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


#16: Sonic Blast Man

Sonic Blast Man

We've all played those games where you test your punching strength by hitting a target and it tells you how many pounds of pressure you contacted with. Well, the Sonic Blast Man game took it a step further by actually making a real video game out of it instead of just a way for you to show people you could hit hard as Ivan Drago. In Sonic Blast Man, you play the role of a superhero who has to fight crime and basically save the planet. So you strap on the pair of boxing gloves, punch the target as hard as you can and then see if you did enough damage to the enemy on the screen. Enemies included a purse snatcher, a runaway semi-truck, a skyscraper, a giant mutated crab, and a meteor headed for earth. While the moon was the hardest, I always thought the giant mutated crab was a really random thing to throw in there. The game always drew lots of crowds and laughs as some people would get a running start before throwing their punches. I actually saw a guy practically miss the entire target once and man oh man did he ever feel like an ass! The one drawback of this game was that, even with all of the padding on the cabinet, it was out of order all too often. I guess you just can't make an electronic machine that people are supposed to wail on and not expect it to malfunction at some point. Even better, because some people are complete idiots when it comes to throwing punches, "Taito lost a class action suit for $50,000 to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) because of injuries sustained by players of Sonic Blast Man. The CPSC alleges that between 1991 and 1994, Taito failed to report about 70 cases in which young players fractured or injured wrists and arms as a result of hitting Sonic Blast Man's punching pad." And these people had the nerve to put on those boxing gloves and call themselves superheroes. Pfft.

#15: 720o


Long before Tony Hawk realized how much cash there was in the virtual skating market, the king of the skating games was 720 (that's two 360's for our less mathematically-inclined readers). You controlled a skater with a joystick and two buttons for performing tricks (and dodging killer bees). Here's the catch: normal joysticks work when you tilt them away from the center in the direction you want your player to move. The joystick for 720, however, could only be rotated clockwise or counterclockwise. To the casual observer, it looked like the joystick was broken since it was fixed tilted as far from the center as it could be. Not so, gentle readers. The funky-shaped cabinet also included a couple speakers at the top to give you real stereo sound and the look of a boombox! That meant you could enjoy all the best video game skateboard music the 1980s had to offer, so long as the arcade was willing to supply all the proper cable hookups. At the very least, you could enjoy the sounds of a digitized "Skate or DIE!" voice in full stereo sound.

#14: X-Men

The X-Men 6-player arcade cabinet!

I remember walking into a small arcade and seeing this X-Men machine for the first time. I was absolutely floored by it. At the time (around 1992), it was easily the biggest multiplayer arcade machine I had ever seen in person. This beast was covered in bright X-Men character graphics and had two monitors connected together which gave you a 50" wide viewing screen. It had 3 coin slots on the left side and 3 coin slots on the right side. And if you were fortunate enough to get in on a 6-player co-op game and play it all the way 'til the end, it would probably end up being one of the greatest arcade gaming experiences of your life. Partially because it could get pretty crowded with 6-people standing around the machine at once and you'd often end up getting in some major shoving matches. But hey, that only added to the excitement of playing the game. A big colorful machine that took up more space than any other arcade game at the time... is it really any surprise that this massive arcade cabinet made it on the top 50 list?

#13: Star Wars

Star Wars

There are a lot of movie tie-in video games that people avoid the plague, and rightfully so, but the original Star Wars arcade game was not one of them. While there was a stand-up version of this game, the truly nice one was the sit-down cockpit environmental one. Combined with the nice artwork, a cockpit reminiscent of the inside of an X-Wing, the lighting, the music and sound effects directly from the movie, this game really made you feel like you were Luke Skywalker flying towards the Death Star in your trusty X-Wing. The only thing the game was missing was an R2-D2 unit on top and an X-Wing pilot helmet for you to wear while playing. Well, that and giving you the opportunity to play as Porkins too.

#12: Shark Jaws

Shark Jaws

While this cabinet looks fine 'n all as far as classic games go, what's truly great about it is how they avoided being sued by the filmmakers of "Jaws". If you look closely, to the top left of the word "Jaws" is the word "Shark" written in tiny letters. What this accomplished is the average kid back in 1975 would walk by the arcade game and only really see the word "Jaws" and think it was some official game based on the hit movie. Smart move! The added screaming sound effects whenever the shark ate a diver didn't hurt either.

