Three Great Classic Arcade Games You May Not Have Played
There were thousands of video games that crowded the arcades in the "Golden Age" of arcade gaming. This was a period between the late seventies and early eighties where new arcade titles were released constantly, and the market for them was seemingly insatiable. While there are several classics that have entered the public zeitgeist, there are countless more that remain obscure. Let's take a look at some of the better classic arcade games that didn't quite cause the smash success as a Pac-Man or a Galaga, but remain good titles nonetheless. Today we'll mention three titles that are definitely worth looking into.
One of the best vintage arcade games that is often overlooked is the relatively obscure title called Sinistar. Sinistar was a 1982 spacey shooter that was well-loved by many, but didn’t generally get around too much in its heyday. It remains a fairly rare title, with the game’s considerable difficulty often cited as a big reason for this. While it can be found in some Williams multi-game cabinets, the true Sinistar experience is best enjoyed on its dedicated cabinet, which features a unique 49-way joystick. The player must mine special bomb ammo by shooting space rocks, which is obviously reminiscent of Asteroids. After some time, the Sinistar enemy completes its construction and stalks the player, with a menacing roar and the memorable threat: “beware, I live!” The actual Sinistar graphic remains a very recognizable image in arcade history, and a favorite among arcade collectors and enthusiasts.
Another example of a great vintage arcade game that one may not see every day is the always-amusing Nibbler. Most people probably remember Snake, the fun little game on early Nokia phones, or any number of other devices. The snake goes around the screen, eats a pellet, gets longer because of it, and the player must be careful to plan a route so the snake doesn’t run into itself. Meanwhile, Nibbler adds mazes, just like in Pac-Man, for a game that is somehow greater than the sum of its parts. It was made by jukebox manufacturer Rock*Ola, so the presentation is decidedly low-budget, but Nibbler is an uncommon title that is very fun and somehow unique despite its influences. A fascinating documentary, entitled Man Vs Snake, was produced about Nibbler, and features a dedicated player going after his own long-held world record score. Man Vs Snake is one of actually a few films about a high score pursuit, the most famous of course being The King of Kong: A Fist Full of Quarters.
Finally, another classic arcade game worth mentioning would be Mr. Do!, which is nothing if not unique. Yes, it does take after Dig Dug, but this game is packed with elements all its own, and it’s a wonder Mr. Do! wasn’t a bigger hit. There is a deep scoring ruleset, with a few different ways to rack up points, all while digging through and collecting cherries to end the level. Instead of pumping up his enemies like Dig Dug, Mr. Do! has a ball that he can throw in defense, as well as trapping enemies under rocks. The music is whimsical and fun, with that classic do-re-mi sound effect a fixture in any arcade worth its tokens.