Right, first up in my A to Z of video game top 10's are the devilish machines that got me into gaming in the first place. Arcade cabinets: AKA Coin-Op's. For some, the dwellings of said contraptions were a haven of adventure and escapism, endeavoring to reach for the stars and be acclaimed by your peers. For others, a soulless room of money stealing traitorous boxes that break your heart and taunt you with an irresistible continue countdown screen. Personally, I loved the arcade era. I was glad and willing, but maybe not able, to part with my school lunch money just so I could see Death Adder's blood spurt, or attempt the famous 'Handcuffs Glitch' in Street Fighter 2. As you can imagine, I played many of these games back in the day, so here is my top 10 of personal champions These may not be the titles you expect, it is not a list of the so-called 'Best' games, just the ones that got me to part with the most amount of money, or kept me coming back again and again. And again.
|But Mum, the invaders eat my sprouts... honest!|
#10 Space Invaders - The original arcade sensation. The colour screen table top version we had when my folks ran a Pub (Yes, pubs had arcade machines!). I have many fond memories of this, but strangely not the first arcade I played. Remember, shoot the last git of an invader before he is in your sights!
#9 Datona USA - Early teens, local cinema and we were there, racing frantically in the four player simulator version until dark. It was the first racer I played that felt real, with the vibrations, gear stick, visual damage, pedals and steering wheel. Great and so new for the time.
|Times were hard for Donkey's |
Dragon wife before Shrek
#7 Kung Fu Master - Ah yes, the very first arcade game I played as a wee boy. I was hooked by this, even though it took me months to work out how to beat the level four boss, but I loved it. I remember searching high and low for the CPC version, which was pretty good as it happens. It even inspired me in later life to learn martial arts. Novabug - 2nd Degree Blackbelt. (I thank you!)
#6 Jailbreak - One single sound effect is the reason why this low-grade police shoot 'em up makes the list. In fairground arcade stalls up and down the country, Jailbreak was always there, the grating echos of a hostage boy's scream calling out to you in the demo rum. You had to save him, the little shit!
#5 Golden Axe - Everybody I knew at the time loved this, SEGA's fantasy slasher normally accompanied with the usual argument of who the best character was; the dwarf or the barbarian. In truth, the amazon was excellent because she had the best magic, but no pre-pubescent boy would admit to this in the pressured testosterone atmosphere of the arcade. It was also a bit of a watershed moment with the spectacularly grim death of the games antagonist.
#4 Chase HQ - Few games make you want to be a policeman, but this hit the mark with aplomb. Chase the criminal at crazy speeds in a Porsche, and run him off the road! What is there not it like? It was fast too, very fast. And if you failed? A women called Nancy on the radio mocked you openly! Shocking.
#3 Time Crisis - If early light gun FPS's had a James Bond style hero, then Richard Miller was it. The Namco G-Con45 was such a brilliant gun controller, bulk and presence and made you feel menacing. Many pound coins were spent on the continue screen with this one. A polygon frenzy of Blam Blams!
#2 Street Fighter 2 - Well, it had to be in this list didn't it? Most best-game charts have it, so this list will be no exception. One of the biggest and most popular games ever, I did not miss the boat during it's arcade heyday. This game made me late for school numerous times, miss the bus home, get into real fights... you name it. It should be at the top of the list you think, but....
#1 Point Blank - On the outside, you may think I am insane for choosing this. A light gun gallery shooter, with cartoon slapstick graphics and with two hosts that look like they are on day release from the Sesame Street asylum. Point Blank and it's sequel scoffed up more of my beer money in my student days then any other machine. While my buds were crying into there empty wallets at the foot of a fruit machine, I was smiling and dancing with joy at completing Point Blank yet again, with a crowd of admiring peers standing around me. It gave be so much fun and pleasure, it is my all time number one arcade game.
Well there you have it. Feel free to add your opinions and your suggestions for your top coin-ops. Double Dragon, Final Fight and Hippodrome were all close to making the list as these were also great games for me. Hope you enjoyed my arcade adventure, next up.... my top ten Beat' em Up's! Funnily enough, some of these classics may be included...
Finally, A big thanks to Arlee Bird for starting this challenge, a great idea and hopefully helpful to all that have accepted. Find him at http://tossingitout.blogspot.co.uk/