10 Retro Arcade Games That Define Your Childhood

Long before the convenience of mobile games which made it easier to play wherever we go, the arcade games was a quintessential past time for many kids back in the 80s. Here are 10 retro arcade games in an alphabetical order that may have defined your childhood.


1) Asteroids

Who would have thought that a mere black-and-white shoot’em up space game was such a hit back in 1979? It may have been terribly dated by today’s standard. But that wasn’t the case when it first released during the late 70s. The game basically requires you to control a triangular white ship and destroy the incoming asteroids into pieces.

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2) Centipede

Anyone who was alive in the 80s would probably have been exposed to the Centipede game before. It was hugely popular back then, where the player needs to defeat the descending centipedes and other enemy insects by firing a gun.

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3) Defender

Once upon a time, Defender was one of the most sought-after arcade games in the 80s. And frankly, it’s easy to see why: The game itself is simple and addictive enough. You have to manoeuvre a spaceship and destroy all the alien ships that are coming to your path. This kind of game requires a great deal of hand-eye coordination skill to avoid getting shot at.

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4) Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong made its debut in 1981, where the player’s goal is to jump and dodge without getting hit by a barrel thrown by an angry ape-like Donkey Kong character. And of course, you need to reach the top to save the princess. Fun facts: The main character of the game, Mario, actually made his first appearance here before he became famous in Super Mario Bros. four years later.

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5) Galaxian

Galaxian was famously designed as a direct competition against Taito Corporation’s Space Invaders released a year prior in 1978. The objective of the game is simple: You need to navigate your spaceship at the bottom of the screen from left to right (while avoiding getting shot at, of course) and shoot the alien ships.

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6) Pac-Man

This classic 1980 arcade game needs no introduction. The objective of Pac-Man is simple enough: All you need to do is to navigate the eponymous yellow circle through the maze and chomp all the tiny dots before moving on to the next stage. But there’s a catch: You need to make sure you do not get caught by one of the four colourful ghosts (Blinky, Clyde, Inky and Pinky). Fortunately, you can avoid that by eating the four “Power Pellets” found at four corners of the maze. This will gives you a temporary ability to chomp the ghosts when they turn blue. Pac-Man may be an old-school arcade game but its legacy continues to flourish even until today. They can be seen in Hollywood movies like “Pixels” and the recent “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2”.

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7) Pole Position

Long before racing games like Daytona USA, Gran Turismo and Need for Speed conquered the gaming world, there was Pole Position. It was first released in 1982 by Namco, where the player requires to control an F1 race car and complete the lap within a certain period of time. Of course, you have to do that without going off the road or even crashing a billboard or your opponent.

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8) Space Invaders

Created in 1978, this famous Taito shooting game requires you to control your spaceship at the bottom of the screen and destroy the descending alien ships. Space Invaders proved to be such a huge hit that it inspired other developers to come up like-minded space shooter games such as Galaxian (see No. 5).

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9) Street Fighter

Most of us (particularly those from the Gen X era) have grown accustomed to the hugely-popular Street Fighter II, thanks to its then-impressive video graphics and intuitive gameplay. It’s easy to forget that the sequel wouldn’t exist if not for its 1987 original. The first Street Fighter was understandably pale in comparison with the sequel. But it also hard to ignore its existence as one of the earliest arcade games that introduced a one-on-one fight tournament.

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10) Super Mario Bros.

The 1993 movie adaptation may have permanently left a bad memory. But the game itself remains one of the most significant video games ever created. It made its debut by Nintendo in 1983 but it wasn’t until the follow-up two years later that cemented its reputation once and for all. The game, which was released for both console and arcade, requires the player to navigate Mario to survive each level and save the princess at the end. Over the course of the game, you will encounter various obstacles but also chances to gain coins by hitting the bricks or collecting them in plain sight.

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