#11: Ms. Pac-Man

Smash T.V.

If there was ever another standard arcade cabinet that stood out more than Ms. Pac-Man, I honestly don't remember it. In a sea of standard cabinets that were almost always black with some artwork on the side, Ms. Pac-Man defied our comfortable corneas with a bright blue, pink and yellow cabinet that just screamed "Hey you! Yeah YOU! Get over here and play me!" to anybody that crossed its path. This thing was so bright that it almost appeared to be neon. And hey, there's no denying that Ms. Pac-Man is far sexier than Pac-Man could ever dream of being... even the ghosts are in love with her for chrissakes! This game didn't just look good, it also made guys comfortable enough in their manliness to be able to play a game that had pink all over the cabinet. Viva la Pac!

#10: Time Traveler

Time Traveler

In the early nineties, the lead designers at a lot of game companies got the idea into their heads that the future of video game graphics was Full Motion Video (FMV). Essentially, rather than hire artists and programmers to create characters and settings for your games, you could just hire actors, shoot them doing scenes as you would for TV/movies, compress those video files into ugly little bits of footage, and then string them together with a little interaction from the player to make what is generously called a "game". Sega, however, decided to take all this a step further. Anyone could make a plain, old, two-dimensional FMV game. Instead, they decided to take a step into the field of holograms. Kind of. In reality, the game just used mirrors to make two-dimensional projections appear to be on different plains, thus creating a "3-D" effect. Pretty weenie, Sega. And you didn't even bother to make a decent game to go along with this "innovation." For shame.

#9: After Burner

After Burner

With the popularity of movies like "Top Gun" and "Iron Eagle" at the time, it's no surprise that people wanted a chance to get in on some of their own realistic dogfighting action. After Burner allowed you to do just that with this cockpit-style arcade machine which rotated in 4 different ways depending on how you were flying your jet. John Connor even played this arcade game in the movie "Terminator 2"; perhaps as a testament to his skills as a future leader of the resistance.

#8: Sinistar


Sinistar was well-known mostly for its steep difficulty creepy voiceovers. However, almost completely overlooked is the stuff on the outside. The most basic Sinistar machine was just a plain old upright machine, but if your local arcade was willing to spring for the high-end model, you were in for a real treat. The entire cabinet was made up to look like a spaceship. If you ask me, though, the thing looked more like a solid black semi truck cabin with a muffler on the driver and passenger side windows. You'd think that if they were going to make the cabinet look like a spaceship, they would make it look at least a little like the spaceship in the game, a wimpy triangular ship. Hey, but what do I know? Maybe you felt better about being pursued by a shrieking monster if you thought you were in a hulking, boxy starship. Could this be the true origin of the SUV?

#7: Pong


Many people believe Pong to be the first arcade game ever created, but that honor belongs to Computer Space which was released a year earlier in 1971. Still, Pong was the first successful arcade game that had a really wide distribution and was eventually released n a home console version as well. In addition to being a simple game that anybody could pick up in an instant, Pong came in a much more basic (and lighter) cabinet than Computer Space, so that might help partially explain why it was successful. You didn't need a forklift to move the thing. Granted, it didn't look nearly as futuristic or flashy as Computer Space, what with the wood paneling 'n all, but this game is what really brought arcade games into the mainstream and we owe a lot to it for that reason. When you think about it, a game as simple as Pong probably should have a cabinet that matches it in terms of simplicity. Well, you can't get much simpler than a cabinet covered in wood paneling.

#6: Baby Pac-Man

Bab Pac-Man

Not to be confused with Pac-Man Jr., Baby Pac-Man was a whole new spin on the Pac-Man series combining both video game and pinball gameplay into one machine. While the Caveman pinball/video game hybrid came out earlier, Baby Pac-Man was the first to combine the two into a standard upright arcade machine rather than a bulky pinball machine. The way the game worked is you started out in a standard Pac-Man maze, but the ghosts in this game were far more intelligent than in any other Pac-Man game, so you often wanted to make a run for the escape tunnels. Once you made it into an escape tunnel, the pinball game down below would launch and that's where you could score yourself some much needed power pellets. While the game itself only enjoyed moderate success (primarily because it was extremely hard), it sure looked damned nice with 100% completely unique layout.

#5: Fire Truck

Fire TruckTurn you fool! TURN!

