The long history of arcade games goes back to even half a century ago. Not to mention, the best arcade games like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man took over the world in the ‘70s and ‘80s era. Eventually, they were adopted to become some of the console classics.
But arcade games are not a complete thing of the past as well. With the advent of modern consoles and PC gaming, they were lost to the ravages of time. But, even to date the arcade games still hold their charm.
That is why in this article we are going to share some of the best free arcade games that you can play right away.
Also Read: 10 Best Free Games for Girls
Best Arcade Games of All Time
SoulCalibur (1998) modifies the aesthetic part of the 90s games and delivers great character designs. In all honesty, the game was way ahead of its time. None games have focused more on aesthetics and music than SoulCalibur did. This 3D revolutionary game has the most fluid martial arts-inspired movements all thanks to its ultra-smooth motion capture technology.
The design effort of SoulCalibur goes further than any other arcade game played in the 90s. Better gaming experience, smooth graphics, are a few highlights of SoulCalibur. It maintained strong character designs with a stack of souped-up features.
Supported Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.
Pac-man is a game like no other. It was the most preferred arcade game of the 80s. The game was simple yet addictive. Back in 1980, when most arcade games were centered around boys, Pac-man was launched in the market and became an instant hit. Forty years have passed and Pac-man still remains the favorite arcade game of many.
Pac-man is one of those classic games everyone has played once in their lifetime. The objective of the game is simple. You would be controlling Pac-man and move around the labyrinth without being eaten by the ghost. It requires great concentration to play Pac-man. Over the years, we have seen many versions of Pac-man.
Supported Platforms: Android, iPhone, Arcade Game, Windows, PlayStation, and many more.
Streetfighter emerged as an intriguing mix of action, great gameplay with amazing character designs. It is the best fighting arcade game ever made. While you battle against your enemies, you’re intended to lower their HP till it becomes empty. Enjoy a new fighting challenge every day in Streetfighter.Knock out your foe with well-timed punches and kicks.
Streetfighter is a legendary game and was a huge success. It was able to beat many other fighting games at that time. No one can deny Streetfighter’s intensely fun experience and likable characters. The franchise has some serious character lineup making it the most famous video game series of all time.
Supported Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, Arcade.
4. X-Men: The Arcade Game
Who doesn’t want to see their favorite Marvel superheroes fighting together? Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler fight together to protect the world from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants masterminded by Magneto. The game was an instant hit in the 90s allowing players to immerse themselves in the futuristic world of mutants.
Owing to the massive popularity of the Marvel series, there were quite a few memorable arcade games to pick from. Upon release, Marvel fans were considerably excited about teaming up with their pals and defeating the enemies. Back in the 90s, there were surprisingly a few quality Marvel games that genuinely captured the tone and style of comic book series like X-Men: The Arcade Game (1992) did.
Supported Platforms: PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, Mobile.
Another much loved classic game, Tetris is a puzzle game that is great for all age groups. Even after 36 years, people still love Tetris. We have played Tetris in the past, and still, search and come for it again and again. No wonder, it’s the best-selling video game of all time.
Even after the arrival of many video games, nothing can replace Tetris. For many of us, it was the first video game we played and it brings back all the memories. We play it with the same excitement that we played it in the past. Don’t let its simple design deceive you, the game becomes challenging once you level up.
Supported Platforms: iOS, Android, PlayStation, and Windows.
Pong is too addictive to forget. At the time of its release, a Pong machine would rake in $35 to $40 each day making it one of the most commercially successful games. To date, Pong, a table-tennis-themed game has been the constant favorite arcade game of many.
Pong’s controls were simple and the graphics were good. You may decide to play it for a while, but it’s too difficult to deny yourself from playing Pong for longer. So, we can guess how successful it was at that time. The game inspired many of its successors.
Supported Platforms: Sega Genesis, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, and personal computer.
Galaga is a fixed shooter arcade video game that was popular in the 80s. It is one of the most remembered games. The graphics may seem old, but they paved the way for many of its successors.
You need to get in your moving ship and shoot all the incest-like enemies. There’s just something incredibly satisfying about controlling the ship and perfectly hitting the moving targets. Imagine slashing away all the enemies. Complete the missions consistently before getting to the next level.
Supported Platforms: Arcade game · Arcade video game · Microsoft Windows · Nintendo Entertainment System · PlayStation 4 and many more.
Contra is a run-and-gun shooter video game that became one of the top four highest-grossing dedicated arcade games of 1987. The basic purpose of the game is to destroy everything that moves on the Island Fortress. Contra holds the in the heart of any shooter fan who got into an immersive shooting game after playing it.
It revolutionized the shooter video game industry and therefore become a successful arcade game.The key to the unbelievable success of this game was its addictive gameplay and fine graphics.
Supported Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System · ZX Spectrum · Commodore 64 · MS-DOS · IBM Personal Computer · MSX.
9. Mario Bros
Mario Bros was the first game that actually introduced us to Mario’s brother Luigi. Although it might feel a little dated at times, it is still worth playing. For anyone who hasn’t got their hands on Mario Bros, it consists of single-screen levels with Mario defeating the enemies.
Not to mention, users can also play Luigi while playing in the co-op mode. The overall game mechanics remains just the same, with Mario hitting the platform, underneath the enemy. Once the enemy flips on their back, you get sufficient time to run them over right off the screen.
Supported Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
10. Dance Dance Revolution
Last but not the least, is Dance Dance Revolution. A revolutionary title that was introduced the idea of a dance pad. Not to mention, this was also the first time people experienced dancing with corresponding buttons. DDR at that time featured some of the most prominent music from pop, anime, and gaming.
Later on, Dance Dance Revolution was also ported to PlayStation and GameCube under Mario Mix. It became a part of Konami’s Bemani series, with multiple rhythm games down the line.
Supported Platform: PlayStation
Also Read: 15 Best Nintendo Switch Games You Can Play
So that was our curated list of some of the best old-school arcade games. Give each one a try and feel how nostalgia hits you. You can still get hooked to these titles, no matter how many years have passed along the way. So, let us know in the comment section below, which is your favorite arcade title?