Arcade Game of the Year – 1980

For a while now there’s been a monster debate going on. Some people feel that the golden era of videogames was during the 80s. I’m inclined to agree, but for the sake of argument, I initially wanted to compare the popularity and commercial success of 80s games vs. 90s games…then it hit me: I miss the arcades. Before we get started, there are a couple of rules.

Firstly, I don’t care where it came out, I just care when. As a result, you may find Japan only titles on here. Second, these aren’t for specific types of arcade games; the basic qualifier is it must have been a game in the arcades. Third, if I can’t find evidence that lines up on Wikipedia, GameFAQs, AND Youtube regarding the official date it was released, I can’t count the game.

It is entirely possible I will miss a few games here and there, but I will strive to update the lists in the event new information is brought to me. I’m hoping to actually HELP with the Wikipedia lists this time around, but we’ll see. I’m also going to let you know this was tricky because this really was a kickass year for arcade games. Without further ado, let’s start with the 80s first and do ARCADE GAME OF THE YEAR!

#5 – Berzerk

Like most great games, Berzerk is relatively simple with an air of strategy. It’s an old, over the top shooter where you go through mazes and shoot up robots. You can’t touch the robots, bullets, or the sides of the maze or you get shocked to death. In any case, it’s a very simple game and there isn’t much more to say about it.

#4 – Missile Command

Yet another super simple one. You man an anti-air missile launcher and have to blast incoming missiles out of the sky before it destroys your missile launcher as well as the individual towers you are attempting to protect. This formula has been used time and time again and I would argue it’s one of the earlier tower defense-like games.

#3 – Asteroids

It’s a space shooter from a different angle. You have to actively pitch and thrust as you maneuver through an asteroid field, slowly wearing them down with your photon blasts or whatever as they break apart. Later levels in the game also feature fast moving enemies for you to deal with as well. All in all, an oldschool, qualified shooter. Good times.

#2 – Centipede

I can’t remember whether your dude is a garden gnome or a miniature spaceship or what, but effectively you have to take down a giant centipede and multiple other giant insects as time goes on. The best way to play this is with a trackball, but I’ve played it several different ways. Centipede is fast-paced, fun, and challenging. And if you’re tired of shooters already, no worries, I saved the best for last.

#1 – Pac-Man

Come on man, it’s Pac-Man! So in the event you have never, EVER heard of this game, you run around a maze collecting dots and there are 4 power pellets. Pick one up and you are temporarily able to eat ghosts, which is good because they’ll take you down otherwise. Pac-Man is simple in concept, challenging as all get out. This is a game that appeals to everyone young and old.


I know you’re probably looking for longer, more complex commentary on these games, but really, it was 1980. I also know that some people are probably going to say stuff like “man that’s weak, this game was so much better.” Nah, brah. These games were the classics. There may be underdogs in the runner ups section, but this isn’t about the underdogs; this is about the best.

As the years go on, I will probably have more commentary to contribute, but seriously, how do you elaborate on why Berzerk is so fun? You can’t, really. It’s a shooter and there are mazes and you try not to get killed and there are robots. What more can I say? There isn’t a whole lot going on tech-wise, no real backgrounds, nothing. That’s the way it’ll probably be for the next few GotYs, just saying.

Runner Ups

I’m telling ya it was close. Battlezone, Warlords, and Defender NARROWLY got bumped out and there are plenty of other runner ups well worth checking out. If you’re looking for an oldschool kick, there are 55 runner ups, so give them a look.

Armor Attack
Astro Invader
Balloon Bomber
Bulls Eye Darts
Cheeky Mouse
Crazy Balloon
Crazy Climber
Devil Zone
Extra Bases
Indian Battle
Kaitei Takara Sagash
Killer Comet
King & Balloon
Lupin 3
Mad Alien
Magical Spot
Magical Spot 2
Moon Alien Part 2
Moon Cresta
Moon Quasar
New York New York
No Man’s Land
Pro Monaco GP
Radar Scope
Rally X
Red Baron
Rip Off
Sasuke vs. Commander
Sky Chuter
Space Demon
Space Encounters
Space Force
Space Laser
Space Panic
Space Tactics
Space Zap
Star Castle
Steel Worker
Super Earth Invasion
Tank Battalion
The End
Tomahawk 777
Tranquilizer Gun
Uniwar S


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Filed under Arcade, GotY Series, Retro, Videogames

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