This was an incredibly tough year to decide a top 5. Truth be told, I had 20 some that I really wanted in the top 5 and it was really hard to winnow that down. This was the year I was born AND one of the best years in gaming, hands down. There are 147 games this year and trust me, you will not be disappointed in my top 5 picks. Well, you better not be.
#5 – Moon Patrol
Moon Patrol requires planning, strategy, quick thinking, and multi-tasking. It doesn’t seem like it at first, but all the little tricks and traps it throws at you over time force you to constantly be thinking on your toes. Should I shoot it? CAN I shoot it? Should I slow down or speed up? Should I jump now or wait? It doesn’t sound like much, but if you’ve played it before then you know exactly what I’m getting at. If not, you owe it to yourself to try out this classic quarter muncher.
#4 – Dig Dug
In Dig Dug, you burrow down deep into the soil and hit fire-breathing dragons strange, goggled balloon creatures with a long range air pump until they explode. Yes, that’s the game. No, I’m not sure what drugs the designers were on. Despite how bizarre the synopsis is, this is one of the most classic titles you can come across. Simple concept (sorta), fast gameplay, and an ever increasing challenge. Good stuff.
#3 – BurgerTime
You are a short order cook who is apparently on the lam from overgrown, mutated sandwich toppings who can be disabled temporarily by burying them under giant sandwiches you have to throw together as well as making them sneeze with a handful of pepper. Yeah, there were a lot of drugs in the 80s. Again, there’s not much more to say other than to just encourage you to play it. BurgerTime is a great game overall that I highly recommend.
#2 – Robotron 2084
The robot apocalypse is here and you’re desperately attempting to keep them at bay as well as save the world’s last remaining family. This is a fun, challenging twin-stick shooter that was way ahead of its time. The variety of robots and constantly ramping difficulty keeps you on your toes as you shoot and rescue through a ridiculous amount of mayhem.
#1 – Sinistar
Sinistar is a complex game that takes several interesting concepts and ramps up the difficulty quick. When a level starts, Sinistar is not built yet. He is slowly put together by enemy ships that can also attack you as well. It’s a race to grab energy crystals that you get from destroying asteroids, but the enemy ships can use them to build up Sinistar as well. Once he’s fully built, he will pursue you until it’s game over…and trust me, that will be a QUICK game over.
The energy crystals you collect are used to combat this by allowing you missiles that you can use to slowly dismantle Sinistar until he’s totally gone. And once he’s finally gone…it’s the next level. Yep, that’s all the game is, but it’s challenging enough that even seasoned veterans have a tough time with this game. Fun, challenging, and require ample amounts of strategy, Sinistar is not for everyone, but those that DO enjoy it absolutely LOVE it.
As I said, this was an incredible year for arcade games. I know we’re not quite to that section yet, but definitely don’t count out the runner ups. There were SEVERAL underdogs that I wanted to include, but in many cases they simply could not measure up to my top 5 picks. In fact, I found a number of titles I’d never even heard of that I’ll be going back and playing later.
While there were a number of shameless clones and bootlegs this year (which probably won’t change as time goes on), there were also a number of great runner ups such as Baby Pac-Man, which was a combination Pac-Man game and pinball table. Personally, I believe most of the runner ups are well worth checking out. Like I said, it was VERY hard to narrow it down to a mere top 5.
Agent Super Bond
Ali Baba and 40 Thieves
Amazing Adventures of Mr. F. Lea
Buck Rogers – Planet of Zoom
Bump ‘N’ Jump
Cat and Mouse
Disco No. 1
Donkey Kong Jr.
El Grande – 5 Card Draw
Jack the Giantkiller
Koi Koi Part 2
Video 8 Ball