The Top Arcade Games of 1982

The peak of the video arcade era

Following their humble beginnings with Computer Space and Galaxy Game in 1971, though the end of the '70s with the megahit Space Invaders, onto dominating the beginning of the '80s with Pac-Man, Galaga, and hit after hit, video arcade games had established themselves as a major industry.

In these short years, video games dominated arcades, pushing mechanical coin-ops out, and moving the pinball machines into the back corners to make room for the latest and greatest video arcade cabinets. This spread into a massive pop-culture phenomenon, with newspapers, magazines, and television news all reporting on the arcade craze.

In 1982 arcade games reached their peak. Arcades renamed themselves "video arcades," and started overflowing with new titles that came out faster than arcade owners could find floor space. These are the Top Arcade Games of 1982.

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Dig Dug

Can you dig that the top spot of 1982 goes to Dug? It was fierce but Dig Dug blew the competition away, the exact same way he does to the Pookas and Fygars in his classic maze digging arcade game.

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In 1981 Nintendo's failed attempt at snagging the rights to release a Popeye video game was reworked into Shigeru Miyamoto's first game, Donkey Kong. DK was such a big hit that the owners of Popeye, King Features, took notice and finally decided to okay the licensing of the arcade game rights. Miyamoto was once again put in the designer's seat and the result took elements from his original designs that were used for Donkey Kong, and added entirely new elements to make the most popular arcade game based on a cartoon and comic strip!

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Donkey Kong Jr.

The first sequel to Donkey Kong, and the only game to feature Mario as the villain, is also unique because none of the protagonists of the original game were playable characters. In a table-turning twist of events, Donkey Kong plays the captive, Mario plays the ape-napper, and DK's son is the playable hero. In another original move, Miyamoto avoided rehashing the same gameplay design and mechanics as the game's predecessor, and instead created an entirely new game.

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An ancient futuristic land has warriors willing to climb aboard their flying ostriches and battle it out with Egg Knights upon flying buzzards. If hit these blood-thirsty knights turn into their embryo form of an egg, to be snagged by their enemy before they hatch.

Oh, and there is a pterodactyl that also flies around and is hard as heck to destroy.

While all of the top arcade games of 1982 have a two-player option, Joust is the only one that allows simultaneous multiplayer.

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The biggest burger factory in the world has gone insane! The deluxe burger's extras special toppings have run amuck and will do whatever it takes to make sure that Peter Pepper doesn't fill all his orders. The only way to stop them for good is to mash them between the bun, lettuce and all-beef patty.

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Q*bert is still one of the most popular arcade games. The tubular nosed hero may have been starring in Hollywood hits, but Q still stays busy color-changing cubes in his pyramid world while his enemies, Coily, Ugg, Wrong-Way, Slick, and Sam try to stop him.​

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An educational entry into the top arcade games of '83 shows us how monkeys and kangaroos behave in their natural environments, such as Donkey Kong and Popeye style platformers. The most important lesson to take away is... don't ever mess with a Mama Kangaroo, especially when it comes to her young. Otherwise, she'll put on her boxing gloves and kick that monkey around!

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Mr. Do!

The circus clown in this game can't get enough of digging underground for cherries. Unfortunately, there are some monsters that aim to stop him. Luckily Mr. Do! has his magic ball and boulder-like apples, 'cause there ain't nothing gonna stop this clown from digging for cherries... unless you run out of quarters.

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There is some serious sci-fi action going on here. In a playing field that feels much like a fast-paced take on ​Asteroids (only with easier controls and goals), you gotta rush to ward off enemies while collecting enough crystals to create Sinibombs. While you're doing this, your enemy is building their ultimate weapon, Sinistar.

Not only the first game to use stereo sounds but, for many players, this was the first video game where they could hear playback of a human voice (even though it is supposed to be the voice of a robot).


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Robotron: 2084

By the year 2084, the human race has been hunted down and slaughtered by evil Robotrons. As the only super human around, it's your job to save the last human family left. If you mess it up, the race will be extinct, if you succeed you'll progress onto the next screen which will be even more difficult than the last. Each screen progresses in difficulty until it is nearly impossible to take down the overwhelming horde of Robotrons that surround you. Often considered an "on the ground" take on Defender, in one of the hardest arcade games you'll ever play.

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