14 arcade machines that led to a misspent youth

Kick-ass coin-ops from the early years of videogaming

10. Street Fighter II (Capcom, 1991)
Although not the first one-on-one fighting game, Street Fighter II was the one that ignited the genre, becoming a worldwide phenomenon and siring five sequels and a multitude of home console versions. Some also blame it for the dearth of variety in coin-ops, which have since been mired in endless copycat beat 'em ups.

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11. Space Harrier (Sega, 1985)
Sega's pseudo-3D shoot 'em up was a step-change in arcade gaming. Space Harrier was bold, brash, colourful and epic in scale. It featured digitised voices, multicoloured scaling sprites and, much to gamers' delight, a sit-in cabinet with a chair that moved in accord with your actions. Sega's AM2 team would use similar technologies and cabinets for the likes of After Burner, Out Run and Hang-On.

12. Donkey Kong (Nintendo, 1981)
One of the biggest selling arcade machines of all time, Donkey Kong was also one of the pioneers of platforming, and the coin-op that introduced Shigeru Miyamoto to the world of games design. It also led to the creation of Super Mario. Somehow the 'word' influential doesn't really do it justice.

13. Pac-Man (Namco, 1980)
One of the truly ground-breaking concepts, Pac-Man introduced a whole new game mechanic in which the player is both hunter and hunted (you could almost categorise it as the first horror survival game). Popular with both male and female gamers, Pac-Man became the biggest-selling coin-op of all time and a 1980s pop icon, with a TV show, vast array of merchandise, and over 30 sequels and spin-offs.

14. Gauntlet (Atari, 1985)
Uniquely, Gauntlet featured an enormous cabinet which provided controllers for up to four players - the first arcade machine to do so. The game is famous for its digitised speech (who hasn't quoted such classics as "Wizard need food, badly!"), and the co-operative dungeon exploration has resonated down the timelines, arguably culminating in the biggest adventure game of all time: World of Warcraft.

Images courtesy of the Killer List of Videogames

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