Now here's an old game from 1978 that took two-player cooperative gaming to a whole new level. Player one got to control the cab of the fire truck, while player two stood behind and drove the trailer. It was just like driving a real fire truck! Ok not really, but the idea was still good. The object of the game was to drive to your destination as quickly as possible while avoiding hazards in the streets. What's funny about the cabinet is that the steering wheels and the gas pedal were the only things that had any effect on the actual gameplay. The additional buttons you see would simply make bell and horn sound effects. Player two also had the option of smacking player one on the head from behind and annoying the living hell out of him, thus Fire Truck never became a big hit. If you ask me though, this game is begging to be remade for modern arcades complete with fully-functional fire hoses.

#4: Tank 8

Tank 8

Tank 8 was the follow-up to Atari's hit "Tank" game and it was about as unique as arcade gaming experiences got at the time it was released in 1976. An unheard of 8-person multiplayer game in which you have 8 different colored tanks to control. It also featured two modes of play; you could play on a team, or you could play as a lone tank hell bent on destroying every other tank in your path. As you can see, the layout of this machine was really different - a cube with 2 sets of controllers on each side and a 25" color screen in the center. Each controller set consisted of two joysticks for you to maneuver your tank with in the same way that you'd drive a real tank (ie: pushing one joystick forward while pulling the other one back to make a sharp right turn). I call dibs on the green tank!

#3: Computer Space

Computer Space 1-playerComputer Space 2-player

This one should come as no surprise to any video game history buff. "Computer Space" was the first commercially available arcade game ever, released back in 1971. With its molded retro sci-fi look, this fiberglass cabinet is an absolute gem in the minds of collectors whether it's the original 1-player or the 2-player version. While the game itself was never a big hit, people are always excited by the chance to see one of these rare machines in person. And a true testament to just how awesome the build of the cabinet is, even though there weren't a ton of these machines produced, they still made their way into popular culture. The "Computer Space" game appeared in the movies "Jaws" and "Soylent Green".

#2: Maneater

ManeaterManeater screen and controls

Another game created to cash in on the "Jaws" craze, Maneater didn't need to try and trick people with its name like "Shark Jaws" did. Maneater had more than enough visual charm to attract just about anybody at the time. The screen and controls are brilliantly nestled inside the jaws of a big fiberglass shark! You just know this design made some young children too scared to even play the game. Gotta also love how they didn't even consider the fact that some people like resting their arms on arcade cabinet surfaces. They may not be sharp, but I doubt those shark teeth are a comfortable place to rest your arms while playing the game. Unfortunately, these machines are really hard to come by these days so don't count on finding one at your average arcade. They have been on display at some retro gaming exhibits before though, and if there's any arcade game cabinet worth taking a picture of with your head in it, this just might be the one.

#1: Discs Of Tron

Discs Of Tron

This is it. The creme de la creme of all arcade video cabinets. Weighing in at over 730 lbs of pure video gaming joy, the environmental cabinet version of Discs Of Tron was in a class all its own. Unlike other environmental cabinets at the time, Discs Of Tron didn't have you sit inside of it. Instead, you stood up and leaned back in it, just like your disc-chucking character on the screen as you listened to everything in full stereo sound and enjoyed the badass glow of the blacklight enhanced artwork. It's truly one hell of a fun time standing inside one of these bad boys and if you ever have the chance to do so, do not pass it up. What really horrifies both myself and arcade collectors worldwide is how many of these amazing machines were eventually sawed in half. You see, not every arcade could afford to have a machine that weighed so much shipped to them, nor did they all have the space for this behemoth. So, what Bally Midway did with many of the unsold larger environmental versions of the game, was saw it in half and ship only the front part (it wasn't built to split apart even though looking at it would make you think otherwise). As a result, finding a complete version of this game that wasn't sawed in half has become increasingly difficult over the years. Even worse, I've heard tales that many of these machines ended up in landfills, much like the legend of Atari's infamous dumping of countless E.T. cartridges. Another interesting note is that Discs Of Tron was originally supposed to be a fifth game in the original Tron arcade machine (which also had the same stylings as this cabinet, but sadly didn't come in an environmental version). While there's no doubt that the original was great, I think we're all glad that Bally took the time to keep Discs as a separate game of its own. After you've had a chance to look at this cabinet inside and out, you'll quickly realize it wasn't just another cool game... it was a true work of art through and through and I've yet to see another arcade machine that comes anywhere close to it.

