Computer Space, released in 1971, was the first coin operated arcade machine to be commercially sold. The goal of the game was to pilot a rocket ship and shoot down flying saucers. Computer Space was only a modest success, but paved the way for all future arcade machines.
Pong was a multi player computerized table tennis simulation released by Atari in 1972. Pong saw significant revenue in arcades before being released as a home console in 1975. Pong proved that arcade gaming could be a financially viable market and helped to popularize the industry as a whole.
Space invaders was developed by Taito games and released in 1978. The premise of Space Invaders was to fend off waves of invading aliens without being destroyed or allowing the invaders to reach the bottom of the screen. When Space Invaders was released for home use on the Atari 2600 it became the first game to sell more than 1 million cartridges.
Pac-Man was released in 1980 at a time when space themed games were the most popular in arcades. Pac-Man, by comparison, was a maze style game that featured, Power-ups, full color graphics and identifiable characters. Pac-Man became the highest grossing arcade game to date and Pac-Man himself became one of the first icons of gaming.
Donkey Kong was released in 1981 by Nintendo and was one of the first games developed by Shigeru Miyamoto who would later create the Legend of Zelda, Starfox and Pikmin, game franchises. The success of Donkey Kong helped to solidify Nintendo into the gaming market. Donkey Kong is also the first appearance of Mario.
Dragon’s Lair was a Laserdisc game released in 1983 that featured fully animated graphics that stood out from the other pixelated arcade machines at the time. Dragon’s Lair was animated in part by former Disney animator Don Bluth. The machine was financially successful despite being one of the first to charge 50 cents per play.
Street Fighter 2
While the first Street Fighter laid the groundwork for the series, it was not until the sequel, Street Fighter II, that the series became a phenomenon that dominated arcades. Released in 1991, Street Fighter II set the standard for fighting games and remains to this day one of the most popular fighting game franchises.
Mortal Kombat furthered the popularity of competitive fighting games in arcades when it released in 1992. The series is best known for its use of digitized graphics and ultra-violent game play. Mortal Kombat was influential in the development of the Entertainment Software Rating Board which became the standard rating system for video games across the US.
Daytona USA was the first game to be released on the Sega Model 2 arcade board which allowed for 3D environments and techniques such as full texture mapping to be used. Daytona USA arcade units had the capability of being linked together allowing for up to eight players to race together.
Metal Slug was one of most popular games made for the Neo Geo Multi Video System. Metal Slug was a run and gun style action shooter game released in 1996 that had smooth and detailed pixel graphics. The Neo Geo MVS utilized hardware that allowed games to be developed for cartridges that could be inserted into the arcade machine without the need to develop an entirely new machine for each game.
Dance Dance Revolution
Dance Dance Revolution, released in 1998, was the first in the series of DDR games developed by Konami to hit arcades. The unique game play of Dance Dance Revolution that had players using their feet instead of their hands drew attention in the arcades and helped to define the music and rhythm genres of gaming.
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