Okay, Jaybird’s recent post really got me thinking about old school uprights and what really ought to be in an arcade.

So, if I won the megamillions one day, and could afford to both buy these things and upgrade their controllers so as to last forty years… here’s what I would have in the barn on the property.

One foosball table

One snooker table

One poker felt

One Pin-Bot machine

One Flash Gordon pinball machine

And the following twenty arcade games:

  1. Bump n’ Jump
  2. Gauntlet
  3. Rolling Thunder
  4. Spy Hunter
  5. Gyruss
  6. Joust
  7. Elevator Action
  8. Space Ace
  9. R-Type
  10. Virtua Fighter II
  11. Defender
  12. Qix
  13. Q-bert
  14. Robotron 2084
  15. Smash TV
  16. Gorf
  17. Karate Champ
  18. Rastan
  19. Food Fight
  20. Lunar Lander

What’s your 20?


Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.


  1. I would have Gauntlet which would require quarters. Donkey Kong and Tempest for my wife.

    Space Harrier with the motorized cockpit that I played to death in Walt Disney World would be awesome. I doubt any still exist.

    • Tempest was pretty cool. Donkey Kong was cool then, but playing it on the 400 now it’s too dang slow.

  2. The skinner boxes that did the most for me were the four-player ones. Captain Commando, Knights of the Round, X-Men, The Avengers, The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… I swear, I beat each of those at a cost of at least $10 (and it was better with two people).

    The one machine that I probably poured more quarters into than any other was Cyberball 2072. If I were ever tempted to purchase an upright, it’d be the head-to-head version of this. It’s available on XBox Live… but it’s just not the same.

    • Oh, and (of course), a Neo-Geo machine. Magician Lord, Bubble-Bobble, King of the Monsters, and The Super Spy.


      • My Neo-Geo machine must have Samurai Showdown and at least one Metal Slug.

  3. I only went to arcades to be near boys. I confess. I confess!

    • I with ya. I remember spending hours in Justin’s bedroom in high school watching boys play video games just to hang out with cute guys. What a waste of time.

  4. I do not know about 20, but my big ones would be:

    Discs of Tron
    Street Fighter II
    Gorf (another Space Invaders clone)
    Dragons Lair

    As you can tell, it was the 80’s and a little of the 90’s that I played most of my video games. I remember one of the best times I had as a kid was when my Dad tried to start a video game business and had 20+ uprights in our garage…. I spent a ton of time there.

    • Air hockey is a blast when you’re younger.

      Now it’s just effin’ loud. I’m old.

      • My thoughts mirrored this exchange exactly.

        “He forgot air hockey! Oh, but it’s so loud.”

        • It’s more the tone than the volume, actually. Very high freq sharp noises. Ugh.

  5. I’d add “Virtual On” and “Commando” to your list, along with the coffee-table version of “Ms Pac-Man / Galaga”. Someone more familiar with the sub-genre might suggest a replacement for “Commando”, though. (Maybe “Ikari Warriors”?)

    Having both “Robotron” and “Smash TV” is redundant, since they’re both twin-sticks shooters. I’d prefer “Smash TV”.

    The original vector-graphics “Asteroids” was always a lot of fun.

    Maybe “Arkanoid” for the ball-buster fans? (hee.)

    “Rolling Thunder”? Why not just “Contra”?

    • Robotron and Smash TV are indeed redundant (they’re practically the same game) and I liked playing Smash TV better… but an arcade doesn’t sound right without the Robotron 2084 noise and the Spy Hunter audio in the background.

      Arkanoid. Okay, there’s another add.

      • I see Robotron and Smash TV in two kinda different categories. Now, Smash TV and Total Carnage? *THOSE* are clones.

        If we want particular noises in the arcade, I’d ask that Wizard of Wor be in the corner.

        • > Wizard of Wor

          Oh, that’s another good one.

          I have to admit, Gorf is there just for the noise. I don’t even know that I’d ever play it, myself, any more. “Bad move, space cadet!”

          • If you just want a sound board, then add “Sinistar”.

            BEWARE! I LIVE!

  6. Of the ones mentioned, I would certainly want Defender, Centipede, Robotron, Virtua Fighter II, Tempest, and Joust.

    I’d add Dead or Alive II, Sinistar, Addams Family pinball, and Missile Command.

    My kids would want Mortal Kombat II.

    I have hardly ever played it, but I would probably play the hell out of a Dance Dance Revolution machine in a private space.

  7. I know I wrote my list down somewhere and then totally forgot about it. Can’t find it anywhere. . . so here goes anyway. I’ll leave a couple of spots open for whatever I’ve forgotten.

    Even with the noise, I’m having an Air Hockey Table

    My pinball tables are Whirlwhind and The Addams Family

    Ms. Pac Man
    Rolling Thunder
    Bionic Commando
    Golden Axe
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    Time Crisis
    Smash TV
    Street Fighter II
    Soul Calibur
    Strikers 1945
    Neo Geo with Samurai Showdown, Metal Slug, Magician Lord and a game to be named later.

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