And there you have it for our list of the top 50 greatest arcade cabinet designs! It took a lot of time for the two of us to compile this list, but there's still a good chance we've left out some of your favorite arcade picks. If that's that case, by all means post your suggestions in the Reader Comments area down below to let us know what we left out. Who knows, maybe we'll update the list to cover 100 arcade cabinets sometime! Thanks for reading and may the warm glow of the arcades guide you all in your darkest hour.

Have any questions or comments about this piece?
Email -RoG- and Dr. Boogie

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Reader Comments

Flash Game Programmer
Jan 10th, 2008, 04:52 AM
Incredible article...

Cruisin' the World though is one of my most memorable arcade games.
Pickleman's Uncle
Jan 10th, 2008, 05:06 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, 06:53 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, 07:03 AM
I totally remember Gauntlet ;o I was always the Valkrye.
Forum Virgin
Jan 10th, 2008, 09:00 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, 09:02 AM
Oh yeah, operation wooolf! Mr Killgrave very right! And strip poker!
plastic bag
Jan 10th, 2008, 11:14 AM
i was hoping to see Lucky & Wild there, totally one of my favorite arcade games
Clap if you love Dynamo
Jan 10th, 2008, 11:30 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, 01:04 PM
I came...
Waiting for the worms.
Jan 10th, 2008, 03:41 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, 03:53 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, 04:49 PM
I never got to experience most of these... I had no idea Computer Space even existed.
Retardedly Handsome
Jan 10th, 2008, 05:20 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, 05:44 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, 06:28 PM
this is one LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG article!
Forum Virgin
Jan 10th, 2008, 06:55 PM
didn't Arm Kings break a few arms? Now that's an arcade game!
Forum Virgin
Jan 10th, 2008, 07:13 PM
I remember the X-Men one, it was...

No Says the Man in Moskow
Jan 10th, 2008, 08:19 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, 08:45 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, 09:35 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, 09:44 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, 10:14 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, 10:59 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, 11:31 PM
Midway just loves to crush dreams. C
Jan 10th, 2008, 11:57 PM
The Aliens: Extermination arcade cabinet has pulse rifle replica lightguns that look and feel pretty damn sweet.
Forum Virgin
Jan 11th, 2008, 01:14 AM
You forgot SEGA's 360, that was the ultimate arcade machine.
Space Cowboy
Jan 11th, 2008, 01:46 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, 02:05 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, 02:34 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, 05:02 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, 06:13 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, 09:10 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, 12:36 PM
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, 05:11 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 12th, 2008, 12:06 AM
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, 01:08 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, 01:21 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, 04:54 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, 11:09 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, 11:16 PM
I can't believe you guys missed Wacko - should be in the top-10!
Jan 13th, 2008, 12:33 AM
i remember playing guitar freaks it was really fun. i never liked DDR, i prefer Pump it Pump
By Hawkings Chair!
Jan 13th, 2008, 06:25 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, 06:27 PM
Awesome article!
Spiral Out
Jan 13th, 2008, 11:07 PM
I would give my left nut and half of my right for a STUN Runner machine.
Forum Virgin
Jan 13th, 2008, 11:39 PM
Aaah, the French.
Forum Virgin
Jan 14th, 2008, 11:16 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, 03:05 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, 10:48 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, 11:46 AM
Time Crisis probably ate more of my quarters than any other machine.
Jan 15th, 2008, 12:08 PM
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, 02:20 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, 06:47 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, 10:16 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, 06:36 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, 11:41 PM
Even Destructoid loves it!


I agree with most of 'em.
Pickled Patriarch
Jan 18th, 2008, 10:10 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, 01:07 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, 10:50 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, 07:06 PM
Amazing article. I hope that cabinets and arcades come back into style.
You'll thank me later...
Feb 14th, 2008, 12:42 PM
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, 07:23 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, 06:11 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, 04:41 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, 08:01 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, 02:44 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, 06:43 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, 07:41 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, 07:53 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, 04:18 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, 01:26 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, 05:44 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, 06:06 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, 06:31 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, 06:33 PM
Daytona USA they have up to eight players.
Deadly Towers Survivor
Mar 11th, 2011, 05:11 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, 05:11 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, 10:29 PM
This article brought me to tears. So much nostalgia

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