Arcade Game of the Year – 1984

Before I begin, I want to apologize. I already know there are at least a few entries that may have been skipped (and hopefully not duplicated from) last year. Furthermore, Bank Panic was actually this year. I’m taking greater care to ensure the correct year, but what makes this especially tough is in some circumstances there isn’t a way for me to test them to ensure the exact year. That said, there are 123 titles this year…let’s get to it.

#5 – Lode Runner

Lode Runner has a simple concept and gets progressively difficult over time. Yes, I’ve been saying that pretty much nonstop. So here’s the deal. You have to collect all the gold and evade the temple guardians or whatever in the meantime. You can dig spots in front of you, which will trap guardians, allowing you to jump over them. However, over time there are different types of terrain that can’t be dug up, the guardians are fairly relentless as is, and in general the game starts to require a ridiculous amount of planning and quickness.

Fun, challenging, and constantly switching it up, this puzzle/action hybrid will keep you coming back, which is exactly why there have been so many ports, remakes, and what have you.

#4 – 1942

At its core, this is a very simplistic shooter. What makes it work is the fact that there are very few power-ups and a great emphasis on dodging, enemy variety, and utilizing the loop-de-loops properly. 1942 is challenging right from the get go and isn’t recommended for all gamers, but especially oldschool bullet hell enthusiasts should find this right up their alley.

#3 – Kung Fu Master

NES enthusiasts know this game as Kung Fu. One of the first and simplest beat-em-ups ever designed, Kung Fu Master pits you against hundreds of assailants per board and it’s up to you to think quickly and take them down with efficiency. The enemy variety could be better, but the bosses are no picnic and offer a solid challenge overall.

#2 – Marble Madness

This is easily one of the more interesting games made in the 80s. Certain games have carried on its legacy such as Mercury or Super Monkey Ball. You navigate a marble delicately down a maze of ramps, slime, vacuums, spikes, and various other obstacles. You can’t afford to be inefficient or too cautious either since there’s a timer as well. Very tough, but fun.

#1 – Paperboy

I honestly couldn’t see myself picking any game but this as my top spot this year. Paperboy is an instant classic. Navigate through the craziest neighborhood ever to deliver newspapers. It sounds easy enough, except that it seems like everything is trying to kill you. The game is legitimately hard from the get go and ramps up the difficulty early. Paperboy is a truly challenging classic that’s still fun to play today.


Not everyone’s going to agree with my top 5 and that’s fine. These games are the most easily recognizable, often spawning multiple sequels, reboots, ports, and remakes. These games MADE the arcade this year. It’s also important to note that this was amidst the dreaded videogame crash in the 80s, though looking at the titles available this year, it’s pretty hard to believe there was ever one to begin with.

Runner Ups

But what about games like Bomb Jack, Punch-Out, and Road Fighter? What about HILARIOUS (and in some cases hilariously bad) titles like Badlands, Mikie, and even a Three Stooges game? That’s the great thing about this year. Yeah, there were some duds here and there, but overall this was a fine year for the arcades. Definitely check out the runner ups if you’re in for some serious quirk.

Acrobatic Dog-Fight
Battle Road
Ben Bero Beh
Birdie King 3
Bomb Jack
Buggy Challenge
Bull Fight
Bull Fighter
Chicken Shift
Chinese Hero
Circus Charlie
Cobra Command
Crater Raider
Curve Ball
Cycle Mahbou
Demolition Derby
Do! Run Run
Dragon Buster
Driving Force
Dynamic Ski
Eight Ball Action
Esh’s Aurunmilla
Exciting Soccer 2
Field Day
Fighting Ice Hockey
Fire Battle
Formation Z
Future Spy
Gladiator 1984
Goalie Ghost
GP World
Great Swordsman
Hat Trick
Hero in the Castle of Doom
Hole Land
Hunchback Olympic
Hyper Sports
Itazura Tenshi
Jack Rabbit
Jumping Jack
Karate Champ
Kick Rider
Kick Start Wheeling King
Mad Crasher
Main Event
Mister Viking
Mr. Do’s Wild Ride
Mysterious Stones
Mystic Marathon
Ninja Hayate
Ninja-Kun – Majou no Bouken
Off the Wall
Pandora’s Palace
Parallel Turns
Peter Pack-Rat
Peter Pepper’s Ice Cream Factory
Pirate Ship Higemaru
Pitfall 2 – The Lost Caverns
Pit & Run
Road Fighter
Roller Jammer
Rumba Lumber
Samurai Nihon-Ichi
Scrum Try
Sea Fighter Poseidon
Snacks’n Jaxson
Snake Pit
Son Son
Speed Coin
Star Force
Star Wars – Return of the Jedi
Strength & Skill
Super Bagman
Super Basketball
Super Don Quix-Ote
Super Xevious
Syusse Oozumou
Thayer’s Quest
Three Stooges in Brides is Brides
Time Pilot ‘84
Tower of Druaga
Trivial Pursuit
Tube Panic
Turkey Shoot
Two Tigers
Us Vs. Them
Vanguard 2
Victorious Nine
Vs. Gong Fight
Wall Crash
Water Match

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Filed under Arcade, GotY Series, Retro, Videogames

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