Arcade games


“Skate or Die!” With its funky circular joystick and boom box cabinet, there was no mistaking 720° in your local arcade. Starring a brightly-attired slacker and his favourite board, the Atari game remains a testament to an era when skateboarding was king and Jams were the fashion of choice. Game play started in a small(...)

Air Hockey

Ice hockey enthusiast Bob Lemieux dreamed up this popular table game for billiards manufacturers Brunswick back in 1972. Almost instantly, the craze spread across the country, and eventually to the world. Every family with a rumpus room or play room had it. The really cool amusement places had them under black lights with playing pieces(...)


Arcade game designers have always been a creative bunch, generally willing to try any idea (no matter how strange it may seem) if they think it can be transformed into an arcade hit. As a result, arcades have seen many games over the years that have been built on strange ideas. Some of these are(...)

Amazing Maze

The deceptively simple concept of Amazing Maze was this: You were on one side of a maze, and you had to get to another. It sounded no different from what you might find in any puzzle book, except for one thing: Amazing Maze was competitive. It’s one thing to find your way out of a(...)

Arcade Games

Early 1950s fore-runners of arcade games included photo booths which became a national craze and shuffle games which moved beyond bowling with Deluxe Shuffle Targette. Meanwhile, Auto Test let practicing drivers learn the rules of the road, and Two-Player Basketball put a new one-on-one spin on the old Basketball Champ formula. And for the smallest(...)


In the years after Star Wars (1977), anything involving outer space, zippy interstellar craft and dangerous battles was golden. Into this arena of sci-fi fantasy came Atari’s Asteroids, one of the most enduring hits in video game history. Atari’s recipe for addiction consisted of the following: one screen, five buttons, one ship, a few UFO’s, and(...)


This early Atari title wasn’t exactly the black-and-white equivalent of a Swiss Alps nightmare, but it was the closest a video game could come in 1978. At the top of the screen were several rows of rocks, which could drop at any second. Your task was to manoeuvre your paddles underneath the rocks, catching them(...)


One of the most frustrating things about almost every pinball game is the gap between the two flippers. No matter how good players are, they will always run into a frustrating situation where all they can do is look on helplessly while the pinball shoots right between the flippers to end the turn. In 1966,(...)


Designed by future Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs (though Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak reportedly did the bulk of the work), Breakout turned the video game world on its ear and cemented Atari’s spot at the top of the arcade game food chain. It had been four years since the groundbreaking Pong, and players were hungry(...)

Bump ‘n’ Jump

You just had to love a game whose entire philosophy on life was summed up in its three-syllable title: Bump 'n' Jump. That's all there was to it. Bump cars and jump over obstacles. Smash things. Don't get smashed. Nothing but primal, destructive fun from beginning to end. Us like. Us like big good. Oh,(...)

Canyon Bomber

Part of the beauty of early arcade games was the preponderance of "truth in advertising". What you read was what you got. So when Atari released a game called Canyon Bomber, there was no doubt what it was about. For some never-explained reason a large canyon had been filled with numbered balls, and for another(...)

Computer Space

The history of coin-operated video arcade games began not with a whimper, but with several explosive bangs, rendered in simple black-and-white graphics by a young tech whiz named Nolan Bushnell. Introfuced in 1971, Computer Space was the first of its kind, a stand-alone computer console dedicated to a single purpose: game playing. Inspired by the(...)

Double Dragon

Double Dragon

In the near future, with half the world ravaged by a nuclear war and violence ruling the streets in America, Marian is kidnapped by a violent street gang known as The Black Warriors. Brothers, Jimmy and Billy Lee (AKA ‘Double Dragon’) must now fight their way through the gang and defeat Big Boss Willy to save her.(...)


The object of Frogger was almost Zen-like: to get to the other side. But considerably less Zen were the many obstacles in your path: zooming cars, trucks and buses, snakes, alligators and unpredictable turtles. What started as the simple twist on an old joke ("Why did the frog cross the road?") quickly turned into the(...)


Back in 1978, arcade games had one undisputed king. Its name was Space Invaders, and at the time, it seemed like it would own the crown forever. Rather than take the risk of competing with Taito’s mega-moneymaker, several companies instead tried to imitate the game’s basic appeal. Most of these attempts met with limited success,(...)

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