Top-FiveLOGO3Top Five Arcade Games

Top Five is a show where the hosts categorize, rank, compare, and stratify everything… from cars to gadgets to people and movies. From stuff that is hot, and things that are not nearly as interesting – it’s Top Five.

This week, we travel back to The Mall to see what treasures await in the arcade, as we share our top five arcade games.

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About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. Oh boy, I love arcades, unfortunately they all died in here years ago. My list: 5. Sega Rally. Everybody played it in here. Everybody! Even people who never touched a video game before or since. 4. Space Invaders, the coffee table kind with cellophane overlay for colors. 3. King Of The Monsters on Neo Geo. Its basically pro wrestling game with kaiju theme and wacky knock off characters from Gojira, Ultraman etc. 2. Every 1vs1 fighting game ever: Virtua Fighter, Tekken, Street Fighter, King of Fighters..I like ’em all. 1. Donkey Kong. 35 years old and still very entertaining (and hard).

  2. Frederick Pagliarulo on

    I pretty much grew up in arcades. From my early childhood to my college years, to occasionally finding a penny arcade when on vacation with my wife and kids these days, I simply cannot resist them. It’s definitely a subject that makes me wax nostalgic. I really enjoyed this episode because I could detect that same affection in the voices of Stephen and Matthew as they talked about their lists. Thanks for the episode.

    My list:

    5. Venture: Since few of my friends had the patience or creativity to play D&D, I got my fix playing this primitive version of a dungeon crawl at the arcade
    4. Gauntlet: A much better D&D fix, I played this game with high school friends, and we bonded over it. I still mark out when the Major Spoilers crew quote from the game, “Elf needs food, badly!” or “Wizard is about to die!”

    3. Space Invaders: Simple, primitive, and iconic. It is one of the first games I obsessively pumped quarters into. I can close my eyes and hear the sound of the aliens marching across the sky and be instantly transported back in time.

    2. Pinball/Penny Arcade Games: Kind of a cheat, I don’t have a particular favorite, but I still get feelings of nostalgia for those tactile games like pinball, or the baseball game where you hit a metal ball with a pinball paddle and try to hit a home run, or those machines that told you your fortune or analyzed your love life, and of course those viewers where you threw in a dime and could watch part of an old silent movie, some of which were a little risque. Penny arcades might have evolved into the Dave & Busters of today, but I still have fondness for those kitschy old wooden places that you can occasionally find while on vacation.

    1. Pac-Man: When I as a kid, occasionally my parents would take my sister and me out for dinner on a Saturday and it would always feel special. We’d drive from our apartment in the North End of Boston up to Route 1, which was an endless sea of strip malls and restaurants, and it would always feel like a grand adventure. Well, one of our favorite was this nice Italian restaurant with a view of a lake and it happened to have a sit-down console of Pac-Man, and my sister and I would have so much fun playing it while waiting for our dinner, and after while my parents shared a glass of wine. I think my parents would appreciate it because it gave them time to relax instead of us fidgeting around anxious and bored. My sister and I would enjoy it so much that we’d go home and draw cartoons about the Pac-Man and ghost characters, which i believe may be my first attempts at fan-fiction. ;) To be honest, I don’t even think Pac-Man is that fun of a game, but for an arcade game, it will always fill me with the fondest memories.

  3. I really only played the older video games and even those not that often as my parents did not approve and really beat into my head that they were just a waste of money. But even then, I did play some and really enjoyed them.
    Gotta go find and crank up the Buckner & Garcia album.

    5) Centipede. The only one I was any good at. Don;t know why because in general I stunk at these games, but I think the combo of the trac ball and being able to constantly fire just worked for my poor hand eye coordination.

    4) Tail Gunner Only played this one a few times, but with a grandfather who was a WWII B-17 gunner, it gave me a sense of connection to him.

    3) Punch Out. “body blow, body blow, body blow”

    2) Gauntlet. Used to play this one for an hour or two at the local arcade before we would go to concerts. I must for any true D&Der’s arcade game list. :-) Play this one frequently now at it a local brewery’s taproom – it is FREE!!!

    1) Galaga. Really liked the idea that to be successful, you had to allow yourself to be captured and then shoot yourself down to get the ‘double shooter’.

    BTW, for beer drinkers and arcade game folks, there is a place called 16bit brewing in Cleveland, Columbus & Cincy which has a lot of classic games (for free) and good beer. -Full disclosure – I have not visited it yet (research only) but it is on my 2017 roadtrip plans.

  4. I was really interested in listening to the Top 5 Arcade Games podcast this week. It brought back a good deal of fun memories from the past. There were great mentions of Gauntlet and older Star Wars game. “You’re all clear kid!”
    I began thinking about what I would consider to be my top 5, and I had 4 right off the bat without any issues.

    Technically my number 2 isn’t cheating, but it all depends on your definition of arcade machines. All of my choices are from the 90s, which so happens to be the time when I was working at our local arcade. The pay was terrible, but the perks were worth it.

    5. Smash TV (1990) – I remember having such a hard time with this dual joystick shooter at first. Other than Robotron at the time, I can’t think of another game before that had this mechanic. It was a fun shooter that some great audio moments. “I’d buy that for a dollar!”

    4. Daytona USA (1993) – I love the idea that you can have 8 human players sitting right next to each other play this game. The full sit down car version is incredible as the car actually moves while you play. My favorite memory of this game is when we would get off of work at 2AM and play. We would play this game for hours and hours.

    3. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (1995) – I remember playing the original Street Fighter back in the day, but this game for me just clicked. I really haven’t found that joy in fighters since. I was a big Smoke and Kung Lao. My favorite thing in this game is the secret Noob Saibot level. If you lose a round to Noob Saibot, you will hear the Mortal Kombat voice say “It’s Official, You Suck”. To this day, when I get smacked around in a video game I hear that voice over and over.

    2. The Addams Family Pinball (1992) – I played many pinballs, and this was the one that stuck with me. It has all of the great Addams voices and sounds on the playfield. You can help but be sucked into the gameplay. It has a bunch of fun mini-games, and a pretty good multiball. It’s awesome when Thing appears to steal a ball. Super fun game!

    1. Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara (1996) – When we weren’t playing Daytona after work, we would play Shadow over Mystara. This is a sequel to the Tower of Doom machine. It was a lot like Final Fight but a little deeper in the game play. In this game you can have 4 people play cooperatively as 1 of 6 different characters. (Fighter, Magic User, Thief, Dwarf, and Cleric) Every character was pretty fun to play. They each had strengths and weaknesses. I preferred the Magic User or Cleric. The Cleric Sticks to Snakes was super fun to use. The game allows you to take different paths to the end game boss. It was such a great party game at the time.

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