Arcade Game of the Year – 1983

This is an especially exciting year for a number of reasons. Firstly, you can see the graphics and overall ingenuity within the developers increasing fairly rapidly. Secondly, LASERDISC GAMES! That’s right, games that are effectively movies with limited input from the user, often fully drawn and animated. As a result, I think you know who’ll be taking the number one spot, but don’t skip ahead!

#5 – Bank Panic

I know a lot of people are going to be pissed about this one, but it eventually came down to 11 games and I had to decide sort of like “which ones would I be mostly likely to play right now.” That said, Bank Panic, while very simple, is also incredibly fun. People run up to the doors to either drop off money or try to rob the joint. You have to be quick on the draw and hit the bad guys, sometimes multiple times, to save the bank.

Furthermore, you can’t just ignore certain doors because they may decide to leave timed bombs there for you. It’s a game that constantly keeps you on your toes. I would compare it to Hogan’s Alley, except that you have to rotate around to several doors to keep an apparently VERY large bank safe.

#4 – Tapper

Tapper is an incredible simple game that picks up in difficulty quickly…just like almost any other game I’ve mentioned. Alright, so you pour the beer, slide it across the counter, the customer picks it up and drinks it. The beer also delays the customer’s progress and pushes them back a bit. If they are pushed to the beginning of the bar, then they usually leave after that drink.

If ANY customer makes it to the front of the bar, you’re done. If you accidentally slide a beer past a customer that’s drinking OR past no customer and it happens to reach the front of the bar, it crashes and you lose a life that way instead. Pretty fun stuff overall. And yes, there was a more kid friendly version called Root Beer Tapper that was basically the same thing, but with root beer instead of actual beer.

#3 – Mario Bros.

Yeah, I’m TRYING not to make this a Mario-themed year every year, just sayin’. So the original Mario Bros. is great for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s one of the few games this year to show off better graphics and overall hardware power. Second, it’s a simple concept that…well, you know the rest. Basically you bump enemies from underneath, then kick them off when they’re down.

It’s a really fun game that gets really hard surprisingly quick. This game has been ported, remade, and added into other Mario games too many times to count. I think my favorite version has to be Mario Clash, one of the more competent Virtual Boy games. However, I still very much enjoy the original for the arcade.

#2 – Spy Hunter

Here we go. Spy Hunter is a great game because it reminds me of Knight Rider and also a few other games that only later on did pretty much the same thing and went on to be more popular, which is a shame, really. The basic concept is keep moving forward, try not to crash or get killed by other drivers, shoot or use gadgets to dispose of enemy vehicles, and see how much score you can rack up before your inevitable demise.

It really does make you feel like James Bond as you get smoke screen, oil slick, and also missiles. Plus, you start with and keep some sort of machine guns that are mounted to the car. If you get really far, your car can turn into a boat and back again. Enemy cars are all kinds of nasty and can ram you, fire at you, and even use tire punches. That and there are helicopters. The game gets fairly relentless and is highly recommended for gamers that like to drive fast or in general enjoy vehicular combat.

#1 – Dragon’s Lair

It both was and wasn’t a tough call for the number one this year. As soon as I saw this come up, I kinda figured it would be my top pick. Don Bluth was an amazing artist that did a lot of work for Disney and put his same level of craftsmanship into creating both this AND Space Ace this year. I have kind of a soft spot for Dragon’s Lair, though, so it won hand over fist.

In Dragon’s Lair, you play a knight that has to rescue a princess from an evil dragon while evading all sorts of traps, combating other monsters, and whatever else the game decides to throw at you. Sounds pretty standard until you realize the game is ENTIRELY drawn and animated by Don Bluth and it’s all quick time event driven. This is a TOUGH game that takes a while to master, but is worth it to see all the incredible artwork and the goofy death scenes.


I know there are going to be a lot of boos for the winner this year (and maybe even some of the runner ups). I honestly did not think it would be so hard to pick a top 5 for each year. On previous GotYs, it’s been pretty easy; in many cases it was a landslide victory. Trust me when I say that the runner ups this year are well worth checking out.

Runner Ups

And here we have ‘em. There were 138 titles this year. Now yeah, there were some lamer titles this year, mostly in the form of sports games. No, I don’t have any particular aversion to selecting a sports title for my top 5, but it won’t be for a WHILE. That said, enjoy the ones I have selected definitely and make sure to check out at least a few of the runner ups as well.

4nin-uchi Mahjong Jantotsu
10 Yard Fight
Astron Belt
Battle Cruiser M-12
Bega’s Battle
Big Pro Wrestling
Birdie King 2
Boggy ‘84
Boomer Rang’r
Car Jamboree
Chack’n Pop
Champion Baseball
Champion Baseball 2
Change Lanes
Cliff Hanger
Cloak and Dagger
Cluster Buster
Congo Bongo
Cosmic Chasm
Crystal Castles
Discs of Tron
Dog Fight
Donkey Kong 3
Dr. Micro
Elevator Action
Exciting Soccer
Fire Fox
Galaxy Ranger
Granny and the Gators
Heart Attack
High Way Race
Hopper Robo
Ice Cold Beer
I, Robot
Joshi Volleyball
Jr. Pac-Man
Jump Coaster
Juno First
Libble Rabble
Lover Boy
M.A.C.H. 3
Mad Planets
Major Havoc
Marvin’s Maze
Mega Zone
Money Money
Motorace USA
Mr. Do’s Castle
Mr. Jong
Mr. Kougar
Munch Mobile
New Sinbad 7
Night Star
Nova 2001
Pac & Pal
Pig Newton
Pole Position 2
Pro Bowling
Pro Soccer
Professor Pac-Man
Q*Bert’s Qubes
Roc ‘n Rope
Roller Aces
Rootin’ Tootin’
Screw Loose
Sindbad Mystery
Sky Lancer
Space Ace
Space Warp
Star Jacker
Star Rider
Star Wars
Super Doubles Tennis
Super Rider
Time Limit
Tin Star
Top Roller
Track & Field
Tropical Angel
Up ‘N Down
Van-Van Car
Water Ski
Zippy Race


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Filed under Arcade, GotY Series, Retro, Videogames

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