I came up at the golden to end of the arcade game era. Arcades started disappearing right around when Nintendo/Super Nintendo really came on the public conscience, so as a young lad, of 5 to 12 years old, arcades were wonderful, magical places for someone to enter. Many were a little seedy, a little shady and generally a lot of fun. I pumped a lot of quarters into my favorite games over the years (back when games were only a quarter) and I’ve always had a big soft spot for arcade games ever since. If I had may way, I’d have a room full of arcade games. Today on The List, I’m running down the 5 machines that got the bulk of my money in the late 80′s to early 90′s. While not the most popular games (unfortunately I just didn’t like Bubble Bobble as much as these!), these were the ones I adored and really captured my imagination.
5) Golden Axe
Golden Axe was awesome because you could choose between being the Dwarf with the cool axe, the Conan-type with the broadsword and the bad ass Amazon warrior (my favorite was the dwarf, what a bad ass). I really liked playing this game because it was easy to make headway yet still had some cool challenges and always kept you coming back for more. It had really neat graphics and the console was always really eye catching.
Like a lot of kids, I was a massive Indiana Jones freak. I used to play the table top version of this game ad nauseum in the litle mall in Kindersley, Saskatchewan near where I grew up. This game was fun because it mirrored a lot of the action in the movie and instead of shooting, you whipped people. The mine cart level was what made it really fun and there were some pretty neat cut scenes in between levels.
Quite honestly, Street Fighter II is one of the best video games, ever. It set the standard for arena fighting games and spawned many, many imitators. The game was violent, but also had a great sense of humor and was always a little tongue in cheek. I loved it for it’s graphics, style and the fact that you were always evolving as a gamer, learning new moves to try on opponents both bots and other humans. You could choose many different players (I loved Zangief and Blanka) and the special challenges (like smashing up the car) made the game so much fun. I would pick this as number 1 if not for the nostalgia I feel for the other games.
Operation Wolf was awesome in arcade format, not as awesome on Nintendo. Why? Because of the freaking Uzi that was mounted on the arcade, that’s why. As a kid it was SO cool to pump a quarter into the console and become GI Joe for a few minutes, blazing away at bad guys left right and center. It was a typical side scrolling point and shoot game, but it was one of the best executed. Just don’t shoot the POW’s.
I would call it one of my favorite video games period, that I still get a kick out of playing. The first 2-3 levels especially. The knife throwing, the whips, Abobo, et al. I have so many fond memories of playing the hell out of this arcade console and while I loved playing it on Nintendo, it was always so much better to play it on a stand up console. Every once in a while I still encounter a Double Dragon stand up and I can’t refuse a game.
What were your favorite arcade games? Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a grown up arcade in Calgary? With booze, foozeball and air hockey too?