What are the 3 most popular arcade games?
3 July 2022
It is customary to calculate the popularity and number of copies sold of a given video game nowadays. The sales goals achieved are undoubtedly an indicator of the fame of the game that maybe can be repeated in a new version. With the arrival of the consoles, the numbers are now significantly increased compared to when the only places to play were the arcades. As a result, the number of gamers has also increased, involving audiences of all ages. Despite this, we tried the same to make a list of the 3 most appreciated games, calculating the number of pieces sold and the figures earned by the manufacturer.
With more than 400,00 cabinets sold and a revenue of $3,500,000,000 by 1990, Pac-Man is confirmed as the undisputed leader of the ranking. First appearing in 1980, the main character of the game is considered the most recognizable and enduring of all time. In an era where almost all games were focused on space shooters, Pac-Man’s non-violent and maze-chase gameplay was seen as something fresh and new. Something new that also involves the female audience. This gender neutral attraction helped bring an unprecedented number of players into arcades around the world transforming the character into a real timeless icon. It was the first time that the character was also used for merchandising with many shirts, hats and gifts sold around the world. Since then, the character has appeared in 30 other video games and in numerous themed films.
- Space Invaders
The cabinet game proposed by Taito was able to sell 360,000 cabinets and to generate a revenue of $2,702,000,000 since 1982. The machine launched in Japan in 1978 kicked off what is now called the Golden Age of Arcades, a period of history spanning the late 70’s to the mid 80’s that saw unprecedented advances in gaming design and new technology. Space Invader is considered a real cultural phenomenon that saw more than 100,000 cabinets installed only in Japan. Such was its immense popularity, the sheer volume of people shoveling money into its coin slots created a temporary shortage of the 100-yen coin in the country. The phenomenon then involved players from around the world, who were catapulted into space to make war on the alien invaders. The revenue generated in the USA in its first year was greater than that of the most popular movie of the period – Star Wars. Not bad for an industry that had only just turned five years old.
- Street Fighter II/Champion Edition
The sequel proposed by Capcom in 1987 got more success than the original title with more than 200,000 cabinets buyed and a revenue of $2,312,000,000. This arcade game is now considered as one of the gaming milestones of the 90’s, able to evolute many of the series’ fundamental design elements and to create a benchmark fighting game design already actual. Thanks to its ultra-competitive gameplay, the machine was an instant hit, selling some 60,000 units globally. Its rapid player turnover helped keep the coins flowing – a welcome relief to many arcade operators, who’d seen revenues decline since their peak in the mid-80’s. Seeing its numbers, Capcom in April 1992 launched Champion Edition, the first video game with rebalanced gameplay, four playable Grand Masters, and the possibility for players to engage in mirror matches for the first time. Despite being very similar in design to Street Fighter II, CE sold an incredible 140,000 boards and new cabinets.