packaging warned not to immerse the toys in water, which of course I did, in the bathtub, to see if the demonic spirit would be released from his plastic prison. Does anybody else remember these toys? I've forgotten what they were called.
I know this answer comes about two years late, but I believe the action figures you are referring to were called "Visionaries". I personally never owned one, but I remember seeing them back in the day.

Excellent article, by the way, and also brings back some fond memories for me as well. And 8-track? Let me tell you, son, back in the day, 8-track was the shit. Hell, I can even remember N.W.A.'s 'Straight Outta Compton' being on 8-track.
Don't Care
May 17th, 2010, 05:06 AM
You know, after posting that, I suddenly feel very old. Not to mention remembering playing Pac-Man, Galaxian, Moon Patrol, and Space Invaders as a young'un, maybe 6 or 7. We didn't go to an arcade, oh no. My dad took my mom and me to a truck stop. Now, this place wasn't what one would normally picture a truck stop to be. It was actually a nice clean place to grab a good burger and spend the evening playing the arcade games. We all loved it. Ah, what memories. Good times, good times.
4 Eyes, No Brain.
Dec 8th, 2010, 05:31 PM
One of the greatest gaming experiences in my life was playing the 4 player version of The Simpsons with the cabinet that had 4 seats and the monitor was in the shape of the Simpsons tv set. We played it from start to finish, I wasn't even bothered that I had to play as Marge.
Im one good looking Troll
Dec 11th, 2010, 05:33 PM
Daytona USA they have up to eight players.
Deadly Towers Survivor
Mar 11th, 2011, 04:11 PM
This article brought me to tears. So much nostalgia...I miss arcades...and I mean real arcades, not the pathetic excuses of ones you see nowadays. I mean ones from the good old days. Ones that were busting at the seams with awesome retro video games like TMNT, Simpsons, Space Invaders, Street Fighter, Final Fight, etc.

Too bad most of these games can mostly only be played via emulation nowadays...
Forum Virgin
Mar 23rd, 2011, 04:11 AM
Awesome list, but there were two cabinets that I was hoping would have made the list:

1. "Beast Busters" - the first zombie FPS that I can remember. What was rad about it was that the controller was an uzi a la "Operation Wolf" - except this baddie had three of them! Plus some really cool zombie apocalypse artwork on the sides.

2. "Lucky and Wild" - a driving/shooting game clearly inspired by the "Lethal Weapon" movies. The controls for player 1 (Lucky) were a steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, and a mounted hand gun so you could drive and shoot(!) while player 2 (Wild) just had a gun. If you wanted though, player 1 could focus on the driving while player 2 could wield both guns John Woo style. Man, I wish I could find these games...
Forum Virgin
Mar 30th, 2011, 09:29 PM
This article brought me to tears. So much nostalgia

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