The Golden Age of the Arcade

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When I was younger, I’d often spends hours slotting 10p pieces into those coin pushing machines. However, my dad would always explain how much better arcades were during his youth. Now reduced to a Pac-Man Google Doodle or that extortionate air hockey table at the corner of a bowling alley, the arcade used to be a thing of beauty. Back when 50p of pocket money could buy you an afternoon of entertainment, there existed the arcade. Machines the size of a person with colourful buttons and a joystick displayed the pixelated graphics of your favourite game. Here are a handful of eighties favourites.

Space Invaders (1979)

Space Invaders. Aliens fall onto the screen and it’s your job to defend the terrain below by shooting them. It’s a very simple game and has no end; the aliens just keep falling until the player can’t cope and an invader reaches the bottom of the screen. Released in 1979, it marked the beginning of the ’80s arcade craze. If you’re keen, it can still be played in many corners of the internet today.

Pac-Man  (1980)

Although Pac-Man is perhaps the most famous of all arcade characters, the ghost-muncher now lives his life decorating novelty t-shirts and mugs. Released in 1980, it was developed by Japanese developer Namco and was winning awards soon after its launch. It’s got a simple premise involving a wedge-shaped yellow character, a maze, various coloured dots and some ghosts. If you can successfully manoeuvre around the maze and eat every dot, you’ll proceed to the next level. I’m sure you’ll all agree this utterly addictive game is worthy of its fame.

Donkey Kong (1981)

Released in 1981, Nintendo’s Donkey Kong was our first opportunity to meet everyone’s favourite plumber. Although he wasn’t yet called Mario, our moustachioed hero was already rescuing damsels-in-distress from vicious baddies, avoiding obstacles and jumping over bottomless pits. If your house has a Mario Kart obsession like mine, it wouldn’t be around if this arcade classic hadn’t saved Nintendo from financial doom.

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I am a third-year computer scientist. As a lover of fantasy and massive bookworm, when not behind a screen I can be found with my nose in a YA novel or attempting to write something. I'm a tragic cook but a pretty keen coder. Can be found on Twitter @hannah_dadd .

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