Top 7 Arcade Video Games of the 1980s

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these games are games i was addicted to in my teens, starting around age 11, in Taiwan. It's when arcade video game just started.

Space Invaders

Space Invaders (1978) is one of the first. It was kinda boring and lousy game play, from game design point of view, but was basically the first shoot'em up video game. Before Space Invaders, there's basically just ping-pong.

space invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders

Asteroids

Asteroids (video game) (1979) is also one of the first video game. However, in terms of design, it is superb, even in today's standards.

Asteroids is a extremely mathematical game, in the sense that the core concept is to predict & control projectile direction & momemtum.

You have 2 buttons for turning left/right. Then, one button for “thrust”. Another button for “fire”.

asteroids
Asteroids
Asteroids

Defender

Defender (video game) (1980)

another best game. Also a game i was very much addicted to. Defender is a bit different than others, in that the control is a bit different and difficult.

normally, in “shoot'em up” video games, you have a 4-way joy-stick to control your ship's motions. In Defender, you have a joy-stick, but it only controls up/down motion. Then, you have a button called “thrust”, which makes your ship go forward. Then, you have another button that reverse direction of the ship. This made the game far more interesting, as well as more difficult.

Then, there's a “fire” button, of course. There's another button “smart bomb” that kills all enemies on screen. Another button named “hyperspace” or something, that transport your ship to some random location, used for escaping precarious situations.

Defender gameplay screen
Defender
Defender

Phoenix

Phoenix (arcade game) (1980) is one of the game i played a lot. Now playing it, it's kinda silly and not interesting.

Phoenix arcade game
Phoenix
Phoenix

1942

1942 (video game) (1984)

the game play is very mathematical, similar to asteroids, but more rigid, as there's no momentum involved — your ship moves in any direction in constant speed and immediately corresponding to your joystick.

1942
1942
1942

R-Type

R-Type (1987). A beautiful game. I've never played it much though, but watched a lot other people play.

R-type doppelganger
R-Type
R-Type

Space Harrier

Space Harrier (1985). Another fantastic game, one of the first 3D ones. I've not played much.

Space Harrier
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