The video-game industry grew out of the early arcade scene, and is now generating more cash than most other forms of entertainment combined.

Arcades may have fallen out of favour with gamers, but the triple-A titles and indie hits of the modern era owe a lot to those old-school classics. Here are 10 arcade games that are deservedly iconic.

House of the Dead
One of the more recent entries in this list, House of the Dead is arguably responsible for helping to bring zombies back to the spotlight following its release in 1997.

Cheesy dialogue, glorious gore and big plastic blasters were enough to make it a hit. It also led to crazy spin-offs like Typing of the Dead, which tests your undead-slaying skills with a keyboard instead of a gun.

Star Wars
With its vector graphics, first-person perspective and impressive audio effects, this early-80s game let players experience some of their favourite moments from George Lucas’ space opera for themselves.

It may seem incredibly primitive now, but this was cutting edge tech at the time and is still seen as an influential release.

Guiding a brave amphibian across a busy street was a nail-biting experience, and Frogger is remembered as being a simple yet incredibly satisfying game. Thankfully this is an ethos that new gaming companies like Casumo is trying to keep alive through some cool arcade style design, catch a glimpse over on their careers site:

In fact most of the successful mobile games available at the moment have gained a following because they put simplicity at the top of the agenda, just like Frogger.

Street Fighter 2
Forget about the endless iterations of this game that ended up on home consoles in the 1990s. The arcade version of Street Fighter 2 is pure, fist-flinging fun with memorable characters and a killer soundtrack to boot.

Also, try to forget about the so-bad-it’s-good movie adaptation that followed. And while you’re at it, avoid half-baked arcade game homage Pixels. Good films based on games are a rarity.

Time Crisis
It’s time for more Japanese light-gun action in this shooter that spawned a long line of sequels with equally silly stories and adrenaline-soaked gameplay.

Time Crisis had a unique duck-and-cover reload mechanic that gave players room to breathe during battles, even if the clock was always ticking.

Dragon’s Lair
Quick Time Events are sometimes seen as the bane of modern gaming, but the concept of having to ‘tap A to not die’ dates back more than three decades to this cartoony classic.

The frustrating difficulty level and trial-and-error approach to gameplay aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the legacy left by Dragon’s Lair can’t be ignored.

In 1980 the arrival of Pac-Man put an end to the reign of space shooters at the arcade, while also introducing one of gaming’s first true mascots.

Pitching the idea of guiding a pill-munching yellow circle around a maze while being chased by multicoloured ghosts would be difficult today. But in the golden age of the arcade, the limited graphical power of the machines did not restrict the imaginations of developers. And it was raking in the cash long before Flappy Bird was making tens of thousands of dollars a day in ad revenue.

Back in the day, all you needed to represent a space ship in a video-game was a white triangle set against a black backdrop. In spite of its crude graphics, Asteroids captured the imagination of millions of players worldwide in 1979.

Donkey Kong
Mario may have become the bigger star, with his latest game selling more than 9 million units alone. But Nintendo’s original top-billed character was a barrel-tossing ape with a chip on his shoulder.

This title helped to pioneer the concept of platforming gameplay long before it became the dominant genre on home consoles in the 90s.

Space Invaders
Forget Resident Evil 7 and Alien: Isolation. If you’re looking for a truly terrifying game, Space Invaders is it. The tension ratchets up as the alien hordes descend, and you’re Earth’s last line of defence.

The more invaders you kill, the quicker they move; an accidental feature of the game made possible as it ran faster when there were fewer characters to render on screen at once. The bleeps and bloops of the minimalist audio only add to the terror.

Cirilia Rose
Cirilia Rose is a verbal obsessive who believes that science fiction offers a viable blueprint for the future. Though she is a fashion fan with a decade of design experience, she envies the ease of Star Trek: TNG jumpsuits. Follow her nerdy PNW pursuits at

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