Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros.

In his first two video game appearances, Mario had to play second banana to two starring gorillas, Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr.. The mustachioed carpenter-turned-plumber finally got top billing (and a twin brother, Luigi) in 1983's original Mario Bros. arcade game, but the future King of All Things Nintendo didn't really ascend to the throne until 1986. In that watershed year, Super Mario Bros. hit the arcades in Nintendo's Vs. cabinets, jumpstarting both Mario's career and the future of side-scrolling platform video games. Continue reading...

Zaxxon

Zaxxon

Jaws dropped when Sega released Zaxxon in 1982. Oh sure, gamers had flown spaceships into strafing raids and interstellar dogfights before, but Zaxxon placed these battles into a never-before seen 3D environment, complete with shadows. These innovations changed the course of action games and secured Zaxxon its rightful place in arcade history. Continue reading...

House of the Dead

House of the Dead

Fans of first-person shooting games had already had their fill of taking out soldiers, terrorists and the like, but those were mere mortals. When Sega introduced House of the Dead in 1997, players would be forced to contend with a few more ominous adversaries - legions of hungry and undead zombies in need of a human flesh fix. It would take a handful of quarters and your trusty firearm to save your hide from becoming dinner. Continue reading...

Space Wars

Space Wars

Although it wasn't released to arcades until 1978, the origins of Space Wars stretch back to the birth of video games in 1962. Generally considered to be the first computer game, the original Spacewar was written by a group of MIT students and quickly spread to computer labs across the country, giving grad students yet another excuse to put off their studies. Continue reading...

Ghosts ‘n Goblins

Ghosts 'n Goblins

Rescuing a damsel in distress is a plot more than a little familiar to video game aficionados over the years. And, who better to pursue a periled princess than a brave knight named Arthur? Such was the premise for Ghosts n’ Goblins, a Medieval adventure that frustrated many an arcade junkie. Fitted in his trusty suit of armor, Arthur battled his way through six levels of bad guys, creepy graphics. and a ticking clock, all to save his love from impending doom. Continue reading...

Altered Beast

Altered Beast

So, you’ve just been raised from the dead to find yourself in ancient Greece, and you are called upon to rescue Athena, daughter of Zeus. To do so, you are going to have to wield some substantial shape-shifting powers to take on an army of the undead if you are to get your hands on the evil Demon God Neff. If all of this sounds familiar, you’ve likely tossed a few coins into a highly popular 1988 Sega game, Altered Beast. Continue reading...

Haunted House

Haunted House pinball machine

Competition was fierce among pinball machine manufacturers in the early 80s, as each tried to outdo their rivals with new features that would set their products apart from the rest. One of the most creative was the use of multi-level playing surfaces, first introduced in 1980, when Williams placed an additional upper level in their breakthrough game, Black Knight. The following year, Gottlieb countered with a lower level of play, viewable through a window in the main playing field in their game, Black Hole. And seeking to one-up themselves, Gottlieb followed up in 1982 with the first 3-surface pinball game, Haunted House, a game still fondly remembered by pinball aficionados. Continue reading...

Sea Wolf

Sea Wolf

The hunt was on in 1976's Sea Wolf, a submarine simulator with realistic sounds (explosions, sonar pings, buzzing motors and more) and a rotating periscope. Somewhere deep in enemy waters, your sub hunted down freighters, warships and speedy PT boats with stealthy, deadly precision, dispatching your torpedoes with the touch of a button. These features made Sea Hunt a magnet for quarters, sucking them from the depths of our pockets for a few mere minutes of undersea adventure. Continue reading...

Operation Wolf

Operation Wolf

For arcade aficionados in the 80s, eager to earn their commando credentials, Operation Wolf offered you the opportunity to put your shooting skills to the test, as you faced formidable enemies and protected the innocent in this action-packed adventure game. Continue reading...

Lunar Lander

Lunar Lander

A decade had passed since humans set foot on the moon, when Atari decided to give their quarter-bearing customers a whack at it. Released in 1979, Lunar Lander was a challenging, pressure-filled game that probably sucked up enough quarters to finance the real Apollo mission. Continue reading...