The Best Arcade Games You Played In Between Pizza And Pop
I grew up in the 90’s, so I had the amazing opportunity to have my parents take me to the local pizza arcade. It was called Major Magic’s, and it had about 100 arcade games and other games that gave out tickets. Think of Dave and Buster’s 20 years ago, but for kids. Hell, I would go there now if it were still open, but apparently people are awful and it closed down. What I remember from those days were the quality of the arcade games. I won’t be going as far back as Galaga or Pac-Man, but I will be listing the games that kids lined up to play when I was a kid.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game
The amount of tokens I put into this game probably bankrupted my parents. The image of April O’Neill on the side of the arcade game may have actually kickstarted my puberty. When it comes to arcade games, this one is at the top. When the game was adapted for NES, it was one of the main reasons I wanted to get the system. If I had to pick my favorite games of all time, this game would be up there with no hesitation.
The X-Men cartoon and this arcade game ran concurrently. When I wasn’t pretending to be Wolverine or Cyclops on the battlefield of childhood, I was begging my parents to take me to an arcade to play the game. Yes, I pretended to be those characters from childhood… and sometimes while I waited in line while holiday shopping. Kinda dark, guys.
Driving that sweet red car through the desert was the ultimate release when you were a kid. Besides the arcades, I remember my brother knocked out some dork in middle school and played Crusin USA 64 the entire week he was suspended. Not even close to the same
This was a game you could sit in a contraption that made you feel like you could drive. Did you know what manual vs automatic was? Nope. Was it amazing? Derp. Daytona USA is a game that forever lives in arcades.
In a world where kids barely had to do crap besides move stuff above their wrists, Time Crisis was there to make kids have to actually point-and-shoot like Duck Hunt. There was a reason why it costs 4 tokens: You had to kick some ass with your friend next to you.
Bad guys were coming up and you had to shoot them with the gun in your hand. Communication was necessary. This game was revolutionary, but kids don’t know nowadays. 9-year-olds talking trash in your ear… don’t they know that we fought wars in arcades for them?
A game that taught elementary kids about gruesome violence is a game for me. Okay, calm down parents. This game didn’t make me and my friends go out and kill small animals, but it did intensify our hand-eye coordination. All of those complicated combo hits and special moves were hard to do as a kid. Those finishing moves? I still have trouble doing them. With a game controller it was hard, but with a joystick while standing up and being judged by kids over your shoulder? I’d rather take an algebra exam.
Mortal Kombat was where we’d all go and eat pizza, drink pop and drop as many quarters as we could into this game. If you lose, the timer would start going. “GET A QUARTER, QUICK!” Classic arcade fighting game.
Two buildings and two monsters. Their goal was to be the best monster to destroy their own building. This includes smashing the sides and windows of the building, eating people, and trying to bring the building crashing down. Yeah, it was one of those games that never got old.
The Simpsons Arcade
This and TMNT were the best arcade games in my childhood. This should’ve been adapted for a console, but there is no God so it never happened until 2012. One of my friends tried to buy the actual arcade on Ebay a few years ago, but it costs a fortune. Right now there is one for sale on Ebay and it’s currently running for $3,495 for a full arcade. If I happened to have millions of dollars to throw around, I’d buy that thing for twice the price if I could.
You got to play as all members of The Simpsons gang except Maggie — she was stolen and is the plot of the game. Each level of the game took elements of classic parts of the show. This was in 1991, so we were only dealing with a few season of the show. But man, did they crush it. Your parents had to take you to an arcade on a weekday during school just to have a shot at playing this for a while. Ah memories.
Tekken 3 didn’t just let you fight on the arcade, it let you fight in real life. By that I mean that I’ve witnessed kids losing to each other and then start hitting each other because “Not fair, you did that one move too much. MOM!!!”
I knew I was bad at the game, but it was still fun to play. The characters looked what we thought was real, but they were blocky as hell when you look back at it.
There was no arcade that didn’t have NBA Jam. Among the sounds of the arcade, you could always hear “He’s heating up!” no matter where you were. Playing it was obsessive because everyone was good at it. If you picked the right team, managed to go on fire with your shots, you were unstoppable. Hitting a 3-pointer from beyond half court would piss you off, but if you dunked from there… it was hilarious.
When this game was finally released for Sega Genesis, it was kids taking turns to face each other. There were even tournaments in my neighborhood to see who was the best. I don’t remember who won AKA I lost, but playing at the arcade was still more enjoyable.
Street Fighter 2
There isn’t much anyone needs to say except HADOUKEN!!!
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.