Kaiser’s Top 5/Bottom 5 ARCADE GAMES

This was a tough list to compile and narrow down to only 5 Top games! I think at one point I had about 20 games here that I had to really think on and narrow down to just 5. So many great games through the years…


Rastan (1987)

Great graphics and sound and hard as hell, Rastan was the reason I went many days without lunch at school, eating friends leftover scraps, so I could take my lunch money to the arcade after school and get a little bit further in this amazing medieval fantasy action platformer.

Karate Champ (1984)

It was a toss up for me between putting Karate Champ or Yi Ar Kung Fu here, but ultimately Karate Champ won out as I’ve got many fond memories of fighting against my father in the arcades. When I won against him, I felt it was an earned accomplishment. Karate Champ is more about timing and strategy than button mashing (there were no buttons, just two sticks you moved in different directions to perform a block or attack).

Elevator Action (1983)

This game got really tense as you made your way down the building, grabbing top secret documents, avoiding the enemies and taking the elevator to the basement where your sweet red ride was waiting for you to make your escape.

Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off Road (1989)

Super Off Road is probably my favorite racing game of all time. As much as I love games like the RUSH series (2049 on dreamcast OMG fun) and the THUNDER series (especially Off Road Thunder) and Outrun and Pole Position, Super Off Road got most of my quarters. I liked seeing the whole track and where everyone was at. I loved that I could play against friends right next to me. It’s one of the first games I recall allowing me to upgrade my car with earnings from the previous race which allowed me to get better and better. I just cannot praise the game enough. Oh, and getting to meet Ivan Ironman Stewart at an event in Dallas is definitely one of my favorite young adult memories.

Berzerk (1980)

“Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!” You don’t know fear till you have a bouncing smiling orb hunting you down as you desperately try to navigate a maze while robots shoot at you while synthesized insults are hurled at you. “Chicken, fight like a robot.” There wasn’t much to the game graphically, but the action heavy tense gameplay and voice work really pulled me into the game.


Sinistar (1983)

I really wanted to love playing Sinistar. I loved the way it would taunt me just walking by the game. I loved the concept of this giant evil space entity egging you on as you try desperately to mine the bombs needed to shut it up. I hated playing it. I sucked at it so bad it’s almost embarrassing.

Time Traveler (1991)

This was kind of the dawn of the gimmick arcade game. Companies were thinking outside the box on ways to keep arcades relevant with the changing times. Sega made a valiant attempt with the first holographic arcade game, Time Traveler. It was eye catching. Everyone stopped and watched people play it and of course stick their hands in the machine and through the holograms. But holy crap was this one of the most unresponsive games ever made. Due to the high cost of the cabinet, arcade owners had to charge more to play it just to break even. You couldn’t lose a dollar faster if you’d wad it up and just tossed it in the trash.

Pit Fighter (1990)

Before there was Mortal Kombat, there was Pit Fighter. Digitized actors in an all-out brawl… only the controls were so bad and the hit detection so off it quickly went from “Oh, this is cool” to “Screw this piece of crap”. I did like how the crowd would toss you back into the fighting pit if you got too close.

Xevious (1982)

I love shmups (shoot ’em ups) of all shapes and sizes (and scrolling directions). However, I cannot stand Xevious. The horrific music and sound design on top of the most uninspired enemy and environment designs makes this shmup chump change in comparisons to even earlier games like Galaga or even Space Invaders.

Captain America and the Avengers (1991)

I love Captain America. Of the few comics I collected as a kid with my own money, Captain America was one of them. It’s not that this is a bad game, but after playing the amazing Turtles and X-Men brawlers, this just looked and felt inferior to other games in the genre, especially all the amazing brawlers Capcom was churning out.
The character sprites were small and stiff compared to like games in the genre. Now if they had included some platforming or interesting level design to account for the smaller sprites, that would have been a cool take on the brawler genre to set it apart some. Now, it did have the occasional side-scrolling shmup segment to help break up the gameplay, but it just wasn’t quite enough for me. I wanted/expected more. Plus the difficulty felt cheaper than other brawlers somehow. Not even my love for the characters could draw me in to put more than my initial dollar into the game.