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10 of the best video arcade games from the 90s

By / 04.26.13
Best Video Arcade Games From the 90s

<a href="" target="_blank">YouTube/Midway</a>

Every gamer who was playing games in the 90s was also visiting their local video arcade, throwing their parent’s hard-earned quarters into beastly, neon-colored machines that would bring us so much joy. What were your favorite 90s arcade games?

Photo credit: YouTube/Midway

10 ‘Alien vs. Predator’

Though the Alien vs. Predator movies were embarrassingly bad, the game that preceded them was an awesome part of arcade history. The Predator’s shoulder-mounted energy weapons, the fast-paced action and the great animations and graphics quality made wasting an afternoon on this one a pure joy.

Type: Side scrolling beat ‘em up

Year released: 1994

9 ‘Time Crisis’

It was almost unfair how difficult Time Crisis was. It seemed like the quarters were literally disappearing from our pockets and yet the sharp graphics, exciting pace and addictive shoot’ em up style game play kept us coming back for more.

Type: Light gun rail shooter

Year released: 1995

8 ‘Aerosmith’s Revolution X’

Were you aware of this Aerosmith-licensed video game? You’d use a mounted gun to control eruptions of gunfire directed toward baddies in environments such as the Amazon, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim in order to save the five members of Aerosmith. Not many games had that kind of weighty responsibility set upon the shoulders of its players.

Type: Light gun rail shooter

Year released: 1994

7 ‘X-Men’

Whether you were using Wolverine’s adamantium claws, Cyclop’s scorching laser beam attack or evoking calamitous climate conditions as Storm, fighting through hordes of enemies was incredibly satisfying.

Type: Side scrolling beat ‘em up

Year released: 1992

6 ‘The Simpsons Arcade Game’

This was a special game; because it took a show we loved and made it come to life in a ridiculous, hilarious and satisfying fashion. Who can forget running into Matt Groening’s creepy rabbit dudes at the circus, or Marge using her vacuum cleaner as a weapon, or beating the crap out of a very drunk Barney boss at the end of the Moe’s Tavern level?

Type: Side scrolling beat ‘em up

Year released: 1991

5 ‘Area 51′

We weren’t sure who exactly the STAAR (Strategic Tactical Advanced Alien Response) team were, why Area 51 was mostly overrun with what seemed like zombies rather than actual aliens or what could possibly be the site’s use for all those conveniently-placed barrels of explosive material, but damn were we thankful for this great coin-sinker.

Type: Light gun rail shooter

Year released: 1995

4 ‘Silent Scope’

Silent Scope was truly revolutionary; the gun wasn’t just a sidearm, it was a goddamn sniper rifle. And much like a soldier who is looking through its sight at his victim, so does the player. The gun was also mounted, (much like a real sniper would utilize it) rather than being wielded like a pistol or machine gun.

Type: Light gun rail shooter

Year released: 1999

3 ‘Prop Cycle’

I never hear anyone talk about this game, but this was easily one of the best of the 90s. You sat on what was basically an exercise bike and used it to fly through enormous, gorgeous outdoor environments, popping as many balloons as possible. It was a rush because the screen was huge, it was challenging as hell and the physical activity pulled it together into an unforgettable experience. The only problem? Each play cost $1.

Type: Flight Simulator

Year released: 1996

2 ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’

Not many games accurately portray the co-op arcade gaming experience the way that TMNT did. This was one of the absolute best of all time, with its colorful graphics, ninja-chopping action and Cowabunga attitude.

Type: Side scrolling beat ‘em up

Year released: 1989

1 ‘House of the Dead’

Arcade games were sorely lacking in the monster department before House of the Dead came along. This series was massively popular and it’s no secret why: great visuals, killer sound effects, tight game play and awesome environments with multiple pathways made this one of the most addictive arcade experiences of all time.

Type: Light gun rail shooter

Year released: 1996

TAGS1990s arcade games90s arcade gamesAerosmiths Revolution XAlien vs PredatorArbitrary Rankingsarcade gamesArea 51Area 51 arcade gamebest arcade gamesbest arcade games of the 1990sfeaturedhouse of the deadlist of arcade gamesListsProp CycleSilent ScopeSimpsons Arcade GameTeenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade gameTime CrisisX-MenX-Men arcade game
Jason Epstein
About Jason Epstein... Jason Epstein is a nationally published freelance writer living in the greater NYC area. He's known for his close friends/good conversations/playing bass/wind in the face/rocking out/reading up/holding it down/good times/turning on dimes/and sometimes trying to rhyme(s). He can be reached at his website and you can follow him on Twitter here.

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