The golden age of cabinet arcade games has long since passed, but the popularity of iPhone apps and flash games might be able to bring them back again. No matter what generation of gaming you’re from, you probably grew up with an arcade nearby and can recognize one of these games. While they might not be typical arcade games reminiscent of the golden age of arcade gaming, these five games were incredibly fun to play and would translate well into modern gaming genres.
5. Shock Troopers
Released in 1997, Shock Troopers gave players two modes to select from: a Lone Wolf mode, along with a Team Battle mode. In Team Battle mode, three different people play as three different characters that vary in strengths and weaknesses, and each starts with a different weapon. Although Lone Wolf mode doesn’t have as many weapons, a single player campaign will start with 20 HP, rather than the general 10 that single player mode would have. While the plot of the game isn’t exactly stunning, the diversity it offers to players makes it fun and gives it plenty of replay value. Translating that diversity into modern co-op games while balancing single player mode to be just as fun is a challenging task, but would ultimately be rewarding.
4. Psy Phi
This game is a bit special because of its release date–its first appearance was in 2006, but it was never actually released. To play, you use a touch screen to move the characters and then input different motions in order to cast spells. The range of motion is very limited, putting you in one of four corners–but your opponent is also limited in this regard. Although originally intended for an arcade release, the game is rumored to be in development for the Playstation 3 with Move support, although at the moment that rumor looks more like wishful thinking.
You might recognize this game from its release on XBLA in 2008–but it actually dates back to a physical arcade release in 2001 on the Sega NAOMI. Because of its unique mechanic that allows you to absorb same-color bullets and shoot them back at your enemy, the game made bullet hell incredibly fun instead of incredibly grueling. Although it appears two-dimensional, everything is rendered in 3D and the camera can actually be moved in certain releases. Developed by only four people, this game is one of the most notable arcade shoot-em-ups of the last decade, and it won’t be forgotten any time soon.
Released in 1989, Strider is a side-scrolling platformer focused on the adventures of a young and high-ranked ninja master named Hiryu. It was one of Capcom’s more popular games before the release of Street Fighter II. With towering temples replacing the typical dystopian sky-scrapers, the game focuses on action while providing a clear goal of assassinating the “Grandmaster” of the world. While the plot is mostly a method of explaining the different locations and mechanics behind the game, it would still fit in nicely with modern games and give a more exciting twist to the stealth-plagued games that deal with political intrigue.
1. Ocean Hunter
Admittedly, this is in first place simply because it’s my favorite arcade game. Its cabinet featured two built-in “harpoon” guns and the game encouraged co-op play (if only to steal the maximum amount of quarters available). The different levels were clearly thought out, and the enemy designs, while sometimes appearing cliché, can sometimes catch you by surprise. The only arcade game to ever make me feel like a monster after beating it, a sequel to this game with a more in-depth plot and better graphics could probably sit side-by-side with series like Bioshock and Monster Hunter.