The Best Classic Arcade Games on the iPad

Turn your living room into an '80s arcade

Remember when you were a kid sliding quarters into a game cabinet and looking forward to the day that you could own an arcade? That day has come. Between the individual ports of arcade classics and the compilations from major arcade developers, you can own almost any game you became addicted to in the '80s and early '90s and play them on your iPad—no quarters required.

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Dragon's Lair HD

Dragon's Lair HD

Dragon's Lair was a huge hit at the arcade. For its time, it had stunning graphics, and embedded humor that made it a blast to play, but what kept kids pouring quarters into it was the addicting difficulty of the game. Dragon's Lair pushed you along because you wanted to see what would happen next. The only downside of this HD version is the $4.99 price tag

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Street Fighter IV CE

Street Fighter IV CE

People lined up to play Karate Champ because it was the first fighting game to feature martial arts, but Street Fighter set the mold for all fighting games to come and paved the way for classics like Mortal Kombat. This Street Fighter IV champion edition has the heart of the original classic. The single-player arcade mode and multiplayer mode make it worth the $4.99 price tag.

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Double Dragon Trilogy

Double Dragon arcade game cabinet

goodrob13 / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Talk about a blast from the past! Double Dragon did a double whammy on arcades in the '80s. It took the side-scroller to the next level, and it revolutionized the idea of co-op gameplay. With Double Dragon, you got to team up with your best friend and beat the stuffing out of people. This app brings the 1987 classic to your iPad for only $2.99.

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'Applied Design' Press Preview
Jemal Countess / Getty Images

Game addiction can be traced back to PAC-MAN. It was the first game to engross people, taunting them into spending quarter after quarter to see how far they could get in the game. It's a simple concept—a big yellow circle eats dots and dodges ghosts. It was like playing a game of rat in a maze, except you were the cheese. This app is a free download but expect in-app purchases for bonus mazes.

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Golden Axe Classics

Golden Axe Classics for iPad

Golden Axe was a favorite at the arcade, but its transition to the tablet was a little bumpy. The original port of the game left it with poor controls and glitchy gameplay. However, the three revamped chapters in Golden Axe Classics ironed out the kinks. The free-to-download price tag on these SEGA classics makes them worthy of consideration for anyone who wants to walk down memory lane.

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1942 Classic Arcade

1942 Classic Arcade app for iPad

The 1942 Classic Arcade app takes place in—you guessed it—1942. This World War II storyline follows fighter pilots as they batter the Japanese air fleet on their way to Tokyo. The app is free with in-app purchases, making this one a good download for any fan of this type of action.

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Q*bert app for iPad

Although Q*bert is filled with new puzzles, it includes the classic Arcade Mode that you unlock by completing levels. With new swipe controls, it's easy to jump around the changing levels. Don't be surprised to encounter special guest stars in the game, along with old-friend Coily and a bunch of colorful enemies. The app is free with in-app purchases.

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Ms. PAC-MAN for iPad

Ms. PAC-Man for iPad

Meet the old school queen of the arcades in Ms. PAC-MAN for iPad. Everything PAC-MAN does, she can do better. Guide her through the maze while staying away from the Ghost Gang. This game is a pixel-perfect version of the arcade original. Bonus: Find out how PAC-MAN met Ms. PAC-MAN, all for only $2.99 at the App Store.

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Sonic the Hedgehog Classic

Sonic the Hedgehog Classic

Remember racing at lightning speeds as Sonic the Hedgehog? You can do it again with Sonic the Hedgehog Classic for iPad. As with the original game, you run and spin while collecting rings and defeating enemies to save the world from diabolical Dr. Eggman. The app is free with in-app purchases available.

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Galaxiga app for the iPad

You probably remember this intense space shooting game from your childhood. If not, it's time to discover it now. Galaxiga delivers gorgeous graphics that are reminiscent of old-school games but better. It's just you and your spaceship against the enemies in the galaxy—a piece of cake. The app is free with in-app purchases available.

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