Golden age of video clip arcade game titles


Throughout the late seventies, video clip arcade game technological innovation had develop into refined adequate to provide great-high-quality graphics and sounds, but it was however relatively simple (realistic images and entire motion video clip ended up not yet accessible, and only a few game titles applied spoken voice) and so the good results of a game had to depend on very simple and fun gameplay. This emphasis on the gameplay is why a lot of of these game titles continue to be loved currently inspite of obtaining been vastly out-of-date by modern-day computing technological innovation.

Business enterprise

The Golden Age was a time of great complex and design creativeness in arcade game titles. Game titles ended up built in a extensive variety of genres when developers had to get the job done inside of demanding limitations of accessible processor electrical power and memory. The era also saw the fast distribute of video clip arcades across North America, Europe and Japan.

At this time, video clip arcade game titles started off to seem in supermarkets, dining places, liquor merchants, gas stations and a lot of other retail establishments hunting for more money. Well-liked game titles from time to time brought on a crush of youngsters, keen to consider the newest leisure entry.[quotation necessary]

The two most profitable arcade game companies of this era Namco (the Japanese corporation that established Pac-Gentleman, Pole Posture, and DigDug) and Atari (the corporation that introduced video clip game titles into arcades). These two companies wrestled for the variety 1 and two slots in American arcades for numerous a long time. Other companies this kind of as Sega (who later on entered the house console market against 1980’s rival, Nintendo), Nintendo (whose mascot, Mario, was introduced in 1981’s Donkey Kong), Bally Halfway Production Corporation (which was later on obtained by Williams), Capcom, Cinematronics, Konami, Taito, Williams, and SNK.

Technological know-how

Arcades catering to video clip game titles began to acquire momentum in the late seventies with game titles this kind of as Gee Bee (1978) and Galaxian (1979) and became prevalent in 1980 with Pac-Gentleman, King and Balloon, Tank Battalion, and other folks. The central processing unit in these game titles authorized for more complexity than previously discrete circuitry game titles this kind of as Atari’s Pong (1972).

The Golden Age saw developers experimenting with new components, this kind of as producing game titles with non-video clip technological innovation this kind of as vector shows, which generated crisp traces as opposed to raster shows. A few of these game titles became great hits, this kind of as 1980’s Battlezone and Tempest and 1983’s Star Wars, all from Atari, but vector technological innovation fell out of favor with arcade game companies owing to the substantial charge of restoring vector shows (Vectrex, a house video clip game program with a constructed-in vector show, was released in 1982).

Developers also experimented with laserdisc gamers for offering film-high-quality animation. The initial game to exploit this technological innovation, 1983’s Dragon’s Lair from Cinematronics, was a few a long time in the producing. It was a feeling when it was released (and, in simple fact, the laserdisc gamers in a lot of equipment broke owing to overuse), but the genre dwindled in level of popularity mainly because the game titles ended up relatively linear and depended much less on reflexes than on memorizing sequences of moves.

New controls cropped up in a few game titles, even though, arguably, joysticks and buttons remained the favorites for most makers. Atari introduced the trackball with 1978’s Football. Night Driver bundled a everyday living-like steering wheel, Paperboy applied a bicycle handlebar and Hogan’s Alley introduced tethered light guns to the arcade market. Other specialty controls, this kind of as pedals in racing game titles and a crossbow-shaped light gun in Crossbow, also debuted in this era.


Galaga, a profitable game of the Golden Age, borrows its topic from Galaxian and provides twists of its individual.

With the monumental good results of the early game titles, dozens of developers jumped into the development and production of video clip arcade game titles. Some basically copied the “invading alien hordes” idea of Area Invaders and turned out profitable imitators like Galaxian, Galaga, and Gaplus, when other folks experimented with new principles and described new genres. Rapidly evolving components authorized new forms of game titles which surpassed the shoot-em-up gameplay of the earliest game titles.

Game titles this kind of as Donkey Kong and Qix introduced new styles of game titles where talent and timing are more critical than capturing as speedy as probable. Other examples of progressive game titles are Atari Games’ Paperboy where the objective is to correctly provide newspapers to buyers, and Namco’s Phozon where the object is to duplicate a shape shown in the middle of the monitor. The topic of Exidy’s Venture is dungeon exploration and treasure-gathering. One particular progressive game, Q*Bert, played upon the user’s sense of depth perception to provide a novel practical experience.

Some game titles of this era ended up so common that they entered the common lifestyle. The launch of Pac-Gentleman in 1980 brought on this kind of a feeling that it initiated what is now referred to as “Pac-Mania” (which later on became the title of the past coin-operated game in the collection, released in 1987). Unveiled by Namco, the game highlighted a yellow, circle-shaped creature making an attempt to eat dots by means of a maze when keeping away from pursuing enemies. Though no-1 could concur what the “hero” or enemies represented (occasionally they ended up referred to as ghosts, goblins or monsters), the game was exceptionally common there are anecdotes to the influence that some game house owners had to vacant the game’s coin bucket each individual hour in order to avoid the game’s coin system from jamming from obtaining way too a lot of coins in the receptacle. The game spawned an animated tv collection, quite a few clones, Pac-Gentleman-branded foods, and a hit pop music, Pac-Gentleman Fever. Though a lot of common game titles promptly entered the lexicon of common lifestyle, most have due to the fact left, and Pac-Gentleman is abnormal in remaining a regarded term in pop lifestyle, along with Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., and Frogger.

