The Most Popular Arcade Game: Ranking the Ultimate Favorite

Choose the arcade game you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 3, 2023 06:57)
Step right up and cast your vote in the ultimate showdown of pixelated prowess! StrawPoll proudly presents the grand ranking of the most popular arcade games of all time! These are the titans of the gaming world that have stood the test of time, captivating generations with their addictive gameplay and unforgettable characters. Now, it's time for you to have your say and help us crown the true king of the arcade! Will it be the pellet-munching Pac-Man, the space-blasting Galaga, or the barrel-dodging Donkey Kong? Or perhaps you have a hidden gem you'd like to suggest? Don't just stand on the sidelines - join the fun and make your voice heard in this epic quest to determine the ultimate arcade champion!

What Is the Most Popular Arcade Game?

  1. 1
    This classic arcade game has been around since 1980 and is still one of the most popular games of all time. It's simple gameplay and iconic characters make it a favorite among players of all ages.
    Pac-Man is a classic arcade game that was first released in 1980. It is a maze-based game where the player controls a character named Pac-Man, who must navigate through a maze while avoiding ghosts and eating dots to score points. The game has become one of the most popular and iconic video games of all time.
    • Release Year: 1980
    • Genre: Arcade
    • Platform: Multiple platforms
    • Number of Players: Single player or multiplayer
    • Game Modes: Various, including classic and enhanced versions
  2. 2
    Space Invaders
    Jordiferrer · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Space Invaders

    Tomohiro Nishikado
    Another classic arcade game that has stood the test of time, Space Invaders is a shooter game that was first released in 1978. It's simple gameplay and addictive nature make it a timeless favorite.
    Space Invaders is a classic arcade game that was released in 1978. It is a fixed shooter game, where the player controls a laser cannon and aims to shoot down waves of alien invaders descending from the top of the screen. The goal is to score as many points as possible by destroying all the invaders before they reach the bottom and successfully invade the player's spaceship.
    • Release Date: 1978
    • Genre: Fixed Shooter
    • Platform: Arcade
    • Controls: Joystick, Single Button
    • Display: Raster
  3. 3

    Donkey Kong

    Shigeru Miyamoto
    This game was released in 1981 and is one of the earliest examples of the platformer genre. It features the iconic character Mario, who would go on to become one of the most recognizable video game characters of all time.
    Donkey Kong is a classic arcade game released in 1981. It is a platform game where the players control a character named Jumpman (later renamed to Mario) who must rescue a damsel named Pauline from the giant ape Donkey Kong. The game features multiple levels of increasing difficulty, with Donkey Kong throwing barrels towards Jumpman, who must navigate platforms to reach Pauline.
    • Release Year: 1981
    • Genre: Platform
    • Platform: Arcade
    • Players: 1-2
    • Controls: Joystick + Jump Button
    Donkey Kong in other rankings
  4. 4
    This shooter game was released in 1981 and is known for its challenging gameplay and unique enemy designs. It's one of the most popular arcade games of all time and has been ported to numerous platforms.
  5. 5
    This fighting game was released in 1991 and revolutionized the genre. It introduced many of the mechanics and features that are now standard in fighting games, and is still played competitively today.
    Street Fighter II is a highly influential arcade fighting game that was released in 1991. It revolutionized the genre and became one of the most popular games of its time. The game allows players to choose from a diverse roster of fighters and engage in intense one-on-one matches. With its addictive gameplay, unique characters, and iconic special moves, Street Fighter II has become a legendary title in the gaming world.
    • Release Year: 1991
    • Genre: Fighting
    • Number of Players: 2
    • Platforms: Arcade, Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Sega Genesis, and many more
    • Control: Joystick and buttons
    Street Fighter II in other rankings
  6. 6

