Arcades, man. Arcade games are the best.
Don't get me wrong. I love me some consoles. But there is something so magical and nostalgic about an oversized joystick and bashing the crap out of some buttons on a flat surface, amirite?
I've been feeling pretty nostalgic about games lately since the old Sega Genesis "The Lion King" game popped up on my Facebook timeline (and consequently brought up loving rage over level four, that sonofabitch), and that brought to mind many tokens spent on arcade games at Chuck E. Cheese (or wasted, as my mother put it, since you didn't get tickets for them).
So, we're going old school and counting down our top ten arcade games.
10. Midnight Resistance
Released in 1989, the arcade version of this game featured two nameless brothers fighting in a scrolling platform dystopian setting to save their family from a drug kingpin. The gameplay and design was very similar to the popular Contra series. And in a possibly sadistic twist on "winning," those red keys in the picture? You had to collect those to free you family at the end. Didn't get enough of them? Some of your family doesn't get saved. Brutal.
9. Bucky O'Hare
This game was released in 1992 after the success of the French-television series Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars, and was a pretty damn good spin-off of the show, even hiring the show's voice actors to record. A fun combination of platform game and scrolling shooter, Bucky O'Hare was a colorful, entertaining four-player game that let the players each control a member of the crew: Bucky, Jenny, Dead-Eye Duck, and Blinky.
I can't say much for the graphics. I can't say much for the gameplay. But any game that lets you play on a replica of the vehicle you are driving/riding in-game is boss and you will not convince me otherwise. #FantasticJump
7. Killer Instinct
Fighting games are an absolute staple of arcade classics, and Killer Instinct was a well-received addition to the genre. Similar in gameplay to Street Fighter, the game introduced Combo Breakers and similar end moves to Mortal Kombat. Also, you got to play a velociraptor and that is always a positive.
In 1992, Konami released an arcade X-Men game loosely based on the 1989 animated pilot X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men. In the game, you choose to play as Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus, or Dazzler to rescue Professor X and Kitty Pryde from Magneto. The game was a side-scrolling "beat 'em up" style, similar to Streets of Rage, and depending on what version of the game you found, you could play with anywhere from two to six players. The six-player game was unique, with a double screen facilitated by mirror effects.
5. Time Crisis II
Time Crisis II was a cooperative first-person shooter released by Namco in 1997, following the success of the original Time Crisis. Like its predecessor, it used a fake pistol and pedal system to allow the player to not only realistically shoot a gun they actually got to hold, but hide from incoming fire. It also allowed players to either play with the person on the corresponding screen, or go solo, playing cooperatively with the computer.
4. Primal Rage
Remember how dope the velociraptor in Killer Instinct was? Primal Rage was that on steroids. Set in a post-apocalyptic and rather grim future, the game features seven prehistoric beasts that were released when a comet hit Earth (now called Urth), and the humans that survived now worship these creatures that are battling for dominance. It's violent, bloody, and you get to eat people. Awesome.
3. The Simpsons
The Simpsons was released in 1991, two years into the show's hugely successful (and seemingly neverending) run, and is a classic side-scrolling "beat 'em up" where up to four players each play a member of the Simpsons family, each with unique melee attacks and some co-op moves as the family battles Mr. Burns and his minions to rescue the kidnapped Maggie (kidnapping tropes are plentiful in side-scroller arcade games, it seems.
2. Soul Edge
Namco's 1995 release, Soul Edge, was the first of the still-popular Soul series, followed up by Soul Calibur and its own sequels. A fighting game set in the late 16th century, Soul Edge is unique in its varied fighting styles, sampling weapons from all over the world in a cast of very, very unique characters all battling for the evil weapon "Soul Edge." It introduced the "Ring Out" element, and the realistic Weapon Gauge system, where your weapon had a life gauge and would be destroyed if it took too much damage. Soul Edge was one of the most revolutionary fighting games introduced for arcades.
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Emily picked a TMNT game for #1? YA DON'T SAY?
Calm down, haters, this is one of the most well-loved arcade games amongst the whole Court. And for good reason. Nearly everyone who frequented arcades in the 90's has played this game, and it remains to this day one of the most well-loved side-scrollers. You and up to three other players get to play as each of the turtles (after you all argue over who gets Donnie, whose bo staff gives him the best range of all the brothers) as you you fight your way through NYC to (YOU GUESSED IT) rescue April and Splinter. It has all the classic enemies, from Foot to Mousers to Bebop and Rocksteady. This one is an ultimate classic.
And there you have it! The Top Ten Arcade Games according to the Court of Nerds. Have one you think fits? Let us know in the comments!