The monumental level of popularity of video clip arcade game titles also led to the really initial video clip game method guides these guides (unusual to uncover currently) discussed in depth the patterns and techniques of each and every game, which includes variations, to a degree that few guides observed due to the fact can match. “Turning the machine above” by producing the score counter overflow and reset to zero was frequently the final obstacle of a game for people who mastered it, and the past impediment to acquiring the optimum score.

Most common game titles

Donkey Kong

The game titles below ended up some of the most common and influential game titles of the era.

Area Invaders




Lunar Lander






Missile Command




Star Castle


Wizard of Wor


Donkey Kong




Ms. Pac-Gentleman




Dig Dug

Donkey Kong Junior


Moon Patrol

Pole Posture


Robotron 2084

Time Pilot





Dragon’s Lair

Elevator Motion



Mario Bros.

Spy Hunter

Star Wars






The close of the era

The Golden Age cooled as copies of common game titles began to saturate the arcades. Arcades remained commonplace by means of the early 1990s and there ended up however new genres being explored, but most new game titles ended up shooters, maze game titles, and other variations on previous acquainted themes.

New generations of house personal computers and house video clip game consoles also sapped desire from arcades. Earlier consoles, this kind of as the Atari 2600 and Mattel’s Intellivision, ended up typical-intent and ended up intended to play a variety of game titles, and frequently could not evaluate up to video clip arcade game components, which was constructed for the singular intent of supplying a single game well. In simple fact, the glut of bad-high-quality house video clip game methods contributed in no compact way to the video clip game crash of 1983.

But the debut of the Nintendo Entertainment System (1985) began to level the actively playing area by supplying a fairly great video clip arcade practical experience at house. In the early to mid 1990s, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Mega Drive (Genesis in North America) considerably enhanced house play and some of the technological innovation was even integrated into a few video clip arcade equipment. By the time of the PlayStation (1995) and the Nintendo 64 (1996), both equally of which boasted genuine 3D graphics, a lot of video clip game arcades across the nation had gone out of business enterprise.[quotation necessary]

The video clip arcade game sector however exists currently, but in a considerably diminished kind. Video arcade game components is frequently based on house game consoles to facilitate porting a video clip arcade game to a house program there are video clip arcade variations of Dreamcast (NAOMI, Atomiswave), PlayStation two (System 246), Nintendo GameCube (Triforce), and Microsoft Xbox (Chihiro) house consoles. Some arcades have survived by expanding into ticket-based prize redemption and more bodily game titles with no house console equivalent, this kind of as skee ball and whack-a-mole. Some genres, this kind of as dancing and rhythm game titles (this kind of as Dance Dance Revolution, component of the Bemani collection) continue to be common in arcades.

The relative simplicity yet reliable gameplay of a lot of of these early game titles has inspired a new technology of fans who can play them on cell phones or with emulators this kind of as MAME. Some traditional arcade game titles are reappearing in industrial options, this kind of as Namco’s Ms. Pac-Gentleman twenty 12 months Reunion / Galaga Class of 1981 two-in-1 game, or integrated instantly into controller components (joysticks) with replaceable flash drives storing game ROMs.


The Golden Age of Video Arcade Game titles spawned quite a few cultural icons and even gave some companies their identification. Elements from game titles this kind of as Area Invaders, Pac-Gentleman, Donkey Kong, Frogger, and Centipede are however regarded in present-day common lifestyle.

The good results of these early video clip game titles has led a lot of hobbyists who ended up youngsters during the Golden Age to obtain some of these traditional game titles. Since few have any industrial benefit any longer, they can be acquired for US$two hundred to US$750 (even though thoroughly restored game titles can charge considerably more).

Some fans of these game titles have companies devoted to restoring the traditional game titles, and other folks, this kind of as Arcade Renovations, which makes replica art for traditional arcade game titles, concentration exclusively on 1 facet of the restoration activity. Many of these restorers have set up internet websites entire of strategies and assistance on restoring game titles to mint affliction. There are also numerous newsgroups devoted to dialogue all-around these game titles, and a few conventions, this kind of as California Extreme, committed to traditional arcade gaming.

See also

Arcade cupboard

Listing of video clip arcade game titles

Listing of video clip game consoles


^ Working day, Walter (1998-02-08). “Chapter 01 – The Golden Age of Video Game Arcades”. The Golden Age of Video Game Arcades. Twin Galaxies. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 

^ Kent, Steven L. (2001). The Final Record of Video Game titles: From Pong to Pokmon. 3 Rivers Push. ISBN 0761536434. 

^ Working day, Walter (1998-02-08). “Chapter 13 – The Golden Age Ends”. The Golden Age of Video Game Arcades. Twin Galaxies. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 

^ Leading a hundred Videogames list from Killer Listing of Videogames

^ “Ms. Pac-Gentleman/Galaga  Class Of 1981”. KLOV. Retrieved 2006-09-ten. 

^ “California Extreme”. California Extreme. Retrieved 2006-eleven-24. 

The Official Rate Tutorial to Traditional Video Game titles by David Ellis (2004), ISBN -375-72038-3

Exterior links

Pay attention to this article (data/dl)

This audio file was established from a revision dated 2005-09-19, and does not mirror subsequent edits to the article. (Audio enable)

More spoken article content

The KLOV Leading Video Game titles Lists by Greg McLemore and mates

The Record of Video Game titles – Shots & Films

Reference to the term ‘Golden Age’

The Dot Eaters, Videogame Record one zero one

Groups: Record of video clip game titles | Arcade gamesHidden classes: All article content with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements from September 2007 | Articles with unsourced statements from November 2008 | Spoken article content