JIM DANKIEWICZ'S TOP TEN COIN-OP VIDEOGAMES|
Though I was born in 1978, I have in the past or present been fortunate
enough to play all of these games frequently in the arcade.
10. Rolling Thunder
This may be a somewhat surprising choice, but I'll let Next-Generation
magazine speak for me:
9. S.T.U.N. Runner
"Everything gels together perfectly: the long-legged characters, the
wonderfully designed levels, the use of panthers as enemies, your
character's ability to duck behind boxes, the constant need to jump from
the floor to raised platforms, and some great, great, music."
My sentiments exactly.
Every top 10 list needs a driving game, and this is my all time favorite
driving game. There's nothing quite like traveling 600+ mph down a maze
of tunnels with enemies on all sides and a timer counting down on you.
STUN Runner is bobsledding on steroids.
8. Robotron: 2084
One of those rare games where everything comes together. The play
control may be the best in arcade history. The intensity, difficulty,
concept, and fun factor are all grade A. What more need be said? The
game just rocks. Of course, the ideas of running around blasting robots
and being about 2 seconds from dying at all times probably owe something
to Berzerk. But Eugene Jarvis took the nucleus of an awesome game and
made something very different, and equally fun.
7. Double Dragon
A classic that missed the classic era. Double Dragon came out about the
time I was old enough to be allowed to bike to the local pizza parlor to
play video games. It was (along with Shinobi) the first arcade game I
spent lots of money on. Unlike Shinobi, I kept coming back after I beat
it. I loved the characters, the animation, the soundtrack, and all the
cool moves you could do. I also liked the fact that characters appeared
in the same places every time, it was like meeting old friends after a
while. It's slipped a bit on my list because I haven't played in 6
years (the pizza parlor replaced it with Street Fighter II), but it will
always be in my top 10, for nostalgia alone if nothing else.
I consider this 1988 Battlezone update the last "classic" ever
released. I didn't play much when it came out, but when I got to
college last year, there was one on campus. Now I can't get enough.
One of those games that has to be played in the arcade, you just can't
emulate tank controls. Superb graphics and play control, and loads of
fun. My only gripe is the uneven difficulty; some stages are too easy,
and some are impossible.
5. Elevator Action
I really can't say what it is about EA that keeps me coming back. My
brain keeps telling me I should scoff at the crude graphics, the weakest
play control in my top 10 (though still not bad), or the simplistic
plot. And yet, I love this game. There's just something so cool about
hopping elevators, shooting criminals, and collecting secret documents
in a 30 story building. It's so much fun, that somehow the rest doesn't
seem important. This one is the exception to my "frequently played"
comment. I played this once when I was six, and never saw it again
until late in 1997. But the fact that even 13 years later I still
remembered the one game of EA I played is a testament to how cool this
It's a shame that so few people got to play Reactor in the arcade, as it
is really the only way to play it. Don't get me wrong, the VCS port was
awesome, my favorite cartridge. But there's nothing like the feel of
the trackball in your hand and the pulsing (and loud!) rhythms of the
most rockin' music in arcade history in your ears. It's not just a
game, it's an experience.
3. Street Fighter II (Regular and Champion Ed.)
Love it or hate it, one of the biggest games ever. And I loved it! I
don't know how many weeks in a row back in 1991 I blew my entire
allowance on SFII at the pizza parlor. The game simply looks and feels
right; at the time, there was nothing else like it. Terrific play
control (again), the special moves are much more instinctive than in
Mortal Kombat. (which I despise!) I got pretty good at the original,
but I was untouchable on Champion Edition. When I picked Vega, you
lost. End of story.
(tie) 2. Discs of Tron
The only version I've ever played is the regular upright. Had I played
the environmental, I may well have had to rank DOT #1. Another game
with nearly flawless play control, a unique concept, and terrific replay
This was and is my game. The game I had to buy first when I was
starting my own collection. Stratovox may have had speech first, but
Berzerk is the first talker most people actually saw. The play control
and difficulty are top notch; like Robotron, you must become one with
the controls if you have any hope of long term survival. Even so, the
sound bites are what set Berzerk apart. "Shoot the intruder!"
"Chicken, fight like a robot!" etc. Berzerk to me is the quintessential
My Honorable Mention List