    Mortal Kombat

    Ed Boon and John Tobias
    This fighting game was released in 1992 and is known for its violent and gory gameplay. It was controversial at the time of its release, but has since become a beloved classic.
    Mortal Kombat is a widely popular arcade game known for its intense fighting gameplay and graphic violence. It is a series of fighting games in which players battle against each other or AI-controlled opponents using a variety of martial arts techniques and special abilities.
    • Release Date: October 8, 1992
    • Genre: Fighting
    • Platform: Arcade, various consoles and home computer systems
    • Number of Playable Characters: Originally 7, later expanded to dozens
    • Special Moves: Each character has a unique set of special moves and fatalities
    Mortal Kombat in other rankings
  7. 7
    This puzzle game was first released in 1984 and has been ported to virtually every platform imaginable. It's simple yet challenging gameplay has made it a favorite among players of all ages.
    Tetris is a classic puzzle game where players manipulate falling blocks called tetrominoes to create horizontal lines. The objective is to clear as many lines as possible, with each line cleared earning points and increasing the level difficulty. The game ends when the stack of tetrominoes reaches the top of the playfield.
    • Year of Release: 1984
    • Genre: Puzzle
    • Platform(s): Browser, PC, Console, Mobile
    • Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
    • Controls: Keyboard arrow keys for movement, rotation, and dropping
  8. 8
    This platformer game was released in 1991 and introduced the world to the speedy blue hedgehog Sonic. It's known for its fast-paced gameplay and iconic soundtrack.
    Sonic the Hedgehog is a popular arcade game featuring a blue anthropomorphic hedgehog named Sonic, known for his incredible speed. The game is set in fast-paced platforming levels filled with loops, ramps, and enemies that Sonic must defeat in order to save his animal friends and stop the evil Dr. Robotnik. With its vibrant graphics, catchy music, and addictive gameplay, Sonic the Hedgehog has captivated players since its release.
    • Genre: Platformer
    • Release Date: June 23, 1991
    • Platform: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
    • Number of Players: 1 or 2
    • Main Character: Sonic the Hedgehog
    Sonic the Hedgehog in other rankings
  9. 9
    Super Mario Bros.
    Umweltschützen · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Super Mario Bros.

    Shigeru Miyamoto
    This platformer game was released in 1985 and is one of the most iconic video games of all time. It's known for its challenging gameplay and memorable characters.
    Super Mario Bros. is a classic arcade platform game released in 1985. It features the iconic character Mario, a plumber, on a quest to rescue Princess Toadstool from the villain Bowser. The game is known for its challenging levels, vibrant graphics, and catchy music, which have made it a beloved and influential title in the history of video games.
    • Release Date: September 13, 1985
    • Genre: Platformer
    • Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
    • Number of Players: Single-player or 2-player co-op
    • Controller: NES gamepad
    Super Mario Bros. in other rankings
  10. 10

    Double Dragon

    Technōs Japan
    This beat 'em up game was released in 1987 and is known for its cooperative gameplay and iconic characters. It's one of the most popular arcade games of all time and has been ported to numerous platforms.
    Double Dragon is a classic 1987 arcade game that revolutionized the beat 'em up genre. It follows the story of brothers Jimmy and Billy Lee as they embark on a mission to rescue Jimmy's girlfriend, Marian, from the evil Black Warriors gang. Players fight their way through various levels, defeating enemies with martial arts moves and weapons, while collecting power-ups along the way.
    • Genre: Beat 'em up
    • Platform: Arcade
    • Release Year: 1987
    • Number of Players: 2
    • Controls: Joystick, Buttons

Missing your favorite arcade game?


Ranking factors for popular arcade game

  1. Revenue generated
    The amount of money the arcade game has made since its release is a crucial factor in determining its popularity. Higher revenue generation indicates a larger number of people playing and enjoying the game.
  2. Global appeal
    The popularity of the game in various regions across the world, either through arcade machines or home consoles, should be considered. A game that is cherished by players around the globe will rank higher in popularity.
  3. Longevity
    How long an arcade game has been played and enjoyed also determines its popularity. A game that has been popular for decades indicates its sustained appeal and ability to adapt to changing technology and preferences.
  4. Cultural impact
    A popular arcade game should have left a lasting impression on popular culture, such as inspiring movies, TV shows, merchandise, and even influencing other video games.
  5. Critical reception
    Reviews and ratings from professional critics, as well as players themselves, should be considered. Higher-rated games are often seen as more enjoyable and engaging.
  6. Innovation
    A popular arcade game should have introduced or popularized new gameplay concepts, design elements, or technologies that have had a significant impact on the video game industry.
  7. Gameplay
    A well-designed, fun, and engaging gameplay experience is essential for a popular arcade game. The game should have fluid controls, well-balanced difficulty levels, and diverse play styles.
  8. Replayability
    The ability of a game to draw players back in after completing it is an essential characteristic of a popular arcade game. Arcade games often rely on high scores and multiplayer competition to keep players engaged.
  9. Graphics and audio
    Visually and auditorily appealing games often become popular as they attract players with compelling visuals and memorable soundtracks.
  10. Legacy
    The influence of the arcade game on future games in its genre and the overall video game community should be considered. A popular arcade game should have a lasting presence within its genre, inspiring future games and shaping the evolution of the industry.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular arcade game. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or arcade game is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 217 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each arcade game once every 24 hours. The rank of each arcade game is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular arcade game

Arcade games have been a staple of the gaming industry for decades, providing endless hours of entertainment to players of all ages. From classic titles like Pac-Man and Space Invaders to newer games like Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero, arcade games have evolved to keep up with changing technology and trends. While the popularity of arcade games has declined in recent years with the rise of home consoles and mobile gaming, there are still plenty of die-hard fans who flock to arcades to experience the unique atmosphere and social aspect of playing games in public. So, what is the most popular arcade game? Let's find out with a StrawPoll!

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