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10 Best Arcade Games That Became Console Mainstays

Despite being well past their heyday, arcades are still some of the best places to spend a nice Saturday evening at a low cost. On top of this, they have provided gaming with many innovations over the years. A lot of big-name games that many people thought started on handheld or consoles actually started in the arcade.

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This list aims to spotlight some of the most interesting games that have come to consoles from arcade machines. These are also games that have, for the most part, withstood the test of time and are still around today.


10 gauntlet

Gauntlet took many of its ideas from Dungeons and Dragons. This was done well as the game is an entertaining top-down experience. The game was later brought onto consoles. On consoles, later renditions didn’t have a pronounced top-down view, but the game still took on a third-person approach.

There has not been a console version of the game since 2014. However, WB still owns the IP and can release a new one whenever they stop being silly. Hopefully, it is some time soon.

9 crazytaxi

Crazy Taxi took driving a taxi and made the most intense race-like taxi game imaginable. It was first released in 1999 and then got ported to several consoles. The game revolves around players having to drive customers to different areas of the map in the quickest way possible.

Many people thought that this game was dead, but it is alive and well with a new rendition of the game targeted to come out sometime in the future in either 2024 or 2025.

8 simpsons

The Simpsons game is something that many people probably didn’t expect to start as an arcade game. In 1991, this game was quite successful. It began a long slew of Simpsons games, many of which have been included in several consoles over the years. The Simpsons games always combine previous genres of gaming with the show’s humor.

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The humor aspect is probably part of why in 2007 The Simpsons Game was nominated for best writing in video games. The gameplay offered in the Hit and Run game is also some of the quirkiest in the racing genre. Overall, the Simpsons theme is sure to live on for years to come.

7 Pac Man

Pac-Man first came out on an arcade machine in 1980, making it one of the oldest games on the list. It originally started with Pac-Man going through mazes, trying to eat as many yellow pellets as possible to either clear the maze or die trying. Some ghosts chase after him and try to consume him. This game has had many console versions of itself.

The latest version was a remake of the platformer version of Pac-Man for the Switch. The platformer is called Pac-Man World Re-Pac and goes to show how far Pac-Man has come.

6 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game has caused a slew of ports. The game that started as an arcade co-op experience is now a couch co-op to be enjoyed with friends and family or online with TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection.

This is sure to be a series that never leaves the console world — especially in light of the recent sequel, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge, which continues the beat’em up fun.

5 Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong first appeared in the arcade gaming scene in 1981. It didn’t get a copy made until 1994 for the Game Boy. That same year, Donkey Kong Country was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. This completely changed the trajectory of the eleven villainous Donkey Kong, turning him into a protagonist and allowing him to have his own story about him.

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The Donkey Kong games are some of the best in the platforming genre. This is a character that will most likely live on through history.

4 street-fighter

Street Fighter came out in 1987 and was a very basic arcade fighting game. The game had only one playable character, Ryu, unless someone else joined the game. If a second player hopped on, then they would fight against Ryu as Ken. Both of the characters had the same move set and only had aesthetic differences.

The game has largely grown in popularity. The series now has a serious eSports scene that has been around for about 20 years.

Metal Slug first came out on an arcade machine in 1996. The series was also released for the Neo Geo console, which was an expensive console that has now faded away. The games have since been ported to many more familiar consoles like the PlayStation and Switch.

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The Metal Slug games have some of the most unique art styles in terms of design and animation. The series is supposed to take place in the near future. It has great gunplay and enjoyable boss battles that are difficult but mostly fair. It’s one of the best run-and-gun shooters to date.

two Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat hit the arcade scene in 1992. This is pretty wild to think about due to the violent nature of the game. It quickly became one of the most popular arcade games when it was released. It was a unique fighting game that included the most brutal combat in the genre.

Over the years, the game series has become one of the greatest of all time in the fighting game catalogue. The newer iterations have tighter controls and have featured close to 100 fighters.

1 Tetris

Tetris was first available in arcades in 1988. The Tetris formula is simple, as it is all about stacking different shaped blocks on one another. These blocks fall at various speeds. Players must get horizontal lines of blocks together so that those blocks then disappear and the player gains points. If the blocks reach the top, the player loses.

The game has gone through some stylistic changes over the years, but the gameplay has remained the same. The newest iteration — Tetris Effect: Connected — has shown that even a game as simple as Tetris can have gorgeous effects.

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