In many ways, there has never been a better time to be a retro gamer. Companies such as Analogue are putting out fancy new ways to play SNES and Sega Genesis games on modern TVs. Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch is adding an impressive gallery of classic games, including awesome arcade games.
Not every arcade game has gotten ported, though. In fact, there are a few amazing arcade games that have never seen the light of a console release. That’s a shame because some of these are the best games we’ve ever played!
Gather up your quarters and get ready for the coolest games you could only play in arcades.
Star Wars Trilogy
With the countless array of new Star Wars movies and TV shows, the name Star Wars Trilogy may be surprising. However, this arcade game came out before we had so much as a Star Wars prequel.
This game is mostly structured as an on-rails shooter. Playing through the different movies lets you fly X-Wings, snowspeeders, and speeder bikes through absolutely gorgeous levels. In-between those levels, you get to practice your lightsaber skills against foes like Darth Vader and Boba Fett.
It is one of the fastest-paced and most beautiful Star Wars games ever released. Whoever decided not to release this on console needs to be sent to the spice mines of Kessel!
Fans of Alien: Isolation may have been tempted to find other awesome Aliens video games. Unfortunately, Aliens console games are a very mixed bag… and one of the best Aliens video games never even made it to a console.
The Konami Aliens arcade game is a pretty straightforward adaptation of the film. You take control of Ripley as she blows away a wide array of aliens. With tons of visual variety, this game is as fun to look at as it is to play.
Ultimately, this game is straightforward, action-filled fun. And it’s an effective precursor to later sidescrolling action gems such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and X-Men: The Arcade Game.
Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder
Various Golden Axe games have seen a console release. However, the best of this series remains limited to the arcade scene.
Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder blended the classic “hack and slash” gameplay with multiple story paths that enhanced replay value. You get new characters, a revamped magic system, and a whole new world of adventure.
If you like Golden Axe, this is an experience like nothing else!
Daytona USA 2
This next entry is a case of a sequel game getting short shrift. The original Daytona USA is a legendary arcade game that received many different ports. You could play the OG game on Sega Saturn and, later, on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.
Not so much with the sequel, which has still only seen an arcade release. This is a shame because this game featured improved graphics and added driving moves. In addition to the familiar drift, you could now slingshot pass your way through old maps and a few new ones, too.
Back in the day, this was one of the finest arcade racing experiences in the world. Maybe console players will someday get to take the wheel of this awesome game.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
For better or for worse, we are in the middle of a “Jurassic” revival. Movies like Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom have brought the dino DNA of this franchise back to life for a new generation.
Ironically, though, one of the best Jurassic Park games is rooted in one of the older movies that is best left forgotten. We’re talking, of course, about The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
It’s a 3D shooting game where you have to survive navigating a park full of hungry dinos. This game made the stale shooter genre feel fresh with sweet action scenes and dynamic combat. Throw in the giant screen and surround sound speakers and you get the perfect blend of movie and game.
Pong is arguably the most famous arcade game of all time. It’s also the most famous arcade game port. So, it’s fair to ask: what’s the game doing on this list?
This is actually a new version of the classic game with a really cool gimmick. Everything is recreated as a 3D object, and a series of hidden motors moves the paddles and ball.
Aside from that, the gameplay is classic Pong, just like Grandma and Grandpa enjoyed. It’s a classic game reinvented with tons of class and presentation value, but it’s only available in arcades.
Gamers have enjoyed Terminator-themed shooters since the release of the Terminator 2: Judgment Day arcade game. While that game got a multiple console port (including an SNES release using the Super Scope), a better game never got the same treatment.
Terminator: Salvation throws many different killer robots at you. In turn, you take them on with a giant gun and as many grenades as you can carry. With fast action, great sound, and cool vehicle sequences, this Terminator game is better than most of the movies!
Namco Quick & Crash
Most of the games we have featured are standard digital games. However, some of the coolest arcade experiences are the ones that can’t be limited to your TV screen.
Namco Quick & Crash was a shooting game that channeled modern fun with the charm of an old “penny arcade” style attraction. You have a limited selection of digital “bullets” and must take out targets with both speed and accuracy.
The most memorable part is the final target. If you successfully shoot the cup at the end, it seemingly explodes into a dozen shards. Even though the cup doesn’t really explode (it’s all a trick of reflected light), it offers visceral fun that you’ll want to run back and keep playing.
What’s your favorite arcade game of all time? Sound off in the comments below!