Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Top 5 Arcade Games

If you're like me, and you spent your elementary school years at the skating rink, patiently biding your time in line to spend maybe a minute and a half getting your ass kicked by the fourteen year old whiz kid at Mortal Kombat, then you undoubtedly remember arcade games. Whether you preferred a circular, yellow, uhhh thing chasing after different-colored ghosts, or just liked to put your quarters in for relentless bloodshed, you probably wasted hours of your life with a joystick in one hand (mind out of the gutter please) and an A and B button in the other. I would like to own any or all of the five games I'm listing below, as well as several others that didn't quite make the cut (Golden Tee Golf, I'm looking at you). I hope you enjoy the second installment of my Top 5, for arcade games!

5. Galaga

The object of this game is simple. Shoot down a number of different enormous insects before they crash into your spaceship. At least, they look like insects, although their flight pattern synchronicity suggests their brains are more developed than Earth insects. Either way, this game was fun for about four minutes, when you would inevitably lose all three of your spaceships before reaching level 5. Even though the description of this video says "NES" (which, I've never even heard of the NES version of this game; eBaying in 20), the gameplay is exactly the same as the arcade version.

4. Cruis'n USA

The ultimate in racing arcade games, Cruis'n USA gave my mother nightmares when she watched me play just before turning 15 and getting my learner's permit. It proved that you could survive a head-on collision with an oncoming car while going around 200 MPH, which is totally lifelike. And trees? Pfft. I'll just knock them down with my sports car. You also apparently had a female riding shotgun with you during these races, as determined by the whoa's heard when you're about to plow into a semi. The best part of the game was racing in different locales around the U.S., although it seems like the game was a little "west-coast-centric" since half of the race courses were in California. Oh well, time for some video.

3. Street Fighter 2

Number three in this top 5 is actually shared by two similar-style games: Street Fighter 2, and Mortal Kombat. The reason Street Fighter 2 gets the nod for the title game in #3 is because I liked it a little more. What's that? I don't know what I'm talking about? Well, it's my blog, and it's MY LIST. Tough cookies.

Anyways, Street Fighter 2 was great because you could beat the game with a few characters by having a seizure. Blanka, E. Honda and Chun-Li were almost unbeatable just because you could rapidly press the buttons down and effectively put up a forcefield; Blanka's was electricity and the two Asian characters were a flurry of fists and kicks, respectively. Another great aspect of the game was the freaks involved. The aforementioned Blanka could electrocute his opponent, and Dhalsim could extend his limbs past their normal threshold! Unreal. Cut to the video.

2. NBA Jam

NBA Jam was the first intentionally unrealistic sports game that came out (as far as I know). John Stockton could jump 20 feet in the air and bring down the house with a 360 dunk. You could throw your opponent away from the ball and nothing would be called. The best part about this game, however, was the announcer. To this day I still use "He's heating up," "Is it the shoes?" and "BOOM SHAKA LAKA!!!" in my everyday vernacular. Even though this video says SNES in the title, the gameplay appears to be the same.

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Just as #3 was (sort of) a tie between Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat, #1 is a three-way tie between three similar games: X-Men, The Simpsons and TMNT. I picked TMNT because even now, as a 24-year-old male, I get excited thinking about this game. The graphics were ground-breaking. The characters were from the TV series that had taken the youth of the country by storm. The karate was sick. You and three of your friends (or three complete strangers) could fight the foot clan at the same time. It really was the recipe for the perfect game. Every kid I knew was super excited when Konami announced they were going to come out with a Nintendo version of the game, but it was such a disappointment compared to the arcade classic. If I owned a TMNT arcade box in my apartment right now, I'd fail out of school. Same could be said for X-Men and The Simpsons. TMNT gets the nod because I was such a nerd for the Turtles. TURTLE POWER!!



jrsuicide said...

oh man, i totally agree with #1 & 2. i used to spend small fortunes every saturday at Putt Putt Golf & Games trying to beat TMNTs. and what NBA Jams came out i was all over the shit at the Augusta Mall. the Golden State Warriors and Seatle Supersonics were my teams. when Chris Mullin was on fire you could drain 3s with him from the other side of the court.

another classic arcade game was NFL Blitz. god i loved that game almost as much as NBA Jams.

J.D. said...

Speaking of Putt Putt Golf & Games...

One time when I was younger (probably less than 10), I was in Memphis visiting family, and my dad, cousin, uncle and I went down there to play. I saw they had TMNT on arcade, and just flew through the course, leaving them several holes behind. I don't even think I had any quarters, I just watched other kids play it. I got in so much trouble for leaving my dad's sight, just to watch other kids playing that damn game. NFL Blitz was awesome, if only for the leg drops. I don't really remember who I used in NBA Jam, I know it wasn't the Hawks because they were teh suck back then. I went through a Utah Jazz phase, so I guess I took the Mailman and Short Shorts.