My 10 Favourite Arcade Games of All Time

I'd like to begin this by reminding you all that this is the list of my favourite 10 arcade game of all time, and not the 10 greatest or most innovative or anything. If you're looking for a list including Pong, Pac-Man, and Galaga, tough shit. Sorry, but none of those games hold up at all. I don't care how many Pac-Man clones there are, they're all the same and aren't deserving of this list. Now without further ado, my favourite 10 arcade games of all time

Q*bert Here comes the sun, doo doo do doo do

Honorable Mention: Q*bert

Technically, I never played this game in the arcade. Regardless, the game was originally released as an arcade game, so it makes the list. You may wonder why I would put an old school game like Q*bert on the list after pissing all over Pac-Man. Frankly, Q*bert is much more fun. If you're not familiar with this game, you start at the top of a pyramid and jump around changing the colours on the little floors. As the game goes on, you have to jump on each space more times, and jumping on it after you hit the target colour reverts it back to the original. It's a very fun game and becomes extremely challenging.

Golden Axe 2 Here comes the sun, doo doo do doo do

10. Golden Axe 2

This is one of many sidescrolling beat 'em up games along the lines of Double Dragon. Maybe it's the medieval theme that did it, but for some reason I always preferred Golden Axe to Double Dragon. That, or the fact that by mastering the art of jumping in the air and swinging an axe at enemies, I was able to tear through the game. For some reason, programmers didn't expect people to jump and attack at the same time.

Contra Here comes the sun, doo doo do doo do

9. Contra

This is another one of those games that I technically never played in the arcade, but we can all agree that it's one of the best games of the '80s. In the days of dial-up internet, I used to play this while I waited for my mother to get off the fucking phone so I could go online. She talks even more than I do, which meant that I played this game so much that I can now beat the game on one credit without using the 30 lives cheat that wasn't available in the arcade version anyway. I will never be able to beat the game flawlessly, however, because no matter how good I got at the game, I would always be hit by a stray bullet when there were no enemies on the screen yet and while the level boss was scrolling into view. Nothing beats going through an entire level with the spread cannon and then having to beat the fucking boss with your pistol.

Time Crisis 2 Here comes the sun, doo doo do doo do

8. Time Crisis 2

I've played a lot of shooting games in my day, but the Time Crisis series will always be my favourite, especially 2. Why Time Crisis over, say, Area 51 or House of the Dead? Time Crisis was actually designed to let you win. If you haven't played the game before, you can see that the picture of the console above has a little foot pedal for each player. When you put your foot on the pedal, you jump out and can fire at guys, and that's the only time they can hit you. While they fire shit tons of bullets at you, most of them are clearly not going to hit you. In fact, the only ones that are going to hit you have giant pink circles around them so you can duck out of the way.

The Simpsons Here comes the sun, doo doo do doo do

7. The Simpsons

This is one of the best sidescrolling beat em up games ever, and probably the best game to ever have the Simpsons name attached to it. While other games, namely Double Dragon, reward you for beating up the other player by letting you steal their life if you kill them (At least one the NES), The Simpsons actually rewards you for cooperating. There are team-up moves, and objects like the police car in the first level that require all 4 players to work together to get items. Of course, the items you get are hardly worth the time it takes, but it's still a fun game, dammit. One of the coolest things to ever happen to me in an arcade was when I was probably 9 or so and Syd and I were playing this before a movie. An employee came around to collect all the quarters from the machines, and when he opened up the Simpsons game he tossed a bunch of quarters in to give us each extra lives. Then we had to go cause the movie was starting, so we left the machine with a combined 12 lives or so remaining.

Ikaruga Here comes the sun, doo doo do doo do

6. Ikaruga

Here it is, the last game on the list that I never actually played in the arcade. This is the single best scrolling shoot 'em up game ever. It is also the hardest, so I'm glad it got ported to the Gamecube. There are two different types of bullets, and you can switch your plane's polarity so that you absorb one type of bullet and the other type is lethal, and then switch which is which. The game is ridiculously challenging and extremely addictive. If you enjoy a challenge, this is the game for you.

Super Puzzle Fighter Here comes the sun, doo doo do doo do

5. Super Puzzle Fighter

If you love Tetris, then you'll love Super Puzzle Fighter even more. I can't back up that claim in any way, but the game is still awesome. The Street Fighter characters serve almost no purpose, except that each character drops junk on the opponent in a different pattern when you clear a lot of your own side. My greatest accomplishment in this game was actually beating someone with Dan Hibiki. Dan drops nothing but red pieces on the other side, which means if you clear a large part of your screen and drop a ton of stuff on them, you automatically lose if they are able to clear it. The guy I beat was very, very embarrassed.

4. Tekken 3

Tekken Tag is pretty great, but this is still my favourite of the Tekken games. My friends and I spent hours and hours sitting around with FAQ's we printed out in an attempt to learn more ridiculous moves than each other. Luckily for me, I was the first one of us to learn a 10 string, which meant that my friends all had to learn to block that 10 string before learning their own. King will always be my favourite character, but sadly even though I memorized the button combination, I have never successfully pulled off the Rolling Death Cradle. It's probably for the best, however, as the Rolling Death Cradle looks suspiciously like gay sex.

MVC2 Here comes the sun, doo doo do doo do

3. Marvel vs. Capcom 2

The first ever 3 person tag game, and probably the best of all the Capcom versus games. This game has more characters than I know what to do with. Actually, I know exactly what to do with them because every almost every character in the game has the same moves set. Even so, this game was an instant classic the day it was released. The only flaw with this game is the 1 song soundtrack. That single song also only has one single line of lyrics.

Theater of Magic Here comes the sun, doo doo do doo do

2. Theater of Magic

Alright, I cheated. Pinball machines aren't arcade games. This is the best pinball machine ever, though, so I feel it deserves mention, especially as it's one of the games I played most in any arcade. It's hard to describe just how awesome the game is, and there isn't a fully functional emulation to my knowledge, so it would only confuse you. All I can say is that if you EVER see this game, you must drop whatever you're doing and play a game. It's absolutely fantastic. The best part? The game gives you cheat codes for Mortal Kombat 3!

X-men vs. Street Fighter Here comes the sun, doo doo do doo do

1. X-men vs. Street Fighter

That's right, it's my favourite arcade game of all time. I'm not going to try to say that this is better than MVC2, but it will forever be my favourite. I know this list is a little heavy on fighting games, but when I was a freshman at the University of Miami, this was the only worthwhile game in the arcade. I spent more hours than I could count beating my friends and other random people's sorry asses on this machine. I once played for almost three full hours on a single quarter. At first it started off as a normal hot streak, but soon people were becoming riled, seeing who would finally dethrone me. One guy suggested that they all stop playing so I would be forced to beat the one player game and would lose my turn, but I was luckily able to bait them into playing again and finally achieved my record winning streak of 45 wins in a row before being defeated by, I don't know, Moe.

I'm gonna take you for a ride

© 2008 by Dr. Jeebus