One of the first mainstream arcade games, the mission in Space Invaders is to save the planet Earth from wave after wave of alien space craft. The more space ships shot down, the faster they move to avoid fire.
Technically similar to Pong and Space Invaders, but with the addition of thrust power as the mode of transport, a space ship must be navigated through an asteroid field, breaking up boulders with firepower.
Embraced by worldwide popularity (Pac-Mania), and spun off into the even better “Ms. Pac Man”, the goal here is to eat as many dots and fruit as possible without getting killed by any one of four ghosts.
A conceptual improvement over games like Space Invaders and Galaxian, each insect space ship in Galaga has it’s own character movement. Bonus rounds and double the firepower add to the whole experience.
What would eventually result in the Mario Bros series started with Donkey Kong. Mario attempts to save his girlfriend, captured by Kong, by working his way up ladders rife with fireballs and rolling barrels.
A long way from Gran Turismo, but just as fun in its time, players drive the Fuji Speedway to acquire pole position and then run the race to get extra time for extra laps, avoiding collisions along the way.
Track and Field
No other arcade machine takes a beating like that of Track and Field. Hammering the buttons as fast as possible to run, jump, and throw, players compete in various Olympic events to break world records.
Gauntlet is the type of game that could keep entire groups of people occupied for hours, as up to four players could play this fantasy adventure game using different potions and powers to defeat monsters in a maze.
Fighters from around the world engage in hand-to-hand combat, martial arts style, each with their own signature moves. Street Fighter II would become much more popular, making major improvements on the original.
Wildly popular to this day, Tetris is a classic puzzle game where the race is against time as blocks of various shapes fall from the top of the screen, needing to be placed in specific orders before they touch bottom.