Street Fighter II Graphics

Greatest Arcade Games For The 80s Babies

Any arcade enthusiast born in the 80s would tell you that it was a strange time to be born in. It was when the golden age of arcades started slipping into the sunset, where consoles first began the gaming revolution which would dominate the gaming landscape for the following decade or so.

Having said that, any 80s baby would have had a childhood with arcade tokens in hand, exploring through the plethora of arcade cabinets filled with a great sense of dilemma as to which cabinet deserved slotting our precious and limited possessions into.

This gave me a great sense of nostalgia, which is why we decided to go back in time and write our pick of the 10 Greatest Games for the 80s babies (late 80s – 90s).


10. NBA Jam

Date Released: 1993
Genre: Sports

Quite possibly the greatest sports arcade game ever, NBA Jam is sn iconic as it is crazily unrealistic—but hey, where’s the fun if you’re not having Scottie Pippen pot a 3-pointer from the other end of the court, right? Not forgetting the overly excited commentary, flashing scores digits and 20-foot jumps and dunks.


9. Michael Jackson Moonwalker

Date Released: 1990
Genre: Beat ’em Up

Not easily found in local arcades but it makes it into our list for the wonderful depiction of pop culture back then. Play as an impeccably-dressed Michael Jackson, beat up bad guys by moonwalking, and save kidnapped children all while bobbing your head to the tunes of ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Thriller’, and ‘Beat it’.

8. X-Men vs Street Fighters

Date Released: 1997
Genre: Fighting

Newer than the rest on the list, X-Men vs Street Fighters can be best remembered as being one of the greatest fighting crossovers of all time. It wasn’t just playing as Ryu or Wolverine, but you could actually play both characters from two universes in the same team, all while performing elaborate combos on your hapless opponents. Avengers, who?


7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Date Released: 1989
Genre: Beat ’em Up

Based on every guy’s favourite childhood cartoon, TMNT allows you to choose from 4 playable turtles to go on a crusade and save kidnapped April O’Neil from the evil Shredder. Of course, you’re saving the world while eating pizzas and bashing up homogeneous footman with cones, fire hydrants, and oil drums.


6. WWF Wrestlefest

Date Released: 1991
Genre: Fighting

Now, take a look at the screenshot and tell me you don’t remember mashing your buttons crazily to get out of the 3, 2, 1 pins! This game was simply huge with a massive roster of incredibly iconic characters—Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Mr Perfect, Big Boss Man. As a WWF watching 7-year old, this was the simplest form of a dream come true. It truly is the greatest WWF game of all time.

4. KOF 98

Date Released: 1998
Genre: Fighting

Another latecomer of the era. KOF (King of Fighter) 98 is easily the best and most iconic version of the KOF series. It was never a surprise to see multiple KOF machines lining up in the arcades, all fully occupied with players exhibiting their combos. Even now, KOF 98 represents the benchmark of what a fighting game should be like.


3. Golden Axe

Date Released: 1989
Genre: Beat ’em Up

Easily the most asked-for game by our patrons, Golden Axe is the pioneer of the fantasy genre that would go on to inspire some of the greatest titles in history. As a Beat ’em Up, Golden Axe features unique characteristics like spells, making it vastly different from the regular hack-and-slash that you’d encounter aplenty during that gaming period.


2. Metal Slug

Date Released: 1996
Genre: Beat ’em Up

You know, I love Contra. In fact, I grew up playing Contra. But Metal Slug just blows it out of the water, simple as that. From the very first instalment, the attention to details of this epic war Beat em Up was just incredible. You have tonnes of different weapons to choose from, grenades to throw, POWs to save and tanks to ride in. What more can we say?

And now to the Number 1…


1. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

Date Released: 1991
Genre: Fighting

One of the greatest—if not the greatest—of all time. How many times during your childhood have you tried performing Ryu’s Hurricane Kick/ Shoryuken on your hapless siblings? I rest my case.

Despite having simpler gameplay as compared to later titles, SFII still remained timeless when the editors replayed it on one of our own cabinets. The fighting dynamics are so perfectly designed to combine both skill and strategic timing, while every character remains uniquely balanced and playable.

But it’s not just the fighting that makes SFII the best. It is how the sound of the plane zooming across the map from the moment you’ve inserted your coin, to having Ryu’s iconic theme song blast through the cabinet. The goosebumps rise on your skin, adrenaline and blood pumping through as you actually believe for a moment that you’re indeed on a quest to becoming the World Warrior.

Simply put, there’s no greater arcade game for this generation than Street Fighter II.

That rounds up our list of the 10 Greatest Arcade Games for the 80s babies, and if like us, you’re itching to play some of these games all over again, check out our range of Retrocade Series in person, and have a go at these games again on a full-sized cabinet with authentic arcade controls! You can also take a look at our updated favourites here as well.

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