I just couldn't get it down to ten, so here's my Top 11...

11. Bosconian

    Talking space game with a somewhat Australian accent. The convenience store where I bought my papers (news, not rolling) had one, and I'd always put a dollar or so in it. Whan the store took it out, I bought my papers somewhere else.
10. Wizard of Wor
    Cool game play and simple but well-done music. On 2-player mode, a trained team can almost play forever.
9. Astro Blaster
    One of the first "talkies." Secret bonuses, overheated lasers, and low fuel. Astro Blaster encourages you to play on the edge -- you get double points if you fuel status is "Critical."
8. Sinistar
    The scariest game ever. If you can find a cockpit-style Sinistar, have the owner turn the volume *way* up. The first time you hear the Sinistar declare that he is alive is better than a Hitchcock movie!
7. Gorf
    On the default setting, Gorf is a "play forever" game. When it's cranked, the Galaxian segment is way harder than the original Galaxian.
6. Berzerk
    Two things I like in games: sci-fi action and speech. And it helps if it has Evil Otto, too.
5. Indy 800
    The coolest multi-player game ever. Eight players, all with the same hardware, hit the track all at once. Somewhat like a box-stock class slot car race, but cheaper. And that huge cabinet......
4. Reactor
    At full volume in the arcade, nothing sounded cooler. The best use of a trackball since Missile Command. Abstract and trippy with a hard rockin' score!
3. Robotron: 2084
    The hair just stands up on the back of your neck when the first Brain Wave appears. Dozens, then hundreds of robots, all moving independently. A techno marvel, and a Jarvis Classic.
2. Tempest
    Color vector graphics and frantic vertigo spinning action!
1. Defender
    This is the one. When you really get into the higher levels, your planet exploding is a truly terrifying experience. Only the Track & Field machines take more abuse in the normal course of game play. Try this one: get a paper bag and cover the screen, except for the radar.
Honorable Mentions:

  • Joust (Williams)
  • Pole Position (Namco)
  • Quarterback (Leland)
  • Stargate (Williams)
  • Toobin' (Atari Games)
  • Turbo (Sega)
  • Xevious (Namco)

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