For gamers, the 80s games found in arcades represent their teenage years as these places were a social hangout as well as a gaming center. In addition, many people consider the time of 80s arcade games to be the golden era of the arcade culture. During this golden era, 80s arcade games could be found in many different locations, from supermarkets to bowling alleys and in arcades that housed many different games. Towards the end of the decade, arcades began to die out because of their reputation and the emergence of more popular home gaming systems.
By far one of the most popular 80s games of the decade and possibly the most popular arcade game of all time was Pac-Man. This game was released to the public in 1980 and was an immediate success. One of the reasons that it enjoyed such widespread popularity was its inclusion into pop culture. The simple Pac-Man symbol appeared on t-shirts, in commercials, and even on coffee mugs, leading to a phenomenon known as Pac-Mania. At the height of Pac-Mania, a televised cartoon was produced and a Pac-Man song was one of the top ten songs in the country. When compared to previous games, Pac-Man was very different. Instead of space-based games, Pac-Man was set on a labyrinthine grid and featured abstract characters. The game play is very simple as a player attempts to eat all the dots without being touched by a ghost. This simplicity combined with increasingly difficult levels made for a highly addictive game.
Another one of the 80s arcade games that enjoyed widespread acclaim was Centipede. While it was not quite as popular as Pac-Man, the game drew many players to arcades. Like the majority of 80s video games, Centipede was relatively simple. The player controls a small character that is located at the base of the screen and is able to fire shots to the top of the screen. Scattered on the play field are random mushrooms. The game play begins when a long centipede begins at the top of the screen and works its way to the bottom. The goal is to shoot all segments of the centipede before it reaches the bottom and touches the player. One aspect that set Centipede apart from other 80s video games was the use of a trackball to control the player. Most games of this time used a joystick for controls. Centipede became part of popular culture when a board game was released. In addition, music artists The Strokes made use of the gameâs artwork on the cover of one of their singles.
Although 80s video games were extremely popular during the decade, the era of arcades came to a close towards the end of the decade as the technology for home gaming systems finally reached an equal level of quality with their arcade counterparts. For this reason, many gamers began staying home to play rather than going to arcades. Despite the decrease in popularity of arcades, the 80s games like Pac-Man and Centipede remain a part of popular culture.