Top 10 80s Arcade Games That Still Hold up Today

Arcade games in the 80s were the epitome of entertainment. The arcade was where people would gather with heaps of quarters in their pockets to play their favorite games with their friends. Even now, decades later, many 80s arcade games hold up and have a timeless appeal. Here’s our top 10 picks of 80s arcade games that are still just as thrilling today as they were in the 80s.

1. Pac-Man

Pac-Man is a timeless classic and an essential part of the 80s arcade scene. The gameplay is simple, but with the right amount of challenge, making it an addictive game for all ages. The iconic music and sound effects of Pac-Man also add to the fun of the game. You can still find new variations and ports of Pac-Man being released today.

2. Galaga

Galaga is another classic arcade game that’s just as fun today as it was in the 80s. It’s a sequel to the popular game Galaxian, and it’s the best space shooter of its time. The gameplay is simple, but the challenge comes in trying to hit as many enemies as possible without getting hit yourself. The retro music and sound effects make playing Galaga an experience that transports you back in time.

3. Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong was released in 1981, and it featured Mario for the first time in gaming history. The game is all about saving Mario’s girlfriend from the clutches of the evil ape Donkey Kong, who is throwing barrels at you as you climb ladders to save the damsel in distress. This game is brilliant in its simplicity and it’s a timeless classic that inspired generations of games to come.

4. Space Invaders

Space Invaders was a defining game of the 80s arcade scene, and it paved the way for sci-fi shooters to come. The gameplay is simple, and it involves shooting descending aliens while trying to avoid their bombs. The game’s high score table was a big draw for competitive gamers, and it still stands up as one of the great arcade games of all time.

5. Street Fighter II

Street Fighter II was a fighting game that revolutionized the genre. It was the first game that allowed players to choose from a variety of characters with different fighting styles and special moves. The game’s tight controls, amazing graphics, and memorable characters made it an instant classic. It also launched the fighting game genre, which became a major staple of the arcade scene.

6. Ms. Pac-Man

Ms. Pac-Man was a sequel to the immensely popular Pac-Man game, and it added some new twists to the gameplay that made it even more fun. The game included more mazes, faster gameplay, and new power-ups that made eating the dots even more fun. The game’s cute characters and charming graphics make Ms. Pac-Man stand out as one of the all-time greats.

7. BurgerTime

BurgerTime puts you in the shoes of a chef named Peter Pepper, who has to build hamburgers while avoiding hostile food items like pickles, hot dogs, and eggs. The gameplay is addictive and the retro graphics and sound effects make it a perfect example of 80s arcade culture. It also features some hilarious tongue-in-cheek humor that makes it all the more entertaining.

8. Joust

Joust is a unique game where players take control of a knight who rides on the back of a flying ostrich. The gameplay involves dodging obstacles and enemies while knocking your opponents off their mounts using a lance. Joust was innovative for its time and it still stands up because of its fun gameplay and retro aesthetic. It’s definitely a game that’s worth playing even now.

9. Galaxian

Galaxian is the predecessor to Galaga, and it’s another classic space shooter that was popular in the 80s. It features a more simple gameplay than Galaga, but it’s still just as addictive. Enemies fly onto the screen in patterns, and it’s up to the player to dodge their fire and shoot them down. The game’s retro graphics and sound effects make it a charming relic of the 80s arcade.

10. Defender

Defender is a sci-fi horizontal scrolling shooter from 1980. Playing as a spaceship pilot, you must defend humanoids on the ground from alien invaders. The game’s challenging gameplay and non-stop action made it a huge hit and it still stands up today. The game’s graphics, while basic, still retain their charm, and its fast-paced gameplay makes it an absolute classic of the arcade scene.


The 80s arcade scene was a golden age of gaming, and the games released in that era still hold up today. The simple but addictive gameplay, the memorable characters, and the retro graphics and sound effects make these games classics that will be enjoyed for generations to come. If you haven’t had the chance to play these games yet, then you owe it to yourself to experience the magic of 80s arcade gaming.